Lightroom over Aperture

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by specialagenttuna, Apr 27, 2013.

  1. specialagenttuna

    specialagenttuna Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 19, 2013
    Just something for people to think about. I wanted to share how I almost sold my OM-D EM-5 after thinking the pics looked terrible.

    I've been using Aperture for a while now and have never had any issues until OM-D EM-5. I imported some pics I took of my gf's nephew's birthday and I was surprised how bad they looked. The pics were really dark, the skin was really noisy and patchy with red spots and any attempts to improve them made them look worse (in case anyone is wondering, it is the most current version of Aperture from Mac App Store)

    Here I was just shocked. These were NOT what a $500 lens (17mm 1.8) and $760 body should be producing! I was ready to sell it and just deal with lugging around my large and beautiful D800. But I wanted so badly to love this little gem that I went researching again all while my OM-D was on eBay.

    Looking around it seems all the beautiful examples of pics I saw that made me want to try M4/3 were done with Lightroom. Now I'm no professional shooter but I'm decent enough to know I wasn't screwing up so bad that I was making pics that looked as bad as a point and shoot in bad lighting while others were getting damn near SLR quality! So I dropped the cash for Lightroom (Mac App Store again) and glad I did! The pics looked dramatically better and more like what I expected from my experience.

    TL;DR - Aperture made my OM-D pics look bad so I tried Lightroom and it's a lot better. Not sure if that's anyone else's experience but hopefully you aren't an Aperture user that got rid of this camera because of the way it handles the RAW format.
  2. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    strange first post...

    In my experience, Aperture handles OMD files just fine and in no way radically different from how LR or indeed any other RAW convertor handles them.

    Obviously we all have differing standards of what is acceptable - but I am afraid I can't buy into your proposition that it was Aperture that made your photos dark and noisy.

    That sounds like badly exposed photos to me.

  3. rhoydotp

    rhoydotp Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 5, 2012
    Toronto, Ont
    a screenshot of the difference would be nice to see. different RAW converters handle the files differently but I doubt its as bad as what you're describing. there's plenty of Aperture users with OM-D that I'm sure will be in an uproar if this is the case.
  4. specialagenttuna

    specialagenttuna Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 19, 2013
    Trust me I've got nothing against Aperture. Until this camera it has served me well. Maybe I'm doing something wrong? Not trying to start a fight about software here but honestly while trying to edit these RAW files I couldn't get results that justified the price of the camera and just switching software made a huge difference for me and thought I'd share. Below are some screenshots

    Aperture Normal
    Aperture Zoomed in
    Lightroom Normal
    Lightroom Zoomed in
  5. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Wow that's a dramatic difference in color saturation.
  6. specialagenttuna

    specialagenttuna Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 19, 2013
    Right? I tried messing with it and couldn't get it to look anything like the Lightroom version which is what it looked like right off the bat. In Lightroom all I messed with was some exposure and highlight adjusting.
  7. fsuscotphoto

    fsuscotphoto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2013
    St. Cloud, FL
    What version do you have of each?
  8. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium

    just fired up LR5 beta alongside Aperture and threw a whole load of photos taken in a variety of lighting conditions at both - and I can't replicate your issue.

    if anything the LR versions look slightly noisier than the Aperture versions - but not seeing any radical colour shifts at all

    I do notice that in your screen captures, that the file you are looking at in LR is a DNG not a .ORF. Are we comparing like with like here?


  9. specialagenttuna

    specialagenttuna Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 19, 2013
    Yeah I see that. Sorry I don't know Lightroom at all. I started it up and it asked me to make a catalog and import pics. I imported the *.ORF files from an external HDD. I didn't go through any steps to convert or anything.
  10. savvy

    savvy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 28, 2012
    S.Yorkshire, UK
    What you are not showing in your screenshots is the Basic edit settings panel on the right, or the History, for LR to compare with Aperture.

    In your Aperture screenshot, you are showing WB Skin Tone, Warmth 0.50, and Saturation 1.0 Vibrancy 0.6 - so they're not flat settings in Aperture.
  11. sinclair

    sinclair Mu-43 Veteran

    And it could be since you have .DNG in LR, LR has already processed the .ORF files for you, which Aperture isn't doing.
  12. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    It's not as simple as that.

    The default value for saturation in Aperture is 1 which is in the middle of the scale from 0 to 2, right where the 0 point on Lightroom's scale is since it goes from -100 to +100. Both have a default setting with an equal amount of adjustment above and below that default setting. The numbering on the scale is different, and the amount of adjustment at the extremes of the range MAY be different, you'd have to do tests I can't do to determine that, but there's no reason to believe that the saturation setting isn't flat. The default for vibrancy is 0.5 so it's showing a little above the default (the range goes from 0 to 1 so, once again, you can't equate "flat" to "0" since the scale range doesn't work the same way as this range works in LR where the default is now 0 with a + and - range of adjustment).

