December 27th, 2012

The Educated Fanboy: Aperture vs. Lightroom

As I’ve grown older (and I’m aware that, at 27, I’m not actually allowed to claim that I’m “old” yet), I seem to have settled into a middle ground between the random person on the street that doesn’t know what a browser is (YouTube Link) and full-out fanboy — something I like to call the educated fanboy.

The Educated Fanboy is someone who, like a normal fanboy, is completely fanatical about the things they choose to use. They research their product(s) to an insane degree, and end up knowing more than is useful (or even healthy) about the companies and products involved. However, unlike a normal fanboy, an educated fanboy is able to answer the question “So, why don’t you use competitor X instead?”


Educated Fanboy answer: I like iOS, but the UI is starting to stagnate a little so I thought I’d hop over and try Android. It’s more interesting, but I miss the seamless integration that iCloud gives you.

Being an Educated Fanboy is why I’m currently using an Android phone after using an iPhone for years, is why I nearly replaced my Canon SLR with a Nikon one despite having a rather large pile of Canon lenses, and is why I have both an iMac and a Windows PC sitting at my desk.

To The Point, Already!

Right! So, I’ve been using Apple’s Aperture as my photography tool since it was at version 1.0 and cost £300. Many years later, I’ve finally decided to sit down and give Adobe’s Lightroom (or, more accurately, Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® 4) a go.

Like most fanboy things — Canon vs. Nikon, Xbox vs. Playstation, Corvette vs. Viper, Chrome vs. Safari, Aperture vs. Lightroom, etc — the thing that’ll swing it one way or another for a particular person will be fairly small in the grand scheme of the overall product. All of them are fine products, and nobody can intelligently claim someone is wrong for going one way or the other.

In the Lightroom vs. Aperture fight for my own personal use, the fight came down to three things:

  • Lightroom’s Noise Reduction is absolutely amazing.
  • Aperture’s book templates are way better than Lightroom’s.
  • Lightroom’s workflow MAKES ME WANT TO PUNCH THINGS.

And the workflow is what makes Lightroom fall over for me. When making a book, every time I wanted to make an adjustment to an image I had to hop over to the Develop module, completely removing my book workspace from the screen and breaking my flow. For a while, I just started playing with the Noise Reduction slider to make myself happy again, but considering that I’ve never wanted to de-noise a photo before and that I make books relatively often, there’s no way me and Lightroom can be happy together.

But man, that Noise Reduction…