iPhoto vs Aperture vs Lightroom?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by iSamurai, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. iSamurai macrumors 65816


    Nov 9, 2007
    ɹǝpun uʍop 'ǝuɐqsı&#
    Hello all,

    I am currently using iPhoto 7.1.2 and I'm happy with it, although there are some features lacking (ie. zoom in photos, more photo adjustments etc). I like the fact that it saves another copy for the modified photos so the originals stay there.

    I have downloaded the trials for Lightroom and aperture, but I have no clue of how to use it. I like the way how iPhoto is organised and if I reimport my photos I will have to readjust them again... and I've heard that with aperture you save space because the modified images are not actually saved, but rather the modification data.

    However, I've noticed a strange thing that Aperture doesn't import all the photos in iPhoto... and my friend recommends Aperture instead of Lightroom.

    I have played around with all of them but for me, armed with a MacBook, the screen resolution isn't that great (1280x800) especially for Lightroom and Aperture.

    I am a photographer (just hobby, not business) and I have already bloated it with 3230 photos (about 7GB iPhoto Library).

    So any thoughts and what you use and perhaps recommend a little? Thanks.
  2. disdat macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2005
    New England USA
    Have you watched the tutorials over at Apple.com - I haven't watched all of them, but they are quite detailed, and should help get you started with Aperture.

    I don't know if Lightroom has anything similar, but that would probably be the best way to check 'em all out properly!
  3. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    I've used iPhoto for years for my wife's P&S pics, and Lightroom for about a year for my own "serious" photos. Just trying out Aperture 2 as a potential replacement for LR.

    My take on it is this: if you like iPhoto, stick with it. It's a fine tool, and will allow you to do simple photo editing (in addition to photo managment). If you feel you need more, Aperture 2 might be to your liking. It has great iPhoto integration (so you can carry on working on your existing library with minimal fuss), and offers more advanced manipulatio and management tools.

    LR is also nice, but after trying the new version of Aperture, I think I might be switching over. I was never a fan of the "module"-driven approach of LR, and I really prefer the photo manangement in Aperture 2.
  4. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3


    Apr 6, 2007
    Portland, OR
    Isamari, are you using aperture 1.5 or 2.0? I noticed that with 1.5 it wouldn't import my iPhoto library correctly, but I haven't had a single problem with 2.
  5. redrabbit macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2006
    This topic has been discussed a lot. A simple search would have given you all the info you needed. In my opinion, if you are a hobbyist, you can't benefit that much from either LR or Aperture, since they are targeted toward's the professional photographer who relies on a fast and streamlined workflow. I think iphoto would more than suit your needs. Also, in my opinion, the most important app for a photographer (if they could only have one) would be Photoshop.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    That s one of Aperture's drawbacks. That more powerfull tools come with a required learning curve. Same goes for Photoshop or Final Cut Express. To use Aperture yo have to make a commitment to some study time. It could take a week or two to come up to speed. I think Aperture's real advantage is for people who shoot raw format and/or thse who need to handle meta data in a more serious way.
  7. iSamurai thread starter macrumors 65816


    Nov 9, 2007
    ɹǝpun uʍop 'ǝuɐqsı&#
    I'm using Aperture 2.0, it's just some pictures that it will not import (I think it's confused of importing from the original/modified folders).

    I do have photoshop CS3, and I use it quite often. one problem is that you can't do batch editing with photoshop (like iphoto's copy/paste adjustments).

    I do shoot in RAW sometimes. Can iPhoto handle that?
  8. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    I use Aperture 2 and my wife uses iPhoto '08. Some of the reasons for picking Aperture over iPhoto:
    • Meta data: iPhoto has extremely limited support for meta data and isn't designed around them. Keyword is also hierarchical in Aperture (iPhoto is flat).
    • Search: With Aperture, you can search and create smart album based on just about any criteria and conditions.
    • RAW: Aperture has native support for RAW with RAW specific fine tuning options. iPhoto immediately converts RAW to JPEG and image processing is applied on top of JPEG.
    • Far more comprehensive image adjustment tools, with multiple versioning.
    • Superb dual display support.
    • Loupe.
    • Batch adjustments.
    • Stacks, light table, water mark.
    • Better printing with color management.
    • Built-in backup (vault). Kinda redundant with 10.5's Time Machine though.
    • Faster.

    Some of the reasons for picking iPhoto over Aperture:
    • Easier to use and learn.
    • More effective noise reduction filter.
    • Free with new system, cheaper than Aperture if purchased.
  9. redrabbit macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2006
    Wrong. Photoshop DOES have batch editing, it just requires (like any program) some learning. If you take half the money that you would spend on aperture/LR and invest that in Photoshop books, you will learn more about photo editing and touching up your shots more than you would with those programs.

