Apple Aperture Review

Before I start, let me make a few disclosures in the interest of fairness:

1. I am an unredeemable Apple-zealot of the worst kind
2. I was totally convinced by Apple’s marketing and pre-ordered Aperture and new hardware to run it on
3. I assumed that Aperture would be up to the level of Apple’s other “pro” apps (FinalCut, Motion, Logic, Shake etc)
4. I was very, very wrong.
5. I am just some guy, I am not a “journalist” and I don’t much care about being objective. This “review” discusses Aperture’s merits and faults from my own point of view only.
6. I have had a digital workflow strategy since the early 1990s, I know a thing or two about what I’m talking about – but there are plenty of smart people who may disagree with me, and that’s fine.

Gentle reader, please read on – but be warned that there are some harsh words and strong feelings to follow…

A little bit about the history of this product – Apple announced it to _huge_ fanfare at the NY PhotoPlus expo in late October, 2005. Several well-known and well-respected photographers were tapped to give testimonials about the product. Those who attended the expo came back raving about it, many windows-users were so impressed that they bought new quad-proc G5s on the spot just to use Aperture. Yeah – it made a big splash.

It was touted as being “designed for/by professional photographers” and as being an app that would revolutionize the photographic workflow.

Then it shipped, late November. And that’s when the trouble started – nearly every pro who got his or her hands on it has been having problems.

So – to start with, let’s examine Apple’s claims about the product. These are direct quotes taken from Apple’s Aperture Website

1. “Designed from the ground up for professional photographers”

This might be true, but it is hard to believe because many features and limitations were inherited from iPhoto. It even has iphoto-style applebooks and iphoto’s red-eye tool, neither of which are useful for pros.

2. “the first all-in-one post-production tool for photographers”

Surely it was intended to be this, but currently it cannot deliver quality output, so much post-production needs to be done in other applications. It is also not capable of handling cataloging or archiving of images – another critical post-production task.

3. “Aperture makes RAW as easy as JPEG, letting you import, edit, catalog, organize, retouch, publish, and archive your images more effectively and efficiently than ever before.”

Aperture handles a few steps very well – specifically importing and selecting the good images. It is ok at organizing images, but since it doesn’t respect existing metadata and isn’t capable of writing metadata to files, it makes this organization somewhat pointless. It lacks even the most basic of retouching tools, so that line is pretty much a lie. You _can_ generate and publish webpages with it, though the templates are limited and ugly. Archiving isn’t really possible, because Aperture isn’t capable of keeping offline images in a catalog – this is a major problem for pros who generate terabytes of data every year – we need to be able to move some images to offline archives, while still keeping a record of them in our catalog.

4. “From capture to output, you work directly with your RAW files, never having to first convert them into another format before viewing, adjusting, organizing, or printing them.”

This is simply false. In order to edit files in Photoshop (more on this later) you are forced into a conversion to 16-bit AdobeRGB TIFF. And organizing steps do not occur on the raw files – Aperture writes metadata to an external library rather than (correctly) writing it to the files themselves – thereby making this organization incompatible with any other application.

5. “the most powerful image processing in the world”

Well, they’re entitled to their opinion. Aperture’s processing engine may well be powerful, but it is low-quality. Aperture’s output is vastly inferior to other converters such as ACR and C1Pro

6. “Aperture is fast — whether you’re working with RAW, JPEG, or TIFF images.”

If you are running on the latest hardware, this is true. But Aperture all but requires a high-end video card such as the ATI x800 in order to run properly at all. Even a high-end dual G5 with a lesser videocard will crawl. And you can forget about running Aperture on a G4, even if you can install it, it will be extremely sluggish.

7. “It also supports the Adobe DNG format.”

This is a lie. Aperture only supports DNG files if they originated from cameras that it already supports. That’s not what DNG is about, and not how it works in any other application. Aperture’s DNG support is crippled at best and fraudulent at worst. Either way it misses the whole point of the DNG format – universal raw files.

8. “Aperture’s color-managed workflow and flexible design tools will help you easily create stunning prints, customized contact sheets, elegant books, and web pages as beautiful as the images you capture.”

