September 21, 2009

Lightroom pulls further ahead of Aperture

The past couple of years at this time (see entries for 2007, 2008), independent research company InfoTrends has surveyed professional photographers* about their choices of raw image-processing tools. It’s interesting to check in on how the competition between Adobe Photoshop Lightroom & Apple Aperture is going.

Among photographic pros using the Mac,

  • In 2007 Lightroom was nearly twice as popular as Aperture
  • In 2008 it was nearly three times as popular
  • In 2009 it’s approaching four times as popular

By the numbers:

  2007 2008 2009
Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in 66.5% 62.2% 57.9%

Lightroom

23.6%

35.9% 37.0%
Aperture 5.5% 7.5% 6.3%
     
On the Mac platform only:    
Lightroom 26.6% 40.4% 44.4%
Aperture 14.3% 14.6% 12.5%

You might notice some decline in the use of the Camera Raw plug-in inside Photoshop as more pros move to using Lightroom. Let me be clear in noting that Photoshop use among these pros remains in the 90% range, and that the decline applies only to Camera Raw usage. (That makes sense as Lightroom and Camera Raw share the same processing engine, and photographers are, as expected, handling more of their raw processing in Lightroom.)

As always, everyone at Adobe couldn’t be happier about the warm reception pro photographers have given LR, and we’re grateful to the amazing, thriving community that’s grown up around the product. The team has just scratched the surface of Lightroom’s potential, and the future looks great.

[Update: InfoTrends asked that we add additional statistical information to the results provided in the blog post. I should have noted the margins of error, which for all the respondents were +/- 2.5% (2008) and +/- 3.1% (2009) and for Mac users was +/-3.6% (2008) and +/- 4.5% (2009) at a 95% confidence interval. The differences between 2008 and 2009 fall within the margin of error for the sample sizes.]

* 1,045 in North America this year, a sample very similar to that of past years

Posted by John Nack at 7:42 PM on September 21, 2009

Comments

  • Phil Brown — 8:03 PM on September 21, 2009

    Interesting information. If you look at the totals each year, it also suggests that fewer people are using more than 1 of the products (ie the amount over 100% between 2008 and 2009 has dropped).

  • Creighton Holub — 8:36 PM on September 21, 2009

    One of my key reasons for seriously considering the switch from Aperture to Lightroom is that my editing in Camera Raw transfers directly over to Lightroom.
    I think I’m going to wait until LR 3.0 before I jump over.
    My biggest pain is how the modules work in LR. I wish I could just “turn them off” since they really don’t fit my style. Or at least give me the controls from the Develop module in the Library module. I don’t like switching back and forth.

  • Doug — 8:47 PM on September 21, 2009

    Great results! I’m eagerly looking forward to whatever happens in Lightroom 3.

  • Chad Davis — 9:35 PM on September 21, 2009

    My reason for using Lightroom and not looking back is because of the poor performance of Aperture on my MacBook. Aperture relies too much on the GPU and is incredibly unusable for me. Keep up the good work.

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 10:03 PM on September 21, 2009

    If even I have switched to Lightroom, Aperture’s screwed.
    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.
    If Aperture 3 does eventually appear, it’ll drop fully-formed, and a week later the cone of silence will fall again, and Aperture will continue gleefully hemorrhaging users until there are no more left.

  • ChrissyOne — 10:42 PM on September 21, 2009

    Congrats to the Lightroom team! Keep up the great work on my favorite app ever!

  • Richard Earney — 11:40 PM on September 21, 2009

    @Creighton Holub
    The beauty of the Lightroom model if that you don’t have to use the modules if you don’t want – I rarely use Web and Slideshow. The way to navigate smoothly is to use the keyboard shortcuts, it really speeds up Lightroom use.

  • Axel Polt — 11:45 PM on September 21, 2009

    Lr is second to none in RAW handling & workflow… BUT: my usage of Aperture is significantly increasing due to better integration in the MacUniverse AND Aperture has a UNIQUE feature thats missing in Lr: Outstanding PhotoBooks.
    Adobe has everything inHouse to make the best PhotoBooks (Cards, calendars, ++), i.e. covering prosumer needs, Adobe has only to do it….

  • Gabe — 12:04 AM on September 22, 2009

    It’s subjective, I know. But in my opinion Aperture is superior in its organizational capabilities and features, which is one of the main things I use it for. And I’m also not too keen on the “modules” approach of LR.
    But having said that, LR is still a fantastic product and the lack of updates/news from Apple is really starting to annoy and scare me. I have to admit I am seriously considering using LR for my new stuff.

    • Rick — 4:04 PM on April 19, 2011

      id’ have to agree with you… aperture organization is better than lightroom. im not also fond of LR user interface but editing wise way much better….

  • Armand — 12:33 AM on September 22, 2009

    Well, it is good news, but don’t rest on your laurels.
    I do use LR primarily, but there’s still room for improvement:
    – UI is slow. It’s good-looking and with fancy animations and little touches, but it’s slow. Bibble 5 preview or Capture One feel so much snappier. Allow me to turn off the effects for a faster UI.
    – Still no lens distortion correction? It was my biggest disappointment in LR2. I won’t be upgrading to V3 if there is none; keystoning a la DxO would be a big bonus but basic distortion correction is a must nowadays.
    – I don’t use Web/Print modules. Allow me to turn them off completely (ideally don’t even load them). Isn’t that the mantra – let the user optimize the environment?

  • Uwe Noelke — 12:55 AM on September 22, 2009

    I am a LR user on Mac since the beginning. I have tested Aperture a couple of times but stick to LR. Of course there room for improvement but no software is perfect and the requirements growing while usage and improving ones own workflow.

  • Jason — 2:02 AM on September 22, 2009

    while is think LR is great as a all in one package i have to say that capture one has the better image quality.
    and i think maybe the numbers are misleading.
    i know a lot professionels who use LR to manage their collection of files but use capture one to develop high quality RAW files.

  • Lars — 2:29 AM on September 22, 2009

    I have to agree with jason!!!
    Capture ONE has the better Image quality. Especially highlights and foliage look better with Capture One.
    Highlights are better preserved and foliage has more details.
    As someone mentioned in another blog entry here, with LR foliage looks often like watercolor. Even when you have no noise reduction at all.
    I guess the demosaicing of the bayern pattern is much beter solved in Capture One.

  • rico — 3:13 AM on September 22, 2009

    Raw is for those do not want learning photoshop.
    It’s said that “RAW is the digital negative”
    I say YES… but,
    .JPEG is the Chrome film…
    Who does not know work with it, will fail…
    Now adays all sensor are improved…and RAW is still there..
    but one day I suppose
    RAW will history
    Who lives, will see

  • Lars — 3:30 AM on September 22, 2009

    JPG is in so many ways flawed only a snapshooter would write such bullshit an rico :)

  • Georgy — 4:18 AM on September 22, 2009

    [Offensive comment removed]
    photographers and real men shoot RAW.
    why…. because you are the one who develops an image… not an in camera software with 5-10 picture styles.

  • Dan v. — 5:50 AM on September 22, 2009

    LR is a good product that has a lot of flaws. I keep using it despite these flaws because competing products have bigger flaws that directly impact my workflow, while LR’s flaws are more ancillary.
    1. The handling of high ISO noise reduction blows, especially on Sony RAW files. Baseline noise reduction sucks, stop doing it, and the noise reduction sliders that are there are poor compared to third party plugins like Noise Ninja. Using competitors products like DxO optics results in much better high ISO quality.
    2. Lens distortion correction is sorely needed. You’re already doing it behind the scenes for micro 4/3rds, give it to the rest of us in 3.0.
    3. Give me an equalize function so I can easily find dust spots.
    4. The UI has a lot of dumb decisions since 1.0 that have never been fixed. Who thought it would be a good idea to put the (very large when you think about it) collapse pane control next to the very tiny scrollbar? If you’re off by one pixel you’ve just collapsed your pane. I’ve complained about this a lot to various people and nothing’s been done.
    5. The keywording interface isn’t very good, especially for keywording multiple photos. This is one place where aperture beats LR.
    6. Let us edit the lens database. While Adobe finally started revealing lens information for Sony/minolta lenses in 2.5, some of the information is wrong and/or missing. It would be nice if we could edit these tables to make them more robust.
    7. Baseline exposure comp on the a700 is broken, it overexposes everything compared to the in-camera processing when LR is zeroed. 3/4 of a stop? Really? Other RAW converters seem to have good defaults, while ACR/LR required a lot of presets/defaults adjusting.
    8. You can’t undo sync operations.
    All of this being said, I will run out and buy my 3.0 upgrade on the day it’s released if it has an equalize function. Let me find my dust spots, damnit!

  • Jason Smith — 6:46 AM on September 22, 2009

    I think this is some competitor marketing prior to Aperture 3 being released shortly. See Derrick Story blog. No research is ever really independent and the sample size is small.

  • Christian — 7:07 AM on September 22, 2009

    Lightroom is wonderful; absolutely wonderful. Which is why I’m worried about it.
    It’s wonderfully unlike any CS4 product: It’s fast, behaves like a native app, feels snappy, and lets me get my work done without getting in the way. Photoshop used to be the same way, and look at what your development team did to it. Hardly a day of Photoshop use goes by where I don’t want to strangle Adobe’s developers and product managers. CS4 is such an unfettered mess of ugly interfaces and show-stopping bugs that the only reason I keep using it is because, awful as it has become, it’s still better than anything else.
    So this is a long plea, John, to say please everything you can to keep anybody involved in Creative Suite applications as far away as possible from the Lightroom team. What I most fear is that one of your pinhead product managers (or executives? who even knows who to blame anymore) is going to come into the office one morning and say, “Hey, why isn’t Lightroom using Flash for its UI too? Let’s do that!” And then Adobe will have ruined another fine product with another mistake in a long string of decisions that put even Microsoft to shame.

  • William Reynish — 7:14 AM on September 22, 2009

    The workflow in Aperture is much nicer, but since Apple continues to not support the RAW format of my camera I’m forced to use Lightroom :(

  • Zaihan K. — 7:37 AM on September 22, 2009

    Totally Georgy! I’m sure photographers like Erwin Olaf and Hans van Manen only shoot in JPEG format.
    [Sexually-themed comments removed]

  • peter — 8:01 AM on September 22, 2009

    APERTURE is a piece of shit and apple dont care about their customers.. face it you loosers.

  • oli — 8:02 AM on September 22, 2009

    you are only to lazy to learn new things… cs4 rocks!!!

  • Ron Adair — 8:06 AM on September 22, 2009

    I’ve stayed away from lightroom for an almost silly reason – tone curve point adjustments are a bit of a joke when compared with Camera Raw’s version. Lightroom “babysits” you, allowing only “safe” changes to the tone curve as to not produce clipping in highlights or shadows. This is fine, but a checkbox to turn off these restrictive controls for the big boys and girls would be necessary for me, as I modify the tone curve beyond LR’s capabilities all the time, and am not keen on returning to ACR every few images only to mess with the curves. Instead, I just stick with ACR.
    http://blogs.oreilly.com/lightroom/2007/03/free-lr-adventure-invert-solar-1.html
    Any chance you could give this feature back to the pros?

  • Dan — 8:15 AM on September 22, 2009

    I’m an Apple user. Totally. Numerous computers, iPhones, Airports etc…
    Started with Aperture. I shoot Nikon, now with a couple of D300’s.
    I love Aperture. The UI is so good. It’s sharpening is better than Photoshop and Lightroom.
    IT’S TOO FRIGGIN SLOW!
    I’ve switched to LR1 and now LR2 so many times. Committed to LR2 two months ago. Transferred everything over to LR2.
    I miss Aperture I just went back the other night after a shoot. Ugh. Beachball
    I use Mobile Me, so it’s hard to give up Aperture because of the ease of integration to publish online. But…
    I have used Aperture since release. It has always been slow. I’ve used it on some many different Mac’s of different CPU’s. FAST CPU’s The app is a dog slow app.
    I’m finding myself using all the NIK softer plugins and CS4 through Aperture, I tell myself why bother. Is the ease of publishing the photos worth it?
    I think it’s time for me to just commit to LR2 and that’s it. Apple doesn’t really support Aperture. They treat the pro’s who use it with contempt by not even publicizing any sort of roadmap so users who use Aperture making money are in the dark.
    iPhoto 9 is heads and shoulders above Aperture for use and speed.
    I truly believe Apple will abandon Aperture within 2 months. It’s not in THEIR roadmap of making money. But those of use using Aperture? FU is pretty much the message from Apple.

