Macbook pro 13 VS 15 for photography

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ERIC4mac, Apr 15, 2011.

  1. ERIC4mac, Apr 15, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2011

    ERIC4mac macrumors newbie

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    Apr 14, 2011
    #1
    An old question yet with comprehensive conerns. I've been in such dilemmas like 13 low-end vs high-end ,13 high-end vs 15 low-end, 15 low-end vs high-end. The lastest upgrade of the pros is stimulating my lust to get the first Mac stronger than any time. But the decision seems quite difficult for me to make. With no exception, I am mainly hesitating among 13's portability ,15's performance, and price.

    First, I have to make clear I am a student so a luxury desicion never suits me better than a reasonable one. Second, I'm gonna take it mostly for photography, so the softwares like Capture NX, Lightroom, Photoshop should have a good performance on the macbook pro. Now, I desperately need some brilliant ideas ,some specific examples would be better, to help me make up my mind to take a Mac.

    Here are my major concerns. The weight of 13 is just fine ,while which of 15 is not that comfortable to my shoulders. However, 15 seems to be more professional and better for photography. I couldnot understand the real gap between the interaged and the discreted. Are there any examples to show the differences between them? Also, the balance between weight and performace before I actually used both of them is hard to strike. Additionally, assuming the size has been decided, which type should I take, low-end vs high-end? Or low-end with some upgrade like SSD? I donot want to spend extra money, the less the better.

    P.S. My buget is less than 2000$ ,and I hope the Mac could work well in more than 3 years. To some extent, 13 is economical. And I have a 19 samsung monitor. Guys, please give me some perfect advice,thx~:):apple:
     
  2. htcbug macrumors newbie

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    Feb 23, 2011
    #2
    What kind of photo editing will you do? If only some light works, I recommend you go for a macbook air as it has SSD which is faster for loading large images and saves more time for you. If so, I suggest you wait for an other 2 or 3 months as maybe apple will release an update of macbook air with intel sandybridge around June.


     
  3. ERIC4mac, Apr 15, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2011

    ERIC4mac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 14, 2011
    #3
    Will air really get an upgrade in June or July ? And 2 or 3 months may be too long as my current laptop is not working very well, that's another reason pushing me to get a Mac instantly. I'm involved in processing some raw pictures with some basic adjustments taken by DSLR, yet I'm not sure if it will be all my work in the future. Maybe the further edition of some softwares in the next 2 or 3 years ,I think, would need a powerful discrete graphic to drive? Also, air seems to be not serious enough for work actually, although the hi-res is highly preferred.
     
  4. M Powered macrumors regular

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    Jul 30, 2008
    #4
    I have a 13" high end with SSD and 8GB, use it everyday for photography. PS, LR3, Tether shooting, etc, etc.. Mostly for batch process and file conversions. Editing is best left hooked up to an external monitor size and color accuracy :D
     
  5. jdreier macrumors member

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    Dec 20, 2010
    #5
    i'm a commercial photographer and I spend almost 8 hours a day shooting tethered to my computer. I've used both the 13 and 15in macbook pros. I honestly prefer the 15in over the 13in. For various reasons.

    Once you load up lightroom with all the side windows and such, the viewing room for the actual photo becomes pretty small. Same goes with photoshop and other programs. I know you can "hide or collapse" certain windows, but the 13in is still pretty small, and has a lower resolution monitor than the 13in macbook air.

    My 15in MBP is also set up with a 64gb SSD as a OS / applications drive. I've removed my optical drive and installed a 320gb 7200rpm drive partitioned as scratch and a file storage drive. It's blazing fast.


    Hope that helps
     
  6. Euroamerican macrumors member

    Euroamerican

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    May 27, 2010
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    Boise
    #7
    1. Even the 13 MBP feels heavy if you are into "ultralight" configs.
    2. Even the 17 MBP screen is smaller than what you'd like, for full days of work, unless you simple don't ever sit at a desk that has an external monitor.
    3. The price jump from 13 MBP to 15.4 MBP is significant, and the difference could be spent on an even cooler external monitor.
    4. The 13 MBP screen is too small if you load up a lot of tool palettes and the resolution is lower than that on the 15.4 base model.

