It’s taken a long time ….. but I am about to bite the bullet and ditch Aperture as my photo management system. After 2 years of struggling along with an unsupported and undeveloped app from Apple realising (but in denial) that I would eventually have to move as the OS systems changed and functionality in Aperture became unmanageable. It is now time.
After getting the latest Canon 5D Mk IV late last year I awaited anxiously (like many others) for Apple to update their Camera RAW so that I could access and utilise the RAW images. I am now not sure if this will ever happen. I even tested out the latest Mac OS Sierra on my MacBook Pro to see if that OS could shed some light on my RAW files but again, although they do support the RAW for the 5D Mk IV, this does not work with Aperture.
So the writing is finally on the wall for Aperture and a viable alternative has to be chosen and migrated to. I have discounted Lightroom as I tested it before and do not like the workflow, the performance and the very bad Adobe subscription pricing policy. There were 2 viable alternatives I looked at; On1 Photo RAW and Capture One 10 Pro.
ON1 Photo RAW
I have spent a fair amount of time using the latest ON1 Photo RAW app having used their earlier products for photo ediying and enhancement. This is a relatively new app and as such it is still not fully functional and has a number of issues (bugs) which I was not happy about. It is a wonderful application for editing and stylization but for data management of the catalogue it was not nearly as comprehensive and robust as Aperture. I tested ON1 Photo RAW with some test libraries from Aperture but had some issues with incorrect information being transferred and the GPS coordinates were sometimes not transferred as well and were unable to be viewed directly from the app. I also noted that for some images the time of image capture was recorded incorrectly- not good when sorting thousands of images is critical.
Capture One 10 Pro
Two years ago I did a quick evaluation of Capture One 8 from Phase One and was at that time quite positive about its capabilites both in terms of image management as well as a its comprehensive suite of editing tools. You can see this review here.
So I downloaded the latest Capture One 10 and have been testing this hard over the last week. The results are extremely positive although the learning curve for changing to a new system is a struggle and I am still working on the best transition workflow to convert my Aperture library (libraries) to Capture One. However this is by far the best application I have seen to date that does proper data management and it also includes an excellent import facility that can ingest an Aperture library. This works extremely well although you do have to do a little work on your Aperture library prior to the import. For example Capture One does not recognise the smart albums in Aperture (although they do have smart albums in their app) so this needs you to convert all your smart albums to normal albums. This is a bit tedious but once done your Aperture library can be imported and you have all the information there such as keywords, flags, colour tags, albums, plus all (most?) of the edits done in Aperture.
The file hierarchy in Capture One is different and takes a little time to get your head round that and be comfortable with it. To date I have imported all my images (and videos) from 2017 into Capture One 10 and also did a large import of my 2016 Aperture library of 11,000+ images which was an excellent test of the system. After a few trials of defining the best procedure in terms of how the file system was structured in Capture One I now have my complete 2016 and 2017 libaries up and running. Going forward now I will be using Capture One 10 to import all new images and slowly develop a new image editing and post-processing workflow around this new application.
From Aperture to Capture One Pro
Here is a brief summary of the procedure I use to prepare and export my Aperture libraries and import these into Capture One.
- Clean up Aperture library making sure all referenced images are correctly referenced and in the correct location. The organisation structure you have in Aperture should be copied to Capture One when you import the library.
- Open all Aperture smart albums in each project and copy all images to a normal album within the project.
- Don’t try to export the entire Aperture Library but for example do this by year (that is how I have my Aperture library arranged). Export each year into a separate Aperture library.
- Although Capture One can import a managed Aperture library it is probably better to set up each library as a referenced library before import. If a managed library is imported you will need to retain the Aperture “container” file. Better to be free of this and set out a reference file system.
- Import each Aperture library and make sure the file structure seen in Capture One is how you want to have your library system structured.
- Cross check images to ensure you have copied everything over and have retained all the key edits, flags, keywords, etc.
As I move forward with the continuing evaluation of Capture One Pro 10 I will post some updates with results and tips for anyone interested to pursue this application for their photo management solution.
Passionate Photographer …. Lost in Asia
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