Notes from Blogdom on Aperture: Is it a Photoshop Killer?

by Chuck Toporek

As a bit of market research following yesterday's announcement of Aperture, I decided to hit the blog trail and see what people on the street were saying about it. Aperture is a new application from Apple, to be released in 4-6 weeks, that serves as a workflow and production tool for digital photographers. It offers more than that, and many people believe it will be a Photoshop killer at some point (maybe not right now).

To conduct this bit of research, I went to Google and used their blog search capability, and simply searched for "Aperture + Apple". There were 639 results.

Anyhow, here's what people have had to say.

Note: I have not edited the following blog excerpts. What you see here is what you'll see if you follow the "Post" links -- typos and all.

Jeremy Ferguson

"Billed as being "Designed for Professional Photographers," Aperture is Apple's answer to serious digital workflow management + retouching tool. Is this the fabled Photoshop killer Apples supposedly sitting on for a while now."

"I'm looking forward to giving this product a try. Just think, Capture One Pro and Photoshop mixed together. That would be something else, I doubt Aperture is at that level but it's seems like the next step that you would expect Adobe or Apple to take."


Marco van Hylckama Vlieg

"Looks like the ultimate RAW editor. But... $499... ARGH!!!!"


Jay Savage, The Digital Photography Weblog

"Ok, I’m back from the Apple Special Event preview at PhotoPlus, and I’m having to eat my words. I said they’d have pro software for us, but that a photo expo would be a silly place to debut hardware. I was wrong, in part because the new Aperature editing software needs the new hardware. Video editors will love the new computers, too, though."

"And finally, Aperture, Apple’s new pro digital editing application. This is a really slick looking piece of software, and I’m dying to test drive it later in the week. On the surface it combines the best features of Photoshop Elements and ACD into one powerful professional package. It has standard editing tools (curves, channels, crop, resize, etc.), a fast photo library, and new features for organizing workflows. ‘Stacks’ automatically arranges pictures based on a shutter lag time you pick so that it will automatically group shots from a single session—or even single burst—so that you can compare them. ‘Light Table’ is a virtual light table that lets you drag and drop pictures to create layouts or just juxtapose shots, and ‘Loupe’ is, well, a loupe that lets you magnify a section of picture up to 800% as you drag the circular windoe around. Prhaps most importantly, Apple set out to make non-destructive editing of RAW files as easy as working with JPEGs, and it looks like they succeeded. Aperture seems to handle the big files quickly and with ease (at least on a G5 Quad) and includes features for drag and drop batch editing to, say, apply white balance correction to an entire ‘stack’ of pictures taken in the same light. and of course, built-in web and print design with integrated Color Sync profiling."

"There was no mention about filters and other effects beyond basic adjustment, so this isn’t a CS2 competitor yet, but it will certainly take a lot of the grunt work off of Photoshop if people adpot it. And of course, that’s the question: will people with an existing investment in Photoshop and Extensis want to switch? It’s hard to say. But at only $499, Aperature is going to be intrigueing, at the very least."


Jeff Croft

"Aperture looks really, really impressive. So are its system requirements."


Peter Beninate

"Apple has just announced a photo post-processing application called Aperture. The Quicktime demos are quite impressive. I think one of the best features is the RAW workflow. If this feature delivers like Apple says it does, it will take much of the hassle out of shooting in RAW.

"No doubt one of the biggest questions on peoples’ minds is “What will happen to Photoshop?” Keep in mind, Photoshop does much more than photo-retouching. For example, some illustrators use it’s brush tools to draw. In addition, Photoshop currently is used by nearly all the pros. It will take some time for that to change. A third thing: take a look at the system requirements for Aperture. PowerMac G5 1.8Ghz or PowerBook G4 15?. Not everyone has that type of machine. Obviously Aperture is targeted at pros.
"If I manage to get my hands on a copy, I’ll write a review. But until then, just search around and I’m sure you’ll find people with plenty to say about Aperture."


Apple Aperture: iPhoto Replacement?