    As for WB being set to "Skin Tone", that may be meaningless. The drop box which contains "Skin Tone" alters the display of controls for adjusting white balance but selecting the Skin Tone display does not alter the actual white balance. That display choice setting carries over from the previous image worked on, actual adjustments are made with the eye dropper tool or the slider. In skin tone display, the default "flat" position is 0.5, the midpoint of the scale. It's actually impossible to tell from the screen shot whether the white balance has been adjusted or not.

    It's worth noting that LR4 had a change in setting display from previous versions and now shows the default as "0" where it previously showed a different default value and scale for some sliders. The previous Blacks slider had a default of 5 on a scale from 0 to 100, for example, where the current process version has a default of 0 on a scale from -100 to +100.

    Bottom line, import the same RAW file into both Aperture and Lightroom with default processing in each, and compare the settings on comparable sliders and you aren't going to get the same numbers. You can't say, based on the numerical slider setting, that they're doing anything different because the scales for each slider are numerically different. I've used both and while I currently use only Lightroom I still have Aperture on my computer. I think the Vibrancy setting has been modified slightly but it isn't at all clear that anything else has been altered from the default in this image.

    Aperture's default processing is different to Lightroom's. Each gives you what its software engineers think is a good starting point. In my experience Lightroom's default processing gives you more highlight info and brighter highlights and that seems to be a large part of the difference in the comparison shots here. I look at the screen shots here and I don't see Aperture making this file look "terrible". In actual fact the original RAW data would look a hell of a lot worse including much darker. Take a look at Jeff Schewe's "The Digital Negative" for a comparison of what the original RAW data looks like straight from camera, then following normalising for whites and blacks, and then following demosaicing to get an idea of what RAW data looks like, and neither Aperture or LR display the actual RAW data straight from sensor). The difference between the two apps that I see here is simply a difference in what each application is designed to show you as a starting point for editing. Neither application is intended to show an ideal end result with default processing only, each of these versions of the file are nothing more than starting points for creating the image you want.

    LR certainly presents a starting point closer to what many people might like to eventually see, but it still needs work and with a reasonable exposure there's very little difference in total work required to turn each into a quite acceptable result. The workflow and adjustments will be different, i.e. you'll do things in a slightly different order and you'll set sliders to numerically different settings, but you'll probably adjust around the same total number of settings and it won't take you much longer to do so in one application over the other. I personally find it easier to do some things in Lightroom which is why I swapped, but I certainly did not swap because Aperture was making my E-M5 files "look terrible". It doesn't. Whenever I had a file turn out looking terrible it was either because I'd made a mess of the exposure or because i'd made a mess of my processing, usually due to either not knowing how to get a particular result or because I didn't know what result I was chasing and I was just moving sliders without an aim in mind.
  13. Mr Hahn

    Mr Hahn Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 9, 2010
    SLC, Utah
    In Aperture open the RAW file.

    right click and revert to original so you know you are working with the original version of the image.

    Click the add adjustment drop down menu.

    Click on color.

    Click on the red box.

    Reduce the red saturation to taste, for OM-D files I prefer between -20 and -30

    Set the red luminance between 0 and +5.

    Is this starting to help and have you tried RAW fine tuning?

  14. Bokeh Diem

    Bokeh Diem Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 14, 2010
    Hahn... I am doing roughly the same in LR5 for those nasty Panasonic reds.

  15. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011

    IMO there isn't any significant differences between the final image when processed in Lightroom or Aperture. I have Aperture, Lightroom, CS6 and Capture One 7.

  16. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    + 2

    I have both Aperture and LR and I do not have your issue(s).
  17. PaulGiz

    PaulGiz Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 3, 2013
    Rhode Island, USA
    I have Aperture, OV3 and Raw Therapee at home. I have ACR and Photoshop on my work computer. They all provide excellent (although different) results with default settings. Something is wrong with your Aperture defaults, or it is a bad install.

    Unedited, straight defaults results (IMO) 1. OV3 (but unusable due to its glacial speed) 2. Aperture 3. ACR. All are close enough to yield extraordinary results with just a bit of judicious tweaking. Raw Therapee works great, but is a bit tedious to use, and not completely stable on my Mac.

    Don't have LightRoom because Adobe gets no more of my personal money. What a lousy company, lousy customer service, crap prices. They don't realize they're no longer alone in the field.