MacBook for semi-pro photographer?

superleccy

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 31, 2004
978
22
That there big London
Hi

My girlfriend is an amateur photographer who is just starting to get a few paid jobs. She also uses a Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop which is approaching 2 years old, and as such is starting to do the annoying things that Windows PCs do when they approach 2 years old.

She wants a Mac laptop, but doesn't like the MacBookPro because of the keyboard :confused: and the price.

She'll be wanting to connect it up to an external LCD at some point, and run Photoshop with either Aperture or Lightroom. Apart from that, she only wants to do web/email/office/iLife.

So, would a MacBook be okay for her? My main concerns are the glossy screen (I'm not a photographer, but I've heard that photographers don't like glossy screens because they're harder to calibrate) and the lack of dedicated graphics memory.

What do you think?

Cheers
SL
 

Lovesong

macrumors 65816
Unless your GF is going into video, 3-d animations, or space model analysis, she won't notice the difference between a MB and a MBP. Photoshop runs equally well on both. The concern with glossy screens is legitimate in that the screen makes colors look more saturated than they really are, but given that she will be using an external screen, she should be fine.

The big thing is RAM- make sure she has at least 2Gigs, if she's going to run PS.
 
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PCMacUser

macrumors 68000
Jan 13, 2005
1,696
21
Yep, what Lovesong said.

Nothing wrong with a Macbook for photography, especially if you're using an external monitor for image manipulation (due to calibration etc). I used my 12" iBook for photography for two years and it was fine. It was only when I started scanning and manipulating 35mm slides that the thing started showing how slow it was.
 
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ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,618
439
Redondo Beach, California
You do not say what kind of camera she has or what size images she is using. The MP and iMac is "good enough" is light use if the images are from the typical DSLR and are 6 to 10MP in size. It gets slow if most of these arew RAW, jpg is faster. If she is working with larger formats, like scanned film she'll go nuts with a MB

Aperture really like to run on a high end graphic card. Photoshop does not care about the graphic card. Both like lots of RAM. The MB screen is horrible but an external screen can fix that problem but now she is up to the cost of a MBP.

Tell her to make a DVD with typical images on it and go to a Apple store. See how long it takes to load and process 250 RAW images.

If this is for business use she can write off depreciation and the computer may cost less then she thinks.
 
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superleccy

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 31, 2004
978
22
That there big London
Thanks ChrisA, good angle.

She's using a Nikon SLR. Not sure of the exact model but it was quite expensive (and her lens and filter collection is growing fast).

She likes to work in RAW but gets frustrated at the slowness and the space they take up on her Dell so often reverts to jpeg. I think she'd like to work in RAW all the time.

Yeah... it'd be nice if she could test-drive a MB. Shouldn't be a problem at the Apple Store.

Cheers
SL
 
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Mr. B

macrumors regular
Dec 25, 2005
114
0
Don't get a glossy screen.

You really can't use it for editing photos as it makes both the contrast and the saturation increase in unrealistic ways.

That being said the macbook would probably be fine power wise. Just be sure to get a fast good external hardrive with a firewire cord to use as an external scratch disk (if you use the photoshop suite), and to put the files on from either lightroom or aperture.

I use an ibook g4 with 1.2 ghz and 1+ gigs of ram and it runs lightroom and the whole photoshop suite fine. Not blazingly fast, but completely fine.

So just be sure to get a good external hardrive with enough space and a good amount of ram.

And try not to get a glossy screen.
 
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Cave Man

macrumors 604
She'll be wanting to connect it up to an external LCD at some point, and run Photoshop with either Aperture or Lightroom. Apart from that, she only wants to do web/email/office/iLife. So, would a MacBook be okay for her?
The MacBook will be fine, provided she gets 2 gigs of RAM with it.

My main concerns are the glossy screen (I'm not a photographer, but I've heard that photographers don't like glossy screens because they're harder to calibrate) and the lack of dedicated graphics memory.
The issue of the glossy screen is more a function of the inability to control reflections. Some calibrators have problems, but the Spyder colorimeters do just fine with glossy screens. In addition, you stated that she'll be using an external display at some point; this should probably be a high priority. A 13" display is not what I'd call "useful" for a semipro photographer.

The lack of dedicated graphics memory is pretty much irrelevant if she has 2 gigs of RAM. When I had the 2 gHz MB (I just upgraded to a 2.4 gHz MBP), Aperture would render 30D raw files in 1 to 2 seconds; my MBP isn't much faster.
 