John Faughnan

"I've been wating for Apple's new Aperture photo software for a few years now. At $250 (educational, I teach) I'll likely buy it -- unless it's unbearably slow. (Hardware requirements are immense, either Aperture is a fundamentally stupid piece of software or the requirements are for working with tens of thousands of 30MB raw images.)"

"So albums can span projects. If there are thousands of projects, with up to 10,000 master images per project, that's at least 10 million images per database. Now we're talking.

If it does the above, and it can capture most of my iPhoto metadata, and the performance demands are really about RAW workflow, then it's bye-bye iPhoto for me.

PS. What the heck does this mean? "Create alternate versions without using extra disk space". Somehow it stores a 'diff' for derivative images?! Now that would be seriously impressive.

Update: Ok, I just saw this. I am going to own this software.

Works Flawlessly with iPhoto

Aperture works seamlessly with iPhoto. You can browse your iPhoto library without leaving Aperture, and you can choose to import:

  • Individual photos

  • Albums

  • Folders

  • Film rolls

  • Your entire iPhoto library (complete with keywords, titles and other metadata)


Drooling Over Aperture

Danny Ngan

"Apple seems to be on a roll with new product announcements lately. First the iPod nano, then the new iPod video, a brand new iMac with built-in camera, and, as of today, quad-core Powermacs, slightly refreshed Powerbooks, and, my next drool-worthy object of desire, Aperture. Aperture is Apple’s new pro level photo editing and management application that is to iPhoto what Final Cut Pro is to iMovie. Bigger, fancier, and, of course, more expensive.

"Right now I’m using iView Media Pro for my photo management and Photoshop to do all my editing, but Aperture looks like it can take care of 90% of what I do in both of those programs. Nondestructive workflow, native RAW support, version control, backup capabilities, and the super-slick Apple pro app UI definitely make me want to add Aperture to my toolset. It’s not due to ship for another 6-8 weeks, so I can’t run to the Apple Store immediately to check it out, but I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for reviews, sneak-peaks, and whatnot. At $500 it’s not exactly a cheap program; however, if it’s as good as the QuickTime videos make it out to be, I’ll definitely justify the cost somehow."


Aperture -- Apple Strikes Adobe?

Raj Boora

"Well, I haven't seen the Apple site update yet - but Engadget tells me that Apple has released quad core machines (with a terabyte of possible storage to boot) and Aperture - a RAW editor. It looks like Apple is finally moving into Pro Photo.

"Some people are saying that this is going to be bad news for Apple and Adobe, but I don't think it will - Adobe is still the king of the ring and having Apple playing around the edges can only help both out. People said the same thing about Motion and it never really seemed to sour things, and even though FCP has really cut out Premier on Mac, I'm sure that Photoshop is going to keep going strong as the CS version are still being released at the same time and probably have an equal user base.

"Edit - after looking at the online material for Aperture, I think Photoshop may be challenged in terms of what is needed for editing, but as a creator, I don't think Aperture is even going to try - It doesn't seem to me that the two products will really competing for the same core market yet. Though people starting out may choose to build an all Apple shop now (I can see wedding photo/video people doing this).

"Edit 2 - It looks like Apple is saying that they are not even going to try to compete with Photoshop.


David Baily

"As a photographer, I just have to say that Apple has made my dreams come true. At least, a photo management tool that handles RAW digital negatives natively and without the pain associated with Photoshop. Well done Apple on yet another fantastic piece of software."



"yes, apple comes out with more goodness. and more badness. i looked at aperture on apple's site only to fall in love with the software and then find out that my 12" powerbook isn't buff enough to run it. OUCH! but aperture has alot of things i've been begging for in a photo program. it's basically adds the best of iphoto + iview media pro + final cut pro into one photo application.

  1. it has final cut pro style image color controls

  2. it allows me to compare similar shots to pick the best one

  3. it imports and moves quickly

  4. it has basic image editing and correction filters

  5. it allows us to easily tag and organize photos

"and most of all, it shows apple spent alot of time examining how photo and design professionals work and built an application based on our work flow and analog tools. they built the system around us instead of forcing us to adapt to them. don norman is smiling.

