So Aperture 2 (affectionally A2 from here on) is out, and it's pretty good. My initial impressions, subjective of course:
- Performance is much improved, especially once previews are rendered (or if you turn them off)
- Quick Preview mode is fabulous for edits
- To my eye, the RAW conversions look even better, and they were already my favorite of the RAW converters (tied with Capture One Pro). Keep in mind I haven't imported any of my old images and I can't upgrade my library until I buy A2, so this is based on new images shot around the house
- The new interface is nice, I prefer it (the tabbed interface on one side) to the two-side-panes interface of 1.x
- The new adjustment tools are excellent... the retouch tool has worked very well for me so far, the definition and vibrance controls are very welcome, and the new exposure brick is really nice
- Vignette tool! Hopefully it isn't broken like Lightroom's
- The straighten tool is much improved and much, much faster
- Publish to standalone .Mac web gallery is very nice
- Workflow is essentially the same with some incremental improvements... this is a good thing, workflow is the biggest reason I use Aperture (that and the RAW conversion quality)
- Background exporting!
Things that disappoint:
- No curves adjustment (come ON people... yes I know Aperture's quarter tone levels manipulate an S-curve... but sometimes I don't WANT an S-curve, I want a W-curve, or a C-curve, or just any bloody curve I want... Apple should not have shipped a major upgrade without curves, there is no excuse)
- No color-based B&W conversion (vs. channel-based)... sigh... to Photoshop I go, to Photoshop I go, hi-ho... etc.
Things I haven't tried:
- Tethered shooting... the demo/tutorial for this makes it look fabulous
- Searches... I hear they're faster
- Time Machine... not using it yet
- Vaults... I assume they are unchanged
- Importing my 1.5 library
- Actually publishing/exporting except to local folders
- Plugins like FlickrExport
Supposedly there's an image adjustment API/SDK now? Which could mean actual plugins? Which could mean curves or good noise reduction or what have you? That would rock. I haven't confirmed this yet.
All in all, it's a very good upgrade. It's a little weak for a 2.0 IMO, but that's because I'm really put off by the lack of curves. A2 is an incremental upgrade, it feels like a very nice 1.6 or a bit weak 2.0 to me, but maybe that feeling will change as I use it. Will I pay for it? Yep.