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Aperture or Lightroom...?

Discussion in 'Nikon Capture and View NX' started by Doug Barber, May 14, 2007.

  1. Does anyone have any thoughts on Aperture or lightroom?

    I'm thinking about changing my workfow from capture - PS to aperture/lightroom - PhotoShop

    Does one program have a big advantage over the other.

    Side note.... i'm a Mac user

  2. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    I think you may find ACR 4 in CS three better.
    Just may cut your processing down to one prog.
    Give it a shot and see what you think
  3. Doug,
    I have them both as I wanted to answer that question for myself. I am also a Mac user. They are both "data based" programs and both are very good. I personaly prefer Aperture after this testing for the primary reason that Lightroom requires you to "go to" a module to adjust images, print, etc.
    Aperture allows you to do this right where you and the images are.
    They are extremely similar in most other ways. Some would argue that the raw converter in lightroom is better. I do not entirely agree.
    Both programs have a really nice round trip feature to take images to Photoshop and return them to the data base when done, neatly stacked with the original in any format you desire (PSD, TIFF, etc)
    I hope this is helpful information to your quest.
  4. Thanks for this Dave:

    The one thing that worries me about aperture is the way it stores images in vaults. Or at least I think that is what it does....

    On the storage side of my workflow I use a program called Potfolio. It works well because I can look at my catalog and scroll through the tumbnails or search by keyword. It will give me the search results including thumbs and tell me where these images actually are. So if I'm looking for an image I took last year the search will find the thumb and then tell me the image is on disk #XYZ.
    Do either of these programs have this ability?

    I ask this because it seems like Aperture wants you to store images in Vaults and these vaults are HD based and not disk based?????:confused: 

  5. Thanks Gale:

    I do not have CS3 yet.... but I have heard good things about it....

    you know me..... cannot get to much cutting edge stuff all at once....
  6. Doug,
    The vault is simply a easy back up system. However you are correct and both of these programs will allow you to store the image in the "data base" or in their current location including on a CD. It calls those images that are outside the DB "referenced images.
    The search capabilities of both of these are incredible and intuitive. If you were to ask me for a dew covered web, I could call it up in mere seconds. It will also let you know if the file is off line such as on a CD or a Hard drive that is not active at the moment and ask you to get that.
    It is a completely different way of doing things but in my opinion a very good way.
  7. Doug,
    Here is a useful read
  8. I have both. I like both. In the interest of full disclosure, after much experimenting, I am standardizing on Lightroom.

    Each application has its strengths and weaknesses. Both are best at simplifying and automating your DAM process and doing many of the "digital darkroom" steps in a single application without a roundtrip to Photoshop/Elements.

    I made my decision based on some things that Aperture does poorly. One is its inability to accurately interpret the IPTC data with the imported images. There are a number of others. My advice here is that you will never know which things irritate you and which things make you say "Wow" until you try them. That is what I did (although I found the 30 trials too short a period for a thorough test drive).

    A few things to consider with Aperture:
    - it supports fewer cameras' RAW formats than Adobe (LR and CS3 use the same RAW engine)
    - it is resource sensitive. You need a robust video card with at least 512MB of video memory and at least 2GB of system RAM for decent performance.

    So, review your system configuration to see if Aperture is a possibility and check Apple's web site to make sure your camera is supported. (I am assuming you shoot RAW if you are considering the expense of Aperture or LR, otherwise the free iPhoto plus Elements is more than adequate for Jpeg).

    I really wanted to love Aperture. It has many good features. It's sharpening (especially the edge sharpen) is far superior to LR and I find the way it handles its image database far more intuitive and sophisticated than LR. In the end, its shortcomings were more than I could deal with.

  9. Doug, my $0.02.

    I used Aperture/CS2 for about six months. I loved it's cataloging features, keywording, etc. It's integration with CS2 for image editing was fantastic. I went page-by-page through the Advanced Aperture book to learn the program over a period of about 2 months.


    I consistently get superior results with ACR and PSCS3. If I edit my RAW images with Bridge/ACR/PSCS3 I can see a significant improvement over Aperture/CS2. I'm not sure if it's the RAW conversion or what, but it's significant. Mind you I spent a significant amount of time learning Aperture...I only spent a few days with ACR (watched the tutorials online).

    So, I am currently doing the following:

    1. Import images to hard drive using Aperture, but store them as files on the hard drive, not in the Aperture library.
    2. Keyword, rate, discard, etc. in Aperture.
    3. Open Bridge, and do all developing in ACR (ProPhoto 16-bit color space).
    4. Process and post-process in PSCS3, save as PSD.
    5. Resize, save for web, save as JPG (with embedded ProPhoto color space) for lab printing (WHCC will accept ProPhoto color).

    It's not ideal, but I get the DAM features of Aperture and the RAW developing of ACR, which for me produces the best results...YMMV.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2007
  10. Thanks for your input Doug....

    As I type this I'm downloading a trial version of aperture and will see how I make out.
    Thanks again


    Well now you have me thinking....

