Computer Recommendations for Photographer

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by tdiep, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. tdiep macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    #1
    Hey everyone,

    So I just had a few quick questions on some computer suggestions. Currently using PC, but its time for me to upgrade and ive decided to upgrade and switch over to Mac.

    I do a lot of photography and deal with fairly large files. My RAW files run from 7-13mb and if I need to upsize, my files can get as large as 100mb.

    What I need this computer to do is be able to handle large files, and run Adobe Photoshop CS3 smoothly for long periods of time. When I start editing and depending on what I am editing, I can be at the computer for hours at a time. I would also be using Adobe Lightroom for organization and RAW conversions.

    System that I am currently looking at is the 20" imac g5. I know for sure that I want and need a desktop with at least a 20" monitor. What I am unsure of is if I need the latest revision that is out on it now or possibly the Rev. B. I know he Rev. B has a 2.0ghz processor and is only a core duo, but is the c2d that much better and faster?

    Any input would be appreciated

    -Trung

    Edit: Just found this link and it seems like the c2d is about 8-10% faster on most applications

    http://www.barefeats.com/imcd3.html

    Any input is still appreciated
     
  2. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #2
    RAM is going to be your best friend, so allow for the possibility of expansion. That last word makes me think that you might consider a Mac Pro (maybe the base model). If you have a monitor (or two) from your Windows setup, you can still use those.
     
  3. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a

    failsafe1

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    #3
    You mention a iMac G5. Where are you seeing this G5? I would recommend a refurbished iMac with the core duo processors. You can get a nice machine for $1049 that you can upgrade some and use for quite a while. It is only 17 inch but you can always add a second monitor to the mix for just a little more. Don't know your budget but the 15 inch Macbook pro is a nice machine for all around use. There are none in the refurbished store at the moment but they come and go. They would be less than double the above mentioned iMac.
     
  4. tdiep thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    #4
    I really want to stay with a desktop as I rarely would bring the laptop anywhere and always do my editing at home. I thought the current generation of the imac was the g5, I guess I am wrong.

    Anyways, I am trying to keep my budget under $1300, I know its going to be tough, but I don't mind buying used or refurbed.

    Ive thought about the 17" version and may consider it, just trying to keep my options open.

    And since this is a photography forum, I guess ill share a few photos of mine.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    -Trung
     
  5. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a

    failsafe1

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    #5
    The current stuff is Intel with the core duo processor. You can get the 20 inch for $1300 and the 17 for $1049. The refurbed 20 inch monitor is only $499. so You could add the additional monitor to the $1049 deal. If you have any university connections you can get a new iMac for $899 with free iPod and printer.
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    "G5" are you sure? Apple discontinued this over a year ago. You can only buy used G5 iMacs now, maybe on eBay.

    If you are that serious about photography and work at it nearly full time you really, really need a Mac Pro. The MP can be expanded to (now) 32GB of RAM. You are going to need LOTS of RAm for all those RAW files.

    Look at Aperture too. Lightroom was a reasonable choise if you are on a PC but if you have the right hardware Aperture can be a faster workflow. Bt you do need somehigh end hardware.

    The difference between the Core Duual and C2D is only a few percent, nothing you'd notice. What matters is the amount of RAM and the speed of the disk drives.

    The problem with the iMac is the RAM is limited to 3GB and you will want more.

    Most photographers care a lot about the LCD monitor and how it reproduces color. I'm not sure if the iMac screen is as good as the ACD. It might be but be sure and take a look.

    If you are one of those photographers who can see the contrast change when slide film is pulled 1/2 stop then the difference between any two LCD screens is much more than that.
     
  7. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #7
    If you take a closer look at the benchmarks you linked to: they were using Photoshop CS2 which runs via Rosetta on Intel Macs. Since you said, you are using CS3, Intel-based Macs will be a lot faster than an iMac G5. In any case, go for a 20+ inch screen and a sufficient amount of RAM -- especially if you want to use Aperture or Lightroom (which I can only recommend, if you have questions about the former, just ask). You can also connect a second screen to your iMac, which I can only recommend as well.

