MBP vs. 40D

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by JonD25, May 21, 2008.

  1. JonD25 macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Right now, I'm on a 17" Core Duo iMac and I shoot with a Canon Rebel XT. I'm starting to get a lot more serious about this photography thing. Let's say I have a little over $2000 in my budget. The question is, should I get a Macbook Pro or should I upgrade to a Canon 40D and settle with a Macbook? I'm wanting a laptop so that I can be more portable, especially so I can work on photos while on trips and stuff. I use Aperture 2 and Photoshop CS3 for my editing. The problem is, the Macbook is obviously not ideal for photo editing given the inferior GPU and smaller, glossy screen. The MBP certainly isn't ideal either from what I've heard about the screen in it, but it's definitely better than the MB. Other than that, I don't think I really need a laptop for much else other than internet/email on the go. And with the new Canon rebates, a 40D would be mighty useful to me, as I'm beginning to run into the limitations of the aging XT, and a backup at shoots is always a good idea.

    So, any thoughts?
     
  2. Everythingisnt macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

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    #2
    Are you serious? That comparison makes no sense at all.


    And for one thing, photo editing on a Macbook should be fine. The CPU (not GPU) can easily handle most aperture-related tasks, unless you're doing heavy editing in PS.

    I would get the 40D, as you will not be disappointed and as far as image quality goes it's much better then the MBP's in-built camera :rolleyes:.
     
  3. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Are you a professional photographer?

    Which would you use more? Which do you want more? To what degree are you a photographer–daily shoots, once a week, monthly, etc?

    This is a call we can't make for you. Hopefully we can pose the right questions though.
     
  4. JonD25 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Are you serious? I hope not. It's obviously not a comparison of the two, but a "which one should I get with the money I got".

    Depends on how you define "professional". I get paid for my photography, yes. So the basic definition would place me as a professional. But if it implies a certain level of expertise and skill, I'd probably say I'm not quite there yet. At the moment, the amount of shoots I get are pretty irregular. I got a ton of them within the span of a week last month, and I've been playing catch up since, so I haven't really tried to get any more.

    Those are hard questions for me to answer, which is why I'm asking for advice. On the one hand, I already have an iMac which runs fine (though beginning to show its age a little), and I'm not too sure how much I really need a laptop. However, getting a MBP would make it a much more powerful computer than the one I have now, making it a worthy upgrade for any future use. On the other hand, I already have a Rebel XT, which though it isn't a professional level camera, I've been getting pretty good results from it the past year I've owned it, and the types of shoots that usually almost necessitate a backup camera (i.e. weddings) are the types of shoots I don't see myself doing a lot of (though I do see myself doing some). But like with the iMac/MBP scenario, the 40D is a much better camera than the XT, and a worthy upgrade for any future I might have in photography.

    As you can see, long term, both seem about 50/50. The thing is, for immediate purposes, I could really use both. I have a wedding shoot in Portugal in July. A better camera like the 40D and having my XT as a backup would help a lot at the actual wedding. But I'm also planning on staying in Ireland for a week after the wedding, and the B&G asked for about 10 photos to be sent to their mom within a week so she can get them printed out and display them at a separate reception they're having in the States. My budget doesn't allow for me to get both a Macbook Pro AND a 40D, so that's when I thought of getting the Macbook instead. The only thing stopping me is that if getting a Macbook for the purpose of photo editing would even be worth it because of its limitations. So that's why I came here wondering if any Macbook users could possibly chime in on whether it's adequate enough for editing photos that are going to be printed. The purist in me says it's not even worth it since the screen itself is lacking and colors will likely be off (unless someone can tell me if calibrating a glossy screen helps a lot, since I do have a Spyder 3 calibrator). But the poor, compromising part of me says, "Eh, close enough."
     
  5. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

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    May 29, 2007
    #5
    If you already have a Mac, and a Canon Rebel, and $2000 budget, why not think seriously about getting some glass. If you serious about the photography and want the biggest bang for the buck, starting a collection of pro quality lenses may be worth considering.

    Lat year I spent $2500 on two Nikon lenses (17-55/2.8 and 70-200/2.8 VR) and it was the most satisfying expense for photography I made.
     
  6. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #6
    Unless you are doing the bulk of your edits on the road, stick with editing on your iMac and do minor work on a MacBook. And if you don't need the Macbook...

    I love the 40D but it won't have much of an impact on your image quality -- new glass will. For weddings, have a 50mm f/1.4 ($350) at your disposal -- great glass for a great price.

    Back on laptops, the editing (for general touch up work) won't be all that different on the MacBook vs. MBP -- not enough to justify the cost difference alone.
     
  7. JonD25 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Something just feels wrong if I put a $2000 lens on a $500 body. Haha.

    I'd love some really nice glass, but I think something I need to consider is having a backup digital body. I've been talking with some others about it, and shooting weddings, especially a wedding that's thousands of miles away that my friends paid good money to get me to, not having a good backup can very easily spell monumental disaster. At this point, I'm thinking of buying a body and renting some good glass, as renting a body is a lot more expensive.

