Calling all photographers who own MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Richard Peters, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. Richard Peters macrumors regular

    Richard Peters

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    #1
    Just a quick question for any photographers out there:

    I'm flying out for a week this Saturday to photograph some wildlife in Belarus. I don't really want to take my old 15" MBP with me as it weighs quite a bit, given I'll have a 600mm and several camera bodies in the bag as well.

    So, I'd like to purchase a MBA. Me being me, I've left it too late so I'm now stuck with only being able to buy a stock model from an Apple store over the next two days.

    So do any photographers out there use an 11" MBA with the stock i6 and 4gb ram model? I just need to know if it'll be powerful enough to do light editing of RAW files from a 16mp Nikon D4, and eventually a 36mp D800.

    I know we aren't far off a refresh and the smart move might be to just lug my old 2009 MBP with me but I really would love to not have to carry that extra 1.5kg of weight in my hand luggage if I can help it!!
     
  2. Bear macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #2
    So you want to buy a new laptop, install software and make sure it's working right in the few days left before a trip?

    My suggestion is go in to an Apple store and test photo editing (iPhoto or Aperture) on both the the 11" and 13" Airs in the store. The other thing to consider is the size of the SSD. You want enough room on it to store all the pictures you take on the trip. (For me this would be one of 2 copies I make of the memory cards before reusing them in the camera.)
     
  3. fisha macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    #3
    What do you consider as being unacceptable in terms of editing power? The MBA would do the job fine. It wont be lightning fast, but it'll handle it.

    Wondering whether you'd run out of storage space though depending on the HDD you went for?
     
  4. Richard Peters thread starter macrumors regular

    Richard Peters

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    #4
    Correct, I like to make life easy for myself :D

    I need to run Nikon Capture/View NX which they won't have in store to test, and they may not be able to read files from the D4 to test either. 128gb 'should' be enough for a week long trip, especially as the evenings will be sent deleting the majority of the bad images.

    Just needs enough power to happily open multiple RAW files and not slow down too much. I basically don't want to see any spinning wheels or progress bars!

    I guess my other option would be to buy what I can from the Apple store, make do with it on this trip and if it's not quite what I want I can swap it for a more beefed up version when I get back :confused:
     
  5. njean777 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    #5
    NEver have used RAW files, but aperture runs great on my 11in air. It is stock i5, 4gb of ram, 128gb SSD. Never have had any problems importing images, although all of mine are from my iphone. Still saving up for a decent starter dslr.
     
  6. Macman45, Apr 25, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012

    Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #6
    I have a 13" MBA...It's the top end model, but multiple RAW files? And without testing? I'm afraid the most practical suggestion here is to take your Pro...I carry both. That 11" screen just isn't enough real-estate either...Like you yourself said you have left it too late, and going on shoot with untested kit is a recipe for disaster IMO.
     
  7. Richard Peters thread starter macrumors regular

    Richard Peters

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    #7
    I fear you are probably right. Screen size isn't an issue though as it'll only be for rough edits and removing the dud images, but yes it might be a pointless exercise buying it then having to take it back to upgrade. I guess the smart option for this trip is to put up with the weight and then grab a new Air when the refresh comes along! I think kinda knew that already but wanted to get some thoughts on the subject just in case...
     
  8. illippinno macrumors regular

    illippinno

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    #8
    Hi,

    Just thought I'd share my experience with a similar 11" MBA you described (I have the 1.6, i5 version).

    I bought my MBA to work on light photo editing while traveling (and some wedding work), and for what I've used it for, it works just fine.

    One scenario I used my MBA is editing a RAW files (from a Canon 5D Mark II) in Photoshop, such as touching up portrait work. Using image adjustments and cloning tools work well, snappy, never had any lags. I've noticed though, when I use filters like Exposure, I tend to wait about 6-8 seconds for it to process.

    Another way I've used my MBA is during weddings when I would make slideshow previews of photos taken that day, using Lightroom 4. I would make batch edits on RAW files, and create a slideshow using the slideshow feature. Batch processing didn't take too long (in my opinion - I copy and pasted a setting to about 50 photos and took less than a minute to finish).

    Hope that helps :)

    Tim

     
  9. mikeytrend macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #9
    It looks like you've already decided to bring your Pro, which is probably a good move given the closeness to your date of travel, as well as an impending refresh of the MacBook Air.

    However, as you continue to consider an Air in the future, keep in mind the 11" doesn't have an SD card slot like the 13", meaning you would have to bring a cable or card reader (if you use SD cards). I'm hoping it gets added in a revision, if physically possible.
     
  10. jlblodgett macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    #10
    Why not get an iPad??

    You'll have much more portability. You'll still have the ability to edit. You'll have a much better screen to utilize.

    You'll pay significantly less.
     
  11. driftless macrumors demi-god

    driftless

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    Sep 2, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago-area
    #11
    An iPad does not have apps available to it that will edit RAW.

    I have Aperture and Photoshop on a 13" MBA. It works fine for light duty.
     
  12. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #12
    I use my 13" i5 2011 MBA with PhotoShop to edit Nikon raw format pictures from a D80. No problems - Photoshop runs significantly faster than it did on my 2008 c2d 15" MBP in fact. Photoshop starts up really fast from the SSD and files open very quickly.

