5 Reasons To Stay with Lightroom (and not switch to Aperture)

Obviously there’s been a lot of buzz around lately about Apple’s Aperture 3. I read an article yesterday titled “Five Reasons For Switching from Lightroom 2 to Aperture 3″ by a gentleman named Marco. So I figured I’d take a stab at my own rendition of the “5 things” article (no offense to Marco) and write about 5 reasons to stay with Lightroom.

Let me just get one thing out from the start though. Will this article seem Lightroom biased? You betcha! Because I am Lightroom biased (you’re at a blog called Lightroom Killer Tips if you haven’t noticed). I’ve been using it for over 4 years. I know it like the back of my hand. However, as an expert in the industry I can’t just go around saying “my program is better than yours” without testing the other one. I had a copy of Aperture 3 installed the day after it was announced and have been kicking the tires since then. Here’s what I’ve come up with.

Reason #1: Enjoying the Digital Darkroom (this was reason #1 from Marco’s article)
I’ll go head-to-head with this one because I think Lightroom is better here. One big reason is that in Lightroom (the LR3 beta) we have Collections in the Develop module which keeps me from bouncing back and forth (something I found myself doing a lot in Aperture). And when it comes down to it, the only difference is tabs in Aperture compared to modules in LR. Aside from wishing the Develop module had Folders and Collections in it (like I said, LR3 beta has Collections now), I don’t find myself cursing the modules in Lightroom. If its not a module I need to use then I simply just don’t click on it. And the reason why LR has more modules than A3 has tabs, is because Adobe has located two key areas (slideshow and web) there instead of a menu up at the top.

Reason #2: Camera Calibration, Effects, Collections, History panel, tighter Photoshop Integration, Vignettes and other stuff
Remember when Camera Calibration profiles came out for Lightroom? You should because everyone absolutely loved them. It’s one of my favorite panels in Lightroom. But it’s not in Aperture. Lightroom has tighter integration with Photsoshop and the Graduated filter. Lightroom 2/3 beta has better effects when it comes to adding grain and vignetting. The History aspect of Lightroom is way better. And in the article referenced above, he dings Lightroom for not having “Books, Loupe, Light Table and Full Screen Mode”. Books definitely go into the win column for Aperture (see #3 below). But Lightroom does have a Loupe view. Even though its different, it still does the same job. Light Table?. eh, its cool but is it worth switching for? And of course we do have Full Screen mode in Lightroom. Just press the F key.

Reason #3: Printing
This is one of those areas where you can argue either way but I think Lightroom makes a stronger case. Lightroom has custom print templates (in LR 3 beta) and an entire Print module, that you have to admit, is one of the most robust in the industry. Aperture has books but that’s about it. They’re both important. Some portrait and wedding pros swear by Lightroom’s Print module and some folks swear by the great looking books in Aperture. Which is more important? That’s up to you. Personally, I’ll take the Print module in Lightroom. I can still print books elsewhere, but I can’t get Lightroom’s Print module anywhere else. Do I wish Lightroom had both? Yep. But it doesn’t so I have to make a choice.

Reason #4: Noise Reduction
This one definitely goes in the win column for Lightroom. If you look at Aperture 3’s feature list, it doesn’t even mention the word noise and as you know, noise removal is BIG. I ran quite a few images through the noise removal settings in both programs. Aperture doesn’t even come close in my opinion. Two things I noticed when comparing them: 1) The noise removal (luminance and color) is noticeably better and the edges seem more crisp as opposed to blurred in Aperture and, 2) Lightroom photos retained more of their color even after cranking up the Color Noise removal setting pretty high.

Basically, when it comes down to reading the raw data and doing something useful with it (demosaicing, sharpening, and noise removal), my money goes to Adobe. You’ve gotta realize that being the best at raw processing has to rank up pretty high in Adobe’s priority list. I’m not so sure where it would rank with Apple.

Reason #5: This isn’t an “I’m in the mood for?” game
I’m going to directly disagree with #5 from his list (supporting competition) and say ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, NO WAY! As a consumer, your (and my) job is not to support competition. It’s to support the best product out there and to reward that product by opening your wallet. Your job is to pick the best tool for your job regardless of whether there’s 10 companies that do the same thing or none. Here’s something to chew on. This isn’t a game. Your photography workflow shouldn’t be “sure, I’ll use Lightroom today but maybe Aperture tomorrow”. There’s always going to be features in one program that you like better than another. It happens in every aspect of our lives. Ever buy a car one year only to find out the next year’s model (or a competing model you looked at previously) has something really cool you wish you had? Do you go out and trade your car in for a huge loss and get the new model? Some of you do I’m sure. But it’s surely not economical to do so, and it takes a lot of your time, energy, and money to play that game. The rest of us, are happy enough with our existing car and we work with it. Your goal is to pick the program that works best for you at the time you’re looking for one, and then stick with it. Whether you’re a working pro or an avid hobbyist, nobody has the time to play the “switcharoo” every 18 months.

Reason #5.5 (this is just a joke): Did Aperture Really have to copy the Cyanotype preset from Lightroom?
I mean, of all the presets to copy from Lightroom, they picked Cyanotype? Does anyone even use that preset? I can think of no better reason to just stick with Lightroom, because at least they were the first to use that horrible effect as a preset :-)

Final Thoughts
If you’re a current Lightroom user, you’re among the group of the most used photo management/processing software in the world. There’s a reason why when you do a search for buzz, news, tutorials, presets, etc? on Lightroom vs. the same for Aperture, you find much more about Lightroom. It’s an awesome program and like anything out there, will just get better with time. Be happy with it. If your curiosity just has to get the best of you then by all means, download the free trial of Aperture and give it a try yourself. Maybe you’ll switch. If that’s the right thing for you then go for it. Just don’t do it because it’s new and different. As always, leave a comment. I welcome your thoughts on the topic (just be nice) :-)

Author: Matt Kloskowski

Matt is the full-time Director of Education for Kelby Media Group and a Tampa-based photographer. He's the Editor-in-Chief of Lightroom Magazine, the lead instructor on the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom LIVE Seminar Tour and author of several best-selling Photoshop books. Matt also hosts the world's top Lightroom blog, LightroomKillerTips.com, where he's built up a massive library of Lightroom videos, presets and tips. In addition to teaching Photoshop, Lightroom and photography seminars around the world, he's an instructor at Photoshop World and one of the full-time staff writers for Photoshop User Magazine.

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151 Comments

  1. Very well said Matt. And Yes, we have better things to do than play “switcharoo” every 18 months.

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  2. Dear Matt,
    I agree. I used to use Aperture and switched to Lightroom.
    But one thing I like about Aperture:
    It’s a bit more fun browsing you pictures. The Interface is really nice.
    It’s (of course ;-) very Apple-like…
    Uwe

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  3. Printing in lightroom is very strong. I printed side by side with the new AP3 LR much sharper color truer.

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  4. They both have benefits… I think the integration with iLife and iWork is one of the biggest benefits of Aperture, but yet it was left off the list.

    Honestly, LR2 is just amazing software. LR was the first app to really get the experience right, everybody else is just playing catch-up. I even attended the Hasselblad H4D event last week in Palo Alto and even their Phocus software was ripping off the UI goodies from LR.

    Adobe has proven that they know how to stay on top of the game, especially with LR1 to LR2. That history instills faith that whatever features tempt us to switch to other apps, LR will probably respond in turn with something equally compelling.

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  5. I’m contemplating switching for one major reason, I use 5d2 and Aperture will catalog video file for me, and its slideshow can incorporate the video file. Lightroom 3 should really have this feature, but it doesn’t, a complete and utter failure from my perspective. Adobe really misses it.

    I am a photographer first, but I do use video ocasionally, and having to juggle video file completely separately gets very annoying, Aperture 3 support only cataloging and not editing, but that’s good enough at least for now.

    Other than this reason, I prefer LR for everything else. With Aperture, I have to fire up Photoshop more often for NR and other fixes, so unfortunate.

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  6. I’ll get back to you on this debate when Apple makes a PC version of Aperture. ;)

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  7. I started my photo management with Aperture 2. Loved it at first, like all things Mac it’s very intuitive. But then got this weird bug that made the photos all black after one minor (or major) edit and I would have to quit the program and reopen Aperture to do anything again, clearly not an efficient way to work on your photos. After searching online I discovered that this is a bug Apple hadn’t figured out how to fix and once it started affecting your system, you’re done folks, nothing you can do. In the end, Aperture was a waste of money and I moved to Lightroom and never looked back. Aperture…all hype. Lightroom…all that. Stick with LR folks.

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  8. Very true.

    I usually import my SD cards to Lightroom before formating them on my D90.
    Well, too bad for my videos if I forgot to manually copy them somewhere.

    Instead of telling you that some video files hasn’t been copied, LR should just copy those damn .avi or .mpg somewhere along the pictures.

    It shouldn’t be too hard to just extract a thumbnail & add it to the catalog.

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  9. I’m someone who actually wants to switch to Aperture. I’m not a pro, I like the OS integration and I love the output offerings like slideshows, books, mixed media etc.

    But the thing that is really keeping me from Aperture is Apple’s “trust me” attitude with apps like iPhoto, iTunes and Aperture. You get the option to “control” where your files are but they really try to simplify too much and almost hide the true file locations from you.So if you’re one who tends to rename or move files you end up breaking links and losing things.

    Personally, I want a plain old directory tree where I can rename or move folders freely. Lightroom gives me that. Aperture does not.

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  10. Mr Matt K, close connected to Adobe. He knows when to make a statement. This really indicates that Lightroom 3 is near. Great news.

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  11. The biggest reason for me not to switch to Aperture is the switcheroo factor. I’ve invest months and months (not to mention thousands of photos) into my Lightroom catalog, I’d really prefer not to have to go back and reorganize all that.

    Also, having played with Lightroom 3 Beta, I feel that some key areas that I personally use a lot set it apart from Aperture 3 are; the watermark tools, I find them to be much more intuitive and flexible in LR3, as well as the printing module is more flexible, and the web module is phenomenal.

