Minimum Macbook for Photography

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by jazzer15, Aug 1, 2015.

  1. jazzer15 macrumors 6502

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    Oct 8, 2010
    #1
    I am using a late 2009 i7 iMac as my main computer currently. I may replace it soon with another iMac. However, I would also like a notebook so that I can do some photo editing on the go and so that I have something portable if I attend workshops that require you to bring your own computer (at the moment I only have a Windows laptop issued from my work for portable needs as well as my personal iPad).

    Since I expect to use a desktop most of the time, I would prefer to keep my cost down on a Macbook purchase. I do, however, want to make sure that it will be powerful enough so as not to be frustrating when using it.

    What would you suggest as the minimum specs to look for? Alternatively, would it be worth considering getting a more powerful Macbook and connecting it to a large monitor for home use?

    Thanks.
     
  2. chabig macrumors 68040

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    Sep 6, 2002
    #2
    I think any modern MacBook will be great. I have a 2013 MacBook Air 11" and it's the best machine I've ever owned. I connect it to a Cinema Display at home, and use it solo on the road. All of Apple's MacBook lineup support external displays at Cinema resolution.
     
  3. BoneHead001 macrumors 6502

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    Nov 13, 2013
    #3
    I have an iMac for heavier Photoshop work and my new rMB for light to medium retouching — it works great.
     
  4. RUGGLES99 macrumors 6502

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    #4
    i'd go with an 11" mba, even the base is a fast i5 processor. i bought mine, a 2014 base, for $720 plus tax at bb with a movers coupon and a sale price. the new rmb is nice but too expensive and supposedly under powered.
     
  5. jazzer15 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5

    I guess I'm a little confused about the current models. a 13 inch MB Pro looks like it is around the same price as a retina macbook if I am looking correctly. What am I missing?
     
  6. xmichaelp macrumors 68000

    xmichaelp

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    #6
    Retina MacBook is much more portable, has twice the storage, and has no fan. Do you value more portability and storage or more power?
     
  7. unixunderground macrumors member

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    Feb 2, 2011
    #7
    Doing photography, you'll definitely want to have a high-resolution display, so the Air's out of the question.


    I would say that you safest bet, is a Retina Macbook Pro 13", either with its base configuration or perhaps with a bigger SSD if you need more storage, or RAM if you want to use it as your main machine.

    That should work without the slightest issue for your average Lightroom, Photoshop and other post processing work which I think you are looking to do.

    The Retina Macbook 12", while also an option, gives you less raw power for the money, which though you probably won't need in your use-case scenario, might still be good to have if you are on a budget, and would like to keep it for a few years.
    Though it's also an option if you can afford it, and want to always have it with you (it's much lighter and portable).

    From you OP, I'd personally say that in your situation, you should probably go with a base Retina Macbook Pro. In my opinion, it's more than enough for the "standard" photography workflow you are probably after. If you really want more power, get more RAM rather than a quicker processor, which really won't make much of a difference.

    Using it as your only machine is also an option, and getting a screen to hook it up to could very well make sense. In that case definitely do get 16GB of RAM.
     
  8. chabig macrumors 68040

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    #8
    I disagree. It's not like the non-retina screen will be hiding pixels. They are all still there, and if he's editing pictures he'll be zooming in and out for detail work anyway.
     
  9. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

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    Denver
    #9
    Personally for photography I'd get the rMB - its color fidelity is better than any other Apple laptop and a LOT better than a MBA. For large batch edits it's slow, but when editing individual files its fine (even 21mp RAW's I do frequently). It also makes a great everyday notebook for general use. You will typically only notice it swing down when doing something that requires sustained high CPU load.
     
  10. jazzer15 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 8, 2010
    #10
    Thanks all. That's helpful information. I didn't say anything about budget, so that didn't help matters for you, but somewhere around the 12 inch Retina Macbook or base 13 inch Macbook Pro is within reason although I like the price of the Macbook Air better :). Based on what has been said, I tend to agree with Unixunderground that the 13 inch Macbook Pro is probably the right place for me to be looking, although I suspect the options would work also.
     
  11. jazzer15 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    More o think about :). Thanks.
     
  12. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #12
    One word no, most important aspect of a Notebook for a photographer is the display the current Air`s display is about the worst Apple produces. 13" Retina MacBook is likely to strike the best balance between cost and performance, combined with a seriously decent display which will only require a little calibration to be colour accurate.

    Q-6
     
  13. Hook85 macrumors member

    Hook85

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    #13
    I wouldn't do anything photography related without a retina screen. Not just because your editing is improved but because it feels better on your eyes if you're doing it for a significant period of time.