  • Jim Pogozelski — 8:17 AM on September 22, 2009

    Why doesn’t Info Trends or Adobe ever poll me or anyone I work with? It’s so abstract…
    I’m someone who has moved all the way to Lightroom from Aperture. But it’s unfortunate because rather than marketing posts I always hope for substantive info on the app. If the numbers were more even, competition would force more writing on features rather than the race. No doubt Jenkins down the hall is pleased with the ratings, but why is my favorite app commentator (J. Nack) posting this instead of leaving it to Lightroom Journal?
    You’re into “flash panels”, why no posts about SWF’s numbers compared to the silly Silverlite? (answer: because it’s not interesting)

  • Ron Adair — 8:17 AM on September 22, 2009

    Is Lightroom the issue, or your choice of camera? Every test I see of Sony’s noise issues, I almost gasp out loud. That’s right. OUT LOUD!
    C’mon, get a Nikon already and be done with it. Trust me, you’ll never look back.

  • alessandro — 8:30 AM on September 22, 2009

    hello
    this is very good news.
    never in my life have i come across another app that was even remotely worth every cent the way lightroom is.
    big compliment!

  • kai — 8:37 AM on September 22, 2009

    APPLE is satan!!!
    lightroom is flawed with bad image quality but better then aperture nonetheless.

  • nunatak — 8:37 AM on September 22, 2009

    Open LR. Let it also manage CMYK, PDF, Ai,PCD photo asset.

  • David Mantripp — 8:41 AM on September 22, 2009

    Well, if you turn off Zealot mode for a few secs, the numbers actually show that the Aperture share is quite stable, with a 2% drop off in the last year.
    [You shouldn't look at Aperture as having lost (according to these numbers) 2.1% out of 100%; rather, it's 2.1% out of 14.6%. If you view 14.6 as the 100% size of Aperture's pie in 2008, then the loss is more like 15% year over year. Of course, any survey includes a margin of error, so the important points are the trends & the relative percentages. --J.]
    So actually Lr is cannabalising something else.
    Clearly Lr is more popular, but, really, its gains are probably mostly at the expense of Photoshop.
    [Well, I already noted above that Photoshop usage among the surveyed pros remains on the order of 90%, so LR isn't cannibalizing PS per se; it's cannibalizing one aspect of PS usage. People are moving from one packaging of the Camera Raw engine to another, but they're not ceasing to use Photoshop. I think that all makes sense: use each app where it's most effective. --J.]

  • David Mantripp — 8:44 AM on September 22, 2009

    well if you are familiar with Aperture, you must be using a computer made by … gasp … SATAN!!!!!!!!
    You’re doomed. Doomed.

  • groovehouse — 8:59 AM on September 22, 2009

    I love the way Lightroom handles my RAW files. I also love Lightroom’s preset ability and am saddened that layers are not available. Otherwise, a great program for editing digital images from my camera.

  • William Beem — 9:00 AM on September 22, 2009

    I’ve used Aperture since before Lightroom came out as a product, and I’m still with it. Like many others, I’ve occasionally been frustrated with it, or some perceived lack of features.
    So, I checked out Lightroom 2.x. That gave me a much better appreciation of what I can do with Aperture. While I would love to use the Adjustment Brush in LR, I don’t want to submit to LR modules that inhibit my workflow. LR’s handling of keywords looks like a teenaged girl’s bedroom when compared to Aperture.
    Both products are good. Both products offer something that the other lacks. I simply don’t want to give up the better management & workflow tools of Aperture just to gain the Develop tools in LR. I still have PS CS4 to make those things happen.

  • Noah Read — 9:04 AM on September 22, 2009

    I agree. I use Lightroom, but mostly just because it handles basic adjustments way easier than Photoshop. I tried Aperture for a few weeks, but it was just too slow for me. Don’t remember what version that was though.

  • Dan v. — 9:04 AM on September 22, 2009

    The a700 (and 900) in ACR vs DxO is a huge difference, especially with firmware v4. You should actually look at the samples before and after. Raw converter and noise reduction software plays a huge role in image quality. ACR creates large chroma blobs which other converters don’t thanks to its baseline noise reduction. This doesn’t just affect Sony users, though, it’s a problem for others too. Even if you use a Nikon you will get better high ISO performance by switching to a different RAW converter. Of course, there’s more to judge on noise than DPreview’s 100% crops, as I’ve seen prints from the a900 at ISO 1600 that look absolutely stunning. No, it won’t be the best at 6400, but that’s not really why you’re buying a 25 MP resolution monster, is it?
    I mostly do not shoot at high ISO anyway (it’s rare that I go above ISO 200), so this is not really much of an issue for me. It would be nice if top image quality was a priority, though. My bigger concerns mostly have to do with workflow (and why only one of my complaints was on noise). I stick with LR because I like the workflow (in general), but if I shot at 1600 or 3200 regularly I would have to consider switching.

  • mike — 9:09 AM on September 22, 2009

    This is an example how difficult it is for us to choose the right software. I bought an Aperture, but Apple did not update it for 2 years or so. No service, no Updates= lost money compare to Light room and plugins. One of the reasons, why people like to steal instead of buying it.

  • Mike K. in Venice, CA — 9:11 AM on September 22, 2009

    First, congrats to the LR team. Even though I’m a PC user, I hope Aperture continues to flourish as well, as the competition is good for everyone.
    Second, I don’t understand the people who complain about IQ and color with regards to any RAW converter. It seems to me that same FUD is being claimed by Capture One users as DPP (and Nik) users were about colors and IQ. The bottom line is, if you learn to use the software properly, then you’d end up with images that are as good as or better than the default settings you are using with these other programs. I guess Adobe should make C1 presets to make those folks happy as well.

  • Moss — 9:11 AM on September 22, 2009

    The best thing Apple could do to keep Aperture alive (after they realise its not really profitable for them anymore) is to release the code under GPL or a similar open source license.
    The linux community will eat it up instantly!
    [Yeah, you know how Apple loves giving away its intellectual property in order to help people not buy Macs... ;-) --J.]

  • Mau — 9:11 AM on September 22, 2009

    I have used Lightroom since it was a Beta, it is an awesome product. I agree with David Mantrip: the big loser here is Photoshop.
    I love Lightroom’s features. Its workflow just makes sense and it works great with SlideShowPro’s plugin for outstanding web+flash publishing.

  • Allen Wicks — 9:27 AM on September 22, 2009

    As almost always, the statistics appear grossly flawed;
    [How so, specifically? --J.]
    but that is what the world so often does, is improperly use stats. Sigh.
    But ignoring the lack of validity of the stats, some comments from a user of both:
    • APERTURE’s overall workflow on a strong properly set up MacIntel box IS MUCH, MUCH FASTER OVERALL than LR.
    • Aperture performs poorly on weak or badly configured boxes, but it is a pro app after all.
    • Aperture is losing market share due to slow RAW-conversion support of new cameras (really dumb, Apple).
    • On the flip side, Aperture’s RAW conversion is almost always superior to Adobe’s ACR/LR.
    In my case even though I have used PS for 15 years, Aperture workflow now resolves 98% of my images work. I own the Premium CS3 Design Suite but am skipping the expensive CS4 upgrade.
    • Full PS has lost HUGE market share to the likes of apps like Aperture, GIMP and others but that info is not mentioned.
    [You know, it's funny, Allen: you say that the stats I provided (which were gathered by an independent company whose entire business rides on the quality of their data gathering) are "grossly flawed," but you can't say how. Then you make up assertions that try to contradict the info I've shared, yet you provide no evidence at all for them. So, to borrow your line, "but that is what the world so often does, is improperly use stats. Sigh." --J.]

  • Kai — 9:30 AM on September 22, 2009

    well obviously you dont know what you talking about.
    it´s not only a few user who think so… independend tests show the same results. i never saw a test where LR was at the first place when it comes to image quality!!
    you can fiddle for weeks with LR and you will be still unable to get some highlights look as good as with capture one.
    same is true for some small details for example leaves in the background.
    you CAN NOT make this look as good as with capture one.
    the basic feature, the demosaicing algorithm from LR is not as good as capture ones.

  • kai — 9:40 AM on September 22, 2009

    don´t get me wrong, i decided to use LR because it´s the overall best for my needs.
    but im not blind.
    i see the benfits of other tools too when im using them.
    i love LR and that is why i think adobe should put more effort in making lightrooms demosaicing algorithm better.
    adobe has the manpower and knowledge to make LR better.
    and i think that the main concern for any pro photographer should be image quality.
    [Agreed, and Adobe is indeed working to make LR better. --J.]

  • Kai — 9:55 AM on September 22, 2009

    one more comment.
    i decided to buy lightroom because i thought that for the future it would be the best.
    lightroom maybe is not the best solution for anyone yet or in every aspect.
    but look at the updates, with each update LR has become significant better in some aspects.
    even when i complain about bad noise reduction or bad sharpening (some PS plugins do a much better job) i think that will change in the future
    so even when lightroom i not the best yet i think that it will be the best at one point.
    just as PS is the best image editing application.

  • Asa — 9:58 AM on September 22, 2009

    Please note that all changes between 2008 and 2009 are within the margin of polling error of a poll of 1045 people.

  • JT — 10:01 AM on September 22, 2009

    Nice. Even as a diehard Aperture fan, I have to admit that I’ve been using Lightroom while waiting for Apple to support my new camera’s RAW, and, appearance and “modules” aside, have found it to be an excellent app. Definitely the best thing in Adobe’s current product line.
    That said, this news worries me. Adobe hasn’t exactly fared well with lack of competition in the past — look at every CS released since the Macromedia acquisition for evidence.
    P.S. It seems like a lot of commenters gave up on Aperture after finding it “slow,” which was certainly true of the early versions, but has been almost completely remedied in the latest — to the extent that it’s interface responsiveness is now at least the equal of Lightroom’s. Try scrolling in Lr’s panels for an example. Or adjusting color temperature. Choppy, choppy, choppy. I’m not sure if it’s a result of not utilizing the GPU as effectively as Aperture, or simply that the controls are non-OS native, but the difference is stark.

  • sporobolus — 10:04 AM on September 22, 2009

    this is disappointing: neither app has amazed me, and the continued dominance of one app signals for me the failure of the market to serve the customer; i’m using Aperture mainly because it conforms to the UI of my Mac better, but i would be happiest with two or three strong competitors in the field; a stable triad would create real innovation and also an incentive to interoperate

  • huby — 10:08 AM on September 22, 2009

    without giving system specs and such things all your brabblings about performance is useless.
    i have a core7 with 12 GB ram and lightroom is so fast i would never complain about speed.
    you pay so much for lenses and cameras… don´t waste your time with a slow 4 year old computer.
    anyway for the next version i would love to have the ability to disable some moduls. just because i never use the print or slideshow modul.
    some connection to google earth would be nice too. as i started geologging all my pictures.

  • Michael — 10:09 AM on September 22, 2009

    Not surprised.
    I went over to the dark side ;) and started using LightRoom a couple of months ago.
    Apple’s lack of attention to aperture and lack of editing tools with aperture caused me to embrace LightRoom.
    It is so much more superior to aperture right now, I can’t imagine switching back.

