Was going to switch, now not so sure...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jettoblack, Nov 7, 2006.

  1. jettoblack macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    #1
    I had been considering getting a Macbook Pro ever since they were announced (and especially since the C2D models were released), but recently I've been having second thoughts. My main goals for buying it were:

    1) To become familiar with Mac software as a way to fill out my resume--I'm already qualified for PC Windows/Linux support, and learning Mac would be nice. Personally I don't have any major complaints about Windows, but I am tempted to at least try OSX to see what I've been missing on the other side of the fence.

    2) To learn Final Cut Pro (and the other Studio apps). Again, this is partly to fill out my resume since I already know Premiere, but a lot of jobs are looking specifically for FCP experience. I shoot in HDV and DV, and reading Apple's FCP website, they claim it works very well for editing native HDV. I really wanted to "fall in love" with FCP because it does sound like an excellent program and is highly recommended by many industry pros.

    3) To have a new tech toy to play with, and in the event that OSX/FCP didn't work out for me, I could always run Windows on it.

    However, while researching everything I could about Macs and FCP, I ran into some potential show-stopping issues:

    1) When I started reading some user forums about FCP, most people seem to agree that Apple's claims of FCP's realtime HDV capabilities are unrealistic and overrated. On the PC side, there are many solutions available for editing HDV, such as Cineform in Premiere/Vegas, Canopus HQ in Edius, etc., but on FCP it seems you are stuck with native HDV or transcoding to DVCProHD (which is a more lossy format than the other intermediate codecs). There also seem to be a lot of bugs and gotchas when working with HDV in FCP, such as problems capturing continuous footage with correct timecode, poor quality when downconverting to SD, inability to import M2T files from direct-to-disk recorders, etc.. Many of the "elite" FCP forum regulars on sites such as lafcpug.com actively berate people just for shooting in HDV, which they claim is an inferior format that should be avoided at all costs (even though PC editors seem mostly happy with it). Since I'm already comitted to HDV and can't afford to switch to anything better, this really turned me off of FCP. I hope they are wrong and Apple's claims are right...

    2) There are a couple other troubling issues specific to the MBP. Some users report that the screen brightness is not uniform across the screen, this seems to be luck-of-the-draw. There is also the fact that the MBP's Superdrive has a lot of flaws (no region free, poor burning quality on many premium brands of discs, many reports of stuck/jammed discs). Granted, it is an easy problem to get around by using an external DVD drive, but I feel this should not be necessary on a brand new, top-of-the-line product.

    3) With the "useful for work" aspects in doubt, its hard to justify spending $2000 on a toy. That money would buy me half of a new camera or a lot of other equipment like mikes, lights, etc.

    So, you can see I'm a bit troubled. Part of me WANTS to switch, to become a Mac (or at least 'bilingual') person, to fall in love with FCP. But on the other hand, it seems like there are so many problems in doing so, that I'm hesitant to put my money down. I was hoping somebody could either confirm these issues so I can just forget the whole switching idea, or maybe somebody could correct my misunderstandings/misperceptions and convince me that switching is the right thing to do?

    Thanks! :)
     
  2. SMM macrumors 65816

    SMM

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  3. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    #3
    Have you considered getting your feet wet with a consumer Mac first?

    Any C2D iMac except the lowest model would be a cheaper Mac to experiment with and they have fewer "issues" than most laptops...

    B
     
  4. theiinlive macrumors newbie

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    Central PA
    #4
    Just forget all that and take the dive - it's worth it.
     
  5. jettoblack thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 1, 2006
    #5
    I thought about an iMac, but I live in Japan and don't have much space in my tiny apartment, plus I'm moving back to the US next year and would rather not spend a lot of money on anything that I can't easily take back with me. I also considered a Macbook or mini, but because of the integrated graphics and lack of expansion ports (FW800/EC) they are not ideal for serious work in FCP...
     
  6. alFR macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    #6
    You know, the thread title "Was going to switch but now not too sure" and the OP's first line "I had been considering getting a Macbook Pro ever since they were announced (and especially since the C2D models were released), but recently I've been having second thoughts." kind of gave that away.
     
