Aperture: Worth the price

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by dreadgeek, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. dreadgeek macrumors newbie


    Apr 16, 2008
    Portland, OR
    Hey all:

    I recently made the switch from Windoze to Mac and am really starting to get into doing digital photography. I'm looking for something beyond iPhoto for managing my pictures. I use the Gimp for an all-around image editor but it's not for managing photos, just editing them. I'm looking at Aperture, am a few days into the trial and, more or less, like what I see. However, I'm a grad student and $200 is still $200 so I'm curious if I could get the consensus advice of people here. For someone who has discovered a a true passion for photography is Aperture worth the price? How does it compare to Photoshop Elements?

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. theblueone macrumors member

    Aug 5, 2007
    Since you're a student, you might be able to get Aperture 2.0 from your school's bookstore for about $70. If your school is anything like mine, though, you might have a hard time finding it in stock.

    As for your question, I think it would be worth paying $200 for. Of course, knowing that I can get it for much cheaper, I won't pay the full $200.
  3. scotthayes macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2007
    Birmingham, England
    Well worth the price, but remember it's a different beast to PS Elements, Elements is for editing the photos, Aperture is for managing and adjusting the photos
  4. kkat69 macrumors 68020


    Aug 30, 2007
    Atlanta, Ga
    I think it is. I use iPhoto for general management of all my pictures. But prior to putting them there I use Aperture to clean them up and tweak them. Much more granular control than iPhoto.

    I can even set up the RAW import option so my RAW images are touched up prior to touching them up (I guess that's the right terminology) but either way it's awsome.

    I like what iPhoto has as far as management but I prefer Aperture for cleaning up pictures.


    Heck get the trial version (available for download at apple.com) and try it out. If you were getting into photography you can print (directly from Aperture) like a proof sheet/book if you decide to get serious. I actually use the book option and make family photo books to mail off to family members. I know it's a gimic thing but still it's a built in feature.

    Also and I touched on this slightly above, (unsure about elements) Aperture keeps your stuff organized by 'projects' and keeps 'versions' of the photo. Any changes can be reverted, 'lifted' and 'stamped' onto another similar image, compare current version to the original master, etc.

    I'm not wanting to get into an "Elements vs Aperture" debate nor am I saying elements doesn't do any of this, I'm just pointing out features that I find worth the cost.
  5. soms macrumors 6502


    Dec 10, 2007
    Photoshop is more of an all encompassing tool, not only dedicated to photos, whereas Aperture is strictly photo editing. That said, Aperture, from what I've seen is a great program, and like others have said is well worth the cost if you are getting into photography. Try picking up a copy at your college for a reduced price.
  6. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    Dreadgeek -- welcome to the Mac platform. It's not perfect, but it sure beats the snot out of working in Windoze!

    I think to clarify what's been said above a bit -- Photoshop elements is about photo editing, though it could handle other images -- both creation and editing. Bridge (which comes with PSE6) can be effectively used as a general asset manager.

    Aperture is a great photo development and management module with some editing capabilities. Aperture is likely to handle upwards to 95% of what an amateur is doing, though pros or amateurs doing work for others might need more PSE type support (layers, text, etc.)

    Ap plus PSE6 or iPhoto plus PSE6 are great combinations together. And, as Kkat69 notes, there is some discussion on which photo management interface is nicer -- Ap or iPhoto. I tried Ap quite a bit, but am also mainly working in iPhoto with some support from PSE6 and other aps. (I am only a hobbyist, so others probably have more to say than me).

    You might also want to test drive Adobe Lightroom. It's a direct competitor to Ap, and since you can test drive for free, if you have the time, it's a great education process to try out both Ap and LR, and see how two different companies tackle the same problem -- development, light editing and management of photos. I know LR is available on an edu discount at $79, and AP is about the same. Only issue w/edu-discounts, is you can't buy the upgrade version on any new releases.
  7. numbersyx macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2006
    Would not agree with this. Aperture is more an organizational programme which has some ground level editing features. Photoshop is more of an editing programme which has an organising element to it. I use Aperture for the front end importing and image correction. 90% of my stuff stops at Aperture which is a great programme and will do everything you need to create a great image.

