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Thread: What am I missing????

  1. #1
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    What am I missing????

    Hi all, I own Photoshop CS5 and run it on a MAC. That being said I have heard all the comments on Aperture 3 and Lightroom 3 and figured I must be missing something so I downloaded the 30 day trial of Aperture 3. Aperture 3 has a few neet tricks but as I see it it essentially is a rewrap of Adobe Bridge and camera RAW with the option to sent a shot to CS5 to edit if necessary. And it seems to have a better file management system.

    I am no expert with PP digital images and have been essentially a film guy who coverts his color positives to digital in a film scanner with some basic editing also of various digital images from some of my other cameras.

    Am I missing something with this Aperture 3 that can't be done in my CS5? Do you all feel that there are advantages in running both CS5 and Aperture 3. The $200 to add Aperture 3 is no big deal if it does things for me that CS5 can't but if it is just a weaker post processing version of CS5 with a file management system then I can't see wasting the money on it.

    I just loaded Camera Raw 6.2 which is a beta version so I can edit Sony NEX 5 RAW images in PS CS5 and am also doing an online course to better understand CS5 and it's in's and out's.

    Thanks in advance for your comments and wisdom on this issue. I will greatly appreciate your feedback.

  2. #2
    Senior Member kevinparis's Avatar
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    Re: What am I missing????

    Aperture and Lightroom both set out to offer in one software package, the ability to quickly capture, process, catalogue and deliver your images.

    They were designed to replace the fragmented workflow that many photographers were using where they processed their RAW files in one application into even bigger TIFF files that they then edited in Photoshop (which was designed as a graphics art tool as opposed to dedicated photographic tool). Cataloging and file management was left to other software or individuals ability to keep track of all your files. Building a web gallery involved yet another application, as would creating a book.

    Aperture and Lightroom offer a one stop solution that handles all of this. One huge advantage of both programs is the fact that once the raw file is imported, it is never touched. When you make adjustments in Aperture/Lightroom, they read the raw file and display it on screen with the adjustment you made in realtime. Only when you go to export or print does it actually create a file.

    A raw file is say 12Mb - take that into Photoshop and it becomes a 50Mb TIFF file as does every version you save from Photoshop

    In Aperture each variation of your image takes up only a few K of information. and all the file management is handled for you.

    Aperture and lightroom were designed for photographers, and offer a very efficient way of working. Photoshop still offers some advantages when you want to work with layers and do deep photo retouching, but truthfully 99% of what most people do with images can be achieved in Aperture/Lightroom quicker and cheaper

    Just my thoughts

    K

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    Re: What am I missing????

    Kevin has nailed it I think. I would simply re-emphasize the file cataloging abilities of both programs. It's hard to tell from your post if you're dealing with dozens of images or hundreds. But for most digital shooters, it doesn't take long to amass thousands of files. Being able to categorize and find them quickly is extremely valuable and PS doesn't do that.

    The various software iterations since the first introduction of these programs have added more and more image processing capabilities to the point where many find they rarely need anything else to process their images.

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    Re: What am I missing????

    There are four main processes in the digital workflow after capture; raw conversion, localized edits, output and cataloguing/storage. Photoshop excels at localized edits, but many folks find it a difficult software and prefer simpler, less specific localized editing attractive -- hence the success of software like LR and Aperture in the editing department. But PS cannot catalog well at all, which is where most of these other options excel.

    All that said, I agree the specialized softwares are not in the same league as the combo of using the best quality raw converter and then a dedicated image editing program like Photoshop for more specific local edits, then finally some cataloguing option. Of course that is likely to be changing sooner than later for a certain raw converter
    Jack
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    Re: What am I missing????

    Thank you all for the feedback on this and it did put this program trial into a different light. I never considered the smaller file sizes in the picture using Aperture 3 and that would have to be a plus over time. I am sure the file management system is faster and more organized than my boxes of slides or notebooks of DVD's

    You all have convinced me to take a much different look at this program during this 30 day trial. Thanks again!

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    Re: What am I missing????

    have fun jim - and if there are any questions don't hesitate to ask.

