Which machine for a Photographer?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Cloud9, Jan 27, 2007.

  1. Cloud9 macrumors regular

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    #1
    Hello,

    This year will be my second year assisting/second shooting at weddings and I will also be the lead at a couple of weddings also. Up till now I have been chugging along on my 15" pb g4 using iphoto and ps elements to create my portfolio.

    One of the leads I work for is interested in handing off some of his editing work to me for next year and my own editing needs are going to jump up as well. I just recently used lightroom to edit some engagement shots and I realize how much I need a tool like that or aperture to increase my productivity and quality.

    So I am going to buy a new computer when leopard comes out.

    I would love to buy a macpro but that is just not going to happen. I cant justify it where I am at.

    Now I tend to currently do my editing at home, and since I already have my pb portabilty is not the breaking point, the real issue is price versus performance.

    I am debating between an iMac 20"-24" or a macbook + 22"-24" dell lcd

    I dont play games and I dont do 3d work. I will be working with up to 1000 raw photos. I need to move through those photos as quick as I can. I dont do crazy photoshop renderings, I mostly use it for dodge, burn, stamp, filters, ect.

    I like the idea of the macbook because my pb is alot to haul around. But I also like the idea of the imac because I wont move it much which means it probably wont break on me. But in terms of performance I am not sure what the diference is for what I am doing.

    Suggestions would be great thanks.
     
  2. adrianblaine macrumors 65816

    adrianblaine

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    #2
    I think Apple has done a pretty good job at making all their computer capable of what you are asking of it. You'll just need to put as much ram as you can into whatever you get that you can afford. I think it really comes down to how much is in your budget, how mobile you want it to be and how big a screen you want. Right now I think the sweet spot is a 20" iMac for the price.
     
  3. Martin C macrumors 6502a

    Martin C

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    #3
    I would go with the Macbook and external display option as you can upload the pictures straight to your Macbook as they are taken.
     
  4. MSM Hobbes macrumors 6502

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    #4
    If you are 100% certain that your PB will 100% suffice in all of your portable needs, then highly recommend the 24" iMac [not the 20" - the extra 4" will be very nice when editing, displaying, etc. multiple images]. Also, if the thought of having to d/l images from the iMac to a laptop [be it the PB or MB] is not that bad, then again go the iMac route.

    However, having all images in one machine [of course w/ backups in an external HD ;)] that allows portability, plus that can then be tied to a large monitor when in the office, that is the route I would take. :)

    Performance wise, for this type of application, the MB will be an excellent choice.

    Question, as I like to play with my digital images, what s/w do you have and/or recommend?
     
  5. Cloud9 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Realy? I am surprised.

    So what you are all saying is...

    The Macbook, (not the MBP mind you), is just as capable of handling what I would want to do with aperture or lightroom as the imac is? Because I can get an 24" imac for 1700 refurbed, or a macbook for a grand and add a display for between 300-600. I might sell my pb then for the ram and software i need and I would be set.

    Am I thinking right?

    Because I would sacrifice portability for a 20% increasein performance.
     
  6. adrianblaine macrumors 65816

    adrianblaine

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    #6
    Capable? Yes. Just as fast? probably not, but in real world use I doubt the iMac is 20% faster than the MacBook at going through pictures. Have you tried them out at an Apple store or anything? You'd be surprised at how fast the MacBook really is.
     
  7. UnreaL macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Others points are valid about 2 machines and hassle etc but incase it hasn't been highlighted fully yet, you want to get as much memory as you can. Infact adding more memory to your G4 might even solve alot of your issues.
     
  8. Silentwave macrumors 68000

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    #8
    No, it isn't (see below)

    I'm just asking, don't take this the wrong way, but have you used Aperture? or are you basing this on just standard use? In the latter case, this would be correct, but not for Aperture.

    Aperture is Enormously dependent on the Video Card for good performance. The MacBook wasn't even supported until Aperture 1.5 because its GMA950 just wasn't powerful enough.

    All recommended systems have discrete GPUs.

