Aperture vs. Lightroom Smackdown - Which Is Better?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by astrostu, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. astrostu macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I've ordered a new MacPro and will finally be able to use this photo software. My question is - which is better? My understanding is that Lightroom is basically Photoshop's Camera RAW software with some dressing up, workflow improvements, and non-destructive editing (which you can do anyway in Photoshop). Aperture is basically the same, but it allows more of a free-form workflow. But all-in-all, their feature set is fairly similar ... right?

    I read a comparison when they first came out over a year ago (I think), and I was slightly leaning more towards using Aperture based upon the comparison. But then again, I use Photoshop a lot and I'm thinking Lightroom might be more seamless in its integration with Photoshop.

    Basically, I'm looking for advice, or reasons to go one way or the other.
     
  2. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #2
    Download both trials and see which works best for you. There is no right or wrong answer (but don't trust your originals to only the database of either choice.)
     
  3. Aperture macrumors 68000

    Aperture

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    #3
    Yes, that is the best answer. They are comparable products and since you have Mac Pro you won't have to worry about system requirements. I believe LR does have better integration with PS, but I have found Aperture's integration to suffice. I, personally, use Aperture because I don't like having to conform to Adobe's workflow.

    Do a forum search and you will find countless other threads that might help you out. Either way, the best way to choose is to download both and use them for a few weeks. Aperture does have a slight learning curve so give it time.
     
  4. speakerwizard macrumors 68000

    speakerwizard

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    #4
    book a personal shopping on aperture in an apple store and get some pointers.
     
  5. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #5
    Yeah, I know I'm just "piling on" to what's already been said; but the preference varies from person to person. Some people prefer Lightroom's somewhat enforced structure (you develop in the Develop module; you print in the Print module; etc.). It's tools are very much like Photoshop's; so if you're familiar with Photoshop (most of us are, at some level) and/or are not real patient, Lightroom might very well be your preference. Plus Lightroom's system requirements are somewhat lighter than Aperture's.

    Personally, I prefer Aperture. I like being able to load the adjustment HUD from anywhere in the program. Now that I'm used to the tools, I really like them. I love the web pages it generates. But you really have to use it for a while to give it a fair shake.

    But as the others have already said, you don't need to take my word (or anyone else's) on anything - you can download 30 day fully-functional trials of both programs.
     
  6. 66217 Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    #6
    Aperture works pretty well with Photoshop, it is easy and fast. Not sure how LT manges it, but it can't be much better.

    What was the major point for me when choosing either Aperture or LR was the organization. Aperture gives you many ways to do it, since you have Folders (blue and brown), Albums, Projects, and Smart Albums.

    In LR it seemed to me you had very little options to organize your photos. Tho one feature I just loved about LR is the painter, it is very useful for keywords and so.

    So try them both, and then choose which one you like the best.
     
  7. chriscorbin macrumors 6502

    chriscorbin

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    #7
    Have you used the bridge, for me its the best option. I am avoiding aperture until it is more stable (lost 2 libriares and 3 Vaults) and I am also avoiding it because i paid apple 2000+ dollars for a top level pro laptop of the 15in spectrum and aperture runs like crap on it, really i gave you $2000 and your software barely runs on it, and i cant justify paying for lightroom because i end up going into photoshop any to add more blur or remove blemishes any so i might as well use ACR anyway. what it boils down to, for me anyway is budget-

    Adobe design premium CS3 student-600
    Aperture-300
    Lightroom-300 plus photoshop is a must
    Bridge and ACR -=comes with design premium

    I feel photoshop is a must so aperture or lightroom it's just not enough for me.

    In the end it just comes down to personal prefrence
     
  8. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    #8
    There are an incredible amount of threads on this already.

    Please STFM!
     
  9. James L macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Somebody needs a hug.
     
  10. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #10
    If you get into to both of them deep enough to understand what the strengths and weaknesses of both apps are, you will learn the most important thing of all about Aperture and Lightroom:

    They will both annoy you and piss you off for various reasons. Honestly if there were ever a reason that I would have to leave Aperture or Lightroom alone, I would get along just fine with Bridge, Time Machine, and basic folder organization.
     
  11. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #11
    M?