  • paul inskip — 10:10 AM on September 22, 2009

    If they’d make the damn modules in LR a choice and give a much more photoshop/Aperture like free floating interface then I think Aperture would be dead, however until that time for me its Aperture first then it would be one of the other options and LR at the bottom of the pile (even though I have a copy) IMHO the module interaface is very counter productive.

  • hubsy — 10:14 AM on September 22, 2009

    i love the moduls.
    but i don´t use them all….. so more flexebility is always welcome.

  • kai — 10:19 AM on September 22, 2009

    i would say the workflow is what makes LR so popular.
    so they must have done it right with the moduls.
    i know photographer who dont like PS because it looks so complex. they say LR is much easyer and straightforward to use.

  • delb0y — 10:26 AM on September 22, 2009

    I use Aperture. I used LR when it was a Mac only app and didn’t really like it too much. I’m sure it’s much improved but will stick with Aperture for now.
    those questioning the performance of RAW & JPEG… i would concentrate on your own performance

  • William Beem — 10:30 AM on September 22, 2009

    The work flow is forced, and that’s the problem. 80% of the time, I’d probably use the same workflow in Aperture that LR forces you to use.
    Then there are times when I could be laying out a gallery or book (something LR doesn’t do) and decide that a photo that looked right when edited by itself now doesn’t look right when placed next to another image. With Aperture, I can make the adjustments to the photo right there. I don’t have to get out of one module, go back to another to make adjustments, and then go back to the output I was creating. I just tweak a couple of sliders and I’m done.
    Now tell me, which one was more “straightforward?”

  • Eric — 10:31 AM on September 22, 2009

    As a long-time user of Aperture and Lightroom in different computers (all Macs) I have to say Lightroom has more useless features for me (building web pages, printing) and I don’t like the module interface.
    Apple has gotten the workflow right. Though they sure screwed up the interface when they dropped the dark colors. (Not that it’s that important, but it was annoying, such a blatant change from the master of interface design.)
    Aperture beats Lightroom at doing photo books, which is something I do. And on the right machine with enough RAM, it’s just as fast as Lightroom in Snow Leopard.
    But the bottom line is, I prefer to work in Bridge and Photoshop directly most of the time. At work because more than one person works on photos.
    But once you get a good workflow going in Bridge, it’s just easier for the handling of thousands of photos that are used in multiple locations. It’s simply better to stay with the basics.
    Lightroom or Aperture on my MacBook Pro are great when I’m in India or Colombia or wherever shooting. But when I’m home, they get in the way of metadata input and then quickly managing the physical disposition of large numbers of files. For me, that is.
    A lot of what I do requires automation in Photoshop, Filemaker Pro and Extensis Portfolio. Lightroom and Aperture are not substitutes for those three tied together with a good set of Applescripts.
    Which brings me to the weakness of the databases in Aperture and Lightroom. They’re great for individuals, but when you have databases holding a hundred thousand images, that’s better left to more specialized DAM tools for doing the management part.
    My photos end up in Artesia Teams, which is what Getty uses to handle their hundred million photo archive. Heavy duty databases are way more useful for the file management part once your collection grows too big for Lightroom and Aperture.

  • Jonathan JK Morris — 10:32 AM on September 22, 2009

    I would like to use LightRoom, I really would, but the way Aperture, organises images fits with the way my mind works. Ideally I would like to use both, and sometimes I give my new project to LR to give it another try but I always walk away with it having failed me.
    If I’m not explaining the problems it’s because I don’t understand LR well enough, I’m not a fanboy of either, I feel its better to become more marketable by knowing both as a photographer but I just can’t figure LR out! :(
    I can say I have problems with the folder arrangement in LR, and while the modules kinda annoy me but I understand why they are there. I can say I prefer the export options provided with Aperture over LR. Inteface wise I’m not going to nit pick but I like them both and its good they do the same job in different ways because it gets one to approach image editing in different ways as well.

  • Gregory Wostrel — 11:01 AM on September 22, 2009

    Allen, calling BS on you here. Aperture is “MUCH, MUCH FASTER OVERALL” than LR on anything? Got some actual stats there? From an independent source? Plus when Aperture has poor performance it is because the computer is at fault?? That is ridiculous. A well made app should function well on a decent range of recent hardware. Apple’s own “Recommended Configuration” doesn’t perform well. I know, because I have two systems that meet those specs. The performance is lousy even if it is the only app running. I don’t think that a well designed app should cause the users to make all sorts of special adjustments to workflow and hardware just to get acceptable performance. Photoshop, for example, a Pro App if there ever was one, runs perfectly fine on all sorts of hardware. Sure, if you have tons of ram and a clean high speed scratch disk life is grand – but you don’t require it for an acceptable experience.
    “• On the flip side, Aperture’s RAW conversion is almost always superior to Adobe’s ACR/LR.”
    ahh, got something to back this up?
    “• Full PS has lost HUGE market share to the likes of apps like Aperture, GIMP and others but that info is not mentioned.”
    This sounds like you just made it up out of thin air. I know lots of Designers, Videographers, and Photographers and they all use Photoshop, many of them use LR, a very few use Aperture and none of them use GIMP. Got some references to back this one up, too?
    Your comments are as bad as the “Analysts” and “Experts” on news sites, TV, and radio who simply say stuff without any third party reference or sources.

  • Marc — 11:33 AM on September 22, 2009

    I’m not particularly interested in the horse race aspect so long as there are tools that offer some real choice. Competition is better, of course, since it forces all involved to improve their products.
    But I’ll tell you what pisses me off: Were I a pro photographer I’d be in the “Photoshop Camera Raw” column… or rather WANT to be but can’t because Adobe was right on top of improving the DNG format to handle new cameras. Except of course they didn’t update the camera raw processor for CS3 to handle it.
    So, while CS3 does everything I want and there are no features in CS4 to make it worth upgrading to me (in fact, there are interface changes that would probably keep me from doing it even if it were free), I am faced with either paying for the upgrade or buying Lightroom to get at my DNGs without adding the destructive file-size-bloating extra processing to them.
    Honestly, if you’re not going to provide a free update for CS3, would it kill you guys to at least offer an inexpensive Photoshop Camera Raw plugin for sale separately? Are you that desperate for CS4 upgrades?
    That’s really soured my love of the DNG format as the ultimate path of RAW compatibility, and of Adobe in general.
    [I'm lost. Can you be more specific about what problems you’re seeing? Can you tell us what camera you're using and more details on exactly what "destructive file-size-bloating extra processing" is occurring? --J.]

  • Armand — 12:22 PM on September 22, 2009

    Oh come on. I also have an a700 and it’s a very capable camera. I have 8 years of experience with photography and different brands, enough to be able to say that the camera brand doesn’t matter that much.
    Interestingly, I did not notice any overexposure by LR compared to in-camera JPEGs. The other observations about lens database and image quality are correct.

  • Steve Laskevitch — 12:48 PM on September 22, 2009

    I’ve begun a 10 week online course in LR and the attendee numbers map well to those here. Incidentally, the course is FREE to those who attend live, and has a low fee to download recordings of the sessions. Several people are using the course to see if they like LR enough to use it. Week 2 just finished, and folks are loving the application.
    http://creativetechs.com/training/

  • zar — 12:59 PM on September 22, 2009

    you have problems with the folder managment in lightroom?
    what the hell you are telling?

  • well — 1:12 PM on September 22, 2009

    well we all know that apple users are not the brightest around.
    they buy apple because they have no skills that other users have.
    skills like problem solving and flexibility.
    set an apple user on a linux system and he is helpless… a linux guy will always find it´s way to SLOW LEOPARD.
    apple user always complain when something changes, because they are to unflexible to learn new stuff.

  • Marc — 2:14 PM on September 22, 2009

    Sorry, guess I can type faster than I can think of clear ways to say things.
    I’ve got a Panasonic G1, whose RAW files include lens correction data. Which of course the new version of DNG (is the format called 5.4, or is that just the version number of the converter?) can handle. And Photoshop CS4’s RAW plug-in (as well as I assume Lightroom) can work with these new DNG files just fine.
    But of course PS CS3’s plug-in doesn’t understand the new DNG version, and there’s no update that does. I can, of course, have the DNG converter produce CS3 compatible DNGs that have (I assume–I won’t pretend to understand the details) the lens correction already factored in. Except these files are almost 4 times the size of the 5.4 DNGs (something like 40MB vs. around 12MB), and there’s no way to convert from the 4.6 DNGs to 5.4 DNGs if I do ever get compatible software.
    Thus my workflow, which used to be “run RAW files through DNG Converter, then open results in PS via its plug-in” is now either “Run RAW files through DNG converter and end up huge files” or “Run RAW files through DNG converter to get 5.4s, then run them through AGAIN to get 4.6s that I can feed to PS when necessary.
    Don’t get me wrong–I absolutely love the DNG format, and I really wish camera manufacturers would just standardize on it–I just wish Adobe would support the latest version of the format in earlier versions of Photoshop. Surely it wouldn’t be that hard to make the new plug-in compatible with the older PS, would it?

  • Mike Cohen — 2:35 PM on September 22, 2009

    I tried LR, but I find Aperture’s workflow more natural, and I also like how Aperture integrates with other iLife applications almost as well as iPhoto. Unfortunately, I find both LR and Aperture equally slow on my 2.4 GHz MacBook Pro with 4GB RAM and a 7200RPM drive.
    If I did switch from Aperture, I’d probably use Nikon Capture NX, since it supports my D90’s raw files better than LR ever could.

  • CDostale — 2:36 PM on September 22, 2009

    Yes, there are only three choices in the above data, and tools like CaptureOne are not listed. Not even a category labeled ” other. ”
    [The InfoTrends study includes those numbers, but they're not relevant to the discussion at hand, which concerns LR vs. Aperture. Suffice it to say LR is much more popular than C1. --J.]

  • foljs — 2:50 PM on September 22, 2009

    well we all know that apple users are not the brightest around.
    Yeah, these dumb Apple users, like, say, all those top notch Phd scientists, alpha-geeks and creatives.
    See:
    http://www.apple.com/science/profiles/
    And:
    “What Are the Alpha Geeks Telling us Right Now? They are choosing Mac OS X in overwhelming numbers!” (Tim O’ Reilly)
    http://macdevcenter.com/pub/a/mac/2002/05/14/oreilly_wwdc_keynote.html?page=2
    (For a “bright one” you have not even mastered basic punctuation and capitalization skills).

  • Neil — 4:20 PM on September 22, 2009

    ‘well’
    Ha ha. Yes, those poor dumb Mac users.
    They’re so ‘unflexible’ (lol) and insist on using correct punctuation.
    [Please don't feed the trolls. --J.]

  • John Manoogian III — 5:34 PM on September 22, 2009

    Lightroom = Life

  • Erik K Veland — 5:44 PM on September 22, 2009

    Riiiiiiight.
    I love how the freetards think Open Source is some magic wand.

  • John Manoogian IV — 6:03 PM on September 22, 2009

    Aperture = Choice

  • cliff Stevens — 6:16 PM on September 22, 2009

    I won’t switch to Lightroom for several reasons:
    – hate the module approach
    – Aperture is much better integrated with the mac operating system and other mac apps.
    – I don’t trust Adobe to timely implement mac OS improvements and changes. It’s always dragging its feet. Who do we think will first implement Grand Central and the new GPU features in Snow Leopard? Adobe may never do it.
    [Yeah, those dirty Adobe bums. When are they going to release a 64-bit pro Mac app, when Apple has already shipped so many? (Er, wait: it's Adobe that's been way out ahead of the pack with 64-bit Lightroom on Mac, shipping it for over a year. Apple meanwhile has yet to ship a single 64-bit pro app.) --J.]
    – I don’t trust Adobe to keep prices low, especially if Aperture goes away. Adobe overcharges for Photoshop upgrades and the same thing will happen for Lightroom if Aperture goes away. So watch what you wish for, Lightroom fans.