First off, Aperture’s color-management is weird and weak. You can’t specify the working space, nor the rendering intent. You also can’t output to a RIP. As for “flexible design tools” – it’s as if they didn’t even try the app before writing those words. The design tools are limited, inflexible, and amateurish. This is a real shame because to my mind this was one of the most promising possible features of the app – I wanted to use it to make wedding albums, promo materials, and collage-style prints. None of these things are possible with Aperture. It allows no control over page size, and limited control over layout. It is also not capable of exporting layered PSD files for more complex editing in Photoshop.

9. “Round-trip Photoshop support Aperture lets you launch directly into Adobe Photoshop with a single-click. There, you can take advantage of Photoshop’s strong compositing and layer effects, and when you’re done making modifications, simply save the file.”

Ok – there are a LOT of problems here. First and to my mind most egregious – despite the claims of “you always work on your raw files” – you cannot open them in Photoshop – Aperture’s “round trip” starts by forcing a low-quality TIFF conversion. This is a big problem, as it means you can’t use ACR for your conversion or edits, nor can you use smart objects.

Next up – Aperture doesn’t respect photoshop layers or transparency.

And last but certainly not least, Aperture will _overwrite_ files without warning if you reopen them in Photoshop at a later date.

So much for “non destructive editing”, eh?

10. “Manage thousands of projects: organize flexibly, enjoy deep metadata support, powerful search.”

Nope – can’t do it. Aperture will strip metadata from exported files, and won’t respect metadata that is input from other apps. It also won’t correctly write metadata to raw files. (Worse yet Apple acknowledges this problem but claims it is “as designed” in a smug tech-support doc)

Ok – so there are some problems. Is Aperture actually good at anything? Yes. And this is what is so frustrating. Aperture’s core feature – displaying and editing raw files quickly in order to wheedle down an event to the best images – this is done extraordinarily well. In fact, if it were not for the draconian nature of Aperture’s library format, and its inability to write proper metadata, Aperture would be an excellent tool for sorting and organizing images.

But, sadly, that’s about all it’s good for currently.

To add insult to injury, Aperture does not come with a user manual, neither printed nor electronic. That’s right, you heard me – it costs $500, requires a substantial hardware investment, and _doesn’t include a user manual_ (edit: There have been some complaints about this point, because Aperture does in fact ship with a slim (223 pg) “Getting Started” book which contains a small amount of information. However, it is no substitute for a user manual (nor does it claim to be one,) as evidenced by the fact that Apple has the nerve to make a manual available for purchase for $30 (worse yet, they offer three “teaser” pages as pdfs, to try to entice people to buy an instruction book for a $500 application!))

In order to be usable, Aperture needs a number of major problems addressed. Such as:

1. Ability to open raw files in external editor
2. High-quality sharpening and noise reduction (independent chroma/luma controls, for instance)
3. Curves
4. White balance presets
5. Accurate click-white
6. Correct handling for layered psd
7. Correct handling of DNG
8. Support for offline archiving of images (or at least a way to export to iView for archiving)
9. Ability to print “picture packages”
10. Custom page sizes for light table and book tool
11. Export LAYERED psd from light table
12. Keylines and shadows for contact sheets, light table and book tool
13. Improved raw conversions – no more artifacts, accurately read camera WB
14. Support for camera calibration (like ACR does)
15. Vignetting control
16. CA control
17. Improved TIFF export
18. Ability to specify working space, format and bit depth when opening externally (currently forces AdobeRGB/16bit/TIFF)
20. Improve stability
21. Allow other apps to access the library
22. Allow me to put the browser on a second monitor if I want to
23. Communicate with your users, tell us what’s going on
24. Oh yeah – remember the whole “non-destructive editing” concept? Well Aperture should be non-destructive too, it should let me access my untouched raw files with the converter of my choice, it should respect existing metadata, and it shouldn’t corrupt my layered PSD files.

(editing to add some more points that have been raised)

25. Eyedropper for RGB readouts
26. Ability to change image size when printing on a roll
27. Ability to span exported projects across multiple DVDs
28. Variable zoom levels (and standard shortcuts for zoom)
29. “Sticky” interface elements
30. Coordinated scrolling when zoomed in compare/multi modes
31. Metadata presets (so you don’t need to type in all the info each time)
32. Adjustment presets (like ACR’s dropdown)
33. Interface customization (so you can put elements where they are useful, or get rid of them if they aren’t.)
34. Hire some really knowledgeable people to build workarounds, start some troubleshooting support groups, share knowledge freely to let people know that you care and that you’re listening and that you want this to be a good, usable, professional product.

