I've always felt Nikon's Capture NX2 did the best job in rendering the NEF files from my D700. Where I noticed it most was in the subtle gradations in color and brightness. Adobe's Camera Raw/Lightroom and Apple's Aperture could never render smooth changes in color and luminance like Capture NX2. I noticed this many years ago when shooting Christmas lights on our tree. Using Lightroom 3, the lights had a solid white center with a band of color surrounding. Using Capture NX2, the lights were rendered as a solid color but with a smooth transition between the brighter center and the edges of the bulbs.
More recently, I was photographing an event and using Aperture to import/edit/export a large batch of photos. Again, I noticed how poorly Aperture was rendering lights.
I ran a little experiment with one of the photos. Using default settings, I rendered the same file using Lightroom 4 (ACR 7.1) using Adobe Standard, D2X Mode 1 v4, Aperture, and Capture NX2.
First up, Aperture:
Note the overall darkness but really pay attention to those three rocks being illuminated with three lights.
Next, Adobe Standard:
Overall brightness is better, but those lights are ugly.
Now, to see what it should look like using Capture NX2:
In trying to replicate that look using Lightroom 4, I came across this camera profile called D2X Mode 1 v4:
It's a little more contrasty, but that's a simple fix.
I've found my workflow solution. Capture NX2 just couldn't meet my needs as an event/wedding photographer. Up until last night, I didn't like using other software for my conversions, but I needed to because of the amount of photos that I needed to quickly import/edit/export.