    I use Photoshop Elements (Photoshop's little brother) to add special effects, change colours, remove objects, copy and paste images etc. Both can be used together..
  8. Jeromie macrumors member

    Jan 28, 2005
    One thing I haven't seen asked: do you shoot in RAW (or a camera that supports RAW)? While Aperture and Adobe Lightroom (Adobe's competing product. Photoshop Elements, as others have pointed out, would be competing with the GIMP, not Aperture) can be used for managing JPG images, their greatest strengths lie in their ability to get the most out of a RAW workflow.

    If you're not shooting RAW, what is it about iPhoto that you find too limiting?
  9. kkat69 macrumors 68020


    Aug 30, 2007
    Atlanta, Ga
    I shoot both now, depending on what it is.

    iPhoto's image enhancing is what I find limiting for me. For the avg user, maybe say the point and shoot person, grandma, or person who just wants it simple, iPhoto imaging is more than enough. When I first started using I liked the built in ability. Since I started using Aperture I prefer the fine grain ability more and appreciate it more. Especially now that I have a DSLR.
  10. Doylem macrumors 68040


    Dec 30, 2006
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    I've just bought the Aperture 2 upgrade, and I'm very happy with it (mind, I was happy with 1.5 as well)...

    All my minor quibbles about 1.5 have been addressed... even little things like having more grid-lines on a pic when you're straightening up the verticals...

    Aperture makes it easy for me to import, store and edit my pix. I do have Photoshop, but now that Aperture makes it easy to 'clean up' dust-spots and other blemishes, I'll really only use PS for upsizing pix for photo libraries.

    Aperture 2 offers more image adjustments and, with 2.1, is able to run plug-ins from Apple (and third party developers). The new version is a good deal quicker than 1.5 (not so many 'beach ball' episodes). Since I don't do a lot of post-production on 99% of my pix, Aperture's looking like an all-in-one solution.

    Points out of 10? I'd say 9... to give Apple the opportunity to make Aperture even better in future... :)
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Is Aperture "worth it"? You have to define "worth" Not easy.

    How does it compare to Elements 6.0? I assume you are talking about as an organiser because as you know Elements as a much more capable editer. Adobe's organiser is called "Bridge" and works like a "super finder" with spotlight built in. You keep files in nrmal folders and Bridge and search medadata and pull the files you want. Bridge does not have 'smart" folders or albubs

    Are you shooting raw format? If not Aprture looses a lot of it's value but not all of it.

    One good way to see if you really need Aperture is to list (yes write it down) all the reasons why you don't like iPhoto. See if Aperture address these issues and then if those issues add up to $200.

    It would be an easy question if you were a profesional. All you would have to ask is if at the end of the year you'd make more money if you spent the $200 on Aperture. Same with a lens purchace "Would this $600 lens pay for itself?" As an amatuer this is all for entertainment so it is hard to say if it is worth $200.
  12. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I could say the same thing. I've switch over to using Aperture. But the Adobe software (photoshop, elements and Camera Raw al have arguable bette imag adjustment controls then Aperture. If $200 was to much you could get Elements 6.0 which comes with Camera Raw and continue to use iPhot for managment.

    You say you are using gimp. Gimp has two serious problems (1) Lack of color management and (2) can only deal with 8-bits per channel color. If you are shooitng raw format Gimp becomes a serious image quality bottle neck. You will want to replace it with Elements and then once you have Elements you have not only a 16-bit workflow but ou will have that fine contol you wanted.

