A first look at Aperture 2.0

Since Apple wasn’t giving me any iPhone/iPod Touch SDK loving, I decided to check out Aperture, their photo management software. The web page promises a huge number of new features, but there were a few things that caught my eye.

The first is the new look. The UI seems to be lighter than before and uses a lot of translucent items, which seems to be all the rage amongst Apple’s HCI folks these days. It’s a good change, I think — I don’t have a copy of Aperture 1.5 to compare it with, but it is certainly easy on the eyes.

Something else I noticed were the speed improvements. Previews generate a lot faster, the UI seems a lot more snappy, and I didn’t feel like I was waiting for much. For general browsing about and checking out photos the speed seems to be on par with Adobe Lightroom. I think it may be a little quicker at start-up and browsing through all of my photos (5’500) in one go. That being said I don’t normally torture myself like that. I think it may get the speed gains through all of the files being stored in the Aperture Library, but I haven’t looked at the format of that file (or whether it is even a single file or one of Apple’s famous directories-masquerading-as-files).

I haven’t checked out its memory usage, but I am sure it’s on par with Lightroom’s. The hardware requirements say a minimum of 2GB of RAM, and I’m quite sure that’s the case.

The only annoyance I have had so far is that the loupe seems to have a mind of its own when it comes to the initial zoom percentage the first time you bring it up after selecting a new image in the viewer. Sometimes it’s 100%, sometimes 1600%, and sometimes just about anything in between — I was getting 165%, 473%, and quite a few other weird numbers.

I’ve got 30 days left on the trial and I’m going to try to use it alongside Lightroom and see which I prefer. Now that Aperture is available for a decent price I’m willing to consider switching. I know Lightroom well enough to teach it to Robynne, so I’m sure it wouldn’t go to waste — I’m sure she’d love to shoot in raw and get creative with it.

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