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Archive 2013 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X
  
 
Patrick Cox
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


I am a fairly new Mac user (within the last 2 years) but I have used Adobe LR and Photoshop back to the first LR version and CS2 I believe. In light of the recent Adobe announcements, I am considering other options for image processing. Since I am now a Mac user and plan to continue with that platform, would Aperture be a comparable product to Lightroom? I would think the Mac integration would be better but in terms of image processing, how do they compare? I would consider myself an advanced hobbyist. If you have experience with both programs on OS X, I would appreciate your thoughts and experience.

Thanks!
Pat



May 11, 2013 at 04:32 PM
pr4photos
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


I have recently switched to Mac. I am used to Lightroom on the PC and like it. I tried Aperture and maybe because I am so used to Lightroom but I didn't like it. So have stuck with Lightroom


May 11, 2013 at 04:35 PM
colinm
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


People tend to like one or the other; they have very different ways of working. Lightroom's extremely structured while Aperture is extremely loose. They're largely comparable in image processing but different in workflow. Some tools change names or have different features, some tools work differently, and each has a few things the other doesn't.

If you've got an Apple Store near you, the pro machines still have Aperture loaded along with demo files. Drop on in and play around. If not, see if you can find a friend who has Aperture. Some independent Apple resellers have Aperture loaded on their demo machines as well.



May 11, 2013 at 04:53 PM
joshkrause
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


I've been using Aperture since version one, and I've tried many times to get into Lightroom. But it's like switching from Canon to Nikon... you've got to put in the time to understand it.

At the end of the day, I'm so used to Aperture that Lightroom drives me nuts because i can't figure it out fast enough and I always go back to Aperture. I'd suggest sticking with what you know, both are very capable programs.



May 11, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Dave_EP
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


I have both. I use them for different things at this point because Apple is taking so long to bring out the new version.

Aperture makes great raw conversions, but the brushes and lens corrections are not as good as in LR4. OTOH, Aperture's built in key wording and vault system (automatic backups) is better than LR in my opinion (others may vary). In fact, as far as I can tell, LR has ZERO incremental backup facilities other than exporting entire libraries.

Aperture has the ability to update your backup vault with just the changes you make.

I also prefer the fact that Apterure has everything all in one, whereas Lightroom works in 'modules'. While that may not seem like a big deal, there are certain things you can't do in the develop module, like some key wording and ratings etc. Crazy.

So, which one you prefer will depend on several things, such as how much you like to manipulate things in the raw converter and how much you want to use it as a long term library and backup/archiving system.

Neither of them at 'the best' because each has their own pros and cons.

LR5 betais also now out, but the way Adobe has screwed us on the rest of the suite / CC there is almost zero chance of me giving them any more money for anything, including an LR upgrade!




May 11, 2013 at 05:57 PM
Patrick Cox
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


colinm wrote:
If you've got an Apple Store near you, the pro machines still have Aperture loaded along with demo files. Drop on in and play around. If not, see if you can find a friend who has Aperture. Some independent Apple resellers have Aperture loaded on their demo machines as well.


Good idea, thanks! I will drop by the Apple store!



May 11, 2013 at 07:51 PM
tomrock
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


When using the brushes in Aperture, you dial in how much adjustment you want, and then paint with that much adjustment. The amount can't be changed without painting again.

With Lightroom, you paint, and then can change the amount of adjustment you use. I like that a lot better.

Apple also seems to take a lot longer to add support for new cameras which only matters when you've bought one



May 11, 2013 at 11:09 PM
Deezie
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


I'm a Lightroom, Photoshop, Premiere guy, but I think I'm going to switch over to Aperture and Final Cut to prepare for my eventual transition away from Adobe. I just have to find a replacement for Photoshop.


May 12, 2013 at 02:01 AM
Dave_EP
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


tomrock wrote:
Apple also seems to take a lot longer to add support for new cameras which only matters when you've bought one


Actually, in several cases the Apple update was quicker, but don't ask me to name the specific cameras, I just recall noting it at the time.