    As an example of how I work with Aperture i have a short 3 minute video that shows how I do my B/W conversions in Aperture - it might give you a little insight on how to work with the app

    http://vimeo.com/13075833

    cheers

    Kevin

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    Re: What am I missing????

    I will toss one more component into the mix.....it is on the original file downloading and set-up. Like a lot of shooters, I usually cannot wait to get the files off the cards and into folders, even backing them up immediately. But the one thing that I was overlooking was the ability to add all the important details to stay with each image. Once you start importing the RAWs into Aperture or Lightroom or Bridge/PS, it is usually only then that you may take the time to add the critical IPTC data (copyright info, contact info, captions, object names, places, etc.), and most of that either stays in the app library, like it does in Aperture until you export the master or a version, or an XMP file may be created that needs to travel with the image to keep things complete. (I mention this as much with respect to going back to your original RAW files to say process them in some other app. The original downloaded files, if immediately copied to an archive folder also, will only have the original file name, and if you change things to stuff you work on, you may never be able to find those originals again, or at least not without some work, and then the metadata will most likely not be with the archived versions as it might be with working copies. Or, in one case I have had, the working and back-up files got trashed on a hard drive. I went to the archive to retrieve the originals to start again. Files were there, but I then had to recreate all the associated metadata again.)

    When it first came out, Photo Mechanic was mainly a high speed viewer/sorter for me, and I never really appreciated many of the other features. The app has evolved in some very serious ways that I have found to be really helpful. For example, if you use PM as your download/ingestion app, it allows you to place all the IPTC info you need into the file, while also renaming the files to whatever scheme your organization scheme needs, and it can create an immediate back-up copy of things stored to yet another file, so no more copying of folders of files yet again for back-up. I just started to use Photo Mechanic again, mainly to help me reorganize and input important IPTC data on tens to hundreds of thousands of image files from years past. (Yeah, I changed my naming convention to make things more readily identifiable, and not just the file folder name. Serious overhaul.) What I became convinced of after doing this is just how valuable getting all of that important info onto the image files at the start really is, and I am now using it as part of my workflow routine. The good part is that when I go to import stuff into Aperture, all of the stuff is there, rather than using the Aperture internal metadata editor to add stuff. PM is way faster at doing this at its ingestion. Same would hold true for importing files into LR or Bridge or even C1. No more worry if I decide to start using a different processing app or routine. The important data and even keywords are now with the RAW files no matter where they may be used or go. So while I presently use and really like Aperture today, should something change later, all of my original files, and any post-processed files from them will have the key information already there.

    That may not matter to some folks, but I have found it really useful as new apps and workflows come into play. (I was a longtime Bridge/ACR/PS workflow person, then migrated to C1 plus PS, but have been an Aperture user from its inception. Only in this latest version does it really feel more complete for doing many things really well, including conversions of RAW files. My only addition at this point is Photo Mechanic on the front end to get all of the critical metadata and naming done at the time files are downloaded into storage/archive folders, and then picked up by whatever app I may want to use from that point on.)

    Cannot express how important it is for cataloging to get all the key info with the image files at the start, now that I am going back and changing/adding things years later. PM is making that entire process very easy also. No affiliation, but definitely worth checking out, especially if one has not yet settled on a preferred workflow or routine apps for processing and post-processing work. All of your product will have the pertinent info with every version or iteration of things you make from that point forward.

    LJ
    Last edited by LJL; 11th August 2010 at 07:56.

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    Re: What am I missing????

    LJ

    In response to that , Aperture 3 does seem to offer pretty comprehensive options to rename, back up and add custom Metadata at the point of import, plus the export master options does allow you to include the IPTC data in the file or as an sidecar or indeed not include it at all.

    I take the point that nothing though is written to the file at the point of import -which I think you are implying is what happens with photomechanic but I suppose that is down to the underlying philosophy of Aperture of not touching the master file ever.

    cheers
    K

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    Re: What am I missing????

    Hi Jim..
    I'm going to start by asking a question:

    When you use Aperture are you then exporting the files to a .tiff or .jpg?

    Because if you are, then you're missing the point.

    Kevin's post is excellent, but many people I've seen first using Aperture or Lightroom use them the same way as they used PS/Bridge.

