For photography purposes, air or pro?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by alejandror91, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. alejandror91 macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2011
    My sister is about to buy her first mac computer, she wants the 13' pro but I've been trying to convince her to buy the 13' air. She will be using it mostly for storing and editing pictures.

    What puts her off of the air is the little storage capacity, however, I think all laptops will have SSDs in a near future, so why not embrace the change already.

    What do you guys think? Plus, if she is going to buy it January, taking the product refresh cycles in count, which one is the best option?

    (We know there are lots of other threads with this discussion, but we are looking mostly for a vote to base the decision on.)
  2. jlc1978 macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2009
    Go of the MBP. The extra HDD space will be needed if she has any appreciable amount of photos.
  3. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    If your sister uses photoshop then the Air is out IMO. Just for the slow processor.

    P.S. It's a 13 inch screen... not 13 feet. :)

    The problem with your logic is the Air is not user changeable. You're stuck with the drive you bought (and RAM) whereas the MBP's can grow.

    A vote? You'd let total strangers spend your money?
  4. tktaylor1 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2010
    Nashville, TN
  5. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    The Pro will be perfect for storing and editing pictures.

    - the Air has a higher screen resolution
    - some say that the Pro screen has a better screen quality
    - the Air costs more with less performance
    - 128 GB is a lot of storage, but might not be enough for some
    - SSD is awesome
    - the Air can't be upgraded to 8 GB RAM

    I'm not sure what to recommend here. I wouldn't want to live without a SSD, but you can also put a SSD in the Pro. If weight is not an important factor, I would go with the Pro, since it's more flexible and allows at least some upgrades.
  6. ethics101 macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2011
    I'm starting to get the feeling some people on this forum have no idea what they're talking about.

    PhotoShop is not slow on the mba. It's faster than the 2010 mbp ultimate. I guess PhotoShop was unusable back then...

    The only thing i would be wary of is the color gamut of the air. It might be exaggerated, but its worth exploring.
  7. aCondor macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2010
    United States
    Go with the Macbook Pro. I'm starting to get the feeling that some people on this forum do know what they're talking about.
  8. sweetbrat macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2009
    Redford, MI
    At some point in the future all laptops probably will have SSDs. Then again, at some point in the future SSDs will be cheaper and have more storage capacity.

    For editing a lot of photos, I'd go with the MBP. It's still very portable, and you get the benefit of much more storage space. You can install an SSD by removing the optical drive and using an Optibay, and you get the best of both worlds. Being able to add more RAM and swap out the HDD are huge pluses.
  9. tmagman macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2010
    Calgary AB
    Pro... definitely Pro...

    At least 8GB of RAM is your best friend, as well as the fact that the cooling is much better in the Pros than the MBA in my opinion. If you're running Photoshop and Lightroom for instance at the same time, editing RAW photos in batches or doing a stitch or two, your computer will definitely be cranking out some good heat.
  10. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    But *why* go there if you don't have to? I'm sure you're referring to the file loading speed of the SSD in the Air vs. the stock HD that comes with the MBP. To that, I agree but the MBP can also use SSD's of just about any kind/size unlike the Air.

    Given SSD's in both machines, If you edit 100's of photos at one sitting that puny 1.7ghz CPU in the Air it will take it's toll on your workflow. Noise filters, pixel enhancement filters, rendering... it all takes CPU muscle - the more the better. Especially if using Adobe LightRoom which has to render every full screen preview from a thumbnail.

    Been there. Not sure though how serious a photographer the OP's sister is. Like most posts of this nature insufficient background info is given to make conclusive suggestions.
  11. warvanov macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2011
    You shouldn't encourage her to make the decision based on the product refresh cycle. The decision should be based entirely on what her needs are and what computer best suits those needs.

    If your sister is concerned about the amount of storage space on the MacBook Air then maybe a MBP is the better choice for her. I'm not anti-air, they're great machines, but don't try to convince her to buy the computer that YOU want rather than the one that she needs.
  12. Benbikeman macrumors 6502a


    May 17, 2011
    London, England
    The Pro for sure. Discrete GPU and storage capacity.
  13. warvanov macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2011
    The 13" pro doesn't have a discrete GPU.
  14. JazzyFizzle macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2011
    You could get a 15" with a quad core and a better GPU for the price of the 13" Air. You should definitely get the pro. For photo editing anyone half smart person would know the Air would be a ridiculously stupid choice.
  15. eowl macrumors member


    Dec 18, 2011
  16. Benbikeman macrumors 6502a


    May 17, 2011
    London, England
    Wow. Odd omission - guess they just couldn't fit it into the space?

