Move from windows to mbp for photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Chiffs, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. Chiffs, Jul 7, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012

    Chiffs macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #1
    Hi everyone, first post in this neck of the woods so a little extra info.

    I currently have a canon 500d with kit lens, nifty fifty and a 70-200 f4 L and a hp 2.1ghz dual core hp laptop with Lightroom and cs5.

    Have had an iPhone now for 2 years and I think I've become an apple fan just because of the way it works so I'm now seriously thinking about getting a base mbp with the hi res screen upgrade.

    Speaking to a couple of friends who have had macs they have also pointed me towards MacBooks although neither are really into photography.

    I'm guessing the 15" mbp with a high res screen will be well up to the job?

    Do the screens need much of a calibration? And which is the better to go for, anti glare or glossy. ( not had chance to check them both out yet)



    Thinking I could run with the stock setup for quite a while and then upgrade at a later the ram and maybe a ssd. Does that sounds like a good plan?

    Have plenty more thoughts and questions which I will either post up later or find via searching.

    I currently enjoy some wildlife, family portraits and shooting weddings as a guest plus what ever else comes along.

    Free examples of mine. Don't know if the quality will show up as its some I have saved on my phone but here goes anyway.

    [​IMG]
    IMG_7984 by SChiffersPhotography, on Flickr
    [​IMG]
    Long Eared Owl edit by SChiffersPhotography, on Flickr
    [​IMG]
    SChiffersPhotography-121 by SChiffersPhotography, on Flickr
    [​IMG]
    IMG_2224 by SChiffersPhotography, on Flickr
     
  2. Chiffs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #2
    Will add Flickr picture links once back on laptop.
     
  3. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

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    Location:
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    #3
    There is a reason they say, "Once you've tried Mac, you never go back."

    I think you need look at two things. Portability is one and the screen is the other.

    Most of my work is done at my desk but there are times I still want my computer with me. If your computer will never leave you desk, then I see no reason to spend the extra money on a laptop.

    Any screen will need calibration from time to time. I don't think the platform is going to make a difference. A matte screen (which I have) doesn't have glare and reflection problems, but the colors will render as less vibrant. Glossy screens give more vibrance and blacker blacks, but the glare bothers a lot of people. I have a 17" MBP because I wanted maximum screen real estate. No matter what you get, you can always get a stand alone monitor. Many people go that way with a 15" MBP.
     
  4. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #4
    I've always found laptop displays to be more difficult when judging really fine details, and every display needs regular measurement. Depending on the age of the display, the typical range for reprofiling could be one month to one week. Give your display 30-45 minutes to warm up first. Leave the colorimeter plugged in 10 minutes prior to calibration/profiling (I mention the difference as the display isn't making internal updates). If it's a laptop, keep it plugged in and turn off any energy saving settings so that it doesn't dim unexpectedly. This should give you optimal consistency. Other factors such as ambient temperature and humidity can affect readings, so avoid performing this in extreme conditions (not sure if you have to travel a lot). Also pick a brightness target for the backlight. Max brightness degrades over time, so it's a poor setting. I don't suggest anything over 50% on a new computer. Ideally you can get it down to the 120 cd/m2 range. This is a pretty common general setting. If the display goes too flat, pick a higher number, but keep it consistent. Things may print down, but as long as you know how much and it's consistent, you're good to go.

    I hope this helps. It's general advice. It applies to the macbook pro as well as other computers. They all need to be measured and kept up to date if you wish to make judgements of any kind off what you see there.
     
  5. Jb07 macrumors 6502

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    Oct 31, 2011
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    Dallas
    #5
    I think you'll definitely enjoy a Mac if you decide to get one. The base model with the upgraded anti-glare screen would be the best way to go. The anti-glare provides more realistic colors whereas the glossy screens are more saturated and blacks are deeper. But either way you go, it's probably a big step up from your HP!

    Off-topic: Your pictures are great! I really like the wedding one!
     
  6. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a

    TheDrift-

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    #6
    Another Vote for antiglare, it does need calibrating but its not too far off.

    I would also make sure you get 8gb of ram if you plan on running LR and CS5 or plan on fitting it yourself aftermarket it pretty easy to do (as i recently found out) :)
     
  7. Chiffs thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 14, 2012
    #7
    Thanks for your replies chaps.

    I so far have never calibrated a screen fully professionally, just tweaked by sight and then displayed the same image on several different devices to see how it looked and seem to of gotten away with it so far. Not the best I know but as I'm getting more in to photography I now want to get something to do this properly.

    Any recommends?

    Can't go for a desktop so it will be a laptop replacement.

