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In response to a post by John Nack regarding Lightroom vs Aperture usage statistics I have put my response below as it is something I always wanted to write about having spent time working with both now.

I brought Lightroom as soon as it came out after having a great time with the Beta. However I have evaluated both [Aperture] in normal workflow situations including the same images in both libraries. And have settled on the Lightroom for the following reasons (and believe me it is still a tough call I think as to which is best for me at least)

1. Clearly the performance of Lightroom is far beyond that of Aperture on the same machine, 2gb ram core duo blah blah. For some reason Aperture is slow regardless of library size, even the screen refresh can be testing at times (yes I’ve done my homework and tried all the how to speed up Aperture tweaks).

2. Lightroom is quicker to get around navigation wise, Aperture has done a good job but Lightroom clearly shows the attention to detail that extensive discussions with photographers and beta testers shows in every day usage.

3. DNG support (yeah I know that’s a duh! But Aperture claims DNG support and to describe it as painful is an understatement, personally I’ve found it to be totally useless). Now it is fair to say that I can just use my raw cr2 files in Aperture, but given my addiction to using Photoshop for everything DNG support is kinda important to me in my ‘just get it done’ workflow.

4. The one thing that Aperture appears to have the edge on though is in the area of highlight reclaiming. It may be that I do it wrong in Lightroom, but after extensive trials in both apps I’ve found that Aperture can recapture things like skies much better than Lightroom (which I assume means Camera RAW), it just seems more natural when done in Aperture.

5. Lightroom’s ability to let me move projects/libraries among machines and suck them back into my master library (1.1 update). I could be really unfair here and say that I have PC’s and Mac’s so that is a huge plus for Lightroom, but for the sake of argument lets assume I’m talking two Mac’s and not a multi platform workflow.

6. Lightroom’s print module is heaven sent, by far the best way to go about printing that I’ve ever come across. And believe me I’ve used more than a few applications thru out the years

More than anything though for me it’s the speed and response of the application, and Aperture is way too heavy in the system usage/resources area compared to other applications that do similar tasks. If Aperture could run as smoothly as Lightroom I would say the choice of application is a lot harder.

All that said, it will be interesting to see what an Aperture 2.0 might offer, they may learn a lot from seeing Lightroom until then, Adobe totally did their homework and released a ground breaking Photo management/review/editing application.


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