What is the best non-Adobe photo processing software for Apple?

Started Jun 20, 2013 | Discussions thread
Robgo2 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,968
Re: Aperture questions

MikeFromMesa wrote:

graybalanced wrote:

The way to answer this is to step back and think about why you need masking and layers.

In my particular case it is because I do a lot of low light photography. I have a full frame with excellent high ISO performance, but I still sometimes like to do selective noise reduction and sharpening, especially of the birds around where I live.

Typically I use layers to create one image for sharpening and another for noise reduction and/or blurring and then combine the two. While I have used different tools for this (sometimes Perfect Mask, sometimes, PhotoShop) lately I have been using Topaz's photoFXlab which does a good job with layers and with the plugins as well.

Aperture and Lightroom can use their own interface to fulfill many of the editing functions that you might have been forced to use layers and masks for in Photoshop. For example, the gradient and brush adjustments let you apply changes to parts of an image, and they do use a mask to do it, but there are no layers in the interface. The masking implementation does not require layers.

Gradients are nice, but since I am generally masking something from the middle of the image they don't really help address my needs.

If you want lens distortion correction, Aperture is out of the picture. Lightroom can correct lens distortions automatically or manually, and can even draw from a database of lens profiles generated by Adobe or users to correct for specific lenses instantly. You can have Lightroom correct for lenses as part of the preset you use as you import new images.

Lightroom noise reduction is considered some of the best, to the point that people started dumping the noise-reduction plug-ins they used to use. As far as I know Aperture is considered not quite up to Lightroom here.

Until I bought LR for my PC I had generally used Topaz DeNoise for noise reduction. After buying LR I found I did not need it anymore. Similarly PhotoNinja, with NoiseNinja 3.0, does a really first class job of reducing noise as well as raw conversion. Unfortunately PhotoNinja has a very restricted set of editing functionality. What it does, it does in a first class, top-of-the-class, sort of way, but it is missing some essential functionality.

I was hoping that Aperture might do everything I need, but perhaps I need to return to LightRoom. Thanks for the details.


It sounds as though you are looking for an all in one image editor, such as LR, Aperture or Capture One.  That's fine, but I'm sure that you realize the tradeoff involved, which is that such programs are not the best at any single aspect of their function.  For instance, now that you have gotten a taste of Photo Ninja's raw conversions, will you be satisfied with ACR/LR?  I know that I wouldn't.  That is why I prefer to use several different programs which work well together--Photo Ninja, CS6 and Photo Mechanic--and give me complete functionality.  But if integration is your highest priority, one of the options mentioned earlier should serve your purpose.


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