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Retina MacBook Pro for photography?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by joshuaginter, Jun 12, 2012.


Will you be purchasing the newly announced Retina MacBook Pro?

  1. Yes; I will be buying a BTO option.

    44 vote(s)
  2. Yes; I will be buying the base model.

    25 vote(s)
  3. No; I will be staying with my current setup.

    76 vote(s)
  1. joshuaginter, Jun 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012

    macrumors regular

    I just wanted to get a feel for how many photographers are considering purchasing the new Retina MacBook Pro. The immense amount of pixels in the 15" screen sure make it sound appealing for editing photos. But at its current price, I wonder how many people would dive into the expense.

    Vote in the poll above as to your intentions.
  2. macrumors 68020


    performance gains for me are minimal + I like to wait 2-3 cycles before upgrading, just like with the iPhone
  3. macrumors 603

    I was very tempted, but would absolutely need a second display and until they update the Thunderbolt Display, I won't be changing my setup. So maybe a year from now, I'll consider it more seriously.
  4. macrumors regular

    Do you think the laptop display will be enough for editing? I am considering selling all of my Mac gear to pay for the RMBP. Including the Thunderbolt Display.
  5. macrumors 68020


    Color gamut is more important than resolution. Plain and simple.
  6. macrumors 603

    The initial tests of the display rank it pretty highly... so I'm sure it would be great. Personally, I just find it claustrophobic to work on a single display... it's more of a psychological problem :eek:
  7. macrumors 6502


    I want to say no but I haven't seen it yet. Maybe at 1920x1200 it has enough real estate. Question is how good the colors are and how this new screen coating works. Bigger problem is the lack of space and no room for a second hard drive. So despite having a nice shiny thin laptop you'll drag around a bag full of adapters and external drives. The upgraded 15" hi res matte version looks a lot more appealing still. Or a used 17"...

    The screen may be interesting but overall this is going in the wrong direction for photography.
  8. macrumors regular

    Can you elaborate on why it is the wrong direction for photography?
  9. macrumors 68020


    He just did.
    1. Lack of reusable, upgradeable storage
    2. Questionable quality of screen and coating
    3. Discomfort of using external drives and adaptors due to lack of ports and internal storage
    4. Not enough real estate

    All of which I agree with.

    Also, if you use Photoshop, and use the internal SSD as a scratch disk, you can expect it to die in less than 6 years, whereas many of my hard drives are 10 years old and going strong.
  10. macrumors regular

    I suppose he did. At first I assumed the added portability would be beneficial for photographers who need to edit on the go. Having said that, how portable can a 15" footprint actually be?
  11. macrumors 68020


    Very portable. I carry my laptop with me all the time in the Lowepro Compudaypack and the Incase 15" sleeve with enough room for 4 plastic folders to squeeze into the laptop compartment.

    Also, 6 lbs of aluminum isn't as heavy as it sounds. It's very light.

    If I had to carry extra storage because this laptop lacked it, then portability would ultimately be sacrificed for a thin body, which is ironic.

    I do feel that, even with the 1680x1050 screen on my Early 2011 15", the screen is a tad bit small. I'm planning to get a Thunderbolt display to compensate. This is not a problem that resolution independence can fix anyway.
  12. macrumors newbie

    I wouldn't suggest any professional photographer rely on a laptop display as their main display
  13. macrumors regular

    15" display is still 15" which means that photographers who use any pp software (specially with a tablet) will need to be careful when doing selections, moving the cursor etc. Also the need to zoom in will not be eliminated when in need to focus on certain parts of a picture. The only benefit for some could be viewing more of a picture at 100%.
    I guess that retina will help those who use text editors as it will provide more space to work in a single screen.
  14. macrumors 65816

    Is this still a TN display or is it IPS now? That would be a significant upgrade. The iPad gets IPS screens, why can't the MBP?
  15. macrumors 68000


    I am running my Aperture libs from a 2TB Thunderbolt drive and travel with a 1TB FW800 drive and there are no hiccups. Sorry but it sounds as though you either like to nitpick or nothing will every really satisfy you.

    1. 512 or 768 is a decent size drive to use. What kind of photographer would actually carry his photo lib with him on an internal drive? Makes no sense. In my opinion, your point is moot.
    2. Questionable how exactly? Moot...
    3. See my point at number 1.
    4. Matter of opinion... After using a 17 inch MBP, I have no problems working with a 15 inch but again this my opinion.