    No question, if I were starting out, I would take a serious look at both, but this late in the game, I’m a Lightroom man.

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  12. I started in Aperture and the Lightroom 3 demo had me convinced I would switch as soon as LR3 comes out of Beta. but then aperture 3 came out and I got all excited. I played with it for a while and I am impressed, but I still going to switch to LR and here are 5 reasons why.

    1. Aperture 3 Crashed in the first 10 mins. I am now running in 32bit mode and things seem fine, but it was not a good way to start.

    2. Photoshop Integration. I can’t open files as smart objects, or multiple files as layers or create panos directly out of aperture.

    3. The new adjustment brush in Aperture is cool but I poured through the documentation and I can’t figure out a keyboard shortcut to change the brush size. I am so used to changing the brush size with the bracket keys – the slider makes me crazy.

    4. The fill light slider. I just love that little guy.

    5. the Gradient tool. ’nuff said.

    OK so to be fair there are a few things I hope The Lightroom steals from Aperture 3 and slides into the LR3 release.

    1. Real curves. I’d like to be able to to have access to the individual R G and B channels in the curves like in A3 thats cool.

    2. Slide shows in LR suck. the new stuff in A3 is slick

    3. Video. Apple got this right in A3

    4. I don’t expect LR to add faces and places but they are in the win column for Aperture for sure.

    5. The ability to assign names to the colored flags is pretty useful.

    6. You can do more with the brushes in Apeture3 than LR. Why is there no vibrance brush in LR. and the polarize brush is kinda cool.

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  13. Hi Matt!
    Unfortunately I still have to buy both applications…. Aperture for making books and Lightroom for everything else.

    Fabio

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  14. I’ve been a Aperture 2 user for about a year before I switched to LR2. I was also very excited when Aperture 3 came out but I will stay with LR for following reasons:

    1. History and Snapshots of adjustments -> for me the main reason to stay with LR
    2. DNG saves me around 20% of storage space (5DMKII RAW files are 25MB)
    3. Gradient tool

    I actually would prefer to switch back to Aperture mainly for its Mac OS integration (Media browser) and video support but they first have to give me at least 2 of the 3 mentioned points above.

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  15. What will be LR3’s answer to face detection?

    I have about 20k photos in iPhoto and am about to switch to LR. I like the face detection part of iPhoto and hope something similar will be part of LR3.

    What’s the likelihood this will happen now that A3 got it?

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  16. LR supports Slide Show Pro and I can upload them directly to my website unless A3 does the same I’m going to stick with LR. Also, in old version of A it had a odd way of handling files that was a tad annoying

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  17. Agree whole-heartedlly. That’s my experience exactly – I was an Aperture devotee until I tried the local adjustment tools in LR. I particularly use the local adjustment of exposure with the gradient tool – great for rescuing landscape shots where I should have used an ND grad (or I overused one!). Despite all the new tools in A3 there is still no real local adjustment of exposure – very strange.

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  18. i always found the vignette gamma feature of aperture nicer

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  19. I was a long time user of Aperture and I can tell you even in it’s previous version it was a most capable and user-friendly tool. I switched to Lightroom about a year ago now primarily because I got fed up with Aperture’s digital asset management and the lack of non-destructive localised adjustments. However it does do some things better for sure. I do prefer Aperture’s workflow interface as having to be in the ‘right’ modules at times is frustrating (i.e. when it causes you to flip from one to another and then back again). Also let’s not forget about Aperture’s in-built tethered support!

    On balance though Lightroom is the better tool for me. I can however see why some would disagree.

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  20. I’ve used LR 1 and 2 and really loved it most of the time.
    Right now I’m trying out A3 in trial mode.
    If Adobe could just come clean with all features LR3 will have, the switch decision might be easier.
    But the Beta 3 is totally bugged for me. I can’t import pictures sometimes. Import from iPhone totally hangs the LR3 if it encounters a video file, which is so annoying.

    What I digg about LR:
    – easy to use
    – presets
    – development technology

    What I digg about A3:
    – faces
    – places
    – projcets / folders

    If LR3 just had Google Maps integeration I might consider staying with LR3.

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  21. I’m using A3 at the moment due to 5D MK ii video. However, I am a little worried. One definite win for LR and Adobe in general is the amount of development, updates and attention they give all their products. I have to question Apple’s commitment to the Pro photographer.

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  22. Reason 6: DNG and the fact that all my little non-destructive edits are stored nicely with it. Not in some sidecar alongside the file that I need to worry about.

    Yes, there’s some flaws – the Beta 3 hasn’t really light a fire under my backside, but I’ve got a workflow that works for me, and has been trimmed down over the years to allow for a lean & mean edit.

    LR for me please.

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  23. I’ve been going through the whole switch to AP3 vs wait for LR3 too… along with some mates – one mentioned another good reason

    the Chromatic Aberration in LR3 is MUCH better than anything in AP3

    Although I love places, faces in AP3

    Faces – I had 30% hit rate and this was on a ton of photos of my kids – so not really effective

    but the Places is MAJORLY better than anything in LR – hope LR3 final version does something to improve geocoding of photos including integrating a visual map/finder

    I think i’ll still stick with LR…

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  24. Damn right – all your points.

    I can’t wait for the LR 3 final version…the beta is little bit slow. Hope it’s coming soon.

    regards,
    Gregor

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  25. Reading through these comments you’d think that Lightroom and Aperture were the only choices available. You want killer raw conversion? Go to DxO Optics Pro. Now you want super-slick DAM with a great “final tweaks” facility that stays out of the way until you need it? Aperture.

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  26. I am not a professional and I’ve been using LR since Beta 3 (first beta that was available for PC in 2006 or 2007) and did like it from the beginning, because it did that for what I was looking.
    2008 I did switch to MAC and because my license also was valid for MAC I did go one using LR.
    I did have a look at AP and the book function is something that I am missing at LR, because I did not find any other program with that I could make books in that quality (in Germany).
    But that is no reason for me to switch to AP.

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  27. I echo Mike Kang’s response. Aperture means nothing to me since I don’t (yet) own a MAC. Even if I did I’d stick with LightRoom because I know it.

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  28. Better GPS support for LR 3 will be really good thing.

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  29. Once LR gets a better tethered shooting solution there will be no reason for that other program to exist. Currently you still have to use a third party to shoot tethered in LR and it’ like watching molasses roll up a hill.

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  30. I use Lightroom now, and haven’t really messed with the beta. I downloaded Aperture and liked some of it, but not the overall feel of it. The kin smoothing and spot removal on Aperture were way better. I am hoping the final release of LR3 has that in it. I’m betting it will.

    I’m also hoping it has some video editing like Aperture. If not, I may use both and just use Aperture for the video. It seems simple and better than iMovie.

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  31. Fair points Mattk !
    I’m a loyal LR user.. however I have to say that I miss some features in LR and A3 has them…. it’s really cool looking and has very fancy brushing correction feature, but it seems to take ages to process them… I’m on the latest iMac and it should really be faster…

    I don’t think I’ll be switching to A3 any time soon… anyhow I’d love to see LR improving a bit more and implement the brushing in for all corrections !!

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  32. Love Lightroom. Never used anything else except Picase before I knew about Lightroom. Should say one of the best tools from Adobe.

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  33. For me I find Lightroom much easier to use and understand.

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  34. I have been a Lightroom fanatic since day 1 and loved it and use it hard everyday. When Aperture 3.0 came out, I didn’t really pay much attention until I saw Chase Jarvis and Joe McNally really liking it. Now I respect those two photographers a lot, so I downloaded it, ran about 500 photo’s through it, and really liked its speed, importing was shockingly fast, the brushes work fine, and its does have a nice speedy feel to it. I really like having the video along side the photos, this makes sense, and hopefully LR 3 will have this but I doubt it. I am on a mac so the integration with the OS is great and really makes sense. I will continue with the trial until it expires and decide, right now I love it, but I know this will be a difficult decision when the time comes. They have done a really great job with it and competition is great for all us consumers

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  35. Oh for gosh sakes.
    Why do we have to have another article pitting one thing against another. Don’t we have enough of that with the OS wars?

    LR2/3 has it’s good points and Ap3 has it’s own. Do we need an article trying to convince us to stay/move based on one persons “feelings”? “OOOO, Lightroom makes me all warm and squishy inside, I am sticking with Lightroom”.

    As an instructor and a photographer I have to stay current with both apps so I have my catalog replicated across both. Do you know which one i like better? IT DOESN”T MATTER! It is my preference and to get online and crow about it changes things not one whit for anyone else. IF it does you need to grow a pair and form your own opinions.

    BTW, Capture One is the best.
    See how I slipped that little joke in there? Bazinga!

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  36. The metaphor about sticking with the car your bought, even after newer shiny models come out, doesn’t really apply here. It’s a decent metaphor if we’re only comparing cars, but I also need a lawn mower and a trailer. Sometimes, you need to buy more than one tool to get all your work done.

    With version 3 of both apps, it’s no longer a choice of one app versus the other after a quick review of important features. These apps are really starting to diverge in a number of key areas, and I believe I’ll buy both of them.

    IMAGE QUALITY – I don’t believe its a fair statement to assert that Adobe has the best RAW processing engine anymore. Both apps are pro level image editors. Creating giant prints (30 x 40 and larger) from both tells me that you can create stunning printed output from either. Apple’s new RAW processing gets the edge with my Canon 7D files. The A3 files show finer grain (less noise) than the LR3 files. There is also more detail in the shadows in the A3 files. These results might be different for Nikon users. One app is not clearly superior over the other in this regard.

    SOFT PROOFING – We’ve been asking Adobe for this for years. If you only print to one type of media you might not need this feature, but if your work depends on calibrated color, printed to diverse media like canvas, RC luster, backlit film, & watercolor paper, this is a HUGE time and money saver. Aperture printing functionality is at least the equal to LR. Soft proofing pushes it over the top for me.