    Would be base model I think and then add extra ram a few months later.

    DVD drive would also come in handy as I still burn a few discs of music for the car and some photo discs for friends.

    Would be used mainly just at home if that makes a difference between glossy or AG.

    is it because of reflections that everyone is against the glossy?

    And thanks for the comments on the shots.
     
  8. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

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    #8
    Reflection (my issue) and color rendering both.

    I think you've gotten a lot of good and consistent input. I think it's time to go to the Apple store (or the weak second choice of Best Buy if you do not have an Apple store), talk to the folks there about your best "base model", and do a lot of playing. When I was shopping, the folks in the Chicago store let me bring my own images and play for a couple of hours. You will not be able to play with PS or Lightroom, but they will have at least one machine loaded with Aperture and iPhoto.

    Have fun and welcome to the wonderful world of Mac.
     
  9. GregPQ macrumors regular

    GregPQ

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    Jan 2, 2010
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #9
    I believe that the Retina Display is currently available starting with the 15" MBP, and it comes without a DVD drive. Whereas the 13" MBP still has DVD drive but no Retina Display.

    I'm just saying,
    Greg
     
  10. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a

    TheDrift-

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    #10
    calibrating a screen is easy if you have something like a spyder.

    pretty much press the calibrate button, go make a coffee and come back...
     
  11. Chiffs thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 14, 2012
    #11
    Not over interested in a retina mbp, prefer a normal mbp with a high res of some form screen (glossy or anti glare not sure yet).

    Plus the normal has a dvd drive :)

    Visit to apple store i thinks is needed plus being military i get a nice little discount :)
     
  12. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #12
    Apple pushes glossy screens because they really flash the colors, but most of us in the photography community just hate them. You need to place them in an area without direct light on the screen or work in a darkened room for best results. I would look at both anti-glare and glossy in a retail store if possible to see what we mean.

    My own setup for photography is a 2008 MacBook Pro with the 17in. matt display and a 21in. Samsung as a second monitor. PhotoShop and Lightroom will want as much ram as possible. My old goat is maxed out at 6GB.

    Good luck and welcome to the Mac community. Keep up posted and feel free to ask any questions.

    Dale
     
  13. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    Oct 22, 2007
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    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #13
    It is more difficult to use a laptop monitor than a standalone for photography, simply because a laptop screen can be so easily adjusted. The point of calibrating a screen is to adjust it to a known condition, and to bring it back to that point on a regular basis. A laptop screen can either be deliberately dimmed and brightened - throwing the calibration off. Or it will auto dim/brighten based on ambient lighting conditions.

    If you are going to edit photos on a laptop then you must get in the habit of turning the auto dim feature off, and setting the brightness level to the highest setting - the only bright/dim level that you can replicate session after session without error.

    The other issue a laptop has is that because it's portable, you are tempted to use it all over the house - which also defeats the calibration. A properly calibrated monitor is calibrated under the same lighting conditions as the editing work. Changing that lighting might mean you need to re-calibrate. My Spyder calibration dongle measures the ambient lighting on a continuous basis. If I forget to set my office lighting back to "moderate" then a little box pops up to remind me. Also, changing the colour of the walls of the room you are working in can change your perception of colour.

    Using a laptop to edit photos is not impossible, or even difficult. But there is a bit more work involved to get ready, and then you have to be disciplined about your office lighting. It may be easier to just get an external monitor. It will hold the calibration with no effort on your part, plus it encourages you to work in a room with predictable lighting and colours.

    The other thing to consider is where your photos are going to end up. Editing for prints is different than editing for screens. I understand that using a vibrant glossy screen to edit for printing is more difficult because ink on paper just can't replicate the vibrant look of a screen. Essentially, you have to create an image that looks not so great on a glossy monitor in order to get something that will print well.

    If you are editing for displaying only on computer screens, then of course you are able to edit for what you see. Keeping in mind that someone with a matt display won't quite see what you see.

    Luck.
     
  14. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #14
    The problem is that this can make it worse, especially as you're not going by any kind of known reference. All of those other displays can still be in flux. Now there are displays that offer features for profile correlation in that you can do something of this sort, but at the same time you don't want to do that arbitrarily. It's just one of the worst ideas anyone has ever posted on here:p, and if anything you're holding yourself back. I've got an X-rite device (but I software specific to the display brands) here that I like as it does a reasonably good job of producing a visually neutral greyscale on an Adobe RGB display. The older ones tend to give the neutral values too much of a green cast. In the case of MBPs, they use LED backlighting which also creates some problems with older colorimeters. Most colorimeters last a few years, but they can drift out of spec. I wouldn't keep one plugged in all the time. If you calibrate under consistent conditions, it can also tell you if your display starts to drift faster. It typically happens as they age.