"but other than the fact that it won't run on my machine, it still falls short of all the features i need to ditch photoshop completely:

since it is focused on photographers, it lacks the image export optimization that web professionals need. there are no export controls for image file size / quality, just screen size.

"there are photo adjustment tools, but no photo editing tools. to produce images for websites, we often have to cut images out and add simple effects like drop shadows or glows. there are no tools to do this. instead aperture will open the image in photoshop. the only problem is i want to get rid of photoshop. having both aperture and photoshop open on any but the buffest machine would no doubt slow it to a crawl. and i've started to hate photoshop anyway.

"now honestly i understand that aperture should not be all things to all people, so i'm not asking apple to pile in more features. then it would just be photoshop - which i hate. i do not think it would be absurd to add a better image export for web optimization. if aperture supports plugins maybe someone could write one. but i realize that aperture should not turn into an artistic editing app. but i don't want to use photoshop anymore for this, especially when you consider how crappy its interface is compared to aperture. so will apple develop a separate photo editor or will someone else take it upon themselves?"


Aperture - Wow.

Ted Leung

"Today Apple announced Aperture, which they describe as "the first all-in-one post-production tool for photographers". After watching the videos on the Aperture pages, all I can say is Wow.

I never really looked at Final Cut Pro (not even the web pages), because I'm not a video guy. But I am a budding photo guy, and I am really impressed with what I saw. I have tried to do many of the workflows that were demonstrated in the Aperture videos - they are painful or impossible in iPhoto. The user interface appears to be well thought out, and there are definitely features that will really be useful - stacks, picks, rejects, the light table, the management stuff, versions against a master RAW "negative". And it supports the Digital Rebel XT (finally). I haven't spent any time adjusting my photos, so I don't know if I really need Photoshop grade manipulation facilities. But I'm already drowning in lots of photos, trying to do selects, trying to do decent library management. I have all the problems that Aperture is trying to solve. I'm sure there will be bugs, and quirks. But on the whole, it looks like it will be very fun to use.

After I get the hardware, that is. My PowerBook just makes the cut for systems that can run Aperture. The hardware requirements are why it made (some) sense that Apple also announced their hardware speed bumps and price cuts today. When you are working with lots of RAWs, then it's easy to see the need for dual or even quad G5's. Doing image manipulations? Then you need fast GPU's for CoreImage. If you're using your computer to replace/simulate a light table, your thoughts start to stray to 30" Cinema Displays. And so it goes.


Adobe In A Two Front War

Doug Dobbins

"Apple has demo’d and launched Aperture, a high end professional photo software package. As Apple did with Final Cut Pro, they are now taking on another Adobe product, Photoshop. Final Cut Pro did so well, Adobe stopped making Premiere Pro for the Mac.

"One thing Abobe Photoshop has going for it, is that it does not require 1GB of RAM and 17- or 20-inch iMac G5 with a 1.8 GHz or faster PowerPC G5 processor or 15-inch PowerBook G4 with a 1.25 GHz or faster PowerPC G4 processor. I do find it odd that the ATI Radeon X600 XT and Radeon X600 Pro videos cards, which are on the new iMac, are not listed on Aperture’s specs page as one of the appoved graphics cards. If Apple is going to get schools to teach Aperture, working on a iMac for intro classes is a must. Apple needs schools to teach this software to gain market share. Unlike video software when Final Cut Pro was launched, Photoshop is the clear leader in a mature market and is meeting the needs of most of it users."


The Photographer's Best Friend: Aperture

Ajit Anthony

"Among the many announcements that came from Apple, today, most revolved around pro hardware but overlooked was a software called Aperture. This pro software is a juiced up iPhoto, a place to store photo's, do some image editing, a lightbox but on your computer. Taking a look the website, I am surprised that there was not something like this already on the market. Though Graphic Converter and Adobe Bridge are excellent programs, Aperture is more suited to be the perfect little assistant to the photographer or even a graphics artist. My only wish is that Apple would have released this a little while ago when I had to stitch and organize hundreds of photographs for a video graphics job. Some of the more intriguing features to me are: non-destructive editing, some great export options, quick tags, the light box atmostphere, and stacking. It also supports RAW files but that has become standard now. But overall, this looks like an incredible software but pricey at $499."


