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Aperture vs. Lightroom #1
Charles Putnam's picture
by Charles Putnam
August 1, 2012 - 4:43pm

Since upgrading to Mountain Lion, I've been trying to decide which DAM to use. Here's my list of what I believe are the top features/benefits of each: Would appreciate anyone's thoughts/comments

Organization by Projects
More Book publisher options
Better plug-in interfacing
Managed files
OS X integration
Fast Library switching
iWork integration
White Balance using Skin tones
Better retouching brushes
Detect Edges in Brushes
Better Facebook export
Better Slideshows
Less dependent upon Photoshop

Develop module (better image processing)
Better Hightlight/Shadow
Lens Correction
Camera Calibration
Perspective Correction
More Presets
More Plug-in Options
Better Tethered Shooting

Butch Miller's picture
by Butch Miller
August 1, 2012 - 5:02pm

“Better Tethered Shooting” in Lightroom?

Considering that Apple has 60 cameras supported for tethered shooting to Lightroom’s fewer than 30 … also several combinations have multiple caveats as to functionality in Lr … and still no support for the Nikon D4, D800 and Canon 5DmkIII, 1DX …I find it hard to believe that you consider Lightroom to have the edge … care to elaborate?

greg owe's picture
by greg owe
August 1, 2012 - 5:19pm

Noise reduction, sharpening on export and lens correction are the biggies in LR4 for me.

NR in Ap3 is very weak, sharpening on export is a huge miss. I end up taking every pic I want to upload into Photoshop to reduce its size and resharpen before placing it back into Aperture. For lens correction I use the PT lens plugin but as Aperture offers nothing but you get a dirty great big tiff file.

I have been using Aperture for 4 years now and always will as I need the integration in iLife, mainly FCPX, iMovie, Apple TV, iTunes but recently I have started using a Nikon D800 and find I am taking the raw files into Camera Raw most of the time. I was lifting some shadows on a file the other day and ‘Fill Light’ worked a charm where as Ap3 just made a mess of the area.

One other thing is that nearly all of the pro photogs I follow and take training with use LR so it can be a pain when you are following along doing an editing workshop.

That said I am sure Ap4 will address a number of key issues and wouldn’t be surprised to see layers and other advanced editing abilities.

Oh and one more thing, I hate the fact you can only use just one external editor at a time, I wish they would sort this out as it’s a royal pain.

John Waugh's picture
by John Waugh
August 1, 2012 - 5:23pm

As an Aperture Certified Trainer I am asked this question often.
I don’t know where you obtained your better or worse designations.
I disagree with some of them.
The adjustments in Aperture are similar to the Develop Module in LR
The tethered shooting setting in Aperture has been a steady work horse in my studio for years, problem free, 700 frames in the last 2 days.
The book publishing in Aperture is vastly superior in features to LR
If you use iWork Aperture is a must.
I tend to build my own presets.
You can put a Ford alternator in a Porsche and it will work. Aperture is designed and built for the Mac.
Cost Aperture $79 LR $149
If perspective control and lens correction are a big part of your work flow. LR might be right for you.
Presentation is the primary parameter in my business and Apertures output options are great. (books, slideshows, web galleries, prints)
Managed DAM seems to be easiest way to keep from loosing or disconnecting original files, my students are constantly bemoaning lost folders that they thought were backed up. I manage over 60 libraries (16 TB original) and vaulted backups on and off site with Aperture.
In the end it’s what you feel comfortable with.
They are both elegant pieces of software.

John Waugh, Photographic Images • Apple Certified Trainer• Sport Action Lifestyle Photography

Charles Putnam's picture
by Charles Putnam
August 1, 2012 - 5:41pm

Thanks for the responses. Let me try and address/clarify some of my thinking:
*Tethered shooting - slight advantage to LR4 as it has “watched folders”. If you’re using an EyeFi card (which I use), when setting up tethering, it’s easier and a bit more reliable than the Hot Folder script (available from Apple).

*Adjustments - the Highlight slider in LR4 doesn’t wash out images the way it did in LR3. this adjustment in Aperture is improved with v. 3.3.*, but isn’t close to the results available in LR4.

LR4’s main downside (IMHO) is it’s use of modules, only one book publisher (and Blurb gets mixed reviews). somewhat disjointed workflow.

Charles Putnam's picture
by Charles Putnam
August 1, 2012 - 5:44pm

Related to Greg Owe’s comment about Ar4….I did note that the release date of the Aperture 4/X Unleashing Your Digital Workflow book has been changed to sometime in October. Could Apple be up to something? Inquiring minds want to know…..

FWIW, Aperture’s Project based management works a lot better for me than LR4’s organization. Appreciate everyone’s input.

Michael Ball's picture
by Michael Ball
August 2, 2012 - 9:45pm

For me, it’s not so much about the editing tools. LR4’s editing tools are quite nice and I’m sure they could save me a few less CS6 trips when I need them… However, I find that when I do go to CS6 it’s for more extensive editing (HDR’s, compositing, etc) than I could still do in LR4. In this case, I think it would cut down some, but not much on going to photoshop. In that sense, it’s not a huge deal, since I tend not to go to PS that much in general.

For me, it’s all about workflow. I haven’t spent much time with LR recently, but I’ve always enjoyed the workflow in Aperture more than I have in LR because I feel like it’s more free flowing than separated by the module paradigm. In Aperture I feel that it’s easier and quicker for me to drill through all the images in my library, and this is a big deal for me as my library keeps growing rather quickly. I really enjoy the way Aperture handles its presets system for metadata and even adjustments. I’m also a huge fan of a managed library because it saves me a lot of worry, and I think the Vault system works rather well. The fact that I can mix managed + referenced files also makes things much easier for me, especially as I’m going to move to a two computer system soon.

I think it comes down to how you like to edit your photos and what you feel is more important. For me, I bounce around when editing, and Aperture has made it incredibly easy to cull through thousands of images. Perhaps it’s because I’ve spent the past 6 years in Aperture and it’s now ingrained in me, but for now I’m more than happy with the trade-offs between Aperture and Lightroom and don’t see myself switching anytime soon. :)

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