I have been experimenting with shooting in raw and am now trying to figure out how best to work with the files. I've always found iPhoto 11 to be sufficient for organizing my photo library (~50K images), while occasionally using Photoshop Elements to adjust or clean up specific images and create panoramas.
As I understand it, the raw file appears in iPhoto as both a raw file and a tiff that is used for display (in addition to the separate jpg created by the camera). When editing the raw file, it seems that the changes are saved in a tif that is *much* larger than the original (10mb ->100 mb). When I have tried to use Photoshop Elements to edit the raw files, there are more options for working with the file in ACR, but this process seems to create a second raw file on export (_2 appended to the filename) without incorporating the changes, thus requiring the resulting tif (or jpg) file to be re-imported into iPhoto (the resulting tif files do seem to be much smaller, however).
Working directly in iPhoto is much easier, but those large file sizes add up and my hard drive space is running low. Reimporting photos into iPhoto is cumbersome, but would seem to save space. Especially if I can then delete the duplicated raw file, which doesn't seem to have any purpose (as I understand it, I can always go back to the original if I want to try processing it differently). Is there another, better option for working with raw files than either of these imperfect solutions? I could rationalize the price of upgrading to Aperture *if* it would actually solve these problems, but I'm not sure I need if if it doesn't offer some demonstrable advantage.
Thanks for any advice.