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Aperture - vs - Lightroom (Trial)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by -hh, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. -hh
    macrumors 68020


    Initial Impressions, based on a start-up of both trial versions this past weekend.

    Hardware: SP 1.8GHz G5 PowerMac; 1.5GB RAM.

    Data: An iPhoto library of roughly 13,000 images.

    Project: within the above, I have 1500-2000 photos from a 2004 trip to Peru. I want to go through and find them all, add Metadata tags to help keep them sorted & organized, and time permitting, sift through them for the keepers and assemble them into some sort of photo album (maybe a slide show too). Motivation to do this is because we've missed making this trip's photo album. The still images in question are either 4MP JPEGs from a Canon A80, or 6MP JPEGs that are from scans of the 35mm film (done by the film developer). The rest of the digital images are probably around half from the A80 and half from my newer Canon D20 (8MP). There's few (if any) RAW files in the iPhoto library, although there are some .MOV files and some assembled Panoramas. IIRC, the total iPhoto database size is somewhere around 10-13GB.

    The saga so far:

    1. (Saturday) Downloaded both of the 30 day trial versions & installed each.

    2. (Sunday AM) Asked Aperture to import my existing iPhoto library (13K images). Did some work in Aperture, then quit (see note A).

    3. (Sunday PM) Asked Lightroom to import the same iPhoto library (13K images). Did a bit less work, then let it sit overnight.

    4. (Monday AM) Restarted Aperture & let it have the computer while I'm at work today to continue to work on building its database (Vault / Thumbnails).

    Notes & Observations (so far):

    a. Aperture took around 6 hours to do the initial import. Trying to work with it to do some basic organizational metadata entries was very boggy/slow, which I conjecture at this time was probably due to it performing background activities of building its database ("Vault") and Thumbnails...this is based on a dialog of "I'm not done" (sic) when I went to quit, plus some confirming info that I found when restarting it today - a count of items still to be put into Vault and creation of Thumbnails. I'm hoping that performance will improve significantly once it is done with this "initialization" type of work.

    b. Lightroom appears to have taken significantly less time; probably 4 hours. Even while it was still importing, it wasn't as "locked up" and unresponsive as Aperture was. So far, it is a lot more responsive than Bridge has been.

    c. My current approach is to give each application a big chunk of free time to do whatever it wants to do in order to get to the point that it considers itself to be fully "set up" with however it prepares its database. While it might be a bit unrealistic to start with 13K images, it seems that this is probably at least a good stress test.

    More to follow; comments welcome.

  2. j26
    macrumors 65816


    Look forward to seeing how this turns out. I'm planning on trying them out in the summer.

    I'm interested to hear the usability when it's imported
  3. -hh
    macrumors 68020


    Day 2

    d. Gave Aperture yesterday and last night to do more Vault work (thumbnails, etc). Didn't seem to make much progress - - then actually wrote down the numbers before/after the overnight run: it made ZERO progress overnight!

    e. Searched through Aperture's menus to see if there was some wrong setting where it wasn't doing this updating in the background; no luck. Quit the application - - got the "I'm still working, are you sure?" message (its been there every time that I've quit), but this time hit the "continue" option in hopes that maybe hitting the other option (override to quit) perhaps caused it to not work at all when Aperture's been running. Will see tonight if it made any difference.

    f. Because of the above, I've still not done much work in Aperture. A plus for Aperture is that it retains iPhoto's "roll" paradigm, which helps to group photos from the same shoot. But a minus is that I have found that the tool to add metadata & copyright info doesn't seem as intuitive as I'd like: I probably now have several 'rolls' that only have the first and/or last image that have had the data appended, even though I did do a 'select all'. Odd.

    f. Ran Lightroom, with the objective to go find my Peru photos. Found that LR doesn't use the "rolls" paradigm, which made it hard to find the desired images within the total. LR does have a 'narrow by date' tool, but I'm not sure that it really works correctly. In any event, the previous grouping by 'roll' has also been lost, and I've yet to figure out the logic by which it has assembled the images. Part of the problem here is probably due to most of these images having been digital scans of film from the photoshop that they delivered to me on CD-R's...there's probably not any EXIF data for LR to use, and its not even grouped by its prior "rolls" import, even if the "rolls" aren't being identified by name. As such, the stuff is very random, like a shuffled deck of cards. I've not been able to find any LR tool to sort the images by name, date or whatever ... yet. I can't believe that it wouldn't be present, so I suspect that its simply not enough time looking for it yet.

