Apple Releases Professional Photo Suite

Aiming to serve the professional photographer set, Apple on Wednesday released Aperture, a post-production tool that will allow for the editing of RAW images. The company compared the product to Final Cut Pro, its tool for editing of video content.

RAW images are uncompressed, meaning no quality is lost when the picture is taken.

Tools within Aperture will allow photographers to sort through large collections quickly. Also, the program guesses which photos should be grouped together by the time interval between each picture taken. Other tools enable a user to magnify and inspect images easily, and a virtual light table will allow users to organize images into layouts.

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"What amazed me about Aperture is that you can work directly with RAW files, you can loupe and stack them and it's almost instantaneous—I suspect that I’m going to stop shooting JPEGs. Aperture just blew me away," said Heinz Kluetmeier, a sports photographer who has shot over 100 Sports Illustrated covers.

The application will also maintain the RAW format through the entire process without any conversion, meaning images will stay at the highest quality possible, Apple said. The editing process also keeps prior versions of the photo, which enables the photographer to experiment with various changes.

Earlier this year, Adobe added support for RAW images to its Photoshop CS2 release. As digital photography becomes more ubiquitous, and print photography becomes less and less common, photographers are beginning to demand better support for the format.

Apple says it will make Aperture available in November through its retail locations, authorized resellers and its online store at a price of $499 USD. The program requires a 1.25GHz G4 PowerBook, or 1.8Ghz and faster iMac or Power Mac G5 with at least 1GB of RAM.

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