Lightroom vs Aperture for GH2

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by treehorn, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. treehorn macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #1
    I know, I know...can of worms busting open. But every post (and sticky) I find is more than a bit outdated or doesn't fully address my needs so...

    It looks like after months (and months) of waiting I'm finally getting a Panasonic GH2. I've never used RAW files. I basically went from a 35mm Minolta X-700 to a variety of digital point-and-shoots. But am now diving into...hopefully the best of both worlds (plus a bit of video on this side).

    I'm a total Mac person who uses IPhoto regularly for organization of photos, making books, calendars, etc. as gifts. And who uses Adobe Photoshop for work (less for retouching photos, more for getting photos/graphics video ready). So have a foot in each world - Mac and Adobe - and am no stranger to the joys and pains of either.

    Since both programs are about the same price (if Aperture is purchased in the App Store and Lightroom is purchased as an Academic version, which I am right now eligible for), cost isn't a consideration.

    So what would be the best option, software-wise?

    Thanks for not throwing tomatoes at me...
     
  2. Keleko macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    #2
    I have 0 experience with Lightroom, but I do have Aperture and Photoshop Elements 9. I find certain things easier to do in Aperture than in Photoshop. If I want to play around and try different color, contrast, and so forth effects, then it is easier to do so in Aperture. I have downloaded several presets with different effects and like to go through them to see what it does to a photo. Some I like and use more often than others. I use Photoshop when I have a specific task or effect I want to do to a photo. That usually means what I want to do requires layers and masks which Aperture doesn't do. I also find it easier to apply a vignette using Aperture. It is easier to adjust the size and strength, and it automatically reworks it if you change how the photo is cropped.

    A point in favor of Lightroom that I hear about is that it is outstanding at noise reduction. Since I haven't used it, I don't know how well it works. Aperture doesn't seem to do much there. I also wonder if Adobe Camera Raw does the same noise reduction as Lightroom. I've seen some pretty good noise reduction done with ACR. The sliders I've seen for Lightroom exist in ACR. I can do a lot to clean up the basic look of a photo with just ACR, too, if I don't want to do it with Aperture.

    Another bonus with Lightroom is if you should switch to a PC for some reason, you don't have to learn anything new. Your library will very easily move. Of course, if you're a total Mac person, then that won't matter.

    You said price won't matter, but that's only while you have a student discount available to you. Hopefully you won't be a student your whole life, and the Adobe path will become more expensive. This assumes the current price structures remain as they are now, of course.
     
  3. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    Oct 22, 2007
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    #3
    They both have trials.... trial them out.

    LR 3 made a major improvement in noise reduction and sharpening. Regardless of everything else, take the time to do a thorough comparison of those two features. For that feature alone I upgraded from LR2 to LR3. I have no experience with Aperture, so I can't comment at all on that package.
     
  4. davegregory macrumors regular

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    Location:
    Burlington, Ontario
    #4
    I've used both LR3 and Aperture 3. I went with Aperture based on its interface and ease of use as a Mac person. Honestly, sometimes I wonder what Adobe is thinking when they come up with their UI, but I digress. I find Aperture's organization and speed to be better than LR3. However, I think the image processing features in LR3 are just awesome and really wish I had them available in Aperture. Things like lens correction for specific lenses and noise reduction are powerful and fast features. If you can get LR3 at a discount and it's in your budget, get both. Run your images through LR and then export them to Aperture for file management and other features. I think I'm going to start to do this.

    Sorry, no clear answer for you. As someone else said. Try both.
     
  5. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #5
    Thanks to all. I hadn't realized Aperture had a demo (so few Apple software programs do...) especially since it's in the APP Store now. Will try them out for 30 days (once I figure out how to use my camera first...man, the GH2 manual is a fun read)
     
  6. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #6
    Well, now that I've had a change to play with my camera and with each of the programs...here are a few thoughts.

