Adobe Lightroom 3 (Beta) vs Aperture 3 from Apple Compared

First published on: Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Adobe Lightroom 3 vs Apple Aperture 3

This post is a collection of links to random bits of comparison information and quotes from various online resources such as blog posts, articles and forum posts listing down the pros and cons of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 (LR3 for short) (Beta) and Apple’s Aperture 3 (AP3 for short).

Where necessary, I’ve edited the quoted text for clarity.

Forum Discussions

Johanfoto writes about the strengths and advantages of Aperture 3 over Lightroom 3 (LR, LR3):

I think it’s LR that has a little catching up to do now:

  1. The Aperture organizer (known as the Library module in LR) is much better. Just to name one example: in LR, all (smart) collections are completely separate from the image hierarchy (the folders), meaning you get a mess if you use more than a handful of collections. In Aperture, (smart) albums are part of the hierarchy, so you always know exactly where they fit. To me, this is a MAJOR advantage of Aperture.
  2. Aperture now supports working with more than one library, merging libraries, etc. LR3 doesn’t really support that.
  3. Develop: Aperture now supports much more local adjustments than LR does. Almost any adjustment can be brushed in. And Apertures brushes are more sophisticated. You can, for example change the brush so it only affects highlights or shadows rather than anything it touches.
  4. Develop: Aperture now has a full curves option, not the limited ‘parametric’ curve that LR offers.
  5. Develop: Aperture 2 already has a real clone / healing brush. LR 3 still only has the healing / clone circular stamp. Nice and fast for removing sensor dust, pretty useless for anything else like removing a power line.
  6. Photo Books: LR doesn’t do books.
  7. Printing: Still no soft proofing in LR3.

Web export: This is the only place where LR3 is still better, especially because it supports third party web galleries. It’s the only thing I use LR for.

Alpha Doug on Aperture 3 as a Digital Asset Management (DAM) application:

OK. First off, Aperture in general has always been much better than Lightroom as a DAM program. Lightroom just places images in a standard folder hierarchy, and even though they added “collections”, they are kept separate from the folders they belong with. Apple’s concept of having “projects” that can have Albums, Smart Albums, Book Albums, Slideshow Albums, etc, inside the Project is genius, and being able to arrange those Projects inside higher level folders, with Albums and Smart Albums at the root level also, together with arrangement of Albums inside of Projects with folders is also genius. And, if you allow AP3 to do it’s job of managing your images, you can use the Vault concept for total Backup security. Now, in AP3, they have added the ability to split a large Library into smaller Libraries, or to merge smaller Libraries into larger single Libraries. And they have added the ability to switch between Libraries without restarting the program. So they have taken a program that already was way better than LR as a DAM program, and made it better. And, by the way, you can now use it for your video clips and audio clips!!

Miscellaneous advantages Lightroom 3 has over Aperture 3

Destination folder and sharpening export options — Export presets in Lightroom 3 allow you to set values for destination folders and the amount of output sharpening.

RAW conversionBrian Caslis writes:

My main issue with the RAW converter (in Aperture) is that even though it can be fine tuned, the fine tuning is pretty limited. For example, I can’t change the color response. That’s what I like about the camera profiles in LR, it’s great for doing this and affects the image far more than the limited RAW converter options in Aperture.

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