Aperture 1.1 renders new features and price

In addition to updated tools, Apple includes a new lower price with the latest version of its professional image software.

Apple Computer is offering a better price, along with updated features in its newest version of Aperture.

The professional image software for RAW-format workflow, which was previously $499, is now $299.

This is not the first time Apple has readjusted pricing for Aperture. In January, Apple decided to waive the $49 "crossgrade" fee for Intel-based Mac owners who needed a universal version of Aperture in order for it to run on their machines.

Licensed Aperture 1.0 owners can upgrade for free from the Aperture update Web site. Mac OS X "Tiger" and Aperture 1.0.1 are required in order to install the 1.1 release.

As part of the 1.1 release, Apple is also offering Apple store e-coupons to licensed Aperture owners: $200 for Aperture 1.0/1.01 and $100 for Aperture 1.0 Academic.

Aperture 1.1, according to Apple, includes improvements to rendering speed and output quality.

A new color meter tool allows sampling of pixel values in RGB, Lab or CMYK in the HUD display and loupe magnifying viewer. Photographers can also control the noise reduction, tone curve and sharpening applied when converting a RAW image. Specific RAW adjustment settings can also be saved as a customizable tool for use on other photos.

Aperture 1.1 allows photographers to specify resolution in dpi when exporting images to PhotoShop. Apple also claims that it has improved the handling and output of layered PhotoShop images.

Support for Canon EOS 30D and Nikon D200 RAW files has also been added.

Adobe Lightroom, Aperture's chief competitor, offers a free beta version of its software in exchange for user feedback.

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