    I thought it was an F.
     
  12. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    TX
    #12
    Hey... you're right.

    Hm... I wonder what I meant when I said "M". That's weird.
     
  13. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #13
    Search
    The
    Forums
    MAN!
     
  14. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #14
    You got it confused with "RTFM".
     
  15. qtpie36963 macrumors member

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    Jan 9, 2008
    #15
    Lightroom is basically Photoshop Lite with a user friendly interface! It's a nice program if you've never done editing before or don't want to do a whole lot. Aperture is a decent program and also has a user friendly interface. Photoshop and Aperture can be a little intimidating if your new to editing!

    If you plan to do advanced editing do not go with Lightroom. Lightroom only allows you to do basic darkroom editing (i.e. color, hue, red eye, etc...) Photoshop allows you to major manipulation to your photos.

    I'm not a user of Aperture so I can't speak on it's behalf... so it all comes down to whether or not you want to do advanced editing for simple basic editing...

    Goodluck :)
     
  16. 66217 Guest

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    Jan 30, 2006
    #16
    Funny you say that, I found Lightroom much more complicated than Aperture. And also found that Lightroom offers more editing tools than Aperture.

    The only thing that made me suffer with Aperture is that it took me ages to decide how to organize my library.:)
     
  17. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #17
    This is true. Lightroom takes a lot more tools from Photoshop than Aperture as it should, it's an Adobe app and that is what they were capitalizing on. Aperture took the other road and gave users more features outside of the editing spectrum, it gave user the ability to do whatever they want to their workflows and work however they wanted to by putting everything in your face at one time.

    Aperture is made for the photographer that is constantly redefining themselves and their work and needs an app to keep up. Lightroom is made for the photographer that is set in their was and/or is new to editing. When I was a journalist I didn't bother with Aperture, it was too complicated and convoluted to get my simple job of importing, captioning, editing (real editing, not color correction and toning) and output done.

    Once I branched off and began shooting weddings, freelance, etc again and found myself through cultural/editorial photography Aperture was once again back on top of my list. I work differently depending on how I shoot, and Aperture adapted. Lightroom stayed the same.

    I wish Aperture 2.0 edits like Lightroom, or I hope that Lightroom includes the lengthy feature set and integration of Aperture, so I could at least be completely happy with one of them. Right now, I am on the verge of using both since I can't launch one copy of Aperture on two different Macs on the same network, keeping my main workflow in Aperture, and using Lightroom as a sort of Bridge Extended.
     
  18. Macerture macrumors member

    Macerture

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    #18
    Aperture is for professionals who need to organize as well as do light work on well composed images.

    It's not photoshop. It's more of a digital version of a darkroom. It allows you to do the things a typical film photographer might do to tweak their already perfectly composed images.

    It's beautiful at what it does and I'm very happy I've got it. Before Aperture I had projects all over the place it seemed.
     
  19. Karpfish macrumors 6502a

    Karpfish

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    #19
    Lightroom just owns Aperture for someone who actually wants to be productive. Sure, Aperture is prettier, but Lightroom is much better in actually editing.
     
  20. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #20
    Funny. I actually find Aperture to be kind of ugly. It's not horrible but Lightroom is much more streamlined and tight. I have to close a lot of palettes in Aperture just to get all of the tools out of my way.

    And I think both programs are mediocre editing applications. When it comes to RAW editing, Nikon Capture NX takes the cake, but it's UI is even worse than Aperture's.
     
  21. uberfoto macrumors member

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    Apr 24, 2006
    #21
    Agreed on that. I think Capture NX has the worst app GUI I have used to date. Great conversion though.

    Karpfish: I wouldn't say that LR "owns" Aperture in productivity. Personally, I really don't like the way the modules work in LR and it is clunky to get around in. I get more done in Aperture than I can in LR. You really should tack on an "IMHO" or at least offer support to your argument.

    Chriscorbin: You paid $600 for CS3 design premium?! It is only $200 at my school and $200 at every other college I called in UT. And if you are a student, you could be buying the Academic versions of LR or Aperture for $149. I think you are trying to exaggerate your prices to support your argument.