    Aperture: it's major plus is its organizational abilities. As right now I'm shooting JPEG and RAW, I love the fact that it imports both pictures and pairs them. I like the fact that it's IPHoto on steroids and that it lets me have more control when I make a book, etc. (wish I had known this a few months ago!)

    It's main drawback for me is that...it seems to be a lot more heavy handed with its sliders. It's hard to do things minimally as the slightest adjustment seems to do a lot more 'damage' than Lightroom.

    Lightroom: I really find I get better results with RAW in Lightroom than I do with Aperture. Adjustments are smoother and smaller and don't instantly go as easily into insane overprocessed levels. However the fact it doesn't import JPEGS along with the RAW files is a huge drawback, as it means I have to import twice, or import into IPhoto and then open in Lightroom.

    However, since using Adobe Camera Raw gives identical results (as it is the same engine) and the interface is pretty darn similar to Lightroom, it seems the best option right now is to buy Aperture, use it to store/import/organize my library and use Camera Raw when needed...until I save up enough scratch to buy Lightroom as well.
     
  7. Keleko macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    #7
    I use a combination of Aperture for organization and Photoshop Elements 9 for processing. I haven't found Aperture to be that heavy handed for doing modest touchup work. There are a lot of things I find easier to do in Aperture than PSE. However, if I need to do more fine processing work, then I open in Camera Raw then edit with PSE and import that back to Aperture. I prefer to do it that way rather than go direct from Aperture to PSE because that skips Camera Raw, and there's a lot you can do with just that.

    I currently have a promotion from Adobe to upgrade from PSE to CS5 for $299. That's a lot less than the full price, and I'm trying convince myself I should get it. There's a lot I still don't know about Elements, though, and $300 is still a lot. Tough decision...
     
  8. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #8
    That's a preference setting - see the attached screencap.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #9
    Thanks! Why they don't have that in the import settings is beyond me...
     
  10. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    Nov 2, 2007
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    #10
    I don't think I've changed that setting since I first enabled it in 2007. The application preferences dialog is a good spot for it.
     
  11. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #11
    It's just a little hidden there, whereas having it as a checkbox when you are initiating an import....like they do with Aperture...would have been nice
     
  12. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #12
    I understand the point you were making and the frustration you no doubt were feeling. But now that you know where the setting is, you can set it and forget it.

    Sometimes less is more when it comes to user interfaces. You can confront the user with a bewildering array of choices, only a few of which are actually commonly used. Or, you can park the static preference settings on screens where the user won't have to look at them all the time once they're done configuring the application to their liking.
     
  13. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    Oct 22, 2007
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    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #13
    Nice for you, once. Frustrating to most others who are looking at a bewildering array of settings. :)

    And before you get too comfortable, you might want to look at Capture One. I like LR's way of organizing photos more, but if you want RAW controls Capture One is hard to beat, I'm told. I'm trying to figure out a clean workflow to import with Capture One do the "development" phase there, and then move the images into LR for cataloguing. I'll be working on this for a long time, I think.
     
  14. 100Teraflops macrumors 6502a

    100Teraflops

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    Mar 1, 2011
    Location:
    Elyria, Ohio
    #14
    I was debating the same thing and I have decided to buy both. WTH! :D

    I too can utilize academic pricing with adobe software, so to me it is a no-brainer. Aperture is 79.99 in the app store, so I plan to download it very soon.
     
  15. chrono1081, Mar 22, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011

    chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #15
    Woah to you guys buying both (or thinking of buying both) I don't really think you understand what these programs are or else you would understand that getting both is a bad idea (unless you REALLY want to process a shoot twice each time! :eek:)

    I've used Lightroom and Aperture both extensively. Its very important to pick one and stay with it. Why? Because these are digital asset management programs as well as raw workflow programs. When you start creating projects in one of these, all kinds of meta data, settings, etc are saved along with the project. You can't simply transfer projects from Lightroom to Aperture and vice versa. The settings will not stay so you will need to redo all of your projects.