May 12, 2013 at 11:09 AM
Patrick Cox
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


Well I went over the the Apple store yesterday and spent some time with Aperture. I really liked it! It has one feature that I have wished for in Lightroom and that is an auto curves color correction adjustment. I believe it basically sets the white and black point for each R, G & B channel individually. So I decided to download it from the App Store! Now I need to figure out my workflow and decide how I want to organize my images when I import them onto my iMac. With Lightroom I setup a folder structure based on Year, Month and Date. I'm not sure if this is best practice for Aperture or not. Anyway, I'm excited to get started! Thanks all! I will report back.


May 12, 2013 at 12:18 PM
 

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Patrick Cox
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


I guess I should have checked to make sure that Aperture supported the D7100. It doesn't seem to be supported yet so I guess I have to wait on processing my new D7100 images in Aperture.


May 12, 2013 at 02:59 PM
Dave_EP
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


Patrick Cox wrote:
I guess I should have checked to make sure that Aperture supported the D7100. It doesn't seem to be supported yet so I guess I have to wait on processing my new D7100 images in Aperture.


In terms of organisation, I do tend to organise Aperture by Year, then by Project.

It looks like D7100 raw is not supported on OSX 10.8.3 so keep a lookout for 10.8.4 and that should include it. It's already in the hands of developers for testing so it's shouldn't be too long now.



May 12, 2013 at 04:10 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


Patrick,
As a professional I've used several DAM (digital asset management) programs. PhotoMechanix was my first. I used Aperture from v. 1.5 till about 3 months ago. There are many truly fine things in the program. I switched to LR simply because as a professional I could get no assurance that Apple would continue to improve the product. I was truly surprised that with solid hardware behind it that Aperture out performed LR in many critical ways. To me Aperture's integrated view (and generally vastly superior interface) and its much better method of entering/controlling metadata are sorely missed. LR has its advantages. For example I find printing from it superior. If you work with PS a lot, the tight integration can be a plus. I suspect Adobe will continue to support LR though at this time we don't know if we are all going to be shoved into the dreaded cloud.

Camera RAW updates are at the system level, and yes they should be faster. I did note that the D7000 is supported. No clue if that would help. Also there are other RAW interpreters out there. PhotoNinja has a lot of promise and I rather like its conversions - certainly better than Adobe's and often better than Apples. Off the top of my head I think there are at least 5 RAW conversion programs for the Mac (beyond the system level). I don't know what cameras they support, but you can try them all for free.

Also there are a number of superb plugins for Aperture. Check Nik to start with.

Aperture is a really fine program - though it has bugs that they refuse to correct - an issue hardly unique to Apple. Going forward, I really don't know what is happening with the program, though I also now don't know about Adobe.

Robert



May 12, 2013 at 04:28 PM
matthewbmedia
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


There's a lot of misinformation in general out there on aperture due to people never looking past the defaults -

That being said, here are a few things -

- Lookup how to configure your import dialog to automatically setup a referenced master workflow.

- You can brush in many adjustments, in aperture and you can CHANGE the value of the filter at any point in time. (Click on the gear next to the curves adjustment, and click something like "Brush adjustment in" - This becomes a non-destructive "layer masked" adjustment layer. Brushing in a curves adjustment is a great alternative to dodging and burning.

- In the last 2 versions of LR and Aperture, I have never seen LR render a canon raw file in develop mode faster than aperture, Not once, ever. Many people complain about speed with aperture and it isn't the RAW decoder - its the other library oriented processes and Drive fragmentation like no tomorrow caused by a single large blob file used for all thumbnails in the database... So, use referenced masters, put your library on an SSD, turn off auto preview generation, put your masters on a plain old large drive and you'll be rockin.

- I'm a canon shooter and greatly prefer apple's raw decoder over ACR, ACR has always looked "too digital" out of the box. I know this is subjective, but skin tones from ACR have never matched the smooth tonal rendition of aperture's conversions. (ACR got much better in LR 4).

