Replacements for Apple’s Aperture

“I recently wrote some articles on my search for potential Aperture replacements,” Graham K. Rogers writes for eXtensions.

“It is almost certain that within the next couple of years Aperture will no longer be usable and Photos is not the replacement we are looking for,” Rogers writes. “I looked at the Open Source Darktable; Nikon’s Capture NX-D and Corel’s AfterShot 2 Pro. Then I tried Perfect Photo Suite. And now Photo Supreme from ID Imager – an Aha! moment. Perhaps.”

“Of the five applications I have examined in the last week or so, only this last one – Photo Supreme from ID Imager – matches most of my requirements: access to existing Aperture libraries; ability to import directly from a camera or digital source (e.g. SD card); reasonable in-app editing tools; and image export options,” Rogers writes. “There are also several useful cataloging and search functions, which would allow a user considerable flexibility in the organisation of images.”

Much more in the full article here.


    1. Macinfo (and the others) thanks for the comments. In Part 1 of this (accidental) series I wrote why I was not going to look at Lightroom (although I did review this when it first appeared in 2006) –

      With the suggestions I am receiving, I have more apps to think about in the next couple of days and there has been certain pressure (not only Macinfo) to include Lightroom. Maybe I should. My thanks to all – Graham

  1. I for one am very very sad to see Aperture let go. I have over 10k professional photographs catalogued in Aperture, and it is my primary retouching tool for all professional photos (with Photoshop called in for serious issues). RAW handling, a great suite of retouching tools, and an ability to handle very large libraries makes Aperture a wonderful tool. I really hope Apple reconsiders their stance on this program before it becomes unusable in some future OS update.

      1. I’m still waiting for Phenomenon – the Apple VFX compositing replacement for Shake.

        Apple is capable of doing so much more that it already does it’s puzzling why they would also drop Aperture. Is Logic Pro X next? Not trying to be negative, just concerned.

        1. I am wondering if Apple has some sort of an agreement with developers (the big one in general) NOT to do Apple software. This allows developers to develop for Apple eco-system.

          Lets face it, if Apple did most of the big pro programs in-house there wouldn’t be any room for developers to make any money. Developers would then slip into making apps for other platforms hence going head to head with Apple. Apple, therefore, has to give up software with the exception of iOS and OSX… we are seeing.

    1. Gah… I have over a MILLION pictures in Aperture Libraries (I work with a technique I call “temporal animation”). I am f*cked without a peer replacement that does not require a cloud or subscription model.

    2. I, too, am sad to see Apple ignore Aperture and the pros (again). However, it was not doing the job for me because none of Apple’s photo apps have supported the Sigma raw format. Lightroom and a very few others do, but I have not been totally satisfied with any of them. Apple’s products, especially the supposedly pro ones, should be supporting all significant formats. It’s competitors do.

  2. I too was burned by apple. Apple creates a great program, had Adobe squirming in their seats then, yet again, abandoned a good product and left their most loyal customers out in the woods again. I no longer buy any of Apple’s hobbies. I won’t be left out in the dark again. I waited for years for an update to Aperture, now I’m on Lightroom and will stay there.

    1. I still have a functioning Tandy Color Computer II. Perhaps I should continue using it instead of my 2013 MacPro. You always have to look to the future. Apertures works today, but maybe not tomorrow. You need to transition to something viable sooner than later or you might find yourself in trouble.

      Do you have essential data on Zip drives, or how about a 120 Mb or 240 MB SuperDisk? I still have functioning drives but I’m not using them for todays storage.

      Apple has replaced two good products (iPhoto and Aperture) with, as it stands now, a very poor product (Photos).

        1. how long will the support driver updates for new cameras. The product is left to die anybody would be foolish to invest anymore time. I also wonder if a few years from now fcp x and logic will share the same fate. If apple cared about their users then they would donate theses app to the open source community. It wouldn’t hurt them because they give away photos with every new mac. This gift would protect the small community of professionals that invested time and money in another apple “pro” app. Apple talks about social and environmental responsibility what about the customers that wasted their time and money.

        2. Silverhawk1, give it a rest. Apple totally fucked up on this one and has alienated a lot of previously loyal Apple customers. If you are not a reasonably serious photographer with a lot invested in Aperture you will never understand. I for one will NEVER trust Apple again and wonder why I recommended Apple to so many people over so many years.

