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More on Aperture and Lightroom

Friday 16 April 2010

Okay – I’m still not satisfied with either.

I just finished an afternoon shoot of 100 shots – all done in raw. I have processed them using 3 different methods: ACR 5.x via Bridge; Lightroom 2.6 and Aperture 3.0. Here’s what I found:

  • In ACR 5.x I zipped through them – mostly because I am thoroughly familiar with the keyboard shortcuts. I did some Exposure correction, some Auto Exposure, some Adjustment Brush, some Graduated Mask very quickly and efficiently;
  • In Lightroom, I was slowed down slightly due to being less familiar with the keyboard shortcuts however I picked them up rather quickly, specifically K for Adjustment Brush and M for Graduated Filter
    • I did find Lightroom a bit frustrating in that I couldn’t simply tab to exposure values like I could in ACR – I had to trackpad over and click in the Exposure box. I found I could use the L and R cursor keys which sped things up somewhat, but I didn’t like the intervals as much
    • I also noticed that the scale for the Graduated Filter changed from whole numbers to decimal numbers – perhaps due to previous masks I created in ACR. It seems odd that the numerical value should change like this.
    • If I want to print jpegs to file, I should be able to save them to a different folder using the same filename – Lightroom won’t let me unless I “Export” the jpegs using a somewhat less sophisticated interface – similar to the ACR interface for saving images. While creating and running a Photoshop action through Bridge may sound intimidating – I can ensure exactly what my output will be like in every regard – but than I can through Export, yet similar to “Print to File” but with the bonus of keeping my naming structure.
    • I still can’t get used to the dark grey interface
    • on my MacBook Pro Intel 2.4GHz laptop, Lightroom still hesitates a few seconds before I can interact with each new raw image – there is no hesitation in ACR 5.x. In fact, ACR, the Adjustment Brush and GRaduated mask pins appear immediately
    • Perhaps it is my incompetence with the Lightroom interface, but I don’t find it intuitive to synchronize adjustments over a series of images without having to create a preset.
    • As with all computer monitors, I have more Left-Right real estate then Top-Bottom so I would like the thumbnails to be along the left like they are in ACR. I like the way they “Hide” along the bottom, but I don’t need the Presets found along the left as often as I need the Thumbnails.
  • In Aperture… WHERE IS THE GRADUATED FILTER?? I’ve just gotten so used to using it. This is pretty much a deal-killer for me using Aperture as a total solution. Also…
    • the Auto Exposure setting does a much better, cleaner job than in Lightroom
    • I don’t like the Hot-Cold cutoffs – even set at 100% I have clipping if any one colour is at 253 pixels. I would prefer to set the Hot and Cold thresholds to Luminance as I have done with the Histogram (why can’t the two settings be tied into one another?)
    • Perhaps it is my incompetence with the Aperture interface, but I don’t find it intuitive to synchronize adjustments over a series of images. With ACR and Lihtroom I set the adjustments for one image, select all and click on “Synchronize” to have one, some or all of the adjustments applied to the other images.
    • Perhaps it is the Browser that could use some work… When I select images,  I don’t see any change to indicate the images that are and are not selected. I iPhoto, a thin yellow line appears around the selected images – in Aperture, nothing. Even Lightroom the borders go light grey to indicate selected image.

So where does this leave me? Well, I’m back to square one – that is, I’m not totally satisfied with either Lightroom or Aperture and I am not yet ready to move from Photoshop-Bridge-ACR to either. If anyone out there has some insights into this I would appreciate hearing from you.

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