iPhoto '08 Is Good, But Aperture is Definitely King

by Derrick Story

I've had fun exploring some of the new features in iPhoto '08, but I've also noticed what's missing. And the big thing that jumps out at me is that iPhoto still makes a copy of your file when you edit compared to Aperture's intelligent metadata approach.

No matter what you're shooting with, you're going to eat up disk space faster in iPhoto than Aperture. It's funny. Part of me was hoping that the iPhoto team would modernize this approach, and part of me not.

On one hand, I think a more efficient iPhoto is a good thing for every one who uses it. Even if most of its customers are shooting Jpegs, the metadata approach to editing instructions is just so strong and hard to argue with. On the other hand, I do like having distinguishing factors between Aperture and iPhoto... and this one in particular is a biggie.

So, I'll stay current on iPhoto for my teaching and to help others learn it, but I tell you... when it comes to my work, Aperture is definitely king.


2007-08-10 08:43:51
What I want to see a write-up on is how the new iMacs (esp. the 2.8ghz version) compare to the MBPs. If anyone else out there is like me, even though they crave portability, the added power & goodies of the iMac configuration (processor, storage options, etc) kind of make you consider giving up a little portability for those bonuses, plus the added enticement of a lower cost.

The iMac is still quite portable, esp. if you run everything wireless - you only have to worry about the power cord - and gets you more power, a bigger screen, 2-5x more storage, all while coming in at some $500-$600 dollars cheaper, more if you don't opt for the optional HD 17" Macbook setup.

It's all opinion of course, but it'd be an interesting read coming from a more professional source such as this, as to the pros/cons of going iMac over MBP or vice versa.

The iMacs are enticing, but even though I can afford it better AND get more performance out of it, something's still tugging me towards the MBPs.

2007-08-10 08:57:46
Not a 'for pics only' review, but a nice general overview of iMac vs MBP, MP and old iMac.

Summary? Better than the MBP for compute and graphics operations. Obviously, it is not a laptop. I believe Aperture users will benefit from an iMac (processing/graphics, keep in mind the glossy display).

Bakari C
2007-08-10 10:43:16
Agree here, but, man, I really like the new Events feature in iPhoto '08 and the way you can send photos up to your dotmac Web Gallery. Other than that, it's Aperture all the way.
2007-08-10 11:00:45
I like the idea of looking at the new iMacs through the Aperture lens. I'm meeting with Joe Schorr today and will see what we can cook up. Great suggestion.
2007-08-10 11:44:23
Good thoughts, but I'm not so sure about your statement that iPhoto will eat disk space faster than Aperture. For me, the fact that Aperture generates previews (and decent ones, since they're what other apps import from Aperture), the preview plus the original for *all* photos, even the ones I never touch is a disk space killer.

Still, I love Aperture. The new events view *needs* to be in Aperture 2, though. I can only dream of skimming over each of my projects to quickly see what's in what. Brilliant!

2007-08-10 11:52:36
To tmtm:

I'm not up to snuff on my graphics card #'s, but I've heard that the new offerings in graphics on the iMac are NOT all that great. If so, are they not as good as what's offered on the MBP? If the graphics card on the MBP is actually a smidgeon better, then it really sort of makes the 2.8ghz iMac vs. the better-equipped graphics engine MBP more intriguing -- do you get more Aperture speed in the CPU-tilted iMac, or the graphically-inclined MBP?

I'm struggling to make a choice myself (only wish list for at least a few more months), but with things considered such as the screen & ease of calibration on the iMac (considering glossy & all), the added speed & storage (up to 1TB), though the (perhaps) ding of not-as-good graphics offered in the the iMac line-up, versus the slightly less-powerful MBP with the laptop calibration woes, but the ultimate in portability, but costing some $600 more (17" HD Screen)........

Hard choice. Esp. when you try to put a value price on doing some work on the couch, or maybe the bedroom, or maybe outside, or maybe...... :-) Is all that maybe worth the extra $600 & loss of 7" of screen? I'd like to see other's takes on these scenarios.

Mihalis Tsoukalos
2007-08-10 22:05:48
Macword has some benchmarks: http://www.macworld.com/2007/08/firstlooks/imacbenchmarks/index.php It looks like the new graphics cards are not that great but I think the new 2.8GHz processor is going to make the difference. So, one way or another, new iMacs are fast, faster than the old iMacs.
Gary Lester
2007-08-11 01:12:39
Always enjoy your perspective Derrick!