    I use Photoshop sporadically but my scratch drive sits on my TB external and things sail right along. Another moot point... 6 year old drives? Really? I had a bunch but as new and new drive technology comes out I tend to put the external cases and give them away considering the price of new drives is reasonable.
  16. macrumors 6502


    I'm currently using Air 13 i5 with 4GB of RAM for photography (as hobby). I own Sony NEX 7 and shooting RAW only (20+ MB files). Absolutely no pain with ACR (PS CS5).

    I'm very happy with both toys :)

    My previous setup was Macbook Pro 13 mid 2009 - C2D 2.26 with 8GB of RAM and Canon 5D mark II. Also everything was ok with editing of big RAW files.

    So prety much everything is ok with Photography, but can you live without top line, guys?

    I know for me, that s:apple::apple:n or later I'll own better things anyway..
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Resolution wise, I think it's awesome that pixel density would just be nice to have.

    For editing photos, it doesn't bother me, I don't have an external display, as I am mobile far to often especially being a student. I also don't have the money to drop on a top of the line monitor.

    I'm sure that the color gamut will be up to par for what most hobbyists and up to a professional grade in some cases. I've had a few pieces printed in magazines and done a few prints for myself, and I can honestly say that my 15" currently just being well calibrated has matched everything that I've printed pretty darn well. I think a lot of people over emphasize the importance of a display. Yes of course display quality matters, but I think there is an extent to which it matters. A well calibrated mid range monitor is more than enough for I'd say 95% of people, including photographers. People who get extremely anal about color gamut, and related specs tend to also try to blame their technology for poor out put rather than their ability.

    Honestly, I won't be upgrading because I just got a new 15" this past fall and as my only computer I've never been let down.

    I think some of you guys are over reacting when you say that you shouldn't rely on a laptop as a photographer. That would mean that no one should assuming they put any form of important information on their computer. External drives? Who cares. I put all of my shoots over 3 months old onto an external drive and leave them at home. Realistically when are you going to be like "OMG I NEED THAT SHOOT FROM 9 MONTHS AGO RIGHT NOW." Pretty much never. I know plenty of pro who rely on their laptop as their main display and I am willing to bet that none of you would be able to tell what they used as their main display when you saw the end result.

    I'm interested to see a RMBP in person properly calibrated, and see how it compares to print. I'm willing to bet the differences will be negligible.

    The only thing that I can see here as a truly valid argument is screen real estate. I personally have no issue with a 15" display, I think it's fine, especially in a portable format. When doing retouching it doesn't really matter how large my display is because chances are I'm zoomed in pretty close to make sure that I can nail the blending. So it doesn't really matter to me.

    Everyone is different however. But I definitely think that some of you guys are just trying to find reasons as to why it won't work for you, as a general population of photographers, pros and hobbyists alike, I think the RMBP would be a perfectly fine option.
  18. macrumors 68000



    Best post ever. I calibrate my monitor and use the ICC profiles for my Epson printer when I print and the colors look spot on. Some people simply need a reason to complain about something and to find fault.
  19. macrumors regular

    I don't think that the issue is if the RMBP is perfectly viable which of course is. I think the question is how it compares with the regular new MBP which if I recall correctly is faster. In other words, is it worth to sacrifice the extra processing power for more pixels, or if it is worth to sell a previous macbook pro model to buy the new one.
    In my humble opinion (disclaimer: I haven't seen or worked with the new RMBP) I don't think it is worth either of those two.
  20. macrumors 68000


    I'm excited, it looks fantastic and is well spec'd.

    I remember when I first loaded some pix onto my new iPad 3 via the camera connector kit, I was blown away by how good they looked on the retina display. They looked like real printed photos.

    I expect photographers will love this, enabling them to see their sharp high quality work in greater clarity much earlier in their photographic workflow.

    As for storage I don't see this as an issue, as mentioned external disks are the sensible choice, and you don't always bring your entire portfolio with you on assignment - it's really no different to how things were with the existing Macbook Pro lineup and how professionals are currently using their machines.

    I wouldn't edit on a laptop full-time personally, but I'd expect desktop retina displays to start appearing soon.
    It's only the beginning :)
  21. macrumors 6502


    My issue is that it is not adding to the desperately needed real estate, at least not at the intended resolution. Also the fact that the 17" is going away is a problem for a lot of photographers who rely on those machines on the road.

    Then there is the obsession with design and flatness at the expense of disk space options and ports. I see no gain if the machine is flat (yet still bigger than it needs to be really) but I have to carry around a bag full of expensive adapters and external storage. True - I would probably do that anyway when on the road.