    When I switched from Lightroom to Aperture, it was the right move for me (both programs will give you identical results if you know how to use them, its all a matter of preference) but I had to redo all of my projects which took months, and I shoot under very consistent lighting so basically I had to edit one shot and batch the rest and it still took long.

    I would highly suggest trying out both programs (and learn Apertures keyboard shortcuts, thats a very big deal when working with Aperture and will make your processing go much smoother, I didn't like Aperture until I learned these now I love it). Whichever program you end up liking more is the one to stick with. Also its wisest to judge by which UI you like the most. If you hate the UI of a program but stick with it simply because someone says its better then you'll regret it down the road.
     
  16. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #16
    Wasn't planning on using both long term (as right now I'm importing the photos three times - Iphoto, Aperture and Lightroom - just to try things out and see which program suits needs best). And not frustrated at all by not having that feature readily apparent in LR - joys of not having a manual (and it's a sad thing if one key feature that ultimately might have been the deciding factor in purchasing a program was buried and did not come up in reading, tutorials, videos, etc...thank goodness for forums and helpful people! :)

    We shall see. Have 25 days to decide. Right now leaning towards keeping Aperture for its organizational capabilities and extras (like books, albums, etc) and doing tweaking in Adobe Camera Raw when needed (Or look at Capture One and see what it has to offer). But if it turns out I like Lightroom's organization once I factor in the JPEG capabilities (having thousands of pictures in Iphoto is also a consideration)

    Ah the joys of upgrades. You don't just upgrade a camera, you upgrade a lifestyle...
     
  17. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #17
    What's a manual? ;) FWIW, the first result returned from a search of the online help using the term 'raw and jpeg' talks about the screen I directed you to: http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Lightroom/3.0/Using/WSA66356E1-47C3-405f-8E7F-0FD7AAEB0575.html

    You may find that you stop shooting both file formats as a result of moving to LR or Aperture. I used to shoot both back when I used other tools (Adobe Bridge, iView MediaPro) to do my initial review and ranking tasks. It was quicker and easier to do that with jpegs, then just process the keepers with ACR. LR makes that whole process _much_ simpler, and removed the need for me to capture jpegs.
     
  18. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #18
    yeah, silly me...I didn't think to google. It was one of those "well, IPHoto automatically imports both, Aperture gives me a checkbox at time of Import, but Lightroom...well, it doesn't do it automatically, it doesn't give me that option, ergo it must be for camera RAW only" trains of thought.

    Hey, I was learning three things at once. Brain was pureed!

    I'll probably drop JPEG eventually. Although I like the idea of traveling with my IPad, loading in the pictures and seeing them...perhaps emailing a few or posting here and there...which I can't do with RAW (as easily). Right now it's nice to have a quick and dirty jpeg, and a RAW to go to if I want to tweak further (which I've been finding more and more...)

    Thanks again for your help - although it does make it more difficult to decide (darn you!)
     
  19. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    Nov 2, 2007
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    SF Bay Area
    #19
    John Nack, the product manager for Photoshop, mentioned this product on his blog yesterday. That may actually be the software that causes an iPad to be useful to me (and some sort of USB/Thunderbolt connector would seal the deal). It looks like it will consume raw files and preserve the EXIF/IPTC information - both of those are critical features for me.
     
  20. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

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    Aug 21, 2007
    #20
    You, sir, are a fount of information and a god among posters.
     
  21. 100Teraflops macrumors 6502a

    100Teraflops

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    #21
    Noted! I understand the saying, know one thing and know it well. The reason I will buy both is to have knowledge with both programs. I might download one and use it for 30 days, but I want the experience. Also, as you stated, once I am up and running I will chose which program is right for me, but I do not think I am wasting my money. :)
     
  22. Ish macrumors 68000

    Ish

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    Nov 30, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #22
    You do know you can download them both for 30 days and try them out for free don't you?
     

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