    When I was using C1 and PS that's what I did, with a folder for saved, modified tiffs, one for filed to print, one for web sized files and another for thumbnails. Together with the original raw that was 5 copies of each image. Of course, I had actions to do this, so it wasn't too much of a chore at first. But it was a nightmare if I wanted to change anything after.

    Nowadays there is just the raw original file. I only export for a specific purpose (whether it's a client or the website). Then I delete them. It makes handling data and making changes so much easier- , not to mention the saving in disk space!

    Just this guy you know

  10. #10
    Senior Member kevinparis's Avatar
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    Re: What am I missing????

    good point jono - with Aperture there is only one file per image.....and your backup of course - and it will even do that for you.

    K

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    Re: What am I missing????

    Kevin,
    All that you say is correct, and I am not implying that Aperture is not an excellent tool for all the work. My point was that if something happened and you could not get the files exported from Aperture, or needed to access them from some other app, the critical information may not be associated with them. I am not sure how Photo Mechanic works entirely, but I believe it uses the existing fields of the RAW files and just inputs values to them (appended somehow). You have the option of that or writing an XMP sidecar file if you choose instead.

    I am agreeing with you about the power of Aperture and just how much stuff you can do with it and within it. No argument there. I just have grown to appreciate how important some of that metadata is to have on or with the file from the start, especially if going into archive right away. Just imagine pulling an old hard disk or grabbing a DVD from archive, finding a whole bunch of RAW files, but little other information with them. That is most likely the situation many folks will face. Now, if you are really diligent, you import the files into Aperture, do all the metadata work, and then export all the master files with the metadata immediately to an archive storage folder/disk so you have that back-up to store offsite or wherever as needed. Problem I have, and I am sure I am not alone, is that once I get to working on stuff, I tend to not think about creating the critical back-ups. Yes, I do back-up all the Aperture Libraries, and do have back-up copies of the referenced files, but until I changed my workflow, those referenced files did not have the metadata on/with them. Now they do, so if I really get in a jam, or decide to use some completely different processing app, I do not have to first export the master file from Aperture. I can just go to it directly in my storage and have all the info already there.

    I really do not see it as anything other than being more thorough and flexible for alternative uses, and not having to work back through the app, like Aperture to get things out. I have also found that by doing the front-end work, once the storage disk gets indexed by Spotlight, I can then enter search criteria there to help me find files that may be stored on bare drives that are not opened as Aperture Libraries. Just an alternative/supplementary method that seems to make the asset management more robust and effective.

    LJ

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    Re: What am I missing????

    Jono,
    That is really one of the best features about Aperture. You have only the one RAW file, and the various versions you may need or want for whatever purpose take up almost no additional space and are all kept together. As for making Web galleries, etc., I too used to create all the sized JPEGs that got posted, waste of space and time. Now I just find the files I want to use in Aperture and instantly create/export whatever size I need to use just when I need it.

    And your point about having to store all the variations is also critical. Portraits are a place where this tool really excels. Instead of having 3,4,5 or more retouch tiff or PSD files, each rather huge in size, there is now just one RAW and as many versions as you want/need, all managed perfectly. And if you need to make just any adjustment, it is easy, and does not require hoping you created smart layers in PS or recreating the entire huge layered files over and over. Best way to work on stuff.

    LJ

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    Re: What am I missing????

    good points LJ - your original post made me go and look again at the whole metadata thing in Aperture and in doing so got a better understanding of what is happening.

    the whole digital thing is a bit of a two edged sword at times - you have to pay attention to stuff you wouldn't have worried about in film days - like who kept backup negatives or slides? ... and you knew always where they were - usually in the filing cabinet or pile of old paper boxs on the shelf.... they were tangible and visible.... digital is invisible and think that makes people more unwary to the point of paranoia sometimes.

    A big plus for Aperture and lightroom is that they actually do allow you to spend more time taking photos and less time doing the digital equivalent of herding cats

    cheers

    K

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    Re: What am I missing????

    Kevin nailed it.

