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Aperture 3.0? Apple Losing to Adobe – Badly

Lightroom is pulling farther ahead of Aperture.

This comment captures a lot of the reasons why:

Five bucks says Aperture 3 — if there even is an Aperture 3 — will be the last major update. Apple's refusal to communicate or fix longstanding bugs is driving away its professional customers. There's no life left in the Aperture community. It's almost as if the Aperture team doesn't exist at all anymore and that the only users left are the sad hopeful few camped out in the official Apple support forums begging for scraps of information which never comes.

I hope for my sake that one of two things happens: a) the commenter is wrong and Apple does a mini-about-face on Aperture development, community, etc., b) Lightroom 3.0 easily imports my Aperture library. 😛

P.S. Derrick Story thinks Aperture 3.0 will ship soon, and he has a list of features he'd like to see. The fact that he's completely in the dark is a result of Apple's poor decisions in this area.

P.P.S. My wishlist? More speed (if that's via 64-bit support, fine, though that might kill some plugins I still rely on), more non-destructive editing, and a few more editing options like some masking/local adjustments, gradients, and a few of the little things Lightroom's got.

6 Responses to "Aperture 3.0? Apple Losing to Adobe – Badly"

  1. I struggled desperately with the Aperture 1 to 2 conversion when I bought the Nikon D3 and Apple took over 6 mo. to support RAW photos from the D3. I was ready to wait for Apple to move in that case, but there was absolutely NO communication from them on the forums, etc. as to when they would finally support RAW photos from that camera body. (The mantra was always "soon." No one had a clue what "soon" meant...) Two weeks shy of Aperture 2 coming out, I had already converted over 60GB of photos to Lightroom and decided to stay with Adobe.

    The fact that Apple continues this trend of not communicating with customers leads me to recommend you jump ship. It really does not appear they are improving things (as they do with many of their products) and this is a killer when dealing with large photo collections. There are things that Aperture simply does better (than Lightroom) if you're a Mac person, but I didn't want to be left in the cold again with no support for a given camera - especially one as popular as the D3. Too bad they have chosen to take this approach.

  2. steven n fettig said on September 24, 2009:

    The fact that Apple continues this trend of not communicating with customers leads me to recommend you jump ship.

    I think that's an over-reaction. The D3 wait is part of what caused them to remove the RAW filters from the core OS updates. That was a big part of the problem… and I don't think it was quite six months.

    steven n fettig said on September 24, 2009:

    It really does not appear they are improving things (as they do with many of their products) and this is a killer when dealing with large photo collections.

    What does this even mean? Aperture 1.5 to 2.0 improved things. Aperture is now at 2.1.4 and it has improved. When we see Aperture 3.0, that will improve things too.

    I think Lightroom's file management stinks, and to me that's killer when dealing with large photo collections.

    steven n fettig said on September 24, 2009:

    There are things that Aperture simply does better (than Lightroom) if you're a Mac person, but I didn't want to be left in the cold again with no support for a given camera - especially one as popular as the D3.

    Well, that's a choice you made, but it seems to me a somewhat uninformed one. My cameras have been well supported, so I haven't followed things all that closely, but it seems to me that since splitting the RAW file formats from the OS updates Apple has been just about as good at issuing updates as Adobe has. Camera RAW isn't updated every week, either.

    Camera support seems to be your only beef with Aperture… and it's simply one I don't really share.

  3. Erik,

    You are absolutely right. This is exactly the beef I had with Aperture and it was a big one for me. I shoot in RAW (for better or worse - there is an entire other ideological debate on the side of that issue) and lack of RAW support for a flagship camera is a big deal (remember, D300 support was also lacking). I may be wrong, but I really do think it was six months. I received my D3 in November (around Thanksgiving) - about two weeks after they started shipping - and I thought it was not until the end of April the next year (i.e. 6 mo later) that they finally added D3 support. (It was about the end of February when I gave up the wait and moved to Lightroom.) Regrettably, I can't say for sure.

    I agree that some would view my stance as an overreaction, but the threads on D3 support were long and tedious and it was practically impossible to get any type of official reaction out of Apple. Many of us had to rely on workarounds or simply relied on using jpeg photos for work. Seriously, though, how is this not a big deal? I can understand if I were using an off-brand or low use camera, but there were a ton of D3s and D300s flying off the shelves before support was finally released.