  7. dbboy macrumors newbie

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    Oct 31, 2006
    Location:
    Sacramento, Ca.
    #7
    In so many words..............DON'T
    I tried the switch and it sucked. Yes the OS is cool but for $2500 I got a very crappy screen and too many other problems to mention. Apple support was awful as well. I do audio for a living and you would think I would consider it the cat's meow. Instead I got a groovy machine that barely beats a 2 year old centrino laptop. If you need to run FC Pro, then by all means have at it. If not, Vegas kicks ass. Now that Apple is an Intel machine, the playing field will be much more even in the months to come. For now, my C2D macbook pro is going back and a cheaper, plastic but much faster Toshiba is going to allow me to get some real work done. I really wish it wasn't so since it is a very cool machine, however I need to get work done efficiently. My 2 cents, flame on mac guys!
    -RS
     
  8. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #8
    Frankly... don't switch.

    If you have to ask others to convince you... you aren't ready for another platform. You should take the fact that you made the original post in this thread as a big warning sign saying don't do this[/i].

    And as a general rule... don't take other peoples opinions either way. Search for facts and weed out bias. People who have spent a lot of money and have invested in a type of computer, software, even file format, can not be trusted to give a non-bias opinion. Computers are expensive, software tends to be even more expensive, and converting from file formats is time consuming and a pain... all of which pushes people's bias.

    Take the time to really find out if switching is right for you. Neither the Mac platform nor Final Cut Pro are going anywhere ( :rolleyes: unlike Premiere which folded on the Mac do to competition from FCP).

    And generally speaking, forums are good places for learning troubleshooting, but bad places to learn about a platform. People rarely start threads in forums saying "yes, another successful day doing _________", they are usually trying to solve some issue they are having. Once solved, many are never heard from again.


    And if you are doing this to learn Macs and FCP, there is no reason to jump in on the deep end (financially speaking). FCP has been around for a long time, and there are tons of used PowerBooks that can run older versions quite nicely. You can learn most of the major features of FCP and learn about Mac OS X at a fraction the price of buying a new system with new software.

    The only thing I hate more than seeing someone switch halfheartedly is seeing someone spend three to four times what they needed to get a task done. Unless you are planning on using your own equipment at these jobs you'll be sending your resume to, there really isn't a good reason to spend that much money on this (specially if you can't even make up your mind on your own yet).

    So basically, you aren't ready so don't switch.

    Hope that helps.
     
  9. alst macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    #9
    just out of interest....what "much faster" Toshiba are you talking about, as far as I was aware there ain't anything in a notebook faster than the C2D and the Macbook Pros have the two fastest speeds...

    But, you know, enlighten us
     
  10. chaosbunny macrumors 68000

    chaosbunny

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    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    #10
    How are you getting some real work done if your computer crashes 5 times a day and you have to reinstall the Os every 2 weeks?:rolleyes:

    Biased view vs. biased view.:D

    To the op, if you have no troubles with windows, then there is nothing wrong with staying with it. I think RacerX is right, going for a cheap used mac is probably the best sollution for you. This way you can experiment with the Os and see if you like it. Since macs hold their resale value very well you will not make a big financial loss if you sell it a few months later.
    A 1 ghz+ Mini/i or Powerbook would even let you experiment in FCP a little bit I guess.
     
  11. eji macrumors 6502

    eji

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    Inland Empire
    #11
    I agree with the other posters who've said that if Windows has worked well for you so far, stick with it. There has to be a reason above and beyond mild curiosity if you want to switch platforms, otherwise you'll just end up approaching a Mac as if it were a Windows machine and will likely see any differences as failings. I respect you wanting to broaden your experience, but I tend to see OS choice as a philosophical decision and not one to be made lightly.

    I can't advise you on the FCP-specific part of your question, though I would say that if you know the ideal tools for your purposes are already available for Windows, then it seems like unnecessary hassle to test the water elsewhere.

    Again, if you need convincing, an OS switch isn't the best idea. That initial reluctance has the potential to become a breeding ground for resentment. Maybe you can go into an Apple retailer in Japan and take a tour of the OS and FCP yourself and see if they meet your expectations?
     
  12. dbboy macrumors newbie

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    #12
    Another Mac zealot;)
     
  13. Kolind macrumors regular

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    Nov 2, 2006
    Location:
    Denmark
    #13
    I just ordered a Macbook Pro to do HDV work on, so I got a bit worried when you mentioned FCP not being as good as Apple claims.
    I am already a big OS X fan however, had an iBook which I sold just before the MacBook came out and since then I've been stuck with my windows desktop PC. And there are so many things I miss from OS X, in particular Spotlight and Exposé.
    I have been running Vista RC1 on this machine for a month now, and the vista-equivalent of spotlight is just terrible in comparison. To me, everything is a lot less intuitive on windows (and I consider myself quite experienced with Windows).

