Aperture Vs. Lightroom: We've Only Just Begun

by Micah Walter

First let me start by saying how much fun I have had on this project. I really was overwhelmed by all the comments and discussions that ensued after each post. I hope we can keep it going. So, last week I finished a week long comparison between Apple's Aperture, and Adobe's Lightroom. I tried to stay away from the technical details of each program, and just focused on how they fit the style of work I do.

Meanwhile on the Inside Lightroom site, Micheal Clark was essentially doing the same thing. We both came to this project with basically opposite perspectives. Michael has been using Lightroom for some time now, and I have been a big fan of Aperture for the last year or so. So, we both jumped in the water and tried to make sense out of things.

As promised, we have both published articles on our respective sites and you can view them now. Take some time to read through my synopsis of the Aperture Vs. Lightroom Field Test here, and when you are done, be sure to check out Michael's article here.

Where do we go from here? Well, I am pretty happy with Aperture, but I have always been one of those people who loves to tinker with new toys and gadgets. So, I am sure I will be venturing further into the dark corners of Adobe's Lightroom, and I'll be posting anything that seems interesting. I've also got plenty more to say about Aperture, so, please continue to tune in.


David Medina
2007-03-06 20:18:40
Yeah, this was great. It truly helped me to choose my path. As you, I am satisfied with Aperture, and after this week I am sure that I am using the best tool for the way I work and workflow philosophy. I have also come to appreciate the great job the fellows at Adobe have done in Lightroom. Definitevily a great tool! As Micah said, We've only just begun. I am looking forward to hear more. I just hope Inside Aperture puts out more podcast with greater frecuency.
2007-03-06 21:13:01
Really great series...kudos to both of you. I've been using Lightroom since beta 2, and perhaps, your reviews of Lightroom have made me check out some of Aperture's features a bit more closely. Haven't yet made up my mind...Aperture's a bit doggy on my Dual G5 and I have a Mac Pro on its way to "help me" evaluate Aperture more fairly.

I truly do hope both of you continue your forays into the other camp, so to speak. I read each installment as soon as it was available, and learned a lot from the comments (almost as much as you, Micah :)).

2007-03-07 07:53:21
I hope Apple is reading this series. I have no doubt they are. The room for improvment in their app is obvious, I am sure 2.0 is gonna kick butt!

the comments and back and forth almost warrants someone to create a forum for Aperture users (hint hint) seperate of the Apple discussions, which is full of basic tech problems etc.

Frank Gregorek
2007-03-07 08:38:14
Thanks to you and Michael for very informative articles that served as great springboards for good discussion. I agree with Ian that a forum for these products on "neutral ground", so to speak, would be a great idea.
David Medina
2007-03-07 14:26:40
"the comments and back and forth almost warrants someone to create a forum for Aperture users (hint hint) seperate of the Apple discussions, which is full of basic tech problems etc."

I second that!!!!

2007-03-08 00:06:43
David, forget tech problems, Apple discussions have North Korean censorship that has killed any LR vs Aperture threads, as well as many comments critical of the Cause (cores?) or the Dear Leader.

Peter Krogh's forum at http://thedambook.com/smf/ is one of the best places right now with a strong focus on organization - its Aperture forum needs more action.


Frank Gregorek
2007-03-08 06:26:48
Gio: The pro Adobe tack of Krogh's book and particular workflow hardly makes that forum a "neutral ground". That's why the Aperture forum on that site sees little action. Reading some of the Aperture posts there and Krogh's comments, I don't think he's ever dedicated any serious time to understanding Aperture or its features. He's made it very clear that he prefers LR.

You're right about Aperture censorship. I think they're making a major mistake doing that. On the other hand, I've also found the frequenters of the LR forum to be dismissive of any concerns about LR and providing lots of "jam tomorrow", as you've phrased it, over there. That's why I think it would be great if an entity like O'Reilly hosted a forum or forums on Aperture/LR. The people posting here clearly have their preferences as to LR or Aperture, but I think the discussions taking place here, stimulated by the excellent articles, have been very educational and well mannered.

