Aperture Rants

Several weekends ago I took the time to get my photos into the latest version of Aperture.


Mural in downtown Champaign, IL

Previously I’ve been using Bridge for my browsing and a folder hierarchy for my organizing.

I’m starting to get the feel for Aperture, and right now I’ve got mixed feelings.

The key to being successful with complex software is to get into the developer’s mindset. It’s my belief that if you stray too far from this mindset things that you think should be possible and are simple just aren’t supported. This can be extremely frustrating, but it’s the world we live in (as opposed to the world we wished we lived in).

Here’s my top list of complaints:

  1. Can’t zoom in greater than 100% using retouch brush
    At least I haven’t figured out how yet. It seems like this would be a simple / straight forward thing. If I want a bit more control over a retouch, I’d like to be at 200% or so.
  2. Can’t save multiple mods into single preset
    I think that I’ve confirmed this one via internet searching. What happened here? Perhaps it’s just me, but I often like to apply a “global” set of changes and then tweak or remove on a per picture basis. I’d prefer not to have to select each preset individually.
  3. Presets within a group are destructive
    I’m only 50% positive on this one, but it seems that if I’ve modified the contrast of a picture and then use a preset to tweak the definition, it will change the contrast again.
  4. Can’t delete version on a networked drive due to lack of access to trash bin?
    I don’t know if this is an Aperture limitation or Mac OS X or what, but now I’ve got zombie pictures floating around on my network drive (to steal a phrase from UNIX).
  5. Fill light?
    Okay, not a huge deal but it’s a nice to have in ACR.
  6. HSL adjustments?
    Not really anything wrong, but I’m more comfortable with the HSL layous in ACR.
  7. No keyboard shortcut for changing brush sizes?
  8. Somewhat “primitive” black and white converter.
    I much prefer the Lightroom method of dragging on the HSL colors to change each. Perhaps there’s an analog in Aperture, but I’ve not found it yet.
  9. Seems like I have to pay more (via plugin architecture) than I do for Lightroom
    While the API / Plug-in architecture may be beneficial to me in the long run, it seems like the whole situation is setup to cost me more.
  10. No alternate previews when adjusting the sliders
    In Adobe Camera Raw, I can hold down the alt key when changing the exposure and see via a “temperature map” what areas are being affected. Same for black point and recovery.
  11. Only alphabetical sorting of projects pane.
    If there’s another way to order the objects in the pane, I haven’t figured it out yet.

All these rants aside, I think Aperture is a decent tool. Once the thumbnails are generated it runs relatively fast. Sometimes it becomes non-responsive for no apparent reason, but not too often. I think that the price point is just about right ($200 I think) as opposed to Lightroom ($300). I like the library management interface (except the delete rant, above).

I haven’t really come to a strong opinion on the version system. Time will tell.

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