Thursday, May 11, 2006

Ars Technica Reviews Aperture 1.1

To Pentax *ist digital fans, who use the .PEF Pentax Raw format, a positive and important review of Apple's Aperture means that this software's likely to remain a good investment over the next few years for helping develop Pentax RAW files. So, good news: Ars Technica have just validated Apple's latest version of Aperture, which is small PR triumph for Apple. (Ars Technica's staunchy analytical/svengali opinions hold a lot of sway with the lay software community.)

If you're not following the storyline with Aperture, this is the gist. Last year, Apple's Aperture came out as a pro solution for digital photos the way Final Cut Pro is Apple's solution for video editing. The first reviews suggested it was an elegant foray, but that it wasn't polished enough to compete with Photoshop yet. Just a few weeks ago, Apple finally made its first major update to Aperture (I mentioned Aperture recently in my .PEF Pentax RAW converter roundup as one of the best alternatives to the Pentax Lab Software). Apple reduced the price to $299, offered a $200 eCoupon to version 1.0 registered users, and essentially mustered up the courage to address many of its shortcomings Ars had growled about in their prior reviews. Well, Ars Technica completed a new and detailed review of the updated software, comparing it to Aperture 1.0, Adobe's Camera RAW, and Phase One's Capture One. The verdict? Job well done, Apple. Ars Technica's reviewer now approves Aperture as an application photographers might even consider over the competition.

Now here's the review in a nutshell: there's improved contrast and color rendering, better layer handling, no more anti-aliasing in the pixel-by-pixel loup preview, and more speed. But David Girard, the reviewer, points out that Aperture still requires you to add pictures into its formal library management system (much like iPhoto, you can't keep your files willy-nilly in any location on your HD), and it doesn't allow the export of RAW adjustment recipes to an open file format, like Adobe's DNG. This is something you either like or you don't. I do.

Keeping all that in mind, after the update was released and the price cut was announced, there were rumors that Apple was possibly dumping the program and cancelling future development, but Apple responded with another press statement that the rumors weren't true, and in fact they had more software engineers working on Aperture now than ever before. So there you go. There should be a lot to expect out of Aperture in the future, and Pentax users continue to have another option up their sleeves for .PEF digital developing.

Link: Ars Technica's Aperture 1.1 review

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