A recent question in an email from a client:

“I’ve got a question: one differentiator Apple mentions for their Aperture application is the “RAW-focused workflow from capture to output”. Is that different to Adobe Lightroom, and how does that work with digital printing, wouldn´t I need to convert the picture to the ProPhoto or Adobe RGB gamut anyway before printing?”

My answer:

Aperture and Lightroom are positioned directly the same. Both Lightroom and Aperture are designed to work with RAW files from capture to print. After using both Lightroom and Aperture extensively (as well as CaptureOne Pro and Bibble), I much prefer Lightroom over all the others. And although the Aperture interface is beautiful, when it comes to workflow and image quality, Lightroom is the clear winner, for several reasons:
1. The raw processing engine in Aperture is inferior to Lightroom’s raw processor
2. Aperture takes huge amounts of system resources to run smoothly whereas Lightroom is much more “nimble”
3. Aperture has minimum system requirements that make it unable to run on older computer models
4. Aperture only runs on OS X
5. Lightroom was designed over a period of five years with the input of dozens of top professional photographers; Aperture was designed by software engineers – and it shows

With regard to printing, when working on a raw image in Lightroom, you do not need to convert/export the image to another file format and assign a color space to that derivative file if you want to print from Lightroom. Remember that a raw file is linear data,a nd Lightroom works on this data directly. Embedding a color space is only necessary when doing the conversion to a non-raw file format.

Lightroom has color management built in; all you need to do is specify your printer and profile and choose a rendering intent. That being said, Lightroom currently does not offer soft-proofing (but this is expected in the future). But you can print raw files directly out of Lightroom, and the program includes lots of controls for how the printed pages are laid out.

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