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Blog // Technology
September 28, 2009

Is It Worth Waiting For Aperture?

As I indicated recently, I’m deep into an evaluation of Adobe’s Lightroom programme. It’s pretty easy to see why this application is so popular with professional photographers. You don’t just get cataloging or image-processing tools, you get a complete workflow solution. You can work fast, like when you want to turn a full a full […]

As I indicated recently, I’m deep into an evaluation of Adobe’s Lightroom programme. It’s pretty easy to see why this application is so popular with professional photographers. You don’t just get cataloging or image-processing tools, you get a complete workflow solution. You can work fast, like when you want to turn a full a full shoot in a set of ready for delivery images quickly, or you can work deep, if you want to compare high ISO images on a range of cameras, for example.

That said, there are plenty of things that irk me about Lightroom. For starters, it just looks and feels like a Windows programme, which is not fun. In fact, there’s something aesthetically ugly about the whole programme, really. I don’t click with the idea of modules (and neither do a lot of others, judging by the reviews). The library system is, well, inelegant and frankly less robust than the one in iPhoto. Finally, there are some real bugs with the tool selections.

However, it is, in current state, a better programme than Aperture. The image processing and developing tools are stronger and Lightroom does exploit the information in RAW images more comprehensively (especially in terms of White Balance adjustments). Lightroom also handles things like backup on import and export with multiple protocols, better.

Which leaves me in rather a pickle – because I’ve paid for Aperture. Moreover, I like the integration with iPhoto and the way Aperture handles books and slideshows, which for me are some of main delivery formats for my photos. But, after using Aperture today for a small project, I was left reaching for some of the Lightroom tools.

So, I’m left wishing that Apple would seriously update Aperture sooner rather than later. I wonder if there will be a parallel here with Logic, where version 7 went for a long time with almost no update, then version 8 saw a massive change in the interface, followed by even more workflow improvements in version 9. I’d like to think we will see that with Aperture.

There’s a huge gap in the market now between Lightroom and Aperture, which could make it hard for Apple to win new customers, or could make it easier to grow market-share, depending on how you look at it.

One thing that does worry me is that, as things stand, Apple don’t have a lot of resources behind professional training for Aperture. Unlike the other pro apps (Final Cut and Logic) there is no level two certification for Aperture. There are not a lot of places around the world offering Aperture training. Moreover, the current Pro Application World Tour does not, this time round, include Aperture.

By comparison, there are a lot of books and training courses available for Lightroom.

Although there has been a lot speculation about possible upgrades, the only bright spark I’ve seen is a possible future book on Aperture 3 scheduled for release in German.

Responses
Toni 13 years ago

I have been considering your comments about lightroom working like a windows program in light of the fact I use Office on the Mac. If the porting of lightroom is anything like those then the real problem is that it’s a blend of both, and that’s where it falls over.

I like the flow and layout of Office (up to and including 2003, no experience with 2007). Generally the apps are intuitive within their kind (and lets face it, spreadsheet and database apps are NOT intuitive to untrained users) wth most of the tools in obvious places. In my brief interaction with iWork I found those apps also intuitive and with a clean and natural flow. Open Office could learn quite a bit from either. The issue with Mac:Office is that it attempts to use parts of both designs, and as a result is messy and clunky. So if Lightroom has suffered the same fate of design then I understand where you’re coming from.

As for me, I’m gradually edging toward installing windows on this Macbook, with Office and all the rest of the apps I know and love. I’d just like to see one running both systems so I know whether the screen fonts etc clean up like they would on a ‘native’ PC installation. I suspect that if you want the best possible use from Lightroom then you’ll need to do the same.

Fernando Gros 13 years ago

You can really tell the difference between apps that are just ported and apps that are built for the Mac. Part of why I love almost everything Omni Group put out is that it feels Mac-like all the way down. Microsoft have gotten in right in the past, but the last version of Office I played with didn’t have that.

I’m certainly not about to run Windows on my mac, not for ideological reasons but simply because it would complicate life. If I had to run a whole suite of apps, then maybe, but for Lightroom alone, no.

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