    g. Lightroom also appears to have a good amount of duplicate images in it. Not sure where this is coming from (perhaps the original source?), but one of these two applications did advertise a "kill dupes" option. Wish I could remember now which one it was that had this (I suspect it wasn't Lightroom!)

    h. Eventually found the peru pic's in LR and did a group select and dumped them into the "Quick Group". After I was pretty sure that I had gotten them all, I then created a new folder for them and dragged them over there. It then took a bit of trial-&-error to figure out how to purge the "Quick Group" cleaned out, but was successful in getting it done (somehow).

    i. Within the new folder, started to figure out how to go through and do a quick review and rotate photos to vertical, etc. There's an available option that allows you to add Previous/Next ("<-- -->") icons to the bottom bar's tab that makes going through multiple images easier. The "slide holder" for each image has several icons on them that appear to be for various options - - number of stars, if it is/isn't within a particular folder, "good/bad" flags, etc. Looks like these will be useful, once I figure most of them out.

    More to follow; comments welcome.

  4. -hh
    macrumors 68020


  5. macrumors 601

    Been an Aperture user for about 2 months. I just started using Lightroom yesterday to test it out. Wow ... just wow ... I'm definitely sticking with Lightroom.

    Far more features, far better navigation and GUI layout.

    The only thing that Aperture has on it is integration with iTunes so that all my Photos will go on my AppleTV.

    But whatever, I stick all my final works in iPhoto anyway. Same thing, only it gets updated far less often. :p
  6. macrumors 6502

    Hey Guys,

    not trying to hijack this thread, but I am really curious about the organizational workflow in LR (I actually just posted this as another thread topic). Mind sharing either here or in the new thread?

    What info do you add when you important?
    Do you let LR create folders by date on your disk - does that get too cluttered too quick?
    Do you organize/re-organize the folders within LR or do you only do collections?
    Do you rename every picture? Or do you just add keywords?
  7. macrumors 6502

    I can't speak for Aperture, but LR has this option. When you import, there's an option called "Ignore Suspected Duplicates". It's worked well for me so far.
    As for how LR orders things, there are a lot of options and I don't understand all of them yet (only bought the app last Thursday). I think the success of the options depends on how you imported the images. I chose to copy the images to a new location, ordered by date. I can then browse by date, find the pictures I want then create a new collection based on the selected images. I'm not sure how this will work out as my library grows, but it seems ok for now.

    EDIT: @ artalliance: I'm not a pro, so could be doing this wrong, but my workflow is to just prepend the date to the image filename as I import. I do all my edits in LR and if I need to export the images, I rename the files then. Can't see much point otherwise. As for keywords, I just give each "shoot" a title and add that, so "San Jose 2007" for instance. I can then use that to create a selection from which to create a collection, then once I have my keepers flagged, I add more keywords. It's very flexible, and a pro would probably have a more structure flow, but it's whatever suits you.
  8. -hh
    macrumors 68020


    Not a problem...I'm trying to sort out what I want my workflow to be.

    (Important = import)?

    For this trial, I didn't add any info when I pulled the stuff over from where it was stored in iPhoto ... in hindsight, maybe I should have, but I don't really think that it should have mattered too much in this case, since the only tag that they all would have had in common would have been my copyright.

    What I had been trying to do in Bridge and iPhoto was to add a (C) and some basic metadata while on the initial import.

    IIRC, this is what iPhoto does..? I generally prefer to avoid doing this, and prefer to group by broad topic (ie, vacation trip). I can then sort by name to narrow it to a specific date.

    I'd like to do better organization than what LR imported for me. A work in progress.

    In general, the filename format that I've been using since before digital is date based. A photo taken today would be named "20060410xxxx". When I was doing this with film, the 15th slide/negative on the 2nd roll shot that day would be "20060410.1-15" Part of the reason for this convention was that I was doing Underwater photography, and the date with roll# was straightforward for me to cross-reference to my dive log to be able to identify what dive site the film was shot on.

    With digital, I've been changing my naming convention. I've prefixed the filename with a camera identifier and suffixing with that camera's sequence number: "20D_20060117_4275.jpg". I have the equipment designator as a cue for me to be aware that there's a RAW file available after I've culled based on the smaller/faster JPEGs, and the sequence number is to address how to make multiple shots on the same date have a unique name.

