What is going on: why do so many reviews of Aperture say "it does not work"?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by xxmarkc, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2011
    Aperture is on my list of possible buys. Only delayed since I have not yet migrated from PC+Picasa.

    Every time I go to the app store and read reviews they are either "it is great" or "it does not work at all".

    There must be a simple explanation for this:

    1) The software is crap and roll a dice to find out if it will work on your PC (I find this hard to believe).

    2) Pilot error. There problem is the user - they don't know what they are doing.

    3) Old hardware / software. I have a 2011 iMac (around 10 months old) and always run the latest os)

    4) Something else?

    What do people reckon?
  2. macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Aperture works for me. I have never had any problems with it. I read some of the negative reviews and they are all novice users who expect it to work like entry level photography software. That's like buying Tesla Model S and complaining that the engine doesn't make noise and it's limited range. It's a different beast.
  3. macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2005
    It's a great tool for the serious photographer. Never had a problem with it - although like iPhoto it can get slow with very large libraries.

    Some folks like Aperture, some like Lightroom. Just a case of taking your pick, really.

    If all you're currently using is Picasa, however, you may well find that iPhoto is all you need (certainly if cataloging your photo library is your main purpose, iPhoto works just great).
  4. macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2006
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    I like Aperture... but only in the sense that I use it every day and it meets most of my needs. There was a learning curve when I first started using it, but now it's very familiar. I value Aperture as an organizational tool, though the search function is a bit slow (Google searches the www and provides results in less than a second; Aperture churns through my collection, looking for pix I've keyworded, say, with 'snow'... and gives me results... eventually).

    I do basis adjustments in Aperture. For anything more drastic, or for pix I'm uploading to my online image library, the pix get a round-trip into Photoshop Elements.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2008
    I'm a long time A3 user and am contemplating a switch to LR4. Aperture is a good app but the adjustments etc aren't up to modern standards anymore.
  6. macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    I have used Aperture since version 1, and I love it. It has never caused me a problem and does exactly what it needs to do. Although it has been at Version 3 for a while Apple have added additional functionality, at no additional cost. Most of my photo edits I can do within Aperture, without having to export into Photoshop.
  7. macrumors demi-god


    Jun 5, 2012
    I think people have an unrealistic expectation of absolute and unequivocal perfection from Apple and Apple products. Is Aperture the perfect photo software solution? It's not. However, Aperture is, without doubt, an excellent tool for a photographer to sort, edit and manage a large library of photos. Aperture has worked flawlessly for me on my base 2011 iMac.

    Aperture does not have an unlimited array of special effects and filters to apply to your photos. On the rare occasion that I want to do something really funky with a shot, I'll use the Pixelmator application that I picked-up on sale at the MAS for $15.00.

    I have to say though that I don't use the Adobe products so I can't comment on Aperture vs. Lightroom.
  8. macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    In terms of organisation I much prefer Aperture. The layout is much nicer and being able to pick a key photo for sets is nice.

    It's also nice to be able to organise by date whilst also having subset folders in the library panel.

    In terms of speed and staying up to date (new cameras, features, etc) Lightroom is my main workhorse. The develop module is great and there are a couple of great features that you won't find in aperture however, one that I really miss is the retouch touch from Aperture (essentially the healing brush tool from Photoshop).

    Have you downloaded the trial of Lightroom? Maybe give it a spin. I don't think there is a trial for Aperture but if there is I would check that out to.

    Not sure what sort of photography you are into but I found for portraiture that Lightroom is faster with my workflow than Aperture but I think that is really coming down to personal preference and "liking" where the tools are located.
  9. thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2011

    Thanks for replies

    My requirments are very straightfoward.

    I manually organise my photos on disk in a folder structure. Camera -> Year -> Month -> date. I have thousands not tens of thousands of photos.

    I then use Picasa to organise different views of my photos i.e. by person, by event etc. I hardly ever edit a photo. I do have pixlemator and gimp for that if needed.

    I a very wary of having my photos in an a "database" (but an happy to have meta data in a database). This is the one thing that has so far made me stick to PC+Picassa as the Picassa database does not hold my photos.

    Correct me if I am wrong but I think both iPhoto and Aperature put your photos in a db, but aperture allows you to have many dbs.

    If I did have to move to photos in a db I think I would still maintain a manually updated folder strucuture as I like to have many backups of photos.
  10. macrumors 68000


    Apr 3, 2010
    Big Sky country
    I agree with many who have posted so far. I love A3's organizational set up and use of smart albums and keywords. Although, as Dolyem pointed out searching can sometimes be slow. I have 8 GB of RAM which has helped speed things up. I use it for about 90% of my photos and use most of the adjustments within it. I have several presets that I set up that I will occasionally use. But mainly, I'll load photos and then go through them making minor tweaks within A3's various adjustment "bricks;" exposure, curves, levels, etc. I have NIK complete plug ins and PS to use on the other 10%. My learning curve was made much quicker by going to www.apertureexpert.com. I found that there is a wealth of info, teaching and assistance there.
  11. macrumors 68000

    Mar 26, 2008
    Near the end of the year I took advantage of a Lightroom sale (though I missed the best price) and switched to it. There has been some learning curve, of course, but I seem to have adapted to Lightroom fairly quickly. LR4 seems to be a better product compared to Aperture 3 now. My main reason for switching was the poor noise reduction implementation in Aperture. Lightroom does a much better job. I also like Lightroom's handling of exports to sites like Flickr, Facebook and Smugmug. Lightroom also has book creation built in now, which was one of the main reasons to use Aperture or iPhoto before LR4.

    I'm not getting rid of Aperture, though, because the majority of my photo library is still in it. I'm glad I won't need it going forward since iPhoto uses the same library now. iPhoto/Aperture still has uses for things like Photostream and syncing with my iOS devices. iPhoto can also do calendars where Lightroom can't.
  12. macrumors Pentium

    Jun 22, 2009
    I have both - haven't switched to LT4 yet.

    My issue with Aperture is the speed. It always seems to be "processing"

    My library is about 100gb. And is managed.

    I asked this on another thread - but I believe my issue with speed is because I'm using aperture in the managed capacity. If I switched to referenced I'm wondering if I would regain speed.

    That being said - I just use Aperture for organization. I do all my editing in photoshop.
  13. macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    It doesn't put your photos in a db, they are either stored as they are in an Aperture Library, a self-contained bundle which you can view by right-clicking (or option-clicking), or as a referenced library wherever you choose to put them, like an external drive. Aperture and Lightroom are non-destructive editors in that they don't touch the original file, they keep a record of all changes and applies them live, only "fixing the negative", as it were, on export. That data is kept in a database. The metadata is only applied to the original file if you tell it to. I like to apply metadata to the originals. Brushed-in effects utilise a b&w mask stored in the Library.
    iPhoto stores all your photos in its library, there is no option for a Referenced external one, but it recognises the Aperture referenced libraries.

    The folder structure of the photos can be determined on import or moved later; I have a preset for the structure I like which is the default on import.
  14. macrumors 65816

    Jun 18, 2010
    Lightroom does not store photos on a database. You even have the option to copy them to a Lightroom maintained folder structure, move them to those folders or leave them where the are. Even when you edit a photo Lightroom doesn't touch the original.
  15. macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    You are going to hate Aperture (or Lightroom) then. These two applications work best when you use them as intended; which is to let them manage where the photos physically reside, which lets you concentrate on managing the virtual folder/album/organizing structure. As others have pointed out above, your images themselves are not put into a database - but the database is the core of these applications.

    It is very easy to backup Aperture/Lightroom Libraries/Catalogues. You simply clump them into either a single folder or single HDD, and you back that up. Make sure you back up the database too. If you every need to recover you just copy them back.

    Concentrate solely on organizing your images with the virtual folders and albums, and you will very quickly find, I believe, that it is a far far superior system that what you have been doing so far. But you do have to leave the old method behind..... Though, I do recommend that people start by recreating their old filing system within the virtual folder/album structure of Aperture or Lightroom. To start with...
  16. James Craner, Jan 3, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013

    macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    snberk103 is so right, unfortunately the whole folder taxonomy thing is very much a PC mindset. You honestly don't need this with a program like Aperture or Lightroom as they are designed to be non destructive (you can still get back to your original RAW or JPG file) and you can use smart folders and tags to basically sort or show your photo's in any way you like.

