Use LR or Aperture??

Started Sep 9, 2012 | Discussions thread
Jacques Cornell
Jacques Cornell Forum Pro • Posts: 10,627
Re: Use LR or Aperture??

andrzej bialuski wrote:

Aperture free trial is no longer available, so I will have to rely on your opinions here before I spend my money on it.

Yes, that is a shame. On the other hand, Aperture now costs only $80 through the Mac App Store.

Anyone else who wants to compare LR to Aperture for me?

I have used Aperture extensively since v 1.0 and have only dabbled with Lightroom, so I couldn't really compare point-by-point.

Which one do you use and why did you choose it?

I'm coming at the choice from the perspective of a working pro who shoots hundreds or thousands of images at events and has to edit, adjust, retouch, export, burn and upload within 24-48 hours. I also shoot portraits and landscapes that need light retouching.

I much prefer Aperture, mainly for its user interface and its non-modal workflow. The loupe is actually a loupe. Lightroom's "loupe" feature is really just a zoom command, which Aperture also has. I like that I can keep the whole image onscreen and mouse over it to see small areas magnified. Great for quickly checking focus in several areas of an image without having to repeatedly zoom in and out.

Aperture provides more options for adjusting sliders. I generally don't like dragging sliders, as I find it hard to be precise and consistent that way. So, I prefer to type in a number value, which Lightroom allows, or click on a little left or right arrow on either side of the number field, which Lightroom doesn't provide.

I really like Aperture's one-key shortcut for lifting adjustments from one image and stamping them onto others. When I have dozens of shots of one situation in unchanging light (i.e. onstage presentations), I adjust one, select the others, hit the "O" key and click the "stamp all" button. Done.

Aperture's tools for quickly editing, selecting and ranking make distilling my take really easy. I view three consecutive images together to compare them and hit a number key to star or reject. If I don't want to wait the 1-2 seconds it takes for an adjusted 1Ds Mark III RAW file to render while I'm zipping through, I hit the "P" key to switch to Quick Preview mode, which presents the embedded JPEG instantly. I can edit hundreds of images in minutes this way.

I love Aperture's tools for organizing images into folders, projects and albums. Generally, I create a project for each job and group photos within it into albums. If I want to share the project with a colleague, I can export it with the master RAW files embedded, and all adjustments and metadata go with it.

And, the brushable adjustments mean I almost never have to round-trip to Photoshop. Almost every available adjustment can be brushed in or brushed away, similar to masking in Photoshop. There are also brushes for healing, cloning, sharpening, blurring, smoothing skin, dodging, burning, and a bunch of other effects. Brush opacity is adjustable. The resulting masks can be edited at any time, as can the strength of most adjustments. Multiple iterations of an adjustment can be applied. For 99.9% of my retouching, Aperture is all I need.

Finally, I really appreciate the non-modal workflow. It just makes sense. I can't understand why Adobe thought dividing the process into Library, Develop and other modules was a good idea. In Aperture, all tools are available at all times. So, while I'm clicking through hundreds of images, I can stop for a second to brighten up an underexposed image before deciding how to rank it. No switching modes, no interface changes or extra clicks or keystrokes. The easy integration of adjusting with editing makes Aperture a no-brainer for high-volume work.

Lightroom's not bad. And, it has some nifty tools that Aperture currently lacks (but will likely include in version 4), such as lens correction and effective noise reduction. On those rare occasions where I need these tools, I use plugins. I just find that I work more efficiently with Aperture, and for me time is money. My business partner, who used both for a long time before committing to Aperture last year, agrees. He just works better with it.

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