    So for good performance on Aperture, I'd suggest at least a Macbook Pro with 128MB X1600 as the bare minimum. I use it on the MBP with 2GB RAM and the 256MB X1600. If you get the 24" iMac, I'd say get the NVidia 256mb 7600 card and 2GB RAM. The performance difference between my MBP/x1600/2GB and a Mac Pro with X1900XT and 2 or 4GB RAM is very noticeable (I work with 10mp 15MB raw files constantly), and I can definitely tell the difference between the 7300GT in the Mac Pro and the X1900XT
     
  9. adrianblaine macrumors 65816

    adrianblaine

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    #9
    I actually don't own a MacBook... I've run Aperture on my MBP. I was just saying that the MacBook is more powerful than people think, and Apple advertises MacBooks all the time running Aperture.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Cloud9 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    What about lightroom

    Is lightroom dependant on GPU?

    This is very important. If lightroom is not, then I'll end up going with that software in order to get away with good performing less expensive system. If it is, then I am back to looking at the Imac and not the macbook. I honestly hate the aluminum enclosure of the powerbooks.
     
  11. iW00t macrumors 68040

    iW00t

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    #11
    I think as a professional the Mac Pro deserves more consideration.

    It is the only Mac that comes close to the versatility a PeeCee can offer - customisability and upgradability.
     
  12. Silentwave macrumors 68000

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    #12
    Only since the absolute most recent major update- which was announced about 3 months ago. before that it couldn't even run. I wouldn't rely on it, since the opportunity is there for a more suitable purchase (like our Macbook Pros.)
     
  13. Cloud9 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    But the macpro and macbook pro are not oppurtunities for me. I just want to know if people are regretting their macbook or imac purchase choices for photoediting. Or if it runs nicely for them.
     
  14. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

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    #14
    if you are even considering using Aperture, then get the iMac...

    i would also suggest a 2nd monitor for the iMac like a dell 20" to add screen space.
     
  15. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

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    #15

    The 24" iMac would be my recommendation as well (assuming that your PowerBook G4 will be sufficient for your mobile needs). :)
     
  16. tuartboy macrumors 6502a

    tuartboy

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    #16
    You would be surprised what become "opportunities" when you write them off on your taxes. Lightroom is not nearly as GPU-dependent as Aperture, but go for the fastest machine you can.

    The memory is likely the most important hardware to both apps, but don't forget HD space (and speed...). You go through a lot of space in a year and it would be a little annoying if you had to swap out 30 externals.

    Just my 2¢
     
  17. skinnylegs macrumors 65816

    skinnylegs

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    #17
    Bottom line......

    1. Keep the PB for those times you need portability.
    2. Get a 20" or 24" (if you can afford it) iMac
    3. Add as much RAM as you can afford.
    4. Have fun!
     
  18. Cloud9 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
    ok here is the bottom line

    OK, so these are the diferent set ups I am envisoning.

    1. Refurbed white or black macbook, 2gigs ram + 22"-24" lcd. I sell My powerbook, and use the extra cash to purchase the ram and or lcd and or software I need.
    ($1325-$1700) depending on how things pan.
    Added benefit,macbook is more ideal to me as a portable then my powerbook. I don't like the aluminum and it's big for long travel.

    2. refurbed Imac 20"-24" + 2gigs of ram. I keep the powerbook as my portable. ($1525-$1925) Added benifit. I don't think I'll ever worry if this thing breaks and I'll have a back-up computer should I need it. This will run aperture, but honestly I'd rather give adobe my money as a matter of principle.

    3. refurbed Macbook Pro. UGG! I hate aluminum enclosure. Yeah it looks and feels sexy but it's so damn impracitical. I just perfer the design of the macbook. And at ($1700-$2300) this is just not an option for me. I still have to purchase the software I am going to run, as well as more photography equipment for next year. If I had this much to spend believe me I would buy a macpro instead.
     
