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Lightroom with E-M5

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by mistermark, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. mistermark

    mistermark Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 16, 2012
    I recently bought an E-M5. I shoot RAW, and currently PP using Aperture. I've read that Lightroom can extract more highlight detail from Panasonic RAW files than Aperture can. Is this also true of E-M5 RAW files? And in general would I find Lightroom as good as Aperture or better, or are there things I might regret about making the switch?
  2. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I think it's true of E-M5 files. I swapped from Aperture to LR4 some months ago. Prior to the swap I'd taken some test shots to see how much leeway I had when judging exposing to the right based on when the highlight clipping indication showed. I took some shots of a sheet of white paper in bright sunlight with the clipping indication level set to 245. I exposed with the indication just showing on the paper. Aperture showed the paper as clipping when I imported the photo. I took a look at the same shot in LR4 after swapping. It did not show clipping and reported the RGB levels as being around 95-96% in each channel, or around 245-246 or so on a scale from 0 to 255. As far as I'm concerned, LR4 delivers more dynamic range including into the highlight area.

    It also is superior to Aperture in a number of other areas including the range over which exposure adjustments can be made. It's correction for lateral chromatic aberration is much better than Aperture's, and it's correction for purple or green fringing also much easier. It offers perspective correction for keystoning which Aperture does not.

    The controls for processing images are different to those in Aperture and it took me a while to get the hang of the differences and to become comfortable adjusting things in LR4. Having done that, I'm happier using LR4 and I can get results I regard as at least equivalent to what I got in Aperture, and usually better, much easier now in LR4 than I did in Aperture. There's a bit of a learning curve but I'm extremely glad I made the switch.

    What do I miss from Aperture? The tie in between Aperture and iTunes makes exporting photos to my iPad a little more difficult but having learnt how to do that, and exporting at a fixed resolution rather than letting iTunes handle the settings behind the scenes with no control on my part, I think I get better results doing that now as well. If you're used to streaming your photos in Aperture to your TV or elsewhere using iTunes and an Apple TV or some other device, you may run into some problems because you're moving out of the "Apple ecosphere". I also think that Apple's file management in Aperture is slightly better than what LR4 offers, and it's taken me some time to feel comfortable with that, probably because I concentrated more on the processing side of things which is why I swapped.

    You need to be aware that while you can move your RAW files to LR4, your processing changes will not move with the files. LR cannot read Aperture's editing records and even if it could, it uses different algorithms and approaches and could not render them anyway. If you're using a managed database in Aperture (RAW files stored in the Aperture database) you'll need to export them to a folder structure (what Aperture calls a referenced library) and then import that library into LR's catalog. If you like you can reprocess previous images in LR4 or you will still be able to access them in Aperture along with the editing you did there. When you import new images into that folder structure using LR so they show in the LR catalog, they will not automatically show in Aperture. You're going to have to import them separately into Aperture if you want to be able to access them there as well but if you're going to swap from Aperture to LR there's no point in doing that because you'll be doing your processing in LR rather than Aperture and there's no way of getting processing from either application to the other unless you export a processed file in TIFF or JPEG format. Neither application can see or work with the other's non-destructive processing changes.

    I'm a long term Apple user (over 20 years) and I like Apple hardware and software. I was quite happy with Aperture but LR4 offered a couple of features I really wanted and Apple didn't seem like it was going to offer a significant upgrade to Aperture and there's still no word of one. I'm happy I made the change and I can't see myself going back to Aperture even if Apple does offer an upgrade unless they really put out something extremely special.
  3. mistermark

    mistermark Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 16, 2012
    Many thanks David for your detailed response and in particular for confirming the highlight recovery point based on your experiment. On the basis of what you've said, I'll make the switch.
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