I like to use photoshop for post-processing rather than raw converters such as ACR. I believe it gives me more control when making significant alterations of a photo. I heavily use masks, spead each step across multiple adjustment layers, and manipulate individual color channels. However, I get the feeling that I am losing image data when I bypass ACR (set everything to 0, linearize curves, and open in photoshop in 16-bit).
Here is an example of the typical workflow I follow. The following two images are final product, and layers I used to make final product, respectively.
There doesn't seems to be any problem with this particular example, but this image was very properly exposed. What if it wasn't? Does the image lose data by bypassing ACR as I've done? I am actually quite the stubborn perfectionist
And just a quick question: Why doesn't photoshop have luminance curves? RGB curves apply a formula to the three channels independently, right? I wish there were built-in curves that maintained the ratios between red green and blue within each pixel.