CrunchGear Reviews Aperture 3

by admin on March 21, 2010 just reviewed Aperture 3, with a mixed conclusion:

Aperture is still a great program, in my opinion, and the budding photographer would be a lot better off with this than with iPhoto if they’re planning on doing anything more than collecting snapshots. I’ve gotten used to Aperture’s workflow and they haven’t changed it much in 3, in fact they’ve provided a couple serious improvements with Brushes and potentially Places and Faces — you know, if you’re into that kind of thing.

The trouble I see is that Aperture, once a rather single-minded program, is being diluted with features that have nothing to do with its core functionality. Why not have a new program, called “Collection” or something, that hooks into all your libraries, allows for creating robust slide shows, exporting directly to Facebook, and all that sort of thing? Putting all this junk into Aperture is doing to it what Apple has done to iTunes: once a sleek and straightforward program, it has now grown bloated beyond comprehension; it’s a bit like seeing a once-great fighter gone to seed. I have more of an attachment to Aperture than to iTunes, but if Aperture 4 continues along the vector indicated by Aperture 3, you can consider me a Lightroom conversion.

However, this review seemed rather incomplete. It spent entirely way too much time focusing on new features like Faces and Places, and not enough covering Aperture’s strengths: organization and basic image processing. There is also no discussion of RAW conversion – a major common use of Aperture 3.

As for the obligatory Aperture vs. Lightroom comparison, the author only had this to offer up:

I’ve only used Lightroom a little bit (and a version or two back) but all my friends say that it just has a better workflow for serious photo work — importing a couple hundred shots, scrubbing through them, doing the necessary adjustments, and outputting to the necessary format. Not that I have trouble doing that in Aperture, but apparently it’s faster and better in Lightroom.

Who makes product comparisons on hearsay? Given that Adobe offers a free 30-day of trial for prospective Lightroom users, there is no excuse for not trying it out to make a real comparison.

The reviewer was also overly harsh when it came to analyzing Aperture 3’s presets feature:

The preset adjustments, I think we can agree, are being blown way out of proportion; Apple’s breathless description sets them up to be quite the killer feature. Unfortunately, these are the same kind of “professional adjustments” that you have been able to apply on cheap point-and-shoots since the beginning of time. There are a few quick adjust things like high-contrast black-and-white or exposure +1 that are nice to have previews for (the live preview window is handy), but let’s be honest, these are just filters. I’d like to be able to say that they’re carefully adjusted so you won’t see weird color effects, blackouts, or blowouts, but the fact is every one I tried looked cheap and overdone.

I don’t think it’s entirely reasonable to judge a presets feature on the factory installations – the whole point of the feature is that it represents easy customization and sharing. You can’t really expect Apple to deliver presets that please everyone. Anyone who really cares about this feature will be making their own presents, or at least downloading some online. Beginners who aren’t obsessed with adjustments at the pixel level will be more than satisfied with the basic presets.

There is also no discussion of Aperture 3’s value for the money, particularly as compared to Photoshop or even Photoshop Elements.

Predictably, there was plenty of hate in the comments section of the review:

This is not a good review. Nearly every criticism is incorrect because this dude doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s simply wrong about many different points. A good reviewer actually uses a product.

It seems like you didn’t do a lot of research in this article, missing points, getting many facts wrong, and using your friend’s comments on Lightroom base your decisions about workflow speed.

While I’m sure you’re a great guy and I can see you’ve got some points in this article, it’s so derailed by misinformation and issues that it’s really a disservice to the product. It seems like your readers are going to come along and see your thoughts and think that they’re fact, and base their purchasing decisions on them.

To put this into context, many of the comments here are like reviewing an iPod and asking your friends if they think their Zune is better. When they say they think it’s faster and works better, printing that.

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