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Aperture dwindling in popularity?

updated 11:10 am EDT, Tue September 22, 2009

Fraction of Lightroom's audience, says Adobe

Apple's Aperture workflow software is losing significant traction with professional photographers, claims Adobe. Citing data gathered by the research firm InfoTrends, Adobe notes that in a 2009 survey, only 12.5 percent of photographers with Macs reported using Aperture for RAW files; by contrast, Adobe's Lightroom software was nearly four times as popular, at 44.4 percent. The figures represent a widening gap, as in 2007, only 26.6 percent chose Lightroom and 14.3 percent chose Aperture.

Amongst all photographers the 2009 numbers change to 37 percent for Lightroom and 6.3 percent for Aperture, a disparity explainable by the lack of a PC port of Aperture. The Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in is a more popular option than either, at 57.9 percent; Adobe observes that in all cases, roughly 90 percent of photographers use Photoshop for image editing. Camera Raw's popularity has gradually slid from a 66.5 percent mark in 2007, a fact likely attributable to an increase in the use of workflow software in general.

by MacNN Staff



  1. jreades

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Several misleading points in here...

    First, Aperture is *not* an image editing program and I don't think that Apple ever claimed it was such. So I have Aperture and the CameraRaw plug-in installed because they do completely different things -- one enables me to manage my RAW files as a *library* (same is Lightroom) and make simple, non-destructive, basic adjustments, the other enables me to open files in Photoshop and make complex, sometimes-destructive, sophisticated adjustments.

    Second, Apple *has* really screwed up the game with Aperture. Aperture 2.0 was released in early 2008 and hasn't received a major refresh since then, so it is looking decidedly aged by software terms. When your consumer application (i.e. iPhoto) has features (e.g. facial recognition, geo-tagging) that aren't available for your pro application then it's really time to get on the ball and release an update. They haven't even offered a glimpse of an Aperture 3.0!

  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Get the message to Apple

    I like Aperture and have switched my entire workflow to it, but Aperture still can't do some basic critical workflow type things like running Auto Levels or Auto Exposure on multiple images.

    Apple has also been absolutely horrible in supporting Micro Four Thirds cameras. AFAIK, no Apple software supports any MFT RAW format out there and they've been around a year now.

    I've already started looking into what it's gonna take to switch over to Lightroom including switching all the plugin licenses and converting a 15000 image library over.

    Come on Apple, get back on the ball, Aperture came out with lots of hoopla but has since languished in obscurity. It's starting to feel like an orphaned product.

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Release and Neglect

    Apple kills me sometimes as far as their non-OS software offerings go.

    They release an application with amazing potential and then they simply neglect the software and move on to other things. Eventually the software is eclipsed by software from other developers. This has happened over and over and over!

    AppleWorks, ClarisCAD, MacPaint, MacWrite, MacWrite Pro, Claris Organizer...
    Now it's looking as though we can add Aperture to the list.

  1. QualleyIV

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Perhaps Apple is neglecting Aperture conscientiously. Not that I agree with it, but at the time Aperture was released, it was one of a very few applications of its kind. Now that Adobe has stepped up perhaps Apple doesn't see the need to continue to develop this part of the market. Think of it kind of in the same respect as Safari--Apple probably didn't really WANT to get into the browser market (not a whole lot of money to be made there), but they really HAD to do it in order to keep IE from making the Mac a second class citizen on the web. Just my speculation...

  1. jreades

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Stopgap

    It would helpful if they wanted to tell us that it was EOL then. That way I can switch over before spending any more time faffing about with an application that's never going to get a refresh. :-P


  1. weborican

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's Time for Aperture 3

    Read Derrick Story's take on this:

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Release and Neglect

    Bear in mind that they also don't aid themselves with their stupid insistence on secrecy. I guess on one hand you can never have 'vaporware' if you never promise anything, and people can't mock you for missing release dates if you never even mention a release until its ready to go. However, consumers/users like to know what's going on and where things are going. Especially with software that people use for their jobs.

    Apple buying Claris (or bringing them back into the fold, whatever you call it) was a stupid act that ended up killing a slew of good/great products. Claris Emailer - dead. Claris Organizer - dead. MacWrite/MacDraw/etc - Dead. AppleWorks fizzled for a version, but it then died to. Maybe if they didn't spend all their time trying to convert it to OpenDoc so Apple could have a program that used that 'great new paradigm!' that no one else was using...

    However, I would argue that MacPaint and MacWrite lived far longer lives than could be expected, and were really made so people would have something to do on their macs back in 1984.

    But don't limit this to software. Apple does a great job of making hardware and then letting it sit idle for who knows how long, making people wonder whether any updates are planned or are they going to kill the thing (for example, xRaid).

  1. legacyb4

    Joined: Dec 1969


    From Lightroom, to Aperture, now back again?

    I opted to try switching to Aperture at the beginning of the year but I'm starting to look over the fence again at Lightroom with it's up to date editing features. One of my original interests in switching was because I needed more than what iPhoto offered plus the easy integration with pushing photos to Apple TV & iPod directly from Aperture.

    I might have to look at moving back to Lightroom and using iPhoto as the photo gateway for ATV/iPod going forward though...

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Marketshare, shmarketshare

    Who cares about marketshare numbers? As long as there is a critical mass of Aperture users to keep Apple developing the product, I don't really care how many more people use Lightroom.

  1. Chris Hutcheson

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Well, it seems to me that market share would define whether or not there was a critical mass for Aperture.

    Release one of Aperture was a piece of c*** - so bad it was ludicrous, and probably one of Apple's worst releases. Subsequent releases were better, but still sluggish, compared to Lightroom. I didn't like Lightroom's modular setup at first, but not that I've used it for a while, and for my needs, it outclasses Aperture across the board. I doubt that'll change anytime soon.

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