Lightroom vs. Aperture vs. iPhoto08 vs. ???

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by 147798, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    Just looking for some input. I've read a lot of the threads on LR vs. Aperture and also have downloaded trials for both. I've been using iPhoto 08 regularly for about 3 mos.

    I came from PC side, and am not a photo pro. Just have a lot of family photos. I had Photoshop for PC, but never used it (I don't do pixel manipulation aside from red eye and some blemish removal). I found Picasa to be what I needed, but it's not available for Mac.

    I'd like to avoid the $299 apps, but will spend it if needed.
    Here's my conclusions to date, at least for what I need:

    Good: easy drag and drop to get images to desktop, great integration w/.mac (which I use). Easily publish to web. Certain other Apple apps can see into iPhoto libraries.

    Bad: red eye and image editing tools are inferior. Upping exposure causes edging around brightness. Red eye never looks right. Events concept is clunky (I'm assuming they'll develop this concept further next release), keyword support is still a little under par, no stacks support (I do a lot of burst mode shooting of the kids, and I'd like to group these photos in stacks)

    Show-stopper: image adjustment tools are sub-optimal, no stacks support​

    Good: Apple-integrated w/other Apple apps (I think!), supports stacks

    Bad: price, I have trouble w/the interface, don't see the integration with .mac or other web pub sources. Red eye and exposure and other adjustments seem to use the same engine as iPhoto, and produce results I don't like. Overall, though, I think I can't figure out Ap, because I can't figure out the interface

    Show-stopper: interface (big one for me), same issue as iPhoto image adjustment tools​

    Good: Love the interface, stacks, great image adjustment tools, great image gallery tools, good key word support.

    Bad: price, can't drag and drop images from library (every time I do, they come out without any of the adjustments. It seems to me I have to "export" them to get the adjustments out.), no integration with .mac galleries (though I could give this up, if needed). Not sure if other apps can see into the LR library (I want LR to import my photos, so I need other apps to be able to see them, such as iMovie or iDVD)

    Show-stopper: difficult to get image with adjustments out of LR for a casual user, little integration with other apps on the Mac (I don't use anything else from Adobe), would have to move to web-page publishing from .mac galleries

    The only other tools I know that do library management with basic image adjustment are Picasa (not on Mac) and Expressions Media (which I'm getting w/Office 08 soon).

    So, I'm just trolling for opinions on:

    Am I missing any other options?

    Or, am I fundamentally misunderstanding how to use one of the above applications.

    Thanks for any practical input/thoughts from anyone who has used these applications regularly.
  2. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    I'm an Aperture user. It's hard to specifically address your "I can't figure out the interface" statement because it's rather broad (no disrespect intended here).

    My suggestion is two-fold:

    1) This close to MacWorld San Fransisco, I'm tempted to say "wait and see if Apterture 2 comes out". No point in learning a brand new tool if it's going to be revamped in a few weeks.

    2) If you live near an Apple store, find out what their free training schedule is. They often offer free overview classes that deal with all their applications, including Aperture.

    I would suggest at least reading up on the specific Aperture tools, such as Levels. I'm wondering if the reason you don't like the exposure adjustments is because your photos don't actually need exposure adjustment :D but instead need something like the Levels tool or the Highlights/Shadows tool. If your photos do need frequent exposure adjustment, it may be a technique/photography problem rather than a software problem.
  3. VanMac macrumors 6502a


    May 26, 2005
    Rampaging Tokyo
    I picked up Aperture a few weeks ago, and I'm very happy with it.

    I went through the instructional dvd that came with it. The interface takes some learning, but I find it pretty good. Very happy with it.
  4. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601


    Feb 27, 2005
    I use both Lightroom and iPhoto, because for simple snapshots taken with my little Sony P&S, Lightroom is excessive....
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    IPhoto, LR and Aperture are not intended to be image editors. Yes all three have to very simple editing abilities. They are indented to be "image organizers, library managers and RAW image converters. Each of these programs allows you to move almost seamlessly to a true image editor.

    I think the best editor for a photographer is Adobes "Elements". It is a scaled down Photoshop. That has more then you will need. If you tell iPhoto touse Elements as the editor (you set this is prefferences panel) then you double click the image and it will come up inside Elements. Do you edits, save it and quit and the image is back in iPhoto. So pick one of (LR, Aperture, iPhoto) and one of (Elements, Photoshop, Gimp)

    A lot of people complain the Gimp is not a perfect photoshop clone but it's designers call this a feature not a bug. Gimp has one advantg over Elements in that Gimp runs native in the Intel Mac while Elements is PPC and runs under Rosetta.

    But if you have Photoshop on the PC Adobe will let you move the license over to the Mac for either very little or free (I forget which.)

    You need one of each, one of those organizors and one of the imag editors. The third edtor that many people use is free. See

    One more thing: Adobe is coming out very soon with a new version of "Elements" that will be a universal binary. The current Elements is PPC but is fast enough The best way to buy Elements is to buy a $100 Wacom graphic tablet. It comes with a software bundle that is worth almost $100.
  6. marioman38 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Elk Grove, CA
    I like the Lightroom interface better, but may be purchasing a second display soon which will practically force me to switch to Aperture... If you have/will get a second display, go for Aperture, it is much more designed and suited for a multi-display setup.
  7. 147798 thread starter Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    Lightroom vs. Aperture vs. iPhoto08 vs. ???

    Thanks for the input. Good points all.

    Good idea to wait for MacWorld. I'm already waiting for MacWorld to see if they update the mini (I want a media center mac, so I want to see if they improve the mini at all).

    Also, thanks for the info on moving the Adobe license. I didn't know this, and I just sold my elements license on craigslist! Bummer :(

    LR, Ap, and iPhoto are not editors, but they do have developing tools, which are different than editing tools. I don't need pixel editing (layers, text, morphing, etc.), just good red eye and levels. That's one thing I like about LR -- it understands the diff between developing and editing. I've found GIMP (tried it on the PC), Adobe, Photoshop, Pixelmator and Acorn to be overkill for what I need.

    Not being a serious photog, most of my pic issues come from using one of several digital ELPHS -- super compact Canons with weak flash and bad noise in the high ISOs (but great pics in full light, great movie settings in avi/mjpegs, and VERY quick to first pic). So, I shoot with a forced lower ISO, and correct in developing. Worked for me in PC land. I just need to find the right combo here on the Mac.

    In iPhoto 08 and ap, I can replicate increasing brightness or exposure by using about 3 adjustments (exposure, highlights and shadows) that I can do w/the one exposure adjustment in lightroom. So, I can get the results, I just find LR easier to use.

    I will have to spend more time w/Ap, but I may just fumble along further in iPhoto, and see if Picasa comes to Mac, or try out Expressions Media when it comes out with Office08. If they do come out w/Ap 2.0, I'll download that trial. (maybe I will try the free training at the Apple store -- can't hurt, right?)

    Maybe my needs are too unique. Just thought I'd toss out the question, to see if anyone has tried the same. Thanks again for the replies. I found this board a few weeks ago, and, reading through, it reads like its populated by knowledgeable people, so I thought I'd try the post. You guys didn't disappoint!

    Still welcome any other thoughts, if any else reads the post.

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