    If I were a photographer and had to have the biggest possible screen while mobile, I would look at a base model 15.4 or a refurb 17

    If were out to save money and plan to use external monitors a lot, I'd get the base 13 MBP.

    If I were trying to go superlight, I'd think about the Airs.
     
  7. johnnj macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    I think it depends on how you'll split time on your external monitor and using the laptop standalone.

    I primarily run Lightroom, and on my wife's 13" it's a bit small to work on. I guess if you make the side and top menus popups you'd get some room back.

    My last machine was a 15" and I found it to be quite adequate for editing while away on a trip or on the move. The new 15 with the hi res is of course great because it provides a near desktop like experience.
     
  8. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    SLC
    #9
    My question is what kind of camera body do you have to make the 15" seem heavy? I use a Canon 1 series and the weight is no problem, on either the camera or my 15". I could see if you are using a Rebel or something that the weight might be a bit much at first, but get a nice LowePro or Kata backpack. Balances the weight very nicely.

    As far as the computer goes, my early 08" MBP (Classic) 2.5GHZ ran the Master Suite CS4, Aperture 3 and the Nik complete software fine. So I would think anything newer than that one was would be fine. My new one (2.2 Quad i7 15") runs everything nicely as well!
     
  9. Fast Shadow macrumors 6502a

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    Hollywood, CA
    #10
    I could see myself doing quick sorts (focus/out of focus) on a smaller screen, but any kind of editing means I need at least 1900x1200 worth of resolution - so the 17" is my only real option.
     
  10. toxic macrumors 68000

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    Nov 9, 2008
    #11
    if the bulk of the work is being done on an external monitor, might as well save money and buy a 13".

    there's no point worrying about the GPU. it won't be a factor.
     
  11. thermodynamic Suspended

    thermodynamic

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    May 3, 2009
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    USA
    #12

    I disagree with the SSD.

    Unless TRIM is already enabled by OS X, but even then, SSDs will wear out more quickly due to constant rewriting of data.

    I do agree re: waiting for Sandy Bridge, which will be a FANTASTIC release. (It's compelled me to upgrade...)

    Re: the OP, I do 300DPI photo editing of 12~18MP files. Multi-layering, occasional brush strokes... the faster the CPU and GPU will only benefit you.

    I'm upgrading to the $2199 15" model.
     
  12. johnnj macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    In my experience they don't degrade that quickly. I used my old pair of Vertex drives for almost two years and they benched as well the day I pulled them as the day I installed them.

    Will be? The current crop is already running it.
     
  13. AppleDroid macrumors 6502a

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    Illinois
    #14
    Just realized you said $2k.. in that case get an Apple refurbished anti-glare model with a GPU that has at least 512MB of video ram.
     
  14. thermodynamic Suspended

    thermodynamic

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    #15
    Oops; I might have misread. I thought the current MB Airs didn't have Sandy Bridge...
     
  15. digitalfuzion macrumors newbie

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    Apr 6, 2011
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    Roseville, CA
    #16
    I just recently returned a 2011 MBP 13 i2.7 in favor of the base model 15. The screen real estate on the 15 is more conducive for the type of work I do, which is mostly Photoshop and Lightroom. The base model 15 with the Hi-Res display option and my work discount was $1974 including CA tax. Good luck. :)
     
  16. johnnj macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    And I might have misread because I thought the OP was talking about 13" MBP vs 15".

    :)
     
  17. ERIC4mac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 14, 2011
    #18
    I've visited ur homepage, nice photos:). So in your opinion, the discreted graphic of 15 is not playing an important and indipensible role in photo editing, right?
     
  18. ERIC4mac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 14, 2011
    #19

    I think I can use external monitor when dealing with photo editing. So the concern for me mostly turns out to be the graphic perfomance between 13 and 15 rather than the screen size. Will the HD3000 work well enough in the next 3 years with all sorts of photo softwares I might use?
     