    When I setup my new MBA I just connected my Time Machine backup drive and let it import everything. Worked like a charm, all my old software came across fine along with all my files and even the arrangement of my desktop on both the LCD screen and external monitor.

    I am running an old version of PhotoShop (CS3) and software update prompted me to download an update to the Nikon Raw format, FWIW. My guess is that you would be fine - I was very impressed with how painless the transition to the MBA was, I was expecting to have to mess around with things to get them working.
     
  13. jlblodgett macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    #13

    Actually - iPhoto for iPad does have the ability to edit RAW images. However, the edits are derived from the embedded JPEG, and saved in JPEG format. Probably not ideal.

    The original poster indicated he only wanted to use the laptop for "rough edits and removing the dud images" which I would assume the iPhoto app could do.

    Unfortunately, I have no idea if the iPad could handle the Nikon Capture/View NX which the original author wanted to use.

    Finally -- the original author was wanting the 11" MBA, not the 13". I do agree the 13" would be more capable - but it is probably overkill if the original author already has a MBP, as he says he does.
     
  14. driftless macrumors demi-god

    driftless

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago-area
    #14
    I have iPhoto on my iPad while it will open RAW I don't consider it a RAW editor. Your points are taken though.

    I know that the OP suggested the 11" MBA. I think that 13" would be more appropriate for his intended purposes, his current MBP not withstanding.
     
  15. Richard Peters thread starter macrumors regular

    Richard Peters

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    #15
    Thank you for the additional input everyone, much appreciated.

    I have an iPad3 but it's not really the right solution due to being limited in storage size. Otherwise it would be almost ideal as somewhere to store images and delete the duds! Having said that, can you actually connect compact flash card readers to them now? Last time I looked, a while ago, it was SD only I think.

    But yes, MBA is ideal really. And the desire for the 11 over the 13 is purely to keep space and weight down as I already have a very heavy bag.

    But I think, being so near a refresh, it does make sense to put up with the Pro for now and just wait...

    Thanks again all :)
     
  16. driftless macrumors demi-god

    driftless

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    Sep 2, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago-area
    #16
    Richard,

    I just looked at your portfolio, you have some great pictures!
     
  17. scarred macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    #17
    Not sure why this is being down voted. The color gamut on the ipad retina is a photographers best friend. Simply blows away the MacBook air for showing exactly what you've captured. I would never choose an air over an iPad for photography.
     
  18. driftless macrumors demi-god

    driftless

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago-area
    #18
    The issue is not just the screen but the apps/programs like Aperture, Photoshop, Lightroom, etc., which do not run on an iPad. I have both and use an iPad to show off pics, websites, etc., and use the MBA to do an initial sort of pics, etc.
     
  19. danpass macrumors 68020

    danpass

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #19
    I had a 13-256-i7 for a little while and it was fine.

    The one thing I sorta ran into was the 4gb RAM limit. I say sorta as the SSD speed helped mitigate the effect of Aperture using so much RAM and swapping.

    I did return it and I'm holding out for the refresh. If it ends up still limited to 4gb I'll get a current model refurb lol.

    I also had a 2011 MBP13 i7 and the 8gb made a difference but that glossy screen was too much and I much prefered the Air screen (and weight)
     
  20. SouthTexas macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2012
    Location:
    Texas
    #20
    Mba 11"

    I currently have the MacBook Air 11 basic edition. It is actually serving as my primary computer at the moment. I use Aperture and PhotoShop, and it handles both really well actually. Only issue is the small hard drive, but it handles real swiftly. But what some people fail to realize is that the SSD kind of "takes a way" some of the need for a hugely fast processor. Although it still helps!

    But yet, you may want to wait on the update.

    The great thing about the Air is that the screens are not quite as glossy as those on the MacBook Pro's, although they are still a bit glossy.
     
  21. Nova Sensei macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    #21
    Well, I can't add much to the discussion, but I can say that you definitely take nice photos!
     
  22. MattZani macrumors 68030

    MattZani

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    Apr 20, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #22
    The i7 would be up for it but I doubt the i5 would take the D800 files well. RAM too.
     
  23. modular, Apr 26, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012

    modular macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    #23
    i borrowed an 11" air (i5, 4gb) a few months ago while I was doing some traveling in europe. I edited both raw and jpg images in aperture. Wasn't as fast as my mbp, but if got the job done very well. In fact, I can't wait to sell my 2010 15" mbp to get an air now. BUT I'm waiting until the next revision for updated graphics and hopefully 8gb ram. With these two updates I could see the air preforming at least as well at my 2010 mbp.

    as far as the 11" screen - it's actually not that bad, you'll adjust your workflow a little bit but it works fine. When I got back home to my 15" high res, it felt like a GIANT, and I had so much screen space I didnt know what to do with it all.

    So you'll adapt to the 11" screen - which i think is just an amazing size for traveling. Feels like you're carrying nothing - yet it is very powerful and runs aperture pretty damn well. and when you're home just plug into an external monitor.
     
  24. driftless macrumors demi-god

    driftless

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    Sep 2, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago-area
    #24
    One last comment: FYI the 13" MBA has an SD card slot, the 11" does not.
     
  25. MattZani macrumors 68030

    MattZani

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #25
    Neither of these cameras use SD.....
     

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