    Yeah, I would definitely stick to the bulk of editing being on my iMac simply because of the bigger, non-glossy screen. But I think being able to do minor work every once in a while on the road would help a lot too. Your comment that the difference between MB and MBP not being enough to justify the cost difference is the kinda thing I was looking to hear. So thanks for that.

    I have the 50mm f1.8, which isn't quite the lens the 1.4 is, but it's still served me quite well. At this point, I'm considering either buying a decent, all around lens to replace the crappy stock lens that came with my Rebel and putting that on the 40D, then putting the 50mm on the XT and swap it out with a 75-300mm lens I have as needed. Or if I don't buy another lens, I'm thinking of renting some nice L glass, which is surprisingly inexpensive to rent. This one place I'm looking at has the 24-70mm f2.8L for $185 for 4 weeks with insurance included (and no deposit required).
     
  8. Everythingisnt macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

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    #8

    Yes, but even that question is rather irregular and hard to actually answer. You could have been a little easier on me and been more specific, as in "is a macbook good enough for photo editing" or "Is the 40D a significant enough upgrade from the XTI to warrant it, in light of a not-so-unlimited budget"..

    In any case, I own a macbook of my own and I can assure you that it is more then enough for photo editing on the go. Currently I have about 5,000 images in my Aperture 1.5 library and it runs like a dream.. (Oddly enough, iPhoto runs much slower).

    I can't say the same for Photoshop CS3, but as long as your editing isn't very layer or file intensive, you should be fine.

    What I really meant to say is that in terms of pro photography, it's always better to invest in more gear if you can already get by on what you have - as long as it isn't a situation where you won't be able to guarantee results, you'll be better off with better and more accurate gear..


    Also it may be a good idea to consider investing in more lenses. Maybe a fast portrait lens and a nice wide-angle (considering you mentioned that you do wedding photography..)..
     
  9. JonD25 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Sorry, I forgot to add the summary, "bottom line" question at the end. I've been asking a lot of people the same general question in a lot of different places, so explaining my situation over and over, I didn't realize I hadn't actually gotten to the bottom line by the end of that post.

    Oh, and just to clarify, I have the XT, not the XTi. So, the jump to the 40D is a bit larger.
     
  10. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #10
    Don't get the 75-300mm or even the 70-300mm. An equally priced 70-200mm f/4 will provide far better images.
     
  11. JonD25 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Too late for that. I already own it ;)

    Not my favorite lens, especially the 4-5.6 aperture, but it gets the job done in some situations. I'm not sure ebay-ing it would even be worth it. I wish I knew what know now about lenses when I first got it. Oh well, that's life.
     
  12. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #12
    Get a MacBook instead of a MBP. What's the difference in your case? All laptop screens are only capable of 6-bits of each colour anyway (rather than 8-bit), while the other colours in between "steps" is interpolated. You're not getting the best screen for the job anyway, so get a MacBook, external LCD with S-IPS LCD panel (Dell 20", perhaps?), and buy the Canon 40D. Sell the iMac.
     
  13. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #13
    And with an $1100 body (the 40d), you'll still end up with several times more than that in glass, if you're really serious about it. The least valuable part of my kit is the body. I'd feel bad if it dropped in a sewer, but I'd go ballistic if I dropped, say, my L glass there. Bodies are fairly disposable, really, but glass can be for life (or near enough).

    Your iMac is plenty enough for a good while, and the XT is capable of handling most anything you can imagine until it dies. Get yourself at least one nice piece of glass suited for your preferred type of shoot, or something that will complement what you already have. Look at other accessories you don't have yet, or do, but are low-end.

    A 16-35 f/2.8 L is great for a lot of portraiture, landscape, and architectural work (while not necessarily the best at any one, it's still a great short zoom). Say $1350. You still have $650 for goodies, or maybe a 70-200 f/4 L. Right at your budget, and expands your capabilities by a mile. Once again, look at the type of work you want to do, and choose appropriately.

    So, to summarize, keep the iMac, keep the XT, get glass (and some extra CF cards).
     
  14. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

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    Alaska
    #14
    The 40D can be had for around $900.00 at B&H, Adorama, Amazon, etc., with the Canon rebate. I am buying one this week, but it's being back-ordered in some places because of the high demand for it.

    The rebates place the 5D at slightly under $1,900.00 to those who want FF. I was thinking of upgrading to the 5D, but two of the three lenses I have are for cropped sensors such as the XT-40D, etc.
     
  15. 66217 Guest

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    Jan 30, 2006
    #15
    I own a MacBook Core Duo, and it works pretty good with Aperture 2. I find Aperture 2 much faster in my MB than Aperture 1.5. Photoshop CS3 also works quite good.

    Obviously the small monitor makes you get tired sometimes, but you could always get a decent external monitor. So, don't spend the extra money in a laptop you don't need.

    And as some others had said. First see if you need any new lenses, and then I would suggest saving up for a 40D or maybe even a 5D. If your XT is only a year old, it can surely last you a couple of years more without problem.
     