2007-03-08 07:29:53
Frank, that's unfair. Krogh's stand is resolutely DAM-focused - just Aperture 1.0 got off to a bad start as a DAM tool, and perhaps Apple fans trust so much in its all-encompassing promises that they forget wider DAM issues. Until it goes wrong, or they move platform or use another program, that is. While Krogh and other leading posters there are close to Adobe, DNG for instance is favoured in archival/interchange terms, not because it came out of Adobe, and reading between the lines he's also pretty critical of LR right now. It's a good level discussion in polite, professional language, and non-fanboy Aperture postings would find a good home there.

But that forum is about DAM rather than processing, so adjustment related stuff would be a little off topic. Maybe O'Reilly would be a better home - they probably know Apple's lawyers already....

Frank Gregorek
2007-03-08 08:36:24
Gio: we'll have to agree to disagree about whether I'm being fair to that forum. People can read his book, his comments on that website and draw their own conclusions.

In any event, as you note, that forum is DAM oriented and the topics we have been discussing on the O'Reilly pages have been broader than that and have had the spark of very good articles by Micah and Michael. It's the combination of those types of articles with the discussions they have lead to that I think would be very beneficial to the user community.

2007-03-08 10:04:04
The book was of course written before Aperture appeared, and when an Adobe-centred solution was just about the only game in town. Since then, Krogh's latest relevant comment was "I would still caution against Aperture, at least until Apple announces some kind of open architecture solution to wrap RAW data, metadata, and renderings up in a way that makes them durable across platforms and applications. (Support for DNG export would do the trick)." You may not agree that Aperture should be deprecated but as a DAM solution for being limited to the Mac, but it's a consistent DAM assessment rather than anti-Aperture or pro-Adobe bias.
David Medina
2007-03-08 17:48:01
I lost something here... censorship??? Can someone tell me what is that about?
2007-03-09 00:23:20
There have been quite a number of threads where self-professed Apple loyalists have compared LR1.0 with Aperture. Some have been pulled after one big guy started shouting down any sceptics, but even professional comparison - the sort of tone we've used here - has been deleted. I read those threads, and felt they were killed for harmless and at best technical breaches of the rules - comments that would have been unnoticed elsewhere (except at the defunct RobGalbraith forums). Not having needed to lurk at those forums until recently, I've been really shocked at the heavy-handed moderation - I didn't mean to be tough on North Korea, but the cap was a pretty good fit.
2007-03-09 07:32:22
Some good and open discussion around Aperture and Lightroom can be found in the Mac-Subforum at dpreview.com. There are active users of both applications discussing pro's and con's.

I agree, that any place that is in some way related to Adobe and/or Apple like luminous-landscape or Apples own board is not the right place for open minded exchange, since they will always be very biased. Apple strictly deletes any threads that discuss other products than their own and who wants to blame them, it's a business after all.

I was just reading the DAM-Book of Krogh when I got Aperture. It was funny to see so many of his workarounds and workflows actually realised in one single Application.

Frank Gregorek
2007-03-09 08:36:10
Mike: this site was apparently announced at PMA. I haven't had any chance to look to see what its genesis or connection is:


2007-03-09 09:04:45
Frank, well spotted. I'd heard about it on the grapevine and think I was told it's Apple-funded with ex-PDN people involved. Early days, and not as independent as an O'Reilly one, but that might be your forum. Certainly one to watch.
2007-03-09 09:19:35
Hi everyone,
I have been following the comments regarding the forum issue. First, I think it is pretty hard to find actual unbiased neutral ground. Most websites are either funded in some way by some interested party, or they have advertisiers who also have some influence. This is true in many media outlets the world over.

I think the important thing is that the forum you are using is not heavily moderated or censored. Having posts cut because they seem off topic os one thing, but having them cut because they are about another competitors software is a whole other issue.

There are currently plenty of forums where good discussion can take place. It really depends on what you are looking for. DPReview.com is a great start, this new ApertureProfessional.com (I covered that on the AperturePluggedIn.com site) looks like it will become a good place for talk... and there are many more.

Personally I really like the discussions that tae place in the comments of these blog posts. It is really great to see a response to an article in the form of a group discussion. It's almost like a mini workshop. One thing to keep in mind is that if you have a topic that you would really like to talk about in a forum type format, just drop me an email, and maybe we can turn it into a blog post. Ya never know!