Maybe I am missing something but after more than a year of trying to find a reason strong enough to prompt my purchase of Aperture I still haven't found one.
This despite scrutinizing the application since it was first anounced and starting with a strong predisposition towards buying it.
I am getting such strong performance and cross media deployment of my original images and subsequent derivative works using applications like iPHOTO, iMOVIE, iDVD, Quicktime, Garageband, Image Capture and iWORK in conjunction with the Color Sync utility and Print dialogue window(PDFs and Composites) that integration has become my primary requirement when considering the use or addition of other tools into my workflow.
It may be that I am missing something but I continue to remain objective and open to being convinced.
Why do I need Aperture?

2007-08-14 22:06:13
Amen! Greg Lester. Integration is my primary requirement too. In this respect - iPhoto is King!

For many things, iPhoto's ease of use and simplicity still beat out Aperture and that means FASTER workflow.

For many pros Aperture has too many bells & whistles, it's like driving a big SUV in the city when all you need is a smaller fuel-efficient Toyota hatchback.

iPhoto and Lightroom are more intuitive, less things can go wrong which means less down time! Time is money!

I hope the next Aperture upgrade will learn a few things from iPhoto.
If not, I would prefer an iPhoto Pro version instead.

2007-08-16 14:02:19
I bought aperture really cheap ($100) when CompuUSA was going out of business and in a lot of ways I think I've bitten off more than I can chew. I have a point and shoot camera and while my wife and I have talked about upgrading to a digital SLR I don't see it happening anytime soon. Regardless, I created my aperture library and can use the program ... more or less ... but many of the convenient features of the new iPhoto are tempting me back.
2007-08-18 02:13:29
The only problem is that you have to choose between Aperture and iPhoto while both are worthy of interest!
It's just too difficult to conceive a decent workflow using both.
If only the 2 softwares could share one unique library while keeping their own way of working would be great...
2007-08-18 19:32:42
There is a fantastic program called iPhoto Library Manager that increases the functionality of iPhoto 1000%. It lets you manage many iPhoto librairies instead of just one unwieldy library. It would be great if this was also available for Aperture too. In fact, if it could handle both iPhoto libraires AND Aperture librairies it would be fantastic. It is freeware and not yet fully updated for 08. I don't know why Apple just doesn't buy it and incorporate it.?

2007-08-22 04:03:36
Quick thought:
If iPhoto went the Aperture metadata route, then wouldn't that require the video processor to do more work every time you view or edit? Anyone who runs Aperture on a MacBook knows that the video just isn't up to the job. So maybe they've kept the unwieldy duplication system in iPhoto so that it will run faster on consumer machines?
Gary Lester
2007-09-15 08:47:20
In answer to Anonymous let me say that I like iPhoto's duplication and here is why.
The kind of content creation I am doing these days requires deployment across various media. Rather than look for the easiest publishing solution my intention is to meet what I consider to be the highest standard.
Subsequently my experience is that images require different levels of correction and sizing for optimal deployment.
Some examples would be posting images to a web gallery as opposed to a document or slideshow presentation.
When deploying to a web gallery I know I can export my RAW image as a JPEG with minimal loss of quality by downsizing the image during creation of the JPEG as data is being discarded. Also quality is often better when reducing image by 2X, 4X or 6X etc.
Juxtopposed to that workflow I have learned that my slideshows are of much higher quality if I process a group of images to the same size and color profile before using the H.264 codec to reduce the iMovie project to an instant streaming Quicktime. For this type of publication I prefer to convert my NEF RAW files to TIFF first which allows me to produce slideshows that open full size when viewed in iTunes or the Safari RSS feeder rather than small like an MP4.
PDF's are another story as is Page or Print production.
Thanks again to Derrick!
Good luck!
Gary Lester
2007-09-15 10:30:32
Anthony, if it makes your wait any more bearable I heard.. or rather let me say that I wouldn't be surprised if an iMac designed specifically for the advanced digital photographer appears in the not too distant future.
For what it's worth I prefer desktops to laptops for many reasons including the ones you mention. Last year I was processing files and making corrections via a 17" screen and it steadily became more an more tedious to do so. I even began thinking that if I kept it up too much longer I was going to be ordering my first ever pair of prescription glasses.
Instead I picked up the 20" iMAC Dual Intel!
That was last February and I haven't edited a single image via my other MAC since.
If you are having trouble making the decision you mentioned in a store feel free to stop by my place and make comparisons via my MAC's.
Good luck!