  16. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #16
    I have a MacBook Pro, and for most uses the screen is plenty big. But Aperture is a lot more fun on a BIG screen - so I think I'd agree with those folks that have recommended the MacBook and an external monitor. Oh, and be sure to buy a Spyder or some other calibration tool, and calibrate both your laptop screen and the external monitor. :D When you're travelling you'll still be able to use Aperture on the 13" display of the MacBook.

    I'd also agree with those people that have suggested you invest in glass before you get a better body, unless you're running into technical limitations with your Rebel (e.g. you really need mirror lockup or some other function the Rebel doesn't provide but the new camera does).
     
  17. JonD25 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Yeah, I was half joking with that statement. I agree with what you're saying.

    What do you think about having a backup body though? Especially for weddings, it seems to be a pretty important thing to have. Seeing as how lenses are a lot cheaper to rent, I was thinking of buying the body and then renting the glass until I could save up more money for the glass.

    Well, for low light conditions when I have to crank the ISO on the XT, the results are pretty bad. The 40D, from my understanding, is much better at low light photography. My thinking is probably more dominated by the thought of always having a backup especially in critical moments like at weddings.
     
  18. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #18
    A slow lens is going to force you to jack the ISO too. Good glass is worth it - especially to your customers.
     
  19. MadDoc macrumors 6502

    MadDoc

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    #19
    For what it's worth - I would go for more/better glass. It will no doubt outlast both the 40D and a new notebook.

    My 2 cents.

    MadDoc,
     
  20. teleromeo macrumors 65816

    teleromeo

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    #20
    There was a time when the quality of the lens and the choice of film was the essence of photography. Nowadays, the quality of the lens is still very important but a lot of things have changed for the rest.
     
  21. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #21
    I don't agree with that at all, but yes, it's good to have a backup body for weddings. In fact, it's probably critical.

    The XTi was worse than the XT at noise. I don't remember the XTi in great detail (never handled it for long), but the noise reduction gave it more of a water-colour quality. So the noise was probably low, but the image quality was lower as well. Noise isn't everything, especially not when the photo looks bad due to overzealous noise reduction. The XSi doesn't look any better.

    But that's all miniscule stuff. The 40D is a fine camera, as is every DSLR on the market today, really.


    I agree that you probably don't NEED to replace your XT, but if you're shooting weddings, it may be a good idea to get another body anyway, so get it.

    I don't see the point of getting a new computer, but like I suggested before, there's nothing stopping you from buying the camera and a MacBook.
     
  22. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #22
    You just had to tell me that, didn't you. It was easy to say "no" when it was solidly above $1K, but now... ;)
     
  23. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

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    #23
    I know people who put $6000 lenses on $1400 bodies. So buy another $500 body and use $1500 for a good lens.

    INHO, buying a better body and using it with cheaper, slower consumer glass doesn't really improve your situation much, if anything at all.
     
  24. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #24
    Let's just think about this scenario for a minute, okay?

    First of all, you have cash and want to spend it. Sure thing, can't go wrong with it. Always possible. But how would you want to prioritize other mutually exclusive items?

    Improvement #1: portability. It looks like you have already decided on buying a laptop. Either pro-model or a regular MacBook. Either 100% or 50% of the budget. First question: do you feel satisfied with buying a laptop or do you want to buy something else too?

    If laptop is everything that makes you satisfied, then just go buy a MBP, it's a great piece of hardware. But if instead you want to improve your photo-making capabilities, then you need to buy the regular MacBook. It's as simple as that.

    Now if you have indeed decided to buy the regular MacBook and have about a thousand dollars to spend, then here's the second question: do you feel satosfied with your current lens lineup or do you want to improve the image quality that is possible to achieve with your gear?

    If your lenses feel fine, then just buy more megapixels. You get more than you would have got yesterday, but less than you will get tomorrow. Camera body has finite life span and if it still works it might be best to keep using what you already have. If it's not filled with dust the image quality is not any different than when you bought it in the first place. Keep using it until it breaks, and then it's a no-brainer where to spend the money ;)

    Now if you have followed me all the way, you probably can guess what I recommend: spend the money to as good lens as you can afford. Primes are great alternative if you already have a plastic all-around zoom thingy that looks like a lens to most people. If I only could have one lens, it would probably be a 50mm prime. Or the 135mm f/2L in case I'm going to shoot indoor action from a distance. Anyway, lens is the #1 most important piece of gear in terms of image quality and if you want that just get a better lens.
     
  25. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    #25
    As others have said:

    Lens, lens, lens, lens. For a long time I had a 70-200 /2.8 on a D70. At the time that was $2000 glass on a camera valued at ~$500, and I got spectacular results.

    Is the laptop really a necessity? You're telling me you won't have access to a computer whatsoever? Even a computer cafe would have sufficient editing to crop the photos and send them off for a temporary display.

    And if you have a friend wherever you're staying, then I'd think you're golden. Keep the photos on your cards until you get home.

    Or, heck, rent the laptop and buy the glass or body. But that's my opinion.
     

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