Joi Ito's Web

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Does anyone use Aperture and RAW images? I'm having trouble. I've downloaded and installed the RAW update, but it doesn't seem like Aperture recognizes the RAW DNG files from my Leica DIGITAL-MODUL-R. My Adobe Bridge deals with them fine. Any ideas? Thanks in advance for any advice.


Seems to be a widespread problem as the camera is not supported.

But there's some tips in this thread that might help you hack around it:

Adobe apps support way more cameras than Aperture does. Your camera is not officially supported in Aperture. RAW is not DNG. You'd have to convert the RAW files to DNG before they could be loaded in Aperture. Are you saying that you are converting the RAW files to DNG, and those converted DNGs don't load in Aperture?

My Leica uses DNG natively.

Dan, thanks for the link. It looks like there is no support. :-(

Joi, not sure how much you have invested into Aperture, but it looks like Adobe Lightroom supports your camera.

I'm on the Lightroom side of the Aperture/Lightroom debate, fwiw. Apple's miserable launch of Aperture was enough to turn me off to that application and Lightroom's been wonderful to use.

Also, this is a vote to ask you to turn off those annoying Snap URL previews.

Well that is odd, I read a Leica spec that says the RAW format is Imacon 3F. But now I found another Leica spec says it's DNG. What camera is this, the R9? In any case, it appears neither 3F nor Modul-R DNGs are supported.

Just hang on another week, there PMA 2007 show starts on March 8, Apple usually announces major photo products (like Aperture) at the PMA show. Perhaps Apple will announce an update for new supported formats to go with the slew of new pro cameras that always appear at PMA.

Glad its not just me that doesnt like those popups.

RAW capability for Aperture (and iPhoto) relies upon the RAW capability built into Mac OS X, therefore you generally would have to wait for either OS X 10.4.9 (due any minute) or even Leopard to add support for your camera.. That said, Apple recently broke this trend by pushing out a specific 'Digital Camera RAW Support' update for Mac OS X back in November, so perhaps there will be another update shortly to include your camera.

Unlike Aperture, Adobe uses it's own RAW decoder, which would explain why Bridge works as you have mentioned.

Chris is completely right. Apple stupidly built RAW support into the OS rather than the application. Ugh.

A number of us on the Leica User digital forum have been trying to overcome this problem for a while now. We've mostly been focusing on support for the M8, not the R digital back, but maybe you can make the proper adjustments in the camera name and get it to work with the R...

Thread on jury-rigging Apple RAW and Aperture to support Leica DNG RAW:

Thread on an Apple Automator workflow I wrote to automate pre-processing and import into Aperture:

Oh, and as for Aperture vs. Lightroom, I'm still undecided. Lightroom does support DNG natively, so this problem goes away, but I think that the workflow management in Aperture is better, not to mention the support for printing, Flickr uploading, etc. At the same time, Aperture is a huge resource hog compared to Lightroom.

Joi, hoping to see you at GDC in SF this week; if you're still having problems maybe we can do some Leica digital geekout :)


As much as I love Aperture, the DNG format from Leica isn't supported YET. There are rumours that it is coming out as a change to OS X soon. How soon? I am guessing that it will be when Leopard is released in Spring 2007.

If you want DNG support now, Lightroom has it as it has its own RAW decoder. There are workarounds as stated previously, but it is too complicated for my liking.

I've used both Lightroom and Aperture, but prefer Aperture. So, I'll have to wait for the Leica support.

Aperture works great with RAW from my Nikons though. Nice bit of software that works with my workflow.

Yep, I knew it was coming. MacOS X 10.4.9 was just released, with improved DNG support (especially on Intel Macs). I don't know if it will fix the problem with your M8's DNGs, but it couldn't hurt.