    With Aperture you can create as many backups to as many different external hard disks as you like by using Vaults, which uses a incremental type backup process to only update the changes to a particular vault. You can export the original files any time you like. And if the worst comes to the worst you can open the Library package in the Mac Finder to get physical access to the original files if you really must as a last resort.

    That having being said I do keep my events sorted in a folder by year in Aperture. Each time I import photos from my camera i give the event a suitable name which includes the month and file under the folder of the relevant year.
  17. macrumors 68000

    Mar 26, 2008
    Sorry, I think you're both wrong. I create my own folder structure very similar to the original suggestion of camera -> year -> month -> day. Both Aperture and Lightroom work perfectly fine with this structure. You can create backups from this to a separate location just fine this way, too. Since Lightroom doesn't actually manage the storage of the originals, this works well for it. It made it very easy to switch from Aperture to Lightroom since I could just point Lightroom to my already existing originals folder structure and import just what I wanted from that.
  18. macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar

    As others have said its personal preference between Lightroom and Aperture. I've used Lightroom since beta but prefer Aperture to LR (the only thing I like that LR does that aperture doesn't is the dark menu interface).

    I didn't like Aperture at first until I learned the keyboard shortcuts, now I love it.
  19. James Craner, Jan 3, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013

    macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    I am not familiar with Lightroom, but in Aperture you can export all of your pictures at any time with the folder layout that you suggest. See screenshot of Aperture's Export dialog box. If a computer can do all this for you, why do it manually?


    While I am sure you have some good reasons why your method works for you, it just feels like extra effort for little gain to me. I have a 600GB photo library and I need to use the Vault functionality to make incremental backups to external hard disks. I would rather spend time editing photos than maintaining a computerised filing cabinet, but each to their own I guess.

    I must confess I am slightly biased as I spend a lot of time working out how a computer and workflow can make you more productive. If I can avoid doing anything manually where a computer can help, then I will do.
  20. macrumors 68000

    Mar 26, 2008
    I don't spend any time maintaining it. They go to the folders and stay there. Aperture's Vault works just fine with that structure, too. Since I'm not using Aperture anymore, it was very easy for Lightroom to be able to use the same folder structure I already had in place.
  21. macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    In this case, I agree with what you are doing. Except that in my case this is also Lightroom's default setting, and it is doing this for me. I just import the images and it maintains the Year>Month>Day structure. I don't bother with the camera bit because that is maintained as a metadata and I can filter on that, or set up a Smart Collection (in Aperture a Smart Album).

    However.... this is not the same thing that James and I were advising against, I think. It is when people start creating file system level folders and sub-folders that are topic/theme/subject dependent that they are working too hard. And if they are building these nested folder systems instead of using the Album/Collection system inside Aperture/Lightroom that I suggest that they are "doing it wrong".
  22. macrumors 65816

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    I've been using Aperture for years. Works fine.
  23. macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2013
    Aperture 3.4 Works Fine

    I've been using Aperture since version 2, in what Aperture calls a referenced mode (that is, my photos are stored in my own folder structure but are referenced in my Aperture library). Since owning a Fujifilm X-Pro 1, I have been using LR4 in a 30-day trial on one Mac to edit the X-Pro1's RAW files, since Apple has yet to offer a RAW converter (hopefully this will happen with Aperture 4). I plan to download the LR4 demo on my other Mac when the 30 days run out on the first machine unless Apple introduces a RAW converter in the meantime.

    I do 90% of my editing of the RAW files from my Canons (5DMIII, 50D, and S95) in Aperture, exporting to Nik's Silver Efex Pro only for black and white conversion and editing, or to Photoshop when I need its layering capability or to use its usually superior clone and context-aware healing tools.
  24. macrumors 68000

    Mar 26, 2008
    Okay, that makes sense. However, I can see why someone would do that because it makes it easier to just look at the folder structure to figure out what's in it. You can also do that just by naming the files in a useful way when they import. So the folder naming could be a bit of overkill. But, I'm not going to go so far to say it is wrong if it works for them.
  25. thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2011
    I guess for me it is is because I want an application independent and operating system independent way of getting at all my photos. This is why I am stuck in the folder structure PC mind set!

    I do not want my life stored in an application database that only one application running under one operating system can read.

    I agree with the observation that building a complex folder structure is overkill.

    I did not realise the in retrospect obvious point that putting camera at the top of my hierarchy was redundant since camera is in the meta data of a photo.

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