  • Tonio Loewald — 6:50 PM on September 22, 2009

    CS4’s functionality is just fine, but its user interface is a travesty. (And that’s putting it much more politely than I did in my article on the subject — http://loewald.com/blog/?p=1134)

  • Steve Ballantyne — 7:33 PM on September 22, 2009

    Choice? Um, not really. At the time Aperture came out I was using a Kodak DCS 14n (yes, I know, with all its faults) and Aperture couldn’t read the RAW files from that camera. It still can’t.
    So I stuck with Photoshop and moved most of my work to Lightroom when that appeared.
    I’ve been using Macs since 1984 and I’m not likely to stop, but I’m not silly about software choices.

  • Neil — 7:58 PM on September 22, 2009

    With respect Cliff, Apple’s Aperture is at 6% for a very good reason. Lightroom simply fits more photographers’ needs better, and while you seem to hate Adobe they are most often at the mercy of Apple’s whims and still manage to make a product better.
    Most pros could care less about OS integration. Unless you’re a pro who enjoys using consumer grade apps like iPhoto.
    I found Lightroom to be so much better than Aperture it was absurd. It is markedly faster. I can apply 10 separate adjustments to 800 files and continue with only a few pauses to slow me down. I can create my own custom settings and apply them to images on import. I can go back and look at the history of any image and tweak and change things I did to them with ease, and everything I do can be undone with a few clicks.
    In Aperture the beachball can pop up just by going to the next image. Er, doesn’t Apple make the ‘whole widget’? They can’t figure out how to get THEIR app to work on THEIR hardware?? I wasted an entire day gnawing my own fingers off waiting for Aperture to do just about anything.
    Pros want 3 things: Speed, power and flexibility. And then more speed!
    Lightroom delivers this in buckets, using Aperture is like getting the chilled water from your fridge when you have 45 thirsty guests.
    LR3 seriously needs more of an Aperture-like UI, LR2 is a hideous mess. But you know what, it gets the job done.
    The difference is that Adobe pays attention to what its users need. Apple gives you what they think you want. That’s dandy for teens and moms but a catastrophe for pros who don’t take kindly to being treated as knee-jerk consumers.
    The total silence between versions or upgrades has decimated their pro user base. Nobody trusts them to be serious about Aperture and their pathetic marketshare reflects this.
    The talk of adding consumer grade (ie: rubbish) ‘features’ such as iPhoto’s ‘Faces’ to a pro app like Aperture is just laughable.
    You think I have time to mess around with tagging people’s faces? Shooting 1000-3000 images a week?
    Do pro sports shooters need integration with iPhoto?? Are pro portrait photographers interested in posting pictures to MobileMe? Do pro wedding photographers need face recognition!?
    My predictions:
    Apple will trot out Aperture 3 next year. By then its share will be 3%.
    It will include the iPhoto ‘Faces’ and ‘Places’ which will be the keynote features most mentioned by journalists.
    It will be marketed as being twice as fast but in practice be only 20% faster. Journalists will note that the beachball doesn’t show up as much. Woohoo.
    Adobe will beat it to the punch with LR3, which will eat Aperture’s lunch.
    Aperture 3 will require Snow Leopard.
    LR3 will run on 6 year old G4 Powerbooks running Tiger.
    The single biggest disappointment here is that Apple is floundering in a market it should outright dominate. Nowhere is this more of a surprise than in the photography field. Aperture should be a compelling reason for pro shooters to blow good money on a MacBook Pro, instead it’s a laughingstock. Pros listen, they ask other pros and get opinions. On Aperture the consensus is clear; it’s a $200 version of iPhoto. Apple is just too happy paying big time guys like Derrick Story to get the news.

  • Shalom Ormsby — 10:14 PM on September 22, 2009

    As a Lightroom user, I’m glad that LR has received such widespread support.
    There is, however, one glaring omission from is capability-set: No native support for tethered shooting. I tried the “Watched Folder” workaround, and found it to be slow, buggy, and unusable in a professional context. I’ve already emailed LR’s product engineers and beseeched them to add native tethered shooting to LR, and I want to repeat my request here. It’s a glaring omission from an otherwise amazing program.
    I have to keep using Capture One Pro 4 when shooting tethered (which does a great job with tethered functionality), and then switch over to LR after the shoot for the rest of my workflow, which is an obvious PITA.
    Lightroom will be so much better and more useful with native tethered shooting capabilities. Please, Adobe, add this essential feature!

  • Eric Peacock — 10:26 PM on September 22, 2009

    Interesting to see what everyone’s experiences are.
    I have to say that Aperture 2 (demo) was waaaaay faster on my outdated 4 core PPC PowerMac compared to Lightroom 2. Unbelievably faster. And I have a modest video card. I think this is largely because I run a tight ship with fast non-system work drives and have a lot of RAM.
    It’s obvious that Aperture needs a kick in the pants regardless, not keeping up with new cameras is suicide.

  • Luis Yax — 11:47 PM on September 22, 2009

    I just started using LR and now I cannot think of any other app that has some of the most intuitive tools for Post-processing and image management. I thought Aperture was it but not until i got to Lightroom 2.0. The deal maker for me is that LR plays very nicely with Photoshop, you got everything there. So Aperture vs LR 2.0, sorry but no comparison…. LR is it!

  • Armand — 1:27 AM on September 23, 2009

    Oh, by the way, let’s compare Sony a700 with Nikon D300 and Canon 50D – cameras from the same generation, shall we?
    http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Image-Quality-Database/Compare-cameras/%28appareil1%29/308|0/%28appareil2%29/295|0/%28appareil3%29/267|0/%28onglet%29/0/%28brand%29/Sony/%28brand2%29/Nikon/%28brand3%29/Canon
    The quality is nearly identical for all three.

  • Peter — 5:40 AM on September 23, 2009

    and what exactly is your problem?
    im using LR with canon and thethered shooting in a studio environment for a year and have no problems.

  • japanese — 5:49 AM on September 23, 2009

    how many languages can you write and speak?
    let me guess: ONE
    what a bright guy you are!!
    most american public school loosers can only speak english. and even that is a problem for most.
    so you better be quite and STFU when people, who are not native english, communicate with idiots who can only speak or write one single language!!
    americans are to dumb or lazy to learn a second language or a third…. and still they think they can judge over people with a much higher education then theirs….

  • japanese — 5:55 AM on September 23, 2009

    try to write in german or japanese for example!!
    lets have look how good you are in a foreign language!
    you are just the typical looser. i guess american….. who, like your president, thinks africa is a country.
    rotfl

  • Lee — 6:30 AM on September 23, 2009

    Why not publish all the data?
    [InfoTrends' business is all about selling their research data. Therefore I can't just give it all away here. InfoTrends kindly allowed us to share the LR/Aperture/ACR-specific info. --J.]
    I am shocked to hear about low numbers of C1 users.

  • nunatak — 10:13 AM on September 23, 2009

    “I absolutely love the DNG format, and I really wish camera manufacturers would just standardize on it” — Marc
    In my opinion it needs to be quite the contrary. Camera makers should NOT standardize on a format that’s “extendable” by outside parties like Adobe. Any processing made to your original raw file locks you into an Adobe workflow. That’s an inefficient use of resources and can cause version control issues.
    As it stands, DNG formats right out of the camera and those modified using Adobe programs cause the same confusion downstream that Adobe layered TIFFs or multiple PDF formats have caused.
    It’s been great for Adobe but bad for competition. Don’t get me wrong — I’m totally about Adobe workflow — however to preserve continuity, a raw container for “camera data” and a digitally processed file (e.g. LR adjustments) are best not bonded together in a single format that locks you into one software workflow.
    One DNG for camera makers, and perhaps an ANG for Adobe NeGatives processed in LR or PS.

  • Gio — 10:25 AM on September 23, 2009

    That really shows ignorance of DNG (as well as being off topic). DNG doesn’t lock you into Adobe – hey Aperture will read it, to mention one relevant competitor. And John Nack will correct me if I’m wrong, but DNG already supports multiple renditions to be stored. So if Aperture wanted to store its processing instructions and previews in a DNG, it could do so, as could other developers including those owned by the camera makers. Time to unlock those prejudices….

  • nunatak — 11:00 AM on September 23, 2009

    It’s as collateral to this topic as the posts I quoted — but I don’t mean to get us “off topic”.
    Ignorance and prejudice are charged accusations — so can we stay clear of it? We’re all trying to offer constructive interpretations.
    1. Version control issues are easily precipitated by multiple renditions in a single format.
    2. I am unaware of any other program that can open a DNG processed to adjustments made in LR or Camera Raw. That would require licensing Adobe’s proprietary tools.
    If this is a tangent taking us away from the benefit of LR vs. Aperture then please delete my comments. I find it central to the approach these two competing products have taken.

  • Marc — 1:03 PM on September 23, 2009

    I disagree completely on that. The industry would be benefitted by a “universal” RAW format, rather than the hodgepodge that exists now and requires new software support for every single new camera model introduced.
    In fact, many smaller manufacturers ALREADY use DNG as their RAW, which aleviates the issue of RAW tools not being likely to support niche products. They as a result have immediate support, rather than the wait usually necessary before non-proprietary RAW tools support them.
    Now, this universal format needn’t be DNG, but there isn’t currently anything even remotely resembling an alternative. If there were, I’d champion it instead, but until then DNG is open enough to have plenty of support, so why not?
    And actually, not only Aperture, but even iPhoto and the Finder itself support DNG (through 4.6–not the new v5.4 yet), as well as a number of other tools. They do NOT, however, support the RAW files from my previous camera, and likely never will. So without DNG as a universal format, I wouldn’t be able to use my old RAWs in any of these tools, which is less than ideal to put it mildly. As is, I can choose between at least three pro apps and at least 3 consumer-grade ones. Plus when I get a new camera (or switch camera brands) everything is still in the same format, reducing transition pain to zero.
    Of course, the compatibility issue with the new v5.4 DNG may make me eat my words, as I said earlier. Adobe seems to be trading the universality of the DNG format for better CS4 sales by not adding v5.4 support to Photoshop CS3’s Raw plug-in. Which is just lame.

  • Wade — 1:25 PM on September 23, 2009

    I’ve used both and prefer Aperture much more than Lightroom. Adobe’s poor attention to detail and UI design is part of the reason
    [We really, really need you to be more specific if you're hoping to effect any positive change. --J.]
    Aperture also supports tethered shooting, nicer organization and it’s speedy on my machine. The original version of Aperture was slow but version 2 completely changed that.
    If I could switch over all my Adobe products I would. Their approach to software is so heavy-handed. It’s really unfortunate they don’t understand the importance of making software work properly before adding a thousand more features with every version.

  • nunatak — 2:05 PM on September 23, 2009

    Marc, perhaps you and I are talking past one another. With extendability — there is no such thing as a universal DNG — just well structured and perhaps a common set of core components. A disaster for version control if you have a single DNG with multiple renditions.
    If we invest our processing time into a DNG file with LR or Camera Raw — another product may not get access to the work we’ve invested into a LR DNG — i.e. all tonal adjustments, brushstrokes, or proprietary features. It makes it difficult to pass a DNG either upstream or downstream where other products are used. Other products may only get access to the baked bitmap inside the DNG file + the original raw data. This means if we’re outside an Adobe ecosystem we’re SOL and need to start over from scratch.
    With a RAW file — I know what I’m getting. With a DNG — or even NEF for that matter — I’m never sure. It’s that type of ambiguity that leads to version control issues.
    I do agree about a universal RAW format as a basis for recording the image. However this must be a format that can only be extended by a common body of camera makers. Processing is a separate function and should identify itself as a separate extension.