    When I drop the file onto my website, I may rename it, or I may get lazy and append it somehow. For example, this file became "hawk(20D_20060117_4275)c.jpg"

    In going digital, I found that Bridge was able to do batch renames of files and it could pull the date out of the metadata so as to standardize things for me. Only problem has been that Bridge is for whatever reason on my G5, a very slow batch renamer.

    In the meantime, for the stuff that I already have in iPhoto, I've been learning the value to have metadata keywords assigned, so I'm starting to go through and do that now. My first cuts at doing that have been to take an entire photo shoot (ie, vacation) and put a tag on them, to pull them into an iPhoto smart folder, from which I can then tag them a second time to cull them down into keepers. Just keep on making new smart folders and adding a tag for each level of culling. Its probably not what the designers intended, but it worked.

  9. -hh
    macrumors 68020


    This sounds very familiar and I thought that I had selected it. Wonder if there's a way to do it after the import is complete? :)

  10. macrumors 68030


    I did the same thing on an iMac G5 2.1 GHz and

    the result for me with Aperture was that it is just unusable slow

    Lightroom was ok from a speed perspective but I didn't liked the fact that it doesn't integrate with the other iLife apps where I use my pics and I didn't liked the integrated slideshow.

    Result - I am sticking with iPhoto. Have high hopes for version 08 ( I guess the skip 07)
  11. macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    See, I just don't get this. I used to use Aperture on my old 1.25GHz Powerbook G4. It was definitely slow, but it was useable (I would get irritated with it occasionally). On my C2D Macbook Pro it flies.

    So when I read someone on a reasonably fast computer - and I recall even seeing one person with a dual-proc Intel Power Mac say something similar - I wonder what's going on. It's hard to believe that anyone's expectations could be that out of touch with reality; so I assume there is actually something causing this problem on particular computers. But it's hard to see what could be causing that level of problems specifically in Aperture.
  12. macrumors 6502

    Just checked and can't find a way to do it. I guess as long as your collections/shoots aren't too big, it's not unthinkable to scan the thumbs in library mode and spot the duplicates.
  13. macrumors 68000


    If you use iPhoto for final work, would you have to export your Lightroom photo in order to import it into iPhoto?
  14. -hh
    macrumors 68020


    Day 3

    Still not sure what's going on, but Aperture does seem a lot less unresponsive now. Put aside Lightroom for the day to see how workflow was on Aperture.

    j. Now doing the same in Aperture. Because of the iPhoto carryover of "rolls" for grouping of images based on how they were imported, I've been working in groups of 36 of the digitized film imports. Response time is generally acceptable.

    k. Entering metadata tags on groups & subgroups seems to be working okay (dang, I need to double-check this); found that Aperture does "auto-complete" on your text entries, and it has some meta-names already in its library ("wildlife", etc). I did discover accidentally (by entering both "Peru" and "peru") that the tagging appears to be case-sensitive which I suspect will can only end up causing headaches :mad:

    l. Stacking: I did discover an instance where Aperture had stacked two instances of the same exact photo automatically. It appears to be the original + modified, probably done in iPhoto, since they're both the same filename. The reason I mention this is that they were part of a group that I had been adding metadata tags on - - and the "inside the stack" image did NOT get the metadata added. I've yet to find another stack to see if this behavior is repeatable, but if it is, failure to apply a metadata tag to all instances within a selected stack is IMO a huge shortcoming.

    m. Rotating individuals & groups works out okay. Haven't found where the "Star" rating controls are - - in LR, these were part of the UI of the "slide frame" and very convenient to find/use. Since Aperture doesn't include this "slide frame" UI, the info isn't right with the thumbnail. I'd give points to LR for this slide frame UI feature. Also LR allows for 3 ways to tag images: stars, a good/bad flag, plus colors. In the long run, I think I'd prefer to have this flexibility, as I can anticipate using color to do fast/simple coding of elements that I might not necessarily want in the metadata, and I can use the flags for the final culling steps within a group of technically great shots (high stars) of all the same subject to just the "one" image for that particular end application.

    n. Throughput in probably ~2 hours (including interruptions) was roughly 20 * 36 = 720 images that have been metadata tagged and image rotated. Because of the library chaos, the rolls are not in true date-sequence, but I plan on fixing that by renaming each roll; I think that I can "alphabetize" them to create the approximate time-sequence order. The real problem here was that I made a mistake 3 years ago when I failed to do any organization of the film scans when I first imported them, so I'm still paying the price one way or another.