    If you are in the market for a new laptop anyway, I'd go for the switch. Even if you don't like OS X or FCP doesn't do its job you can always install Windows XP/vista on it - while still having one of the lightest, most stylish and fastest laptops you can get.

    That's what I think anyway... but of course I am biased too ;)
     
  14. NewSc2 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    #14
    You know, truthfully I was in your position. I switched, loved it, then sold my Powerbook in anticipation of the Intel switch. This second time around I'm having a hard time getting used to OSX again.

    My Macbook is slower than my 4 year old PC in doing very basic things -- playing videos, surfing the net, using Office programs (NeoOffice is slow, OpenOffice is slow, MS Office is slow). Granted it's faster in doing other things, and I love Expose, but if it weren't for Logic Pro I'd definitely have switched back to PC. You get a different feeling from both OS's (Windows seems better supported and quicker, Mac more stable and consumer-friendly).

    There are some really quirky things about OSX that boggle me -- lack of a simple program like Paint, Windows's calendar is more accessible, animations = cooler looking but slower, almost total lack of WMV support, no Windows Media Classic, lack of full right-clicking implementation -- instead they make up for it by having a ctrl, alt, and apple key (i know there really is a right click and it usually does what it does in Windows... but not always). Also having to Apple-N all the time instead of clicking the icon (i.e. clicking Firefox in XP will bring up a new Firefox window... in Mac you gotta Apple-N... same with Finder windows). Mac users say Windows feels bloated but it seems like with the huge amount of support (and MS sticking to x86 ever since), many common Windows programs take up less resources (IE, AIM, Winamp 2, WMC, Windows Explorer, etc.) and seem to be much better optimized than common Mac programs.

    /end rant.

    I don't know much about video editing software, but if Final Cut Pro is anything like Logic Pro then I'd definitely say try out OSX. Logic is just much more fluid than other music production programs, and its bundled plugins are top notch. Also there are a lot of good things about OSX, and things I didn't realize I hated on XP made my life stress free on a Mac.

    I'd also recommend purchasing a used or refurb Mac to try out the OS and see if you like it or not. It was a refreshing breath of air the first time I used it but after going back and getting a refreshing breath of fresh air with XP, and then coming back to OSX (and being a bit frustrated), I'm beginning to realize they're pretty much equal in different respects. I've also never owned a PC laptop before, but I get the feeling that Apple laptops are just built better than all laptops except for Thinkpads.
     
  15. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    Nov 25, 2005
    #15
    (Does a right click on his Apple mouse) Am I missing something here?
     
  16. Kolind macrumors regular

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    Denmark
    #16
    Notice the part in parenthesis :p . I tend to right-click A LOT more when using Windows, and for some reason use keyboard shortcuts in OS X. I can't put my finger on what the difference is, but it's there somehow :confused:
     
  17. iW00t macrumors 68040

    iW00t

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    #17
    What do you do for a living anyway?

    You mentioned your resume has mention of Windows and Linux experience, creative jobs (that require FCP) wouldn't give a hoot about that. Contrary development and system admin jobs wouldn't care much about FCP either.
     
  18. thworple macrumors 6502

    thworple

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    Oct 20, 2005
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    Sussex, England
    #18
    I have to say, I haven't experienced any major problems in using HDV with Final Cut Pro. Edited a 13 minute short film recently from a shoot using Sony Z1s, and had no problems whatsoever, and the down-convert to SD was fine (just remember to use manual settings when exporting!)

    You need plenty of RAM for HDV editing (I've got 2GB on the Powermac G5 I'm using currently, which has been fine.) and you'll be set.

    I agree with other posters here however that you should consider something cheaper to "test the water" with OS X and Final Cut Pro. A G4 Powerbook with 1GB of RAM or more will run FCP and enable you to do some HDV editing ok (I have a 12inch Powerbook too, and did some of the editing of the short film on that).

    As a former Premiere Pro user, I can vouch for the fact that FCP is FAR superior. I work in the TV industry here in the UK, and most prospective employers would want you to able to use FCP or AVID these days. Hardly ever see requests for Premiere users, although it does happen occasionally.

    Good luck.
     
