You know you can edit said profiles to produce the results you desire? Or better, start with a custom profile, then if necessary (unlikely), edit that profile too. You might want to view this video:
In this 30 minute video, we’ll look into the creation and use of DNG camera profiles in three raw converters. The video covers:
What are DNG camera profiles, how do they differ from ICC camera profiles.
Misconceptions about DNG camera profiles.
Just when, and why do you need to build custom DNG camera profiles?
How to build custom DNG camera profiles using the X-rite Passport software.
The role of various illuminants on camera sensors and DNG camera profiles.
Dual Illuminant DNG camera profiles.
Examples of usage of DNG camera profiles in Lightroom, ACR, and Iridient Developer.
Low Rez (YouTube):
High Rez (download):
The neutral preset seems nice for heavy editing, but in the end, I seem to always add contrast, saturation/vibrancy, and darken the blacks, so my final image looks closer to the standard setting anyway. Maybe I should just start with it to begin with?
I think you answered your own question. The Camera Neutral profile has lower contrast and color saturation than the Camera Standard profile. On initial import the Camera Neutral profile will reveal more shadow and highlight detail than the Camera Standard profile. This is in fact what most users prefer, but with normal contrast and color saturation. It's an anomaly of the PV2012 image adaptive Tone controls. You can try the 'Auto' Tone button, which usually works well with a small adjustment to the Exposure slider. If that rendering is not to your liking it's best to start-over. As I mentioned the PV2012 Tone controls are "image adaptive" and adjusting them in a "random" order is an exercise in frustration. Here's a short tutorial on how to use the PV2012 Tone controls to quickly establish the desired "balance" of midtone brightness & contrast, highlight detail, shadow detail, and whites & blacks set points. I suggest testing with both the Adobe Standard and Camera Standard profiles to see which you prefer. You can create a "custom" camera profile as outlined at the links thedigitaldog provided, but first give the two "standard" profiles a try using the below workflow procedure.
PV2012 Basic Tone Control Adjustment
Start with all of the Tone controls at their default 0 settings and adjust them from the top-down in the order shown below.
1. Set Exposure to correct the image midtone brightness ignoring the highlight and shadow areas for now. Setting Exposure slightly higher (+.25 to +.50 EV) than what looks correct for the midtones seems to work best with most images.
2. Leave Contrast at 0 for now. It’s usually better to adjust this after the first pass.
3. Adjust Highlights so that blown out areas are recovered and/or “fine tonal detail” is revealed.
4. Adjust Shadows to reveal fine detail in dark areas. For most normal images simply setting +Shadows the same as -Highlights (Example +50 and -50) works very well.
5. The Whites control sets the white clipping point, which you can see by holding down the ALT key as you move the slider. Adjust it to the point where you see clipping appear with the ALT key.
6. The Blacks control sets the black clipping point, which you can see by holding down the ALT key as you move the slider. Adjust it to the point where you see clipping appear with the ALT key. With very low contrast images such as a picture shot in foggy weather you may not want to use a lower setting (i.e. no Black clipping).
7. Now go back and adjust the Contrast control to establish the best midtone contrast. Ignore its effect on the overall image contrast. That is set by the Whites and Blacks clipping point controls.
8. Lastly touchup the Exposure control for the best midtone brightness.
If necessary you can make second-pass with the same top-down workflow to “touch-up” the current control settings. Once you've gained experience using this control workflow it can be done very quickly.
When changing the camera profile it's best to start over with the Tone controls reset to 0. You can do this using a Virtual Copy so that the original Master file image adjustments are retained. If you like the results with a different camera profile you can 'Sync' the settings from the Virtual Copy to the Master file and delete the Virtual Copy....or simply keep both.
Use the Local controls (Graduated Filter, Radial Filter, Adjustment Brush) to "fix" specific image areas that need further adjustment.
PV2012 Adjustment Speed Tip
I created a preset that applies just Exposure +.5 EV, Highlights -50, and Shadows +50, which works well using the Adobe and Camera Standard profiles with most normal contrast subjects. Adjust the Exposure slider if necessary to correct the midtone brightness and then jump to step #5 above. The settings that work well with your images may be slightly different. Adjust accordingly and check just those settings in the Develop Preset.