Macbook Air for Lightroom and Photoshop

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by steveash, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. steveash macrumors 6502

    steveash

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    My old early 2008 Macbook Pro appears to be making its curtain call with what appears to be a logic board problem (freezing randomly from any startup disk) and so I am looking for a replacement. I've had my eye on a little 11 inch Macbook Air for a while and was wondering if a top specced machine (2ghz 8mb 256/512mb) would be enough to deal with my work. I like the idea of its portability as I travel quite a lot and need to regularly update my websites.

    For photography work I would hook it up to a big display, mouse/tablet and keyboard. I use Lightroom and CS suite mostly Photoshop. I use a 5DII and an Hasselblad H3DII-39 so my files can get pretty big. I know ideally I should have a Mac Pro or high spec iMac workhorse and that is the plan in maybe 12 months but for now this would be my main computer. I hadn't planned on upgrading this soon and don't really have the budget for both right now.

    Does this sound realistic or should I have a re-think? I am assuming that a 2012 Macbook Air would have at least as much go as my MBP (2.6ghz core 2 duo, 6gb ram, SSD startup/software drive and HD files drive).
     
  2. wolfpuppies3 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    #2
    Yes, works fine

    My 2012 13" MB Air is actually quicker than my 2010 MB Pro specked as below. I use Lightroom and Photoshop Elements. I store the majority of my work on external drives and import as necessary from processing. I have a bit shy of 350 in images. Plus perhaps 60K slides and negatives that I have not gotten around to digitizing.
     
  3. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #3
    This. And the 2012 MacBook Air being faster is not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of (benchmarked) fact: when Apple updated its 2010 MacBook-lineup with Sandybridge Intel CPUs in 2011, the MacBook Air was faster than the fastest 2010 MacBook Pro. This lead in performance has increased even further.

    I reckon that for most people, a 13" MacBook Air is the default computer they should be looking at. Given that you use Lightroom, you should definitely upgrade to 8 GB RAM and I would also consider upgrading the internal SSD to a larger capacity.
     
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #4
    I actually have Lightroom running as I type this, and trust me, it runs fine. ;) However, my files are only 12 MP RAW files, but I'm certain I'd be able to run 16-24 MP files with ease, or possibly larger files than that. And to top it all off, mine is the 2011 11" MBA from 13-14 months ago. ;)
     
  5. John.B macrumors 601

    John.B

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    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    Holocene Epoch
    #5
    The critical thing with Lightroom is to opt for 8GB of RAM when you order it. Just add a fast external USB 3 drive for your library and you'd be all set.

    Personally, if I were in your shoes I'd hold out for the rumored-but-not-yet-confirmed 13" MBPr, since Lightroom 4.x is slated to be getting the Retina treatment.
     
  6. MattZani macrumors 68030

    MattZani

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    I have edited 18mp RAW (Canon 7D) files on my 2011 MBA for a year now, it works great! I'm upgrading to an iMac however because of storage and HD video editing is a pain.

    I'd question why you'd pay for a MBA when a MBP will be better suited to the task in every way.
     
  7. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Apr 14, 2001
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    Sendai, Japan
    #7
    Weight, plain and simple.
     
  8. MattZani macrumors 68030

    MattZani

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    Weight, thickness, and how cool it looks actually.

    I know why you would choose the MBA over the MBP, I did it last year! But I do kind of regret it now...
     
  9. phuocsandiego macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2012
    #9
    I use my 2012 MBA 13" for Lightroom and Photoshop CS6. It works fine. It is faster than the older MBP however it will not come close to an iMac for example. I still see a lot more of the spinning beach ball than I care to. It's not unbearable but I see it for about 1/2 to 1 second when applying my presets that have a few gradient adjustments.

    I didn't see that on the iMac. So if you do this a lot, you might want to think twice. Yes, the form factor is very cool and it's very convenient and can handle it for light duty, but use it a lot and you'll appreciate the quad core processors over the dual cores in the MBA.
     
  10. John.B macrumors 601

    John.B

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    Holocene Epoch
    #10
    I did the same thing as you guys, and while I don't really regret buying the Air, it can be a tad underpowered sometimes. I knew that going in. Part of the trade-off that I made for the portability. For most things, the flash storage more than makes up for it.

    OTOH, that's why I'm hoping for a 13" Retina MBP.

    My thinking is that, if the 15" Retina MBP shaves just over a pound off the weight of the regular/ODD 15" MBP, and the weight savings would be similar (caution: conjecture!) then a mythical Retina 13" MBP should only be about a half pound heavier than a 13" MBA, but with a discrete GPU and (hopefully) a quadcore i5. And, of course, that lovely Retina display! :D

    Now if Mr. Cook would just get all those iPhone 5 orders out the door so they can get busy on that for me... :cool:
     
  11. MattZani macrumors 68030

    MattZani

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    Apr 20, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    I'm waiting for these mythical iMacs! 27" IPS Screen yes please.
     
  12. phuocsandiego macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2012
    #12
    We may be waiting for a while on IPS capable iMacs I'm afraid. Although that would be a pleasant surprise if they announce it in October, I'm certainly not holding my breath. For all we know, new iMacs might not even be announced at the mini iPad event. We'll just have to wait and see I guess.
     
  13. joshualee90 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    #13
    I am looking at doing the same thing. My 2008 MBP geekbench scores about 3000. The new MBA bench at about 6000-7000. Dramatic increase if you coming from an older machine. Granted I have a hexcore hackintosh as my desktop but the new air with USB and thunderbolt seems like a good combo for me and a dramatic improvement for you.
     

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