    VIDEO / AUDIO – I shot several Mardi Gras parades over the last week and came back with as many video clips as stills. A3 imports them without question. Bravo. LR treats them as an annoyance. Once you’ve got the video files in your library, it’s very cool that you can mix them into a slideshow. Definitely a pro-level feature.
    The integration of the audio comment files is just as useful, maybe more so. Shooting with a Canon 1D, the shooter often tags shots with captions, or notes to self. A3 keeps those .wav files with the image — where they belong. LR doesn’t.

    BRUSHES – I prefer LR’s visual tags that let me know at a glance if there are brushes applied to a file. A3’s brushes are very powerful, though. You can invert a brush and brush away an effect on an image — both of those are features I been wishing I had in LR2.6.

    BOOKS – Many LR users buy Aperture just for this feature. The third party book plug ins raise the bar for this feature. It baffles me why Adobe is asleep on this. How about a new Books module (hmmm, running out of space in that module bar?)

    Here are areas where I call it a draw between LR3 beta and A3:
    – SPEED – Both apps delight and frustrate. I cannot find any rhyme or reason why sometimes Aperture flies and sometimes LR does. Both apps can be painfully slow when I’m trying to get real work done. A quick trip to the Activity Monitor shows that both apps are grabbing virtually all the processing power of the computer, leaving very little available CPU or memory for other running apps.
    – LIBRARY organization for images
    – KEYWORDS and metadata
    – PRINTING (LR3 beta’s “Custom Packages” are similar to printing an A3 Light Table)
    – RAW PROCESSING (both are excellent)
    – UPLOAD to Flickr (yawn)

    LR is superior in:
    – B&W adjustment controls (very nice)
    – BRUSHES are more responsive
    – CAMERA CALIBRATION (to be fair, Aperture appears to have custom support for different cameras built in, but not tweakable)
    – LENS correction
    – HISTORY / Snapshots

    LR lacks in:
    – SLIDESHOW and web modules are weak. Weak is too kind a word. Not sure why we need a full “module” for such a bad feature. Both of these features are better implemented as items in Aperture’s Library structure.
    – QUICKDEVELOP mode is weird. Not sure who uses that feature. If I want to twiddle with adjustments, I don’t save any time using this dumbed down feature.

    Aperture has the following exclusive convenience features built in:
    – OS INTEGRATION with iPhone, iPod, AppleTV, iPad (very cool for the 250 million folks who have one of those devices) plus Integration with Pages, Number, Keynote
    – FACES (this is going to be very useful after I get the time to tag 20,000 images)
    – PLACES (you don’t need GPS in your camera)
    – Facebook upload, MobileMe upload (I’m not interested in either, but lots of consumers are. You need a third party plugin for LR to do this)

    Let’s not forget the pro level features that Aperture has onboard that Adobe has not matched:
    – GEOTAGGING (OK, I already said places, but calling it Geotagging makes it a pro feature)
    – SOFT PROOFING
    – LIGHT TABLES (you can export them as PDFs)
    – TETHERED Shooting
    – BOOKMAKING and Online print ordering via your iTunes account
    – WEB JOURNAL – You have got to try this. It’s awesome.
    – VIDEO/AUDIO support – can handle all files from modern SLR

    I can’t see how I can do without both applications until the version 4 wars begin.

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  37. What about Capture One? Nobody has mentioned it and yet a lot of commercial studios use Capture One as an industry standard, and claim their software produces cleaner files.

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  38. Wow, that could not have been more well said, thank you so much for really nailing it and then some!

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  39. Just a quick thanks to the “Rock”, man you nailed it perfectly, well said and outlined!

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  40. Matt,
    You are spot on with supporting the better software! In this case, I agree that Lightroom works best for me. There is also a point I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere in all this discussion. That is, how proficient can one become if you keep changing the software you are using all the time? There is definitely a learning curve to all the software. I want to be as proficient as I can be. I have other things to be doing besides sitting in front of my computer all the time. My wife loves it when I spend more time with her too!
    Larry

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  41. I like cyanotype

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  42. The reason why I kept Aperture 2 around after moving to LR2 was for the books. Though I was never very impressed with the print quality of the books, it seems that Apple has addressed that by allowing you to order from higher quality vendors.

    Matt: Since a “books” feature seems to be something many LR users admire in Aperture, how about a post on some of the best methods to create books with/without LR? How do you create books?

    Oh and Rock rocks, thanks for breaking it down like that.

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  43. Hi Matt,

    I have watched all your LR Videos and made the move over to LR2 from Aperture 2. I signed up for RSS Feeds. Just a suggestion, it would be easier for me to follow by email and I did not see an email RSS button.

    Thanks for helping all of us.

    Tom

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  44. I have used LR from the very first LR1 Beta days. Understand it, and plan on continuing to use it. I must say, however, that the LR3 Beta is a bust for me. Having a Beta that is essentially a dead end in one’s current workflow, just doesn’t make sense to the active user. So until the LR3 Beta is made truly functional, I don’t think its features should be mentioned when comparing LR to any other program. At this point I have no idea when to expect to see it.

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  45. Training, Training….There is so much training out there for Lightroom & Aperture has never even come close to it. For any program that should almost be a beal breaker. I always love trying free trials & AP 3 is nice but it just makes me love my LR even more.

    Video….Why did that guy not talk about that.

    With DSLR shooting HD now I really hope LR adds that to the final LR3,,,but even if they don’t I still won’t switch

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  46. Just another shout out for Video in LR3

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  47. The one thing so much better in Lightroom, PhotoShop, Bridge, ARC is that there are MORE RAW formats covered and the process for adding new ones is way ahead of Aperture. Not to mention dng.

    All that said I love working in Aperture, the “feel”, flow and integration with the MAC platform.

    In the end it is Lightroom that wins. Why, NAPP, Adobe, Lynda Training, and all the rest of the installed community support. I wish the opening interface in LR was simpler. But you can not argue with end results, compatibility and support (not the current Adobe help lines)in a product that assists in earning a living, earning praise for great images and just accomplishing the job. Yes, lots of folks do it with Aperture, even me when both programs were infants but today they and digital imaging are adults and need to assume grown-up responsibilities.

    Oh yeah, I bought a copy of A3 and will buy LR3 too.

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  48. Reason #7 – Not available on the Windows platform…

    At the risk of looking foolish to my Mac using friends; I prefer the Windows platform even though I have two Mac’s at home, and, as has been pointed out it’s not efficient to continually change from one bit of software to another (or OS for that matter) – you stand to invest a lot of energy and time to migrate and will likely still lose something in the translation.

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  49. According to an article in Computerworld, Apple’s Aperture 3 causing significant memory leak for many users.
    The article also says, “Apple’s support forums are filling up with users with similar problems: When they leave Aperture 3 to import their photo libraries, their page file balloons until they run out of disk space. The system then becomes unstable. Some users start seeing their swap disk file size balloon almost immediately after launching the app.”

    Lightroom never froze on me.

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  50. Great points Matt! However, for me, and I’m sure many others who are PC users, to switch would require more than just purchasing A3. I’m not interested in buying a Mac (sorry Mac folks, no offence meant). Adobe has a one up advantage in that they support both Mac and PC platforms.

    Cheers!

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  51. I disagree with your comments on Aperture’s tabs being like Lightroom’s modules.

    The key problem I have with the modules is that the shortcuts are not consistent. I repeatedly try and do something like crop or straighten when I’m in the Library module, and Lightroom does nothing. I get frustrated constantly by this. It’s the reason many people want the Library and Develop modules merged — it’s a drastic disruption to workflow to have your keyboard shortcuts never work properly, and I frankly hate it.

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  52. You can do all of those things in aperture 3. You can either load the original files into the Aperture library or link to them in the file/tree structure you mentioned. It’s video capabilities are a huge plus over LR along with slideshows. I tried LR just after buying my 7d because no one else was providing a raw processor for it. I wasn’t impressed at all with it’s noise reduction processes. I usually trust those to plug-ins anyway. It was also slower than molasses in January when it came to processing images. I have since re-processes my LR images in Aperture and am much happier with the results.

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  53. One of the main reasons why I work with LR2 is the whole metadata-management. In LR it is so easy to manage keywords. It is so great to assign nested keywords to my images. In Aperture it is simply impossible to manage nested keywords unless you select the proper ones. But I have thousands of keywords which are nested in a pretty sophisticated way.

    I also like private metadata. This way I can protect the identity of other people or companies.

    Also the synonyms are great. Im my library every keyword exists in two languages: German and English. I just cannot imagine what a hassle it would be to manage these words in Aperture.

    There are other reasons for me to stay with Lightroom:
    – different sets of colorlabels
    – the fact that you can manage the folder structure within Lightroom
    – the overall speed of Lightroom is better than it is in Aperture
    – DNG Profiles
    – the great and fast search engine
    – metadata browser

    Of course Aperture 3 is a nice product. But Adobe really reinforces the features a professional needs: speed, metadata management, RAW processing and a great print module.

    And yes, as an Adobe freelancer and beta-tester for Lightroom and Photoshop I am also biased. :-)

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  54. I’m a Lightroom junkie, been one since I first compared the Aperture1/LR1 packages. I wrote a book which had a lot of text with many supporting photos, which I were stored in LR, for a publisher who kept switching stuff around on me, and asked for the photos, and information about the photos in a number of different successive formats. Lightroom saved my butt. It was a snap to give the publisher what he was asking for, and with minimal effort, because of the structured approach LR has to organizing work. Aperture didn’t have that in it’s beginning. LR had it for a top notch reason. The folks at Adobe actually worked with pro photographers to find out what they needed and how they worked so that the product could be molded to their needs. I didn’t see that in the Apple product.

    Apple is a computer software/hardware organizations that produces many types of products. Adobe produces products directly aimed at visual artists. I guess it comes down to vertical vs horizontal organizational structure. I love Apple products, but they missed the boat right from the beginning with Aperture, and I bet once the new Lightroom comes out, it will be a killer.

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  55. I am a big fan of LR and cannot really speak for A3. Now, if Apple were a bit more open minded in terms of supporting Windows, I would certainly have given A3 a go. But as it stands, A3 is not even a consideration for me.

