I have long admired the Loupe tool in Aperture. The first time I ever saw Aperture demonstrated the first thing that caught my eye was the Loupe tool and I was practically drooling when I saw it. As you can see in the image below, it magnifies whatever part of an image you mouse over. And now in the latest version of Aperture (1.5.2) you can use it in “Centered Loupe” mode. This allows one to place the loupe off to the side out of the way and anything you mouse over shows up in the loupe. It’s super cool and you can even use it with the images aligned in a grid pattern (browser mode) to loupe thumbnail images.
When I first starting using it I was disappointed to see that it would slow down after about 5 or 6 images (while louping thumbnails) and I’d have to wait for the image to load into the loupe at 100%. That was a drag.
Before Lightroom the biggest slow down in my workflow was checking images at a 100% for critical sharpness. Now, before you start critiquing my camera holding skills remember I shoot adventure sports - and a lot of the time I am hanging off a 2,000-foot cliff or shooting mountain bikers whizzing by at 40 mph. So it isn’t a guarantee that every image will be critically sharp - most are, but I like to cull out those that aren’t so they never make it to my clients.
With Lightroom the loupe isn’t really a loupe like it is in Aperture. Loupe view in Lightroom zooms the image to 100% just by clicking on the image. And you can move around the image easily by grabbing it and pulling whichever way you want to go. When I first starting using Lightroom I was wishing for a Loupe tool like Aperture, but since I’ve found Lightroom’s Loupe view to be much more useful than the loupe in Aperture.
I found that a key step to using the loupe view in Lightroom was to make sure you render the 1:1 previews - this speeds up the loupe function. Now to check critical sharpness I can just start with the first image in a shoot, go to the 1:1 loupe view and use the arrow keys to cruise through the images. On my G5 tower with 4 GB of RAM I can crank through hundreds of images and check their sharpness in a matter of minutes. Every once in a while Lightroom pauses to take a breath but I am very impressed with how fast it can load the 1:1 previews. And I like the fact that Lightroom shows me a lot more of the image because I can maximize the browser space by clicking off some or all of the panels as I scroll through the images as in the image below.
In reality the Loupe view in Lightroom is more equivalent to the Zoom view in Aperture with one small difference - in Lightroom when you grab the image to maneuver around it works very well - in Aperture it seems to jump all over the place and in my experience it is very hard to center it exactly where you want. Aperture has a little navigator window you can use in zoom view as well but that is even more difficult to use.
So while I still think the Loupe in Aperture is one of the coolest tools in any RAW processing or image editing software applications, for my workflow the Lightroom loupe view works extremely well.
That’s it for now. Feel free to comment and I’ll reply if I get a chance….