First impressions of Aperture

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Scott Sherman, Dec 2, 2005.

  1. First I should qualify my comments. I am an "advanced amature". I have been using Photoshop since version 5 and feel pretty comfortable with it, currently us PS CS2/Bridge. I am a Total Training for PS graduate and a NAPP member. I have had Nikon Capture since it's inception ($300 for version 1) and another hundred for each after:)frown:)) and currently using V-4xx. Additionally, I have purchased and used at one time or another Bibble, Qimage and Thumbs Plus.

    I have a G-5 dual 2 gig desktop with a Nvidia Geforce 6800 Graphics card, 4 gig ram and a 30" Apple Monitor.

    I use a D2x and D70 primarily.

    First, in a word, WOW!!!

    It is not something you just install and start using, like iPhoto for example, there is a very steep learning curve which is a bit like the first time using PS. It has some very nice features and the bottom line is my images look the way I expect them to look and/or want them to look with very little figiting. Howver, I have always felt that figiting was half the fun of photography so I have been playing with all the buttons and sliders to try to familarize myself. It is not nearly as intuitive as it first looks. There are many ways of doing most things as is true of most image applications.

    Pros...
    Very clean georgous user interface
    Fast Fast Fast (although I have a pretty high end system so this may/will vary from setup to setup) For me nothing seems to take longer than one blink of my eye, much like the online demo.
    I always had problems, partly I'm lazy and partly my organizational skills are not as tight as they should be. This program is designed for me or people like me that want it to be quick and easy to organize, and it is.
    White balance is very good in my opinion but can be adjusted quite easily to my liking. I have heard of problems with the eyedropper which need to be fixed and are reportedly being addressed. Should be pretty simple to fix with the first post release update. Apple is very quick to update bugs and fixes.
    Haven't printed yet but this looks and is reported to work quite well
    Love the book/web/slide layout stuff.
    Very convenient 2 up comparison screen to compare original to edited version.


    Cons...
    I noticed there is a levels adjustment but not a curves adjustment. So far this has not been a problem as I can achieve the same end result with levels and contrast adjustments. (It has a shadows/highlight adjuster also to bring out detail.)
    I won't go into the speed/hardware requirement issues, this has been beaten to death.
    It is not PS and was not meant to be PS, so the editing and manipulating is limited to making an acceptable or better picture the best it can be quickly and easily with a very nice end result. There are no layers, so morphing and adding skys or putting your head on a models body for example is going to require PS or the like.
    No plugins'. I like plugins like Noise Ninja although PS and all it's plugins are only a button away and the transfer is seamless back and forth.
    I have heard some critisize the sharpening and noise reduction tools, have not seen any big problems, for the images I have looked at the sharpening seems to work pretty well without adding a lot of noise, although the printed image is the best measure of that. Haven't tried it with a noisy image yet, but again, Noise Ninja is still quite easy to access if it doesn't work. I mostley shoot at low iso so this for me is not a deal breaker.

    There is more but I have only used it for a couple hours and as I said the learning curve is somewhat steep (for me).

    bottom line... This is a pro software application. If you are a wedding photographer, this is a must have application. If you are a enthusiest with some serious discresionary cash, or have to have the cutting edge stuff as soon as it is released this is for you. It is very pretty and very fun to use.

    There are some things which probably can be improved although, for me, so far it looks like it does exactly what it says it will do, very well. It is a version 1 and pretty pricey with a high end hardware requirement, so it will definitley evolve much as PS has over the years. Most of us if not all will still want to have PS for the times when you must have a moon in the background and it was not there, or to clone your aunt Martha into the group shot or the many things that PS is so good at.

    For me, it is a keeper and I will definitly import here first in my workflow. It makes it very easy to export and import to/from PS for outside edits so PS will still play a part in my workflow but not be the mainstay.

    I should say, that if you don't want to spend $500 or buy the high end Apple hardware or convert to Apple, Photoshop will do everything this application will do. What Apple has done here IMHO, is to take the most important photo editing parts of PS and put them in a very slick, well thought out application. Almost like if Nikon Capture married iPhoto and had an offspring with Photoshop being the rich uncle that bestowed a few extra gifts on the hatchling. (just my weird sense of humor:biggrin: )

    Please feel free to share your experiences or observations for comparison or discussion. I still have much to learn so this could change as I get deeper into user experience. This is just a first impression.
     
