Just a quickie as I'm still wrestling with the next edition of the UK Hillwalking Guide this week, but I thought it worth a mention that Apple is now offering Aperture for just £44.99 on the App Store–about a quarter of the previous price.
Up to now Aperture has been rather overshadowed by Adobe Lightroom though both apps do broadly the same job. Here's what I'm saying about them in the forthcoming 2nd edition of Outdoor Photography...
"Both programmes integrate their organising (Library) and editing (Develop) functions so that you can move seamlessly from viewing a page of thumbnails to tweaking the colours of one or two of them. Essentially both programs show you a preview of the image, which changes to reflect the adjustments you’re making. However, they don’t create a new file then and there, but merely record the adjustments you’ve made. As and when you need to export a JPEG for the web or send a TIFF to a high-end publisher, the adjustments are applied to the exported file.
"Once you get your head round it, it’s hard to imagine working any other way. There’s no interruption to the workflow: you just move smoothly from Library to Develop and back again. And because you don’t create JPEG or TIFF versions until you need them, it saves on hard disk space too. In fact these apps can export directly to the web (and they now integrate with sites like Facebook and Flickr) so you can post images online without leaving a JPEG copy on your own system at all.
"Actually, iPhoto works in a similar way, though its editing tools are far less sophisticated."
I've been using Lightroom for several years now. I originally chose it over Aperture mainly because it ran faster on the Mac I was using then. I've run later versions of Aperture in demo mode and they run fine. I think any Mac with an Intel processor should handle it just fine. And you will need an Intel Mac because you have to update the OS to use the App Store. Snow Leopard version 10.6.6 to be precise. Snow Leopard doesn't run on pre-Intel Macs.
Given that I'm already using Lightroom for nearly all my photo handling and editing work, I don't see myself changing to Aperture, but for any photographer who's not already committed to Lightroom it makes a lot of sense to look at Aperture. I think above all it should appeal to anyone currently using iPhoto or Photoshop Elements and finding them just a bit limiting.
And if you're still using Photoshop AND a separate cataloguing app, it really is time to save yourself the hassle–and the disk space!
If you're not using a Mac then Aperture's no good to you but I wonder if it will put pressure on the pricing of Lightroom, so keep your eyes open.