Summary: This imaging work-flow application isn't the Holy Grail many hoped it would be, but Apple Aperture could make life easier for photographers who need to sort through large numbers of photographs quickly and efficiently.
Pros: Excellent sorting and organizing tools; very fast on the right hardware; smooth work flow from one task to another; attractive interface.
Cons: Requires high-end system for optimal results; closed architecture; all images stored in single, monolithic library; subpar interaction with other applications.
Summary: This raw work-flow application isn't the Holy Grail many hoped it would be, but Apple Aperture 1.5 could make life easier for photographers who need to cull, retouch, and output large numbers of photographs quickly and efficiently.
Pros: Excellent retouching tools in a streamlined interface; delivers great results; integrated color management.
Cons: No Windows version; relatively steep hardware requirements; limited Apple support options; restrictive file-management system; no curves view or editor.
Conclusion: For under $80, Apple's Aperture gets you capable pro-level photo workflow and editing software for your iPhoto library.
Pros: Clear interface. Wide raw camera file support. Good organizational tools, including face recognition and geo-location. No import needed to use iPhoto library. Excellent output options, including soft proofing. Support for iCloud Photo Stream and MacBook with Retina display. Good value for money.
Cons: Weak noise and chromatic aberration correction. Minimal video editing. No geometry correction tools. Mac-only.
Conclusion: Aperture 3 is undoubtedly a good bit of software with some excellent features added to the last incarnation. However, it is hard to see many professional photographers and enthusiasts switching from Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop to go through the hassle of learning another software package of a type that's notoriously complicated to get to grips with. Naturally, it's worth upgrading if you're using the previous version already.
Pros: Effects brushes with edge detection work very well plus welcome additions of Faces and Places from iPhoto
Cons: Not easy to get to grips with and often frustrating to navigate around; some superfluous features
Conclusion: If you work on a Windows system, the choice between Lightroom and Aperture is easy; since there's no Windows version of Aperture, your choice is made for you. On a PowerPC G5 or G4-based Mac, Lightroom's less demanding system requirements make it the more attractive alternative. But what if you have all the horsepower a tower chassis can contain? The answer is still the more-efficient Lightroom.
Pros: No Windows version, Relatively steep hardware requirements, Limited Apple support options, Restrictive file-management system, No curves view or editor
Cons: Excellent retouching tools in a streamlined interface, Delivers great results, Integrated colour management