Aperture, Lightroom or something else?


Oct 27, 2010
Hi All

I was a little bit repulsive yesterday (my husband's term of endearment for me when I am impulsive and cost him money). I bought an iMac for editing my photos and surfing the net. I have always shot jpegs but made it my new year's resolution to shoot in RAW. No success so far as I didn't have the software to tweek the RAW files. I was browsing this morning trying to decide which software to buy for my iMac and figured the choice was really between Aperture or Lightroom. The reviews for Aperture don't appear to be that great and I know a lot of you use Lightroom. Aperture is the cheaper option but will only work on my iMac (not the perfectly functional pc that currently resides upstairs in our spare room), whereas Lightroom will work on both. I know Nik Google (or whatever the software is called these days) will work on Lightroom, not so sure about Aperture. I anticipate using one or the other with the Nik suite. Not sure I'd need anything else at the minute.

I have previously used photoshop elements and SEP2 when working with my jpegs or just used photo editing apps on my iPad2, so quite a novice at photo editing really.

Any help or advice you can give would be much appreciated. Have to make a decision quick before hubby checks out the visa bill ... kidding! :wink:

Thanks in advance.


Jan 2, 2011
hmm another one gone over to the Axis of Evil I see ... oh well, never mind.
I think Aperture and LR are pretty similarly priced aren't they?

As a Windows user of LR, I'd say LR, but then I would, wouldn't I? :biggrin:


Top Veteran
Dec 22, 2011
Copenhagen, Denmark
I'd also say Lightroom, less time you need to spend relearning when you ditch the Mac and go back to a real computer :yahoo:

Seriously though, Lightroom has a trial period not sure if Aperture does. But at least you can give LR a try and see if you like it before engaging in more repulsive behaviour.


Jan 5, 2013
Maine, USA
You can actually download some of these applications as a 30-day trial version. That would give you some baseline to make a comparison.


Hall of Famer
Mar 27, 2013
I tried a trial of LR but it wanted windows vista not the XP I use so I was stymied & wasted a 30 day trial - check first


Oct 27, 2010
I think Lightroom is twice the price of Aperture. You download Aperture from the Mac App Store but there is no trial version available now but there used to be. I had a quick look at Steve Huff's youtube video on Aperture and it looks ok, easy to use. It does work with the Nik Software suite which is good. The reviews on the Mac store, however, ain't so good which is kind of putting me off.

I've downloaded a trial copy of Lightroom 4 to see how it works.


Nov 12, 2010
Lunenburg Nova Scotia
I get the feeling that you have already made up your mind for Lightroom but maybe not. I am a big fan of Aperture not that it is the greatest and best, it may or may not be. Reviews that are Mac specific seem to favour Aperture over Lightroom but the margin is small. While I have used Lightroom I am not at all that confident in it and I don't feel like investing lots of time to learn yet another program that may or may not be better, and versions change yearly it seems so, I stick with what I know and invest time in taking pictures. Both programs have a learning curve to them. So here is my take.

Lightroom is a more popular product because it covers two platforms. Because there is bigger marked with Lightroom there is more third information, tutorials, classes and maybe even plug in. Lightroom is the more expensive as it list in the neighbourhood of 150 and sells if you are an astute shopper in the neighbourhood of 100. If you buy a high end camera often you can get it bundled at a reduced price. When I used Lightroom the fact that it was a product of modules and not a complete program it really aggravated me when it switching from unit to unit. I suspect if you never use Aperture this will not bother you. Finally as you pointed out it is cross platform compatible.

Aperture is a Mac only software. Because it is Mac only it does have that Mac look and feel so everything is there to lessen the learning curve. It is sort of like iPhoto on steroids, a very hearty dose of steroids. It plays well with other Mac software and devices like iPad. It is a well integrated peace of software and I like how it behaves. While there is not as much third part support there is plenty of it. It's the cheaper of the two. Camera updates seem to come faster for Aperture than Lightroom and they are done automatically with system up dates.

I have Nik and Topaz and both plugins work with Aperture although I prefer Topaz. That being said compared to how these plugins work with Photoshop I never use then in Aperture as the difference is chalk and cheese for me. In Photoshop I prefer Nic even though Topaz has more tools.

Now if you are this far my final answer would seem to be Aperture as it is in my opinion the best of the two. I bought Aperture long before Lightroom was a glimmer in Mother Adobe eye so I don't want to relearn old tricks. I don't intend to switch to a Widows based machine so I am happy with Aperture. But if there was the possibility of switching I would go with Lightroom as the difference is marginal and will probably get smaller as time goes on.
I have both light room and aperture. Both these photo editing sw are none destructive. The original Jpg or raw file is never changed. The changes are made to database related files and applied to the original during viewing. Part of the database has a preview jpg file w/ the changes already applied, but this is only used for previewing. The UI is better in Aperture but there are more tools and presets available in Lightroom. Aperture is my preferred sw. I will export to LR when there is something tat aperture cannot handle which for my purpose is not that often.



Top Veteran
Jan 21, 2011
Houston, TX
I learned Lightroom (and Photoshop) on a PC, then bought an iMac. Being an old dog and not really good at new tricks....I went "cross-platform" for the Adobe products and skipped iPhoto and Aperture. LR is second nature to me so I believe it's here to stay.


