This is an ever lasting argument, I guess; a very interesting one though, with no right answer; mainly because it is too much down to the preference of each photographer and the capabilities offered by the different software products, all of them varying continuously. And this is probably why you are now reading this thread.
In my case, I am not too worried about super-productive workflow. I am more concerned about getting the most out of an image, keeping things as simple as possible but without loosing control of what is happening.
I tried tens of different photo editing/cataloguing tools. So far I have narrowed my spectrum down to: a) ViewNX (for quickly browse/organise), b) Capture NX2 (main editing tool, including Color Efex 3 complete), and c) Photoshop (for those VERY rare complex editing jobs). Period.
With sadness, I keep leaving Adobe's Lightroom out of the list. From its very first release I always wanted to adopt it; I tried it and I keep re-trying its new releases in hope that some day it will handle Nikon RAW images as Capture NX2 does. Well...it hasn't so far, and it seems it never will.
I love LR's sleek, intuitive, expansible environment, which translates in a very flexible workflow with very high throughput. NX2 in turn is way sloooooooow, clumsy, unstable, rather limited and is looking rather outdated to say the least.
- NX2 uniquely treats and processes Nikon RAW files mimicking Nikon in-camera's processors: what you see when shooting is a pin-sharp replica of what you get with NX2. There is no other software in the market that can even dare claiming this.
- NX2 saves all the edits non-destructively within the same file; no hassle for portability or administration. LR generates a massive external database which is an unnecessary level of risk and restrictive compexity.
- NX2's U-points are simply great! So simple and yet so powerful.
I hope this could be of help to some of you.