    So, to stop babbling on: yes, the primary issue for me was camera support, and I consider that important. Secondary, and only slightly less important, was lack of communication. Perhaps Adobe fails at this, too. Just like you with camera model support and Aperture, I haven't personally had any of these issues with Adobe and Lightroom. Unlike dealing with, say, Acrobat Reader, I actually have enjoyed my experience with Lightroom.

    ...Lastly, my comment on not "appearing to improve things..." is purely based upon biased observation of comments like yours (and many others I have read), which I may have taken out of context to support my own opinion. But, it is just that, opinion.

  4. steven n fettig said on October 1, 2009:

    I may be wrong, but I really do think it was six months. I received my D3 in November (around Thanksgiving) - about two weeks after they started shipping - and I thought it was not until the end of April the next year (i.e. 6 mo later) that they finally added D3 support. (It was about the end of February when I gave up the wait and moved to Lightroom.) Regrettably, I can't say for sure.

    I shoot RAW too, but that's somewhat beside the point. Support is support.

    Apple's support for the D3 and D300 came February 11, so your dates are off. And if I recall correctly, it was the long wait for the D3/D300 updates that led Apple to split the Camera RAW updates from the OS updates.

    steven n fettig said on October 1, 2009:

    Seriously, though, how is this not a big deal?

    How? The only three cameras I've ever used - one of which I bought fairly soon after release (the 5D Mark II) were supported at the time I got them. So "it's not a big deal" if you've never had that sort of problem. Simple as that.

    Basically, I'm in a position where I find Aperture easier to use, it supports my cameras, I like how it manages my photos, I don't like the organization or layout in Lightroom, and my fingers are trained for Aperture. It's going to be a steep uphill climb to get me to switch - particularly since Lightroom's not going to go in and read all of the changes I've made to my various images.

  5. Erik J. Barzeski said on October 1, 2009:

    Apple's support for the D3 and D300 came February 11, so your dates are off. And if I recall correctly, it was the long wait for the D3/D300 updates that led Apple to split the Camera RAW updates from the OS updates.

    Ok, so it was not even three months. No arguments there.

    Erik J. Barzeski said on October 1, 2009:

    How? The only three cameras I've ever used - one of which I bought fairly soon after release (the 5D Mark II) were supported at the time I got them. So "it's not a big deal" if you've never had that sort of problem. Simple as that.

    That wasn't my point. I was saying that it was a big deal for me. Again, my opinion based upon past experience which you are saying has not been repeated. Good - and I'm not being sarcastic - I really want Aperture to exist and Apple to continue competing against Adobe. The second monitor view option (i.e. select photo in the main Lightroom/Aperture window and you can direct your secondary monitor to show a closeup or variation of the photo - I'm not sure what the proper term is) was absent in Lightroom originally and a few of us sent commentary in as a feature request and it was added later (because of us or previous feature plans, I have no idea). That's just a small example of something that I think comes about because of competition.

    There are two other comments that I'd like to make. You mention you don't like the file handling of Lightroom. In what way? My main Lightroom library has about 45,000 photos in it (I have a few separate libraries that have other collections) and I like the way it organizes the photos into date based folders and keeps the changes made in a type of catalog file. I didn't like nor dislike Aperture's pseudo file/folder cataloging method. It was just different.

    Lastly, I think that moving to Lightroom with a large library would be a major pain in the butt. For me, however, it was worth it because I haven't had the same problems with Lightroom over the long-run of my use. I know you have quashed the issues I raised because Apple seems to have addressed those, but the nagging lack of communication and lack of a clear upgrade path may be enough to push others over to the other side.

  6. Hi,

    I have used both of the products extensively over 1,5 year with aperture and 2 with lightroom.

    Biggest positives on Lightroom are:

    It forces you to a WORKFLOW think, which can teach a newbie very fast. (this works for good and for bad)
    Hands down lightroom has more features... sorry that is a fact... but that is very typical when you compare Apple features.
    Faster updates

    Downsides:

    No preview mode for just quick browse
    The WORKFLOW is forced with panels and switching takes of your freedom. (this works for good and for bad)

    Apperture

    Biggest positives:

    It looks clean (that is a personal thing)
    It INTEGRATES great with your iLife (iphoto, itunes and bla bla)

    Bad:

    It's updated slow/ not enough
    Less (important) features

    Choose your destiny and live with it...


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