Last week, Apple released Aperture 3 for Macintosh. The newest version in their range of “pro” applications, this one aimed at pro photographers, but amateurs who wants something more than what iPhoto can give them, are of course also welcome to use Aperture.
As you might have read, I recently got myself my first DSLR camera, a Nikon D5000. This was back in November 2009 and by now I already have way too many lenses, bags etc. It’s an expensive hobby but also very rewarding and interesting. I’ve always liked photography, so being able to finally have worthy equipment available, is really fantastic.
I was missing just one thing – a really good photo management application.
iPhoto, Lightroom, Aperture!
iPhoto has been my primary choice since I got my first Mac back in 2006. It’s a great little application that does what is expected from it. But it doesn’t take much to outgrow it, and I had kinda done that, since I began shooting in RAW (NEF) and needed some more editing tools inside my photo management application plus a bunch of other stuff.
I started looking at Adobe’s Lightroom and tried their beta, Lightroom 3 for Mac. It was great – I really liked it. I also tried the Aperture 2 trial, but no matter how much I wanted to like Apple’s Lightroom competitor, the Aperture 2 interface looked so old and the application itself seemed rather slow. I decided to stick with Lightroom 3 beta for now and purchase it whenever the beta ended. I only got around to import a few hundred pictures over the next few days, when Apple suddenly released Aperture 3 – two years since Aperture 2 first came out.
Aperture 3 looks amazing. All the new features are cool, especially the way you “brush” changes and adjustments into the picture. It works really great – I love it. Here’s a quick demo of how it works:
Also, Apple added Faces and Places to Aperture 3, a feature from iPhoto I was going to miss with both Lightroom and Aperture 2. Besides Faces and Places, the Mac integration with Aperture 3 is just better than Lightroom 3 – also I was able to simply import my entire iPhoto library into Aperture 3, keeping Faces, Places, Keywords and everything in place. There’s more than 200 new features in Aperture 3, so if you’re interested, check it out at Apple’s Aperture site.
I was lucky. I’ve only experienced two downsides to Aperture 3 so far:
1) Using only the slower graphics card in my MacBook Pro, the 9400M, Aperture 3 doesn’t run super fast. Enabling the better graphics card, 9600M GT, does improve speed a bit. My MacBook Pro might be running a bit hotter because of it, but that doesn’t matter.
2) Aperture 3 likes memory. A lot of memory. I have 4 GB of memory and I’m using all of it within 10 minutes of doing adjustments in Aperture 3. The max amount of memory my MacBook Pro 15″ Unibody will take, is 6GB. Meaning I have to replace one of my 2GB sticks with a 4GB stick and that’s a $300 investment. No thanks. I rather save my money and get a brand new MacBook Pro (maybe even 13″) when they release one with i5 or i7 Intel chip, whatever it is that people expect to see next. I wouldn’t mind having a built-in SD card reader too.
Other People’s Problems!
Looking at Apple Discussions quickly reveals major problems submitted by many users. There are more than 200 replies in just one of the threads and 20,000 thread views. Here are some quotes:
I had to fully force-quit two times so far. Brutal. Within less than a minute, A3 has gobbled up 95% of RAM (whatever RAM’s available: 4Gb minus whatever the sys & finder use).
Apple has made its customers a testing group for them (in fact we are paying Apple to test it for them). The issues are so nasty and easy to hit shows that they haven’t tested this at all. Has the success gone to their head and making them blind?
Add my voice to the complaints – this is terrible – going from A2 to A3, 7 hours so far and only 6% complete. Not the largest library in the world (from memory around 30GB) can’t check or do anything else for that matter at the moment – at this rate its going to take about 4 days.
It goes on and on like that. Lots of people with problems. I hope we’ll see a serious update to Aperture 3 within the next week or so.
As I said, my Aperture 3 runs okay as long as I use the dedicated graphics chip and not running too many memory-loving applications next to Aperture 3. I do find the Faces section of Aperture 3 to be a bit weird from time to time – or maybe it’s just me not knowing exactly how to operate it yet, which is entirely possible.
Anyway, I’m still on the Aperture 3 trial but I trust (hope) that Apple will be able to solve the worst problems and with a laptop upgrade, it should be running smoothly in no time. I plan on buying Aperture 3 before the trial ends.
One more thing… here’s what Chase Jarvis has to say (or been paid to say? 🙂 ) about Aperture 3 and the brushes feature: