Aperture Vs. Lightroom: Let the Games Begin

by Micah Walter

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Well, it is early Monday morning here in the West Indies. I'm sitting here in my apartment sipping my morning coffee and waiting for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 to download. That's right! Adobe has released version 1.0 of Photoshop Lightroom today and you can download a free thirty day trial version right now from their website.

Wait one second... okay, it's finished! Wow that was quick. The download file is only 20 megabytes. I'll be right back. Got to go install it.

Done. That took all of ten seconds. Very cool. Just as a technical aside, I see that the trial version has replaced my beta version. Also, in case any of you were wondering, I am starting this field test off with empty libraries for both Aperture and Lightroom. To do this, I simply moved my local Aperture library into a subfolder, and created a new one by opening Aperture. I also moved my Lightroom library to a subfolder, and this caused Lightroom to ask me if I wanted to create a new library or locate the old one. I selected the first option and made a mental note about how Lightroom might be handling multiple libraries for a future post.

In a few hours I am heading into town to begin shooting the local "Carnival" celebration that is taking place here today. Carnival is considered a national holiday here in Dominica, and just about everything is closed. There is a parade scheduled until "the music stops." So it should be interesting.

As I sit here preparing to head out, I can't help myself from thinking about a small disaster I had over the weekend. On Saturday my girlfriend and I took a day trip by boat to a neighboring French island called Les Saintes. The island is actually a part of a large group of islands that sit next to Guadaloupe, another, larger island in the French Antilles.

On the boat ride over, I filled an entire 2 gig card with RAW images--about 200 or so on my Canon 20D. The shooting was fun and I thought I had started things off by making some cool shots of the boats going by and the people enjoying the ride on the seventy foot catamaran. I also got some neat shots of the islands as we approached, and was pretty charged up as a photographer can sometimes get.

When we landed I started shooting pictures of the town and noticed that I had filled my card. Well, at least that is what I thought had happened. Then my camera began acting a little funny. The red light that normally blinks while the camera is writing a file was solid. The camera wouldn't fire, and I couldn't get it to do, well, anything at all.

I resorted to removing the batteries and the card, waiting a few minutes and trying again. I inserted a new card and the batteries and it started right up. I was back in business. I continued taking pictures throughout the day, but spent most of my time driving our scooter and enjoying the French food and deserted beaches.

Later that evening when we got back I tried to import my images in to Aperture. That's when I realized what had happened. The first card was fried. After several attempts to recover the card, via Lexar's Image Rescue software and a few other applications I downloaded, I eventually had to give up. Not only were my images gone, but the card itself was unsalvageable. I was officially pissed off.

It took me a few hours to cool down and realize that these types of disasters can happen to anyone. Equipment will fail-- it is only a matter of time. In my experiences as a photographer, there have been plenty of equipment failures. From lenses getting jammed, to hard drives crashing, film getting left in the developer tank at the lab, or the accidental dropping of a cell phone in the toilet, these things just happen.

Fortunately for me, I am planning to go on the same boat trip next month, so I will have a chance to retake some of the pictures, but these types of events always cause me to rethink how I do things. What could I have done better to prevent this from happening.

All I have come up with so far is, buying some new cards and moving on. There really isn't much I could have done differently. If I had a Canon 1D-Mark II, I could send RAW files to the CF card and Jpegs as a backup to the SD slot. But, I don't have that camera, so it isn't an option. I need to work with what I have, and figure it all out. Was it the camera that caused the failure? Was it the card? Maybe it was all that Caribbean sea-spray splashing on my equipment. Who knows. As they say, I have to just "keep on keepin on."

Well, it's time to get up and get to work. I have lots to shoot today, and I will be posting my results later this evening. Since I have this new fancy trial version of Lightroom, I will start things off working with the Adobe's "Aperture-Killer" for day one of the Aperture Vs. Lightroom Odyssey, right here on the O'Reilly Digital Network.

So, add the blog to your RSS reader, or check back each evening for updates, and if you have yet to visit the Inside Lightroom site, be sure to check out Michael Clark's comparison, which will be coming to you alongside mine over the next week or so.

If another card goes down today, I have a few in reserve, and if they all fail, I will get Derrick to fedEx me some new ones! Keep on keepin on...


Nick WB
2007-02-19 08:07:48
Micah, I have been there and got the T shirt; exactly the same scenario. Sadly the same has also happend to several clients with various Canon DSLRs. The message is "Don't use Lexar with Canon" - they are a regular source of trouble. Canon in this part of the world have now swaped all their cards over to SanDisk for this very reason. Respectfully suggest you clear out the Lexars asap ( I have no connection with Lexar / SnaDisk, just bitter experience...)
2007-02-19 08:39:04
I too feel your pain...
I had a Sandisk 2gb fry on me in my Nikon D2x so there you go!

Whoever thinks Flash memory doesn't wear out hasn't been there with Photo-rescue and fingers crossed.

2007-02-19 09:48:43
wow, that stinks! I'd be carefl now w/ your other cards.

I'm waiting for the next posts. :-)

2007-02-19 11:43:47
Anyone asking for pity from his beachside apartment has another thing coming... :)
2007-02-20 16:35:39
That's why I like 1 GB cards. More individual cards to carry, but I get to change them more often, and minimize the chances of a bad card eating a whole job. And the first time that the camera does something suspicious (Err-99) switch crds to avoid killing everything you did before.
2007-04-10 05:34:16
Switch to a canon that holds two cards therefore if one fails you have the other as a back up. This is a must for a professional. Spend the money it is worth it
2007-08-28 20:05:58
We manufacture Digital Photo Frames, and Lexar cards also give us trouble...