Aperture includes a RAW converter as part of its import function. While the images aren’t actually finally converted until exported, a basic conversion that includes sharpening takes place on import. By the way, according to software engineers I interviewed for this story, some sharpening on import takes place with nearly all RAW converters.
Any sharpening in the conversion process is done in addition to any that might be applied by the user during the manipulation stage.
Aperture’s RAW preference pane in the Inspector allows you to adjust the amount of auto sharpen applied on import. I suggest that you keep this number as low as possible since Aperture doesn’t allow selective sharpening. If your image contains large areas of sky or water or other subjects that are in the background, you probably don’t want them sharpened. So use Aperture’s new Edge Sharpen to avoid creating digital noise or save the sharpening for your roundtrip to Photoshop or some other third-party sharpening application for best results.
Photo Copyright Scott Bourne 2006 - All Rights Reserved