  • heber vega — 2:52 PM on September 23, 2009

    I’ve been using Aperture since de very beginning of this app, with no problem (although uses a lot of resources). But this week I decided to star using Lr2 and I can just say that is amazing what you can do with your shots in comparison to what Aperture lets you do.
    I’ll keep using Aperture as my main Library (I think here Aperture is still better – to my taste) but I’ll be exporting all the shots that require a better treatment (let say 10% of a shooting) because here my creativity doesn’t have a limit as in Aperture. I even like better the RAW conversion using the the NIkon Camera profiles in Lr2. Aperture is not there yet! The last thing that I need to point to is that Apple is not paying attention to his customers, which are worried because of the lack of info on the roadmap of Aperture. Main reasons to stick to Aperture, Library manage, backups, UI, MAC integration…

  • cliff Stevens — 5:12 PM on September 23, 2009

    Neil:
    “With respect Cliff, Apple’s Aperture is at 6% for a very good reason. Lightroom simply fits more photographers’ needs better, and while you seem to hate Adobe they are most often at the mercy of Apple’s whims and still manage to make a product better. Most pros could care less about OS integration. Unless you’re a pro who enjoys using consumer grade apps like iPhoto.”
    LR may fit more photographers needs better – basically the people that are deeply invested in photoshop already which is a lot of photographers. LR is better integrated with Photoshop. No surprise there. Again, apple is the underdog here, challenging the market leader. It’s not a big surprise Adobe is ahead.
    “I found Lightroom to be so much better than Aperture it was absurd. It is markedly faster.” Yeah, and what kind of system are you running? Adobe has made a choice to better support older hardware. This has upsides and downsides, mostly downsides if you aren’t stuck with an older system.
    “The difference is that Adobe pays attention to what its users need.”
    Yeah, and that’s why LR never saw the light of day until Aperture came out. Without Aperture, Adobe would still be foisting the overpriced and cumbersome Photoshop on us.
    
”The total silence between versions or upgrades has decimated their pro user base. Nobody trusts them to be serious about Aperture and their pathetic marketshare reflects this.”
    Nobody has ever expected apple to talk about future software – they never do (except OS upgrades that have to be distributed to developers). When you buy into apple, you buy into a certain amount of silence.
    
”The talk of adding consumer grade (ie: rubbish) ‘features’ such as iPhoto’s ‘Faces’ to a pro app like Aperture is just laughable.”
    And you know this is the focus of what apple intends to add to Aperture 3? Based on what? You just said apple is not talking, so how do you know what they will add?

    “Do pro sports shooters need integration with iPhoto?? Are pro portrait photographers interested in posting pictures to MobileMe? Do pro wedding photographers need face recognition!?”
    iWeb and iWork integration is useful for pros. iDVD too for customers that still want a DVD. iPhone integration is useful. Plus, the market for these products are not just hardcore pros, it’s advanced prosumers.
    “My predictions . . .Aperture 3 will require Snow Leopard. LR3 will run on 6 year old G4 Powerbooks running Tiger.”
    In other words, Aperture 3 will make use of Grand Central and the new GPU capabilities, while Adobe will continue supporting older hardware, for a larger potential user base. That might be a smart marketing decision and lead to higher market share, but I’d prefer to go with the software making better use of new mac OS technologies.
    And by the way, Mr. Nack, one example where Adobe beat apple to the bunch (64 bit version) does not persuade me much. There is no question that Apple can be relied on to implement its own OS technologies. I am sorry, I can’t say the same for Adobe. It’s making a cross-platform app and those simply do not take as good advantage of the Mac OS.
    “The single biggest disappointment here is that Apple is floundering in a market it should outright dominate.”
    Really? Adobe has a total monopoly with photoshop. To expect apple to waltz in and steal all of Adobe’s share is ridiculous.

  • Chris Cox — 10:36 PM on September 23, 2009

    Apparently you have some misunderstandings about DNG.
    DNG is just a publicly documented, standard Camera RAW format. (hopefully soon to be more of a standard through ISO, but that takes a while) There is nothing Adobe specific in DNG – it’s all publicly documented.
    The part you’re complaining about is XMP metadata added by other applications — not part of the DNG spec. It’s no different than XMP sidecar files next to an NEF (well, except that anyone can read the DNG), or Photoshop data in a TIFF file — it’s optional content that doesn’t take away from the value of the main file format. You don’t have to use DNG files with any particular product — they are standardized so you can use them anywhere.
    DNG already is pretty close to a universal camera RAW format and even a RAW video format (Cinema DNG).

  • Chris Cox — 11:41 PM on September 23, 2009

    “Yeah, and that’s why LR never saw the light of day until Aperture came out.”
    Lightroom started development several years before Aperture. Adobe simply took more time to incorporate customer feedback. At that time, Photographers had nothing to compare it against and were making, um, wildly differing requests.
    Adobe is also adopting the latest OS advantages, when they make sense. For instance, GCD is described to developers as “beginners threading, for applications that don’t already have threading code” (see the WWDC sessions). But Lightroom is already heavily threaded, and may not need anything that GDC offers. And the GPU only offers speedups for small tasks that are compute bound, or bigger tasks that are massively compute bound. Using the GPU might speed up a few things that Lightroom does, but it’s far from a panacea for performance.

  • Boo — 11:44 PM on September 23, 2009

    And you know this is the focus of what apple intends to add to Aperture 3? Based on what? You just said apple is not talking, so how do you know what they will add?

  • Michael Lever — 1:41 AM on September 24, 2009

    I’ve been using LR since it came out; I also have Aperture. I got Aperture for the photo-books but actually it’s not that good and I find it easier to create my own from scratch, using iwork or Indesign CS4, or iphoto ’08.. For me, LR 2.5 is fabulous. I’m a commercial property surveyor and I take hundreds of photos of buildings and have thousands of images; photography is also a hobby and I take just as many photos of subjects I like, which is basically anything that doesn’t move – so no people, no animals, no sports – to be able to import from card, add keywords, etc, do some basic cropping, adjustments, etc, and either print in variety of templates or of my own layout, with an overlay too, and to cap it all have my own web gallery – http://www.photoshopfront.org – is excellent. If LR3 could include photo-books, that would be good.

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 3:10 AM on September 24, 2009

    Lightroom started development several years before Aperture.
    It’s not really clear when development began on Aperture, but we do know that Lightroom had been in development for several years before Aperture was released. And Aperture was released first, coming out of nowhere like a bombshell. I don’t know the whole story, but my impression is that Lightroom had been kind of mothballed until Aperture dropped out of nowhere, and then suddenly Adobe freaked out and went “Woah, wait up, we’ve got something like this too!” and rushed to get Lightroom to market. Although one of the Lightroom team members has sort of denied it, I have a hunch that the actual reason for which Lightroom is modal is because it was modal in its crude development form, and rather than spending lots of time reworking the GUI, the Lightroom team just stuck with what was already working and busied themselves with the more important task of finishing up the other tools. ‘Cause look: modes aren’t innovative — they’re old school. But I digress.
    The point being that Aperture really seemed to surprise Adobe, and by doing so made Adobe wake up and fast track Lightroom into release. Who knows? If Aperture had never showed up, Lightroom could very well still be sitting on a shelf somewhere. After all, with Camera Raw in Photoshop it wasn’t like Adobe was failing to address a need exactly. Photographers were happy. It’s as if it took Aperture to make Adobe realize that they had a good idea.
    This sort of thing happens in Hollywood all the time. Nobody makes a werewolf movie for 20 years, and then Universal takes a chance and green-lights An American Werewolf in London and suddenly The Howling and Wolfen are in theaters the following week. It’s easy to say, “Oh, those guys are copycats!” but in reality all of those movies had been floating around their various studios in various states of development, none of them ever quite making it into production simply do to the fact that the studios were convinced that the market just wasn’t there. Then one of them goes for it and sets off a chain-reaction.
    But now I really digress.

  • Mike McFarlane — 4:15 AM on September 24, 2009

    The best advice when comparing Lightroom and Aperture is to download both (and any other programs you might fancy) and run them in trial mode for a month. The trials are free and will allow you to find which program suits your workflow and image requirements.
    Personally I use both. Lightroom for cataloguing as it is fast to import, keyword, search and do bulk image exports for clients. But I also use Aperture for photobooks and critical portfolio grade RAW conversion as to my eye the Aperture conversion is preferable with more detail and smoother tones, I don’t like the painterly look of Adobe conversions. I used to use Nikon Capture NX (also not mentioned in the survey) for my critical RAW conversion as the conversion was stellar, but the addition of a Canon to my bag scuppered this. And I would like to use Aperture for everything, one program is easier for smoother workflow and I prefer the full screen edit mode with the edit HUD (I don’t really like the Lightroom modules approach, even using keyboard shortcuts, it is clunky.) But Aperture is so slow on my mac, seems random though as some people find it faster!
    But enough blah blah, try them all and make your own decisions (and try to respect that other people may form other conclusions based on their needs).

  • Gio — 8:18 AM on September 24, 2009

    1. Version control issues are easily resolved by proper metadata entry discipline.
    2. You should be aware that many programs can open a DNG and access its LR or Camera Raw generated previews, therefore output a print that 90%+ of pro photographers cannot distinguish from one produced from the raw data. And any program able to read XMP can read the processing instructions applied. It may find it hard to reproduce the results the LR/ACR interpretation, but that’s only a matter of whether it’s worth the effort (unlikely) as the instructions are perfectly readable.
    Can you say the same of a raw file? No.

  • John Smith — 10:01 AM on September 24, 2009

    Chris, a couple things you note that should be cleared up:
    “Adobe is also adopting the latest OS advantages, when they make sense. For instance, GCD is described to developers as “beginners threading, for applications that don’t already have threading code” (see the WWDC sessions). But Lightroom is already heavily threaded, and may not need anything that GDC offers.”
    This isn’t true… GCD is not “threading for beginners” in any way. It is an efficient way which is different than just simple OS threads; in may ways it lets you use functions and stack calls and can allow the OS to scale the resources up and down dynamically based on OS needs. Leveraging GCD would more than likely improve LR’s performance a fair bit but there are two issues:
    1) GCD is 10.6 only so LR would have to set a minimum OS version of 10.6
    2) GCD is Mac OS X only so Adobe would have to make the Windows and Mac OS X code more different. I suspect Adobe has built their own thread model abstraction code in LR to make it easier to port to both platforms, which likely means this is something they’d shy away from. Typically, cross platform applications are worse than “best of breed” platforms as there is some element of “lowest common denominator” going on.
    “And the GPU only offers speedups for small tasks that are compute bound, or bigger tasks that are massively compute bound. Using the GPU might speed up a few things that Lightroom does, but it’s far from a panacea for performance.”
    This really, really depends. Highly parallel, floating-point based applications like image management can get HUGE benefits from what video cards can offer. Video card performance has improved by several orders of magnitude in the last 10 years. CPU performance… maybe one order of magnitude. If you can do a good job of offloading the processing to the GPU, there are huge benefits to be gained. The kicker here is: Are applications like Aperture doing a good enough job of it yet? I’m not sure they are. If you overrun texture memory in the GPU stuff gets really slow. I think in an ideal world using the GPU really is a better approach; but the key is are the operating systems and tools available there yet, so the effort is worth it? 4 years ago when Aperture launched, the answer was “probably not.” I think 5 years from now, the answer will be a resounding “yes.” Where are we today?
    Also note Adobe has adopted some use of the GPU in Photoshop CS4. Will they leverage the same in Lightroom? Also, are the cross-platform toolkits they’re leveraging up to snuff to make it easy? Certainly the tools for Windows XP, being almost 10 years old, are not. How about Windows 7? Can Adobe afford to make LR 3 or LR4 Vista/Windows 7 only? That OS adoption curve that Microsoft has absolutely screwed up could serve as a _huge_ innovation anchor for vendors on the Windows side for the next 5 years, yet.

  • Chris Cox — 10:18 AM on September 24, 2009

    Mark – we do know the whole story, and there are some interesting details. But Lightroom was first by several years.

