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In particular, 2012 gives better recovery of almost lost highlights without affecting the surrounding areas as much as 2010 does.
Another thing I like is being able to tweak WB with the mask feature. Good for getting a blue sky when the rest of the scene is not lit with the usual white daylight.
I also missed the 2010 sliders at first because I had learned to drive them well. Then Adobe switched the interface and I was a bit slow to take it on. Error.
First, know that if you change an image from 2010 to 2012 process then it can end up with a silly tone curve, so reset that back to linear. You probably will not need the contrasty tone curves if you use Adobe Standard camera calibration.
Then go back up to tweak the white balance to be at least approximately correct.
Then the biggest "trick" to using the basic 2012 sliders is knowing that you are actually meant to use them - i.e. you need not be too subtle about fiddling with shadows or highlights after first getting the mid-tone exposure right. Large values are quite ok and do not damage the image if the underlying data is there to play with. After using exposure, shadows and highlights you can fiddle with blacks and whites if required.
The clarity slider is more severe than 2010 could ever be so be gentle with that one until you see what it does. Values of 0-20 are usually sufficient.
By the way, to speed up moving from one image to another you can leave the noise reduction until as late as possible. It's quite snappy until NR comes into play and than it bogs down a bit.