    But again, I haven't seen or tried it yet - so maybe it works well at the 1600 or 1900 resolution. And in all fairness: this is not an Apple specific problem. My quest for a desktop AND laptop replacement with photography and audio production in mind started out when I realized how difficult it would be to find a replacement for my current laptop which works really well for photography. It's 1400x1050 in a 14" format and its color rendition is surprisingly good. It's actually my preferred tool, even when at home.

    Problem is that given that it is 6 years old I was hoping to get something way better than this with respect to speed (no problem), HD size (problem) and screen real estate (big problem). I had looked at the MacBooks because they seem to be made really well compared to a lot of the WinPC laptops. Some aspects of those I like better than others (not a fan of the keyboard and the trackpad for example but that's a matter of taste and getting used to).

    For photography I had hoped for an improved (meaning higer res) version of the matte 15" and 17" hi res screens. And I had hoped for two hard drives for both safety and space reasons. For comparison: even as a photographer who is more working a vanity business if you will 256 GB is completely out of the question. And no way to upgrade yourself. I'm running out of space with my current 750GB drive...
  22. macrumors 6502

    Should be perfect for photography
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Sounds like 6lbs...
  24. macrumors 6502



    You are exactly right. The scratch disc issue is another reason I'm disappointed that there is no option for a second (ideally swappable) HD. This is a problem for both PS and for any attempts to use the machine for audio recording (which I have pretty much moved to desktop computers for that reason).

    I'm surprised that a lot of people don't see the difference between screen size and and screen real estate. Is that due to the way things are marketed these days? If you want to find screen resolution you actually have to look at the fine print these days. And I find it shocking how many laptops are now offered with less resolution than what was available a few years ago.

    Same is really true for desktops in a way. Why is it that Apple wants me to put a 27" (shiny) monstrosity on my desk just to get 2500 by something resolution which results in meager 100 something ppi resolution? Let's hope that the retina technology will catch up and lead to true resolution independence.
  25. prodigee, Jun 13, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2012

    macrumors 6502a

    Completely agree. People like to have a reason other than themselves to blame for their lack of quality in work. If you're doing it right, then you should have no problem.
    Honestly, I don't think the sacrifice is speed will effect photographers in the slightest, the processor and graphics card in it are MORE than capable of handling photoshop, if it had anything less than 8 GB of RAM I could see reason for concern. But really I can't say that I see any of that being a foreseeable issue. If you were trying to do more graphic intensive things and decent sized renders, then yeah, I can see where you would be troubled trying to run at full res, but for photographers who are primarily going to be running an editor, and maybe a organization program at the same time I see no issue there. Would I buy one right now? No of course not, I'll wait till next year when the retina display doesn't cost a super premium over a regular display.
    The size downgrades are a simple matter of because they can, and because why not, that's how everything is going these days, there is no reason not to go smaller if you can.

    I don't see where you are trying to go with the storage argument, though. If you wanted to, you could easily throw a 2 TB drive in there and be done with it. But of course as time goes on, files keep getting bigger as cameras get better, with higher res, and better sensors capturing more data. If this were 3 years ago the thought of coming with a 768 GB SSD in a laptop, the computer would have been worth its weight in gold, and you probably would have questioned whether or not you needed that much space on your laptop. I also don't understand why you would want 2 HDs for safety. Are you not backing up to external storage? Do you really need to have every single one of your photos on your computer at once? These are the questions you need to ask yourself. You definitely SHOULD be backing up, because who is to say you won't drop your bag into a fountain while at a wedding and ruin everything? I think that is something that you should really take into consideration. I highly doubt that you take in more than 64 GB of photos at once either, especially on an every day basis, and even then the keepers from that 64 GB of photos will not even come close to that in terms of space.

    Storage is completely upgradeable anyway, and you wouldn't be able to have 2 HD in a laptop in any form of RAID and gain storage either. You would have to have at least 3, which won't happen, at least for a while. So that is a moot point as well.

    I'm also not trying to attack anyone here if that's what you think. I'm simply just saying, think it through. Honestly if you take away the updated screen, how is it really that different from any other laptop in this category that you would consider?

    I missed the part where you couldn't upgrade storage. My mistake, regardless, back up to external, and good cloud storage. Cloud storage > anything else IMO anyway, don't have to deal with it being on your computer, can access it whenever you want, and if you get a good service you'll never have to worry about losing your data anyway.

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