Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Aperture 3 vs. Lightroom 3 beta 2: Part 1

Yesterday I got an email from Adobe inviting me to try the second beta of Lightroom 3. I received email, because I tired out the first beta, which was nice, but it did have some issues, which is a given considering that these offerings are beta builds. What I do to compare Aperture 3 and Lightroom 3 beta 2 is to work on the same NEF file, make adjustments to make them look as close as possible, then export the images at the same size, then inspect the resulting images.

Let me just say that I am impressed by the controls in Lightroom, although they are very different from Aperture. With that said, I'll let the results of images from the two applications speak for themselves.

Exported from Lightroom 3 beta 2

Exported from Aperture 3.0.1

I like the colour of the Lightroom image, but I find the output to be a little on the soft side, although I must admit I'm not really sure how to best use the sharpening/masking tools in Lightroom yet. At this point I have not spent enough time to do a full comparison, but over time I hope to get a better idea of how Lightroom works. Am I switching to Lightroom? At this point, I would say no, but there may come a time when I do, such as if Apple does not fix some of the bugs that I have seen in Aperture 3 within the next 6-12 months.

Also a noise reduction comparison. Let me say that I was unable to perfectly duplicate the crops here, so they are slightly different. I find the noise reduction in Aperture 3 better, in terms of how the noise looks, and the Aperture 3 image looks a little softer because I think I applied more sharpening in Lightroom, again because I am not very familiar with the app yet.

First Lightroom 3 beta 2 

And Aperture 3.0.1

I'll post more comments on Lightroom 3 vs Aperture 3 in the coming weeks as I become more familiar with what Lightroom can and cannot do. There are some major differences in how each program handles files, and it will be interesting to see which one does better. I have a feeling that Aperture does better at some things, while Lightroom is better at others. The type of photography you enjoy, or do for a living could make a difference in which program you choose if that is the case!