Guest Post: About to switch from Aperture to Lightroom

RasmusM on the forum, wrote a good post about the reasons why he is switching from Aperture to Lightroom.

Although it is not my intent to have this blog become an Aperture bashing blog, I nevertheless wanted to share it with you guys and girls as I thought that it was well written, extensive and that it tells a credible end user story.

So here goes:

Well, thought I’d give my perspective as well.

I started out with Lightroom a couple of years ago when I was using a Windows computer.
A Mac was what I wanted and Aperture was part of that reason, the program just looked so damn nice.

Lightroom was the first photo editing program that I really loved. Everything is easy to learn and easy to find in my opinion. And what you do not know is easily found out, you can easily experiment. Before I made the switch to mac I was running LR3 on a Windows 7 machine, 6gb RAM and quad core. LR3 was running quick without any crashes and it was a great workflow.

I went ahead and bought a MacBook Pro 15″, quad core i7, 4gb ram and the high-spec graphics card swell as high-end screen.

I installed Aperture in great anticipation and started using it and what I really liked about it at first was the library functions and folders, it all felt easier to manage compared to Lightroom. It worked better with my brain (at the time) so to speak.

Aperture has got great editing tools, I really like the way that you add editing functions such as, for example, brightness and then you can choose to paint it where you want it or where do not want it. It works much like masking in photoshop. You can apply it to the entire photo and then just remove it from some places with ease.

You also have a nice drop-down list with every different setting and it’s all added to the list of settings you have changed and they can all be easily removed.

Now, to the bad thing about Aperture and this is unfortunately a deal breaker for me.
It is slow and resourcehungry. Compared to LR3 it’s like day and night, it’s not even a contest on my Mac.

When I edit photos in Aperture I often make adjustments and then I move on to the next one and then back to the first one, zooming the picture, zooming out, making more adjustments etc. Aperture takes a while to make each adjustment and thus eventually, with my use, needs to process everything at once which results in very slow performance. It’s not uncommon for it to stop responding for 30 seconds when I zoom or apply sharpening.

At first I thought this was due to less memory then in my Windows machine where I ran LR3 but after installing the trail or LR3 on the Mac I noticed it was running just as smoothly on my Mac as it did on my higher speced Windows machine so this was a problem with Aperture, not with my Mac.

I upgraded to 8gb memory in the Mac and tried again and there was a huge difference. Aperture ran much more smoothly then before but I still get hiccups, it still stops responding when zooming after lots of adjustments have been made. It has crashed on me a couple of times, I’ve never lost any work thanks to the way Aperture saves information but it’s annoying to have it crash. (Faces are turned off btw).

So I’ve just started using Lightroom again. I bought Aperture when it was released via App store so I’ve used it for quite a while and consider myself quite proficient with it.

Now to Lightroom, if you’re still reading.

Lightroom is different when it comes to organizing. It’s not quite as easy to understand when you start out with it (I actually just found this out) but instead of importing everything into one Library the way you do in Aperture you create different libraries for each shoot. When I used it before I imported everything into the same Library and I had over 10000 photos in different folders to look through. It worked all right but not great.
Creating a new library for each shoot (or however you like, one Library each summer or winter or whatever) helps keep things simple and easy to find swell as makes the program work faster. So that issue is out of the way.

Lightroom 3 is faster, soooo much faster on my machine, I don’t really understand why but it is.

I can open a picture for editing in LR3 and make every adjustment after one another and there is zero waiting time, this is the way I like to work. I can apply sharpness, then paint with an adjustment tool then remove sharpening again and zoom and it never slows down for me. I just hate to have to wait, even for just a few seconds.

As far as quality goes they both produce great results. I do however feel Lightroom handles sharpening and noise reduction several times better and my results are far better. I have more control over both noise reduction and sharpening, my pictures at least, looks better when edited in LR but this could very well be a user issue.

In the end, hey are both great programs, had Aperture not had the performance issues it does I’d stay with it but since LR3 is so much faster and it just works (I have never had LR3 crash on me) I will make the switch back to LR3. Add to this that LR3 does indeed have the bigger user base and more plugins, better Photoshop integration and it’s a good deal (even for the price).

Aperture has got some really nice editing features (I wish LR worked the same way with local adjustments), nice sorting functions, book feature, easier to create multiple slideshows and books etc. Aperture is a great program and for the cost it can’t be beat, there is no better program for that price (app store price), neither for Mac nor Windows IMO.

Try the trails and if you are unsure I’d suggest buying Aperture, the cost is low and if you change your mind in the future your money won’t be wasted. You will still have learnt a lot when it comes to editing. I don’t regret choosing Aperture and switching to Lightroom. I will probably still be using Aperture, for books if nothing else.

Hope it works out for you.


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One Response to Guest Post: About to switch from Aperture to Lightroom

  1. Pingback: Lightroom Wednesday! » Heninger Fotographik

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