The new D80 has kept me pretty busy. This is my first “Pro-sumer” camera. I’ve never even focused a camera my self let alone adjust the f-stop and shutter speed. It’s all quite interesting. I rely heavily on Wikipedia and the Nikon user groups for help.
But when it comes to the processing side, I’ve taken full advantage of the 30 day trial of Aperture. After playing around with it for a week or so, I can say that it is far superior to iPhoto, but you will pay the learning curve tax. You not only need to be committed to the $300 price tag, but also to the time commitment to really take advantage of the features. Aperture adds many more options for controlling metadata. In fact, there is more metadata than the casual photography could really use. After all, it’s really meant for photographers that want to know what f-stop and ISO the photo was taken with.
The photo editing tools are not a replacement for Adobe photoshop but they are quite advanced. Once again, Apple has integrated elegance into the user experience. The Loupe is a magnifier that allows you to fluidly move across photos to check for imperfections. The red-eye reduction is easy to use and very effective as well.
Even though Aperture is aimed at the advanced user Apple has included a plugin architecture that allows third party tricks for amateurish tricks such as a Flickr plugin for Aperture (there is also one for iPhoto). Apple finally got it right. Third party plugins!!!! Why not let someone else finish the product for you? The Flickr plugin is still beta and managed to crash Aperture a couple of times. But for the most part it worked as I had hoped. I selected a photo and chose Export to Flickr. The plugin provided a screen to input a title, description, tags and even let me choose the image size. Everything I could need.
My final analysis is that Aperture is good but I’m still not ready to part with $300 for Aperture when iPhoto can now handle RAW photos for the D80.