Until now, most of my still photography was mostly family and vacation snapshots with only a bit being serious still photography. Most of my photography has been at 30 frames per second.
As a very happy owner of a Panasonic Lumix GH-2 – which I bought for video work, of course – I am now getting interested in still photography once again. I say “once again” since I had (and still have) a darkroom that has not been used much in recent years. In other words, I used to do lots of still photography.
This week I joined the 21st century and begin working with RAW images. Having not been shooting and editing RAW images until now makes me feel like, well, a dork.
I downloaded the trial versions of Adobe Lightroom and Apple’s Aperture. I like both of them and especially like the electronic download price for Aperture ($80 at the Mac App store).
Unfortunately, after I imported an iPhoto library the program began crashing and bogged down to unbelievably slow, even after applying a number of tricks that do improve the speed. But the crashes, and Apple’s creating confusion about its professional products with the release of FCP X have some thinking that Apple may not continue on with Aperture. Since the release of version 3 – which was buggy and suffered from slow performance – their sales plummeted. Most of those problems have been fixed in 3.1 and it seems the new $80 price point might be an attempt to win back market share – or at least test if there is a market for Apple at that price. Who knows?
Regarding Final Cut Pro X – its billed as a successor, and therefore, presumably upgrade, to Final Cut Pro 7. But they left out sufficient features that many think it is a downgrade and are not happy with FCPX. Thousands of professionals have signed a petition to Apple asking them to re-instate FCP 7. They have good reasons to complain. FCP X drops features from FCP and is not compatible with FCP 7. That means, say, if your team is adding new editing workstations to work on existing projects, your team is stuck – FCP 7 has been discontinued and FCP X cannot edit your current FCP 7 projects. Quite a mess.
In fact, FCP X is an upgrade to Final Cut Express. Apple discontinued Final Cut Express upon introducing FCP X. They also added in features like importing from iMovie, something that professional editors have about zero likelihood of using. The key idea that seems missed so far is that FCP X is a upgrade to FCE. And while FCE was officially discontinued, it kind of looks like FCP was itself discontinued. It’s Final Cut Express – may be that is where the “X” comes from, “Express”?
Is Apple abandoning the professional market? That market always was small – but was influential in terms of respected individuals and teams buying Apple and encouraging others to do so. The bigger market is the pro-sumer market, not professionals. With the success of iPhone, iPod, and iPad, does Apple need those influencers still? Probably not.
Which gets us back to Aperture. Many now think Aperture may go the same way as FCP – which means, end of life. It was a professional product – perhaps with the price drop, Apple is trying to re-position it as a pro-sumer product and out of the crosshairs of Adobe’s better products.