Guest post: I switched from Lightroom to Aperture

While browsing the dpreview.com forum, a user was asking the existential question: Lightroom or Aperture?

Having switched from Aperture to Lightroom myself, I provided my two cents. Essentially, it is a question of style and the good thing is that on a Mac, a user has the choice between two great products.

Another user, Ryan, provided a reverse,  counter point of view as he switched from LR3 to AP3!

Ryan has graciously provided me with the permission to post his thoughts.

I just switched from LR3 to AP3 and here is my opinion.

I used LR2-3 for the past three and a half years. I became proficient with it and had purchased many plugins, and presets. It is a great digital asset manager (DAM), but AP3 had a few things that were important to me. Full system integration, cleaner GUI, Book/Slideshow creation.

1. I am a Mac user, I have three Mac machines, two iPads, and two iPhones, three Apple TVs… you get the picture? I can now use iCloud’s photo stream to stream selects to any of those devices, particularly to my Apple TVs. This integration and the integration across apps on the Mac have been sorely missed in LR3. Of course each user will decide if this is worth it to him or her.
2. I find the GUI in AP3 to be more intuitive and efficient to use and this is coming from an avid LR3 user. Within a few days I was running as fast in AP3 as it took me a few weeks to get in LR3. Here again, if you like the apple “experience” then there is something to be said about AP3’s GUI.
3. I didn’t care for LR3’s slideshow feature and I do a lot of slideshows, but the book feature is awesome as well. I make a ton of books for coffee tables, friends, family and customers. Having it right in my DAM is awesome.

Image quality (IQ) seems to be about the same, I will give LR3 the edge in noise reduction (NR) but AP3 has nicer sharpening tools IMHO. I don’t use NR at all on my photos, when I print the noise doesn’t show up. When I use the web I resize and guess what? The noise doesn’t show up…. so NR is kind of a farce for me.

Color is rendered differently, if there were one thing I am struggling with it is getting the same color between the two programs. It has taken a bit of work to get somewhat comparable files, that being said I like the default color conversion from AP3 more than LR3 for my Panny GF1 files. If I were shooting a Nikon I would probably say the same thing, here again users may find differences here.

Speed is comparable. As far as import speeds there is no comparison, AP3 is far faster on my machine than LR3. This was a big deal for me. Moving around from library to library or project to project seems a bit faster in AP3 than LR3. It seems to take a bit more time to see changes load from images you are tweaking in AP3 than LR3 and here is where I give LR3 a leg up. Export speeds seemed faster in LR3 than AP3. This is done on an old 1.1 Mac Pro with 5GB of RAM. I am upgrading my RAM to 13GB and getting a new video card so hopefully AP3 runs a bit faster.

If I were to make the decision again today It would be a close call but AP3 would probably still be my preference. There are things I love and hate in each program and since I don’t have the programming skills I can’t make my own kick butt DAM so I will settle for AP3
Hopefully this helps you a bit. Tough choice man, good luck

Ryan

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3 Responses to Guest post: I switched from Lightroom to Aperture

  1. Julienne says:

    Thanks for the insight! Although I have recently purchased Lightroom 3, I am still debating over both systems. I use a MAC, have an iPhone, and will possibly get an iPad in the future. Apple has done a great job of integrating their devices, which Lightroom really still does not offer. That said, however, I am getting alot out of using Lightroom and their RAW file management is superb…difficult choice though!

  2. maximegousse says:

    Julienne, I understand your decision. When I switched to LR, I kind of missed some of the integration with the iDevices I have (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV). I am now at peace with the way that I publish photo albums to my iPad. Actually, one of the important reasons that I switched to LR was Aperture’s inadequate possibilities of using the iPad as a mobile version of Aperture. Read that post here: https://maximegousse.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/aperture-for-ipad-my-wish-list-for-a-mobile-ipad-version-of-aperture/

  3. Pingback: The Showdown: Aperture Vs. Lightroom | MaxPhotoBlog.net

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