MAC users, Aperture 3 or Lightroom 4?

Started Mar 18, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Tom2572 Senior Member • Posts: 1,129
Re: LR4 Lens Profiles ???

cptrios wrote:

I use both...I work mostly in Aperture, because I like the organization system about 1000x better than LR's (which is probably about half genuinely liking it better and half simply having "grown up" with it), but I send some things to Lightroom in certain circumstances. Here's a little list of my own takeaways:

Aperture Pluses:

• Better (in my opinion) low-ISO rendition of RAW detail

• Much, much better and more intuitive organization system

• Easier to use export system

• Ability to make (and have Apple print at competitive prices) completely customizable (down to page layout) photobooks

• I personally prefer rapidly hitting the "M" key (for "master") to quickly cycle back and forth between "before and after" images rather than use LR's split screen

• Slightly better RAW color rendition

LR Pluses:

• Much better handling of high ISO and noise reduction

• Better CA correction

• Ability to send multiple images to Photoshop as a smart object or layers

• Built-in lens profiles and distortion correction tools (totally lacking in Aperture)

• A bit faster

• Better watermark options

• Slightly better shadow/highlight adjustment

There are lots of things about both that are purely a matter of preference - one of the biggest of which is how each app handles your actual files on the hard disk. Aperture keeps them in a big library file (unless you tell it not to), whereas LR keeps them in a folder. Aperture also has a backup system called the "vault," which essentially keeps a persistently-updated dupe of your library on an external disk. LR just backs your files up to another folder. Frankly I don't know which of those I prefer!

The bottom line is that you can't really go wrong with either as long as you pick the one that has the features you want. One thing that's been mentioned already and is a little worrying is that Apple indeed does seem to be letting Aperture go a bit, so a lot will hinge on whether or not they actually bring out a new version at some point soon.

For me the CA correction and shadow adjustment capabilities trump everything else and is why I use Lightroom 4 even though Aperture is so much more integrated into the Mac universe. In certain high contrast situations like sunny afternoons in the city I'll deliberately underexpose rather than risk blowing out highlights confident that I'll be able to pull out shadow detail in post.

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