    Each to their own I guess.
     
  14. moxxham macrumors 6502

    moxxham

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    #14
    Retina MacBook Pro for sure! The air just won't cut it and the MacBook has nowhere near enough power or ports for full on editing. The high resolution of the screen is great on the rPro, it's fast, great size screen (I would opt for th 15 inch) and all round it works brilliant for me. I'm a photographer too and I do lots of videography work also, editing in 4K on it and it's brilliant
     
  15. jazzer15 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #15
    I was going to start a new thread, but though I would resurrect this one first and see if I got any responses.

    Since the thread was started, I think I have decided to get a retina Macbook Pro, but I don't know if I should get the 13 inch or 15. Based on my needs (see original post), I think the 13 inch should be fine in terms of power, but I wonder about the screen size for doing some editing -- even though most of the time I would be using the desktop. So, 2 questions:

    (1) Is a 13 inch screen sufficient for some photo editing in combination with the desktop? and
    (2) In any event, would I be better off just spending the money and going for the 15 inch (which has more memory and the i7 at base level, plus a larger screen) and then using that as a base with a larger monitor rather than buying both a 13 inch and eventually a new iMac?
     
  16. Tummy macrumors regular

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    Feb 1, 2008
    #16
    The 15" uses quad core where the 13" have only dual core cpu. I'm use to huge desktop and tiny laptops, so the 15" is too big, but you might like it. It's a personal preference, so you have to figure it out yourself.
     
  17. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

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    Feb 11, 2008
    #17
    15 RMP all the way. Its got the best power/size ratio to cover any photographers work load.

    The 13" should have been quad core, being a dual core, I find it lacking, might as well get a 13" MBA or 15 RMP.
     
  18. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #18
    Intel don't make a quad core chip within the 13 inch rMBP's thermal envelope, and there won't be one in skylake either. Canonlake may see quadcore 13 inch rMBP's.
     
  19. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

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    #19
    Please share a link to support that statement.

    I'm not buying that a 13 apple laptop cannot handle a quad core , others can do it.
     
  20. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    #20
    Other can not do it, you get them at 14 inch screen (and bigger case more like a 15 inch) of course, but you accept a lot of compromises to do it, poor battery life and poor screens being the biggest ones along with heat and fan noise. Apple make computers that are thin and light and as quiet as possible with the best battery life they can get out of them to do this a dual core low wattage chip is used. If you need a quad core get the 15 inch or buy another make that has made different design choices, I love my 13 inch it is powerful, silent 98% of the time, has an amazing screen and lasts for 10 hours with light usage with a quad core this would not be the case.
     
  21. MH01, Oct 6, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015

    MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

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    #21
    Please share a link to support that statement.

    I'm not buying that a 13 apple laptop cannot handle a quad core , others can do it.
    Yes, but do you have any proof a 13 cannot accommodate a quad core?

    Look, there are 13" laptops with quadcores, apple could put one in, though it would be at the expense of the battery, no thermal limitations. battery is the biggest hit, of the ones that do exist, they tend to be gaming laptops where battery is ....... Who games on a battery ....
     
  22. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #22
    Well you can't buy one. You can get many 14 inch quad cores that are all thicker and heavier to say the least (lenovo and HP mostly), the closest is the 14 inch razer blade but that has a pretty poor battery life and isn't nearly as small and is a fair bit heavier (well over a pound). In fact most 13 inch thin light laptops use 15W intel processors with less power and far worse graphics.

    Apple designed a slim light laptop for a 28W TDP, there are no 28W TDP quad core processors, therefore a quad core would severely overheat the 13 inch rMBP. No one makes one because currently the technology means that you would have to make too many compromises.

    Every laptop is a compromise and the 13 inch rMBP is just about the best compromise on portability screen, power and battery life available at the moment by any measure.

    Could you build one of course but not with the same design features as the 13 inch rMBP, no one considers them a viable option at the moment or there would be one on sale.
     
  23. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

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    #23
    MSI have the G30
     
  24. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #24
    Hooray you found one, I do hope it took you a while....

    Now read this review about how the case is not up to the job of cooling it and throttles back with any sort of pressure on the CPU, it is hot and loud and the battery life is poor (the review even points out that the use of that quad core chip in a thin light laptop gives more negatives than positives), all the things no one wants from an apple laptop. But hey if thats what floats your boat you are welcome to it.

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/MSI-GS30-Notebook-Review.142706.0.html
     
  25. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

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    Feb 11, 2008
    #25
    My MacBook 15 overheats and throttles . The reason apple will not use it is battery life. Thermal is not the issue.
     

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