    I can't speak to Aperture, but I've been using Lightroom for a few years and it's kept me out of Photoshop for the most part. The goal is to bring all of your photos into Lightroom, labeled and keyworded appropriately, and do the sort of image processing that most images need right there.

    So a workflow might work like this:
    • Take lots of photos. Say you come back from a wedding or a multi-day photo trip with 1,000 images.
    • Import those photos into Lightroom with your appropriate keywords. Something like "Dick and Jane Wedding Savannah Georgia Summer" or comparable.
    • Do most of your gross image manipulations. Adjust white balance, exposure, tweak fill light and blacks, brightness and contrast, boost clarity a bit if appropriate, adjust cropping, etc. The nice things to keep in mind here are that the adjustments you make to one image can be copied and pasted to other images fairly quickly, and all adjustments are non-destructive.
    • This is part of the above, but if you have camera and/or lens profiles that you would like to apply, you can have these corrections applied as well.
    • Quickly edit your photos so you can spend the rest of the time on the important ones. You can flag (P) or reject (X) photos, give them number ratings (1-5) and/or color labels(6-9, plus purple), etc. This means you can quickly remove images that don't make the cut, rate the best ones, and color them by category -- pre-ceremony, ceremony, post-ceremony, reception, family portraits/groupings, or whatever you like.
    • More detailed edits can be applied as appropriate. B&W conversions and split toning are simple and very visual, and of course these can also be copied across sets of images as appropriate, or saved as presets for easy re-application later. Tweaking the tone curve and applying healing/cloning brushes are also pretty fast. Lightroom 3 is also pretty good with noise reduction with solid sharpening features as well, minimizing the reason to move to PS for these features.
    • With the above, I should also mention that Lightroom can automatically stack images taken within a certain time period, so that (say) every image taken within 1 minute gets thrown into the same stack, so you can choose the best photo of the bunch. The comparison feature is also nice here, as zooms are coordinated between the two images so you can easily compare facial expressions, for instance. Choose the favorite image, compare the next one, swap so the new image is the favorite, compare to the next in line, etc.
    • Creating slideshows is fairly easy as well, though you likely don't need this.
    • Collections are great for future use. If you keep going to Half Dome, for instance, then not only is it easy to search for "Half Dome" and find all of your images, or all of the images that are keyworded with Half Dome and have a rating of 3 or greater, or whatever, but you can create a collection that can be accessed in the future. The wife and I are decorating the walls right now with images from past vacations, so I've got a collection called "walls" that we made which makes it easy to find in the future, even though we're pulling from scanned slides and digital captures that span a decade.
    The list of what you can do goes on and one. Want to soften an image that's deserving of a little less harshness? Pull the clarity slider to the left and you've got something that's not Softar quality, but it's a nice enhancement of the image. Discover you had dust on the sensor for all of those early-morning shots last week? Correct them on one using the healing brush and apply the fix to all the images.

    You get the idea. The goal is to be a one-stop shop for most of the photo tools photographers need, and to make the changes destructively. If you need to go into PS for something more complex, then export to PS and when you're done the corrected image is sitting there in Lightroom as a copy so it and the original are accessible.

    If it works for you, then great. Some find that they're more comfortable in PS and Bridge though, so it's not for everyone.

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    Re: What am I missing????

    Guy's thanks again for all the feedback it has been really helpful.

    Jono, Yes that is exactly what I was doing ... working the pic then saving it somewhere else as a JPEG. Primarily because my Aperture 3 is a trial program and I wasn't sure I was going to buy the actual program so I didn't want to lose any files. From the feedback to this post I am pretty sure I am going to go ahead and buy the actual program.

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    Re: What am I missing????

    I got the full version today and installed it with the ID activation code. I then loaded my Iphoto library of 3200+ photos to it keeping the files in IPhoto instead of using 20 gigs and loading them totally to Aperture. The issue I ran across is each time I opened aperture it worked processing all the photos and slowed the editing way down during this 30 minute process. Is this because the originals are still in iPhoto rather than in Aperture?

    It would use 20 gigs to load the iPhoto library completely in Aperture or how I did it just 2 gig but if it has to process the 3k + library each time it is kind of self defeating. I have the hard drive space for the photos in aperture but left them in iPhoto for my iPhone sync more than anything. I need to check if iPhone will sync to aperture instead of iPhoto.