    As soon as I get aperture downloaded I'll try a test doing a RAW conversion both in Aperture and then in bridge/CR and CS2.
    It will be interesting to see what the differences are.
    Thanks for your input I'm sure I will look back it and remember the good folks who saved poor old Doug a ton of time and $$ as I make the big jump into SOMETHING!!!:confused: 
  11. Doug, I did find that my results in Bridge/ACR/CS2 were not to my liking...I actually liked Aperture better than this setup. It wasn't until CS3 came out that ACR outperformed Aperture...JMHO, of course.
  12. Hi John:

    Thanks for the post..... The problem with comparing my results to yours is my images are not nearly as good to begin with!... So I need some type of software that will take a crappy image and turn it into something good.:redface:

    I have read really good things about CS3 but I have not made that purchase yet. Mind you I'm assuming that will not be all that far off either.

    Thanks again
  13. Man, you must be kidding. Have you visited your web site lately? You need only look at your "People" gallery...I must have spent an hour one night going through your images...touching...and spectacular...

    But, I appreciate the compliment...thanks. :biggrin:
  14. Thanks John:

    you see even (I) get lucky once and a while
    Thanks again
  15. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    ACR 4 in CS3 is totally different than ACR 3 in CS2

    Tiffs and Jpgs can be edited in acr 4 now.
    Alot more bells than before
  16. Doug, may I suggest that you also try out the 30 day Lightroom trial. LR has the same raw processing as CS3 so the results will be the same.
    Some people are stuck in old ways of doing things/thinking such as generating multiple versions of images but for me I now have very little need to have copies of images as when I want a jpeg I just export from LR and then delete it after use.
    By the way LR stores nothing in the application apart from data and previews, all image files are referenced on either drives or externally.
    To disclose: I am a tester of LR for Adobe and realy enjoy Lightroom. I get no pay just advance look at new versions and the pleasure of learning from trying to help others. I got selected for this testing programme from using the beta version.
  17. jgrove


    Apr 13, 2005
    I ended up in the RAW MESS, i was using Bibble, Capture NX, Lightroom and Aperture, i was ending up a jack of all trades in all the software. Each has there own merit and each has there own way of handling RAW, i dont think one is better than the other, just a different way of handling the data.

    I have used Aperture since i moved to a MAC last year, and will stick with it. So i can become an expert in using it. I also use PS CS3 for some work that Aperture just cant do (clone tool etc).

    I stopped using Bibble and Capture NX, although i do have Lightroom (i had a free serial nos for it) for Web Gallery's. But i will soon remove it once i have got my head around Aperure's Web Module.

    Stick with what you feel comformatble with and work from that, learn the software and become comfortable about how to get what you want from your images with the software.

    Hope that helps!

    EDIT - If i really get stuck then i use ACR 4 its new interface is brilliant.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2007
  18. Just to point out that ACR 4 in CS3 and Lightroom are very similar and have the same raw processing engine.
  19. agw0


    Oct 28, 2006
    Munich, Germany

    a couple of months ago I've tried both Aperture and Lightroom, since I was starting to feel the need for some image categorizing and calalogueing. Prior to that I used Bibble for RAW conversion. Btw, this is on a MacBook Core2 w/2GB RAM.

    My findings were:
    + very flexible Image catalogueing, with smart folders and such.
    + third party plugins available, especially for export so image hosting sites (filckr, smugmug,...).
    - User interface (for me at least) not as intuitive as I would have expected from a "native Apple" application.
    - Performance - after a bulk import of my library the thing was pretty clogged up with background calculations, making user operations nearly impossible.
    - Stability - the RAW-Module did repeatedly crash on me when making certain adjustments.

    + For me, more intuitive user interface, especially when it comes to the development step.
    + Stability
    + Performance (much better on the MacBook than Aperture)
    + Better RAW conversion than Aperture
    - Much weaker on the image organizing front than Aperture. Knows only keywords, folders and collections. Search is quite rudimentary.
    - No third party plugins available (still, yet).
    - Export to an image hosting site (at the moment) has to be done manually (export from Lightroom, upload using the browser).

    For me, ease of use, performance and stabiltiy in the end tipped the scale towards Lightroom. I've since come to live with the more limited catalogueing capabilities. And I've not had it crash on me a single time.

    BTW, the RAW conversion of both Aperture and Lightroom, IMHO, is much inferior to Bibble, especially sharpening and noise reduction. That said, the user interface of Lightroom also excels over Bibble's in it's ease of use. I'll probably still keep Bibble up to date in the future, as currently it's much better for "difficult" cases.

    I would strongly recommend to get the trial versions of both programms, and see for yourself which is more suited to your workflow.

  20. New mac owner. I am not nearly as advanced a photographer as those in this thread but I am WILD about Aperture. It may just take me to that next level. The workflow is spectacular. I can process images from a shoot so quickly now (catalog, keyword, and image adjustments) due to the batch adjustment capabilities. The white balance adjustment alone is amazing. You can use the whibal card and adjust the thumbnails on the fly. I have seen Michael Tapes describe that feature of Aperture as superior to Lightroom's. For me, that one is huge.

    I have CS3 as well. New user. I am sure I would love the editing capabilities of ACR. However, right now, I cannot imagine seeing the level of increased improvement in my photos as with Aperture. The edge sharpening is magic! The color correction is almost a spot color feature. Also magic.

    I also love the one button backup (vault) solution. But that's me.

    Good luck!
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