    More to follow, but not for a couple of days (on the road): "To be continued...", hopefully early next week. Overall, I'm still undecided as to which one will suit me better.

    And as always, comments welcome.

  15. -hh
    macrumors 68020


    I haven't tried it yet, but I suspect that this would be the case.

    Since iPhoto can import an entire folder in a single shot, this isn't the hard part: the hard part might be what amount of organization & information comes over with it that you need to use in iPhoto.

    A lot will depend on what you're doing. For example, if you've done all of your culling down to your keepers in LR, it I'd probably not expect it to be a big deal if they come over "naked" if your objective is merely to throw a hundred of them into an iPhoto album for printing, etc.

  16. macrumors 68000


    What I'm asking really is if I edit a few photo's in Lightroom, could I get them into iPhoto without creating another copy. (The Edited version that is)
  17. macrumors 68030


    Actually - I am wondering as well. Because I really wanted to use Aperture but it really is too slow.
  18. macrumors regular


    I love Lightroom. I even bought it today. What made me choose it over Aperture? My current Mac set-up is only 512mb of Ram :( (Purchasing a new Mac this summer once a new line hits) and Lightroom works flawlessly on it whereas Aperture will not even install itself.
  19. macrumors 6502

    And I love, love, love the Develop Module and the tight Photoshop integration (it stacks the Photoshopped version with the original version right back into LR).
  20. macrumors Penryn


    The benefits of Lightroom beta 4 outweigh the benefits of Aperture, IMO. I thought the release of Lightroom with stacks and versioning would make it perfect, but it hasn't because I'm under the impression that this is also what happens in Lightroom. :rolleyes: If I add metadata to the photo on top of a stack, and then I reveal all the photos in the stack, the other photos don't share the same metadata. I really think it should. I stacked them because they're similar and were taken together.
  21. macrumors newbie

    ive been using LR for a bit now (b4 + retail), and imported everything from iphoto.

    using iphoto and LR together
    yes it can kind of work, as LR doesnt care where the photos are BUT it probably wouldnt be worth it since:
    a) editing - nope, since iphoto both cache, both do non-destructive editing.
    b) tags/keywords - would not be reflected in either app as are stored in the 'database'

    not really a fault of either iphoto or LR , and would be same in any app (e.g. aperture) - as the above are done for performance

    importing from iphoto, and rolls
    rolls = folders in LR (imho)
    when i did my import:
    a) i made sure iphotos used rolls as directories (think this is the only way to organise in iphoto now (?)
    b) then you can import one roll at a time from iphoto, and then can become folders in LR

    in the end - there was no difference at all between iphotos rolls and LR folders (LR beta used to call folders - 'shoots' , but changed for some reason) ... and as long as you edit for folder names in LR, they get reflected on the disk.

    as for the import process, and be made less 'painful' by creating xmp sidecars - i actually created a small program to create xmp files for all my photos, which contained the comments, description, author and keyword which meant i got these copied across to LR from iphoto (for raw files only :( )

    i think you could do the same with PictureSync, (but i didnt as wanted to 'play' with LR, and see how it ticked :))

    stacks sharing meta data
    can sympathise with this, but depends on what your using metadata for,
    e.g. i use keywords to tag not only subjects, but also what ive done with the photo e.g. if ive published it to flickr or not ... in the later case i want the only the specific photo to be tagged not the whole stack.

    kill dupes on import
    id be careful about using this, i had a problem with this not importing non-dupes.... what id did was (i was fortunately only 'playing' at the time) :
    i) took 2 picture on my camera - imported directly from camera and did NOT delete the photos - all ok so far :)
    ii) took another photo with camera, and then did import again
    - it complained about dupes, and said it would ignore BUT it did also did not import the 3rd picture.

    i need to investigate this a bit more, but seemed to be a bit problematic, so im going to avoid for time being (anyways, doesnt affect me... as i usually import and then delete off camera, so i should never have dupes anyway)

    general thoughts
    there are a couple of things im not too keen on in LR
    a) stacking, not as 'intuitive' as it could be
    b) quick slideshow, was a bit simpler in iphoto
    c) sycning libraries e.g. i want to be able to keep a copy on my home mac, and laptop... and then import changes. (think this will be in v2, as its commonly requested)

    some of the things in LR i love are:
    a) performance - even on my G4 imac 1.25ghz! .
    b) heirachy for keywords, and general keyword handling
    c) printing - quality is excellent
    d) editing... actually more altering levels, removing dust spots - so quick and simple and knowing you original is untouched
    e) openess, ive been checking out the database it uses... and can easily see myself being able to programmactically perform useful tasks ... and thats even before the SDK is released!