A lot of excuses have been made about this being a 1.0 release. That’s absurd – that’s Microsoft-thinking. Apple has a reputation for good design and excellent, usable software. They blew it here, in a huge way. Apple’s users deserve an apology, and an explanation of when/if they can expect their investment in this software to pay off.

41 thoughts on “Apple Aperture Review

  1. The fraudulent telephone psychic of Caribbean descent who lives under my desk predicts that you’re going to get more traffic from this post than from all of your other posts put together. Times a lot.

  2. Ouch. Well, I have read the coments before and I am glad I have waited. Wondering now if they will have the courage to fix the problems and give us what they had promised.

    Thanks for your insight!

  3. Unfortunately, I must agree with Ed. While I visit your site as often as I can (love your explorations), I think this review will (perhaps undeservedly?) draw in far more traffic.

  4. I guess I need to buy more defective software and rant about it more often if I really want to hit the bigtime, eh?

    And Brian – thanks for the kind words – I wasn’t entirely joking about Ed and my mom being my “readership” so it’s nice to hear that the site is useful to someone I don’t know personally :)

  5. Well, this strikes me as being a must-read for “professional photographers who use Apples,” which, while not exactly a population on the scale of “males who enjoy digital images of naked females” or “political partisans who hate a different set of political partisans,” has to be a whole lot larger than “close personal friends of Charley who get his ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ references.”

    It’s also the best written, most impassioned review of anything I’ve ever seen on a blog. I enjoyed it immensely, despite not knowing what the hell you were talking about.

  6. Interesting post, Charles.

    What I’m guessing happened is that Apple had to present *something* by the time of that photo show in NYC, and they had to deliver *something* by the end of the year. They’re also treading in completely new territory. So I think the decision was made to just “throw it out there” and see what users like and dislike and go from there.

    Unfortunately, it means early adopters get a half-baked app. The benefit to users long-term is that it will now evolve quicker to what we want.

    Think about the alternative: Apple spends 6-12 more months making it “perfect” but it doesn’t do what people want it to do. Apple spends another year or two correcting all those mistakes. So then you get a usable product 2 years from now, and competitors have a chance to catch up. That was probably just too risky for Apple.

    What happens instead is that Apple now gets *lots* of “feedback” like yours, and moves the product in the direction users want. Early adopters feel the pain, but version 1.5 or 2.0 will be a killer app.

    I feel your pain, but that’s what early adopters have to expect. Did you get your money back? I hear Apple is being somewhat flexible.

  7. Hi Lou,

    No, I didn’t try to get my money back and I don’t plan on it. I still have faith that there will be updates that will, eventually, make this app worthwhile. And the real expense that I resent isn’t the software but the additional hardware I purchased to make it run. But hey, maybe I can dig out my old copy of Warcraft3 or something and get some value out of the new vidcard :) I am enough of an Apple-zealot that I really really really want to use Aperture despite all of its glaring flaws – so I am using it to manage my blog photos, ’cause they are just for fun and I don’t much care if they get mangled. (And because Aperture is actually a pretty good workflow tool for jpegs that don’t require much editing or organizing and will never be printed or used in layouts.) (I’m not really sure what I’m going to do when I decide it’s time to archive the files though, that sorta terrifies me.) Wedding and commercial work is going to stay far the hell away from Aperture until Apple gets it to actually work right.

    I more or less agree with your assessment of Apple’s position – but I still think they could and should have avoided this embarrassment. Speaking as a former software developer myself, Aperture is a textbook case of feature-creep. If Apple’s product designers had been on the ball, they would’ve said to themselves “This is what we want Aperture to do, but we don’t have time to do it right. Let’s remove some features and do the important stuff at a best-in-breed level.” Even for $500 there would be a LOT fewer complaints if Aperture were an unbelievably good iView-clone. Instead they stayed on their “all-in-one post-production tool” path at the expense of quality, stability and elegance – leaving in halfhearted and semi-functional implementations of backup, image editing, layout and publishing tools that never should’ve shipped with the app in the first place.

    A smarter approach would’ve been to release a less fully featured app and put the devtime into important things like: testing, interface refinements, talking to actual photographers, WRITING A MANUAL…

  8. Good job!

    You nailed all of the key points, to the wall.

    Further, we all know that CS3 will knock our socks off, so perhaps Aperture is doomed?