    Most of the advantages listed in the post above this are not that important to a hobbyist photographer, IMO. Does a hobbyist really need superb dual monitor support or light tables and water marking (the latter of which can easily be done in photoshop)? :rolleyes:
  10. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    As a home/hobbyist (non-pro) I agree with your list, but with a couple of diffs:

    • I actually am not fond of the Loupe, at least at the expense of no other zoom control. I like being able to zoom the whole photo (to bigger than just "full size" in iPhoto
    • Ap's interface is REALLY small. The text is small, the buttons are small. A lot is crammed into the interface. After trialling it for two weeks, my eyes are tired!
    • I think iPhoto is quicker to boot up than Ap and quicker working with jpgs. It's also less resource intensive application and will run better on older hardware
    • Keywords for basic users in iPhoto are actually quite easy, once you learn how to use them
    • Ap2 seems to also still be working out the bugs

    • Ap2's book creation has far more options for controlling the pic layout
    • Ap2 has stacks(!) You mentioned this, but that's a big one, and worth mentioning again
    • Ap2 gives MUCH better control and interface over creating folders and albums.
    • The HUD in full screen edit mode is REALLY cool, as is the ability to navigate projects and folders from the HUD
    • Ap2 provides a better concept around events/projects.
    • Ap2 has things like recovery, though since I'm working with jpgs, it's not quite as great as it might be with RAW.
    • Ap2 has better red eye control (iPhoto's red eye is kind of lousy, actually. I'm always getting random black circles around peoples eyes when I use it)

    I bring this up because I've also been doing the same analysis. I've decided to wait until Photoshop elements 6 comes out, then I'll try iPhoto w/PSE6 (it looks like it will have a great "photo merge" option for family group shots and I like Adobe's red eye controls better).

    I'll pass on Ap2 right now because of 1) the interface is just too tiny, and 2) my wife wants to stick w/iPhoto, and I don't want to have to manage two libraries.

    One thing I've been thinking about, though: I assumed iPhoto would get better, and eventually include stacks, better album control, better red eye tools and more book and calendar control. HOWEVER -- I've got this sudden fear:

    Remember how Apple had a near-perfect power-user level movie editor in iMovie06, then came out with iMovie08 which is a great (IMO) simple movie clip creator, but a step back from being a full-featured movie editor? What did they do then? They dropped the price of FCE to $199, seeming to say "imovie 08 is really basic -- if you want something more, pony up for FCE"

    What if they intend to do the same thing w/iPhoto?!?! What if the next version of iPhoto has a really cool interface, but even MORE basic functionality, and you should just buy Ap for advanced features! I hope that's not the case, but you can see how it looks like they are setting it up that way.

    Any rate. I'm going to sit on iPhoto for now, until PSE 6 comes out, then I'll re-evaluate at that time comparing iPhoto+PSE6 vs. Aperature (w/PSE6. I'm assuming I'll get PSE either way).
  11. petvas macrumors 601


    Jul 20, 2006
    Mannheim, Germany
    @ bking1000 : I can't seem able to create a calendar with Aperture. Where did you find the option to do that?
  12. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    Good catch! I only did a book, and was just assuming the calendar was there, but it isn't :eek:

    Sorry, my bad.
  13. petvas macrumors 601


    Jul 20, 2006
    Mannheim, Germany
    The fact that Aperture doesn't do calendars isn't a good enough reason for me to stick with iPhoto. How many times a year do you make a calendar? I have done a calendar only one time last year...If you need it, you can still use the Aperture browser inside iPhoto and import the photos from Aperture and then create the calendar. Its as easy as that.
  14. redrabbit macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2006
    "I actually am not fond of the Loupe, at least at the expense of no other zoom control. I like being able to zoom the whole photo (to bigger than just "full size" in iPhoto"

    The loupe isn't the only option. Press Z

    "I think iPhoto is quicker to boot up than Ap and quicker working with jpgs."

    That's because Aperture is designed to be a RAW workflow program. If you are shooting in JPEG, you really have no need for Aperture.
  15. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    Z increases the picture to full size, which gives the effect of zooming in because the photos are generally larger than, say, a laptop screen. That's different than a controllable zoom. I have many small, old photos (1 or 2 MP) that I'd like to zoom in on, but z does nothing. I have to use the loupe.

    Yes, Ap is designed for RAW. That's the point. If you read the OP's post, they are asking about Ap, but are shooting jpg (3200 photos in 9GB = jpgs, not RAW).