  19. jettoblack thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    #19
    Damn, I was in the middle of writing a long reply when I accidentally closed the wrong tab. :(

    Well, I was going to say, I had considered a cheap used/refurb Mac to try out, but for some reason used Macs in Japan cost almost as much as brand new ones. The price differences between a decent condition G4 PB, a CD MBP refurb, and a brand new C2D MBP is a few hundred bucks at most (and importing is not a good option due to customs fees and hassles with returns/exchanges), so if I'm going to invest, I'd rather fork out the little bit extra to get the best possible experience.:) Besides, a PPC-based Mac won't run Windows which may be a necessity for me. Also I should have mentioned that if I choose to get a MBP, its kinda a birthday present from my family. :D

    As for my job, currently I'm teaching English in Japan, but my former and future job was/will be video editor, cameraman, all-around electronics technician, PC/network administration, etc. Also I will probably get back into event videography as a side business, potentially turning into my own full-time business if everything works out. Pretty much the only tech/geek thing I haven't had my hands in yet is a Mac. :eek:

    So, yeah... sorry if I sound wishy-washy or indecisive. I'm not begging for someone to convince me to or not to switch, but just want to make sure I'm not missing something major before I make up my mind.
     
  20. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

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    #20
    You're not saying goodbye to the Windows software by switching to a MacBook Pro. I assume you knew that, but it seems very relevant for your case. If the rumours about FCP bugs when dealing with HDV turn out to be true, you can still turn back to Windows and Premier or Edius on the same hardware.
     
  21. kristiano macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    #21
    I can't speak for no. 1 since I have little to no experience on it but here's my take on 2 and 3

    2.) Whatever you're read, all the problems and the like, are voiced by a vocal minority. Apple has shipped millions of Macintosh Intel desktops and portables in the last 3 quarters. Yes, there are problems but they aren't universal and I'd rate Apple's support- having utilized the service several times for my Macs and iPods- as on par, if not better than other places such as Compaq (HP now) or Fujitsu that I've used in the past before switching.

    3.) Only you can justify for yourself whether it's worth the $2500. I've spent about $3000 on 2 Macs and 3 iPods and as far as I'm concerned I'm happy with them. I personally like OS X a lot, and as you pointed out yourself, you can run Windows on it too (and I think a (in)famous review earlier this year made out the point that the MBP was the finest PC running Windows). My advice would be to go to a nearby Apple Store (you sure have a mighty fine one in Ginza ;)) and test it and if you still aren't convinced, invest a small amount in a PowerPC or Intel Mac Mini that will last you until you decide to return to your own country. By then at least, you'd be more informed or making your own decision instead of relying on opinions of situations that are different from yours.

    Hope that helped.
     
  22. mick4394 macrumors 6502a

    mick4394

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    Flyover country
    #22
    I could really care less what you do about your computer, but as a PC and Mac user there is something I think you should take into consideration when you make your decision.

    Contrary to what you hear, running Windows on a Mac is not as good or better than running it on a PC. The best word I can give you do describe it is muddy. In boot camp, everything looks kind of stretched and washed out. In Parallels, you can't run all programs (3D games).
    Will a Mac run Windows? Yes. Will it be as easy to use and as good looking as running it on a PC? No. I have no doubt that it will improve, but it's just not there yet. Buying a Mac and using it to, primarily, run Windows is a massive waste of money.
    I don't know how many times I've heard people on various forums make the comment "Macs run Windows better than PCs". Comments like that come from fanboys who have no clue what they're talking about. I use Windows and OSX daily. I also use Windows on my Macbook. The Macbook doesn't come close to even my 2 year old E-Machine when it comes to running Windows.
    If you're going to spend the money on the Mac, spend it with the intention of using OSX. Windows is a nice tool on a Mac, but it's not a replacement for OSX.
    That being said, if you really need to use FCP, make the jump. If you're anything like me, it's just going to eat at you until you do. If you're going to make a purchase of curiosity, at least a Mac curiosity purchase holds its value. No harm. No foul.
    Sorry about the rant. I just had to get that off my chest.
     
  23. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

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    #23
    mick4394: I call bollocks on that one. It's the same processor, motherboard and LCD panel as most PC laptops today. It's just Windows on standard hardware (except for a few pieces, like the one button trackpad and the iSight).

    If the screen looks stretched and washed out, the screen resolution isn't right.
     
  24. mick4394 macrumors 6502a

    mick4394

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    #24
    Call it what you want. I wasn't presenting it as an opinion. It's fact. Macs don't run Windows as well as PCs.

    I know it's not popular to say around here, but it's true.
     
  25. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    New England
    #25
    I too call bollocks on that one. I've benchmarked my 17" CD iMac in XP against recent C2D Dell desktops, and the iMac is right in the mix with them.

    Perhaps your issue is with the graphics adapters used in the Macs? Present some facts, links, benchmarks if you want us to take your opinion seriously.

    B
     

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