  • Chris Cox — 10:36 AM on September 24, 2009

    John – you should check out the details of GCD and how Apple has presented it to developers. It really is threading for beginners. It doesn’t offer significant advantages beyond the threading that many apps already use (“won’t be faster than what you already do using pthreads, just easier to get started”), and does have disadvantages as you listed. We have been following GCD development and discussing it with Apple for years now. At this time, using GCD would add complications to the code, and almost certainly slow it down.
    And cross platform does not mean lowest common denominator. It might if someone doesn’t put any effort into their code – but professional apps put a lot of effort into supporting the best that a platform has to offer. But many times (ok, far too often) the latest shiny toys the platform offers just aren’t up to professional standards and can’t be used by professional applications.
    Using the GPU still has 2 big unsolved problems: concurrency (upload/download without stopping and flushing the GPU), and bandwidth (how fast can you upload and download your results). The ongoing problem is generality: GPUs are good at some tasks, and absolutely horrible at many other tasks. If you can speed up 90% of your pipeline, but somewhere in the middle you can’t use the GPU — then using he GPU may slow you down overall. Again, GPUs are not a panacea, and their performance is only good within a tight set of constraints (small images, certain types of calculations, heavily calculation bound, etc.). We spend a lot of time studying this stuff, and working with the GPU vendors to improve the situation. While GPGPU processing is getting better, it’s still hit and miss where it is able to provide a speedup.
    (and more likely in the coming years you’ll see fewer GPUs and more heterogenous CPUs)
    Lightroom is using the features that they can use, and those that offer a performance advantage. We are actively pursuing technologies that will offer greater advantages in the future – but some of those technologies aren’t ready for prime time just yet.

  • John Smith — 11:31 AM on September 24, 2009

    Chris:
    GCD is not all threads; it is also dispatch queues and other methods for concurrency that are _much less expensive_ than threading context switches. There are differences…
    “Although operation queues and dispatch queues are the preferred way to perform tasks concurrently, they are not a panacea. Depending on your application, there may still be times when you need to create custom threads. If you do create custom threads, you should strive to create as few threads as possible yourself and you should use those threads only for specific tasks that cannot be implemented any other way.”
    I don’t read that as “threading for beginners.” It’s about the best tool for the job, and queues and blocks could be better than a custom created thread pool.
    http://developer.apple.com/mac/library/documentation/General/Conceptual/ConcurrencyProgrammingGuide/ConcurrencyandApplicationDesign/ConcurrencyandApplicationDesign.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/TP40008091-CH100-SW1

  • Jason Bradley — 12:44 PM on September 24, 2009

    Great info John, thanks! I jumped in at 2.0 and haven’t looked back, and have also been delivering workshops around the LR platform to underwater and nature shooters. Although some of my students have been skeptical, I’ve felt LR has had the most potential to gain footing as the standard for photogs, and this data supports it. Cool! Generally, I’m not an insightful guy.
    I wonder where Expression Media ranks in this trend?
    [I don't believe Expression Media (née iView Media Pro) showed up in this survey, as it's not a raw converter. --J.]

  • Allan White — 1:49 PM on September 24, 2009

    Since this has devolved into a feature request thread:
    I’d really like to see more intelligent handling of non-images files on cards, like video files. This trend will continue. At least a thumbnail, perhaps, or hand it off to Bridge or something.

  • Allan White — 3:11 PM on September 24, 2009

    I’m most of the way through a transition from Aperture to Lightroom. I had to export 40 GB of RAW masters (so Aperture would generate XMP files).
    While I still like Aperture, and when in “Proof” (p) mode, it’s much faster for reviewing, I find that the processings slowdowns, bugs with search and smart folders, etc. drove me to look at LR again.
    I think LR’s processing is superior*, and things like the gradient tool are a dream. I like that all edits are expressed as metadata in the XMP.
    I’m not a fan of the modal interface, and the slowness when browsing/editing is annoying (I’m on a Mac Pro w. 10GB. But overall, I think it’s LR has the edge for what I want.
    *Though Mike McFarlane’s comment is interesting (“don’t like the painterly look”) – he’s on to something there. There’s an aesthetic difference I can’t quite identify.

  • Allan White — 3:23 PM on September 24, 2009

    I think it took Aperture’s release for photographers to see the potential of what a media asset management app could be.
    Many successful products are ones that we didn’t know we needed – until we see it.
    AP & LR were breakthrough products because they wedded media management & acquisition with RAW processing, which prior to that was super basic or done with stand-alone image editors or converters (well, like Photoshop).
    I thought there was a good history of the AP/LR story here on this blog… elsewhere perhaps? It was interesting.

  • Allan White — 3:47 PM on September 24, 2009

    Expression Media (neé iView) does handle RAW files (last I checked), and can convert them to other formats.
    [You may be right, though last time I looked, it depended on operating system support to display & convert raw data. So, EM/iView is a raw converter only in the same sense that Apple Preview is one, doing simple display plus conversion to formats like JPEG. (Feel free to correct me if its capabilities have expanded.) --J.]
    EM falls into that category of basic media asset management, and has extremely limited (crude, even) image processing abilities.
    Not even in the same category as LR & AP.

  • Allan White — 4:12 PM on September 24, 2009

    I don’t know about the others here reading this thread, but I think iPhoto ’09’s face-recognition and geodata support would be absolutely fabulous. And yes, I get paid for my images.
    I would love to have my app analyze & tag the people in my images – saving hours metatagging. Perhaps you don’t need that, but I have to do searches for odd photo requests constantly; having people & place metadata automatically added would be wonderful. I may need photo mapping applications & web apps to use that metadata.
    There’s a lot of real feature and UI progress coming out of consumer apps; just because they’re marketed to consumers doesn’t make them features pros wouldn’t appreciate.

  • nunatak — 4:17 PM on September 24, 2009

    Good to see you again Chris.
    “The part you’re complaining about is XMP metadata added by other applications — not part of the DNG spec.”
    Actually the part I’m complaining about is how DNGs (or NEFs for that matter) can be raw files, or compressed raw files, or pseudo-baked raw files, or fully baked raw files. Where’s the audit trail?
    p.s. Will you be coming to Max?

  • Allan White — 5:27 PM on September 24, 2009

    John, have to say you’re right about iView relying on OS support. I mean, it is happening in the context of media management, so I suppose that’s one advantage over using Preview (which is to say: not much).
    I used iView and Photoshop for many years together, until The Dawn of Raw Workflow. There’s just no comparison.

  • Chris Cox — 8:39 PM on September 24, 2009

    DNG files need to be many things, because different cameras have different “RAW” output. Talk to Thomas about audit trails — there is some stuff in DNG, but it’s not required (because some makers don’t like to admit to the processing they do).
    Sorry, I’m way too busy to go to Max.

  • Cliff — 7:00 AM on September 25, 2009

    Another way to look at these data is that prior to Aperture, Apple had ZERO percent of the photo mgmt/editing market, and for the last three years it has had between 12.5 and 14.6 percent. The margin of error on a sample like this could easily be 5 percentage points.
    Apple is the underdog here, and competition is EXACTLY what Adobe lacks in most of its markets and desperately needs. I think most Adobe users would agree it could use some competition.
    There’s nothing wrong with the LR team being proud of its share, but it does reek a little of the longtime state football champions getting all excited when they beat the new and inexperienced team.

  • Gio — 1:40 PM on September 25, 2009

    They’ve had 6%. PC using pros can / do buy Macs, and did switch when Aperture first appeared. Kinda reeks of that junior team wanting to gerrymander the score….

  • Jason Bradley — 5:39 PM on September 25, 2009

    Yes it does convert, but it’s crude and as you said, John, does simple “display plus conversions.” No sidecar files can be created to reference changes. Here is a snippet of it’s capabilities though.
    http://www.applelinks.com/reviews/gifs/office-08-expression-editor.jpg
    Clearly it doesn’t rank as a raw converter enough to be part of this survey, but I know several stock photographers that prefer EM because of its strong cataloging features. So, is LR and Ap getting popular enough to put a dent in that demographic? We may be a version or two in LR away from seeing that sort movement in the market, but I’m curious nonetheless.
    Thanks again!

  • Jason Bradley — 6:07 PM on September 25, 2009

    You’ll like this Mike…..
    I prefer the manufacturers look to Adobe’s on some files too. I shoot nature stuff so Adobe’s is too neutral for me, sometimes.
    Here’s the fix.
    Go to Camera Calibration at the bottom of the LR Develop Module and you will see profiles such as Adobe Standard, but you will also see Camera Standard, Camera Vivid, Camera blah blah blah and so on. These are deconstructed Nikon and Canon profiles, and if you put them next to what Capture NX produces are almost indistinguishable. And, Lightroom recognizes whether or not you are looking at a Canon 5d, Canon Rebel, Nikon D300, or other file, so even though the dialogue within Camera Calibration continually reads Camera Standard and Camera Vivid, it’s referencing the different profiles behind the scenes. I happily stopped using Capture NX sometime ago. Also, by holding the Option key, Reset in Camera Calibration turns to Set as Default and if clicked will show all future imports with your new manufacturer like profile. It does it by serial number, So if you have 3 or 4 cameras in your bag, repeat these steps with images shot from each camera. Hope this helps.

  • Matt — 6:36 PM on September 25, 2009

    I am a LR user back to year zero. It revolutionized my photography and helped rescued many shots I’d given up on. I use a PC so I can’t (and don’t see the need to) comment on which is better. As an aside, both of my brothers are Mac-heads, one a working pro, and they both swear by LR. Whatever.
    What I don’t understand is number of comments saying that this is good news. The way I see it, if you use LR and are happy – great. If you prefer Aperture – wonderful. Who should care except yourself. I, personally want Apple (and others) to put up stiff competition to drive the Adobe team to work that much harder to put out a better product. And I hope Apple’s share of the pro market, especially, rebounds to further drive Adobe to improve in the real photographic areas and not merely add whiz-bang special effects (a la iTunes) and/or “consumer friendly” features (a la PS Elements).
    Adobe keep up the good work, but work harder. Apple – good luck, try to keep pace or, better, push past Adobe so they need to play catch-up!

  • cliff Stevens — 6:56 PM on September 25, 2009

    Gio –
    Yey! – go team with 94%. Stomp out all competition! Eliminate that last 6%!! Yey. Go team Adobe!

  • trace — 8:07 PM on September 25, 2009

    John, John, John,
    Well, you had to know this would get the natives restless didn’t you?
    I think the more informative information the 1,045 North American ‘pro’ photographers (let’s be real, that’s a really small number!) could provide is:
    1. Who exactly are these pros?
    2. How many (assuming this is a Mac only number of respondents)
    have used Aperture 2.0 + for a period of time to get to know it?
    3. How many switched to LR?
    4. What EXACTLY are the reasons given for choosing one over the other.
    The real story these numbers don’t give is the “whys?”. One thing I’ve written about on forums and blogs about this is how there are obvious misunderstandings and downright disclaims about the capabilities of Aperture (usually by LR users). It amazes me the wrong information that people pass along. Even you, John have misstated some information (yes, you didn’t know, and corrected it), which just goes to show how easy misinformation can flow through the net.
    It’s good for Adobe (and shareholders) to have a successful product, and competition surely is good for us all.
    That said, the Pro photographers consulting on and testing Aperture are some of the best in the business. Chase Jarvis, Parish Kohanim, Sarah France, John Stanmeyer of VII, plus the pros listed on the Aperture site, and more.
    I’m looking forward to Aperture 3, and have no worries that Apple will continue making a great product even better.
    In any case, I’d like to know more about what is truly behind those numbers. I’m not buying the “proprietary information” angle from InfoTrends.
    The “bald” numbers of this survey feel more like Microsoft bragging its OS marketshare over Apple, even though Apple arguably builds better!
    I’m sorry John, I’m glad for your bottom line (now where is that extra $$ for ADBE stock?), but these numbers don’t tell us very much.