  2. I was wrong...

    I have spent the last 48 hours with Aperture minus a few hours of sleep. Well, I guess I can say it now... I am a bit dissapointed. I was wrong with my initial assessment. Aperture still has some use, but it is definetly not the all in one pp tool it advertises itself to be. There are just too many things that it does not do well enough and I find that I am constantly having to bounce between either Nikon Capture or PS CS2 to do a primary edit and then save and re enter it into Aperture. Not a problem with a few images but I can not just keep bounciing back and forth as much as I am having to. Granted I am not a premier photographer. I probably get more images that are under or over exposed than i do right on, but that should be what Aperture is for those up and down adjustments. It just doesn't work as well as PS or NC. I have a 10.5 fisheye and I have to defish those first in NC or Panotools plugin in PS CS2. Then if I shoot high ISO with the D2x I may need to go into the Noise Ninja plugin. I also sometimes have to adjust the perspective which takes a layer in PS. The Aperture shadows and highlight tool is not nearly as robust as that in Photoshop and sharpening is still a bit weak in Aperture.

    Now I find that I open everything in either NC or PS do my adjustments and sharpening and throw out the loosers. I save the keepers after editing in a new folder and then import them into Aperture. Now here is where Aperture has it's strong points. With a folder of well shot and edited images sharpened and ready for printing and the loosers filtered out, I can now start to catalog and add comments or ratings easily and then I am ready to easily put together a nice book or web page or slide show for .Mac, even printing is very usable.

    Aperture is not a primary raw file converter or editor but it is a very capable catalog application and the book, website, .Mac features are very interesting and usefull. I would sort of describe Aperture as version 7 or 8 of iPhoto. Nice but not necessary or essential. If I were a wedding photographer, I would probably be more enthusiastic with Aperture but for me it is just a last step in the workflow not the first.

    Nice try Apple.... Keep trying, I am sure that someday you will have a very nice piece of software which might be the all in one pp software you say, but that day is not here yet.

    Speed is good on my high end computer but not worth the shortcomings that still need to be worked out.
     
  3. Thanks for the review, Scott. So given its 'limited' use (for your workflow), do you think it's worth the $$$ ?
     
  4. No, definitly not yet. I can't imagine that it will not change dramatically as the world starts to make it's wants known and for what Apple is charging, I hope they will be responsive. For now, stick with NC or PS or C1 or whatever has been working for you. I would keep an eye on it as time goes by, I do think there is some real potential there, but it is far from a mature product and has much more evolving to do until it gets there. IMHO
     
  5. I pretty much agree with Scott on this one. At first I was thrilled with Apeture, but not so much now. The speed is actually very good on my Powerbook, the adjustment tools are okay for basic editing and the interface is real cool. The deal beaker for me is the propritary file system. All your images go into the Apeture folder and you can't get in there without Apeture. If I want to open up my images in Photo Mechanic or someother browser......sorry no can do. There is also the master folder on the main hard drive issue. It is my understanding that all your image files must be on your computers resident hard drive inorder for Apeture to access them. Well, I have a Powerbook with 20 gigs of space left on the drive. I shoot D2X RAW images ...... you can do the math.

    Apeture is a very nice product and will probably the perfect product for some people. I'm going to use it awahile longer and see if I can get passed some the issues I have with it. If not, I'm going back to NC, PM and CS2. One thing I really do like in Apeture is Stacks, it's the ability to stack all you versions of an image together. It is cool and I wish PM had it.
     
  6. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    The only piece of 'professional software' I've bought from Apple is 'Quicktime VR Studio'. This is a very powerful application that converts still images to 'virtual reality' moving panoramas, that does a great job of that, completely lacks a GUI, cost nearly $1000 and does not run under OSX. Hmmmm. Some of Apple's consumer software is great (I like iTunes, iMovie and iDVD - and Garage band is a gas!) but most of their software lags well behind their hardware. Apple sometimes seems to use their presence in a software market to intimidate other vendors, rather than to advance the state of the art. Too bad Aperture fits into that category.
     