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  56. As others have stated, the #1 reason for a ton of people not to switch to Aperture is because we can’t! Without support for Windows it’s a non issue.

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  57. I’m not switching because LR (and Aperture) are much more than just photo processing applications. For me they’re photo and archive management. I don’t have the time or inclination to convert all of my libraries over to Aperture. Especially since aside from books it doesn’t offer any big advantages over LR. Sure it’s faster (than Aperture 2) on my 3 year old RAM impaired iMac, but it’s still slower than LR, which still runs better on older machines. And I think the Develop module is way better than Aperture’s develop tools.

    I never understood why Aperture fans knock LR’s modular approach. I can switch between them with one keystroke. Not a problem and once you’re used to it it’s easy peasy.

    The real question on everyone’s mind is when will LR3 ship?

    jack

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  58. Nothing would make me happier than to hear that LR3 will be out in the next couple of weeks… Fingers crossed…

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  59. Switched from Aperture 2 to LR 9 months ago. If you shoot RAW, Aperture failed me with its Raw conversion. Colors where always washed out no matter what adjustments I used to attempt to correct this issue. Went to the Apple website to view new features for Aperture3, no mention on “improvement for Raw conversion”, although new localized adjustments should be welcome. LR does an excellent job for me where Aperture fails. Colors in LR are right!
    As a Nikon shooter, I’ll stay with LR as Adobe does a better job with the RAW(NEF) photographer.

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  60. Clearly Matt has not used AP3 in any meaningful way. Obviously this article has no other point than to make Lightroom users feel good about Lightroom.

    Nothing wrong with that. But let’s call a spade a spade. The author is obviously an Adobe shill so important workflow benefits of Aperture should be ignored, and things like ‘grain’ should be considered Adobe killer features.

    Anyone else here sprained their wrist trying desperately to get a full screen image out of LR? And that interface – holy modular chunky mess! Anyone that says they love that interface…well….

    But you gotta love clicking back and forth between Library and Develop. Oh gee, I better create another collection to include those 2 photos I forgot I wanted to work on.

    No doubt Adobe will enhance LR3 to match some of AP3’s functionality. They have to now. And good for them.

    You may think I’m being spiteful and not wishing LR users well. Not at all true – but these articles should be called what they are, a blind love fest that puts Jobs’ reality distortion field into the minor leagues.

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  61. Frankly, I was hoping that Apple will fix Aperture in version 3 because I simply like the professionally looking interface better than lightroom’s and because of the integration with iPhoto. I think Apple have moved the game forward quite a bit and I just love the fact they have soft proofing build in. This is absolutely crucial if you are serious about printing your images. As long as LR doesn’t have it I am forced to take every single image to PS which is a big let down. The fact that soft proofing is still missing from LR3 beta is disappointing. However, as much as I really wanted to like A3 in the end the performance is so slow on both my macs that it is simple not usable (MacPro 14GB RAM, Intel SSD in RAID, 2 x 3Ghz Quad, MB Pro 2.4 with 6GB RAM). Local adjustments stutter or are not applied, sharpening takes 30sec to more than a minute to refresh the screen, loupe doesn’t show 100% detail for around 30 sec etc…. Wanting or not I will stick with LR. When is the LR3 coming out?? Adobe please add soft proofing.

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  62. Ariadne – Clearly someone didn’t read my “be nice” note at the bottom of my post. I’m cool with you disagreeing. It’s the “shill” comment as well as the “blind love fest” stuff that’s not cool. However, some people just have to be goobers in comments, so I’ll let it go. But I’m glad you have me figured out. I mean, it’s a smart career move for anyone to just blindly recommend a product because they’re a “shill” for a certain company. Recommending the wrong products or bad software is a really great way for me to build trust and a loyal audience that will hopefully buy my training one day. Just because I’m biased toward Lightroom, doesn’t mean I’m wrong. Glad you have me figured out :-)

    – Matt “the shill” Kloskowski

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  63. I totally agree with the supporting competition remark. Why should I pay for an inferior product? With AP3’s release, I can’t wait to see what new features Aperture 4 will be copying from Lightroom 3!

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  64. It’s always fun to try something new and the catalog issue had me hoping I’d love Aperture 3 but I must say I’ve decided I still prefer LR. I’m comfortable with the interface and the adjustment tools just can’t be beaten. I would like to see more video support in LR.
    I have been using the LR3 beta and it rocks. So, I’m here to stay with LR.
    PS
    Check out Zack Arias’ workflow post from his blog. Very insightful.
    As for being a shill, I suspect Matt got as much money from Adobe for posting his thoughts as I did.

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  65. Matt

    Being biased towards Lightroom as a position says everything one needs to know when reading your views on why someone should stick with it.

    I’m sorry if you think being called a shill isn’t being nice, but when someone puts their thoughts on a blog and invites reply they should be called to account for the manner and circumstances under which they present their views. You’d have had more credibility if you actually went out of your way to suggest that people try AP3 for themselves and give it an honest run before making up their minds. Your article seems positioned in such a way to prevent just that. Worried that you’ll have fewer takers for your training if they leave the camp, are we?

    Your dissertation on the logic of blindly recommending product and it’s affect on your training business is a bit of a smoke screen. Clearly Adobe has a large market segment of the DAM space and you’re catering to that group. To suggest that your further support/recommendation of a product that has a large audience but is inferior to it’s competition in serious ways is a little naive.

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  66. Well, having used Aperture and Lightroom, I can agree with just about everything Matt says. One thing he left out, and somebody please correct me if I’m wrong about the newest version of Aperture. Lightroom works cross-platform. I can store catalogs on an external hard drive and use them on a MAC or PC. Does Aperture do that?

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  67. Ariadne – Two things:

    1) Define: Shill – “an accomplice of a hawker, gambler, or swindler who acts as an enthusiastic customer to entice or encourage others”.
    Sounds like a very complimentary term doesn’t it? So, you’re saying I shouldn’t take offense to being called this?

    2) Perhaps you didn’t see this:

    “If your curiosity just has to get the best of you then by all means, download the free trial of Aperture and give it a try yourself. Maybe you’ll switch. If that’s the right thing for you then go for it.”

    You’d have more credibility if you actually read the blog post that you’re commenting on.

    – Matt Kloskowski

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  68. I tested out A3 wanting to like it because I agree with Marco that competition is much needed in digital editing software with how poorly I think Adobe treats its customers. Perhaps I’m too institutionalized with LR, but on an initial first look I found A3 wanting.

    For one, I’ve never liked how LR renders my NEFs, however the rendering from A3 appears identical. Since I can add manufacture profiles with LR it has a slight edge.

    Secondly, it’s never a good sign when a software program crashes the first time you use it. On my very first image with A3, it crashed during processing. In a similar vein, the time for adjustments to show up while using a slider control appears sluggish in A3 compared to LR.

    Finally, I wanted to quickly see the changes I made in relation to the original image and other similar images. I couldn’t find a way to do a compare or quickly go back in history.

    I’ll keep monitoring A3, but for now it’s customer unfriendly Adobe for me.

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  69. Matt –

    Is there a way to convert a current LR2 catalog into LR3?

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  70. Matt –

    Is there a process to import a LR2 catalog into LR3?

    Thanks!

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  71. I’ve been waiting for you to offer your view of Aperture 3. Why? Because I’ve learned more about LR from you than anyone else, anywhere, since version 1. (Thanks by the way). When I saw Joe McNally’s Blog the other day mentioning his involvement in AP3, I got the 30?day trial to give it a go. I like AP3 overall. And, I was at a tipping point on switching to it until yesterday when I saw how better LR was at: noise, vignettes, history (until I started using AP3, I never knew how valuable LR history was) and printing (especially the ease of putting a title on gallery prints).

    AP3 has it’s merits, I really am impressed by how much it’s been improved…but I’ve spent a good long time learning LR, and making it “hum and blink” as I want. After I got past the nicely done UI of AP3, I figure I’m sticking with LR.

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  72. Yeah i can see my self buying Aperture 3 because for the differences it has from LR. In the end it is all about what my needs are.

    Its like game systems.. I have a Wii & PS3 & Xbox….That way I don’t miss out on anything

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  73. Hi Matt, now I know why my blog gets so many hits. I agree with many of the points you make. I have been using Lightroom since its first incarnation and have enjoyed your videos and learnt a lot from them. I like to thank you for that. My intention was just to share my subjective reasons for considering a switch to Aperture 3 and not to create a war like Windows versus OS X or Canon versus Nikon. I shoot both, Nikon and Canon btw, and might use LR and Aperture side by side also. I like old traditional B&W film and it looks like LR 3 is going to give me the grain function. Something I am going to miss in Aperture. By no means, both programs are extremely capable and it comes down to workflow and feature preferences. If you are not on the OS X platform it’s no option anyway.

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  74. With all due respect, the article was giving the reasons to switch from Lightroom TWO to Aperture THREE, yet many of the reasons Matt gives by way of rebuttal are wrt LR THREE, which is a beta whose price has not been announced.

    I really like Aperture 3; it’s UI is great and I love Face, Places and Books. I really like LR2, I’m not really a fan of its chrome, but I’m glad I can use it on Windows should I decide to switch.

    For me the best news was that Aperture’s upgrade price is $99; I hope it keeps Adobe from gouging me on a LR3 upgrade.

    Worst case, I’ll do my editing in LR and export my keepers to Aperture, where I’ll use it to easily browse when showing others my pics, and for creating books.

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  75. For me there is no debate. Lightroom is available for both Windows and Mac, Aperture…not so much.

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  76. well, I have to stay with lightroom, since i don’t have a mac. but anyway, would have thougt, if someone puts together 5 reasons for staying there, I would have expected something reasonable.
    enjoying digital darkroom – lol – you mean switching between modules 40% of time and waiting and waiting another 30%

    image quality in the other points might also not be a good point, image quality falls quite short in lightroom, especially the brush-tools are not up to prime time

    ok, have another attempt.

