During the last WWDC keynote, I was excited to hear Phil Schiller announce a major new version of Aperture. I used Lightroom 4 while it was in beta, and while it was tempting, especially its raw processing capabilities, I’ve been using Aperture for at least four years, and I truly like using it.
However, I’m afraid I don’t like the new Aperture update at all. When I opened the Adjustments panel, I immediately noticed that half of the adjustments I use, like Curves, Levels, and Color – that were previously displayed by default – were gone. (You can, of course, add them back.)
Now, by default, it only shows White Balance, Exposure, Enhance, and Highlights & Shadows. Even worse, some of the functionality in Highlights & Shadows has been removed – previously, you could tweak the sensitivity and precision of the tool, but not anymore. And there’s now an “Auto Enhance” button, which I’m sure is great for people who were used to iPhoto – casual photo editors – but I seriously doubt any semi-serious photographers would use it.
Scott Bourne adds:
Here’s the writing on the wall. Aperture’s library now fully integrates with iPhoto’s library. Does that ring a bell with anyone but me? iPhoto is a purely consumer product. Aperture was originally touted, marketed and sold as a professional application and was managed by Apple’s pro apps team. Does anyone really think there’s a place for integration between a free consumer photo app that kids use in grade school and a pro app like Aperture?
This update sends a clear message: Apple and Aperture are not focused on professional photography anymore. In general, that’s fine: it means they’re concentrating on improving and innovating in the consumer market.
That just means I will be buying Lightroom 4 sooner than later. It means getting used to Lightroom’s editing and organizational style, and dealing with even more fragmented library files. But it’s a solution that’s safer for the future. I highly doubt Adobe is suddenly going to ditch the professional market.
Don’t get me wrong: Aperture is no less pleasant to use. I’ll probably continue using it for a little while more. I just don’t trust it enough anymore.
Well, at least Lightroom is on the App Store.