  3. The thing that sucks about 3rd party apps is that they don’t allow syncing directly from iTunes…

    Aperture was both a pro app and made by Apple so it didn’t have that problem…

    Lightroom is prosumer yes, but Aperture was a little more consumer friendly with the managed libraries and all…

    I do like the fact that Lightroom can store the adjustment metadata IN the file instead of just the database though…

    There’s also the DNG format which in my case is a bit smaller than the CR2 files from my camera, so that’s nice…

  4. Why doesn’t Apple just spin out Aperture the same way it spun out FileMaker years ago? Surely, there is value in Aperture to some app vendor.

    1. My best guess is going to be a relative lack of Aperture sales. Meanwhile, FileMaker has never had that problem.

      Of course the next question is: Why not OPEN SOURCE Aperture?!?!?! Whether anyone is interested in carrying on its development is of concern. I also suspect Aperture contains code Apple would rather not hand over to the whole of humanity.

  5. The underlying architecture of Aperture code is deeply flawed, and it was for this reason it was discontinued. I was informed of Apertures demise at least one year before the announcement, and chose then to switch to Lightroom… so I have now been using LR for what is now 2+ years.

    I am not sad. Lightroom is an incredible application. It possesses far more functionality and ease of work flow than Aperture ever did. Yes, there is a learning curve, and yes, there is a different configuration of tools, but the tools are magnificent. It is worth taking the time to learn them.

    My only complaint is that it does not play well with the apple ecosystem, and I don’t think this will ever be resolved.

    1. Thank you for your testimonial. I had recently downloaded the LR5 trial but not yet done anything with it, but based on your comments about your experience with it I decided to give it a quick run-through. Other than being told right away that I should update to LR6 I am liking what I am seeing.

      For anyone already accustomed to AdobeCameraRaw because of opening RAW images in Photoshop, it’s very nice to have those capabilities integrated right into your cataloging and adjustment application (I tried Affinity Photo, and have used Pixelmator for years, but neither do the cataloging that is so essential to anyone making a living from their photography).

      Sure: It has a different user interface than anything else, but if that’s a show-stopper I think people are looking at the sheep’s clothing. Lots of people have claimed the UI to be awful. I didn’t find it to be difficult to orient to at all. In fact, being honest and objective, I’d say I understand the Lightroom interface more intuitively than Photos.

      My experience is only minutes old, and it is from an environment of a fast 27″ iMac driving a second Thunderbolt display so the UI is not in the way of working with my photos. Aperture is useable on my 11″ MacBook Air and I look forward to seeing how Lightroom adapts to that display.

      Little surprises: Import option to rename the image to include camera body serial number — for most people this probably isn’t a feature. But for those of us who have several camera bodies, and more than one of the same model, being able to distinguish them at the file level (and adjustment presets if desired) allows us flexibility when we know about sensor idiosyncrasies in a particular body.

      Little surprises: Retained adjustment history and snapshots. Snapshots in Aperture were called “versions” I suppose, and as such had pros and cons.

      Little surprises: Near instantaneous app closing. To be fair, Lightroom knows about only 60 photos versus Aperture’s 200K so we’ll see if it deteriorates over time, but I suspect by their different approach to a photo library that it won’t get as infuriating as Aperture has.

  6. For pros, its pretty much been a mass migration to either Lightroom (5, 6 or CC) or PhaseOne CaptureOne/Media Pro for a couple years now.

    I don’t know anybody in my business using anything else right now, except for a few stubborn Aperture holdouts who are just being stubborn.

  7. Has any third party photo software developer offered an iPhoto / Aperture alternative that imports our Apple-centric libraries and keeps the meticulously organized (over many years) filing system that includes “Events”, “Faces”, etc.?

  8. Apple did a lot of things right with Aperture, the first and best thing was that they actually released it in the first place and caused Adobe to release its own software.

    In my opinion the Aperture UI is vastly more superior – both simpler and more intuituve than LR’s. However Apertures problems were mostly in issues of speed but more importantly the acurracy and quaity of the image adjustment tools. Aperture was never in the same ballpark when it came to noise reduction and adjusting color, saturation, local adjustments etc.

    If Aperture really was important to Apple they could have got this right, but the long time between major releases and fact the image adjustment tools kept falling behind LR showed they really were not committed. Thats a real shame, because when Aperture was first released there was a special kind of attention to detail and an awareness of photographers needs that showed that in the very begining they really cared about this application and photographers.

    I have to beleive that at some point the original team that created Aperture were removed and a B team put in.

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