Aperture vs. iPhoto

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by dgalvan123, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. dgalvan123 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    With an 18-month-old and a new baby on the way, our family iPhoto libraries are growing at an alarming rate. Since large libraries slow down iPhoto's performance, I use iPhoto Library Manager (the free version) to manage separate libraries, one for each year. This works ok, but it is inconvenient when we want to make a greeting card or slideshow that contains photos from multiple years. Plus we can only see a small portion of our photos on our Apple TV, since iTunes only transmits the active/default iPhoto Library. Ideally, we'd like to have access to all our photos at the same time (ie: like having a single iPhoto library), without sacrificing performance.

    Due to my growing number of photos, I am currently doing the 30-day free trial of Aperture to see if it will improve our home photo cataloguing. (The better photo editing features are nice, but I doubt I'll use most of them, so they don't really interest me.) I've already imported my iPhoto libraries from the last 2.5 years into Aperture, and enjoy having access to all the libraries at the same time. I also like that the movies from my DSLR and iPhones display in the Aperture window instead of popping up in Quicktime like they do in iPhoto.

    I have some questions for the Aperture users around here.

    1: We have an Apple TV2 and frequently use it to browse our iPhoto library using the "Events" as our main categorization tool. It's nice to see the grid of iPhoto "Events" on our big TV. I can get the Aperture library on the Apple TV 2, but now we can only see the albums and events (or "projects") in the list-format, which is much less appealing to the eye, and takes much longer to find a given event/project/album. Is there any way to get the Aperture library to display its "projects" or events on the TV in the same grid-pattern as is available when using iPhoto?

    2: If my primary need is to improve our photo browsing/cataloguing performance (ie: speed of scrolling through lots of photos and speed of loading a photo to the full screen once it has been selected) and to be able to access ALL our photos easily for use in slideshows/books/greeting cards, is there an alternative strategy anyone would suggest? (Lightroom, paid version of iPhoto Library Manager, just boost my computer's RAM, etc.)

    Thanks in advance for your time!

    P.S.: I'm running this on a MacbookPro 17" 2.8 GHz with 4GB RAM running Snow Leopard. Running iPhoto '09 (I think that's version 8 point something) and the trial version of Aperture 3 (Version 3.12).
  2. BJMRamage macrumors 68020


    Oct 2, 2007
    I have no help but this is a good topic.

    I recently upgraded my iPhoto via a hard drive replacement on my iMac (late 2009 model) and have been thinking about an upgrade to Aperture.

    I have 30,000+ photos in my iPhoto library, with a child and a new DSLR (16mp up from 6mp) so I am shooting frequently and with larger files and notice some hang time when editing photos within iPhoto. and would love to be able to use the "adjust multiple photos" eat once feature of Aperture but not too sure about the $70 price.

    hopefully someone can chime in here.
  3. dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    Well, having used it for about a week now, I can give a preliminary assessment. I've labeled issues with whether they are better, worse, or the same as in iPhoto. So far, for my use, Aperture actually seems like it is a step backwards from iPhoto. I'm currently leaning toward just buying iPhoto Library Manager for $20 instead of Aperture for $80:

    Better than iPhoto:

    1. Editing: Aperture definitely has more editing options and capabilities than iPhoto. I especially like that you can see a quick preview of what your photo would look like if you apply a change, before you actually do it. But, since this is not something I do very often (I have tons of photos of my child to organize, and zero time to do any photo editing beyond removing red eye and cropping once in a while), this wouldn't be worth $80 to me.

    2. Videos: I definitely like Aperture's way of dealing with videos from DSLR and point-and-shoot cameras better than iPhoto. In iPhoto, you could organize your videos in the program, but then when you double-clicked one it would open quicktime and pop-up in a separate window. In Aperture, the video opens within Aperture itself, and you can trim it or include it in slideshows you make all within Aperture. This is definitely better.