    However, Ap has some good controls that are useful w/jpgs. To say you have no need for Ap if you shoot in jpg is not entirely true. For example, Ap has better organization tools, and finer color control. It also has patch and clone, which iPhoto doesn't. To say it's more than you can use w/jpgs is correct, because recovery (as an example) is not entirely useful with jpgs. Doesn't mean Ap is ruled completely out if you use jpg only.
  16. redrabbit macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2006
    If you are using Aperture with 1 megapixel photos, you are really wasting your time. Also, the original poster said he had photoshop. If he needs to use patch and clone, he can do that in photoshop. As far as orginization, yes Aperture's is better, but I don't see him organizing shoots by client list or so, and would probably be more than fine with separating by vacation, random shots, etc.
  17. iSamurai thread starter macrumors 65816


    Nov 9, 2007
    ɹǝpun uʍop 'ǝuɐqsı&#
    yeah i knew i was some how wrong there because i dunno that photoshop stuff, however, i feel photoshop isnt great when i have to batch import (the RAM consumption), although the tweaking is superb - controls, and i would have to re-import them back into iphoto with no original copies - instead of iphoto saving a copy and the original file is invisible (unless you manually open the library).

    i'll import my next batch of photos to both aperture and iphoto so i can play around and discover aperture... are there any good aperture2 books out there?
  18. WetToad macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2008
    For an amateur I can't imagine a huge benefit to spending the extra money on either Lightroom or Aperture. Keeping your catalogs straight can be done using iPhoto.

    The thing to ask yourself is whether you want the bells and whistles of Lightroom or Aperture, because actual adjustments can be done using Adobe Camera RAW, which comes with Photoshop. If you're using iPhoto, you can open your image by dragging the preview onto the Photoshop icon. A RAW file will bring up ACR automatically, where you can make the critical adjustments you can make in the other two expensive apps. If you've already got .JPG images, you're rather stuck with its issues, BUT you can change the initial histograms by using Adobe Camera RAW. To do this, open and set the Photoshop preferences to enable Adobe Camera RAW for .JPG files.

    BTW, I would NEVER batch process my photographs to adjust the exposure, contrast, highlight and shadow recovery, or anything else, using ANY application. And I also NEVER use the exposure control in the Photoshop image>adjustment>exposure pulldown. It's not even close to the same as adjusting it prior to opening the document.

    For professionals, as much as I really like Adobe products, I think Aperture really rocks.
  19. iSamurai thread starter macrumors 65816


    Nov 9, 2007
    ɹǝpun uʍop 'ǝuɐqsı&#
    thanks for the tip! but is there a way of "dragging" the edited image back to iPhoto, or how can I make iPhoto know that it's a modified version of the image? otherwise I'll have to reimport them and there will be 2 same images in the library.
  20. Rotary8 macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2006
    I live by Lightroom. Part of the reason being it's a very smart program. I shoot lots of High Iso images where noise and hot pixels can be a problem. It's hard to explain but Lightroom somehow adapted to my style of working and tends to eliminate those stray pixels automatically.

    the Noise Reduction seems to be better as well. I uninstalled aperture from my computer because i ended up never having a need for it.

    As far as organization of files, I have Lightroom use my external terabyte drive to store and organize all my raw and exported jpegs. To my understanding, iPhoto doesn't reference from existing photos on your drive but instead, it copies/duplicates them into its' own folder. It can get annoying especially knowing that you have two of everything on the same drive and for some hdd space could be an issue.

    I only use iphoto to export my jpeg's to .mac gallery. iPhoto is also nice as a photo album so you can show people, since the little apple remote works with it in slideshow mode.
  21. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    You can go into iPhoto preferences and assign an application to be your external editor. Then, you can right-click on an image and say "edit in external editor" That launches the 3rd party editor, you make your edits, then "save" (not "save as") and it puts it back into iPhoto. This works with PS, not sure about ACR.

    If you drag and drop, you will end up with duplicates.
  22. daniel-shi macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2010
    I used to use iPhoto on my MBP, and that used to reach my expectations until i started to work with RAW files. iPhoto started to be slow and could not work well with my iPhoto '09. As I do not use iLife anymore, (i have substitutes, iMovie = Final Cut Pro, GarageBand = Logic Express, iPhoto = Aperture, iDVD = Nero on my Windows that i run on parallels)

    I quickly looked for other substitutes that could handle raw capability and came across light room and aperture. i downloaded trials, and straight away with aperture i felt at home. it had the simplicity of iphoto, and personally, i prefer apple substitutes over adobe. i couldn't be bothered to learn a completely new program. I use aperture quite a bit now.

    I am not a professional photographer, just do it whenever i can. :apple: for the win!

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