Aperture 2.0 Now Available

Some of you might remember my review of Aperture 1.0 and Aperture 1.1, in which I documented the Apple photo management application’s rise from an expensive, ho-hum product to one that was a good value for the price. Apple keeps improving and last week released Aperture 2.0, which continues its climb up the ratings scale with over 100 improvements and a $100 price cut to match.

I haven’t seen the product in-depth so this won’t serve as a review, but here is a list of some of the most interesting features:

  • The thumbnail grid has been redesigned to run faster. Aperture has suffered from some performance issues in the past, so this is a big improvement.
  • A new Moiré control allows photographers to control color fringing and moiré resulting from certain patterns.
  • Hue Boost, which preserves hues when applying curves. This is only available with RAW 2.0, which not all cameras will shoot. Moreover, I’ve heard that converting a RAW image to RAW 2.0 could change its appearance.
  • The Loupe tool allows 50x magnification.
  • Several new image processing tools and sliders, including a Repair and Clone Brush, Recovery and Vibrancy controls, a Black Point slider to control the black point and a Definition tool to add local contrast.
  • Aperture can now spot duplicates when importing and skip the duplicates if desired.
  • If you shoot with GPS information, you can show the location of your shots on Google Maps. This reminds me of the Yahoo! map you’ll find in the Organizer with Adobe Photoshop Elements, which I recently reviewed.
  • Greater control of text and image boxes when publishing books, and you can now also publish a medium-sized book as well as hardcover books.
  • A new Command Editor allows you to make your own keyboard shortcuts.

There are also plenty of smaller improvements. I find that Apple tends to list every teensy-weensy improvement, even when they’re very minor. One of Aperture 2.0’s listed improvements is a “Reset All Warnings” button, which isn’t new to creative professional applications.

The biggest improvement is the price cut, which puts Aperture 2.0 at $199—$100 less than its main competitor, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. This instantly makes Aperture a good value for the price—its feature set is quite robust now, and the $199 price tag makes it accessible to even small photographers (during its 1.0 release, it seemed like a boutique product for photographers who wanted everything Apple). Adobe will need to add some strong improvements to Lightroom to keep Aperture from gaining momentum in the photographer community!