Best MacBook for a photographer?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Blaha, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. Blaha macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    #1
    Hi, I am a photography student & I am looking to buy a MacBook I don't know whether to get air or pro.
    I will mainly be using it for college work & editing photos i will be carrying it about a lot and would prefer a bigger screen any suggestion? Thanks
     
  2. sixkiller macrumors member

    sixkiller

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    Aug 9, 2014
    Location:
    New York
    #2
    15" MacBook Pro - Gonna need that retina screen!
     
  3. Pakaku macrumors 68000

    Pakaku

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    #3
    Yeah, you're kind of limited to the Pro if you'll be mobile a lot. If you're even remotely serious about picture quality, you wouldn't even be considering an Air, which leaves only the Pro line and the tiny MacBook.
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    Not only for the larger screen but the larger STORAGE. I assume you'd want to be able to keep a few hundred or even thousand raw image files on the computer.

    For general collage work, you don't need much I would get the smaller 13" or even smaller Macbook Air and keep all your work on iCloud where you can access it from any computer. But the needs of a photographer as a bit more then a student.
     
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #5
    Definitely get a Pro with the most storage you can afford. Two reasons: Screen, you definitely, definitely, definitely want a retina screen. Not just the resolution is better, but also color range, contrasts, viewing angles. And storage: both Pro models support 1 TB.

    Whether you should get a 13" or a 15" is a matter of taste: I'm a 13" person myself, but I have owned several 15" mobile Macs. I travel a lot and favor less weight and smaller size over a larger screen and more multicore processing power. If you get an external screen, you can mitigate the small screen size, so I reckon most people opt for the 13" model.
     
  6. Bristol410 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2006
    Location:
    Wilts, UK
    #6
    By way of an opposing view, I know many photographers who use an Air, both 11" and 13", as they are much more portable than a MacBook Pro. Most of these will admittedly then have a desktop Mac at home, which may not be realistic if you are a student, but don't think that you can't do professional photo work on an Air if you want to.
     
  7. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #7
    First, don't purchase anything until Apple announces the new Macs that have Skylake CPUs, likely support DDR4 memory, have USB-C that will likely replace any types of ports, supports USB 3.1 high speed plus Thunderbolt 3. Once the new machines are announced you can decide to go for one of them, or look for a sale for the current models.

    The wife and I are both photographers. We each have a rMBP with 16MB of memory and a 1 TB SSD. When we are in the field we use the rMBP's to import images onto the SSD folders. Then we cull before we import the keepers into Lightroom. We complete the post processing in Lightroom and plugins (On1 Photo 1-, Macphun Creative Kit apps, and rarely in Photoshop). When we get home we use Lightroom to move the completed images from the internal SSD to the external RAID 0 drive sets. The entire file system is backed up by Time Machine onto separate 6TB drives. When we are in the field we backup the SSD with Time Machine onto external 1TB SSDs. The great thing about an SSD for backup in the field is that they are quick, small, low power, and don't have moving mechanical parts to fail like a HD can.

    When we are home the rMBPs become our desktop machines by being hooked up to keyboards and 4K monitors that are calibrated. In the field our rMBPs slide into the back pocket of our Tenba Large Messenger camera bags. Personally, I would only consider getting a maxed out rMBP unless I had the budget for a separate maxed out iMac at home.
     
  8. lcseds macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 20, 2006
    Location:
    NC, USA
    #8
    Very impressive MCAsan. Contributes very little to the OP's question though.
     
  9. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #9
    That would be for the OP to determine.
     
  10. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #10
    No, I think it's quite pertinent. So far the OP hasn't given us a budget, so we can't exactly make more pertinent recommendations.
     
  11. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #11
    I use a 3.0 i7 rMBP (refurb). My wife uses a 1.7 i7 MBA. Both run Lightroom 6.1. I won't touch her Air for LR. She's happy with it. Sort of depends on what type of experience you want. If photo processing is a major criteria for the laptop, and you want smooth, responsive use of adjustment brushes, the Pro.
     
  12. Dydegu macrumors 6502a

    Dydegu

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2015
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    #12
    I'd definitely wait if you can; new MacBooks are coming within the first half of this year. Besides a host of new features and upgrades, they'll likely make the SSD upgrades more affordable, so you'll get more storage for less. New models might also have reduced bezels, meaning larger screen sizes in the same sized body.

    A 13" rMBP would work if you're on a "budget." Then you could upgrade to whichever SSD you can afford.

    If you'd like a larger screen, the base 15" rMBP comes with 16GB of RAM, better graphics, and a quad-core processor, for $1,999, and you'd start at 256GB of storage vs. 128GB in the 13".

    Can someone touch on the importance of 8GB vs. 16GB of RAM? Would 16GB deliver a significant performance boost for photo editing?
     
  13. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #13
    Yes, definitely. Apps like Lightroom load many, many images into memory. RAW files of modern cameras weight in at about 30~50 MB a piece, and it is not unusual to have ~200 photos in a project. You will need RAM, I would prioritize RAM over getting a faster CPU.
     
  14. Miltz macrumors 6502

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    Sep 6, 2013
    Location:
    New York
    #14
    15" Retina Macbook Pro. I tried the 13" inch and was miserable, it was way to small.
     
  15. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #15
    I might be accused of being a re-hash but here are some more peanuts to toss into the gallery and it applies to not just people doing photography.

    1) Get an idea of what applications you will be using and research best hardware set ups.
    As example, some apps only require 1 core vs multi-core, some take more advantage of the GPU and of course RAM.

    2) Decide what best meets your physical needs as in small vs larger laptop.

    3) Realize that with many Apple products, ability to update later the hardware internally is a big NO so you will need to ideally plan ahead.

    4) Some hard core users realize that as time moves forward, the need for a bit more power or drive space should be anticipated at purchase. The key items - CPU, GPU, drive and RAM. (again check the apps you may wish to use)

    As someone who deals with image files and Photoshop, I was more concerned about RAM and minimum drive space. The GPU wasn't much of a factor and so I did what I felt was the sweet spot for price and hardware - Middle line processor mid 2015 2.5 i7, 512 SSD, 16 gigs RAM (MB pro). I also run Capture One, and a few other photo/graphic related apps. This works well for me, you might find that your needs are quite different but the point is, I did my homework and it paid off.
     
  16. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #16
    I use a 13" rmbp. 8gb ram has never been a problem, but the dualcore slows things down when exporting.

    For storage I'd recommend the WD passport pro with thunderbolt in raid0 and back it up on a cheap hdd.
     
  17. BMP84 macrumors regular

    BMP84

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    #17
    As a solo machine, the answer is simply the Macbook Pro, if screen real-estate becomes a issue you could always add a external Monitor for home use.

    I personally have always loved to have the portability of the Macbook Air as the mobile editor, but wouldn't use it as a solo machine. I found the iMac/Air combo to fit my needs.
     

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