  9. Pingback: All shades of Gray » Steve, you are a bad boy…

  10. Well, certainly a very good read, and I am sure happy that I am not an early adopter (this time!)..

    I am also *very* sceptical on the approach to embed the RAW processing into the OS (CoreImage) and not in the application itself. Sure, for Apple it is great, using the same routines in all applications. But as a user you’re now not only dependent on a software update, but also an OS update! (twice the chance for more bugs??)

  11. This review is utter bashing of the worst kind. I’ve been using Aperture for a few weeks now, and I find it a delight to use compared to my old workflow. And why is everyone bashing on Apple’s refusal to write non-standard metadata back into the RAW file? It does just fine storing the metadata in an external file and – until an industry standard emerges – this is the *only* way to do this without worry about breaking your originals.

  12. Well, see, the thing is that there is a standard. It’s written into the TIFF spec. All raw files except CRW files are actually TIFFs. There’s standard, safe, universally accepted way to write metadata into these files. Aperture, for no sensible reason at all, refuses to follow this long-proven standard.

    Seeing as metadata isn’t stored with the image data when you store it in the tiff _where it belongs_ there’s no reason to worry about “breaking your originals” – especially when you consider all the other things that Aperture does to break original files (deleting them willy-nilly, or removing existing metadata for instance.) Apple’s claims that they are somehow protecting the raw files from damage is FUD, pure and simple.

    (And, lest I’m not speaking strongly enough – the Library of Congress’s digital preservation office prefers tiff files to have “rich metadata” embedded – )

    (While on the subject of standards – the only RAW format that the LoC accepts for digital preservation is DNG, which they state to be well-documented (it is) – conveniently they also find its metadata storage methods (again, TIFF spec) to be acceptable. Aperture can neither read nor write DNG correctly. (In fairness almost nobody can _write_ DNG currently except Adobe) )

  13. “All raw files except CRW files are actually TIFFs.”

    No, they’re not. They’re raw data pulled directly from the chips sensors and few bits of metadata depicting the cameras settings at the time the picture was taken.

    This is why RAW conversion’s so hard. Each camera, and for good reason, has it’s own format—because each camera’s censors are different. Thus, the raw bitstream is entirely different for each camera.

    Also, each camera goes through a bayer filter (because with the exception of Foveon censors, each censor can only detect black and white.) This means that each raw pixel represents only one channel—red, green, or blue. But each bayer filter is different. Does it start with red, green, or blue first? Does it have the typical two green for every red and blue pattern, or does it do something funky? Does the red filter actually filter out all non-red light and let in all red light (this is impossible, actually). Maybe our blue lets in some ultraviolet light by accident. This is why RAW processing is so hard. It’s making up two-thirds of the information you see, and to do this, it needs to know a lot of technical details about your camera.

    RAW files are also almost always compressed, usually run-length encoded. Sometimes more advanced techniques are used. Nikon is famous for encrypting their raw files, too.

    RAW files are ANYTHING but a TIFF. That’s why RAW processing is so hard, slow, and such a big deal.

    “There’s standard, safe, universally accepted way to write metadata into these files.”

    Not always true. Again, RAW files aren’t a flexible, catch-all file format like TIFF. THey’re designed to capture exactly, and no more, than the camera sees.

    So unlike TIFF or XML or whatever that has lots of editable fields, most RAW files have hard coded headers that are ONLY a certain number of bytes, and contain JUST the metadata the camera cares about—white balance, time, exposure, etc… It CAN’T handle more data, PERIOD.

    So even if you WANTED to right more information into the header, you COULDN’T. Where would it go? If the header doesn’t store color tint, just color temperature, how could you possibly save that?

    In other cases, where the metadata is more flexible and extensible, it’s still entirely PROPRIETARY. This means that any information you will at best be only readable by you, and at worst, RUIN the raw file. Not exactly safe, standard, or universally accepted.

    The only possible solution is to store metadata a library, sidecar files or to use (somewhat) standard formats like DNG.

    “Aperture can neither read nor write DNG correctly”

    DNG is, right now, mostly a container file format. Because camera’s currently use a wide variety of censors and encoding methods, DNG is presently useless.

    It’s similar to AVI files. Quicktime can read basic AVI files, but it can’t read AVI files encoded by the haX0r flavor of the week encoder.