  19. ERIC4mac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 14, 2011
    #20
    My camera is Nikon's D90, and I rarely need to take both of them unless traveling sometimes. Since ur early 08" MBP (Classic) 2.5GHZ runs well with most of the software, do u think the 13 is just more than enough? The intergrated graphic is more than OK?
     
  20. badmoth macrumors newbie

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    Feb 23, 2011
    Location:
    New England, USA
    #21
    I'm using the 2010 Macbook Air 13" (2.13GHz C2D, 4GB, 256 SSD). I'm running Photoshop CS5 and I'm perfectly pleased with the performance. In fact, I really don't notice a difference between the MBA and my big PC desktop rig (2.66 GHz Core i7, 12GB) unless I'm performing actions, multi-file photomerges, or something like that. Even then, the MBA pulls through fine. It just takes longer. By the way, the RAW files are from a Canon 5D Mark II. I bought this MBA refurb for $1529 so well within your budget.
     
  21. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    #22
    I would think so, unless you are batch processing like 1000's of RAW files.
     
  22. ERIC4mac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 14, 2011
    #23

    For its awesome weight, Air is more attractive. But I was told the screen of Air is not as good as that of pro. And if there would be an upgrade in the summer, I would have regreted a lot for taking an Air or a pro 13 now.
     
  23. ERIC4mac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 14, 2011
    #24
    After staying 1 hour in the apple store, I think 15 is really the right size for me. Thx buddies. Then high-end or low-end? Is low-end with some upgrades like high-res and antiglare the most reasonable choice?
     
  24. SilverOnemi, Apr 16, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2011

    SilverOnemi macrumors member

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    Sep 22, 2008
    #25
    Hello!

    I am photographer fresh out of school, and i went from the 13" to the 15", and i can say the 13" is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too small for you, i'd get the 15" plus the matte screen, which offers highler resolution and matte, which doesn't give out annoying reflections and represents colors that are closer to real life.

    the 6750m is definitive the card for you if you're into gaming or 3d intensive stuff, i don't think it'll make a huge difference in photography, however, the 2.0 to 2.2 might make when editing tons of photos on LR catalog. The ssd on the 2.2 model is 100$ cheaper(the 128gb one), i have it installed on mine, for once the mac boots up in 20 seconds with adium already open, which is nothing short of awesomeness, programs launch instantaneously. Recently worked with 3 meter long files which had 60 houses cut into it (i can link you if you wish to see it), full 21mp raw files which were inserted has smart layers and the psd file was has big has 18 gb before i dumbed it down. the ssd definitive improved scatch disk speed, however if you want to enjoy faster editing you'll have to import photos to your ssd then move them away to the HDD, like the G-TECH mini i have which has firewire 800 and is sold on apple's website.

    http://macperformanceguide.com/ has some tests with photoshop of the new 6750m one with the apple's ssd, and OWC counterparts, ofcourse OWC has faster ssd's but when considering the price of the ssd being 100$ and even counting they're going to swap the drive it still is a good deal, but if you go with the low end, the upgrade is 200$ so i wouldn't get it at that price, also i'd recomend checking his guides to configuring photoshop cs5, or you might suffer performance issues due to bad configuration.

    also, you might benefit from having 8gb of ram instead of 4, i say might because it depends how many layers you work with, apple's ram is still way to expensive, i'd get a pair of crucial or counterpart ram (some have been putting 1660mhz ram into macs, and i doubt the average human would notice it but the price diference is so small... why not), mine costed 81€ and it is extremely easy to replace, you should check out some youtube videos.

    to be honest, i'd go for the low end if i were you, perhaps the 2.2 upgrade might be good for you, but i don't think the faster ati graphics will help you much.

    ofcourse you don't have to buy all of this at once, i'd worry about the matte screen, and PERHAPS the ssd and the 2.2 might be a good choice!

    edit: i thought you could upgrade the cpu on the 2.0 model but since you can't i wouldn't really worry about it, the 2.0 should be more than fast enough.

    hope i helped.
     

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