    Anyway I guess this stuff depends on how picky you are. I've had to roll back Wacom drivers at times due to bugs, and I've often tested them via straight edges if I already suspect one needs replacement (lines aren't coming out correctly). Most people would never notice some of this stuff, but I find it makes a noticeable impact. I'm pretty obsessed with controlling everything.

    Treated glass wouldn't be as bad. CRTs were never quite as matte as your typical lcd displays. In both situations light falling on them is bad. It's not so much that there's only one solution. The issue is that the current glossy solution isn't very good. I haven't seen the rMBP yet. It might be better, but I don't intend to upgrade this year.

    That would still leave you with a slowly changing target. Over a couple years one of these displays can hit the half life of the display under regular use. Setting a dimmer but known setting and taking measurements is a better way to go unless you know something I don't about how these are calculated. As the display ages you would adjust the brightness upward to match the white luminance previously measured by the calibration/profiling software. This would allow you a relatively consistent luminance target. Overall I tend to prefer dark working spaces no matter what. It's just easier to reliably spot subtle differences between colors. I mean really ridiculously subtle. I've had things where I thought the display had an off color patch due to how minute the difference was, where it turned out to be the photo.
     
  15. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #15
    Sorry. I wasn't clear. This is after doing a hardware calibration on the screen if you don't want to measure each and every time you start a session. One should still calibrate monthly or so, to account for aging if one brings the monitor up to full brightness. Your scenario can work, I think, very well only if you are using a device to bring the monitor up to a known value each time you start a session. Hope this helps?
     
  16. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #16
    I wasn't trying to be nitpicky, but yeah the issue with full brightness is that if these are being printed, they will print down (darker) relative to a new computer at full brightness. Given the compressed scale, it's much easier to make visual adjustments at lower brightness levels anyway. My point is usually to keep everything as consistent as possible which means calibrating/profiling for a known brightness level when fully warmed up. It may start off as 50% brightness. Two years later that same target may be hitting close to max brightness (depending on use, or could be longer if running it lower extends the backlight life). That entire time while it may shift in its overall profile, I can at least expect comparable brightness levels and a closer display/print match. If it doesn't match perfectly, it should at least be off by the same amount.
     
  17. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #17
    All this talk about decaying brightness is good and fine but in a practical sense LED backlit monitors (nor do CCFL screens really) do not have meaningful "brightness decay" over the lifetime of the device.

    LED backlights have typical lifetimes in the tens of thousands (as in 30,000 to 50,000) of hours before they reach even 70% of their maximum brightness when new. 50,000 hours is leaving the LEDs on for 8 hours a day, 50 weeks a year, for 25 years. Furthermore, these figures are reported for high power LEDs used in light bulbs, where the stable operating temperatures are much higher than what is typically seen in a desktop or laptop display (90 to 100C). As such, one would expect lifetimes of LEDs in display backlights to last even longer.
    (source: http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/publications/pdfs/ssl/lifetime_white_leds.pdf)

    Additionally, running or calibrating your display for max brightness is particularly bad for photo work, since the "brightness" of prints on paper is so much less. You want to calibrate to 80-100 cd/m^2 for comfortable viewing and reliable print work, and that is a figure that is easily achievable by any monitor, even extremely old ones. In fact most new monitors have difficulty getting the brightness this low, even when the backlight level is set to the minimum possible value.

    Speaking from experience, my 2009 MBP with LED backlit screen, which has been calibrated to 100 cd/m^2 since I got it, has required virtually zero increase in the brightness setting to keep it at the desired output every time I go to calibrate it. After 3 years of use, the backlight has barely decayed in a measurable fashion. The computer itself will be obsolete long before any brightness issues with the LED backlights ever comes in to play.

    To get back to the OP's question- no there is no real benefit in migrating to a MBP over a windows machine for photo editing. At this stage in the game they are functionally equivalent. If you are in the market for a new laptop and want to get an Apple, then by all means go ahead. But with the sole exception of being able to run Aperture, it will not make for a better photo editing computer than you could get from a similarly specced laptop running Windows.

    The exception I would make is the new retina MBP, since it is one of the very few laptop displays available with an IPS screen. And the groundbreaking pixel density undoubtedly makes it hands down just about the best display you can get in any portable computer today.
     
  18. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #18
    CCFL backlights were typically rated for 30-50k hours in terms of mean time to failure. My experience hasn't placed their brightness degradation so low, although they do dim slower than older CCFL bulbs.

