Advice - Mac for amateur photography

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Sqadush, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. Sqadush macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2010

    I currently have a macbook core duo, and it is overheating and making a lot of noise, specially when using skype.

    I have been considering a mac pro, but I have also read a lot of posts saying "you don't need a mac pro". That's why I would like your help and advice.

    I use my computer for editiing my pictures in LR3 and a little bit of photoshop (CS4), surfing the web, skype, office and other not very demanding software. But I am thinking of maybe starting to use the video opportunities of my camera (5d mk2) and also using Handbrake to convert some movies for Iphone or AppleTV and such things.
    I am so fed up with the heat of my laptop, and I want to be able to let it on maybe overnight if I need to.

    The problem I have with the Imac is the screen, shiny, not consistant and the size of it.

    What would you recommend ? Mac pro, Mac mini ? New Macbook pro ?

    thank you for your help

  2. mjsmke macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2010
    The base model Mac Pro would be fine for you with more RAM but you can always purchase that from places like Crucial, OWC, Newegg...

    The Mac Mini would cope with Lightroom but the exports will be much slower. Plus the Mac Pro has the advantage of adding more internal storage, upgrading the GPU, CPU.

    Also Handbrake will be alot faster in the Mac Pro over the Mac Mini
  3. hulfordp macrumors member

    Sep 28, 2010
    My setup

    Hey there I do some photography and use Aperture and PS CS5 everyday. My current setup is a mid 2010 base 13inch macbook pro (2.4ghz 4gigRAM integrated video card), with a 24 inch Samsung Sync Master. I don't mirror my screens so I can have the photo I'm editing on my 24inch and my library on the 13 inch. I almost bought an ACD but they are so darn expensive.
    This seems to work for me. It also gives me the freedom to edit in a coffee shop, but also to tether my camera to my computer at a shoot also!
    Just my two cents
  4. cutterman macrumors regular

    Apr 27, 2010
    OP: try blowing compressed air through the back vent of your MBP. Dust tends to accumulate on the fans and heat sinks, decreasing the cooling efficiency.

    If it works maybe you can get some more use out of it.
  5. Loa macrumors 68000


    May 5, 2003

    An iMac or even a Mac Mini would do most of the jobs you described easily, except 1080p video. The iMac would still be very decent, but if I were in your shoes I'd research which video app you would prefer, and see if more cores would help. They probably will.

    Secondly, as soon as you start working with HD video, you will need a lot of HD space. An external solution is always possible, but the Mac Pro is designed just for that. No need to hack your iMac for an eSATA port, and no need to use slow (USB) or rare (FireWire) interfaces. With a MP, you'll be able to easily fit 4 extra HD in the machine itself (more if you push it), and pop in a 5$ eSATA card for even more...

    Unless you're very rich, your camera indicates that you're serious about your work, and thus would probably appreciate the MP despite the cost. Or, if you're very rich, well, get a MP! :-D

  6. Macshroomer macrumors 65816


    Dec 6, 2009
    Actually, I know quite a few amateurs and even some so called "Semi-Pros" ( no such thing) that have that camera or other ones in their price range and they are not very good at shooting, so it really does not mean much in reality.

    Raw talent and vision makes a good or serious shooter these days, not an expensive camera or photoshop / Lightroom running on a Mac Pro...

    Get what ever computer you need to make all your tasks more efficient, not just your hobby.
  7. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    Do you NEED a Mac Pro to do the things you described? No, you're MBP is doing the job.

    But it sounds like you want more than "just getting the job done." You want to get the job done and have resources to spare.

    A Mac Pro would certain do that. It would also allow you to use whatever monitor(s) you prefer.

    There are 3 reasons not to get a Mac Pro:
    1) Size - it's a big tower and not everyone wants to take up that much space.
    2) Portability - I suppose you could carry around car batteries and take it "on the go."
    3) Price - Money is expensive.

    There is a phantom #4 - "I don't need that much computer." But that's not really a reason. We have lots of things we don't need. It takes ~35 horse power to travel 50 mph, but cars come with hundreds. My cell phone has more CPU power than the Apollo 11 space mission.

    If the only thing holding you back is #3, then have you considered an older model? A base 4 core MP that is a year or two old would be a considerable upgrade from your MBP.
  8. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    An iMac or a MBP will do the tasks you describe better and at a lower price than a Mac Pro. Why? Simply because the Mac Pros use older, slower CPUs.