    (sorry so long, but thought i might help others)
  22. macrumors 6502a

    @-hh: your test is seriously flawed.
    1. AP and LR's intended use is for RAW Workflow, DAM (Digital Asset Managemetn) and Outputing (or mostly Batch Printing for that matter). The only thing you've shown was DAM. You did not show anything related to RAW Workflow and Batch Printing.
    2. AP and LR's intended use is for RAW Workflow, DAM (Digital Asset Managemetn) and Outputing (or mostly Batch Printing for that matter). The only thing you've shown was DAM. You did not show anything related to RAW Workflow and Batch Printing.
    3. initial importing from an image library that you already have, is a one-time process. you could have always let the computer do this when you're not working with it (i.e., at night, when you're sleeping?), and when you come back, it's done. so, yeah maybe one program imports and organizes the library faster than the other, but really it doesn't matter that much.
  23. -hh
    macrumors 68020


    I'm sure its going to have shortcomings, not the least of which is that I'm not going to be able to get everything that I *want* to do done within the 30 day window.

    Mostly because I've not gotten that far yet. I started with the iPhoto import because that IMO *should* have been easy, and which would have been less stress on the hardware than the RAW.

    (repeated text) Not sure what you intended to say here yet..?

    I've already done what you proposed; please go back and read notes (a) through (d) where it was documented.

    To amplify on this a bit more right now, I'll add note (o):

    o. To date, I've given Aperture at least 30 hours completely unattended with it active (only app running: Mail). The first ~10 hours was for it to do the iPhoto import, plus an additional 20+ hours for it to "get itself organized" from the iPhoto import to store things in its Vault.

    Despite this many hours of runtime, it still reports that 182 rolls (out of 203) have not been put into the Vault, as well as 12642 images which have NOT been thumbnailed. Consequently, I am still wondering (and looking) to see if I had somehow accidentally disabled the system from being able to do this as a background task. The other alternative might be that it doesn't Vault-ize rolls/thumbs until one manually clicks into that directory...?

  24. macrumors Demi-Goddess

    Clix Pix

    Do you have enough hard drive space for all this? That may be why Aperture has stopped importing? Do you have "previews" turned on or off? The Aperture vault is supposed to be a separate hard drive -- is that how you've got things set up?

    As was mentioned, Aperture really is meant for processing RAW digital images and quick DAM (data asset management), and that may be part of your problem....
  25. -hh
    macrumors 68020



    p. I've found the "Vault Problem". It turns out that the vault has completed its operations, but the (I'll call it a) "Warnning" that I was seeing at time of App startup is because of a limitation. found where to "re-run" the Vault on the menus and the dialog there for starting up a new vault explains it all:

    "Referenced Files will not be included. These will need to be backed up separately.

    Vaults provide auto backup of all Master Files stored in the Application Library Master Files...referenced images are stored elsewhere and are not backed up in Vaults.

    Adjustments, ratings and other information are included for all images, regardless of file location."

    In other words, because I did an import on my existing iPhoto without making new copies, Aperture is completely incapable of ever putting them into a backup vault. The best I'll get is that the Adjustments & Ratings that I've applied to them in Aperture get saved within Aperture - - and I've also found that Aperture doesn't synchronize any of its Rating or Metadata information back into iPhoto.

    q. I imported 71 RAW files into both Apps last night, and made them into their own project on each. Neither had the extensive set of controls w/preview like one sees when opening a RAW within Photoshop CS2, but there are some sliders here and there to manipulate the color temperature and so forth. Overall, I quickly developed a significant preference for Lightroom.

    r. Looking beyond the import and DAM factors, I spent some time looking at the "develop, print, etc" modules. In general, I found Lightroom significantly more intuitively organized, in no small part because of its use of words instead of tiny "guess at what I do" icons. In looking quickly at the various output options (web, etc), my initial impression of the Aperture template choices was "UGLY", and I viewed Lightroom's option of either HTML or Flash as a nice option.

    Overall, I'm leaning towards Lightroom, even though I have a discount with which I can get Aperture at a discount (merely ~$50 more than LR's current "$199 until 4/30" price).


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