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Author Topic: Time for a Laptop - Apple or PC?  (Read 1291 times)

robertarthur

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Time for a Laptop - Apple or PC?
« on: June 15, 2017, 01:21:20 PM »

I use an Imac at home for importing my images into lightroom & editing in photoshop.   I have decided to get a laptop for downloading and editing while on photo trips, workshops, etc.  I will be downloading the images to an external hard drive and then when I get home my goal is to export them into my catalog on my Imac with the rest of my images (yes I have a backup system).

I have 2 questions I don't want to start a Mac vs. Windows War.  They are:
1. Assuming I went with a windows laptop is there a problem editing with LR and PS on the windows laptop and then transferring them into my LR catalog on my mac at home? and
2. What is the recommended set up re processor and ram for either laptop?

Thanks in advance.  I appreciate it.

Bob
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rdonson

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Re: Time for a Laptop - Apple or PC?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2017, 03:17:18 PM »

1.  As far as Lightroom is concerned if you export your work as a catalog from your laptop you should be able to import that catalog on your iMac.
2.  As much RAM as is available or you can afford.  16 GB RAM is pretty much the minimum you should aim if you're looking to keep the laptop for a number of years. 

NB.  The 32 GB RAM MacBook Pro won't be available for a few more months.  What you get with the latest MBP is 16 GB RAM max.
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Joe Towner

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Re: Time for a Laptop - Apple or PC?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2017, 04:28:14 PM »

What camera do you shoot with & what's your average image size & quantity?  Are you looking for lightest possible, or highly accurate color or as much processing power as you can carry?  It plays into processor & ram.  Do you do any stitching or focus stacking?
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Farmer

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Re: Time for a Laptop - Apple or PC?
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2017, 06:11:07 PM »

Ensure the laptop uses SSD.  It's faster, lighter, better battery life.

I wouldn't photo edit on less than an i5, and as has been said, as much RAM as you can get.
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Re: Time for a Laptop - Apple or PC?
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2017, 08:52:04 PM »

No specific "gotta have" recommendations here, just some ideas based on personal experience...

I'm not trying to low-ball here, but LR runs quite capably, with no hiccups at all, with 36mp raw files on my 2012 MacBook Air with up-to-date OS. PS runs well, too, but has a few more slow-ups. Anything recent from Apple will run fine depending on how much you depend on PS, as it is much more of a hog than LR.

Consider also, if the laptop will be a secondary machine, then is PS even necessary to have on it?

Again, if your laptop is a secondary machine, then you could get away with using a Windows machine at half the price of a MacBook anything. I think you'll notice a difference in monitor quality and colour accuracy, though, especially if you are used to an iMac.

Lastly, if you end up purchasing a decent laptop, don't be surprised if you find six months down the road that you are editing more and more on the laptop. I certainly find it more comfortable sitting in my Poang editing on my 15 MacBook Pro then sitting at a desktop! The track pad is ideal, even if the screen real estate is smaller.
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BobShaw

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Re: Time for a Laptop - Apple or PC?
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2017, 11:06:21 PM »

Maximum RAM and SSD to me are givens. I find that Apple often quotes a lower maximum than what is actually possible and also it is often cheaper to buy base RAM and upgrade it with a third party.

I can only say my experience with Apple is that you get far better value overall. My current machines are a 2013 iMac with 24G, a 2010 MBP with 4G and a 2008 iMac with 6G. All are still working and used. I think they could all run the latest operating system but the 2008 is currently a version or so behind there.

Apart from longevity and reliability the big thing for me is that you buy a new machine, you connect a Time Machine backup from the old one and in the same day you have exactly the same users, applications, settings and data as you had on the old one but perhaps with a new operating system. Minimal lost time. The backup and restore system works really well.

I don't edit much on my laptop as I prefer a desktop with two screens. The laptop is just used for tethering but I will be upgrading the RAM to 16G and keep using it. It also has an aluminium case which is fairly tough, possibly bullet proof for small calibres. (:-)
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Kiwi Paul

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Re: Time for a Laptop - Apple or PC?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2017, 04:22:52 AM »

If you want a recommended Windows laptop, the Dell XPS15 laptops are excellent. They are in the region of $1300ish so don't know if that fits in with your budget.
But the latest ones XPS 15 9560 runs an i7 7700HQ Quad core processor, as standard comes with 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD and a 4K tounch screen. You can upgrade to 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD.
I have an older (2014) version, it has i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD and a 3200 x 1800 touch screen. It's run flawlessly and is excellent for everything including LR and PS which it runs with ease. The display is excellent, very natural colour.
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kikashi

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Re: Time for a Laptop - Apple or PC?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2017, 12:08:48 PM »

Maximum RAM and SSD to me are givens. I find that Apple often quotes a lower maximum than what is actually possible and also it is often cheaper to buy base RAM and upgrade it with a third party.