    When cameras become more standardized and start natively exporting basic DNG files, then you can expect these to work. Right now, though, DNG files are just your regular old random, obscure RAW files wrapped in standardized headers. Aperture has no hope of reading these, and no one can expect it to.

    Aperture probably should have the option to pass DNG’s to Photoshop instead of TIFFs, but then it wouldn’t be able to pass any adjustments like white balance/levels/cloning/etc… to Photoshop.

  14. With respect, you are mistaken.

    TIFF, as it turns out, is mostly a container format too. All raw files except CRW are stored in TIFF format, though of course the _data_ is proprietary. The reason that this is important is that the metadata is stored in TIFF standard formats. (If you want to check, compile any of a dozen metadata-readers and see for yourself.)

    DNG, as it turns out, has a “linear” mode which is designed to be universal. This is the baseline compatibility mode, and this is the thing that Aperture cannot read. Adobe’s free DNG converter will happily write linear DNG files. The DNG spec is publicly available and makes an interesting read.

    And finally, why on earth would you want to pass Aperture’s defective wb/levels/spotting to ACR? The whole point of passing the raw file is to be able to use a quality converter instead of Aperture.

  15. Right on! I too am an unapologetic Mac user. From the moment I saw the press on Aperture I was drooling and I pre-ordered my copy as soon as I could. I’ve read reviews totally bashing Aperture and other reviews that practically glow, but this is certainly the most thoughtful I’ve seen so far. Here’s hoping Apple get’s on the stick and solves these problems. I really want this to work.

  16. I’d loioke to correct a minor point in your article: the red-eye tool in Aperture is vastly different from the one in iPhot, and most definetly better. You should give it an actual try.

  17. Hubert – I think the point being made is that professional photographers don’t get red-eye in their pictures (or shouldn’t if they have any more than a rudimentry grasp of lighting basics).

  18. Yeah – it isn’t that the red-eye tool is bad, it’s that I’m offended that a product with so few features wasted time implementing one that is not useful for its target audience. It also makes me feel that they didn’t talk to pros when designing the app.

  19. I agree with both of you. Especially about the part where Apple should have spent more time with their target audience, but after playing with Aperture for a while, I am very disappointed with the image proicessing quality. Overall it is very naive, except for two filters: highlight and shadow, which does an amazing job, and red eye.

  20. This is on the money. I spent almost a whole day reading the ARS review and then the flaming discussions and I beiieve that you have more succintly nailed the key issues. I was puzzeld why with all the ranting and raving about that early review no one really pointed out the essence of the main flaws of the true workflow flaws instead of trying to flame the guy for saying RAW conversion sucks and it’s got few major bugs and omissions is an understatement. IT HAS TO REPLACE many of PS functions to pull off the holy grail of compete RAW workflow AS PROMISED by the out of control marketing types. Not sure I saw you mention that without an open architecture to allow third parties to add value this and and a user driven scripting facility I think this app will be hard pressed to compete over the long haul. Great Job

  21. I am also having problems with Aperture. When it freezes/crashes which is often it looses all the project folders & albums I had set up.
    When I purchsed Aperture along with the new G5 & flat screen LCD & external drives in order to run Aperture I also purchased the Apple Care plan & the Pro Care plan. But have since found out that neither of these cover Apperture in terms of support. When I recently called the Help Desk I was told I needed to purchase a Professional Care Package at an annual fee of $795 (or a fee of $195 per telephone call to the Help Desk).
    Can Apple do this??? Charge $500 for Aperture & $795 per year to support it????

  22. I was going to wait for Aperture 2, but was very impressed by the seminar Joe Shore, the Aperture Product Manager gave at MacWorld Expo SF.

    It arrived yesterday and I got it installed on my G5 Duo 2.5 gHZ Powermac. I have 1gb of RAM and plenty of hard drive space.

    Aperture seems like it does certain things very well…but one of the things it does best is CRASH. Also, when it freezes, Force Quit usually doesn’t work until the third or fourth time.

    I love the Vault feature, the versioning, the batch feature (to add meta data), and lots of the other stuff.

    I just wish it wouldn’t keep CRASHING!

    I have upgraded to 1.1, but it’s still way buggy.

    Yes, I’m a total Mac-o-phile, as well…

  23. Hi Charles – I so wish I had read your review before buying this product. Given that I had to upgrade my video card, it ended up being a $900 plus investment for something that gives me a smidgen more value than iPhoto.