  7. marc

    marc Guest

    just had to reply

    i am a professional portfolio manager 1st
    and semi pro photographer 2nd

    i have been playing with money for 20+ years
    i have been taking photos for longer

    i have had pc's since 1982, now own about 10 i use on a regular basis
    my work , photography etc.

    i love music, started an account with itunes, when i discovered they were encrypted, i shut off account asap.
    years ago ibm, came out with micro channel, ibm doomed there pc's forever

    scott, i was very interested in apple as a company and aperture.
    hearing the files are encrypted, dismays me.

    how millions have been sucked into the ipod amazes me.
    but alas, the point hear is apple from what scott has said, has shot itself in the foot.
    when companies get so big that they restrict the use of there product, that sometimes signals, the company has lost it's edge.
    i for one hate companies who will not share.
    thanks scott, you have saved my clients a great deal of money, me too.

    happy new year

    marc:smile: :Smart:
     
  8. I worked on the last version of QTVR Studio, then did QTVR Authoring Studio, which was a much better app with a GUI and a faster, better stitching engine. The app was never ported to OSX and still sold well for several years after OSX came out.

    After more than a decade of watching Apple from within, I would say there is not purposeful intimidation, then again I am a front line engineer, not a manager. :wink:

    I think what Aperture needs is time, both on the part of users to understand what it is useful for and for it to mature as a product. I didn't work on it, by the way. I've worked on that other photo app for about a year and a half now.
     
  9. strobel

    strobel

    428
    Apr 30, 2005
    Algonquin, IL
    Thanks for the information. I had ordered the program but did not open the package. I have requested an RMA number and I will Return the product to Apple and wait until much more information and improvements are made.

    Thanks again for the information.
     
  10. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
  11. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    I don't think that aas files used by itunes are encrypted, itunes will also work with regular mp3 files. Aas is just a more efficient format for storing high quality music.
     
  12. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    I forget which one I have - I haven't used it since os9... :rolleyes: I just dug out my 7500 powermac though because I'm doing some videotape to CD transfer and it has all the ports so I've got an os9 machine again, maybe I'll play with it a bit.

    Hmmm. Ask Userland, the company that developed Mac scripting, or the authors of Superpaint when Macpaint was only black and white. Their perception was that Apple came out with competitive products only after they pitched their product to Apple.

    I agree Ed. Any software that encorporates new ideas will need maturation, I'm sure that Aperture is no exception. It is difficult to break through the initial resistance that a huge market leader like Adobe presents. I for one do not envision changing from Photoshop as an all in one tool any time soon.

    By 'that other photo app' do you mean iPhoto? I like the program, and used it until I had thousands upon thousands of photos, and my hard disks began to fill up. For small volume users, it's a great picture organizer. For folks like us, it's underpowered (but I still put all my digi-cam pictures into it, but not anything taken with my dslr.)
     
  13. Thanks for all the input everyone! I've been silently following the Aperature posts for the past week. I look at it like buying a new car, never buy the first model year. There are, however, those amoung us with both the means and patience to do so, and you are the ones who get to give feedback and hopefully help make the product better for the second run around.

    I'll be holding off for now too, as I'm neither a pro, nor have I even mastered PS or NC. So, until I take the time to get those down, Apple will have to get my money through OS updates, iTunes, and hardware purchases.

    I must say that I agree Marc, I can't stand the use of encryption everywhere, especially with my own photos. But, I still use iTunes b/c it's convenient, inexpensive (keep fighting the good fight Steve; burn in h* music greedsters) and I like iPods. That and they're aren't many good alternatives (IMHO), especially with companies like Sony putting harmful DRM software on their music CDs. But, I digress.

    Thanks for sharing your results with us.

    Let's not forget about Konfabulator vs. Dashboard.
     
  14. The problem, as I see it, is that Apple desires to put forth a platform, and being the bigger entity, it will always seem like someone is getting stomped on. But if you know the whole story, it is never quite what complaining outsiders say it is. For example, how long was scripting in development at Apple at the time Userland came along? Probably four or five years, though I don't know offhand.

    Yeah, iPhoto. It was an app I used to complain about a lot. Now I get to contribute instead. :wink:

    I see Aperture is getting a good beating on the forums. Whatever folks think PLEASE make sure you let Apple know. Feedback is important. Complain loudly.

    PS, did anyone notice that one pro profile on the Aperture web site of the Hollywood wedding photographer? Very obvious D2X usage going on there.
     
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