I think it's not been possible to upgrade the RAM on Apple laptops for some time.

Jeremy
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rdonson

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Re: Time for a Laptop - Apple or PC?
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2017, 12:35:13 PM »

I believe you're correct.  Apple RAM has been soldered in so unless you're really brave or willing to forego any Apple warranty you probably don't want to try.

https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook+Pro+13-Inch+Touch+Bar+2017+Teardown/92171
« Last Edit: June 16, 2017, 12:38:52 PM by rdonson »
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TommyWeir

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Re: Time for a Laptop - Apple or PC?
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2017, 01:33:44 PM »

For the use case you outline... should be no issue mixing the two systems.  LR, PS etc.  No problem.  I'd get an i7 at least no matter which I chose.

Only drawback is juggling two systems, the hassle of... file systems, installs, backups, drivers etc.  You're taking on additional overhead around the rest of the stuff.    That and the general lack of interactivity between your devices then.

You can effectively clone what you want from your iMac to a MacBook Pro and then use that straight away.  You can use your MacBook Pro to manage your iMac and vice versa, you can use each to fix and troubleshoot each other should one of them go down.   Those kind of things go away.  Also if you use iCloud and your Photos.app library etc.  No syncing of that.  For me that's become the thing.  An overall ecosystem I can count on across my various devices.   

You may have not dived in there, no iPhone or iPad, might not use Photos.app etc.  I'd hate not to have that.  It's a trap for sure but a nicely high functioning one which suits me fine.

David Sutton

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Re: Time for a Laptop - Apple or PC?
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2017, 05:43:30 PM »

I'm going to dissent.
Photo trips and workshops are two different things as far as laptops go.
For workshops as much ram as practical and an SS drive for the OS and a one or two tb 7200 hard drive for the rest. Maybe a wireless mouse and the largest screen that's feasible. Fair enough. I also carry a separate Dell 4x 3 format plug in screen so that I can see what I'm doing.
For travel the issue is usually weight vs usability. I go for the smallest screen that's feasible (13 inch in my case: I just want to know the camera is still working) and not a 16 x 9 format. Too much wasted screen space compared to 4 x 3. Four gb ram is enough. Something in the range of 1.2 to 1.4 kg would be ideal. I loathe SS drives for travel as they are not large enough to hold all the files without spending an outrageous sum, and so I have to carry an extra portable. Which sort of negates the weight advantage. Plus having to ask is this the back up or primary storage drive when I'm tired, cold and hungry is asking for trouble.
David
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vjbelle

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Re: Time for a Laptop - Apple or PC?
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2017, 11:35:37 AM »

I labored with the same question and finally settled on an XPS 13 with kaby lake processor and touch screen.  16gb ram and I7 processor 512gb SSD.  Bought the whole thing at Costco for $1399.00 with next day on site warranty for one year.  I thought that was a fantastic deal as this computer is highly recommended by reviewers.  I've owned them all and really consider Apple way over priced and no better than a PC counterpart...... although I will continue to own some Mac portables.  The XPS is easily color calibrated (Xrite) and has accurate enough colors for me..... and I'm pretty picky.  I'm able to process 3100 full size files with ease and work with any filters I want..... although I think working with full size 3100 files in the field a little overkill. I'm used to the Windows operating system as my work stations are all PC - assembled by me. 

Hope this is helpful.....

Victor
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robertarthur

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Re: Time for a Laptop - Apple or PC?
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2017, 01:40:18 PM »

What camera do you shoot with & what's your average image size & quantity?  Are you looking for lightest possible, or highly accurate color or as much processing power as you can carry?  It plays into processor & ram.  Do you do any stitching or focus stacking?

Great questions, thank you.
I shoot raw so the files are quite large and I tend to shoot quite a bit per outing.  A couple hundred would be a fair average as far as quantity of images.  I would prefer to err on "highly accurate color" vs. weight as I won't be hiking around with it.  It would be back at my motel room for downloading and/editing that day or for seminars and workshops which I enjoy very much.  I do not do any stitching nor anticipate any in the future.
Thanks again.
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robertarthur

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Re: Time for a Laptop - Apple or PC?
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2017, 01:43:03 PM »

No specific "gotta have" recommendations here, just some ideas based on personal experience...

