And My Money Goes To …

Posted by Stuart Herbert on February 7th, 2007 in Equipment.

With my Aperture trial having run out this evening, it’s time to decide who gets my hard-earned cash – Apple, or Adobe?

Both packages have a lot to commend them.

Aperture is the master of organising thousands of photos. In particular, the smart albums and light tables are a real boon when sorting through a couple hundred photos at the end of the day. It’s ability to stack different versions of the same photo really opens up your creativity. The support for a “disconnected” photo library allows me to keep my masters on Moby (my paranoid fileserver at home), but still have high quality previews on the laptop when I’m out and about.
Lightroom is already shaping up to be the master of adjusting your photos. It is lightning quick at this (Aperture is anything but quick, even on a top-of-the-range MacBook Pro), and it’s only a matter of time before there’s a booming third-party market in adjustment plugins.

If I was making this choice twelve months or so in the future, I suspect Lightroom would be the winner. I fancy that the community that Adobe will build up around Lightroom will add an overwhelming versatility that I doubt will be matched by Aperture. Apple, by contrast, have started opening Aperture with an API for export plugins, but it feels like too little to stem the coming storm.

But … I’m buying today, not next year. And I’ve really come to appreciate the way Aperture manages photos. The Lightroom betas have been really weak in this area, and the final Lightroom 1.0 (due within a fortnight) will feature a major overhaul in an attempt to provide a more realistic challenge to Aperture. Given time, I’m sure Lightroom will catch Aperture up.

Until then, at least, Apple gets a little bit more of my hard-earned cash.

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