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Lightroom vs Aperture, update

I feel the need to update my earlier post on Aperture to admit that I finally caved and purchased Lightroom 5.

Aperture's future is uncertain, at least to me. It hasn't been updated for a long time and I'm getting antsy. And working in Aperture is simply slower than working in Lightroom.

I don't take back anything I said earlier about Aperture's excellences. Some things about Lightroom 5 still drive me crazy (like its idiosyncratic approach to image control while cropping), or disappoint me (its book-design tool isn't nearly as good as Aperture's). And I haven't given up on Aperture, not yet. But I'm back to using Lightroom as my main photo management tool, and for doing the lion's share of my quick editing. I'll still turn to Aperture (or Photo Ninja, or Nik) to process photos that I think will benefit from it.

Apple, please get your act together and give us an upgrade for Aperture!

Clydesdale and owner. Taken with Olympus OM-D E-M1 and processed in Lightroom 5 and Google/Nik's Silver Efex Pro.


  1. Anything that you can list as to WHY you are now using Lightroom other than it is faster? I have no idea why Lightroom 5 would be faster.... must be some reason?

  2. Talkingbox: Good question and the answer is a bit complicated.

    I'm using Lightroom 5 as my asset manager more than anything else. For one thing, all my old digital photos going back 6 years or so are catalogued in Lightroom. I simply never got all that stuff imported into Aperture. I always found Lightroom much easier to use for keywording and doing other organizational tasks. I also find things in Lightroom more easily. If I want to locate photos taken with a particular lens, for example, Lightroom's filtering and finding just seems easier to understand to me.

    Another enormous advantage of Lightroom, for me personally, is its support for watermarking images. I find Lightroom's watermarking feature MUCH better than Aperture's. And I use this constantly. Actually that may be very close to the main thing.

    I also like Lightroom's print module better than Aperture's. I do feel that I can print faster from Lightroom than from Aperture.

    Finally, there's the fact that Lightroom clearly has a future — while Aperture's future is iffy. If I'd been putting photos into Aperture for six years (rather than into Lightroom) I'd probably still be using it for image management, although I'd be getting nervous. I do hope that Apple upgrades Aperture though.

    And in the meantime, I back to using DxO Optics Pro (now at version 9) for raw conversion of important files. It is definitely NOT fast but it does a much better job than either Lightroom OR Aperture.


  3. In Lighroom all your edits are saved separately in a catalog. When you recall an image, Lightroom combines the original image with it's saved edits and displays the corrected image. Unless you export an edited version of each image, would you not loose all your edits when switching to Aperture?

  4. Mike: You are correct that edits made to the raw image file in Lightroom, remain in Lightroom and aren't accessible in Aperture. But nothing is "lost" if I attempt to process the image in Aperture. That is, if I edit the image in LR first (say, correcting exposure, color, and curves) and I am not satisfied with that result, I might go over and take a whack at the image in Aperture — or for that matter, in DxO Optics Pro 9, or Photo Ninja, or in Nik. But nothing I do in Aperture or DxO OP9 causes me to "lose" what I did in Lightroom. If I don't think the Aperture or DxO OP9 versions are superior, I can trash them and revert to the LR version. Right now, the key thing for me is: which program am I using for primary MANAGEMENT of the image files? And right now the answer is once again Lightroom. That's where I keyword images, rate them, review them (and delete all the stinkers), etc.

    But as for visual processing (exposure, color, curves, sharpening, etc), I can do that in any of the several programs I've got. I've found that LR5 does a somewhat better job with initial processing of my Olympus ORW files than Aperture does. Earlier in the year, when I was still using the Sony full-frame cameras, my feeling was that Aperture processed those ARW (Sony raw) files better than Lightroom. I think DxO OP9 does a better job in some instances even than Lightroom.

    My method is NOT a model of efficiency — I concede that readily. It's not economical, either: I have paid for upgrades to ALL of the software I'm using, and many photographers would find that wasteful and they might be right.


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