12" Macbook for Photo Editing

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by aspalmat, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. aspalmat macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2016
    Holland, MI
    Just curious if people have experience with the 12" MacBook with Retina display for photo editing. My primary machine for editing is a 21" iMac. But, I'm considering adding either a 12" MacBook or 13" MacBook Air. I would do occasional raw file processing using Lightroom.

    I prefer the processor in the MacBook Air, but I really want the Retina display in the MacBook. Are folks doing photo editing on MacBook successfully? I know the MacBook Pro, either 13" or 15" would be better all the way around, but I'm looking at the MacBook and MacBook Air due to the portability.

    Any input would be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. dannyar macrumors 6502a

    Feb 2, 2007
    Yes, the laptop is more than capable for photo editing etc. It can even edit and export 4k video without a problem. People think this is a netbook of some sorts than cant handle any strenuous tasks but its far from the truth.
  3. TH3D4RKKN1GH7 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 25, 2009
    It can do it, but it's no speed demon. Capture One is faster on it than Lightroom, but it takes it time dealing with my 42MP A7r II files. It's faster with the 12MP files from the A7s, obviously. I did significant retouching on it in Affinity Photo with 100MB TIFF files and it was speedy enough. I have the base model, btw.
  4. aspalmat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2016
    Holland, MI
    Thanks for the reply guys. I'd love to hear more feedback from users who have run done photo editing on it.

    TH3D: Nice camera's! I have a Nikon D750 and Sony A7 and A6000. All at 24 MP, so not quite as demanding as the A7II.

    Again, this would not be my primary editing machine, but it would would be nice to know it can handle it with "reasonable" performance for the occasional time when I would want to use it.
  5. davys macrumors regular

    Mar 24, 2010
    Yeah, keen to know as well. I use Capture One, Photoshop and the Nik suite... It won't be my primary machine, but would love to be assured that when I take it travelling it will be able to handle basic edits without slowing down too much. Waiting to see what the upgrades will be before I jump, but its between the MBr and the 13" MBP - it will replace my 2009 MBP 15", which to be fair, still copes reasonably with what I ask of it photography wise when on the road.

    Would love to be able to replace it confidently with the MBr, and the comments in this thread appear to back up the thought that it will, so thanks folks for chipping in.
  6. TH3D4RKKN1GH7 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 25, 2009
    I bring it to event jobs so I can give clients a few processed images for social the night of and its fine for that. I can't imagine editing 3-400MB Tiffs from my A7r II on it, especially files with tons of layers. But for quick edits you should be fine. Unless you need it now I may wait for Skylake and maybe a 14" version? IDK.

    Quick example: my rMB takes about 7-11 seconds to export a JPG of a 42MP A7r II RAW file. My 6 core Mac Pro does it in a second or less.
  7. davys macrumors regular

    Mar 24, 2010
    Thanks again Dark Night, and thanks for the real world example. Was on my 2009 MBP last night and I was about 11 secs to export a considerably smaller JPEG (7mp) from Capture One to my desktop! Yes, I'll be defo waiting to see what the upgrades bring. Enjoy your day.

  8. pjny macrumors 6502a

    Feb 18, 2010
    I use the 1.3ghz 12" to process raw images on deadline using Capture One 9 and Photomechanic 5 since June 2015. My previous mobile machine was a 2011 mbp, 2.3ghz, 16gb ram. iirc, it used to take about 7-8 seconds to process each 36megapixel photo on the 2011, a quick test shows about 9-10 seconds on 2015. Not bad. Best thing about it is you can stick it in something as small as a Camelbak Mule 100 Oz Hydration Pack and carry it around all day with no back pain. Love the screen. No need to really zoom in to check if an image is in focus.
  9. Algus macrumors regular


    Jun 8, 2014
    Uhhnn, I think I need to bookmark this thread for how often I see this question on some of the Mac forums I hit. Thanks for offering testimonials guys!
  10. Flunkyturtle macrumors 6502