    Ben (MBP 17 owner)
  17. ethics101 macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2011
    Based on what? False facts?
  18. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    I have a crazier suggestion. If she has the budget to spare, go straight to a 15" Pro. The difference is about 1.5" in length, 1" in width, but there is significantly more screen real estate to view photos (15.4" vs 13.3"), significantly more processing power than either the 13" Pro or Air (quad-core vs dual-core), and also discrete graphics for when she decides to do something other than photography, or for when Adobe finally decides to use the GPU for processing rather than for displaying.

    If she doesn't have the budget, I'd suggest the 13" Pro, which can randomly go on sale for $999 brand new, about on par with a 11" Air. The screen quality and colors on the 13" Pro is significantly better than on the Air even though the Air has a higher resolution. Also glass is more durable than thin plastic, and the Pro stands up to abuse better than the Air.
  19. akhbhaat macrumors regular

    Sep 30, 2010

    For photography (especially if you do any editing work), color reproduction is key. The absolute best choice is the 15" with the high res matte screen, but any of the MBP models will significantly trounce any of the Air models in this regard.
  20. Benbikeman macrumors 6502a


    May 17, 2011
    London, England
    Not for photography. The matte screen is not at all faithful in its reproduction of colours and, especially, shadow areas.

  21. Elevon macrumors regular

    Nov 29, 2011
    Another 'vote' to the MBP:
    • HDD
    • RAM (important if she uses photoshop)
    • Upgradable
  22. philio32383 macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2011
    No question, photo editing, Mac Book Pro! Don't do the 13"! Save up for the 15". My Aunt is a professional Photorep agent. She will not use a portable smaller than 15" and recommends the 17" if it needs to be portable, other wise she says get the 27" iMac. If $$$ is the issue, get someone in school to buy it for you -100 to -200$ or get a referb for about the same off maybe a little more. Do NOT order the RAM upgrade, buy the 8 or 16gb from a third party.

    My experience is this. I shoot in RAW and the files have so many pixels that if I zoom to 100% I can only see the face of the person that is sitting on the train going through the country side. To view the entire picture on my 13" Mac Book the zoom factor is set to 16.5%. And unless you have eagle vision, any changes that you make is extremely difficult to get a feel for the whole picture compensation. Maybe you can work on the detail, and then zoom out to full pic to see that edit did not work for the whole flow of the pic.

    I will be getting my fist MBP next summer for three main reasons. 1. maybe form factor change (I am hoping for Carbon fiber casing) removal of OD and making it a SSD spin drive combo. 2. Ivy Bridge tri gate 22nm processor. and 3 that's when I'll have the $$$ and I will be back in the states saving me more than $700 USD compared to buying in China (I am a teacher -200$ and 500 in China VAT) I might even send it to my father in Alaska and have him ship it to me. (no state sales tax)
  23. Moccasin macrumors 6502a


    Mar 21, 2011
    Newcastle, UK
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    I'd agree that greater storage capacity is important. I'm conscious of my MBA's limitations. Whether to go for the Air or Pro should also take into account how mobile you want to be. The MBA is insanely light and frankly you don't really notice it in your bag. The 13" MBP is heavier but still portable. The 15" is nearly twice the weight of the 13" MBA and that's noticeable. the screen real estate is useful though. I'm considering an iMac for heavy editing.

    Yes there's talk of an MBA-esque 15" laptop but whether that's an option depends on the Timescales.

    Given that the 13" MBA is about the same power as the 2010 MBP and do really isn't much of an issue, the real choice comes down to the need for storage capacity and portability.
  24. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    The OP is awol. You guys are all over the place and didn't "vote" correctly. :D
  25. HippieMagic macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2011
    I was a photography student for a while and really preferred a Desktop PC for photo editing. Screen space and a good mouse or tablet were vital to good PC editing. A touchpad just doesn't work well for a lot of tasks in Photoshop. I had no issues using 4GB of RAM in Photoshop or Lightroom when using RAW image files and crappy dual core @ 2.0ghz on a Vista PC. It's really not that bad.

    My recommendation is that she gets what she wants because she will be on it a good deal. No smaller than 15" period... It is uncomfortable. If she goes smaller she needs an external display of good quality. The display is VITAL to photography.

    SD card reader is important. It makes life easier.

    The 15" MBP is a great all around Photography machine.

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