    I never suggested that. In my experience laptop displays including the Apple displays don't necessarily hold up well at 80-100cd/m2. The desktop displays I've owned hold up fine at those luminance levels. Laptops are a bit different. Sometimes they lose too much contrast or run into other issues when turned down far enough. For photographers if it can hit 300:1 - 400:1 with a reasonable level of conformance to a gamma 2.2 response curve, that's a good place to be. I know lower brightness is spun as a negative, but if they're optimized lower, that should be better for most photographers. The 80-100 thing really came from using these things in areas with very little ambient light at a brightness range that was capable of producing a reasonably good match when compared to a printed reference illuminated by a viewing booth. I mentioned 120 as it's typically considered that high end of that spectrum, and it's an easy target to hit without potential weird display behavior (haven't tested the most recent one), but I did mention that things may still print down.

    Lenovo has one that's fairly cost effective. HP has one that can be calibrated via their dreamcolor system, but it's quite expensive. They've started to show up on ultrabooks like the Asus. The Windows end still pretty much maxes out at 1920x1200, so Apple definitely has that on them. I'm not bothered by them sticking to sRGB. Many people don't seem to get that there's more to it than absolute gamut.
     
  19. Chiffs thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 14, 2012
    #19
    Thanks all for your replies.

    How much should I spend on a calibrator?

    Can you guys point me towards some calibrators that are good and value for money?

    Also if I'm running the laptop display and say another monitor/screen can you set up two separate profiles so both stay in calibration.
     
  20. mono1980 macrumors 6502

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    Lansing, MI
    #20
    Buying the external DVD drive is easy, and easier to replace if it dies.
     
  21. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

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    #21
    You should spend what you can afford :)

    If you are going to calibrate multiple devices with multiple backlight technologies, the i1 display pro was designed to be able to accurately calibrate CCFL, wide gamut, LED, etc. Older colorimeters (Spyder 3, i1 display 2, etc) are cheaper but may not work as well with newer monitors such as LED backlit or wide gamut.

    There is a similar product to the i1 display pro under the colormunki name that is essentially the same calibrator as the i1 Display pro, but somewhat crippled in hardware and software (calibration takes longer, and some software features are disabled) however, it is priced less so you can save money there. The quality of the calibration hardware should be the same as the i1 display pro.

    If you intend on doing your own printing you may want to consider getting a spectrophotometer unit like a i1 Pro- which can do both monitor and printer profiling. These units, however, are considerably more expensive than the colorimeters.
     
  22. Randy McKown macrumors member

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    Jun 24, 2011
    Location:
    Kansas City
    #22
    Upgrade the memory to 8GB right away. Not really something I would put off until later. It makes a HUGE difference. If I stuck the original 4GB back in my MBP and started editing it would literally drive me insane. LOL

    Aside from that MBP's are great to edit on. Especially, if you feel like kicking back on the couch or you're in a hotel or out on location.
     
  23. Chiffs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #23
    Just placed an order for the base non retina 15" with HiRes AG screen. ;):):).

    I'm like a little kid waiting for Christmas which is going to happen on the Monday 13th.

    Will order 16gb of ram from crucial next week.
     
  24. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #24
    OK, the (unofficial) rules of MacRumours state that you now have to start a new thread about your delivery date, and to update it daily (or more often) with the location of the shipment.

    Then, you have to start another new thread where you talk about how unhappy you are if the delivery date is missed. A World is Ending state of depression is the usual appropriate level. OR, if the shipment is early this new thread will need to tell us how when you saw the deliver truck out front it was the best day of your life, including the day you were married/graduated/found a large sum of money/etc.

    If the shipment is on time, the appropriate post is to simply say how unimpressed you were that expectations were meet. For that kind of money you had expected something better in the delivery line. Perhaps a flowers should have come at the same time. After all, with that kind of cash in the bank - surely Apple can afford to arrange a bouquet for new Mac owners as a token of their appreciation, eh?

    ------

    Seriously.... Enjoy your new Mac. Arrange for some sort of backup strategy. Get that new RAM in, you won't be sorry. Don't forget that for 90 days you are allowed to call Apple to ask them about anything to do with the new system. If you get AppleCare you can call them for 3 years, about any questions you have about the system and Apple software. It's not a half-bad feature, in my books.

    ps All the cool people on MR hang out in the digital photography lounge...
     
  25. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Location:
    Atlanta
    #25
    I guess I should not be excited about my rMBP arriving tomorrow. I should just yawn and be only mildly interested. :cool:

    Right. I want it NOW! :D
     

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