Instead of posting here I would recommend that you do a Google search on Aperture vs Lightroom and read the posts that come up.
I haven't used Lightroom since version 2 when I compared it to Aperture. At the time I decided on Aperture because I like the GUI for it better then Lightroom. Lightroom struck me as too much Windows like which I didn't like.
Blow is a non-extensive list of the strengths and weaknesses of each - at least what I've found so far (I'm running both Aperture 3.3.1 and LR4.1)
- Project based management
- Improved/faster importing
- Option for both managed and referenced libraries (Lightroom only does referenced)
- Book printer options - Apple does an excellent job. There are also three other book printers that have plugins for Aperture
- Nik and OnOne plugins seem to work better/faster
- Retouching brushes
- Better OS X integration, integration with iCloud and iOS devices.
- Lack of lens correction or custom camera profiles (plugin available for lens correction)
- White Balance and Hightlight/Shadow, although updated, don't match Lightroom's capabilities
- Recovery slider not as effective as LR4's White/Black sliders
- Fewer presets available
- Stability - prior to v. 3.3.1, there have been some stability issues
- Develop module has been updated. Highlight/Shadow and White/Black sliders have been reworked.
- Broader acceptace, more training and presets available
- Multiple book templates
- Print presets
- SLOOOOWWWWW - this is the biggest complaint (check the Adobe forums). Very slow switching between modules.
- Image/file/folder organization is confusing (use of Folders and Collections)
- Print module can be confusing
- Slideshow and Web modules have not been updated since v.2
- Adobe is slow to provide updates (took 3 months between original release and v. 4.1 to address a major problem with plugins not working).
- Heavily dependent upon Photoshop for retouching/editing
If you are asking, you have a Mac. If you have a Mac, Aperture is likely the better choice, as it provides much more thorough integration with other programs you likely use.
The biggest difference is how the programs look. To me, Aperture is plain, but Lightroom is ugly.
The second biggest difference is how they are structured. Aperture attempts to be -- and functions as if it were -- modeless. Lightroom is modal -- you have to switch to a mode for each family of tasks.
The third biggest difference is that Aperture's organizing tools are far superior. Aperture has an entire extra layer that Lightroom does not have. This can used advantageously. Lightroom has an army; Aperture has an air force.
The forth biggest difference is that Lightroom is much more broadly used and supported. You will find far more resources for learning and managing and customizing Lightroom than you will for Aperture.
Their differences, however, are minor compared to their similarities. Invest in either -- it takes a good bit of time to learn basic proficiency in either -- and you will be rewarded.
I think Lightroom will see an increase in use following it's inclusion in Creative Cloud. We are going to give it a try now that it doesn't cost us anything (we're paying to use some other CS6 apps anyway), and if it's suitable we probably will stick with it instead of paying for the next version of Aperture. It's going to have to be good though!
I find Aperture's workflow far superior to LR. Very much faster start to finish than LR for a typical thousand-pic shoot.
I agree...except when it comes to Lift-and-Stamp and Batch Change, two features that are nowhere near as efficient as LR's Auto-Sync. I will admit I have a lot more LR experience, but I find Aperture's approach slow, clumsy, and even error-prone. I'm still trying to understand Aperture's methods better, though, and looking for ways to use them more efficiently.
In my opinion the cost of a pro app when less than $300 is irrelevant. It is all about workflow, stability and learning curve.
I agree, and like I say, Lightroom is going to have to be good, i.e. suit our needs before it will replace Aperture. Having used Aperture for 4 years it will have an even harder job of replacing it. My point is, if it is suitable it would be a waste of money us getting the next Aperture update now that Lightroom is 'free'.
I like One Big Wookie's lists. I've been using both extensively, often side by side.
I've been blogging about the differences, pros and cons between Aperture and Lightrrom a whole bunch here.
I'll try to summarize what I've been talking about in my blogs though.
The similarities between the two that do not exist in iPhoto are;
- They both protect the color space
- They both preserve the RAW file
- allow area specific editing
- interface with PS seamlessly
- allow external HDD support
- have advanced slideshow functionality
- have large user groups making presets
- have cut and paste adjustments
- apply camera specific corrections
Differences between Aperture and Lightroom are minor.
- Aperture has better Apple app workflow
- Aperturet has photostream support
- Aperture works inside iWeb, iPhoto, iMovie etc...
- Aperture has more complete retina support (as of right now)
- Lightroom has minor video editing capability (some photo edits can apply to video, easing workflow)
- Lightroom works better with PS if you are doing HDR or timelapse
- Lightroom's cummintity support is better. You'll get more free presets etc...
- Lightroom has customizable brushes
- Lightrooms brushes are additive and you can control flow
- Lightroom can apply lens specific corrections