On the other hand many people (rob boyer for one) have spent a lot of time trying to get aperture to render NIKON files closer to NX2 - small shifts in blues and greens.



May 13, 2013 at 06:27 AM
Dave_EP
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


Matthew,

Some good points well made.

My 'personal' library is now around 1TB in size with 59,621 files in it. I bought Aperture at v1.0 after seeing it at an Apple show prior to release. I've been adding my personal files to the same collection ever since, with files dating back to 2002. I store things mainly by year, then project.

Professional shoots are stores as separate libraries.

While the main library has certainly slowed 'a little' over the years, probably due to the ever increasing size, it's actually still faster to use than a similar number of files in LR. I tried it. Bad mistake. LR fell apart and took forever to find things.

I also have TWO Aperture Vault HDDs, backing up to both after any significant addition to the Aperture library. It only takes a few minutes and it's done. LR has no such feature.

I do agree on the Canon vs Nikon side of things. Aperture does a great job of Canon files and a perfectly acceptable job of Nikon files. But then that's my feeling on LR as well. Nothing gets those Nikon files as good as NX2. I should perhaps add that I've had every version of LR too, from the it's pre-release beta to the LR5 Beta. It does some great things but it's not a serious DAM in my opinion, it's good at what it does, but it's got some things that drive me nuts, and right now Adobe are going to struggle big time to get any more of my money.

In terms of printing (mentioned above), I've printed from both LR and Aperture and both have their foibles. If you give up at the default then it's your own fault. Both can do an amazing job and I've had several books printed from Aperture and absolutely zero complaints. Even my clients love them.

Aperture is a great program that is barely touched by most people. Lynda.com has some good tutorials on using Aperture so if you're new to it, pop along (I think they even have a free 7 day trial) and learn how to use it beyond just the basics of randomly clicking to see what happens.

Like many, I'm eagerly awaiting Aperture 4, but then I'm also eagerly awaiting Logic Pro X too



May 13, 2013 at 08:46 AM
EOSDNG
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


I am a wedding photographer and used till yesterday Lightroom. But I did switch to Aperture 3 back because of the new Adobe cloud stuff announcements. Lightroom will go to the cloud, that is for sure. Not with me. Aperture might not be perfect and in some ways has bugs, but it still does the job and my clients do not care, wether i do process the images in Lightroom or Aperture. I hope , i really do hope, that we will see Aperture 4.0. It is not sure, wether Apple will drop Aperture or develop it further. But they updated the X Pro 1 files very nicely. You would not do that, if you plan to stop Aperture support.
Yes I prefer Aperture over Lightoom. Is it a mistake? Time will tell.

Question: Why does have Aperture so huge libraries,even the master files are stored on e external drive



May 13, 2013 at 09:21 AM
Lovesong
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


EOSDNG wrote:
Question: Why does have Aperture so huge libraries,even the master files are stored on e external drive


Part of it may be that Aperture creates it's own full-size previews. You can adjust the size of these in the Preferences menu.

Personally, I've been using Aperture since v1.5. I've dealt with all the black out issues in v2, and have had issues with my system not detecting my library back in 2011.

About six months ago, I began thinking that getting into the Adobe LR environment, building my catalogues, and setting up preference files, might be a much safer bet longterm. Adobe, it seemed, was committed to professional photographers, with their perpetual updates of both LR and PS. Apple, on the other hand, has had a history of dropping professional software on a whim (I'm still a little burned about Shake). I bought, and spent a ton of time trying to work in the LR environment, but workflow just seemed nonsensical. LR was slower, rigid, and, worst of all, lacked the vault backup that I had grown reliant on. Shooting quite a bit of film, and scanning my files, also meant that I needed to do some scratch and dust removal... let's just say LR's spot removal tool is a joke at best. The thing that really sealed the deal for me was the way LR was rendering RAW files from my D700. The files, using the ACR conversion were washed out (some seemed blown out), lacked contrast and depth. Yes, I spent some time working out how to use the camera calibration options, and understand that RAWs aren't going to look great from the get go, and thus needed some work, but my RAWs in Aperture just didn't seem to need all those extra steps.During this time, I also gave CaptureOne, Phocus, and DxO a twirl. While these were all great RAW converters, they simply weren't good cataloguing pieces of software. I ended up buying DxO for their great lens correction modules, and the way some of their "light" adjustments rendered landscape pictures (beautiful use of microcontrast).

