Mourning The End Of Aperture

Mourning the pending loss of Aperture - by David R Beebe
The rumors are true, the end of Apple's support of Aperture is near. I signed up to beta test OS X 10.3 and with it the first version of Photos which is to replace both Aperture and iPhoto. It does so with some significant limitations. The only good news here is that when Aperture eventually stops working on some future OS X, Photos will still be able to import those libraries and due to their age, additional edits are unlikely needed. This is better than exporting RAW masters and Versions separately into Lightroom.

The first loss I ran into is that Aperture's star ratings are converted into Photos keywords. That alone breaks my workflow of rating my travel photos: 1 star to keep for painting reference use, 2 stars is for those images of people to share with them, 3 stars makes it onto my website, 4 stars makes it onto the eventual travel video and youtube, 5 stars makes it onto Fine Art America to see prints. Unrated images are deleted from the library. In aperture, I just type the 1 to 5 numeric keys to add a star rating as I speed through my images. This equivalent is not available in Photos. Unfortunately, this is not the end of the limitations.

In my mind, this downward trend in desktop functionality started when Apple decided that the default mouse movement would mimic a finger on a tablet and not continue with 3 decades of mousing tradition. Apple has been working hard ever since to turn the desktop experience into one of a very large tablet but one without a touchscreen of course. That was left to Microsoft Windows OS systems. We've also seen what Apple has done to Final Cut Pro and its suite of apps over time. I am not sure why Apple bothered to introduce the iMac 5k Retina this year when it plans to discard one of its pillar professional applications.

My initial impression of Photos is that it is a pretty browser-like version of iPhoto with all of the bones of Aperture removed. Editing controls are simplistic. Gone are all of the major controls for Exposure, Enhance, Curves, Highlights & Shadows. Gone is the ability to edit with an external editor such as Photoshop or plug-ins like Nik (now owned by Google). Most retouching options are gone including dodging, burning, spot sharpening, etc. I can't imagine any serious photographer moving forward with this application. I will continue to use Aperture for as long as I can. At that point, I will archive those libraries into Photos.