  24. Great review and discussions about Aperture. I am now waiting for my web photos to publish on .Mac (have been waiting 5 hours) – guess it isn’t going to happen today. I had great expectations for the application but am getting totally disgusted with it and am about ready to go back to Photoshop’s image import program. Hope the future is full of good updates for this old Mac Man.

  25. Hey all-

    Yeah, Aperture is woeful. I cant even rank an image on my Dual Pro G5 wihtout having to restart the application. That happened early and now I just never use it at all. Adobe has a beta of their competing product called LIGHTROOM. ANyone have any feedback on it? Sorry, I don’t mean to change the topic. If I am, please forgive me and delete this comment. You all seem so knowledgeable that I was just curious.


  26. I actually posted a little Lightroom “impressions” piece the other day. The executive summary – it’s very cool, does a few things better than Aperture (imports without copying, prints “packages”, beautiful web-galleries, great raw processing) and some things much less well (kludgy compare modes, awful “loupe” mode, no layout tools…)

    Both show a lot of potential, neither are ready for prime-time, imho.

  27. Great review Charles. Also, some very good comments. I too believe Apple does mostly above average work. So, like most people of the Apple Faith, I pre-ordered, and yes, I had to upgrade my desktop. And, after all that, all I can do is second what Charles has said here with a few notes added:

    1)Some info to avoid getting your layered PShop file mangled:

    2)The debate on the RAW = TIFF , RAW TIFF was good info. As I remember Adobe allows the use of XMP if you want extended metadata. So, isn’t Adobe doing the same thing when they store metadata outside the RAW headers? Although last I checked XMP was an open standard, so Apple could have used it in Aperture as well. Perhaps DNG fixes this to an extent, and it would be nice to see DNG more fully supported. Perhaps then we could all start writing to the RAW file headers instead of sticking them in a proprietary database/file.

    3)You could set up a folder with an action enabled to accept exported masters from Aperture that are automatically opened in PShop/ACR.

    Although I am disappointed in the way metadata is handled I think I will stick with Aperture and hope that Apple isn’t too busy making billions 99 cents at a time to make sure they take care of those of us who use their machines for a living.

    Thanks Again Charles.

  28. Well, that’s the best review I’ve read of Aperture, clearest and most detailed in the important areas. I’ve been debating weather I should buy it since there are places selling it for under $300. Guess I’ll stick with the Mac only app (my fav) Raw Developer for conversions and iView for organizing and cataloging. Well, I like Bibble, too, but it abruptly quits on all my Macs from time to time. Thanks for the interesting review!

  29. Pingback: Open Source Software Reviews » What is this » A Review of Apple’s Aperture from Dec. 2005

  30. Hi Frank,

    Your work is very nice. Thank you for visiting my blog. Yes, I am a full-time working professional. Aperture is not suitable for my needs although I do use it for my blog, which is just for fun.

  31. Clearly there is a prolific demand for the digital masses to manage and tweak their mega gigabytes of digital imagery. Aperture, Lightroom and many others are scrambling to make money with software to capitalize on this huge market opportunity. This has caused a slew of “half baked” products to be released causing substantial disappointment and frustration. This phenomenon is not a process simply going through “growing pains”. There is a lack of practical direction overall. Until the software is organized into specific functional categories there can only be redundancy and conflict. Meanwhile, Aperture twists in the wind as Adobe closes in on connecting the dots.

  32. BEWARE!!!

    Having bought Aperture, I soon after got a Canon EOS 1DSmk2 to “replace” my 5×4 monorail film camera…nearly 150 Mb files possible, as demonstrated at Calumet on their Photoshop CS2…but I had already got Aperture.

    I find that when I export versions of these (13Mb RAW) images they become only 99Mb TIFF files, not the 144Mb seen on Photoshop CS2.

    Aperture cannot handle more than 16 bit colour depth; 24 bit is needed to exploit the full potential of the 1DSmk2.

    Serious design fault?