I went back to using Aperture, and can honestly say that I'm sticking with it. In light of the Adobe CC fiasco, I think I've made the right call.

In terms of organizing your files, here is a screen shot of what my personal library looks like. A folder for each year, nested folders for the months, each event is a new project. Hope this helps someone.









May 13, 2013 at 02:16 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


The more I consider the Aperture/LR conundrum the more befuddled I become. I bluntly don't believe that Adobe won't force LR into the cloud. Probably not immediately, but soon. I switched to LR about 4 months ago as noted above and am not that impressed. On most measures Aperture is the superior program. I get particularly galled when in LR I'm switching between modules (a totally unnecessary at in Aperture) and the SPOD pops up for a bit. This on a recent dual quad MacPro with 32 GB RAM. Aperture's brush are far superior to LR's implementation of a similar procedure.

I think if you have Aperture reference rather than manage files you'll get better performance. Also something I could do in Aperture than can't be done with LR, is that I have a twin drive that I periodically (say once a month) format and copy the current work files to it. Totally solves the file fragmentation problem, and yes it takes quite a while. I then just tell AP to reference another library. LR seems unable to do this. This is in addition to my regular back up of the image files. Maybe I'll have to switch back. What a pain.

On the printing, perhaps I didn't dig deep enough, but it seems that LR makes standard sizes easier to print. Have to take a look.

Robert



May 13, 2013 at 05:52 PM
Alan321
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


I'm sure that you can get used to Aperture given some time and effort - but keep Lr running until you do.

However, if you are considering Aperture because Apple is great and Adobe is bad then you're in for disappointment. Apple recently demonstrated how little they care about any advanced / pro users when they stuffed up Final Cut Pro. They don't just enable iCloud, they practically force it down our throats whether we want it or not. Their "office" suite is years old and was outdated when it was released in 2009. In short they can be impressive but they are not trustworthy. Sounds a bit like Adobe, doesn't it ?

At least with Lr you have the option of going back to Windows one day with a minimum of fuss.

- Alan




May 14, 2013 at 04:07 PM
Alan321
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Aperture vs Lightroom on OS X


OntheRez wrote:
I think if you have Aperture reference rather than manage files you'll get better performance. Also something I could do in Aperture than can't be done with LR, is that I have a twin drive that I periodically (say once a month) format and copy the current work files to it. Totally solves the file fragmentation problem, and yes it takes quite a while. I then just tell AP to reference another library. LR seems unable to do this. This is in addition to my regular back up of the image files. Maybe I'll have to switch back. What a
...Show more


You can point an Lr catalog at your newly created copy of the image library. It's far easier if there is a single parent folder below which all of your images are stored in whatever folder structure you like. When the files are flagged as missing in Lr just point to the parent folder on the new drive and it should find all of them. It will also be faster if you avoid using .xmp files and instead let the catalog store all of the details, and also keep the Lr and ACR previews and catalog on a different drive from the photos. Just be sure to back it up often - e.g. at the end of every Lr session, and also let time machine make backups of your backups.

If you keep the catalog with the photos then of course it will be copied to the new drive too. Just double click on it and Lr will open with that as the new default catalog. Then proceed as above to locate the missing photos. All of your edits and collections and so on will be intact.

File fragmentation should not be a problem on an HFS+ file system; certainly far less than it used to be on old FAT file systems. That's why you don't get much in the way of defrag tools in OS X. I think the monthly transfer to a different drive is largely a waste of time and even introduces a risk of copy errors that would not otherwise arise.

- Alan



May 14, 2013 at 04:22 PM
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