Last week, Apple announced they are discontinuing Aperture and iPhoto when OS X Yosemite ships this fall. Photos for the Mac will replace iPhoto as the main photos application. This will allow users to use the same application on both the iOS and Mac. Both iPhoto and Aperture will be compatible with OS X Yosemite. For current iPhoto and Aperture users, where should they move their photos to?
For iPhoto users, the path is clear. When Photos is released in early 2015, Apple will provide an easy migration path. Like the iWorks suite, Photos for the Mac may not have all the features of iPhoto at release, but Apple will work to add them in time. When Photos has the right feature set, iPhoto users can easily switch.
For Aperture users, the path is more confusing. Apple will be providing an easy path from Aperture to Photos just like iPhotos. The feature set of Photos is not known. It looks like it is a replacement for iPhotos and not Aperture. Aperture users will want more control of their photo processing workflow and Photos may not provide that. For now users can keep using Aperture and wait to see what Photos will look like first and then decide if it meets theirs needs or not. For those who want to change now, there are alternatives.
Lightroom is the most popular alternative right now. It is the number one photo management tool on both the Mac and Windows and is $135 at Amazon right now. It has almost everything that Aperture has plus a lot more. The big problem with Lightroom is Adobe. Adobe has moved their applications to the Creative Cloud, or a subscription model. Right now, you can get Photoshop, Lightroom for the desktop, and Lightroom for the iOS for $10 a month. There is no guarantee that will not go up though. The boxed Lightroom copy from Amazon is just Lightroom for the desktop.
Another alternative is Capture One, a professional image editing application from Phase One. Phase One makes high end medium format cameras. Phase One at this time is not going to a subscription model. Capture One costs $300, but many argue that Capture One is better at processing RAW images than Lightroom. Capture One may have superior editing tools, but it does lack many photo management tools that are in both Lightroom and Aperture.
Aperture is going away, but there are some great alternatives for Users who want more control of their photos than just Photos for the Mac. Capture One and Lightroom are just two examples. Another option would be to combine multiple applications. For example, users could use Photos for the Mac for photo organization and Capture One for RAW conversion. It all depends on what Apple decides to do with Photos for the Mac.
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