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 11:37 PM on September 25, 2009

    The key reason for which Lightroom has more users than Aperture is because Lightroom is based on Camera Raw. This means that photographers highly invested in Camera Raw can just move their photos into Lightroom and keep working. All of their careful adjustments and edits are preserved and nothing has to be redone. The barrier to entry is almost nonexistent.
    Aperture, on the other hand, is not based on Camera Raw, and so by moving to Aperture photographers lose their edits. This is a huge barrier to entry. As photographers transition away from Camera Raw in Photoshop, the vast majority will chose Lightroom over Aperture simply because they’re effectively locked into their Camera Raw edits. It would literally be foolish of them to switch to Aperture, regardless of how nice its interface is.
    There are other reasons why Lightroom has more users than Aperture, such as Aperture’s slow (and in some cases nonexistent) support for raw formats and incomplete DNG support, plus the Aperture team’s unwillingness to communicate, but in the end what it boils down to is the barrier to entry that Aperture presents to photographers with thousands of hours committed to a Camera Raw workflow.

  • Jason Bradley — 2:17 AM on September 26, 2009

    Hey Allan, Check my reply to Mike. You may already be aware of my suggestion, but if not, it could help the “painterly” look you are referring to.
    Best, Jason

  • Gio — 5:57 AM on September 26, 2009

    Rather irrelevant, Mark. It didn’t stop lots of people switching early on, and neither not reading ACR adjustments nor Apple’s amazing failure to read metadata from sidecars bothered people. The fact was, they were more focussed on processing new images than on bringing over their existing material. And they still are – how many of today’s Aperture refugees to Lightroom bother bringing over their adjustments or metadata (even though Apple made the latter easy)? If they need the marooned information or look, they just open the other program.
    There’s no one key reason. Lightroom’s local adjustments are a big reason, but there are many others such as the superior efficiency of LR’s AutoSync versus Aperture’s life and stamp two step, Aperture’s inability to do split tones, Lightroom’s adjustment scrubber and general ease of use. Lots of things have tipped the balance.

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 7:24 AM on September 26, 2009

    Irrelevant?
    Look, I’m one of those guys who switched to Aperture from Camera Raw, and I’ll tell you right now that the fact that Lightroom supports the thousands of adjustments I made in Camera Raw was the key reason I eventually switched back from Aperture to Lightroom. Going from anything to Aperture is a pain in the ass. Going from Camera Raw to Lightroom is a cinch.
    It’s the simplest explanation. All that other stuff — local adjustments, split toning etc. just makes it a no-brainer.
    And don’t forget. Despite what Chris Cox implies, there was no Lightroom to choose when Aperture hit the market — that’s what didn’t stop lots of people from switching early on: Lightroom simply didn’t exist yet as a choice.

  • Gio — 10:50 AM on September 26, 2009

    Simplest, but it’s far too simplistic. In the early days before LR (that period lasted even longer on PC), the switchers to Aperture were going from a Bridge/ACR, iView+ACR and various other combination workflows, and jumping platform too if that’s what it took. Anyone with a DAM influence might worry about transition pain, but less geeky folks were so enthusiastic about using Aperture to process new images, they just switched – after all they still had Bridge/ACR for the older stuff. So ACR compatability wasn’t a disincentive then, and nowadays it’s simply a matter of what you can actually achieve with the two programs’ adjustment features, apparent ubiquity of Lightroom, lack of faith in Apple’s commitment etc.

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 11:17 PM on September 26, 2009

    Okay, well we can speculate endlessly, I suppose. I know that for myself, Lightroom’s ability to read Camera Raw adjustments was absolutely key and that for someone coming from Camera Raw — which I suspect is a very large number of photographers — compatibility with Camera Raw adjustments means zero barrier to entry. Now that there’s a choice, why choose Aperture when choosing Aperture means losing all your adjustments? It’s like Adobe’s trump card.

  • Gio — 1:19 AM on September 27, 2009

    But I don’t think it does mean losing your adjustments. Anyone with value in their ACR still had PS on their machine. These programs are more about processing the new stuff – or at least that’s what gets credit cards throbbing.
    While investment in ACR is certainly a card, in my view focussing on it is being too kind to Apple and fails to emphasize what they did wrong, or acknowledge what Adobe did right.
    The horrid vault system, even watered down as it is now, put off a lot of those who were thinking along DAM lines. I’ve already mentioned how amazingly stupid it was to fail to read XMP sidecars, which I found a bigger disincentive than “losing” ACR (it undermined Aperture’s still much superior smart albums). Lift and stamp means it’s 5 or 6 extra keystrokes, each time, compared with Adobe’s AutoSync. I’d add failure to go cross-platform meant among other things a smaller base of enthusiasts or advocates, as well as being a barrier once LR was on PC, and Aperture’s excessive hardware requirements in the early days then allowed LR to catch up.
    And while I don’t really believe Adobe would have released LR without Aperture’s appearance, since they did so they have made a lot of smart moves – cross platform equality, folders and virtual structures, local adjustments, the adjustment scrubber, now the camera styles profiles. These smart moves meant that while there were a number of barriers, including ACR legacy, there was simply no need to switch to Aperture.

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 3:16 AM on September 27, 2009

    I agree with all of that, but I’ll add this: for me the main benefit of a program such as Aperture or Lightroom is that it simplifies my workflow. So for me, it’s not enough that an app give me nice adjustment and organizational tools. It needs to completely replace what I was using before. If I switch to Aperture and still have to rely on Camera Raw from time to time, Aperture fails. Right now, I’m using Lightroom because Aperture failed to support my .x3f raw files. True, I could use Aperture for my .crw files and use Lightroom for .x3f, but that sort of defeats one of the main purposes of Aperture as a tool to organize all of my image files in one place. Because Lightroom supports basically everything, and manages to preserve all the adjustments I’ve made over the years using Camera Raw, Aperture loses, and I now have so much time and work committed to Lightroom that even if Aperture arrives on the scene and is packed full of amazingness, it’s basically too late.
    Anyway, as much as I love Lightroom’s gradient and local adjustment tools, none of that is as important to me as preserving my work and simplifying my workflow.

  • Paul Inskip — 8:10 AM on September 30, 2009

    We did a very quick poll on dpreview forum of mac users and their Aperture vs. Lightroom usage and the figures (although the sample is smaller about 100) are vastly different from the figures above. its almost a 2/3 vs. 1/3 split in favour of Aperture.

  • Corrin — 2:28 AM on October 02, 2009

    I feel exactly the same way. Both programs really function fine. On my MBP, Aperture actually runs nice and quick and I greatly prefer its interface in almost every way – batch processing, organization, etc. The thing is, I have to develop my RAW files in a 3rd party app first. My camera’s been out for four months already!

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 7:25 AM on October 02, 2009

    I had been waiting years for Aperture to support the Foveon .x3f raw files from my Sigma cameras before I finally gave up and moved everything over to Lightroom, including all of my older, legacy Canon .crw files. Using both Lightroom and Aperture at the same time wasn’t really an option since doing so betrays the simplification of workflow problem these types of applications are trying to solve. Eventually I had to just use what worked. Lucky for me, Lightroom works really well. I wish it looked nicer, but hey.…

  • Andersson, S. — 11:13 AM on October 05, 2009

    I’ve been a LR user since the beta days and although I like the idea of modules – I have to agree with you that it is a pain to switch between library and develop modelus. I with there was a way to merge them or at least have ‘browse’ functionality in the develop module. If I was granted one wish by the Adobe Aladdin it would be to have to opportunity to have library controls on the left panel and the develop controls on the right (with the possibility of using the grid mode). This wouldn’t even have to a change, just a setting where this would be enabled. This wish would in other words come even before the mighty sought after adjustment brush improvements!

  • jeremy Wilker — 6:55 PM on October 07, 2009

    the problem with hot folder watching versus native tethering is speed. get into a high-speed studio/location environment and the lag time in hot folder watching is way too long to be comfortable. hence the reason so many digitechs, shooters, etc, still use C1Pro even though they may desire to use LR on a daily basis. At the very least, LR should add tethering as a pro “module” or option so those who don’t want it can ignore it and the rest of us can get our people/fashion shots done quickly.

  • Creighton Holub — 10:33 AM on October 08, 2009

    Well, I’ve decided to get Lightroom version 3 (when it comes out). But if the right accountant at Adobe is listening, please see about offering an “introductory” price that is equal to the regular upgrade price. This would give everyone who is on a tight budget and ready to move away from Aperture the opportunity to do so. Then Adobe will make up the money in the long run as those folks will buy future LR upgrades.
    Maybe I’m missing something about LR catalogs, but I just hate having to hit the button “write to metadata” (or whatever the right option was), so the XMP files get updated. Could LR3 do both automatically?
    Most of my work is high school sports in poorly lit gyms and stadiums at night. In my case, the only way to really come out with something to work with is to use Raw. JPG is virtual suicide to anyone wishing to leave the game with something workable. That experience has led me to use Raw exclusively with my SLRs.

  • Macca — 11:34 AM on October 18, 2009

    At last, someone who agrees with me totally on Aperture performance on the MacBook. I have the fastest MBP with 4gig of RAM an Aperture has always run like a dog which annoys me as i am usually always praising Apple products.
    I see from various other sources that certain Apple die hards still insist that Aperture 2 out performs LR on Intel mac….i’d love to see that evidence!

  • trace — 10:50 AM on October 20, 2009

    Oh, did I mention that Joe McNally is also an Aperture Pro?
    http://www.joemcnally.com/blog/2009/10/20/the-mcnally-workflow/

  • trace — 10:51 AM on October 20, 2009

    Oh, did I mention that Joe McNally is also an Aperture Pro?
    http://www.joemcnally.com/blog/2009/10/20/the-mcnally-workflow/

  • trace — 10:58 AM on October 20, 2009

    sorry for the double post… slow upload.

  • Paul — 5:36 AM on October 22, 2009

    I find some of the comments above funny, and quite nerdy. It can only be good for the industry that these too like the nikon and canon race fight it out. I use aperture and i don’t find it limits my photography. Its a great tool and i think Aperture 3 which i am happy to wait for will give me even more tools which i may and may not need. The fickle way some people act because the guy down the road uses LR and has a few more features is quite amusing. I’m working away on aperture not necessarily crying for more software and making money. Its the industry that creates the feeling that your missing something cos you aint got the latest… I think the above figures are slightly bent and certainly not clear on what is what regarding pros, mac’s etc.
    The only comment that caught my attention above is Rico… Man what are you talking about…
    Anyway onward to LR3 and Aperture 3 … more fun :-)

  • D.A.Wagner — 9:28 AM on November 02, 2009

    Apple’s QTVR Authoring Studio was the best thing out there in 1997-it only made it to version 1.0.1 when they killed it. Before that, it was the Apple Media Tool. Recently, they discontinued Shake.
    If there’s one thing we all can count on, it’s that Apple will discontinue any product that doesn’t suit their business model. It’s not just about the technology. It’s also about making money. Aperture will go the way of the above mentioned products. I see the writing on the wall when they drag their heels with updates/revisions.
    It’s a given, that eventually, they will abandon Aperture. And, that’s why I avoid putting faith in most Apple software when I can.
    Lightroom works and Adobe listens to their users. Isn’t that what it’s about?

  • Mike Owen — 1:20 PM on November 05, 2009

    I always see things like this and then when talking to “professionals” none of them seem to use anything besides Bridge or Photo Mechanic coupled with their manufacturer’s RAW software. Sure I know some wedding photographers who use Lightroom but no one who REALLY shoots that I know would use Lightroom to manage a huge library (100,000 plus images) and it’s not just the speed. It’s the fact that Lightroom rendering is subpar.