    Do you all think the way I saved the library is the reason for the processing of the library each time I open it? I tired of it running slow and deleted the pics and albums from aperture and it became fast again. Does your aperture 3 programs run slow once you transferred and saved the library in aperture completely?

    Thanks in advance for your feedback on this.....

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    Re: What am I missing????

    Jim,
    Not sure where the problems are occurring for you. I have never used iPhoto, so I never had to do that sort of conversion or import. Couple of things you might look into. First, do you have "Face Recognition" on or off? If on, it is a huge processing hog. Another thing to look at are your settings for the "previews" that Aperture creates. If the settings there are for high resolution full-size, rather than sizing to fit your max screen size, that will also slow things down until all the images are imported and previews are created.

    To your last question, no, Aperture does not run slowly at all once you have things imported. It is actually quite fast, and I have it set to build previews at 1680 x 1680 for my 15" MBP hi-res screen, and near highest quality. It does the processing in the background so that you can do other things, but I have found it best to let it just import the images and do its thing processing them. I do not import into Aperture's Library the full file, but a referenced file, leaving the originals where I first stored them. I have many Libraries that I can quickly switch among as long as they are connected. The 3200 images you mention is not all that large for a Library, so it might be good to check the settings for the previews and to turn Face Recognition off it you really are not using that feature, because both with suck up some resources. Finally you did not mention what kind a machine you are running on. Although Aperture works on most Macs, those with a bit more horsepower and at least 4GB of RAM, plus a good GPU are the ones that shine.

    One last thing that I have also found annoying, and might slow some things down is if Spotlight is doing an indexing procedure or something. That does use some CPU and other resources, including making the HDD work harder for a bit, so some read/write operations may be a bit slower. Once all of those things have been checked and cleared, Aperture will run pretty fast without issues.

    LJ

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    Re: What am I missing????

    Thanks LJ, I checked and faces was on and I also checked my RAM and I am only at 1gig so I guess I am going to have to add some. My desktop is a large screen MAC/intel running 10.5.8.

    I went through the preferences and turned everything I don't need off to stop things from running in the background.

    So from what I gather from your post you file your originals outside Aperture and edit them in Aperture? Then move the edited pics to where you want to use them? Is that correct? Kinda like I used PS CS5 then ....

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    Re: What am I missing????

    Jim,
    Sounds like you are on the borderline for performance with the 1GB of RAM, but it will work, just taking a bit longer ;-)

    I store all my originals in a separate folder that I can access with any app, if I want. Then I import things as "referenced files" into Aperture. That leaves the originals right where they were, and as long as I am connected to that folder, I have full utility of all functions, but I do not have the files stored in Aperture' Library (like what iPhoto does also). I set the import functions to "Store Files in Their Current Location", or whatever that setting is. Aperture then creates "pointers" to those files, so that whenever you open it, the files are "live", but you are not filling the Library with the files, and requiring more work to sort things later. That is also where the Preferences setting for "preview" size and quality come into play. Aperture will create thumbnails and previews of the images that it stores in its Library, along with any adjustments, metadata, etc., as you create stuff. That allows you to quickly move through Projects filled with images, add keywording, and some other things, without actually having to load each file. Whenever you do want to work on a file, it just writes a small file containing the instructions for the adjustments you want to make, thus taking very little additional space.

    That gets to the other part of your question. Whenever you create a new Version for an image, Aperture stores all the info about changes sizings, crops, filters, etc., written as the instructions of what is applied to the original or RAW file. No need to export those until you need to use them, so no need to create lots of copies of things like you were doing in PS. So whenever you go back to an image in the Library, you can select which version you like, make additional changes to it or to yet another Version that you save, email it, print it, create a Web gallery, create a book, create a slideshow, etc., and you never have to make and store all the various copies and iterations of things. They are stored as small instruction files in the Aperture Library for you. Some files I have 6-7 different Versions (B/W, dark sky, face retouch, false color, tight crop, etc.), and it takes up almost no additional storage space, whereas in PS, each of those might be a very large PSD or TIFF file.