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obibobi

macrumors member
Aug 13, 2007
45
0
Sweden
I'm about to buy a laptop from Apple and have searched information for a long time what software and hardware the would suite me.

What I found on dpreview.com and other photography forums, Aperture seem to fulfil my needs for administer my pics.

This is what you find on Apple's Aperture page:

"Supporting every member of the Mac family, Aperture 1.5 runs on every desktop — from Mac mini to iMac to Mac Pro — and every notebook — including both the MacBook and MacBook Pro."

when looking at the Tech Specs it says:

"Minimum System Requirements
One of the following Macintosh computers:
EDITED TO MAKE POST SHORTER!
MacBook
Mac OS X version 10.4.8 or later
Memory:
1GB of RAM required
One of the following graphics cards:
EDITED TO MAKE POST SHORTER!
Intel GMA 950
5GB of disk space for application, sample projects, and tutorial
DVD drive for installation


Recommended Configuration
Mac computer with 2GHz or faster Intel Core Duo or dual 2GHz of faster PowerPC G5
Mac OS X version 10.4.8 or later
2GB of SDRAM
One of the following graphics cards:
ATI Radeon X800 XT Mac Edition
ATI Radeon X1600
ATI Radeon X1900 XT
ATI Radeon 9800 XT or 9800 Pro
NVIDIA GeForce 6800 series
NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT
NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500
5GB of disk space for application, sample projects, and tutorial
DVD drive for installation


The MacBook is OK since it clears the Minimum Req's, but the graphics card isn't on the Recommended spec's list.

I'd like the MacBook for the portability while travelling.
 
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Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,415
124
Location Location Location
If you use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, you will be just as well off with a MacBook as you would with a MacBook Pro.

Get a MacBook + 3 GB of RAM, external LCD with an S-IPS (or at least an S-PVA) LCD panel inside, an LCD calibrator (eg: one of the Gretag-MacBeth ones for around $150 USD (I think)), and.....well, that's it.

You need to get a MBP if you want to use Aperture rather than Lightroom, and even then, Aperture is slower. Mind you, Lightroom isn't a speed demon, either. Its speed is good enough, but you can always get something less resource hungry There's always ACDSee or iView Media Pro, which have been around for years. They should be faster.
 
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Cave Man

macrumors 604
The MacBook is OK since it clears the Minimum Req's, but the graphics card isn't on the Recommended spec's list..
The MacBook runs Aperture just fine. Again, be sure to get 2 gigs of RAM (or more). I suspect the "graphics card" isn't listed because it's not optional on the MacBook (or Mini). I run Aperture and Photoshop CS3 concurrently on my Mini and MacBook (2 gHz; before I upgraded to a MBP).

You may be aware of this, but there may be an update to the MacBook today or next Tuesday.
 
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superleccy

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 31, 2004
978
22
That there big London
Thanks all for your suggestions.

so did she ever decide? or still deciding?
She's still deciding. At the moment she's playing with the trial downloads of various Adobe stuff for her PC (Photoshop CS3, Elements, Lightroom) with a view to buying something. If she does fork out for some expensive Adobe software then I can't see her getting a Mac any time soon.

Which is fine... except I'm her tech support. :(

Maybe the MacBook update will help sway her.

Thanks again
SL
 
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BanjoBanker

macrumors 6502
Aug 10, 2006
354
0
Mt Brook, AL
For what is worth

I run Aperture on a BlackBook and I have been very pleased with it. I have used a screen calibration device (belongs to a friend who did it for me) and I have been very happy. I have 2 Gb of RAM and I feel that is the real minimum for running Aperture. I heartily second the external firewire drive!! The MacBook's hard drive will fill quickly when your gf shoots in RAW, believe me, mine did. I shoot lots of children's birthday parties as a sideline and have had a fair amount of success with my set up, so your gf should be fine for a starter. Tell her to shoot as much as possible and BACK UP EVERYTHING! Time Machine on Leopard is great, but she needs to make archival back ups of anything she is being paid for. I can not tell you have many times I have been asked six, seven months after the party "could you burn me another CD? I seem to have lost ours" by clients. I archive every job to an archival DVD, pricey, but worth it when you need it. Referrals are the life blood of the free lance photographer. :cool:
 
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koobcamuk

macrumors 68040
Oct 23, 2006
3,189
9
Aperture, CS3 here. Canon 350D - RAW. Works fine. Using an ACD 20" as well. I am totally amateur - it's a hobby.

MacBook is just fine.
 
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