    I would advise the following:
    (i) Wait just a little, new iMacs are just around the corner. This way, you can either get the latest and greatest or a refurbished iMac of the previous generation. Make use of the edu store if you can.
    (ii) Choose a screen size. iMacs with 20+ inch screens have decent graphics cards, although it's likely that the 20" model will be the new entry-level model soon. This is a necessity if you want to use Aperture (and to a lesser degree: Lightroom) -- and you should have a look at them!
    (iii) Get third-party RAM. IMHO 2 GB are the minimum. Get a larger harddrive if necessary. Use the spare drive for backups (just get a relatively cheap harddrive enclosure). I assume that the new iMacs will be able to utilize up to 4 GB, the current generation is limited to 3 GB (this is due to the specific Intel chipset used).
    (iv) Get a Color Spyder (or a similar product) to calibrate your screen. This will make a tremendous difference! I bought the smallest model for $65 from Amazon.

    Very nice pictures, by the way!
     
  8. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #8
    The iMacs usually use the same panels as the ACDs. Obviously the 24" iMac uses a different panel than the 23" ACD, but it is generally expected that the ACD is replaced by a 24" model based on the same panel.

    As with any screen, calibrate it. I was amazed to find out that you can get the entry-level Color Spyder for $65: this makes a huge difference.
     
  9. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2001
    Location:
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    #9
    Currently on Apple's website.
    Refurbished iMac 20-inch 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SuperDrive = $1,299.00

    Granted, its only 1GB, but this will tide you over...for a month :)

    This also assumes that your Photoshop licence wasn't part of your budget. I also don't know where you were going to source your CS2 licence, but since CS3 is the latest version, don't know how much the price was for CS2 and if its worth getting at this point.

    FWIW, I've been running an older G5 PowerMac (single processor 1.8GHz, which is probably relatively close to an iMac G5) for my photo interests and your RAW file sizes sound similar. It has been "kind of getting sluggish" lately, but I attribute this in part to running out of HD space for virtual memory to work well, plus I only had 1.5GB onboard. I upgraded to 3.5GB RAM on Monday, plus I have a 500GB SATA sitting at home that I'll hopefully get to install within the next week.

    Overall, while I could say that a G5 PowerMac is a viable solution, I tend to believe that the Core 2 Duo running CS3 would probably be more horsepower...I've simply not tracked down any relevant benchmarks to know for sure.


    -hh

    PS:

    I didn't notice if anyone mentioned it, but there's rumors of a new iMac being released "soon", possibly as early as 7 August. This should make the current revision iMac a bit cheaper as they clear inventory...which makes it a better bang for the buck.


    -hh
     
  10. tdiep thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    #10
    Thanks for all the replies so far.

    The refurbished 20" imac on apples site is what I currently have my eyes on. I have heard about the new release that should be out soon, so I may wait for that and then purchase the current imac as they are trying to get rid of them
     
  11. leandroc76 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    #11
    I'm running Aperture on a 20", 2.33 Ghz, 2 gigs RAM, and 256 Video card (ATI I think), and it screams along just fine.

    However I did lose my LaCie 5-in-1 Media reader when I updated to OSX 10.4.10. Not cool, seeing I have to shoot a wedding this weekend.

    Aside from aperture I also run PS CS2(PPC version) and Parallels running Win XP.

    Nothing seems to really bother it except for the occasional spinning wheel when I have to wait for Aperture to load an image in an external editor (PS).

    Other than that, I always have iTunes, Mail, Parallels, Aperture and PS running all day long!

    You won't be disappointed.
     
  12. da_alchemist macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2003
    #12
    Which Mac did you end up getting?

    Which mac did you end up getting? Just curious. I just came across this thread. I recently got the new aluminum 20" iMac. I do some hobby photography so I got Aperture along with it.

    Just so you know, the new iMacs may not be appropriate to pro photographers such as yourself, if you think the colour shifting on the monitor is outside of your acceptable threshold. However, you can always attach a better monitor along with it.

    Any recommendations for a second monitor?

    thanks

    ps. Sweet pics, BTW!
     
  13. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
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