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Software Graphics

Lightroom Vs. Aperture 192

Posted by kdawson
from the snapshootout dept.
Nonu writes "Adobe has officially released its Aperture killer, Lightroom, and the reviews are starting to come in. Ars looks at Lightroom and concludes that it's a better choice for those without bleeding-edge hardware. 'Aperture's main drawback is still performance as it was designed for bleeding-edge machines. On a quad Core 2 Duo Xeon, it is very usable but Lightroom just feels faster for everything regardless of hardware. Since Aperture relies on Core Image and a fast video card to do its adjustments (RAW decoding is done by the CPU), it's limited to what the single 3-D card can do. Lightroom does everything with the CPU and so it is likely to gain more speed as multicore systems get faster.'"
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Lightroom Vs. Aperture

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  • by tcdk (173945) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @06:51AM (#18094106) Homepage Journal
    I've been using LightRoom since the beta's and 1.0 since it came out (link to my walk-through in the sig).

    It's a really nice program. As a developer, the structure of the program it self, gives me a warm fussy feeling. More programs should be written like this - it's clear that Adobe has given a lot of though to responsiveness and threading. They haven't perfected it, but most of the time, the program responds very quickly, by starting on something that shows you that it's working on what you wanted it to do - like you can see the details in your thumbs-images get better and better and suddenly it's there. But the important thing is - the interface is still responsive, if you can click on a thumb and have that image load, even if the thumb is only halfway loaded (note: some people do have issue with LR performance, but it seems to be a specific issue for them).

    As a photographer - well. As a work-flow program it does everything I want. As a "darkroom" it does most of what it should, but there's still some most have functions that are just not good enough (Noise Reduction/Sharpen/Clone).

    Oh, and I badly miss dual monitor support!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @07:23AM (#18094224)
    They're software aimed squarely at professional photographers (as in, those earning money with photography). If you're a pro photographer, it's pretty unlikely that you've never heard of either of them. In practice though, most installs will probably be pirated versions, just like Photoshop...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @07:38AM (#18094278)
    Lightroom doesn't do the same thing as Photoshop (although there is a fair amount of overlap). Photoshop is primarily editing photos with a tiny bit of management on the side, whereas Lightroom is the other way round; primarily for managing your photo collection with a bit of touching up on the side. Of course, if you want to manage a library of 10,000+ RAW photo's with Photoshop, thats up to you!
  • Re:Hardware woes (Score:3, Informative)

    by gaspyy (514539) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @08:13AM (#18094438)
    Not only that, but I usually take my laptop for on-location shots and start processing the RAWs right away. No matter how you put it, you just can't expect a 15" laptop to pack all the power of a server.

    My laptop is a HP Turion with 1Gb RAM and LR works fine on it.
  • by bartron (772079) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @08:24AM (#18094484)
    Because this isn't the latest Photoshop. If anything this is Bridge on steroids (in fact, if you use the CS3 beta, Bridge has inherited a lot of the features found in Lightroom). Lightroom is a digital equavelent of the darkroom (geddit?...ha). You 'develop' your raw file...adjust things, take out spots. When you want to be cloning things, merging things, changing the colour of aunties hair....then you use Photoshop. I can't understand how people can't see this distinction...it's black and white.
  • by Jeppe Salvesen (101622) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @08:33AM (#18094530)
    http://ufraw.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

    You can use it with the Gimp.

    But last I checked it was not very good. And it's just a plain RAW converter, not a full-fledged RAW workflow tool.
  • by AdrianZ (29135) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @09:09AM (#18094718) Homepage
    I really can't believe it wasn't mentioned as a serious Con for Lightroom with so many video cards (especially those of photographers as well as Mac owners) being dual headed. Thumbnails and controls on one monitor and large full-screen views on the second for adjustments is a wonderful way to work. Viewing the Lightroom forums makes it clear that it is important to users.

    I love Lightroom's "develop" controls but the productivity aspect is much more important. Simply allowing the Manage and Develop tabs to used as separate windows would have done the trick (not well, but "good enough").
  • by DrDitto (962751) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @09:54AM (#18095082)
    After spending all day in front of the computer, I just love going into my darkroom to make some real silver halide prints instead of staring at Photoshop. With today's bargain prices for analog photography, I encourage people to jump in! I got an enlarger for $75 at a garage sale. With 4x5" negatives from my large-format camera, the prints are stunning. (a 4x5" negative gives about 200+ megapixels of resolution).
  • by larkost (79011) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @10:16AM (#18095258)
    Not being available on PCs is not a disqualifier for professional photography software. Windows has no effective system-wide color management, so color correction will always be a hit-and-miss proposition. Apple has had ColorSync in place since the MacOS 8 days, and it is a very effective system. If you are doing professional photography on a PC then you are wasting your time, that sounds harsh but it is the way things are.