  • Hans — 4:05 PM on November 10, 2009

    I started using Aperture a few days ago. One thing I noticed was that I felt that my RAW-photos were not really 100 % sharp. If I used the loupe it was ok. Now I try Lightroom and I find it much easier to judge if a photo is sharp, even without enlarging it. Same photo, same size in Aperture and LR, side by side; I find the photo sharper in LR. I have only tried a few photos but want to find out if anyone else has experienced this difference that is really annoying with A when you want to make your selection from the 5-600 photos on a 16G-card.
    I also find the enlarging-click faster and easier to use in LR than the loupe in Aperture.
    The speed with which I can judge the quality is really important, maybe more important than many other features.
    Canon 5D MII, MBP 2,33 GHz 4GB, 30-inch Cinema Display

  • Nate P. — 7:45 PM on November 17, 2009

    I often laugh at the RAW vs. Jpeg file, and as for Rico’s comment about RAW being history, well that’s completely wrong because RAW is getting more and more popular. But I have to ask all the DIE hard RAW fans, and don’t get me wrong, I’m one of them. I shoot RAW completely. It allows me to gather back highlights and shadows I never would be able to with a Jpeg. But I have to ask, yes, RAW is amazing, but what kind of image do you deliver to your client, or to a printing lab, or to an online gallery. You give them a Jpeg. So here’s the way I see it. I do know amazing photographers that get it all right in the camera. Meaning, they don’t need the highlight recovery or to bring back the shadows because they are great photographers, they get it right right out of the camera. They nail their exposure and white balance spot on. So my last two shoots, I shot in Jpeg, and LOVED it. I could write twice as many photos to a card, and nailed all my exposures and white balance. So I think there is definitely two sides to every coin. I still will shoot raw for all my landscapes or anything like that, and ESPECIALLY HDR photography, but I think the RAW wave has almost got too big and I think half the people swear by it just because they hear EVERYONE say, “You can ONLY shoot in RAW….”. So however you want to shoot is up to you. RAW gives you more editing power, but Jpegs give you more size and quicker workflow since you’re edited less. Just nail your exposure and white balance right out of the camera and then you wont have need for all that RAW recovery crap.

  • colincor — 12:08 AM on December 03, 2009

    Ahhhh…maybe you don’t exactly get it. We don’t shoot RAW only because we can adjust our exposure after the fact, we (pros) all shoot RAW because it is a digital negative. RAW is the digital version of my beloved Kodachrome64 or my E100VS or my Portra 160VC. It is the only original file a digital photog has to work with.
    In the old days I could change my image “look” by changing the film I loaded, but today I can do that after the fact by adjusting my RAW processing. RAW gives me the ability to not only be the photographer, but also the lab tech that use to handle all my C-41 and E6.
    Working with JPEGs as your original file is the digital equivalent to scanning a WalMart print. No pro would scan a copy of the original (the printed image), we all scan the original image (the negative or transparency). And I say WalMart because none of the camera manufacturers work to create a “pro” quality image from their JPEG processing since they know that no pro would ever trust their cookie cutter processing delivered to them in a format that is very lossy.

  • Fotograf und Fotostudio aus Osnabrück — 1:49 AM on December 16, 2009

    I prefer Lightroom. This program is simplifying my workflow. At the end I spent less time on the computer. Thats all I want.

  • Kwanghui Lim — 9:41 PM on February 15, 2010

    Hi John – I decided to write about the contrasting strategies taken by Apple and Adobe with respect to Aperture 3 vs Lightroom 3. Thought you might be interested. The article is aimed at Economists and is at http://economics.com.au/?p=5111
    Thanks for your very interesting blog.

  • Len — 11:13 AM on February 23, 2010

    I just did a little comparison of Aperture 3 vs Lightroom. I have used Lightroom since it came out, but I may buy Aperture for home use. I will continue to use Lightroom for my professional photography needs.
    My review, found here http://www.lenspoden.com/photo-gadgets/ talks about their strengths and weaknesses.

  • Steph — 9:48 AM on March 09, 2010

    I’m an aspiring graduate/semi pro photographer and have used Photoshop for 11 years. I have also used Lightroom 2 for the last year. I hated Aperture 1 and 2 and thought it lacked loads of features and wasn’t as intuitive as LR2. Then I downloaded the Aperture 3 trial and have really changed my mind. It’s like everything I wanted iphoto to be, having all the customisation I wanted and I like the way I can search my library and edit my work in the same window and the live previews of adjustments as well as how it integrates with social media sites and iweb, which my site is done in on my Macbook Pro. I’m seriously considering buying Ap3 as a result, as I love iphoto for its workflow and cataloguing and have found it really hard migrating to Lightroom with the thousands of images I have accrued over the years. I’m trying to use Bridge with LR2 for workflow but I don’t know where to start organising my ‘un keyworded’ work, some of which has lost key EXIF data with destructive editing in PS. Probably a futile hope getting that sorted! Referencing files to Ap3 from my ex HD works beautifully though, leaving tons of space on my int HD for scratch disk space. I can preview my work without connecting the drive and dip back into iphoto if I want to make a card or calendar for family presents (NB can do referencing in LR3 too). Oh and the big thing is speed! I desperately need to upgrade my RAM to 4GB from 2GB but I can use Ap3 much better than LR3 beta. On using LR3 Beta, the fans come on and are really noisy, not so with Ap3. (This was a prob with LR2 also). I will say LR3 does look the more professional if showing work to clients from within it and so I wish I could afford both programs. Finally I saw the new package customisation tool on LR3 and thought “At last!… Fitting different images on one page” and was a bit scared as I couldn’t find a print feature in Ap3… then I clicked the simple print icon on Ap3 and this amazing interface came up with intuitive and customisable settings + it just looks cleaner than LR3’s attempt. Brilliant! I can see why Pro Photographers would use LR3 but I also think Ap3 is good, it’s just, I agree, a bit too late for many users. Not me though.

  • Len — 6:38 PM on March 10, 2010

    I edited five images in Lightroom and then I edited the same images in Aperture 3. It took 12 minutes in Lightroom and 15 minutes in Aperture 3. I videoed the tests and you can see the videos by going to my website http://www.lenspoden.com/photo-topics.
    I also updated my Aperture 3 review. Aperture’s performance is its biggest problem. Having to wait for the screen to catch up to your changes is just frustrating. Lightroom, for the most part, keeps pace with my brush strokes and slider changes. Aperture’s PROCESSING spinning wheel is on way to much to allow me to be productive. As I mentioned before, I will be using Aperture 3 for my personal photographs and videos. It has some great features that Lightroom doesn’t have.

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 6:48 AM on April 29, 2010

    Regardless of how much merit Aperture has, Lightroom will always have more users than Aperture for two reasons: First, Lightroom runs on Macs and PCs instead of just Macs as Aperture does. Second, there is no barrier to entry for users of Camera Raw since its adjustments carry over into Lightroom. The barrier to entry for moving from Camera Raw to Aperture is huge since it means losing all of your adjustments.
    So bragging about Lightroom “mopping the floor” with Aperture is disingenuous since it falsely implies that Lightroom and Aperture are competing on even footing.
    [No, Mark, what's disingenuous is to keep ignoring the data to which I linked. Lightroom is crushing Aperture among pros *on the Mac platform*. Go take another look. --J.]

  • Phil Brown — 2:48 PM on April 29, 2010

    John’s already pointed out the fatal flaw in your argument but I’ll add another piece. Macs have increased their market share a little in the last few years, but in that time use of Aperture on Macs declined and LR increased.
    The new Aperture has both good and bad going around about it. Some people are switching in both directions.
    You talk about barriers for swapping but if Aperture was truly compelling, people would (and do, when they feel it is) change.
    If Apple wants to take a bite from this market it is up to them to either provide the tools for users to move across or provide other incentives – complaining about it is pointless.
    There are clearly some nice features in Aperture, but the widespread feedback I see on forums is that Apple’s support for users is terrible (if it even exists). It’s the typical “SJ’s way or no way” approach to changes and updates and support.
    I remember watching a demo of Aperture at a trade show here in Sydney before it went to final release, and I was blown away by it – thought it was awesome and actually considered whether I would need to look at a Mac to take advantage of it. It’s never lived up to that hype, though.

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 8:44 PM on April 29, 2010

    You guys are freaky defensive. I’m not defending Aperture. I use Lightroom. I’m just pointing out that, regardless of Lightroom’s obvious success in the market, Aperture can never achieve similar success due to the footing not being even, therefore to brag about it is disingenuous because it implies that Aperture is inferior technology.
    [I pointed out that Lightroom is whomping Aperture *on the Mac*, with the Windows market completely out of the equation. You suggested that I'm a liar (er, "disingenuous"), comparing LR on Win+Mac to Aperture on Mac only. I don't appreciate that. --J.]
    It’s like PC users mocking Macs for having a smaller share of the market.
    [Do you simply not understand that I'm comparing the share of the apps on the Mac, as clearly stated in the data to which I linked repeatedly? --J.]
    The main reason I and the people I know use Lightroom is because we used Camera Raw first, and it was a cinch to move over. It’s a form of monopoly lock-in. Most of us also bought Aperture because it has the appearance of a more professional, refined app, which in many ways it is. But Apple’s support is poor, and that barrier to entry eventually catches up to you.
    Lightroom has a lot of merits. Great technology. Good performance. Nice image quality. If it were non-modal and had an Aperture-class GUI it would be one of my favorite apps.

  • william Mack — 12:23 PM on May 25, 2010

    I use Lightroom, Aperture and Adobe CS4 on a Mac Pro. They all have their merits the only thing I have given up on is a windows based system. Anything that improves the workflow and the enjoyment of photography is fine with me.

  • Sheila — 8:39 AM on August 03, 2010

    I am so frustrated with Aperture and want to switch to Lightroom. Does anyone know how to transfer my Aperture Library seamlessly into Lightroom? If it can’t be done seamlessly, what are the steps required to recreate the Aperture library in Lightroom?

  • Quintin — 4:03 AM on October 06, 2010

    I have used Aperture and LR extensively and Aperture is definitely my first choice. Anyone that knocks Aperture has obviously not taken the time to learn how to use it properly or read the manual for that matter. Bad craftsmen always blame their tools. If none of these apps can serve your purpose, learn to take decent photographs first.

  • Luca — 2:58 AM on October 09, 2010

    Well, we are in a adobe’s blog… so many user are fan of adobe…
    I used LR2.. but when Aperture3 was released, it’s my choice!
    I love the way it organizes my library, split it, merge, and have many photo libraries, it’s easy to use, gps, geotagging… and book!
    It’s slower than LR, yes, but i look the result.

  • Fotograf Klaus Huber — 8:03 PM on December 25, 2010

    I have tested Lightroom and I as a Photographer prefer Lightroom because of better Integration to Photoshop. I need tools which can be used together with Photoshop to create good pictures.

  • Christian Capitanio photographer — 2:01 AM on February 10, 2011

    I was looking for a comparison between LR and Aperture market share (the current version is the third for both) but I didn’t find a comparison more recent than this. I compared both software to Capture One months ago and, while the latter has a less productive GUI, it boasts the higher image quality, at least at lower iso settings. In my daily experience as a photographer, my choice is Aperture because of its balance of very good image quality, decent speed and great usability. Speaking frankly, I think that Aperture is underrated because of the bug-filled library conversion routine (that discouraged most pro photographers with their huge libraries) and because of the crazy launch: in fact, they presented a professional tool as a hobbyst piece of junk, packed with useless feature such as geotagging and face recognition that only few professional photographers would use. I hope that the competition is going to be harder between these three major players and that they will provide batter quality and speed for our pictures.

  • Martin — 6:26 PM on March 26, 2011

    Beeing used to work with Capture One for years, I first didn’t like this ‘new session/new library’ thing and how storage is organized in LR. But what convinced me was the picture quality with some cameras/digital backs

  • Essex Wedding Photographer Just Hitched — 4:23 AM on January 30, 2012

    Lightroom for me is the easiest and most efficient tool a photographer could wish for. With the majority of adjustments handled within Lightroom, the need for Photoshop has declined drramatically.

Copyright © 2014 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy and Cookies (Updated)