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Review of Aperture 3


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#1 adamhanlon

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 09:41 AM

Hi all,

Tony Wu has posted an excellent personal review of Aperture 3 here

I think the key to the debates surrounding Aperture vs Lightroom is that they have to work for the individual who is using them The pros and cons of software is as much how it fits into an individual's system as it is technical ability. Against all that, newer software does perform better than it predecessors!

Adam

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#2 TheRealDrew

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 10:58 AM

He did a real good job. Someone could not know the application at all and really get a good handle to start with it quickly from what he wrote.

#3 photovan

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 03:57 PM

We all know clearly there is an elephant in the room...

... and Tony articulating his thoughts on the future of professional photography quietly in his Aperture 3 review is quite poignant and refreshing at the same time...

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#4 echeng

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 08:39 PM

In case you were thinking of switching to Aperture, Part II of Tony's review is out:
http://www.tonywublo...aperture-3.html
eric cheng
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#5 Tom_Kline

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 10:23 PM

This review makes me glad to be working with LR. :) Aperture sounds much more CPU intensive.
I have one library with 180,000 pix. I like being able to extract pix from the past. I have the same thing (salmon) shot at many different times. It is a bit slower with my > 3 year old MBP but not unworkable. It will be interesting updating this library with LR3. The LR2 update went very smoothly.

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#6 loftus

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 03:59 AM

In case you were thinking of switching to Aperture, Part II of Tony's review is out:
http://www.tonywublo...aperture-3.html

All of the problems he mentions are essentially fixed with 3.02. Clearly his Part II review is not really current.
I have found 3.02 to be fast, smooth, not a single crash both on my 18 month old laptop and desktop.
Tom, the key to using Aperture for a Library like yours is to use referenced libraries, and not to have Aperture update all images unless you specifically want to work on that image or change it. Aperture allows you to do that, making the process much less tedious. Also deactivating CPU intensive optios like faces and Places makes a big difference if you don't need them. I have found the import speed of Aperture now to be similar to Photomechanic. Very fast for doing selects etc. (What are the chances you'll even look at most of your 180,000 images again?) Anyway, makes little sense for anyone to switch either way in my opinion.

Edited by loftus, 01 April 2010 - 04:17 AM.

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#7 echeng

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 10:51 AM

Anyway, makes little sense for anyone to switch either way in my opinion.

I totally disagree. If your professional workflow relies on metadata import, export, and third-party compatibility, Aperture is NOT the way to go. That is the only real downside of Aperture that I can think might be a deal breaker. Hopefully, Apple wakes up and fixes their keywording engine. Specifically:

1. can only search from beginning of keyword
2. keyword search insanely slow (searching of keywords, not of images containing keywords)
3. export broken / not compatible
4. no hierarchical keyword export
5. no XMP sync = metadata trapped inside Aperture library
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#8 loftus

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 11:03 AM

I totally disagree. If your professional workflow relies on metadata import, export, and third-party compatibility, Aperture is NOT the way to go. That is the only real downside of Aperture that I can think might be a deal breaker. Hopefully, Apple wakes up and fixes their keywording engine. Specifically:

1. can only search from beginning of keyword
2. keyword search insanely slow (searching of keywords, not of images containing keywords)
3. export broken / not compatible
4. no hierarchical keyword export
5. no XMP sync = metadata trapped inside Aperture library

Point(s) taken, though none of these are issues for me.
My understanding was that XMP is now importable / exportable including ratings etc in 3.02

'XMP AND PHOTOSHOP/PHOTO MECHANIC

There’s been a bit of a discussion about Aperture 3 and the exporting of metadata to applications like Photoshop or Photo Mechanic. On the surface it appeared that Aperture wasn’t exporting IPTC Core data, because when you look at it in CS4 or Photo Mechanic doesn’t display the info. We’ve been working with software guys and testers of CS5 on this, and the issue is actually how Photoshop and Photo Mechanic read the data when written according to spec (and only according to spec, which is the issue here.) Apple has changed the XMP output behavior of 3.0.2 to to now put this data in a location that allows Photoshop and Photo Mechanic to read the info if written to an XMP sidecar. (This doesn’t change how it’s written to a master file, since that is being written at the OS level and is written according to spec. We think CS5 and Photo Mechanic will likely work this out in the future.)