    I the hobbyist space this is not such an issue because you are not going to spend the money for a printer that con reproduce color reliably, and you are not going to buy the color matching hardware to make sure your output everywhere is consistent across the full spectrum.

    I spent some time supporting graphic artists and working on ColorSynced workflows, so I do have experience in this area.
  • Re:About Apple (Score:4, Informative)

    by larkost (79011) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @10:22AM (#18095328)
    Do you care to explain how using a specialized processor that has the ability to do certain calculations orders of magnitude faster than a generalized CPU is a mistake? Especially when the same system decides on-the-fly which computation resource would best perform the calculation?

    To give you a hint: Apple's current system already is setup to do what you say they will never do. If your CPU would better do the job, then your CPU will do the job. If it would better be put to your SIMD unit (Ativec or MMX/SSE2/SSE3/SSE4) then it will go to that unit. And if the graphics card is sitting idle and can better do the job... well...
  • by Alligator427 (1054168) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @11:05AM (#18095814)
    While I don't doubt that there are many great photographers on slashdot, I'd be surprised if there was a single regular poster (or lurker) here who depends upon photography on a professional level, as his/her only source of income.

    As someone who has spent much time working with pro photographers in my past life as an art director, I guarantee you that any *PRO* photographer will not think twice about plunking down some serious dough for a the latest and greatest mac, chock full of ram and sporting the best video card it will support. Computer hardware is among the *least* expensive financial commitment that a pro photographer will make:

    Take a look at how much some decent digital backs for a hasselblaad will run you.
    Add to that the many lenses that you need to have on hand as a pro. (Hint: this is the expensive part).
    Add a bunch of fast, high-capacity memory cards.
    Add a nice DSLR (or more likely, a few) and lenses for that/those camera(s) as well.
    Add lighting equipment of various types to that.
    Add a large studio space to that, in addition to mobile facilities.
    Add makeup artists and assistants.

    The costs involved in professional photography are high. A fast mac, chock full of ram with an excellent video card and a 30" cinema display costs *peanuts* in the grand scheme of things when it comes to the operating costs of a professional photographer. Aperture is a pro app, and that's why it makes the assumptions that it does about hardware. Lightroom is more accomodating for tinkerers and semi-professionals, the two occupy different segments of the market.
  • Re:What's Aperture (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @12:32PM (#18097068)
    The old generation of photo editors - Photoshop, PaintShop, The GIMP - use a bit editing model, where you directly alter the bits, and once you do, you save the new bits, and the original info is lost. This was fine for working with scans.

    The new generation of photo editors - Lightroom, Aperture - do not act directly on the bits. They layer non-destructive correction instructions on top of the original bits, and don't actually change the original bits. This is called nondestructive editing. When you want a JPEG, it exports a copy with the changes, still leaving the original intact. The changes are stored in a central SQL database, or in metadata files that travel with the originals. These new editors also place an emphasis on volume processing, because of the much larger volumes of photos generated by digital cameras. If you shot 200 photos in a consistent environment, it's going to be much faster to use Lightroom or Aperture to 1) cull that 200 down to the 100 keepers and 2) apply the same set of initial corrections to the 100 keepers. You simply copy the same metadata to the other 99 images and you are done in seconds. Much, much faster than if you tried to use Photoshop or GIMP to construct some macro to do it through pixel alteration. You can then fine-tune each image individually. When you're done with all your corrections, you then export files of altered pixels.

    These programs do not make Photoshop or GIMP obsolete. While Lightroom has some cloning and healing tools and some excellent selective correction tools, some problems can only be solved by direct bit editing, masking, painting, etc. In the future, the old and new apps must and will coexist, or be combined.
  • Re:What's Aperture (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @12:46PM (#18097290)
    Sorry, I forgot one more thing in the parent post. Lightroom and Aperture also specialize in the development of raw sensor data from digital cameras. This is a fundamentally different operation than the channel-based editing done in Photoshop, GIMP, or other paint/photo editors. The old editors cannot edit Raw files without an external module (such as Adobe Camera Raw).
  • Wrong (Score:3, Informative)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @01:16PM (#18097734)
    DNG has been designed to support a wide variety of sensor configurations, from various Bayer filter patterns to sensors like the Foveon.

    That is 100% Wrong.

    The ONLY support DNG offers for Foveon is that you can do what is called a "Linear DNG", which is basically a glarified TIFF file. That means you are not holding RAW data at all, but a rendered version of your original RAW which goes totally against the concept of a digital negative (if better algoritms for RAW conversion arrive, you cannot make use of them). There is literally no way to represent the stacked photosites that the Foveon sensor uses. To make matters worse, almost nothing that supposedly supports DNG actually understands these Linear DNG files so you can't even use them if you wanted to.

