Consumer vs Prosumer


As you can see in the screenshot I have two libraries made with Apple’s photo cataloguing and edition applications.One with iPhoto, the “consumer” application, and one with Aperture, the “prosumer” one.

You will be asking where is the interest on the screenshot.

Well, that both libraries contain exactly the same number of photos, faces, places, albums, folders and events.

I have not used the import from iPhoto feature of Aperture because even if it imports albums correctly it messes with duplicates and triplicates, that are mostly the causants of that 10 giga of difference.

In a professional camera, reflex, DSLR, or whatever you want to call it, you have two ways of taking a photo. In RAW, unprocessed bits from sensor to a file, or in JPEG (I will not explain what it is).

Does iPhoto support RAW? Officially it does, but in practice, it does not.

As soon as you drag a RAW photo to iPhoto, it will create a JPEG version of it (indeed, it is Mac OS X the one that does, that’s why I say iPhoto does not support RAW), so duplicating it.

If you drag an 8 megabyte RAW, iPhoto will create a 6 megabyte JPEG, so your photo is taking 14 megabytes. Bad idea...

But worse is if we configured the camera to take both formats, RAW and JPEG. Because then, iPhoto SHOWS two different photos (that, in reality, are exactly the same), and ALSO, creates the JPEG from the RAW.

That is, you drag an 8 megabyte RAW and an 1 megabyte JPEG, and iPhoto creates a 6 megabyte JPEG, having a total of 15 megabytes spent. (Not to count having to see al photos repeated).

If you put a RAW in Aperture, it works with it as is.If you put a RAW in Aperture alongside the JPEG created by the camera, Aperture works with both files as JUST ONE PHOTO. No more duplicates in album’s view.

So here we have one of the reasons why not to use iPhoto and spend the money on Aperture (note, that if you have not a reflex camera, but a pocket one, forget it, the most probable thing is that your camera does not even know what RAW is, and that you will see no sense in that or any of the following).

--- REASON 2 ---

The JPEG practically from their invention contain an internal tag that says ROTATE BY X DEGREES IN Y WISE, that so, if you have taken the photo rotating the camera. Professional cameras are able to automatically detect they are rotated and mark so the photos (incredible but true, and they have been doing so almost from first DSLR).

Mac OS X supports this tag, Finder shows the photo rotated, as does Preview and Quick Look.

Does iPhoto support it? NO!

If you drag a photo tagged so in iPhoto it creates a DUPLICATE, basically, the rotated photo.

So if you drag an 8 megabyte rotated RAW, as well as an 1 megabyte rotated JPEG, iPhoto will create two JPEGs, one of 6 megabytes (from the RAW, rotating it) and one of 2 megabytes (from the camera’s JPEG, rotating it). We actually are losing 8 megabytes.

Aperture understands and respects the tag.

If you choose a whole 300 photos album and click rotate, iPhoto will create 300 duplicates (with the appropriate lose of time while it does so).Aperture will tag 300 photos and will take a millionth of time that iPhoto (and will not grow your library to unexpected sizes).

--- REASON 3 ---

If we edit the photo, for any stupid thing, like, for example, putting on Sepia, iPhoto will CREATE A DUPLICATE.

Aperture stores a list of changes made on that photo, and when you want to access the edited one it will apply them to the only photo stored, the original one.

--- REASON 4 ---

We have one of those cute and small laptops with a 128 gigabyte SSD and we start to drag photos as the finger and camera stopped being separate things long time ago.That photos, plus system, applications, movies, music... oooops!!! hard drive full.

Now what?

You cannot continue using iPhoto as your library is in the boot hard drive, and there, it stays.

Well you can use tricks to move it, yes, TRICKS, iPhoto is not designed to do that.I moved my library with 56000 photos to a shared network folder and not taking in account that iPhoto started to behave slower than a 386 with Windows Vista 64 bits, it started to crash, corrupt photos and an endless list of problems.

With Aperture you simply grow the library to other hard disk, or, directly, you use it on another hard disk.

You can have only one library in multiple disks, separated different libraries, it is designed for that. NO PROBLEM!

--- REASON 5 ---

Hard disks broke, but I want to conserve my photos forever → BACKUPS.

Apple puts it easy, Time Capsule.

BUUUUUUUUT, I must copy everything (and I’m not talking about the whole user folder but all the iPhoto library), including duplicates, triplicates, quadplicates, and far familiars of the photos I’ve taken with the camera.

But I only want to store copy of the most important ones, not of the stupid photos I’ve taken that in reality, I don’t even know why I’m storing them.

Aperture allows you to save copy of just part of its library, and restore it with all the data (folders, albums, places, faces, etc, etc, etc), just that part.


Every user with more than 15000 photos in his/her iPhoto library must think about buying Aperture, not just yet for the infinite possibilities of editing and organization (sort photos by camera, lenses, focal distance, etc - I LOVE THEM -), but also for these five important reasons.

Or should I say, 15 reasons, 5 explained and 10 gigabytes 😉

Prosumer rlz!


  • iPhoto included in iLife, free with new Mac computers, 80€ if bought separately.
  • Aperture, 202€.
  • Solid State Drive of 128Gb and 1.8” (the one inside MacBook Air), 350€ (approx.)
  • Cost per giga: 2.75€ / giga
  • Lost gigas: approx 10 gigas
  • Lost money: 27.5€
  • Difference between iPhoto and Aperture: 122€ minus lost money: 94.5€

So Aperture it’s not so expensive at 94.5€ 😉


iPhoto is now 11,99 € on the Mac App Store and Aperture is 62,99 €.Difference now is 51 € minux lost money: 23,50 € 😉

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