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Large NEF quantities - how to manage in Aperture?

Holger

Roeschenz, CH
1188 posts

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Holger Moderator Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources. Awarded for his wide variety of skills, a true generalist both in film and digital photography. Nikonian since 30th Dec 2002
Sat 14-Aug-10 07:14 AM

Dear Friends,

I am just switching from NX2 to Aperture for good part of my work (though not discarding NX2, it's too good for some details). The basic question I have is file management.

I have read all I could find here and in specific Aperture forums about managed and referenced libraries, so technically that part should be clear. I have tried both, and basically have decided to go the managed way, since it seems more adapt to the database approach Aperture takes.

On my PC I had some 5-6 TB of NEF's, on several drives, all of them with a separate backup. Lots of hard drives, all over the place. Only two of the drives are constantly linked to the computer, the rest is switched off and disconnected most of the time. When I need something older, I just connect the right drive to my computer, switch it on, and go get the file in my NX2 or ViewNX browser.

The problem for me now are these multiple hard drives. I see no problem at all working with managed files in Aperture if you can keep all your pictures on one drive or the Mac itself. But how do you handle such an enormous quantity of data and drives?

I see two possible ways to go right now:

1. Get the really big hard drive with some 2-4 TB. Load all existing directories as projects into Aperture. Copy new files to single hard drives first (as primary backup), load them into Aperture and its monster drive next. That would have me keep an original NEF file on my plain hard disks, plus a working copy in Aperture. I could search my entire picture pool in one tool only. And once imported, no more searching for hard drives...

2. Load projects into Aperture as needed, and export masters once the project is done. The day I need a picture, just import the project again. This way I would not have to get the monster disk, but could go on distributing files to my external hard drives. On the other hand, looking for something specific would require a search or via finder or via ViewNX or similar. And I don't exactly know how to get my wife to sort all this out...

Do I miss something? Is there another option, or would you prefer to work with referenced files in this situation? (btw, I suppose Aperture won't read my NX2 modifications, so importing all of the old stuff is questionable anyway. But pictures are piling up fast, so even if it's not for the existing data, I'll have the quantity problem again soon enough in Aperture only).

Thanks in advance for any advice. I would not want to start one way and then have to reorganize everything from scratch a year later...

Holger - Nikonian in Switzerland

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