7 Replies Latest reply: Feb 1, 2012 10:28 AM by Steve McRea
Steve McRea Level 1 (95 points)

I've been using iphoto for probably around 7 years. During which time I've experienced a couple of catastrophic library corruptions but was able to restore from backup. The most recent of which was today!


For me the safety of my photo library is probably the most important thing on my computer.


I'd like to hear opinions if it's a good idea to move to aperture. If I do it will be for photo organization and tools rather than photo editing. I do have a copy of Elements 10.


Thanks for the opinions in advance



iMac, Mac OS X (10.7.2), 16G of RAM, Pegasus R4
  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,945 points)

    Impossible to say, really.


    Believe it or not but iPhoto 11 uses the same database engine as Aperture 3, so it should be equally robust. It is certainly true that there are a lot less of the "Oh No iPhoto Lost All My Photos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" type posts on this forum - and a lot less exclamation marks too - but then it's reasonable to infer that many of the users here are more experienced users than on the iPhoto forum. That may account for the difference.


    Aperture is a much more powerful app than iPhoto and there is a learning curve. The opportunities for organising are more varied and flexible, but also more complex. It's much much better with Referenced Libraries.


    Aperture is geared to the Pro shooter who shoots high volumes and probably Raw. If you're shooting Jpeg and low volume it may be overkill. If you're a serious hobbyist it definitely has value. If you're taking snaps of the kid's birthday party to send to GrandMa it may be overkill. So it really depends on the kind of photographer that you are.


    The best thing to do is to download the free trial -




    import a few hunderd images and explore. The tutorials here




    are well worth a look too.


    Regardless of which you choose you will always need a good back up - or several...







  • 1 Open Loop Level 2 (350 points)

    Terence Devlin wrote:

    It's much much better with Referenced Libraries.



    I assume you mean Aperture is better than iPhoto with Referenced Libraries.


    Why is that?

  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    Hi Steve.  If the only reason to change from iPhoto is to avoid catastrophic failure of your database (such that you have to restore from a backup), then the move to Aperture is, imho, ill-advised.  As Terence mentions, the databases perform nearly identically in that regard.


    The idea that Aperture is an upgrade from iPhoto, or "like iPhoto on steroids", is misleading.  Aperture is a different program, orders of magnitude more powerful, and orders of magnitude more difficult to use.


    Two catastrophic corruptions in seven years of use is probably not bad performance.  Have you figured out what caused the most recent one?  This isn't the forum for discussing it, but I think your time would be better spent making your iPhoto installation more robust, as that seems to be your main (and only) concern.


    Of course, no matter what software you use (for any task), you should always back-up your data, and test your back-ups regularly.


    Good luck.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,945 points)

    I assume you mean Aperture is better than iPhoto with Referenced Libraries.


    Yes I do.  Because while you can create a Referenced Library in iPhoto you  have no tools to relocate the files afterwards - and when the files are on a different volume that's a very real problem. You can't import to another location with iPhoto, you need to get the files there first, then import to iPhoto. Deletions are  also multi-step operations.


    But I'm not beating up on iPhoto. It's a $15 app. It does handle Raw, and exactly the same Raws as Aperture with the same engine too, but with less Fine Control - think of the difference between iMovie and Final Cut.


    If you have a point and shoot, if you're a family snapper it's hard to beat with a managed Library. But it is limited and once you start to push the boundaries you realise that pretty fast. Pay more for Aperture and get more options.
















  • 1 Open Loop Level 2 (350 points)

    Thanks TD.


    Some people might think your signature is redundant.


    I assume it simply reflects your fault tolerant approach to your data retention.

  • léonie Level 10 (90,896 points)

    I whole heartedly agree with TD and Kirby, but I would like to elaborate a little on the learning curve required:


    But it is limited and once you start to push the boundaries you realise that pretty fast. Pay more for Aperture and get more options.

    iPhoto is very simple to use and intuitive:  you can use it without ever reading the manual. For each task there is only one way to do it, and it is quite  obvious how to do it. In Aperture there are many specific tools to do the same thing in different ways, and you have to configure Aperture before you can use it. You could compare iPhoto to a Swiss army knife - just one tool for each purpose - and Aperture 3 in comparison is a well stocked workroom with lots of special purpose machines, and you have to set up these machines, insert the correct bit into your drill etc., and you need to learn how to do it. The first year you will feel like a craftsman's apprentice. And like with any advanced tools, you have to learn how they work - for safety reasons -, because it easy to make mistakes - you would not trust your children with a power drill but maybe allow them to handle a swiss army knife.


    I used iPhoto for about a year, and was quite happy with it, but then I began to notice the shortcomings of a swiss army knife and was longing for a proper work bench.


    So just ask yourself - are you (speaking about photography) happy with a swiss army knife or are you a passionate do-it-yourselfer in need of a well stocked workroom and willing to learn.




  • Steve McRea Level 1 (95 points)

    Hi Everyone,


    Thanks for all the feedback! I'm really looking for a more robust database and from what was said earlier in the discussion it seems that iphoto11 and Apature3 have the same database.


    I have 22,000 pictures, I'm not a photographer and find the elements 10 does plenty and more than I need in the way of enhancing my family pictures. I want a tool that my wife and kids can also use to view our pictures and it seems that iphoto fits the bill perfectly for my needs.


    I'd be interested to know if a more robust and fault tolerant database does exist for OSx?


    Incidentally.. I narrowed my iphoto library corruption down to a 2 hour window (using TM) and the only thing that happened during that period is that Apples Motion crashed on me twice. I was goofing around trying to create an introduction for a home video when it crashed. Not sure which forum I should go on to discuss this.. any ideas anyone? :-)


    Thanks again,