From many reports, ACR RC does not render D7000 images with as great of sharpness and lack of noise compared to the version of ViewVX supplied with the camera. When the D90 came out ACR could not read the files but when a version was released that did read the D90 files NX2 and ViewNX still rended noticeably better. By the time LR 3 came out, Adobe had pretty much caught up with rendering of the D90 images. It appears that we are at the start of the refinement cycle again with LR and ACR. There are thinks Nikon is doing with the D7000 files that is different than prior models, and it might take a while for 3rd party software developers figure it out because Nikon does not release full file specs. I use LR mostly because it is just an all round polished program but also have some of the others, Nikon software does have an advantage in newly released Nikon cameras. Having propitiatory file formats hurts Nikon in early reviews because sites like IR and DPR ignore the Nikon software and use ACR. Stan St Petersburg Russia
I've been using both lightroom 3.3RC and View NX. I think lightroom is doing just fine on detail and such. They have not yet, however, released the camera modes (vivid, etc) that I assume they will when the release is final. Its still all adobe standards...which is actually not that bad.
If just the meta-data header of the image is being processed, then many programs will be able to see and process this data and display the preview Jpeg thumbnail embedded in the NEF or RAW file without processing or updating the RAW image data.
Because of the above, one can trick a program to process a RAW image of a camera that that software does not support. But using this trick has some restrictions as the program might not know how to handle all of possible and new setting values within the image data.
There is always a delay between when a camera product that produces RAW images is announced and the software needed to process that file is released. Nikon is usually the first out because they have the inside information about the hardware and file produced. Nikon has not always gotten the software out with the camera release. Then the 3rd party vendors come later, once they receive the final image specs from Nikon and update their software, test, and finalize their product.
I don't have a D7000(yet) but have downloaded NEF files and converted with ACR RC and the newest version of NX2. Even with NR off, high ISO seems a lot cleaner, and sharper at 100% with NX2. Some trick is being applied but from seeing less noise AND more detail, it must be something significant. So my optimum workflow would likely be convert to TIFF in ViewNX or NX2 and import into LR or PS CS5. I just wish Nic, the NX2 developers, would modernize the NX2 UI and architecture because it is just not as slick and polished or speedy as the Adobe products. NX2 is pretty easy to use but that ease seems to lull people into thinking it is not powerful so they don't delve into its deeper functions. There is a 3rd party eBook that really unlocks features not explained well in the docs, Jason O'Dell's "The Photographer's Guide to Capture NX2" at http://www.luminescentphoto.com/ He has a new video Guide to Sharpening in NX2 that looks like it would be useful but I have not seen anything other than the preview.
Yes, I'm seeing that I have to boost the lunminence noise reduction slider in adobe 3.0 to be as clean and sharp. Probably a result of a different anti aliasing filter on this sensor. Once I do, it looks fantastic.