Apple Aperture 2.1

Apple Aperture 2.1

Adjustment settings can be saved and quickly applied to new photos.


We have thousands of digital photos, but still feel nostalgia for the days of leafing through prints crammed willy-nilly into dented shoeboxes. Wouldn’t it be nice to get your jumble of digital images out of their virtual shoeboxes? Blow up that favorite, or frame that one from last year’s family reunion and send it to your sister in St. Paul. Aperture 2 handles these tasks and more without the nagging clutter—or sneeze-inducing dust clouds—of those old shoeboxes. Meanwhile, it lets you nudge exposure levels and retouch problems. It essentially manages your photo library from import to export, keeping track of your changes and making the daunting task of cataloging hundreds or thousands of photos much easier than you ever thought it could be.


Aperture 2’s full-service workflow begins by importing images from a camera, flash card, or drive directory. It reads most image files, including a wide range of RAW formats. Our Canon 40D RAW files, for example, posed no problem. In our testing, the import process flowed smoothly, even in the background—though expect the app to tax your Mac’s performance if it’s an older, slower model.


Once your photos are imported, Aperture 2 helps you organize them all. We added tags and moved photos between different projects and albums. We even grouped photos of the same subject from the same angle, allowing quick comparison of different poses in the Viewer window. Our favorite organizational tool is Smart Albums. After assigning ratings and otherwise classifying individual photos, Smart Albums automatically creates groups. You could create an album of images that share a date range, come from a certain camera, and share a tag, for example. And any new images that fit those criteria will automatically be added to that album.


Updated in this version, photo-retouching tools expertly balance speed and simplicity. Hold the Command key with certain exposure adjustments, and an overlay clearly shows how your edits affect bright spots. New Retouch and Clone tools instantly fix skin blemishes and can erase sensor dust from the background. We were impressed with how easy those tools were to use and were thrilled by the instant results we achieved erasing dust from a solid background. With these powerful features at hand, most photographers can skip a standalone editor such as Photoshop.


After your albums are organized and edited, Aperture 2 exports the images. You can lay them out in a book or other mosaic, printing it at home or sending it to Apple, just as you can in iPhoto. Aperture 2’s exporting options allow you to process multiple photos, even working on them in the background while you make adjustments to other images. We especially like the feature-rich online galleries. Aperture creates simple HTML pages that you can host, while .Mac-only galleries support slide shows and stay synced to changes in your album.


The bottom line. Disorganized photographers will appreciate how Aperture expertly handles cataloging, basic edits, and exporting. This single tool might be the only photo software you need.




PRICE: $200 ($100 upgrade from Aperture 1.0)

REQUIREMENTS: 2GHz or faster Intel Core Duo or dual G5 processors, Mac OS 10.4.1 or later, 1GB RAM

Manages total photo workflow. Smart albums and other tools assist organization. Exposure and retouching tools effectively rescue questionable shots. Wide image format support. Clean, HTML web galleries can run on any site. Universal binary.

Terrific Flash web galleries can only be exported to a .Mac site.





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It may not be an Aperture or Lightroom problem, but my Photoshop Elements often simply disappears from my screen when I'm working on something - closing the entire program, with nothing saved. (On occasion Safari does, too.)

Not cool.

I wonder if either of these programs are prone to similar behavior.


Travis Ulrich

Someone on here pointed to Aperture being behind Lightroom, which is simply no longer the case.

Anyway, I think Aperture and Photoshop are the perfect combination. I do the majority of my editing in Aperture, but it works beautifully with Photoshop thanks to its "edit in external application" option.

Aperture is a definite must for any photographer/Mac-user who wants to take his profession (or hobby in my case) seriously.



The line below the title of this posting is standard MacLifeSpeak - in other words, an attention-grabbing overstatement designed just to get you to click the story.

"Who needs Photoshop?" Well, anyone who does serious photo-image processing, that's who. Aperture: no CMYK, no layers, non nondestructive Smart Filters -- and the list could go on and on.

Aperture's a fine organizer and a decent quick-and-dirty editor, but its NOT a substitute for Photoshop.

And MacLife is insulting your intelligence by implying that Aperture might be better than Photoshop just to get you to give them another money making click on a pretty standard review.



Completely Agree with above.

Seriously, Maclife you should have stayed MacAddict and stuck with computers. These attempts at photography are pretty bad. The HDR article publicizes exactly what you are trying to avoid in HDR images. This article is no better:

Anyone who needs Aperture over iPhoto knows it is just a powerful organizer-like Lightroom-- with a couple of useful plugins for everyday touch ups and batch export commands. Not a replacement for photoshop at all. So why even bother with an article like this. WHo are you targeting?

I think you lost your loyal readers along time ago and now your just grabbing for whoever.



I have been very impressed with Lightroom also and the editng tools of Lightroom 2.0 although still a Beta are pretty impressive. Maybe they should be reviewed head to head and see who is the King of The Overall photographic program.


Richard Arnold

I prefer Aperture to Photoshop, but...
My wife does webpages and needs to float a title/etc over a photo as part of her work.

First you get your picture...
then you crop and adjust it for the web...
then you create your title/etc in a separate layer...
then you position your title/etc...
then you flatten the image eliminating the multiple layers... then you resize for posting.

I don't see that Aperture allows this. Having "layer" support is the critical element for us.



"who needs Photoshop"

If you have to ask it, you don't.



With Adobe Photoshop Lightroom who needs (always behind the curve) Aperture? best...skip

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