    Dec 20, 2011
    I use mine for editing all the time. does everything i ask of it, but i have nothing to compare it to.
  11. neonart macrumors 65816


    Sep 4, 2002
    Near a Mac since 1993.
    This is great info! I'm actually considering a base rMB to replace a 2008 Mac Pro... Kinda crazy, but I'd like the flexibility/mobility, and have a trip out of the country that's coercing me to go ultra portable. I'm still using Aperture, though I also have Lightroom. (Need to make that leap) The MP is an 08 8x3ghz, 16GB, GTX660. Files are 24mp RAW from M240.
    Photography is not my main gig, mostly personal. But a few times a year I do some jobs were I'll have to edit few hundred shots.
    Does this sound like a crazy idea? Really not sure how great these new machines are. I'm aware I'll need a usb-c hub and fast external drive...

    Your thoughts?
  12. pjny macrumors 6502a

    Feb 18, 2010
    I just saw the Apple 12" MacBook (Early 2015) 1.3ghz 256gb drive for $1249 at bhphoto.com. I paid $1539 last June and have to say it is a dream come true. Try it, you'll love it. I carry a reasonable amount of gear in a backpack and the 2011 13" macbook pro was a backbreaker for walking around.

    Also... the usb-c accessory ecosystem has come a long way since last year. You can get hubs, usb-c to usb-a adaptors for regular usb devices, usb-c to usb-micro b cables for portable hard drives and card readers such as the new Samsung T1 solid state storage drive... I use the Anker Powercore+ 26800mah to top up my laptop using usb-c cable. This is great if you are travelling and power is an issue.


  13. DougFNJ macrumors 65816


    Jan 22, 2008
    If I were an audio/video professional working with tons of photos and videos on time sensitive projects, I would had gotten the 15" maxed out. I'm not. I play with Final Cut for amateur projects and light photo touchups... For simple small video and photo projects, the Macbook performs very well, actually impressively well over my expectations thinking it would take a much longer time to render 30 minutes of video. I would assume if I am getting the kind of performance I am enjoying on video, Lightroom should do precisely what you are hoping. Other members seem to be agreeing. Go to B&H if you do get one, looks like they are having a good deal right now.
  14. Villee macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2016
    I just tried Capture one because so many in this topic seems to use it and someone mentioned it is faster than Lightroom. But my experience was horrible. There is about 0.5-1 second lag when I try to move any slider. Is this normal behavior?

    I have 1.3 12" Macbook.
  15. ambravernuccio macrumors newbie


    Sep 4, 2016
    Hi Guys,

    interesting reading.. I got a couple of questions for you.

    Before I start, let me say that I already own an IMAC and a 2years old MACPRO 15inch which works amazingly.

    I work as a photographer and I travel and also need to deliver a selection of the photos straightaway on location. It becomes a nightmare carrying around the 15' inches or being forced to go back to my hotel to edit the photos.

    Having said that, I like to process my RAW images in Capture one and also I need two USB plugged in for external harddrive and memory card reader.

    To be honest, I am not sure what to do? The processor 1.2GHz processor seems quite weak compared to my 2.5Ghz and I am afraid it wouldn't be powerful enough to work on my photos. I wouldn't use this as main computer, but only when I travel which can be 2 weeks at the time. at the same time, The lightweight of merely 1kg looks like a dream to my shoulders, which already carry the photographic equipment (heavy)..what would you advise me to do?
  16. Precursor macrumors 6502a


    Sep 29, 2015
    1.2 GHz is not the turbo speed
  17. PatriotInvasion macrumors 68000


    Jul 18, 2010
    Boston, MA
    I have a 2015 base model 12" MacBook and use Affinity Photo on it quite a bit. For basic editing, it's certainly fine and usable, but you can see the image processing the change before your eyes. On my 27" iMac with dedicated GPU, edits in Affinity happen instantly.

    Since you have an iMac as your main machine, the 12" MacBook is a great companion for portability.

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