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Getting closer to an Aperture-Lightroom Decision

Monday 5 April 2010

I’ve working both sides of the Aperture-Lightroom street as of late and am not totally satisfied with either – yet.

For example, today I shot some RAW images and thought I would use both to see how they come up. Now, I’m not an entirely stupid person, but I did have some trouble working with IPTC data in both apps. In Aperture, I first had trouble even importing the images from a file that already existed on my hard drive (I uploaded the images through Bridge, first). It kept showing me an empty folder until I closed and re-opened Aperture. Secondly, IPTC data I thought I had added during import didn’t show. Adding it afterwards was no trouble.

The trouble I had with Lightroom was that data I entered for one image would not copy to other images – syncing metadata just didn’t want to work. I also had trouble de-selecting images after doing a “Select All”. Very frustrating – especially when doing the same in Bridge/ACR is so easy.

There are a few features that are driving me towards Aperture:

  1. I love the brighter interface of Aperture – I’ve set it to light grey with a white background. I find that if I use a grey or black background in my images, I don’t brighten them enough. Perhaps it’s my grounding in the wet darkroom, but I want to be able to compare the near white in my image to pure white which I get from the background. Lightroom comes across as “Darkroom” – with its dark grey facade, I feel like I am looking down a tunnel or through a cheap pair of binoculars at my image in middle between the Catalogue stuff on the left and the Adjustment panes on the right. So, for now, I am hiding the Catalogue panes in LR.
  2. I love how easy it is to switch between Library, Metadata and Adjustments in Aperture. W-W-W – it is also done with no delay, unlike LR which takes its time to switch modes.
  3. I have found one of the most intuitive ways of adding border and titles to, for my purposes, web images like the one here – a great plugin called BorderFX: http://www.iborderfx.com/. If you are still doing borders and titles with Photoshop – here’s a better way. It was one of the peeves with Aperture that Lightroom seemed to have the edge on (kind of) – but this is even better than LR’s print to file with it’s Identity Plate.
  4. I prefer Aperture’s adjustments and adjustment brushes to LRs in that you can add a brush for anything without leaving where you are.

However, there are some aspects of Lightroom I like better:

  1. I like the hide-away panels in LR. I prefer editing in full screen mode with a clean desktop – as few distractions as possible. Aperture also gives me that, but having the hide-away filmstrip at the bottom of LR is helpful.
  2. I find creating Presets to be more intuitive in LR.
  3. Also the Print “mode” is wonderful to work with.

One downer about Aperture is the very slow response time (on my Intel MacBook Duo Core 2.4GHz, 4GB ram) when using a number of operations – especially sharpening with the loupe open. OMG it’s slooooooooow!

So, where am I going with this – I don’t know quite yet. Overall, Bridge + ACR is still more intuitive to me than either. I print enlargements using an online service and books using full resolution jpegs I import into iPhoto. My cataloguing systems does need an overhaul. I am still suing folders with YYYYMMDD-DescriptiveTitle despite all of my images being keyworded and described. So I am wasting the keywords if I can’t actually search a database for images with specific keywords – so one or t’other would be ideal for that.

I think I need a few more weeks of playing.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ali Daniali permalink
    Monday 5 April 2010 5:09pm

    Thanks for the post. I’m going through a similar test as well and would like to know where you end up. BTW are you using LR beta?

    • Tuesday 6 April 2010 9:50am

      Currently I’m using LR2. For now, I want to avoid commenting on features that may be turned off in the beta version of LR3.

      I will be sure to post me results.

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