Creative Bits

Post by mijlee

"Well Apple have released their ‘PhotoShop beater’ and it looks like it’s going to do the same to the Photographers market as FinalCut did to the editing industry.


"Aperture might be a little overpriced for my liking but the features are amazingly powerful. Not aiming at the design market at all instead this product is headed straight for the desk of any self respecting professional photographer with a screen big enough to accommodate all of the features."


Apple Aperture - Photoshop Killer?

"Apple's new application for pro photographers, Aperture, is iPhoto on steroids rather than a straight-ahead Photoshop killer.

"But whereas Photoshop is now very much aimed at designers, I think Aperture pisses all over it as far as professional photography is concerned.* If you're stuck in the 80s or 90s and still want to do cheesy Photoshop collages or apply loads of filters (what the quick tour video calls "extreme stylistic effects"), the 'Shop will still be your bag.

"But for uploading, organising, adjusting, correcting, printing, archiving, printing and even publishing a set of images, Aperture has all the tools. As with iPhoto, you can easily produce a book or web page of images; but you can also customise the layout far more than you can in iPhoto.

"The non-destructive editing is a killer feature - saving versions of your file not as huge bloated copies, but simply as sets of instructions, all of which are applied to the untouched original dynamically."

*You will need the most powerful Mac on earth. Apple's "recommended" system is a Dual 2GHz Power Mac G5 or faster with at least 2GB of RAM, so don't even think about running it on an iMac, or a G4 machine. They are listed as part of the "minimum requirements", but you will not have a good experience.


So there you have it, word from the masses on Aperture. What's your take on Aperture? Whether you're a professional photographer or someone who takes a boatload of pictures with your aging Canon S200 (like me), what do you think of Apple's new digital imaging app? Think it's going to be a Photoshop killer as some people are predicting?

Share your thougths...

And here's one final thought from me: If you don't think Aperture is a Photoshop killer now, the one thought that keeps running through my head is "Does Aperture have a plug-in architecture?". If it does, I can see where there will be a booming market for people to develop Core Image-based image effects and such. And if that is possible, Adobe better look out.

Tell us what you think of Apple's Aperture.


2005-10-21 03:27:44
I want it!
As a enthusiastic amateur photographer I can only say I want Aperture (but the price tag will likely mean I won't). iPhoto, although a great app for many users, it not for me. For now, I'm seriously looking at iView MediaPro for my photo-organizing needs. Is Aperture a Photoshop killer? I don't think so. They seem to play different roles in a photographer's workflow. We will still need to edit photos and Aperture will only do a small part of what we need to do in terms of editing.
2005-10-21 04:12:52
It´s the software, stupid!
Though system requirements and price tag for Aperture are really high – the whole thing clearly shows what the near future of computing is all about: software! Software that is intuitive to use, workflow oriented, fast of course. Software that overcomes current interface design (which is stuck in the 80s and 90s) and which makes working with feature-rich apps more and more painful. Look at Photoshop and you know what I mean. Aperture is a huge leap in the right direction. I´ve been writing my own batch image processing code for some time now because none of the established apps in this field ever really took the work out of workflow. Aperture offers many of the features I (and other photographers I know) always wanted to have. It probably does this by using the same APIs that are open to any mac developer. Core Image, Quartz, for example. Very powerful APIs, but documentation on Apple´s developer site is meager – to say the least. Clearly Apple themselves wanted to be first on stage to show off the true potential of their latest frameworks. Aperture is not a Photoshop competitor – not yet. I bet, it could have been right from the start because Core Image offers a sound plug-in architecture for custom filters and 128-bit per pixel floating point processing.
Well, Adobe, the times they are a changing ...
2005-10-21 11:48:17
I ordered it from the apple store as soon as I saw it. Now I will spend the next few weeks planing my movement to Aperture.
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