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  77. While I mostly use Photoshop and Bridge CS3, routinely move to Aperture, since it is excellent for focusing on a specific project. Honestly, I have found Lightroom to be totally useless, neither matching Ph/Br CS3 or Aperture.

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  78. Nunca mudarei =D (isso mesmo… to com preguiça de escrever em ingles ^.^ os brasileiros entenderao). Mas serio… mudar da muito trabalho… nao vale a pena quando se tem uma ferramenta tao poderosa como o LR.

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  79. Matt –

    Do you have any sense of how much LR3B is representative of the actual LR3 release? I would like to think that their is hope for a few more features that are not in the beta. (soft proofing, real curves, video support come to mind). My fear is that Adobe may holdback some of these features back out of fear that they might be getting peanut butter in Photoshop’s chocolate.

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  80. Matt–
    You sound a bit defensive here. The fact is that Apple has the best UI bar none. The light table is a terrifically useful feature. Overall, the program is more fun to use than Lightroom. But, the real question is does Apple have the professional photographer in mind or are they just developing an advanced consumer tool? I think they started out with the intent of building something for professionals. Now with the company’s focus on consumer products, I can’t help but think that the “heavy” users are going to get lost.

    You make some good points. But, you left out the most important one. Aperture doesn’t have you! I’ve gotten more good tips from your blog than I can count. You are one of the reasons Lightroom is “better” than Aperture. Apple doesn’t get that. Never have. Likely, they never will.

    Keep it up!

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  81. Don’t go too much on the defence here Matt. Lightroom is a splendid product, but out of the two RIGHT NOW Aperture 3 clearly has the advantage.

    Modules are not equivalent to Aperture’s tabs, and the workflow is faster and smoother and feels “right”.

    And to people still clinging to Windows, my apologies :)

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  82. I’m tired of playing switcheroo as well. I’ve done AP2 and 3 and LR 1 and 2 (and 3 beta). I’m going Aperture 3 and sticking with Apple from now on. Bye ugly interface or LR!! (I will miss your printing module, thats it.)

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  83. I haven’t read through all 85 comments, so this may already have been said, but many people are comparing Aperture 3 to Lightroom 2 or Lightroom 3 Beta. My answer has been to emphasize the ‘Beta’ part. LR 1 had four betas, LR 2 had one, and in both cases the finished product was far superior. There’s no way to compare until LR 3 comes out.

    Another way of looking at it is like comparing Ford v.s. Chevrolet. They both get you around, they both have engines and tires and steering wheels; some people prefer one and some the other.

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  84. Matt,
    I am right now in the process of changing from Aperture to Lightroom. I downloaded a 30 day trial and I have to tell you it is great!! I will be buying this today. I think Lightroom is very superior to Aperture in performance and I found it to really help me with my workflow, which until now has been an ongoing mess. Lightroom is helping me to work more efficently.
    My question for you or anyone else is; How would you go about moving photos from Aperture to Lightroom? I can not do it directly so I guess I will have to take the time and make all new folders. This is yet another reason you do not want to shift programs, if one works for you stick with it. I am glad to have found Lightroom as I was never real happy with Aperture.
    Thanks for your tips and converting this Aperture user.

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  85. Its probably the Storage Admin in me talking, but I would like to point out that Aperture 3 is over 800 megs installed. Lightroom 2.6 is just over 80 megs installed

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  86. Printing.

    Either of them have soft proofing?

    i

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  87. APPLES AND ORANGES…… They’re both good for you! Just different.
    I just finished browsing through the 87 or so comments after reading Matt’s “5 reasons…”
    It reminds me sooo much of the old light beer commercial…
    “Tastes Great! Less Filling!” Was that Miller Lite, BTW?
    Closer to us would be, “Canon’s Better! Nikon’s Faster”, or whatever.
    They’re all good. It’s a matter of personal preference as much as what features are best for each user.
    I’ve been a Lightroom user since Ver. 1 Beta. Do I love it? Sometimes. Sometimes not. Do I want to change to Aperture? Or Capture One, or Bibble, or whatever else is out there…… not really. I’ve accepted the assets and few not so hot features of Lightroom since everything is a compromise and nothing ever has or will be perfect. If I had started with Aperture, I’d probably still be using that.

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  88. I think your first point is a bit off. In Aperture, you can adjust the image in any place you can see the image. If you’re laying out a book, you can adjust the image. There is no need to switch back and forth between modules, collections, or whatever. You always have the ability to make digital darkroom adjustments.

    One thing that I find clearly superior in Aperture to Lightroom is Key Word tagging. Aperture has a nice hierarchical structure to keywords, but Lightroom’s approach is like a drawer full of socks. Yes, LR will suggest keywords and that’s nice, but I prefer going down my list.

    By the way, my hierarchy came from a great article in Photoshop User magazine. I have six top level categories that extend in a logical manner. I can easily find a keyword from the search box or by just clicking down in a category. Perhaps it’s my own ignorance of Lightroom, but I didn’t find similar organizational help for keywords.

    I think each product has some pros and cons. I looked hard at Lightroom, but I still kept coming back to Aperture as the better product for my needs.

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  89. Problems need to seek solutions, not the other way around.

    Aperture is a solution to some people’s problems. Apple certainly makes quality products and has a faithful (obsessive?) following. If there is something in that product that meets a need (not just want) then switching is the right idea.

    However, all too many people switch (and upgrade) because they want the shiny new tool. Don’t like your pictures, get a better workflow. Still don’t like your pictures, then replace a workflow module. Still unhappy, then maybe a better lens or even a new camera body will help. The point here is that the only solution that works is to identify the problem (bad composition, for example) then find ways to fix that. The only way to get a better, stronger chain (finished product) is to identify the weakest link and work on fixing it.

    Steve

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  90. Sorry Matt,
    I appreciate you defending your favorite app, but this post is a bit simplistic, and you are far too dismissive of the progress Apple has made with version 3, which is why some replies are attacking your credibility. I’ve used all versions of both products (since beta 1 of LR), and they each have their strengths and weaknesses. The current LR3 beta is massively disappointing, and I really hope it comes a long way before it ships. The comparison between it and the new Aperture release is what has people excited.

    The Aperture UI is definitely superior – easier to navigate, has a HUD to allow image/metadata adjustment no matter where you are in the app, etc. The new LR import dialog in v3 beta is simply horrible. However, LR by far outshines in file and metadata management.

    As another poster said, I too am getting superior image quality results for A3 with Canon 7D files, so I think the claim that LR has the “best image quality” available doesn’t hold water, especially if you take into consideration camera manufacturers own apps. Same for NEF files. Lots of people on the LR3 beta forums agree.

    Printing – who cares about the upgraded print module if there’s no soft proofing? This is one that LR users have been crying for since version 1, and it’s completely baffling to me how Adobe could leave this out yet again in LR3. I really hope it makes it into the shipping version. And you casually dismissed books and light table – I for one originally purchased Aperture just for those features!! Still Adobe doesn’t listen to customers and add them into the new version, instead adding less important feature like Flickr upload.

    And regardless of what you say, competition IS good, whether we support it or not. LR3 beta very much felt like a minimal release, like Adobe was resting on its laurels. I’m glad Aperture has come back with all these great features like Faces, GPS support, and very importantly, multimedia functionality. Adobe will have to answer, if not in v3 then in v4.

    All of that said, I do in fact agree with the title of your post, but for a reason you didn’t cover. Overall, I think LR is a much more stable product, and I trust it much more. I have confidence that my files will be managed properly, and I’m not going to lose my valuable data. There are definitely some horror stories out there about data corruption with Aperture 2, and frankly A3 crashes so much, I don’t think it’s ready for primetime.

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  91. Michel Mayerle says:
    February 16, 2010 at 1:15 pm
    “One of the main reasons why I work with LR2 is the whole metadata-management. In LR it is so easy to manage keywords. It is so great to assign nested keywords to my images. In Aperture it is simply impossible to manage nested keywords unless you select the proper ones. But I have thousands of keywords which are nested in a pretty sophisticated way.

    I also like private metadata. This way I can protect the identity of other people or companies.

    Also the synonyms are great. Im my library every keyword exists in two languages: German and English. I just cannot imagine what a hassle it would be to manage these words in Aperture.”

    This is absolutely true, and a real dealbreaker for using Aperture as a primary workflow tool. Long trees of keywords are practically unusable in Aperture, and there is no way to make child tags inherit their parent properties, and the lack of synonyms is problematic. This is still not fixed in A3, which was a huge disappointment.

    Chris Honour says:
    February 16, 2010 at 11:52 am
    “For those griping about the lack of video support check out Jeffrey Fridel?s blog as he has a video import plug in.”

    He has plugins for GPS, Flickr and Facebook too. Of all these functionalities, Adobe only incorporated Flickr uploading in LR3 thus far which is baffling to me as it’s probably the least important. These plugins are workarounds in my view, and should be incorporated in the central functionality of the app. Aperture’s handling of video allowing you to incorporate it into slideshows is a huge win.

    Fabio says:
    February 16, 2010 at 4:59 am
    Hi Matt!
    Unfortunately I still have to buy both applications?. Aperture for making books and Lightroom for everything else.

    This is unfortunately where I’m at too. I suppose Adobe’s answer is “Buy InDesign, and lay it out yourself.” Not everyone has time for that. It’s hard to beat the speed of laying out a book in Aperture, and being able to edit the images using the HUD right up until the last minute is a major plus. The new integration with Album manufacturers in Aperture 3 is going to be a HUGE boon to wedding photographers.

    Will says:
    February 16, 2010 at 4:43 am
    “OK so to be fair there are a few things I hope The Lightroom steals from Aperture 3 and slides into the LR3 release.

    1. Real curves. I?d like to be able to to have access to the individual R G and B channels in the curves like in A3 thats cool.”

    YES! We need real curves, like normal people use! I am so sick of this parametric tone curve BS that the Lightroom team thinks is so great and very few other understand or use. People coming from almost any other image editor, including Photoshop veterans, understand how to edit images quickly using RGB curves, and can fix images using that single tool rather than 5 different tools. I cannot for the life of me figure out why the Lightroom team refuses to incorporate this. It’s infuriating.

