Aperture or Lightroom? And do I let them manage my library?
November 12, 2007 7:25 AM   Subscribe

Aperture or Lightroom? And do I let them manage my library? It's been a year since it was addressed and both applications have come a long way. So... have opinions been changed? Critical features added? Achilles heels revealed? And regardless of which I pick, should I suck it up and let them manage my library or stick with my hierarchical self-managed structure?

The Aperture v Lightroom question speaks for itself, I think. I've found Lightroom's quick crop system (ie, the recognition that it's more likely what you'll be doing than anything else and not making me press C first and return to accept it) pretty nice, but dislike the switching between viewing and altering mode. Aperture's stacks are nice and I LOVE having an add-on importer to push the set up to Flickr after I'm done. And quite frankly, Apple's collection of instructional videos is a big plus for me.

Are there other compelling issues I'm missing?

On both applications I am facing the referenced vs imported issue - All my photos - and there's more than a few - are currently organized like this:


Using Aperture I don't need (hell, shouldn't) separate out my jpeg and raw images, but I'm finding keeping to using referenced to make life harder - at least when it comes to putting in the old stuff. The 10000 image limit for a project precludes just picking "2007" and pulling everything in. In this, it seems, I am not alone.

The prospect of picking shift-option-I about 2000 times is not appealing. Am I missing something? Should I butch up and just let Aperture import everything? Would Lightroom be notably better at this?

Help an unfrozen caveman photographer cope with tools that do more than just show everything in a directory!
posted by phearlez to Technology (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
lightroom FTw. It has stacks now, btw, and is just so much faster than Aperture it's not funny. You can make Flicke uploader open on export, which does until the plug-in API appears.

As for the library, LR gives you the best of both worlds -- it will manage them yet also let you at them. You can move files in the Finder and it won't throw a fit.
posted by bonaldi at 8:20 AM on November 12, 2007

I don't trust Aperture with my photographs, especially technical work, because it completely misrepresents the histogram.

Lightroom is an incredible application and I use it for my art photography all the time. I have my photos in my own directories much like you do, and don't have any serious problems with the workflow.
posted by fake at 9:20 AM on November 12, 2007

Lightroom has won out in my opinion. I haven't used Aperture since it first came out so forgive me if some of this has changed.

Lightroom is much, much faster. I shoot several thousand images a month and it still flies even on my girlfriend's laptop that doesn't have much RAM. It gives you a lot more control than Aperture does, whenever I go back to Aperture to see how it's progressing I feel like half the options are missing.

I also like how Lightroom organizes images. I like to keep things organized on my disk and Lightroom cooperates with it perfectly. If you set up the Import and Export settings how you want it will maintain your folder structure for whatever works for your workflow and changing things in Finder doesn't mess up your library. ie. I organize everything by date (2007/11-12 Shoot Description) and I have separate Export settings depending on what I'm doing ("Send to Photoshop" saves a PSD in the subfolder "Developed" or "Save JPEG for Web" saves a web-sized JPEG in subfolder "Web").

I think what really sold me is how much better quality the files LR outputs. I did a shoot recently where I had an equipment malfunction and all my shots were 3 full stops under exposed (and this was a pretty contrasty, dark scene to begin with). Even after pushing it 3 stops and doing some pretty extreme processing in LR my files were saved and made perfectly acceptable prints even after upsizing. Saved me a reshoot! I don't think Aperture's RAW processor would be up for that from the results I've seen with it.
posted by bradbane at 9:38 AM on November 12, 2007

It was a no-brainer for me, Aperture won't run on my G4 Mac. Lightroom does, although it's not particularly fast. I wouldn't be shooting in RAW mode if it wasn't for Lightroom.

You can manage files any which way you want, Lightroom handles it. It does have its own library, but leaves your photos on disk right where you put them.
posted by tommasz at 9:59 AM on November 12, 2007

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