This is feature comparison review of Aperture 3 vs Lightroom 3 (public beta 2). While it is not my intention to be overly favorable of Lightroom, my opinions reflect those of an Adobe Community Professional & Lightroom enthusiast. There are definitely things I like in Aperture. That being said, what follows are my thoughts & observations about both products. Keep in mind, Lightroom 3 has not been officially released, and the findings here will be updated when LR3 ships.
While suited to the same task, Aperture & Lightroom utilize different approaches to managing & adjusting images. This is apparent when viewing the layout of each program’s interface.
Aperture’s interface is divided into two primary areas–The Inspector & Viewer. The Inspector features three primary tabs for working with images–Library, Metadata & Adjustments. Images display in the Viewer in either a Grid, Filmstrip or Single Image view. The Viewer window remains constant when moving between Inspector tabs. The Inspector can be toggled on & off, and Aperture can be put into a full screen mode.
Lightroom’s interface is divided into modules coinciding with a digital workflow–Library, Develop, Slideshow, Print & Web. Within each module reside a left-side navigation panel, right-side adjustments panel, center image view area, and bottom film strip control. Images display in the center image area regardless of module, all panels can be toggled on & off individually, and Lightroom can be put into a full screen mode.
Comment – In terms of UI (user interface) I prefer Lightroom’s module approach. Having the UI align with the tasks at hand, leaves a lot of guesswork out for new users. I also prefer LR’s implementation of keyboard shortcuts. “C” for compare view makes more sense to me than OPT+O. Many of Lightroom’s keys have a root in the actual command.