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  92. enjoyed the comparison and all the follow up comments as a point of education… My best raw conversions came from Capture One, but I didn’t buy it – overall LR was best for me and I’ll upgrade to LR3 when it comes out. (I’m a PC user only so the Apple product was not an option, still – good information generally…)

    Thanks Matt for opening this discussion up.

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  93. A week into my Aperture adventure, and can honestly say that it’s a love/hate relationship so far. The hate part is born mostly out of the obvious lack of testing/optimization that Aperture demonstrates. Fortunately, I have not lost any data in testing, even with an occasional crash. If A3.0.1 fixes the performance issues I’ll gladly make the final switch, although I’ll be sad to leave the Lightroom (I’m so used to it).

    I predict that Adobe will lose the Modules metaphor in time. The metaphor will break down as new functionality is added (future Book module, etc.)

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  94. Matt,

    Great comparison and I agree that Lightroom has the better features but nothing says that you cant have the best of both worlds you just have to be able to work with both programs. I love the book function of Aperture and the ease of use so I think its wroth the $99 for the upgrade and the ease of uploading to the me.com website for photos. But I use LR for everything else.

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  95. WHAT??? Matt Lightroom K. prefers Lightroom to Aperture? Has hell frozen over? I’m in shock!

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  96. I have tried both LR and Aperture from 1.5 on. I was using LR 2 just for the print module. Now with A3 they seem to have that figured out. My main complaint with LR is the module system. I find it much easier to use the HUD system in Aperture. Also the ability to publish directly to my gallery on Mobile Me was the deciding factor.

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  97. I’ve tried Aperture 3 since its debut and don’t like it at all. I am completely agreed with your arguments.

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  98. Face detection is the only reason to switch (at least for me). Even if your a pro shooter, if you have not played with face detection in iPhoto (and now in A3), you should check it out. It works very well and is quite the time saver.

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  99. Scott Bourne at Photo Focus calls the product Beta quality due to the non-stop crashes. So at the moment, we need to wait for the patches before it’s a potential choice for many people. Check out his review.

    I love many things Apple does, but their obsession with privacy and not informing users about potential updates, their commitment to the product, are almost larger issues for me. With PhotoMechanic, LR, Photoshop, or Aperture, we’ve got a suite of tools to choose from.

    Given the time we dedicate to learning these tools, the actual cost of the tool isn’t often the issue.

    Post about my frustrations with Aperture 3.0 privacy: http://michaelamarks.com/?p=595

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  100. I’ve got to agree in a big way on the Print Module. As the owner of a giclee’ reproduction shop I’ve found the printing options in LR 2 to be fantastic. And running the LR3 Beta has me very excited about printing with it when the final release is available.

    While I’m an Apple guy through and through, I’ll be staying with the Lightroom product. Bottom line, my workflow is extremely streamlined with it, and it saves me time in my business.

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  101. Lightroom has become second nature for me and I see little reason to switch. I also use Matthew Campagna’s (The Turning Gate) Pages and Highslide Gallery Pro webengines to create websites and galleries, both of which integrate seamlessly with LR. Aperture’s web posting and photo sharing seems to be tied to MobileMe.

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  102. Matt,
    I just saw David Ziser’s post on his blog about how terrible the import function is in LR3. I have experienced this unbelievable delay as well but attributed it to my older machine. I won’t (can’t) upgrade if this doesn’t get fixed.
    Any thoughts?

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  103. Matt,

    All your points are well taken, especially Reason #5. In the end, it’s about your own work flow and which application works best for what you want it to do.

    I am new to digital photography, and up to a couple of months ago used iPhoto. It worked well with my Coolpix P&S, but when I upgraded to a DSLR I quickly discovered its limitations. So I tried A2 and LR2 trial versions had a hard time deciding: LR2 was clearly a superior product; but A2 allowed me to maintain my iPhoto events better. What was I to do? On a whim (and at the risk of being an interloper here), after attending a Nikon School seminar, I tried Capture NX2, and it really worked for me: fast, easy, efficient. Being a newbie, I found it easy to learn, and it takes full advantage of my NEF files. LR2/3 beta is still a superior product, Will I someday change over to LR? Maybe. I’m sure there’s a way to use both. But NX2 gets it done for me.

    In the end, it’s about what works best for you.

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  104. Thanks for the review and I think you are absolutely right. Everyone likes something different, what works for me that doesn’t mean it works for you. You forgot to mention that Aperture is only for Apple users and LR is for both Windows and Macs OS. We all know there are a lot more Windows users, so who wins at the end….I leave it up to your readers…

    I win:)
    Derek

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  105. I’m just not sure why you needed to do this. Adobe is the big dog and already has so much of the market due to longevity & Photoshop. It means most of the market along with all the training that you & the NAPP have compared to Aperture. Poor Marcos he’s got 14 comments & I’m #108 on your blog. Kinda bush in IMHO.

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  106. There is also another negative point regarding AP3 : the new rendering engine supports only 7 cameras. There is a tech note about this on Apple’s support page.

    If I look at AP3 new features, it is clear to me that Apple is giving up on the pro market and turns Aperture into a super iPhoto for advanced amateurs.

    Rgds, Gilles.

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  107. I’m worried about importing issues….
    Folks might want to take a look at David Ziser’s Blog “Digital Pro Talk” he has some real issues with the Lightroom 3beta importing features!
    GS

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  108. Matt…been reading a lot about Photo Mechanic and its importing sounds sweet…LR does seem at bit slow at this…any thoughts???

    Thanks Bud…

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  109. Photo mechanic…what think???

    Faster import?

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  110. Matt,

    I read over the reasons given in the link you provided for switching to Aperture and when someone has to state that you should support competition as a reason, that right there shows you they do not have enough to go on on the product alone. When anyone gives 5 reasons and one of those 5 (and frankly there should be more than 5 reasons to switch since it is an entire new outlay of cash to switch) is to support competition, their argument just doesn’t hold water.

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  111. Thank you Matt

    You are RIGHT on with this. I downloaded the A3 trial, and I even think (yes, I am biased now too) that LR 2 is better than the new Aperture.

    Plus, I had major issues with speed and memory leaking with this new version from Apple. Sorry, I love Apple, but this was a premature release it seems (the blogs and forums can speak for that).

    Thanks again!!!

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  112. All this comparison and discussion over which app is best between Ap3 and LR3B is nonsense.

    Unless and until the comparisons are made with the knowledge of the full feature set of the final release of LR3 … it is quite useless to make a decision now.

    I think very few users will suffer unduly if they wait to see what is actually included in LR3 and actually conduct a side-by-side real world test …

    Until that can be done … any other evaluation is just pure speculation and frivolity.

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  113. Yeah…tempted…but I have so much “stuff” now…dunno I need yet another program/plugin…but I’ll probably try it!

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  114. Matt….Perfectly said…I find LR to be the one I am sticking with….I am very comfortable and satisfied with LR….And when 3 comes out, I will purchase it….

    Thank you, William

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  115. Well put….

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  116. What about the curves tool in Aperture 3. You can correct exposure with it and brush in that adjustment.

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  117. I don’t want anyone to switch–use what you like, both are great programs. I have been using Aperture 3 for over a week now, with no problems. I am a Nikon user(D700)and the skinstones and color IMO are so much better than LR2 or the beta3. The adjustment brushes are so much easier to use in A3 than LR and for what I do more precise. Apple has hit a home run with Aperture 3 and when they get all of the bugs that other people are having worked out it will be a great program. Again I don’t care if anyone switches but if you are on a Mac and do not use LR give it a try. I think that you will be surprised

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  118. Someone might have already mentioned this, but one HUGE feature that Lightroom has over Aperture is cross-platform compatibility. You can work on your catalog on your PC or Mac. This is especially big if you outsource any part of that workflow or need to collaborate with others.

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    • Good point but have you even seen Matt or Scott on a PC ? hmmmmm Nope!!! lol

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  119. I like how you always ask us to be nice. I agree with you. I thought, in fact, he showed through his description a lack of understanding of basic things Lr does, like solo menu mode, lack of knowing there is a full-screen mode. I don’t particularly find it clunky, but I do have my complaints.

    I could care less about competition except as a pressure that developers feel in the pocket. As much as I love software, it’s only as good as the job it does for me.

    I have no interest in switching. I would like the light table in Lightroom, and have since i first got it.

    Thanks for your points.

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  120. For me it would not make sense to go out and buy a Mac just so I can try Aperture 3. If Apple is really serious about all kinds of levels of photographers they NEED to release Aperture 3 for Windows as well. For now I will continue using Lightroom. Adobe was smart enough to support both Windows and Mac users; that’s a plus for Adobe.

    Derek

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    • “Apple is really serious about all kinds of levels of photographers they NEED to release Aperture 3 for Windows as well.”

      Apple is serious, but honestly I hope they don’t. I personally like the idea of the Apple Pro apps being just that “Mac based only”

      Elitist comment ? maybe, but it goes beyond that for me.

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  121. A couple of things … It’s actually quite funny to see some of you defend Lightroom while being on PC hardware and probably never played with Aperture 3.

    There is nothing to defend. Use what you prefer or can use.

    Yes, there is a full-screen mode in Lightroom but go ahead and use both applications in full-screen mode and you will see what difference it makes.

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  122. I’m using Lightroom since its very first beta version. Of course i had a look at LR3b and am in awe of the new raw processor. Can’t wait for LR3 to arrive. Hope it happens soon. Very soon!
    I believe LR3 will be so good that I don’t like using LR2x anymore. ;-)

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  123. @derek: Why should Apple provide software that isn’t crucial for their business model (like iTunes) for Windows? Why should they deal with a completely different OS infrastructure just to release a piece of software that can’t be 100% Apple? There are enough RAW converters for Windows out there and I guess a lot of professionals and commited amateurs (who else needs a raw converter) already use the Mac OS X platform. Apple cannot win with Aperture on Windows, why should they try?