    Similarly for any really new sensor design that arrives (read: Non bayer) you are going to have similar issues. The Fuji sensor for example was not supported for some time, until they added a "rotation" flag into the format.

    When your format requires updates like that for any really new sensor design, and can't even include one current RAW format, that means the design is fundamentally broken. It's not extensible, it's just a grab bag of attributes and data.

    The only real value it offers is in easier storage of XMP within the file itself, difficult with most RAW formats since they were never designed to have extra data injected into them. That need however can still be met easily using sidecar XMP files and attaching XMP to rendered TIFF files (which is all DNG files are anyway, being a variant of TIFF EP).
  • Re:What's Aperture (Score:3, Informative)

    by painandgreed (692585) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @01:20PM (#18097788)

    Why is this flamebait?
    I've never heard of either program.

    Some background for people who aren't on the prow of graphical processing would be appreciated.

    Aperture and Lightroom are photo management programs. The are essentially pro versions of Apple's iPhoto and Adobe's Album software. When you download your photos from your camera, you do so into these programs. You store your photos in them, organizes them, do minor modifications, all to figure out which of your photos you want to bother to take into photoshop and do more work on. For the serious photographer who can easily shoot 500+ digital images in one shoot and shoot ever day, the ability just to organize your photos as well as look and judge them quickly is something worth spending money on. Album or iPhoto fulfill these needs but typcially do not handle the thousands of images that quickly build up, nor a way to back them up easily. These two products also have more powerful tools such as the ability to store and read RAW data which is the original data from the cameras sensor. From that a photographer can do lots of work such change white balance. Once they have the 5 or so photos out of 500 they took that they want to do post-production work on in photoshop, they call up the serious photoediting software and do it. These programs also do version control, so you always have your original as well as your modified files in an easy to find format without the worry of losing prior versions.

    Hope that helps.

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @02:06PM (#18098532)
    Lightroom is a great interface for color correction, and photomanagement. HOWEVER It is a very specific application that works with photoshop.

    Lightroom only handles camera image formats in its database. It's not going to organize .tga .pcx .pic .png .sgi .exr .hdr etc. It only handles images related to digital cameras.

    Lightroom is a shooters app. You bring it on set with your laptop... If you're in a studio, you'll have your lappy hooked up to a nice large screen...

    You basically will shoot your shots, and in the field use lightroom to organize and review them with the very common "star" rating system. You pick the ones you love, and you can use the color correction tools to tweak the colors really fast.

    NOW this is not a finished photo. Often there will be things that need to be airbrushed, stamped out etc. That is when you right click on the file and it'll open it in photoshop.

    Whats nice about this is that Lightroom is non destructive. It will not overwrite your original images while editing the color etc in lightroom, and whne you export to photoshop, it copies it to a tif, and you edit that in ps. It then keeps that tiff back in the library when you're done.

    It is not meant to replace photoshop. It is mean to be a quick and easy way to color correct, crop, and organize your pictures in the field. If you're a serious photograper, you'll be retouching them in Photoshop in a studio when you can sit down for hours on end.

    It's a great application that filled a void. Its color correction UI is very good and i like it compared to PS's color tools because its easier to work with and its all pretty much upfront.

    But it wont replace Photoshop anytime soon.
  • by AaronW (33736) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @02:41PM (#18099096) Homepage
    I have been using Bibble Pro on Linux and have been very happy with it. It has great workflow support as well as being multithreaded and able to take advantage of multiple cores. It does all its processing in 16bits per color and has excellent raw support for Canon, Nikon, Pentax and others. The workflow support works quite well for me. There are also numerous plug-ins available and they provide the API to 3rd party developers.

    They also are fairly good about releasing new versions with new features and support for the latest cameras and lenses. Usually they release a new version every 2-3 months.

    It runs on Linux, Mac OSX and Windows, which makes sense since it was based on the cross-platform QT library.

    The raw converter in Bibble is very good, being based on dcraw. Similarly, it has many other plug-ins like a single click lens distortion correction based on Panarama, Noise Ninja and many more, all being very easy to work with. Of course it has all the tools for manipulating color, white balance, contrast, curves, shadow and highlight recovery, sharpening and many other features. The evaluation version is free to download.

    As far as features, the only feature that I know of that does not work on Linux at this time is teathered shooting. All of the other features now work. Earlier versions did have issues with some features not working on Linux, but they have addressed that.

    I did have issues with printing a while back, but it looks like it has been addressed.

A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.

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