  19. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

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    #19
    I would still go with option #2 Cloud9. :)

    I would prefer to have two computers to use instead of just one. As you said, you will have a back-up computer in case one breaks or gets lost/stolen. :)
     
  20. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #20
    I'd recommend the iMac. Get it and stick with your 15" PB. The MacBook is smaller, but not THAT much smaller due to how wide the frame of the LCD is. Look at the MacBook and all the white space surrounding the LCD. I know Apple probably did this because they needed to make the laptop base (ie: the part with all the components in it) larger for cooling issues, but it still means that it's not very small.

    The plastic is nice for me because I don't care if the plastic gets ruined. For some reason, I was very protective of my 12" PB when I owned it.


    I wouldn't make the same recommendation for someone doing this for more than a hobby.

    If he was definitely sticking with Lightroom, then I would agree. Aperture is a different topic altogether in terms of speed and requirements. Yes, it "runs" on a MacBook, but it was really never meant to be used without a proper graphics card.


    -Abstract (MacBook owner).
     
  21. techster85 macrumors regular

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    #21
    As a fellow professional wedding photographer, I would get the fastest machine that you can get and then let your PB handle the portability problems. A 24-inch iMac with a couple gigs of ram would play very nice with Aperture. If you are working with 1000-ish RAWs at the same time, you also need to think about the speed difference in the harddrives in the macbook and the iMac. And while I realize that you have already said that the mac pro is outside of your price point, it really is a screamer with aperture.

    I use my 12inch PB at the wedding to dump my cards as the day goes on, then when I get home I move everything over to the mac pro and let it handle all the editing and such. I think in your case, keep your PB as long as it will run and spend your money on an iMac for your main editing machine.
     
  22. Cloud9 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #22
    what if I decide not to use aperture.


    But If I decide to use lightroom, and not aperture, does the recomendation change? All the recomendations seem to center on aperture as the program I will use. But Lightroom seems to do what I need. And if it's true that it is not gpu dependant, how will it run any faster on an Imac? And what makes 24" faster then the 20"? Outside the graphics card again.

    As for the harddrive issue. I've read that the hardrive speed is only important if you are working with files larger 20mb. I wont be doing that untill next year at the earliest. And even stlll I have no problem upgarding the hardrive later to 7200 if thats realy the issue. As for space. I keep most of my stuff on an external now and move onto my powerbook when I am ready to work on it.

    I just get this feeling that the imac 24" is more about the 24" then about performance. And if by sticking with lightroom I can save $500 bucks in hardware instead of going with aperture then that definately has an impact on my decision.

    If the Imac had Conroe, Hell yes my decision would be made. But thats not the case.

    Plus my intention is to get a machine that will do what I need for 1.5 to 2 years, and then Upgrade again. Having the lcd that I would have to purchase going the macbook route, would make it that much easier to get a macpro later on. Having Imac means I have to purchase an Lcd when I get my next machine unless its an imac.

    But If an imac will surf through 8-10 mb raws faster then a macbook on lightroom as well as Aperture then I dont have a choice. That means I would be foolish not to get the Imac.


    OHH!. Lightroom will run on a PC! I'll buy a screaming PC for cheaper then a mac never plug it into internet and use that as my photomachine. (I think I am kidding...)
     
  23. MSM Hobbes macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Cloud9 - have you looked at the following? That shows some of the main diffs between the 20 and 24" iMacs, besides the real estate space, which IMHO is worth the extra $$$. http://guides.macrumors.com/iMac_(Intel)

    Checking into refurbs, as where my iMac was spawned, I don't see any 24" models right now. Also keep in mind that a refurb may or may not have the BTO option of the 7600GT video card. BTW, I've seen a 20 and 24" side by side at Apple store after I've had mine for few weeks, and the 20" just doesn't look as good,,, ;)

    And,,, if you want another person's advice, I would say, if you haven't already, give the Apple sales folk a call - every one I've talked with on my orders have been very knowledgeable and helpful.
     
  24. karebihun macrumors newbie

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  25. Cloud9 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #25
    20d
     

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