Over the past week I’ve received a few inquiries from readers wondering whether I use Apple’s Aperture or Adobe’s Lightroom. The answer… I use Lightroom. The decision is rooted back when Aperture was first released and Adobe put Lightroom out as a Beta. At the time I was about to purchase Aperture, but before I did I went to MacWorld to get a little more information on it. The 2006 MacWorld was one of the best ever because there was a huge push around photography so there were tons of organizations and software manufacturers that would have otherwise never been there. When I talked to an Apple rep about Aperture I asked questions around…
- How well does Aperture integrate with Photoshop?
- What color space does Aperture use?
- How flexible is the “vault” for image storage?
These three questions sunk my interest in Aperture.
How well does Aperture integrate with Photoshop?
Well it turns out at the time that it didn’t very well. I don’t recall the exact details but combined with the answer to the next question I felt the two didn’t play as nicely together as I would have hoped.
What color space does Aperture use?
This is what really turned me off. At the time Apple was using a custom color space that they created. When I talked to the Apple rep about this he was telling me how it supported more colors blah blah blah. When I asked him what hardware supported this color space he couldn’t answer. It all amounted to Apple creating a color space that went to 11 (a la Spinal Tap the movie). The only thing that he could say was that it must tie in to their on-demand print service. The discussion left me wary and unimpressed as most photographers at the time had begun to accept Adobe RGB and ProPhoto RGB as the standard color space to use.
How flexible is the “vault” for image storage?
At the time the “vault” storage model was very inflexible. The “vault” was tied to one drive. If that drive failed you were SOL and there wasn’t a meaningful system to back up the “vault” at the time. I believe Apple has since fixed this, but too little too late as far as I’m concerned.
So pretty straight forward about Apple’s Aperture… why Lightroom?
Lightroom was beta at the time and it too had its limitations, but…
1. Its ability to port files over to Photoshop with little hiccup was a big selling point to me. For the type of photography I focus on I still need to make localized edits in Photoshop.
2. The ability to start off with non-destructive edits and the space savings that afforded was huge.
3. Keywording and metadata… I really liked the system Adobe set up for this. Having a database to query and pulling images with certain keywords was huge. By the time the beta wrapped there was a backup mechanism in place as well.
4. Post-beta Adobe threw in mapping dust spot removal so you could carry over spot removal from one image to another, they expanded their web export features and they expanded the functionality of their RAW converter.
Additional feedback I heard from other pros was that Aperture had very unintuitive controls and this matched up pretty well to my initial demo experience at MacWorld.
Honestly I have no allegiance to one or the other. I’ll use the best tool available, but at the time Adobe had the edge even though it was beta and not all the features were baked in yet. As a result I’ve been on the Lightroom bandwagon ever since. Adobe did just release Lightroom 2 Beta and they’re expanding their feature set to include Smart Collections which is another huge feature I’ve been looking for & they’re expanding they types of non-destructive edits that you can make. Apple has never been open about their software so Adobe’s transparency and beta program makes it easier to stick with their software.
That’s the history behind my choice to use Lightroom.
What do you use and what factored into your decision?
[tags]Adobe, Lightroom, Apple, Aperture, software, photography, application, beta, post-processing, post, processing[/tags]