    I use PS for nearly every image I output and Aperture does a great job organizing all of my different versions. The sharpening, layers, and masking abilities can't be replaced with the tools in Aperture or LR BUT, just because one uses PS for PP does not mean LR or Aperture become worthless. They are DAM programs. They MANAGE your assets. IMO, they are not built to replace photoshop, but to work along with it as part of your workflow.

    I have been using Aperture since v1.5 and I love it. I recently picked up a new camera that isn't supported yet and have had to use Bridge and PS by themselves. This has made me realize how easy my workflow is with Aperture's organizational abilities. Bridge is totally necessary with PS but it doesn't come close to the features that Aperture & LR offer. The sorting & comparing process is easier and the organizational abilities cater to each individual user. I use a by-date file structure system on my HD's and a by-subject organization method in Aperture. I always know where I can find my photos and can find anything very quickly.

    I have been wishing for OS updates to support the new Nikon's since they were released. Maybe Aperture 2.0 will be announced at the Keynote tomorrow (crosses fingers). It has been quite some time since the last update. This dry spell must end!

    I have to say that not supporting new cameras as quickly as LR and other competing programs is a big problem with Aperture right now. A "Pro" app should at least keep up with its competitors. If this is the kind of program support we should learn to expect, it will be Aperture's downfall. I really like Aperture but if it doesn't support my cameras, I can't use it. Simple as that. If people can't use it, it fails miserably.
     
  22. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

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    #22
    Two general thoughts

    I haven't seen ProPhoto RGB availability in LR / lack of availability in Aperture listed as an issue for anyone here. I haven't used Aperture except fiddling with others' copies from time-to-time and I had the impression from that and some surfing on the subject that Aperture was in Adobe RGB space without the ability to use the wider color space of ProPhoto RGB like the LR/PS default does. http://lists.apple.com/archives/colorsync-users/2007/Jul/msg00541.html
    Does Aperture include this now?

    I thought that this was very interesting on the use of the color space in general.
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/prophoto-rgb.shtml And it's also discussed in an excellent 6 hr, 40 min tutorial "From Photo to Print" that Michael Reichmann and Jeff Schewe put together as well.

    I have noted a lot of frustration re: the Nikon D3 and D300 support, or lack thereof in Aperture. http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=395513
    http://www.apertureprofessional.com/showthread.php?t=6844

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1212388&tstart=315

    Even in the O'Reilly Aperture blog -
    http://blogs.oreilly.com/aperture/2008/01/aperture-not-available.html

    This second issue frustrates me just as a general Apple fan - esp. where they seem to have a great product framework as it would seem to drive folks from the product, gives it a feel that it's not as supported at Apple as it needs to be, and highlights that lack of communication from Apple on future plans (e.g. - the support is coming in two weeks) is detrimental in some areas. Apple claims to listen to photographers, but it seems like they need to work on talking to them as well.

    My comments are in the abstract as folks in this thread like Digital Skunk seem to have hands on time with both and get to the heart of the practical question posed.
     
  23. Fast Shadow macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    I prefer Lightroom. It makes more sense to me. I was able to get the results I desired quickly from Lightroom, where in Aperture I was getting frustrated. I'm sure Aperture is just as capable of producing ideal results, but for me it wasn't working out. I really liked the loupe tool in Aperture, though.
     
  24. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #24
    You broke down the main problem many people may have with Apple in general. Apple takes a weak/new market and forms it into something new or redefined. Then Apple takes that market and makes it mediocre and neglects it all together. OR Apple will take on a market and disappoint the users with a mediocre product or a great product that is missing key features.

    Aperture does this very well. It was first to market and a lot of users (including myself) adopted it even with its bevy of issues. When LR came along some users jumped ship (like myself) and some stayed. Apple updated Aperture slightly to answer the BIG issues and add camera support and put Aperture on par with what LR was, but many of us using LR didn't see much improved over Aperture and in many ways saw it as a step backwards, or had to change the way we worked and LR didn't fit (that one was me).

    Now we see that the photography industry is changing, with the D300 and D3 film is all but a niche market for those that can afford it, and the game has been changed, and Aperture hasn't changed with it. LR has been moving forward but in typical Adobe fashion the app hasn't gained any features or improvements.

    I hope that both of them get their well needed updates at PMA.
     

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