XMP SIDECARS

Aperture 3 added the ability to import data from XMP sidecar files, but wasn’t able to read GPS data, color labels and ratings from programs like Lightroom. Aperture 3.0.2 changes this, all of this data is now imported automatically.'

Edited by loftus, 01 April 2010 - 11:06 AM.

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#9 echeng

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 11:29 AM

Yeah, I know they're working on it. But some of the metadata bugs in earlier versions took months to fix, or were never fixed at all. I have no faith that it is going to work in the long run. The other issue is that you can only export XMP when you actually export an image. Sometimes, you just want to sync XMP so if the database goes BOOM (like mine did), you can at least have the metadata that is trapped in the database.

Also, there is no way for Aperture to write hierarchical keywords to XMP, so if you export an image and then re-import it, all of the keywords that were exported are flattened, which makes for a huge mess.

I don't want to sound too down on it, but the Apple team really needs to have some professional photographers who are also technical folks USE their product and provide feedback to a special area that has high priority. I am never sure how they decide what to fix.
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#10 TheRealDrew

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 01:48 PM

I totally disagree. If your professional workflow relies on metadata import, export, and third-party compatibility, Aperture is NOT the way to go. That is the only real downside of Aperture that I can think might be a deal breaker. Hopefully, Apple wakes up and fixes their keywording engine. Specifically:

1. can only search from beginning of keyword




One quick thing on that one (not really going to change any minds and I have LR and Aperture, so no dog in the fight) but something that may help with those getting jammed by this in Aperture.

I just added, for instance, Keywords for Gray Angels, Angels Gary, Queen Angel, Angel Queen, French Angel, Angel French, Greenturtle (no space), TurtleGreen (no space), Green Turtle, Turtle Green and Graysby. Searching for Gray brings up the Gray Angel and Graysby etc. Angel brings them all up (other than Graysby an Turtles), Green brings up all the Green Turtles and Turtle also brings up the Hawksbill. Of course not perfect, so it picks up "My Green Trees" when I label a photo with that as a caption. Typing "gre" also brings all the Greens up, and somehow a couple of shots that do not have any caption or keywords, so probably searching for something else in the EXIF. But figured that with two different words, it can narrow the search down quickly.

#11 adamhanlon

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 10:57 PM

Tony Wu's magnum opus continues!

Part three of his review is up here

This series of reviews really represents a great deal of time and effort-thanks Tony!

Adam

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#12 BradDB

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 02:23 PM

I like Tony's suggestion to create a new library for each trip. The risk of database corruption could be limited to a small subset of image modifications and metadata this way . I'll probably start moving some of my trip Projects into dedicated Libraries soon.

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#13 tonywu

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 06:32 PM

Hi guys,

Sorry I didn't chime in earlier.

I hadn't planned on writing so much, but it just sort of all came out in one continuous data dump, perhaps because all those thoughts had been simmering in my mind while I was in Lembeh.

For what it's worth 3.0.2 didn't fix everything for me. There are fewer instances of problems, but the spinning beachball still comes up. The thumbnail problems have disappeared when I tested with a new Library that I created with a different set of photos, so it could be that my continuing issues have to do with the fact that I created my Lembeh Night Safari Library prior to 3.0.1 and 3.0.2, and updated the software in the middle of the duration while I was adding images.

I have received feedback from other people. Some people say "no problems at all", while others still have similar problems as I did. I don't think there's a single, consistent experience yet.

