We are continuing our series on how to choose and buy computer hardware for photography needs and today we will be providing suggestions on what Apple laptops are worth looking into. First, we will do a quick overview of the Apple line of MacBooks, then we will provide our top recommendations for doing post-processing work. This article has been written in collaboration with our team members who use Apple’s MacBook products exclusively and extensively for their photography work.
I have to admit, ever since Microsoft released the Surface Pro laptops, I have been a fan of these travel-friendly and light two-in-one machines. I have written about my experience with the Surface Pro 2 from a photographer’s perspective a while back, then we wrote a detailed Surface Pro 3 review and my experience with the first generation Surface Book pretty much sealed it for me as a very desirable machine for working on the go, thanks to its excellent performance, flexible design, a built-in memory card slot, superb touchscreen experience and plenty of connectivity options. Earlier this year Microsoft finally released the Surface Book 2, a second generation laptop specifically designed to challenge Apple’s MacBook Pro. Since it was about time to start replacing my aging Surface Pro 3, I wanted to evaluate both the new Surface Book 2 and Apple’s MacBook Pro to see which I would pick for my photography needs. So I bought both laptops and decided to run them side-by-side to see which one would be more suitable to use for traveling and post-processing images. In this article, we will take a look at both the Surface Book 2 and the MacBook Pro and see how they stack up against each other.
Update: Per requests from our readers, we have included more CPU benchmarks and updated the summary to reflect our findings.
In this article, I want to focus on purchasing an iMac for photography needs and what types of considerations one has to keep in mind when selecting one. I have had quite a few requests from our readers on this topic and many wonder what type of an iMac would suffice for photography work without breaking the bank. After doing quite a bit of research before purchasing my iMac and consulting with other Mac experts, I believe I found a couple of configuration options that are optimal for photography work for the next few years.
Loupedeck is a photo editing console for Adobe Lightroom. It is a keyboard-sized device that allows you to adjust most image settings in the develop module with a simple turn of a knob, scroll of a wheel, or push of a button. If you’ve ever wanted to ditch your mouse while editing photos and have direct access to each individual field in Lightroom, this might be a step in the right direction. In this review, I’ll give an overview of the Loupedeck Lightroom editing console, describe my experience with it and make some recommendations as to who might find it useful.
One of the most frequently asked questions from our readers and friends is related to picking a good monitor for photography needs. It seems like the market is over-saturated with all kinds of choices, whether you visit a local store or browse through an online catalog. There are so many monitors for different budgets, and some models might leave you wondering why they are so expensive compared to others. Since there is no simple answer to this question, I decided to write a detailed article with my personal recommendations.
Thanks to the super high-resolution sensors we see today in digital cameras, a fast computer is absolutely essential for an efficient post-processing workflow when working with RAW images. If a few years back a standard PC or a mid-range laptop were good enough for post-processing images, 30+ MP RAW files can put a huge burden on processing power and make a high-end machine seem obsolete. In addition, most commercial software targeted at professionals has also gotten pretty heavy, requiring more memory, faster storage and high-end CPUs and GPUs for a smooth, delay-free experience. Having spent most of my adult life in information technology, I have always been building my own PCs. In my recent articles and reviews of storage equipment, a number of our readers asked me to share my preferences for a solid, future-proof PC build that could take pretty much anything you throw at it for post-processing large numbers of RAW images and video. In this article, I want to talk about the ultimate PC build for photography and other needs, and discuss my personal preferences for working with Lightroom catalogs and RAW files in terms of file management and performance optimization.
After reviewing Microsoft’s Surface machines, a number of our readers requested us to also review other competing products that sport enough processing power to run photo applications like Lightroom and Photoshop. Since in my past corporate life I spent quite a bit of time with Dell PCs and servers, it was my first natural selection. Having previously owned a Dell XPS 13 (when it was first introduced a while back), I wanted to take a look at the newest-generation version to see how well it would do for photography needs. Although a more direct competitor to Microsoft’s Surface Pro line would be the XPS 12, once I found out that it was maxed out at 8 GB of RAM and only 256 GB of storage, I had to move up in size. And since my goal was to find something light and compact to travel with, I did not consider the Dell XPS 15, which boasts the most power among the three models and comes with a dedicated GPU. When the Dell XPS 13 finally arrived, I got ready to put it through some tests to see how it would do. After a two-week trip to California and four more weeks of heavy work on the XPS 13, I decided to share my thoughts on the machine with our readers in a detailed review.
Courtesy of Dell, I received the latest version of the Dell XPS 13 Notebook a couple of days ago. Although I have not spent much time with the machine yet to be able to write my initial thoughts, I have already installed the latest versions of both Lightroom and Photoshop. Both ran just fine together, something I have not been able to do very successfully with my Surface Pro 3. The main reason is RAM – my Surface Pro 3 only has 8 GB of RAM, whereas the XPS 13 has 16 GB. In addition, the XPS 13 has the latest generation Skylake CPU (mine came with a powerful Intel Core i7 CPU), which also sports a faster Intel GPU, so I expect it to be faster at doing everything. Lastly, the machine has a whopping 1 TB of fast PCIe storage, which means that I don’t have to constantly carry an external hard drive with me, since its local storage is sufficient for most of my needs when traveling. Hence, I expect the XPS 13 to be a much superior machine for post-processing work when working in the field.
Having been using the Microsoft Surface Pro for several years now, I was psyched to see the launch of the Surface Book, along with the Surface Pro 4. When I first heard about the Surface Book, I thought “here goes another laptop again”…until I saw the screen detach from the keyboard, revealing that it was a two-in-one hybrid machine. That was certainly unexpected. A laptop and a touchscreen tablet hybrid with a powerful 6th generation dual core Intel CPU, dedicated NVIDIA GPU, up to 1 TB of SSD memory and up to 16 GB of RAM. A true powerhouse in a very compact form factor, ideal for traveling and photo editing on the go. I knew it was something I had to test and review.
When it comes to photo editing, both PC and Mac platforms can be very powerful and highly capable, with each having its own list of pros and cons. Choosing one platform over the other can be a difficult choice, because there are so many different aspects and variables to consider. Hardware, software, operating system, cost, design / aesthetics, simplicity, ease of use, stability, upgrade options, resale value, size and weight are some of the factors one might look into on both PCs and Macs to make the ultimate choice. And what makes it even tougher, is that some of these factors can carry very different weights. For example, cost and hardware are often the two major factors that influence purchasing decisions the most. So let’s take a look at a number of above-mentioned factors and see which platform is potentially a better choice for photography needs.