What's the best way to organize and edit Raw files on OSX?
January 7, 2008 9:03 AM   Subscribe

CS3 vs. Aperture? More inside...

I've been using Aperture for the past 6 months to organize my photos, plus do basic exposure/saturation correction. I've just upgraded to CS3, however, and really dig the RAW plug-in for it...I think it does a better job with my shots, however, there's no simple way to open files from Aperture directly into the Raw editing in PS3, because Raw is now a plug-in.

So, should I just ditch Aperture, use bridge to handle the organization, and use PS3/Raw to handle the image adjustments? Will I be sacrificing anything?

Also, will Lightroom somehow be a better "bridge" than Bridge, between organizing my shots and editing them?

I'm on a Macbook Pro with 2gb's of Ram and plenty of storage space (thanks to an external).
posted by bronxteacher to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
I haven't used Aperture, so I don't know if you'll lose much by ditching it, but I found Bridge to be slow and irritating, though I haven't used it for a while. I ended up using iView Media Pro for organising, viewing and tagging photos in conjunction with Photoshop for editing them.

I then switched to using Lightroom when it was released. It does much the same thing as you're mentioning with Aperture. You can open shots directly into Photoshop, but it imports them as a TIFF. The thing is, Lightroom is essentially a slightly souped up version of the CS3 RAW importer, wrapped up in a nice interface with an image library, so you should be getting the same image quality as if you'd imported through the Photoshop RAW plug-in. Adobe offer a fully functional 30 day free trial. Try it out, it might well fit your needs.
posted by Magnakai at 9:36 AM on January 7, 2008

Best answer: I think you're making this too complicated. If I were you I would just ditch Aperture for Lightroom. Lightroom is a workflow program that combines Adobe's RAW converter plugin with library functions and a streamlined interface, you don't need Bridge or the standalone RAW plug-in at all really.

I've been using Lightroom since the beta and I love it. I tried Aperture for a while but I came to the same conclusion you did: Adobe's RAW conversion is far superior. It integrates with Photoshop well too which sounds like what you want (you import, organize, and do the RAW conversion and then just hit "Export" to send it to Photoshop for further editing).
posted by bradbane at 9:38 AM on January 7, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks bradbane: you don't know an easy way of importing my photos directly from Aperture into Lightroom, do you?
posted by bronxteacher at 9:48 AM on January 7, 2008

Lightroom is awesome. I love the raw converter. I like it better than Capture One, Digital Photo Professional and Bridge. Oddly enough I used to hate the bridge converter.

You should be able to directly import all your photos into Lightroom from wherever they are. You will probably lose any adjustments you made to them in Aperture though.
posted by sully75 at 10:07 AM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

By the way, if you export your metadata (which includes all of the raw adjustments) to xmp files, you can freely switch between Bridge and Lightroom, and all of the changes you make in one will be reflected in the other. At least the way it works now, I find LR much better for "develop workflow", but a good deal slower than BR for folder browsing, especially in folders that I haven't imported into LR yet or synchronized (which is, in my opinion, the weakest part of LR).
posted by Caviar at 10:48 AM on January 7, 2008

Got Aperture, before Lightroom was available, and liked it for batch processing and one-panel-does-everything adjustments.

Since getting CS3, I’ve been ignoring Aperture in favor of simply using CRaw inside Bridge, and still can’t see any compelling reason to pony up $300 for Lightroom, since Bridge more than covers my organizational needs without locking me into special “libraries,” CRaw does pretty much everything adjustment-wise I found interesting about LR, and PS handles whatever CRaw doesn’t.

But I am going to get this asap.
posted by dpcoffin at 6:19 PM on January 8, 2008

Another vote for CS3 here.

As an example, I was an early adopter of Aperture. Apart from having to always check and make sure the settings were the way I wanted them (they'd spontaneously change on me from time to time), I was satisfied with it. It worked well enough with Photoshop. Then again, I was only editing once a week or so....not too heavily.

Then I tried CS3 and fell in love. I had also gotten to the point where I had transitioned over to a more digital workflow. It was even more seamless than Aperture with Photoshop (duh) and all my settings stayed put. It also works quite quickly despite the fact that I'm running it on a G4 Powerbook. What I liked best was the "Append Metadata" feature, which allows me to stick in all my info into my files, RAW or not. This was something I don't remember Aperture being able to do.

And let's not talk about the various things you can do within the entire CS3 suite from Bridge....
posted by arishaun at 8:45 PM on January 8, 2008

I light Lightroom a great deal, although it took a while to really see the benefit. As a mostly amateur photographer, I'm not sure I would pay the $300 retail price for it (I got it as a free upgrade as a Pixmantec Rawshooter customer), but if I made my living as a photographer I certainly would. The overall interface is a pleasure to use, and I find that I get better results out of my raw conversions with it faster than with ACR, because the flow is so good. It can effortlessly switch back and forth between thumbnail preview, developing settings, and image comparison, and it puts the most common touchup tools (like spot removal) into the raw conversion, reducing the need to go into PS at all. The cropping tool is very slick, and there is a very strong configurable before/after comparison mode, and that's just the beginning of the pretty rich feature set.
posted by Caviar at 5:11 AM on January 9, 2008

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