I had two new problems this weekend (with a completely new Library, new images, 3.0.1, 3.0.2 installed, and 10.6.3 OS X update). I selected 3 video files and tried to export Versions to a folder on my desktop. This worked previously with the Night Safari videos, but this time, the spinning beachball came up and I had to force quit. Exporting one video at a time was ok.

Also...something quite strange. I had to add a couple of new keywords to a range of images. I selected all the relevant images, then dragged the keywords over to them...just like I normally do. The two new keywords appeared only for the single image that I dragged the keywords to, but not to any of the other images selected. I tried over and over again, but no joy. I finally gave up and used the Lift and Stamp feature. The thing is, when I used Lift and Stamp and stamped to a whole bunch of images, it only worked for one image at a time. The stamp did not take with all the images. So I ended up having to stamp every image individually.

It was late at night, I had to submit asap, so I went with the path of least resistance and didn't try to figure out what the issue was. Could be something really simple and stupid I did, or it could be something new.

The IPTC problem was a real bear. I only had to submit 24 photos, but I had to copy and paste every IPTC field I needed from my Aperture file to my output file, because of the incompatibility of the way Aperture writes IPTC data. It seems like Aperture is following the correct standard, and that Photoshop and other programs need to modify their procedure, but the net effect is...photographers suffer.
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#14 sterlingz

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 06:34 PM

Tony has done an awesome review, a comprehensive look from a working photographer who just needs to get the job done. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about. And even with its great UI, fantastic integrations, and other great features, that's where Aperture unfortunately falls down for me.

It's such a pity that Apple comes so close to photographic software bliss, and somehow manages to fall short every time with this product. It has so much potential, but I just can't trust it for my main workflow. The metadata issues are just a complete deal-breaker for any serious photographer, as Eric rightly pointed out. Also, I think the reliance on GPU for processing helps lead to the feeling of sluggishness on laptop and other underpowered computers.

The second beta of Lightroom shows tremendous promise. The stability, speed, and RAW color quality are all remarkable. I've never been able to get such good quality out of blue water images with a third-party RAW converter; Adobe's work on re-writing the RAW processing pipeline has clearly paid off. They've also made great strides in performance. And the video support, while basic, is at least enough to get files off the card and index them. Adobe definitely listened to the feedback from its thousands of beta testers (with the exception of the new import dialog, which is awful). This looks to be an incredible release when it finally ships.

Another area where Adobe totally has the edge is in camera support. Just today, Adobe announced a build of LR 2.7 that supports the Canon T2i, Panasonic G2 and G10, among other new cameras. These units have barely even started shipping yet and Adobe's already on top of it. Wonder how long we'll be waiting for RAW support on those from Apple.

#15 BradDB

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 10:05 AM

Also...something quite strange. I had to add a couple of new keywords to a range of images. I selected all the relevant images, then dragged the keywords over to them...just like I normally do. The two new keywords appeared only for the single image that I dragged the keywords to, but not to any of the other images selected. I tried over and over again, but no joy.


Just a hunch...try unchecking Edit > Primary Only

It seems like Aperture is following the correct standard, and that Photoshop and other programs need to modify their procedure, but the net effect is...photographers suffer.


All the keywords and captions I've assigned in Aperture since I bought it on release day show up on SmugMug after upload. I don't use Photoshop as a keywording tool anymore so I haven't noticed any metadata missing there. In fact the new tools and brushes in Aperture 3 are so good that I rarely need Photoshop. Adobe is really going to heed some revolutionary new features to get me to update beyond CS4.

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#16 tonywu

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 12:07 AM

Just a hunch...try unchecking Edit > Primary Only


That worked. Thanks Brad! Dunno how that got checked, but if it happens again, now I know
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#17 echeng

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 01:13 AM

Tony -- there's a shortcut for it. Maybe you hit it on accident. Wasn't it.. "S" in the old Aperture? I'm forgetting all of my Aperture keyboard shortcuts!!
eric cheng
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