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  124. William Beem said (on the 17th):
    “One thing that I find clearly superior in Aperture to Lightroom is Key Word tagging. Aperture has a nice hierarchical structure to keywords, but Lightroom?s approach is like a drawer full of socks. Yes, LR will suggest keywords and that?s nice, but I prefer going down my list.”

    Lightroom does have hierarchical keywording. Right-click on any keyword (e.g. “Europe”) in the Keyword List and one of the options is to “Create Keyword Tag inside “Europe”…”. From that you can a nested keyword (such as “Spain”).

    Alternatively, if you already have separate keywords (such as “Spain” and “Europe”) then you can left-click on “Spain” and drag and drop it onto the “Europe” keyword, where it will be nested, and all the photos will be updated accordingly.

    Finally, I think that probably the most useful feature “in” Lightroom is Matt’s “Killer Tips” blog – and also Michael Rather’s “Digital Photography Connection” blogs. It’s no exaggeration to say that these blogs more than doubles the value of the software to me.

    Vince.

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  125. geh is right.

    Apple has an integrated consumer/enthusiast/pro strategy that looks like this:

    Consumer ? Enthusiast/Pro

    iPhoto ? Aperture
    iMovie ? Final Cut Express/Pro
    iDVD ? DVD Studio Pro
    GarageBand ? Logic Pro

    They ease millions of users into technology, and then give them a path to more capable solutions. Good idea.

    All of those apps sell Macs. Nothing against other platforms, but there’s not a Microsoft suite that integrates the OS the hardware and the apps throughout the creative/media process like Apple’s solutions.

    Their Windows software is class leading technology, and it’s FREE. But they’re not stupid, Apple makes iTunes & Safari for Windows because it sells iPods/iPhones/iPads and encourages more than a few Windows users to make the switch to Macs.

    Aperture for Windows simply would not sell more Macs.

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  126. Hey folks,

    Lightroom is such a poor product, it is unworthy of this level of comment. Face the facts, Apple came out with a very useful tool–get it! a TOOL–for photographers, like those working for NG, to rapidly complete projects. It does not substitute for Photoshop!

    If I want to experiment and be artistic, Photoshop rules. If I simply want to complete a photographic assignment, Aperture rules, particularly with the Vivenza 2 plug-in. If you want to have a productive workflow, forget Lightroom!

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  127. I used to be Lightroom or (ACR) since LR 1.3. I love the editing idea of xmp files rather than a steel database that is very hard to manipulate. I am switching (already did so) to Capture 1 Pro 5. It’s superior to any application out there.
    However, Aperture 3 is still not stable, not half as fast as Lightroom is (if we compare it to ACR, it doesn’t stand a chance), and with, imo, incomprehensible sliders for some tabs, but they do offer a sharper image, with a more faithful color than lightroom, out of the box.
    Another thing apple has are the adjustment brushes, that are smarter, and not limited the way the brushes are in LR (of course they copied this from LR, but they improved it).
    I prefer the color manipulation of LR, even though Aperture 3, at first, I thought imitated C1’s color editing. But this was not the case.
    Overall, I would reate LR/ACR higher than A3, even though A3 has better integration to other Apple apps, and to the Finder itself, it’s still not there for me
    I wrote a simple comparison of all three:
    http://alebaneseonline.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/comparing-the-three-raw-heavyweights/

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  128. I am using LR for a long time and it took me lot of effort and reading to work with it. I can not imagine it is worth switching and starting from scratch. But honestly I got interested in Aperture after reading all theses comments. I want to try it out at least to know why I don’t want to switch. Can anybody tell me how to use aperture without doing any harm to my pictures and not to confuse LR. I don’t want to duplicate my pictures and import to A3 due to space restrictions. What is the best way to work with both programs for the next 30 days?

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  129. If you have an external drive, you can set A3’s Library to that drive. Otherwise, you would have to duplicate your picture, because that’s a big annoyance, imo, with A3; its own database system; your picture is automatically imported to that Library whether you want to or not

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  130. Matt,

    I don’t understand the advantage of the “books” option in Aperature. If you have iphoto (which is free with a new Mac), can’t you print the same books from Apple? Are the book options in Aperature 3 that much better? And by the way, this site is one of the best reasons to stay with Lightroom! The “before and after” walkthroughs are invaluable! Thanks Matt!

    Jeff

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  131. Nino, you’ve missed one of Aperture’s best features. In almost every discussion of Lr vs Ap, there are disparaging comments about Apple’s giant managed library system. It’s just not true. BOTH LR AND AP have given users a choice between monolithic managed libraries (you can still run Lr that way if you want to) or referenced files in OS folders.

    But Ap really shines in its flexibility in this area. Not only can you keep your files in their OS folders, but with a single menu command, you can consolidate all the files that relate to a given project (which may be spread across multiple folders or hard drives) and then you can relocate those files into a new folder on a local or remote hard drive. And Lr has no equivalent for Ap’s Vaults feature, which keeps a live backup (or multiple live backups) of your master image files on any number of remote drives. Yes, Lr can create backups of its catalog file, but not the actual master image files (if you use referenced files).

    Life is good since Apple released the 3.0.1 update! Performance issues all fixed for me!

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  132. Having tried both… Apple can keep Aperture. Even with 3.0.1 update I have enormous memory usage spikes (I am talking 3GB when editing an image) and the application feels very sluggish when compared to LR 2.6 and LR 3beta. Maybe if Apple spent more time communicating to their clients and testing, and less time having Steve Jobs wave his hands and call everything “amazing, revolutionary and magical’, they wouldn’t have released a BETA version of Aperture.

    FYI, my system is the latest 17″ Macbook Pro with 8GB RAM, and Aperture is the first application that has grinded down my system to a halt.

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  133. Well, I always knew Aperture was a memory hog, just never realized how much memory it actually consumed. It has its advantages, as many pointed out. These include photo books, merging libraries and what I consider a better DAM. But I found editing to be way too slow when compared to LR3, and also less powerful when it comes to noise reduction and RAW processing. After an hour of use the memory usage goes up and stays up at 3GB, which tells me there is a memory leak or the memory is not being released. After 3.0.1 update it hasn’t crashed on me yet, but again memory consumption leads to slow down and sluggish performance.

    P.S. JAKOB: I can find you dozen of posts by Apple ‘reviewers’ that are less than objective, and sometimes downright lying about LR features.

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  134. I have been using both LR and Aperture since their inception. My computer is Macbook Pro 2.5 intel core 2 duo with 4 Gb RAM

    I used Aperture before LR came into the market. At first, I disliked the LR interface, but with time I found the Aperture a little annoying. I found the brighter panels distracting on Aperture. I guess I could get used to it with time. Below is a small compilation of pros and cons of Aperture in my experience. For me the edit history, which allows unlimited undo function and graduated filter in LR are sufficient to call it a winner. If I can’t stop the itch to buy A3, I might just use it for books, faces, places and some other easy-sharing features, if LR3 doesn’t come out with them. In any case, I will not be switching to A3. I submitted the following review (a slightly toned down version) to Apple a few days ago, but they have not published it yet.

    Apple lists about 200 improvements in Aperture 3, but some ?Improvements? like “Sizes Displayed in Megapixels” (instead of 600 X 400, now it also displays 240, 000) are not really improvements. It?s just marketing. I listed only things that are either new or special to Aperture, but not all of them. Many other features advertised as special should in-fact be standard in an application such as Aperture and deserve no special mention.

    One feature I would like to see both in Aperture and LR is the ability to define color values of an area of interest to adjust WB. That way, you need one picture of any person with a gray card. Once you have a satisfactory WB for his/her skin tone, you can just use those color values to all his/her other pictures. I take a lot of pictures indoors and the amount of fluorescent light on the subject changes drastically with distance (inverse of distance squared). The combination of flash and variable indoor light makes it a nightmare to get the WB accurately in all the pictures. Back to the point….

    Pros:
    Good results with editing. Can’t really say better than LR.
    iLife integration.
    Face detection.
    Easy sharing on Flickr & facebook.
    Photo books.
    Copy and paste GPS location. Imports iPhone photos? GPS coordinates (without importing the photos) and assigns GPS location to the rest.
    Improved full screen mode.
    Brushes is a welcome addition.
    Color monochrome is good feature. Also available in LR through split toning.
    Create slideshow videos, which is not available in LR 2 (available in LR3 beta)
    A3 Handles videos.
    Library sync function allows you to carry a small portion of your large library and bring it back after editing on the go.
    Consolidate library: referenced pictures from multiple locations can be consolidated easily. I reorganized the structure of photo storage a few times and every time I moved, I had to point the folders independently in LR. It would be nice to have this feature in LR as well.
    Easy comparison with the master by pressing m. LR offers good comparison tools as well.

    Cons:
    Aperture is way too slow compared to LR. LR is blazing fast. Disabling face detection didn?t improve the speed much.
    Too many crashes with only 57K referenced photos.
    Poor results with some auto adjustments. No auto WB.
    Having to click and navigate menus to access a desired preset, defeats the purpose. LR offers all presets one click away on one panel that can autohide.
    You cannot use a preset on multiple pictures simultaneously, except during import. I think this is the case in LR, too.
    LR has Graduated filter – allows you to apply a gradual transitioning adjustment (exposure, brightness, etc) easily. Graduated filter is a great tool for me in LR, which is not available in A3.
    HUD in A3 blocks image in full screen mode, unlike the film strip, which can autohide.
    Very limited undo function. In LR you have access to complete history of all the adjustments you?ve ever made. Undo is not limited in LR to one session. This I think is the biggest winner of all!
    When you search and filter in A3, the default list does not have some routinely used filters. You have to add Date & EXIF data filters to the list every time you use search function.
    You can only straighten the picture around it?s center. Cropping and straightening functions work seamlessly in LR and you are not limited to straightening around the center alone.
    The lights off mode is superb in LR.

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    • Thank you Julien. This is very helpful…jt

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  135. Honestly I have LR (I bought) and Aperture. I have never really liked LR and now with AP3, I can absolutely state that the adjustment qualities in highlights/exposure/dodge-burn/and now skin smoothing is genuinely nicer in AP3.

