PC users who want robust RAW workflow software with quality image processing have few options—in a relatively small field, Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom 3 is the standout choice. But Mac users have a compelling alternative: Apple’s Aperture 3.
Though the first version of Aperture was released before the first version of Lightroom in 2005, the two have been fighting it out ever since. Both appeal to photographers who do most of their shooting in RAW and want to use a single program for organization, RAW adjustments, and output.
Not only is Aperture, at $200 (direct), less expensive than the $300 Lightroom, it has more to offer DSLR shooters whose primary audience is their friends and family. Besides its great controls for making sophisticated edits of RAW files, it includes quick, built-in methods for making photo books, trimming video clips, and creating multimedia slide shows—all tools that Lightroom lacks.