Aperture 3 And The Freedom Of The JPEG

I was having a conversation with a Photographer buddy of mine and fellow Aperture users a few days ago and something hit me. I spend a lot of time criticizing Aperture 's RAW processing specifically related to NEF files. To be blunt I haven't criticized other RAW formats because by and large they don't suffer the same fate as NEF's. So I guess what I don't discuss a lot is why the NEF processing doesn't cause me to jump ship back to NX2 or Lightroom.

You might take it from context that I prefer so many other things about Aperture that I "put up with it" and "work around it's shortcomings". Yes that's true but what you might not get is that I actually use a lot of JPEG's as is that are produced by my camera. I almost always shoot RAW+JPEG but I would say 90% of the time I actually just end up using the JPEG. I don't spend any time thinking about this, I don't compare the RAWs and the JPEGs, I don't do lots of tests of this vs that. I only use the RAWs if I have a specific reason to do so. Sometimes I know that before I shoot and sometimes I know it afterwards.

Specific color treatments - RAW. Extracting shadow detail or highlights that are a little hot - RAW. Huge contrast manipulations - RAW. Heavy retouch (Photoshop) - RAW. Shoot it. Like it. Done with it. JPEG. I really like shooting JPEGs. It reminds me of shooting slide film. You shoot it and you are done. You have what you have.

Most cameras out there have crazy ranges of what your JPEGs will look like out of the camera - from mild to wild. Pick a look and go with it. I am telling you it is freedom. Stop worrying so so much if you can "make it better", if you like the image be done with it. Use the JPEG.

That brings us to Aperture 3, it has some killer features for JPEG+RAW shooters. My favorite is importing JPEG only. Getting rid of the rejects and then using the "Import matching RAW" function. This only imports the RAWs of the JPEG's that you actually kept. It's easy to use and really saves a lot of time and space. For those of you that primarily use your JPEG's but shoot RAW+JPEG for some future archival reason, or just in case (like I do most of the time) this function is fantastic. It also allows you to turn around your JPEG's really quick. You know how fast JPEGs import? Really fast.

Try it - you don't have to give up having your RAW files but you also don't have to be a slave to them.


Ps. Yesterday the whole day was crappy hazy smoggy hazy - bland blah. Two seconds after the sun went down there was this sky. To bad for me I was on my upstairs deck with nothing to shoot with it as a background. Now… If I would have gone somewhere and waited - there would not have been a sky. Trust me I tried this like 4 whole times and gave up the whole landscape thing.I guess you have to try it some more.

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