    I suggest you get a high-end 15" MBP.
  9. Vylen macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    As an enthusiast photographer I would suggest a 27" iMac if all you're doing I primarily photography and video editing for the first time with your 5D. You would definitely want the screen real-estate for a cheap price when processing your images in LR3.

    Also the 27" is more powerful and cheaper than the base Mac Pro.
  10. Terrador macrumors regular

    Aug 22, 2008
    I don't know if LR3 utilizes hyper-threading, but if it does you definitely need to consider the i7 iMac (27") as the user above me mentioned. Its definitely got the ability to run LR3 without hyper-threading, but if DOES have it you'll see a major boost in performance.

    I don't think you need a Mac Pro for photography. That said, I think there is a great handicap with the iMacs with the fact they don't come with a matte screen...which usually gives a better/truer representation of your work when it comes to anything intensely visual. I think if you want to go the matte screen route (with a mac), your options are as follows:

    - iMac + external matte monitor
    - MacBook Pro + Matte option through apple store
    - MacBook Pro + external matte monitor

    I'm just mentioning all this hoping it helps you. As far as pure speed an ability to run LR3 goes, I think you can get away with the base i3 can future proof yourself by getting the i7.
  11. cherry su macrumors 65816

    cherry su

    Feb 28, 2008
    You'll be fine with a Mac mini if you can get by with a Core Duo MacBook.
  12. khollister macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    An iMac or MBP will work fine (screen perceptions about the iMac aside) since you can get adequate RAM in either now.

    The Pro is great because of the flexibility in storage and in doing repairs/upgrades compared to the iMac in particular. It is a hell of a lot easier getting to the disk drive in a MBP than an iMac.

    Once the teething problems are resolved on the new ThunderBooks, one of those with an external monitor should be at least as good as current gen iMac's based on Photoshop benchmarks I've seen. They will also take 8GB DIMMS for 16GB of RAM too.
  13. MattDSLR macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2011
    iMac will be just enough for basic and even some intense work.
    Hard drive will be an issue but the new iMacs have option of adding drives in them
    go with 512 SSD and 2 gig for your storage also get a back up drive where you can back up all your work
  14. khollister macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    I don't use LR, but I have several Nik, Topaz and OnOne plugins in CS5 that light up all 8 cores (4 physical, 4 virtual) in my 3.2 quad MP. CS5 itself doesn't make use of all the cores, but the plugins sure do when it comes to render the final layer for the filter.

    Get the quad core with hyper-threading.
  15. Sqadush thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2010
    Thanks all

    Hi all,

    Thanks a lot for your reply. Unfortunately there are many different answers!

    I am affraid of buying a laptop, because it will get probably warm, and I would not be able to have a ssd and a storage without many cables ...

    The imac, it is so huge on the desk! and if I go for that one with SSD + hard drive, it cost the same as Mac Pro + screen doesn't it ?

    Mac Mini would be too slow ?

    I am not rich, but I have spared for the last years because I knew I would have to replace my computer.
    I am not good at photography, I just enjoy it and put the money where I felt it would make a difference for me, hence full frame.

    Thanks again for all your help, I read with great interest your answers

  16. Vylen macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    if you went for the 27" iMac with Core i7 2.93Ghz, you don't really need to go with SSD + HDD. Especially since it's the Apple SSD's aren't that good.

    Also, there's no real benefit to using SSD - aside from faster application open times for example, but seriously, who cares ;) :p

    Stick with the 1TB SATA, or pay a little more for 2TB. Either way, I would also suggest to have an external firewire drive for backup.

    The above configuration will be a ~$1000 cheaper than the 2.8Ghz Quad Mac Pro + Monitor (well, depends on the monitor you get, but you'd want at least IPS!).
  17. dimme macrumors 65816

    Feb 14, 2007
    SF, CA
    I work in the Photography & Printing field, started out in a darkroom and transitioned into digital imaging. I have always been a amateur photographer out there every weekend etc. anyway my point is I see where you are coming from. One of the most important tools you need is a good non reflective screen, (IPS or PVA) So the iMac is not a good choice. IMO the MacPro is now way overpriced for what you get. Don't get me wrong it's a fabulous machine but just not a great value for a hobbyist. Once you are working in Photoshop or Lightroom the OS does not matter so you may want to consider building a nice windows box. If I had to replace my MacPro today that is what I would do.
    Good Luck.

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