    With the relatively low number of images you are working with (3200+), you can leave those on your main drive, in a separate folder if you like, and just reference them in Aperture so everything is accessible. I have hundreds of thousands of image files from my shooting, so I started to create separate hard drives with the original files broken out by year and subject (my revised organization I was mentioning). I then create a new Aperture Library that I then point to those folders of files, import them as referenced files, and go from there. I just looked at my 2010 Spring Polo Library, for example. The original RAW files are several hundred GBs. The Aperture Library of referenced files that has many Versions, books, slideshows, print order sizes, etc., is only about 6 GB. So I can keep that 6 GB Library on my laptop hard drive and see all the images as full-screen previews. Whenever I need to work on one of those images, I just need to have the drive with the original files connected, and away I go.

    That is the one real beauty about how this app works (Lightroom is doing things similarly, but I do not use it, so cannot really discuss it more than that). You can have tons of RAW files that you never really touch. Aperture processes them on the fly as needed, creating the necessary small instruction set files for the adjustments, and just storing those instead of completely processing a file, maybe with many layers or changes, and having to store each of those iterations separately.

    Hope that rambling explanation helps a bit.

    LJ

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    Re: What am I missing????

    LJ Thank you so much... that cleared up a lot for me and has made me rethink my digital work flow.

    I just ordered a 4gb DDR2 SO-DIMM 800mhz memory package that should be here in 7-10 days. I called my local Apple Store first on this to get the memory but they no longer stock DDR2 memory just DDR3. My machine is a iMac 8,1 bought April 09 .... seem's like a mighty new machine to have no stock store items already but that is another topic. Anyway they referred me to the phone apple store and they wanted $200 for 4 gig's of memory. This seemed high and I researched it at a computer supply store and was right.... I got it there for $100 less total with free shipping. Could of even paid less at some online supply houses but I prefer to buy from a brick and mortar store when possible.

    Thanks again for all the assistance....... hard to teach old dogs new tricks

    I also stopped by Borders for a Aperture 3 instructional course book so as to keep my dumb questions to a minimum

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    Re: What am I missing????

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DE View Post
    LJ Thank you so much... that cleared up a lot for me and has made me rethink my digital work flow.

    I just ordered a 4gb DDR2 SO-DIMM 800mhz memory package that should be here in 7-10 days. I called my local Apple Store first on this to get the memory but they no longer stock DDR2 memory just DDR3. My machine is a iMac 8,1 bought April 09 .... seem's like a mighty new machine to have no stock store items already but that is another topic. Anyway they referred me to the phone apple store and they wanted $200 for 4 gig's of memory. This seemed high and I researched it at a computer supply store and was right.... I got it there for $100 less total with free shipping. Could of even paid less at some online supply houses but I prefer to buy from a brick and mortar store when possible.

    Thanks again for all the assistance....... hard to teach old dogs new tricks

    I also stopped by Borders for a Aperture 3 instructional course book so as to keep my dumb questions to a minimum
    Buying RAM from Apple is akin to taking half the money you pay and shredding it.

    I just ordered 8G RAM for a new Mac Mini: from Apple it would have cost $500 to add that to the order, from Other World Computing I bought it for $219.

    Apple is not the place to go to buy hard drives or RAM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Re: What am I missing????

    LJ, as a follow up I received my 4 gig memory kit today and installed it. No more slow processing issue's with Aperture .... fact is it is smoking fast now

    Thanks again LJ

  23. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    1,513
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    Re: What am I missing????

    You are welcome, Jim. While I have 8GB RAM in my MBP, I rarely see Aperture taking more than 4GB for its use, so the 4GB you have now is probably going to be a very nice operating size for it, as long as you are not also running lots of other stuff.

    And with the other adjustments (Faces "off") and properly sized previews, things will be a lot faster to work with once loaded in. (I just finished some older cataloging, and have data bases for two of my separate 2007 ventures....polo, which has 85 Projects with 21,469 images in it, and equestrian, which has 15 projects with 21,025 images. Things zip along nicely, even with referenced files, so you can grow these things pretty large ;-)

    LJ

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