Top Veteran
May 11, 2011
Seattle, Washington USA
Bruce J. Pritchard
I use both because, I like the chromatic aberration fringe removal tool in LR, what I don't like is the stupid cropping frame that one has to move the picture under to position instead of moving the frame on top, and the auto exposure button and corresponding results which are wildly unpredictable. Aperture is dead easy (I use a Mac) and seems less cluttered and kludgy.
Aperture puts the 90% use tools up front for to use, but it has some very sophisticated tools in the poll down menu as well. What I like about aperture is that u can create your own presents. After a while, u start to figure out what common things u do to all your files for a particular camera or film type.. U can then create a peseta to apply the changes to. Not only that, u can highlight a set of files and issue a batch preset change or any affect change for that matter.. U can then come back in a fine tune it. If u don't like the effect, u can always remove it since it is just a database change and has no affect on actual Jpg or raw file.

I think aperture UI is also faster for deciding which shots are keepers and the smart albums are great for finding and filtering operations.



May 6, 2011
Aperture is cheaper.

Lightroom will legally allow you to use it on both the computers you already own.

Lightroom supports more cameras, especially the Fujis.

Lightroom has much better integration with Photoshop or Elements.

Lightroom tends to add new camera support faster than Aperture

Aperture integrates a bit better with iOS products (iPad) because it can access the iPhoto database (personally I absolutely detest iPhoto - horrible peice of software IMHO).

Aperture is more "mac like". If tou particulalrly like the Mac way then it feels a bit more natural although Lightroom only has one set of tools in the develop tab so it's really not that hard.

Lightroom has a bigger community. So if you like free presets or need advise it's easier with LR.

Both support the Nik suite so ther will be no issues there.

I prefer Lightroom. But there's no reason you can't get incredible results from both.

Jan 31, 2011
Newcastle, Australia
As a Mac user for the past 10+ years, I still vote for Lightroom. Aperture is OK, its just like a kind of grown-up version of iPhoto. I still prefer iPhoto for basic management and storage, but use either Photoshop CS5 and/or Lightroom. Lightroom is streets ahead of Aperture, as far as I am concerned. Especially if you decide to revert to Windows at some time in the future, you'll know the software, you'll have your favourite plugins (better get both versions... only one payment needed) and you won't have to learn something new.

My tendency is to let Apple store my stuff in iPhoto (I like photostream these days) but choose *always* to use an external editor. I vacillate between LR and PS, but the advantage in defining LR as the external is that you can then go to PS from there if you want.

[edit] I have retained the original Aperture trial if anyone wants to take a look. I'll post it online somewhere if there is sufficient interest, but will not publicly post the link so you will have to send a PM to let me know if you want it.


Hall of Famer
Jul 3, 2010
Too often I find myself using a camera which is not supported by Aperture. If I weren't an early adopter with lots of camera shuffling, I'd consider Aperture again, but I am, and waiting for RAW support is no fun!

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk 2


Dec 22, 2010
Hey All,

Has anybody here gone the creative cloud route for CS6 and bought lightroom and other add ins like nik products? Work well?

Jan 31, 2011
Newcastle, Australia
I actually find Aperture really clumsy by comparison with Lightroom. Its just not as good. And, I am an Apple fan girl. Lightroom covers the lot. If I could make myself make the switch and stop using iPhoto entirely, I would. Lightroom is a fabulous manager as well as all of its other advantages. Guess I have been "doing" iphoto for too long, I am just kinda used to its quirks. But I'll never use it as an editor (except, occasionally on iOS)

fin azvandi

Feb 22, 2012
Hong Kong
I've been a Mac user forever and an Aperture user for the last few years. It's a great program, overall you can get excellent results with it or LR. I will say that Aperture runs much slower than LR on my 3+ year old MacBook Pro, and in the last week or so I've been running LR 4.3 to see if I'd rather switch. My early observations:

Coming from Aperture, the Lightroom UI feels very "clunky" - sidebars opening and closing all around the frame and taking up a lot of screen real estate, way too much information in them that necessitates scrolling up and down, switching between modules, etc.

I use curves a lot and the Aperture Curves brick feels much more responsive than LR's Tone Curve. But I'm getting the sense that LR's basic sliders (Exposure/Highlights/Shadows/Whites/Blacks) do a better job of producing the same effects. But on the handful of images I've tried so far the LR Auto Exposure button has been off by over a stop...

LR does not have an equivalent of the Aperture "Levels" brick and I'm still trying to figure out how to recreate some of my favorite Aperture presets that rely on Levels.

Aperture allows you to have multiple instances of the same brick and brush in *any* brick's effect or only apply it at a certain percentage of the full effect. The LR adjustment brush seems limited in comparison.

Both LR and Aperture have 3rd party plugins that help with uploading to Flickr, although the one I found for LR (Jeffrey's Publish to Flickr) is really complicated and doesn't seem to handle adding to groups in a simple way.

Although Apple issues small updates to Aperture often enough, version 3 was released 3 years ago (02/2010). The updates since then have been mainly stability/bug fixes or tighter integration with iPhoto/iCloud/etc. There doesn't seem to be any word on what the future holds for this application.

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