    That said I went the full Aperture/PS CS3 route and see why so many others use the same setup. I have used Gimp for years and Elements too.
  13. Island Dog macrumors 6502a

    Island Dog

    Sep 11, 2005
    St. Cloud, FL.
    Don't forget you can download the trial version and give it a go. I personally didn't find it worth the price, at least for my needs.
  14. Virgil-TB2 macrumors 65816


    Aug 3, 2007
    no, ... and not worth it for most

    I don't think this is true.

    As far as I have ever seen, Aperture gets the same 10% or so discount that other software gets if it gets a discount at all. Never seen it anywhere for anything approaching the $70.00 you quote, even with a site licence.

    Personally, the 200 dollar price is what is stopping me from buying it also. Great program, but 200 bucks for something that essentially duplicates the functionality (for most prospective users), of a free program (iPhoto) is just too much.

    Sure iPhoto is ugly and ungainly to use and Aperture is cool and attractive and easier to use, but it ain't worth 200 dollars unless you are a Pro and are going to use the pro features, shoot in RAW etc. And if you need those features, then ... well, you *need* those features and the price is not an obstacle. You also likely have a business that can pay for the software.
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    As an Aperture user now, I have to disagree. iPhoto is much easier to use. It is simpler and intuitive. Aperture on the other hand has a bit of a learning curve associated with it. I'd say if you were just a casual user Aperture would be very frustraiting. there are just to many features and options and the program asumes you know quite abit about image formats and so on. An infrequent Aperture user would never be able to remember how to use all the keyboard shortcuts and woud need to be always reading the documentation and woud never actually save any time by using Aperture. iPhoto is best for infrequent users

    My wife has a good criteria for deciding if I should spend money on a hobby. She says if I'm really going to use it a lot then buy it. But she gets a bit upset if I were to buy a $600 lens and then leave it in a closet and use it twice a year. We t think in terms of entertainment value per dollar spent. (this "if you are going to use it then OK, buy it" rule actually prevents me from spending money because there are only 24 hours in the day. I can't use 20 things "a lot".) So I'd say if you are using Aperture only a "few" days a week it is "worth it". If if Aperture is something you will use once a month it is a bit of a waste. If you are going to get 1000 hours of use for your $200 purchace then the cost is lower than video rentals. But to many peole buy all this stuff they never use - big waste.
  16. kkat69 macrumors 68020


    Aug 30, 2007
    Atlanta, Ga
    I agree, iPhoto is easier to use, has a nice attractive interface, organizes photos nicely and for a time until I bought my DSLR did a good job and it still does.

    My wife who isn't puter-savvy figured out a lot on her own on how to use iPhoto, though I discouraged her from constantly using the "Enhance" button as a fix all, it does a nice job 70% of the time but since I now have a 'real' camera, I told her let ME adjust the images in Aperture then export them into iPhoto for organization.

    She saw Aperture and turned away after 10secs of looking at it. She doesn't want to be bothered by the interface. I agree with her.

    I use Aperture every time I take pictures with my Canon. I load them up, then spend the next week (only because I don't have the time to sit for hours) going through photos adjusting them, readjusting them if needed, etc. I definitly got my 200 bucks worth out of Aperture a LONG time ago, like 4 days after I started using it.

    Granted some of the photos weren't done under good lighting (see the link in my Canon sig) for instance Destin Beach under extreme overcast, I got some pictures tweaked and they came out pretty awsome to my eyes.
  17. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    Tried PE, to confusing to use, Trying Aperture, w/o the update,(no dodge/burn etc) and it's better than i-Photo/Picassa, which I am accustomed to use, but I like Aperture better,(best) and with the new update will be just sweet. I'll get it for the Education Discount, and even save some more. Even w/o the discount, I'd buy it. I spent 2 hours with it,after starting the trial, and found all the functions I normally would use. Everything else, is just icing on the cake. 8 days left to the trial, and I will buy it then update it, and be very happy:D:apple::apple: Oh yeah, runs great on my black MB w/ 4 MB Ram

Share This Page