    Once in a while I’ll fire up LR2 and no sooner just get back to AP. In terms of simply workflow and access to adjustment tools I’m sorry but you can argue until you are blue in the face – LR just isn’t written with non-linear thinking people in mind and that pretty makes up most creatives.

    For what it’s worth 3 LR users here are simply going to start future projects in Aperture 3 purely for the adjustment qualities I’ve shown them with AP3.

    I love Adobe and naturally use the CS4 but heck even in PSCS4 they’ve done something wrong wit the way curves effects adjustments.

    any way,merely an opinion but not into detailing specifics just a simple general vote for Aperture.

    Oh and “HUD in A3 blocks image in full screen mode” not a huge issue and now in AP3 try holding the shift key when you adjust a slider – see what happens.

    Like I said I own/paid for LR so it’s not as though I’m sponsored by anyone ;-)

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  136. I own both Lightroom and Aperture.

    Aperture 3 has all the functionality I was missing in Lightroom. All the brushes and tools that I need for not using the destructive Photoshop. The synched connections to Flicker, Facebook and MobileMe and my portfolios. And the REAL FULL SCREEN editing.

    I moved. I have more than 50.000 photos now managed by Aperture on all platforms.

    Lightroom is a tool. Aperture is a photo manager. And it makes a big difference when you try to look at the application the way it was made – and not i the way you want to see it or use it.

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  137. I’ll try to make this rather long story as short as possible.

    I was flying from San Francisco to Paris to meet a Dutch colleague to fly on to Mali, West Africa, to do our first long shoot there for a book we were planning around a medical project. I was quite happily using LR-2 beta, when my access was terminated by Adobe upon the release of the commercial version. I immediately went to Adobe’s web page, to download and pay, but I could not get through… for 8 hours, until I had to leave for the airport. Jet-lag & all, I spent the next afternoon in my friends Mac shop on Blvd. San Germain, using his broad band to connect with Adobe’s page. Never got in.

    With 45 minutes left to catch a plane for Bamako, I ran up the street… literally, to FNAC, where Lightroom was unavailable… but Aperture was. Desperate, I spent over 300 euro, including VAT, to buy a retail copy of Aperture that I did not want.

    I guess, at this point, I should admit that I am a Mac evangelist. I admire the elegance of Apple products and have since I first rigged up a portable battery to an Apple IIc, and dragged ti around the world writing foto notes and reports. Which brings me to my point.

    Although Aperture had some nice features, I hated using it every day of the rough month on some of the world’s worst hard-drive-busting bad “roads.” I never felt that I knew where my photographs were in a deep well of a proprietary data base, that kept growing larger & less manageable ? this became a great concern for making multiple backups as hard drives failed one after another due to dust, 115° heat and a very bumpy ride. (fyi: rocstor drives saved the shoot…) It’s nice to know the monolithic storage defect no longer cripples a decent product, but that didn’t help me through this formative experience.

    One of the first things that I did when I returned to the states was to walk into a store in Manhattan and buy a boxed Lightroom II, Since importing my images from Aperture I don’t think I’ve opened the program since, except to convert some old personal iPhoto shots.

    Reading though the posts it seems like many of my Aperture complaints were fixed in Apple’s routinely excellent manner. I’m glad of that but it inspires me with no desire to run that experiment again.

    A Matt wrote so incisively “Whether you?re a working pro or an avid hobbyist, nobody has the time to play the ?switcharoo? every 18 months.” He got that right.

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  138. I have a solution for the lack of automatic video file copying during LR import. I use a program called ChronoSync (http://www.econtechnologies.com/pages/cs/chrono_overview.html). It has a feature where it automatically performs a synchronization when a disk is mounted. In this case, it is a one way copy of all video files from my USB CF reader to my local hard disk.
    For those wanting to try this, make sure to change the options to un-select “Prompt to insert media” as well as “Strict volume identification”.
    I use this program to automatically back up my photo volume to a network disk, each time it is mounted. It is very quick.

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  139. I know I’m late to this party – came across it when researching a possible switch from LR3 to Aperture 3. Main reason being integration with OS and other apps and spurred by a 70% drop in the price of Aperture (gonna match that, Adobe?)

    I think, as a LR user considering Aperture, it comes down to these two points:

    Pro: Great integration and consumer features in a pro-level app. I.e. Made by Apple.

    Con: Poor update cycle and support and serious bugs at release. I.e. Made by Apple.

    Given that I trust my computer, phone and tablet to the same folks, I’m inclined to go with Aperture once I get my new camera. Are there and will there be frustrations? Yes, absolutely. But then I survived all those years with Windows, so it shouldn’t be so hard.

    Before we raise Adobe on a pedestal and claim they are focussed on visual (and indeed audio) arts, consider the debacles of Flash and PDF. Both great ideas which are failing badly due to corporate greed – the very same accusations being leveled at Apple.

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  140. I’ve been a heavy user of Lightroom from v1 through v3 with 1000s of hours invested and know it inside and out, along with almost every keyboard shortcut. It was my first real RAW image DAM and while I have great respect for the application and praise its merits, this article was one of the most biased, narrow minded and simplistic I’ve ever seen from you, Matt. After having dug in deep recently with an open mind to better understand Aperture myself, this “comparison” of yours does it a huge disservice and simply reflects your total lack of experience with the application. It screamed of ignorance (and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way). Let me help balance things a bit:

    1) You cannot defend Lightroom’s separation of Library and Develop. It was clearly done for performance considerations during LR’s initial development and they’ve been stuck with it ever since, but it is still a stupid design that no one actually *likes*. Oh, we tolerate it and have gotten used to it, but like? No way. Adding Collections to Develop doesn’t fix the problem. For example, you can’t view more than one image at a time in Develop. In Aperture you can bring up two or mores images (or versions of the same image) at the same time, side-by-side and edit one of them, comparing while editing. You can’t do that in LR’s Develop because of its one-image-at-a-time limitations compared to the Library module.
    *Correction* Your comment comparing LR’s modules to Aperture’s tabs is not accurate at all. In Aperture you can load a floating or locked Adjustments HUD while the Library tab is selected and view/edit both at the same time, so they aren’t comparative concepts. Aperture is much more flexible and dynamic here.

    2) LR’s Camera Profiles, Undo History, Lens Corrections are indeed better and the Graduated Filter is nice, but beyond those Aperture pulls way ahead. LR *needs* tight integration with Photoshop because its tools are more limited. Aperture’s editing tools are modular, can add as many as you like and they can all be brushed in or out like layer masks. This includes a true levels tool, a deep curves editor (covering luminance or independent RGB channels, shadow, normal and extended range), modular color editor that not only lets you choose the exact hue, but the range of its influence (all stuff LR cannot do), excellent skin smoothing brush, multiply/overlay brushes, VASTLY superior and more natural looking highlight recovery with a deep Shadow&Highlights editor that produces amazing results, halo reduction and much more powerful retouching tools not bound to those limited spot circles and you can adjust your masking brush in all cases to influence shadows, midtones or highlights. Heck, you can even brush in the Chromatic Aberrations adjustment to only select areas of the image. What about the Vignette? You can brush it out too, if you didn’t want it to darken every corner at the same intensity. I could go on and on. The point is that with Aperture this is all non-destructive and doesn’t require bouncing into Photoshop nearly as often. With Lightroom I almost always bounced into Photoshop with images I genuinely cared about, which also meant ballooning my 10mb RAW file into a 70-500MB Photoshop project every single time. I do this far less frequently in Aperture because almost all of its tools run much deeper than the LR equivalents.

    3) Printing? How can you even discuss this without mentioning Lightroom’s glaring lack of soft proofing, a feature that we have all been begging Adobe to include for years now. Unfortunately, Adobe is in the unsavory position of having to compete with itself and they would of course much prefer the LR+Photoshop one-two $1000 punch.

    4) ACR/LR’s noise reduction and sharpening algorithms are great, but their achilles heel is that their global (save goes for the Vignetting), making them mostly useless for gallery images. No matter how much you tweak the detail and contrast sliders, reducing noise in a monochromatic sky or shadow area will always reduce some detail somewhere else where you don’t want it to. This is unacceptable. I apply sharpening and noise reduction selectively where its needed and almost never to high detail areas where its usually invisible and actually contributes to the texture and sharpness. I have nothing but praise for LR’s color NR though. It works splendidly. I just wish you could brush in or out the luminance NR. When it comes to the final image, Nik’s Define is hard to beat and can be launched as a plugin by both LR and Aperture.

    As a side note, one other very distinctive difference between these two apps is that Lightroom is primarily bound to the OS’s file system, whilst Aperture is abstracted from it. I can see how many people who are still stuck on the hard drive files/folders mindset will prefer LR. Aperture disconnects you from files/folders and therefore allows for much greater organization flexibility. The folders, projects, albums and smart albums of Aperture are much more powerful than LR’s rather simplistic Collections because they aren’t limited by the file system’s limitations, such as with special characters or rigid folder hierarchies. Being able to dynamically put folders within projects, or vice versa split any way that you like and create relative smart albums in any of them makes for mind boggling organization possibilities that simply aren’t possible in Lightroom. Aperture more smartly leverages the power of metadata. But that’s been my general feeling as I explore Aperture in greater detail. It’s just more smartly designed in the majority of cases. Dare I also mention price? Aperture’s now $80 is a steal vs. Lightroom’s $299. Something to think about for prospective DAM buyers.

    With all that said, I still like Lightroom. It continues to manage my enormous photo library, as I’m pretty deeply invested, but I haven’t decided on new images. I do prefer its keyword library system and LR3’s new watermark tool is unparalleled. I also like its wide variety of cropping patterns and being cross-platform is a huge advantage for some people.

    Matt, I love ya. You’re a great trainer and I have much respect for you. I know you and Scott are majorly invested in the Adobe ecosystem, but this article came off as terribly misinformed and while I won’t go so far as to call you a shill, I can understand why Ariadne might have thought that.

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