I'm not trying to low-ball here, but LR runs quite capably, with no hiccups at all, with 36mp raw files on my 2012 MacBook Air with up-to-date OS. PS runs well, too, but has a few more slow-ups. Anything recent from Apple will run fine depending on how much you depend on PS, as it is much more of a hog than LR.

Consider also, if the laptop will be a secondary machine, then is PS even necessary to have on it?

Again, if your laptop is a secondary machine, then you could get away with using a Windows machine at half the price of a MacBook anything. I think you'll notice a difference in monitor quality and colour accuracy, though, especially if you are used to an iMac.

Lastly, if you end up purchasing a decent laptop, don't be surprised if you find six months down the road that you are editing more and more on the laptop. I certainly find it more comfortable sitting in my Poang editing on my 15 MacBook Pro then sitting at a desktop! The track pad is ideal, even if the screen real estate is smaller.

Great - all good points.  I appreciate the insight.  Interesting point about PS on the laptop.
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robertarthur

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Re: Time for a Laptop - Apple or PC?
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2017, 01:47:09 PM »

I'm going to dissent.
Photo trips and workshops are two different things as far as laptops go.
For workshops as much ram as practical and an SS drive for the OS and a one or two tb 7200 hard drive for the rest. Maybe a wireless mouse and the largest screen that's feasible. Fair enough. I also carry a separate Dell 4x 3 format plug in screen so that I can see what I'm doing.
For travel the issue is usually weight vs usability. I go for the smallest screen that's feasible (13 inch in my case: I just want to know the camera is still working) and not a 16 x 9 format. Too much wasted screen space compared to 4 x 3. Four gb ram is enough. Something in the range of 1.2 to 1.4 kg would be ideal. I loathe SS drives for travel as they are not large enough to hold all the files without spending an outrageous sum, and so I have to carry an extra portable. Which sort of negates the weight advantage. Plus having to ask is this the back up or primary storage drive when I'm tired, cold and hungry is asking for trouble.
David

Thanks David.  Great point about workshops.
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Dan Wells

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Re: Time for a Laptop - Apple or PC?
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2017, 05:51:17 PM »

Lightroom EATS RAM when dealing with a large catalog - this may be a bug... If you're offloading images to the iMac on a regular basis, so the laptop catalog never grows beyond a few thousand images, this isn't a real issue (16 GB is more than sufficient). If you are trying to deal with tens or hundreds of thousands of images, be aware of LR's RAM needs - 16 GB minimum, and I really wish Apple would hurry up with a 32 GB laptop.

Another thing to be aware of between Mac and Windows is that Apple's system-level color management is excellent. Any version of Windows is NOT - it's getting better, but it's still 5-10 years behind. The Adobe applications (and a few others, like Capture One) manage color pretty well on Windows, but you have to be aware that a wide-gamut screen (some of the workstation laptops from Dell, Lenovo and HP have excellent wide-gamut screens) on a Windows laptop will cause images in other (non-Adobe) software to look weird. If you get something with an sRGB screen (most Windows laptops), other applications will look normal, but you won't have the benefit of a wide-gamut screen while editing photos. Since Macs understand wide-gamut screens and color profiles at the system level, this is not a problem there. A Mac will even handle two displays with different gamuts correctly - you can attach an sRGB monitor to a MacBook Pro (which has a gamut well beyond sRGB), and it'll translate (or you can attach an external monitor that has a gamut even wider than the MBP, and that works too)...

Macs are still more secure and crash less than Windows, but that gap is closing - Windows is getting better, and Macs are no longer essentially invulnerable.

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john beardsworth

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Re: Time for a Laptop - Apple or PC?
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2017, 04:51:54 AM »

Lightroom EATS RAM when dealing with a large catalog - this may be a bug... If you're offloading images to the iMac on a regular basis, so the laptop catalog never grows beyond a few thousand images, this isn't a real issue (16 GB is more than sufficient). If you are trying to deal with tens or hundreds of thousands of images, be aware of LR's RAM needs

Lightroom really does not demand more RAM when you have more images in a catalogue - even with hundreds of thousands of images, it's only running mundane database queries. It does however work all parts of a system, and many factors may be behind any slowdown - eg graphics card, hard drive access speed, file format etc. More RAM is usually good though.
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