old-school film photographer - turned digital shopping for 1st macbook pro

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by lightSmile, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. lightSmile macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2007
    Give me some tips!
    I just switched from film to digital - Canon 30D.
    Now I'm a shopping for my 1st MacBook Pro...

    What is Essential?
    What is Unnecessary?

    15" vs 17" screen
    2GB vs 4GB memory
    160GB hard drive vs 250 GB
    Resolution preferences?

    I shoot mostly protraits, children, families, weddings...
    I have been shooting film for 13 years, time to switch to digital...

    give me your opinions.
  2. Crawn2003 macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2005
    Santa Rosa, California
    Well.. I'm a commercial photographer! lol Graduated from Ohio Institute of Photography. I'm currently using a 17" MacBook Pro 2.4GHz with 4GB of RAM.

    Memory - 4GB. Period. Some will say, no, only 2 should be fine. Trust me, it isn't, 4GB is what I have in my MBP.

    17" or 15" - totally up to you. I chose the 17" just because I like A LOT of real estate on my screen. I feel I have more room to compare two photos side by side if needed or more room for pallets, etc.

    160 or 250 GB hard drive - I chose the 250 simply because I'm not worried about a fast drive for video editing, start up times (which really isn't an issue), etc.. The slower drive hasn't proven to be a problem for me yet and I don't see a noticeable difference between the two. I also like to keep about 3 months worth of shoots on the hard drive so my clients can call any time and I can swing by with them without having to delay them more than I have to (though this doesn't mean that I don't back them up at home).

    Resolution - this is dependent on size of the screen. I picked the High Resolution option on the 17" because, once again, I like having a ton of space on my screen. It's basically like having a 23" Cinema Display on the road.

    Now this is where I'm going to get flamed though. I picked the Glossy screen because I DO NOT do color correction on the laptop monitor. I never have, nor never will. I've never had good results when color correcting on a laptop. The MacBook is for on location work where I use it with Nikon Capture NX, as a preview monitor for the art director and stylist. I use a Power Mac (and soon a Mac Pro) with Apple Cinema Displays to do all of my color correction on. This is just my work flow though and it works for me.

    Hope I helped.

    P.S. I also know someone might ask--- Yes, my Mid-2007 MacBook Pro Santa Rosa 2.4GHz is perfect, no problems that have been popping up on the forum such as the yellow tint on the screen or the overheating processor.
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Second that. You simply cannot rely on a laptop LCD screen for final colour.
  4. libertyterran macrumors member

    Apr 12, 2007
    I totally disagree with Crawn2003.

    Firstly, you buy a laptop for mobility, why would you bother getting a 17"? What for? If you are a pro photographer, then using the laptop LCD to edit ur photo is a big no no. Bi g LCD 17" for what then if you gonna add in a real LCD 23-30" for color correction?

    Secondly, 4GB Ram and 250GB HDD? I would say 2GB RAM is far more than enough. If you want get real fast editing, go for a Mac Pro, not a Macbook Pro. 250GB HDD? Why don't you spend the difference between 250GB and 160GB on a 500GB external HDD with firewire 800?

  5. Doylem macrumors 68040


    Dec 30, 2006
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    I'm an editorial photographer (landscape/location), and I went digital - reluctantly - less than a year ago. I wasn't sure if this old dog could learn new tricks. Well, I did, and had a lot of fun in the process. In particular, it's revitalised my enthusiasm for photography in general, and landscape in particular.

    I have a Nikon D200 with just a couple of lenses. I'm 99% happy with the camera, and I've developed a way of working that replicates how I worked with film. I use a 15in MBP for all aspects of my work... including colour correction. 2g memory, running Aperture: great software..... but complex. Again 99% happy with the laptop. Particularly like the simplicity of loading pix to the laptop: plug in and go...

    I take the laptop with me (well, it's in the car), and load my pix to it. If the weather turns bad, I can do more editing work on what I've taken. I have a couple of external hard drives for storing the pix I want to keep (when there's no HD plugged in, I can sort pix, do a slideshow/presentation... but can't do adjustments).

    Problems... As a photographer, I didn't imagine spending quite so much time staring at a computer screen. Otherwise I'm glad I went digital... wish I'd done it earlier. :)
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I'm not a commercial photographer, but I'd actually agree more with Crawn than with you.

    You buy a 17" laptop because they're not that much bigger and heavier than a 15" laptop, and because the screen looks more impressive if you're showing clients your work.

    You get the biggest internal HDD you can in order to keep as many recent shoots on your HDD as you can. You may not need them, but I always want my work all in one place (I'm a researcher). Having them on an HDD back home doesn't help me when I want it right now. I could SSH to another computer (if I had one back home), or to the one in my office, but what if I didn't have internet at that moment?

    4GB is a good idea. I have 2 GB in my MB, and sometimes I find that it's not enough. I use Lightroom, which is less resource hungry, and I can imagine needing 3 GB of RAM (or 4 GB) for running Aperture without hiccups. I know it can be done with 2 GB. People did that on their MBP when Aperture was first released. However, 3 GB is definitely better, especially when you want to keep 3-4 other apps running in the background like I do.
  7. davegoody macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2003
    Reading, Berkshire, England
    I Use a 17" MacBook Pro 2.4 at weddings etc

    My opinion is to go with the 17" I am a wedding photographer and I use a 17" 2.4GHz with 160Gb and 2Gb RAM. - More than sufficient speed to use the machine with Aperture / Photoshop CS3.