  33. I have to say that I am also a Mac zealot and jumped on the Aperture bandwagon the minute it was released. I am a professional photographer and this app looked like the ideal storage/file/data base solution I had been searching for. I didn’t experience half the problems most of the people who posted have when I first used the product. But now, since I upgraded to 1.1.2 have had nothing but night mares. I would launch Aperture, that would take a good three to five minutes (first sign of problems) Then, some of my projects just vanished or I would get blank squares with the message “Unsupported Image Format” HUH? What the F#@^ is that? Mind you those thumbnails were all there about an hour all disappeared. Then, next time I launched the app, it opened but no photos, no projects no libraries. I ended up rebuilding the entirte libraries from my back-ups. This took almost all day to accomplish Since then I have had the same problem repeat itself more than three times. Calls and emails to Apple fell on deaf ears. I stopped using the app and now am back to using Photo Mechanic. It’s cheaper and at least works.

  34. With all that is said why don’t you just invest in Photoshop CS2? I love it and it works very well. Also, is Mac (Apple) over hiped? Is it all that they say it is? I am concerned about buying a mac. I am fasinated, but there is so many things like you can’t just buy parts and make your own mac. You pay nearly twice as much as a PC without truely any benefit. I wonder if it is just all a gimic? I have suriously thought about getting into Mac, but I believe it may be a big mistake. What is your opinion? I would appreciate honest comments.

  35. Hiya R13.

    I think EVERYONE who is serious about photography needs to buy Photoshop. Aperture is no substitute for it at all.

    As for the mac thing – if you actually do the comparison shopping you’ll learn that macs are currently far, far less expensive than comparably-equipped PCs. The Mac Pro, for instance, costs about $3k less than the “equivalent” Dell. Dell’s 20-inch imac “clone” costs about $4k. A 24-inch imac costs half that and has better specs to boot.

    Seriously, I run Windows and Mac (both on my MacbookPro, by the way) – Windows is fine for games, but I wouldn’t even think of trying to use it for serious photography work.

    Basically – if you want to run Windows on a decent machine, you STILL save money by getting a mac and installing windows on it – and after about five minutes with the mac, you’ll want to ditch your windows installation anyway :) I use mine only for playing Magic online.

  36. First – I can’t believe it’s even an option anymore – you must have PS in a commercial environment workflow – or you are doa. There is no 3rd party editor with the wide range of capabilities that Adobe as managed to jam into one application.

    Back onto the subject at hand… (let’s keep whipping the dead horse shall we?)

    I am very sure they didn’t utilise any working professional photographers input .. or if they did -[ true to what I’ve heard recently from inter-ageny creatives] – Apple sat on their high ‘marketing’ horse & probably just went ahead, ignored pro input and produced what they though we’d like.

    Well guess what they made? A total POS

    I’m not losing any money or sleep over using the “award winning Apple Designed” packaging as a waste container filler – in fact Apeatures final file is so disappointing it ought to be rebranded into the next free release of iPhoto.

    I know that volume is the answer to Apple’s survival, but one way you help gurantee it is by having ‘ pro users ‘ who use the product in commercial branded projects which the larger volume of users identifies with – to this – apple has done a great job – but sadly I think they’re no longer thinking about this brand philosophy – and now they’re producing ‘mass sales’ designed products.

    Bummer for Apple. Apeature is a prime example of this mistake.

  37. Enjoyed your article, I was thinking about Aperture too, wonder if 1.5 is any better. I started shotting in RAW about 4 months with an old EOS D60, its really fun! I am using CS2 on the PC which works a dream. While my trusty old iMAC G4 is in need of a replacing. I am a programmer/web dev using .NET on the PC, the old agrument PC v’s Mac, well Apple’s lives longer, less maintainance and the OS is rock solid, the PC/Windows is a bucket of S-H-one-tee. In terms of developing web applications quickly for business there is nothing as flexible as Microsoft .NET. I’m glad to see Sun’s Creative Studio similar IDE (and idea) to Microsoft’s Visual Studio. Which also works well on the Mac.

    But in the end of the day Mac’s are superior for Imaging/Artwork and security. It comes down to two things why my main computer is not a Mac, for me that is, playing my MP3s and developing applications for my clients.

    The new iTunes is much better, but MediaMonkey and Musicmatch for large collection is far more efficient and faster. The amount of third tools, RADs, components and the ease of flow C#/VS makes programming more powerful and managable on the PC. And of course there is the MONO project but for business this is not an option on mission critical system or deadline projects.

    Anyway these are my rantings. My next notebook to replace my 3 year old DELL is a Mac Pro.

    Finally if I had my way, desktop users would use Macs, network servers would be Linux and applications servers would be Windows. I believe use the best tool available for the job.

  38. Pingback: Aperture ascendant | Ars Technica

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