Ars Technica reviews Apple’s Aperture 3: An essential upgrade

Apple Store“Aperture 3.0 came out a few months ago, so you’re probably wondering why this review is so late. I had hoped to do a simultaneous review of Lightroom 3 and Aperture 3, but I was thinking that Lightroom 3 would come out at the same time as the CS5 applications, which came out just recently. It now looks like Lightroom 3 is not due out until June or July, judging from the winds (that’s hippy talk for ‘when the beta program expires’). Anyway, it’s better that we waited, since Photoshop CS5 includes Adobe Camera RAW 6 and the noise reduction improvements that are going to be included in Lightroom 3. It also gave Apple a bit of time to clear up some bugs with the release, so we’re reviewing version 3.0.3 here,” Dave Girard reports for Ars Technica.

“If you glanced at the new features in Aperture 3, it would seem easy to pass off the audio/video and Faces and Places features as gimmicky things for hobbyists, but the value of these features will grow on even for hardened studio nuts,” Girard reports. “Seeing the power of the Places features makes me wish I’d GPS-logged our trip through Japan, because it would be satisfying to navigate those squiggly tracks and photos with my girlfriend.”

Girard reports, “For pros who just want to get work done, Aperture 3’s improved interface, flawless curve adjustment, multiple maskable edits, and 64-bit update are more than enough reason to upgrade. Add the metadata improvements and the high-ISO RAW conversion, and you have an essential upgrade.”

Read the full review – extensive, as usual, and recommended – here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. Sorry, but Aperture does not even come close to Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom. And Apple has not even come close to fixing the massive number of bugs in Aperture. Spend half an hour in the Aperture support forum and look at how many people are complaining about poor performance on state of the art hardware. Aperture excels at brining 8 core machines to their knees.

    Aperture is the *LEAST* snappy software out there.

  2. Well I have spent a lot of time in Forums trying to help those that have somehow arrived in imaging hell.

    Mine has been the usual Apple experience of flawless upgrade and smooth performance thereafter on two computers. Cant speak for quad cores though.

    Curves makes all the difference and Brushes can help a lot too. I like the slideshow feature for combo video and stills content.

    Happy bunny here.

  3. @RickMac

    There’s a Lightroom 3 Beta available and a 30 day trial of Aperture.
    Go see the gulf in speed difference between the two for yourself.

    I do prefer Apertures interface. But it does still bring my Dual Quad core to its knees. Lightroom is ridiculously fast on my setup.

  4. Like almost all of my professional colleagues I was using LightRoom although didn’t get the last upgrade. When Adobe launched their ugly and dishonest attack on Apple, I said that’s it. I’ve started moving the entire library to Aperture and not looking back. If I am doing this so are others. Way to go Adobe.

    And another thing, something professionals never seem to question, Photoshop is an unintuitive hairball, originally conceived by line code geeks. It’s like having to learn a new language, and although I am fluent in it, it needs to go away. Work flow should be more like the iPad.

  5. Love the comment from the guy who says it’s no good because it’s not for Windows!

    I cannot believe for one second there are more than 7 photographers left in the world who are not on Mac OSX…

    He must be one of them.

    And if anyone has any doubts, 3 is an amazing piece of work, it makes photography post capture a complete joy.

  6. I’ve stopped buying Adopy products ever since the company started scamming users with their calling bug fixes as upgrades so that they could extort money out of their customers. What despicable business practice!

  7. Sorry but Aperture 3 in clunky and slow. Check the blogs! I’ve upgraded from Aperture 2 to 3 and its been a nightmare at every stage. I’ve done every speed enhancement recommended. If you like to watch a spinning beach ball for long periods of time or have to force quite Aperture, then Aperture 3 is the program for you.

    Don’t believe me, check the blogs.

    Sorry Mr. Jobs, this one does not live up to Apple’s normal standards

  8. CourtJester & Picman

    Oh Puhlease is “bring an 8 core machine to it’s knees” the current Adobe astroturfing phrase?

    And, is it just me or they behaving more microsoftian than Microsoft recently?

    The thing that brings an 8 core Xeon workstation to it’s knees is playing a simple HD youtube flash video.
    I am serious (-and on any OS- I have tested in W7, Deb and OS X) the drain flash puts on my fairly recent 8 core xeon workstation just playing back 1 stream of HD is unbelievable.

    Flash sucks & Adobe sucks, as do almost all of their products
    (nearly all of their products are dated inefficient and overpriced) The sooner they are gone from prominence the better.
    Who will bring on the photoshop killer? Autodesk?, Corel?, some lessor known but highly creative and agile group?
    Do it! Do it now!!
    My guess (from talking to other pros) that well over half of their user base would jump in a heartbeat given an alternative.

  9. I’m running Aperture 3 on a 2.4GHz MBP and a 3.06GHz iMac. All my work is with RAW files, very little JPG, and that older images, or TIFF scanned from old slides.

    Have yet to notice, since 3.0.3, Aperture either bringing them to their knees, nor notable infinite spinning technicolor pizzas of doom.

    I don’t doubt that some are having performance issues with it, but I suspect a lot more aren’t.

  10. @ Don

    So Apple’s use of non-standard metadata is a user-error issue to you? I suppose that’s fine if you only use Aperture and iPhoto.

    I would actually really LIKE to switch to Aperture, because I’m quickly losing hope that Lightroom will ever have an iPad component. But not if it means my copyright information doesn’t follow my files around. Maybe you should read the article I posted.

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