    Worse than iPhoto:

    1. Apple TV: As far as I can tell Aperture is a step backward when it comes to viewing photos on my Apple TV. iPhoto allows you to see all your events on the apple tv screen in a 2D grid-like pattern where each event has a decent-sized thumbnail which changes photos when you leave the cursor on it, making it very easy to browse through your library and find the event you're interested in. The Aperture library does not provide that feature. It lists all your albums, events, and projects together as a single 1D list (similar to the list of "albums" when using an iPhoto library in your apple tv). And, as far as I can tell, this list is in random order. It is at least not ordered alphabetically or by date, and I can't find any setting to change that. This is very inconvenient for searching for a particular event or album on your TV screen, and turns the experience of viewing your photos on your TV from a joy (iPhoto) to a chore (Aperture). This deficiency on its own almost kills my desire to upgrade to Aperture, since we view photos from recent events on our Apple TV all the time, and I don't want to spend $80 to make that experience more difficult.

    2. Greeting Cards: Though it's hard to believe, Aperture has no greeting card feature at all. Aperture's photo BOOK feature is definitely more advanced than iPhoto's, allowing you to change the page-to-page format of the book, so I had just assumed it would have a similarly advanced greeting card generator. But it simply doesn't have one. We often use iPhoto's card feature to create greeting cards and then print them out ourselves. But if we switched over to Aperture, we could no longer do that. Why pay more money for fewer features? If I do upgrade to Aperture, I guess I'd just have to use iPhoto to open the Aperture library when I want to make a greeting card.

    No difference from iPhoto:

    1. Speed: I was hoping that Aperture would be faster in scrolling through lots of photos and bringing them to full screen than iPhoto had been, since Apple claims Aperture is designed to handle large libraries (http://www.apple.com/aperture/iphoto-to-aperture/). So far, I have noticed zero difference between iPhoto and Aperture in this regard, with the same size libraries (about 10,000 photos) delivering the same scrolling/browsing/loading speed between the two programs. I haven't done scientific tests on this yet, but neither program "feels" faster than the other. So it seems like I can cross off speed as one of the reasons to upgrade.

    Current conclusions:

    I was under the impression that Aperture was more advanced and had more features than iPhoto across the board, making it a natural upgrade path for consumers with large photo libraries. Instead, I've found it allows prosumers or professionals to edit and improve the appearance of their photos and slideshows, but lacks several of the consumer features that iPhoto users (or, at least, I) have become accustomed to. Hence, upgrading from iPhoto to Aperture means I'd be giving up some features and gaining others, instead of keeping all the features I have and adding more. There even seems to be a mindset that Apple expects people to use iPhoto only, OR Aperture AND iPhoto together, but not Aperture alone. IE: Aperture is an expansion to iPhoto, not a full replacement. See this page, which extolls Aperture's more advanced photo book features, and then tells you to use iPhoto to make greeting cards.: http://www.apple.com/aperture/resources/print-products.html

    I'll keep playing with it for the remainder of the 30-day trial (very glad Apple offers the free trial option!).
  4. BJMRamage macrumors 68020


    Oct 2, 2007
    hmmm, OK.

    I was hoping it would really increase the speed/performance but have heard from some that this is mainly with the newer 2010-2011 machines, NOT the older ones.

    I would love the ease of editing but then have grown accustom to the shortcuts and try to do that pretty quickly.

    Are you keeping your Aperture library on the machine or….I can't think of the terms they use buy maybe it is referenced files so it runs smoother?
  5. dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    Maybe there is more of a difference on newer computers, I don't know.

    For what it's worth: I am running iPhoto '09 (version 8.something) and Aperture 3.2 on a MacBook Pro Intel Core 2 Duo 2.8 GHz (mid-2009 model) with 4 GB RAM and the latest version of Snow Leopard.

    When you import your iPhoto library to Aperture, you have the option of making a new, separate Aperture library, with photos copied to a different location from your iPhoto library, OR to just leave the photos in the iPhoto library and access them through Aperture. I took the first option: copying all the photos to a different location and working from an Aperture library that was completely separate from my iPhoto libraries. This way none of the changes I make in Aperture affect my iPhoto libraries. But both libraries are sitting on my internal hard drive, so access-time should only be limited by RAM or processor speed as far as I can tell.

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