I have made the switch to Lightroom 5 and it is incredible!
When I began photography as a hobby, I started by editing my photos in Apple iPhoto that came for free on the MacBook Air. As someone who was unfamiliar with photography, this software was an excellent starting point for applying basic (very basic) raw editing. It allowed me to become familiar with the basic sliders present for manipulating my files.
However, I quickly felt limited by this software. I made the decision to upgrade to Apple Aperture. Aperture was an appealing option, as it shares a photo library with iPhoto and I was able to retain the edits that I had already made and continue to go back and work on the images. Aperture has much more powerful tools for manipulating images than the basic software that came with my Mac. The adjustment brushes were revolutionary for me, allowing me to selectively edit photos. When Apple announced that they would be discontinuing the Aperture line of software I was very disappointed. The software was intuitive and easy to use coming from iPhoto, but was already outdated at the time I purchased it (March 2014). The biggest downfalls of Aperture was that that it did not have an independent slider for whites, did not have gradient filters, had poor noise reduction capabilities, and lacked lens correction options.
Recently I have joined team Lightroom. I made the decision to buy the software instead of going the Creative Cloud route. While the Creative Cloud option is attractive because it would have also given me access to Photoshop, at this point in time I do not want an additional monthly bill. Much like the switch from iPhoto to Aperture, the switch from Aperture to Lightroom was revolutionary. There is a free plugin that allows iPhoto/Aperture users to migrate their library to Lightroom from Adobe, but I decided to go the route of exporting my raw files (originals) to an external hard drive, and then only import the files I want to work with a few at a time into Lightroom. Immediately I was happier with the outcomes I was able to achieve in Lightroom, most notably in my night photography shots. For anyone interested in Lightroom it is a no brainer and I should not have waited so long.
Most importantly, as with anything photography related, learning to utilize the tools we have access to will make the biggest difference in the final outcomes we achieve. I identified now as the right time to upgrade due to my preference for being indoors during the cold Buffalo winter, and my desire to learn more to improve my images.