Aperture 2.0 Review

Test Hardware:

MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz

  • 2GB RAM
  • 250GB 5400 RPM HDD
  • OS X 10.5.5

System Requirements:

  • Mac Pro
  • MacBook Pro
  • MacBook Air
  • MacBook
  • Mac mini with an Intel Core Solo or Duo processor
  • iMac with a 1.8GHz or faster Power PC G5 or Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • Power Mac G5 with a 1.6GHz or faster PowerPC G5 processor
  • 15-17 inch PowerBook G4 with a 1.25GHz or faster PowerPC G4 processor

 

Interface

The Aperture interface was always good, but it suffered from palette clutter. The main changes the 2.0 interface reduce the amount of visible panels needed to work effectively. There are now three tabs at the left of the main window which let you concentrate on the main types of work with your images. The Projects panel tab helps organize your library, the Metadata tab lets you tag and batch-edit metadata, and the Adjustments panel is for image editing and filtering.

1-newtabs

2-metadata_tab

3-adjustments_tab

Not much has changed for each panel, which is fine since they worked well to begin with; they are just less jammed into one big cluster of dialogs that takes valuable screen real estate away from your images. For those like me who are deeply offended by having to click with the mouse, hitting the W key will alternate between these three tabs. If you want to work in full-screen mode and have a floating Adjustments HUD, you can still do that, only now the tabbed panel is carried through to the floating HUD, which used to just contain the Adjustments panel:

4-floatinghud

This simplification of the Aperture interface was needed and I think it goes a long way towards curing the “where is that thing and what is its shortcut key?” issue that plagued the original UI. I find the new interface more intuitive than the different working modes that Lightroom uses, but I still find the UI text too small. If you’re working on a 15″ MBP, navigating the disorienting, miniature save dialog, tiny contextual menus, and white-on-gray type of the floating HUD can be annoying.

5-tinysavedialog

It’s better on a 24″ LCD, but many photographers do quick tweaks on set with a laptop, so it’s fair to say that this is a valid issue. Also, Aperture only has gray widgets for the windows.

I know about Apple’s motivation and “perceived color” but it’s as if Apple wants to set its products apart from the competition by doing things that are against its own interface guidelines. It just smacks of bad form, and if it was Microsoft Word that was doing this, I’m sure it would cause a Mac blog meltdown. Apple should be holding itself up to its own standards here.

All in all, Aperture scores a 9.5 on 10 I will definitely be using this photo editor instead of iPhoto 08.

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