    You can always upgrade to 4Gb IF and WHEN you need to and when prices for 2Gb SODIMMS come down to a more reasonable level. I have a Brand New 17" MacBook Pro for sale at the moment, let me know if you you want to make a saving on retail prices - Assuming that you are UK based !

    Good luck
  8. Crawn2003 macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2005
    Santa Rosa, California
    Yeah, you can buy a laptop for mobility but why did they make a 17" in the first place if it isn't mobile? I've had laptops since the Titanium G4 500MHz then went to 17" PowerBook to 17" MacBook Pro and I've never looked back. It isn't that big of a difference (in weight and size) then the 15" MacBook Pros. Really, it just comes down to how you (the original poster) feel about a laptop. Oh, and like it's been said, it's really impressive when you pull out a 17" MacBook Pro in front of a client. It gives them the feeling that you have money/business to afford the larger laptop and, well, it just looks cool! :cool::p

    As for the additional LCD, yeah, you have to add it on the side but if you're getting a laptop and plan on doing color correction anyways, it's a necessary evil. Otherwise I'd say get a iMac or Mac Pro instead of a laptop but you're sacrificing mobility. Either way, an additional screen is needed if you get a MacBook Pro just for color correction. That doesn't mean you need the 30" Apple Cinema Display. A 20" LCD along with the MacBook Pro is an ideal setup for that computer.

    I have to disagree with Libertyterran, 2GB just won't cut it. Really. It'll get you by, yes. Will you be able to run Photoshop, Capture One Pro, Aperture, etc. at one time - yes - but it will be a little (maybe a lot!) sluggish. Trust me, I've found over the last 6 years that the more memory you have, the happier life gets. I find that OS X is snappier, that programs just run smoother with more memory, and life is less frustrating. Also I found that I don't have to worry as much about pageouts that occur in OS X. A pageout is where OS X uses the hard drive as additional memory when there is not enough physical RAM available.

    Also another thing I disagree on with Libertyterran is the HD at 160GB. Yeah, there is a price difference but let me put it to you this way:

    Life can be a cluttered mess. When you're at a clients do you really want to have a external drive in addition to a possible mouse (if you don't like the trackpad) and power cord? (sometimes happens but I try to show up with a fully charged battery just for the sake of not having another cord)

    I would never show up to a clients place and have to stop and plug in an external drive. That just looks cluttered to me. I like having their work right on my desktop so that I open the MacBook, open their folder, and there is the shot. There's no lag with having to get out an additional drive, plug it in, wait around 2 seconds for it to load onto the desktop, then find their file to open. That takes too much time away from the client, and as you may know in the professional photography world, it's all about time. If you, photographer A can get the job done faster and more efficient than photographer B, you make more money and get their business again later. Also this gives the client a personal feel, like you have their shots right there for them and not filed away somewhere else.

    Really, it all comes down to what you want. I can only give you my real world examples and how I feel as another professional photographer.

    Good luck and hope I helped/clarified everything. If something doesn't make sense about what I wrote, post back!

  9. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2003
    These are always fun discussions. Opinions and experience vary but here goes for me. I shoot professionally and have for 28 years. I shoot digital with a MBP. The 15 inch works well and makes for easier traveling. The only real difference in MBP's are the size. I would stay away from glossy simply because of viewing angles but that is simply my preference. If you plan on using an external monitor there is no real reason for the extra size of the 17 incher. Max out your ram that is great and easy advice. Get the fastest hard drive you can at the largest size you can get. Some say speed does not matter but to me it seems to make a difference. Can't have too much speed and room. I would skimp on processor speed to get more ram and hard drive room. Refurbished books are a good deal if you need to go that route. I shop refurbished first. Good software is a must. There are too many choices but don't get discouraged. Photoshop is great but there are alternatives. Aperture and Lightroom are nice, I like Bridge cause it comes with Photoshop. Shoebox is a nice alternative to iPhoto for some features.
  10. lightSmile thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2007
    Yes! This really helps.
    You have addressed all my questions.
    I have come to the point that I don't want to nickel & time it, this is such a big purchase! Although I am uber-sensitive to not buy something too big or daunting that I am not comfortable using. I am equally like that with my cameras!
    I think I like the idea of going with the big guns right off the bat, even though it makes me a little nervous, I am equally excited.
    I am still processing... I'll let you know what I decide.
  11. lightSmile thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2007
    I wish I were UK based...
    I lived there for a year back in the day.
    I am in the US.
    How do you save / back-up your photos, for yourself & your clients - a separate hard drive, CDs?...
  12. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    I assume some on here will use DVDs to backup, as they're very reliable, but they're too much of a pain for me.

    Because I have a Mac Pro I have the convenience of multiple hard drives, and set up one hard drive to mirror (or copy) another, essentially backing up my data instantly and all inside the box.

    Before I did that though, I used Synk by Decimus Software and an external HDD. I highly recommend Synk because it's easy to use (I have the basic version--$5 w/ student discount) and you can schedule it. Or use Aperture's vault feature. Please post back if you have any questions, etc.

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