Photographer buying a new computer, need help

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by aaaaaaron, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. aaaaaaron macrumors regular

    Jun 30, 2010
    So I have finally saved money enough money to get a new computer, but I cannot decide between the portability of the MacBook Pro 17" i7 or the power of the iMac 27" i7. I know that with the iMac I may have some calibration issues, but it almost seems that for how powerful it is, I might want to get the iMac, plus it has a super large screen. Or will the MBP prove powerful enough and should I just get that, save a bit more money, and buy another display a little later down the line?

    I really wanted the MPB, but when I started looking at the benchmarks of the new iMacs, I couldn't help but second think my needs, even though benchmarks may not say a lot about real world use. I would also like to travel with my work, though I won't die if I can't, so it's hard to know what to do.

    Any other photographers work with either of them and can give me some advice? I plan on running Photoshop and Lightroom on them to edit photos, so how well they'll run is my main concern I guess. Either one would be a great upgrade from my current 1.83 Ghz Macbook, but I want to make the most of my money. If only I could buy both :), thanks for the help.
  2. AFPoster macrumors 68000

    Jul 14, 2008
    Charlotte, NC
    I have friends that are photographers but I am not. I would suggest that if you want to travel and have your work on the go then get the MBP. It has power and you'll love the fact that you can go to Starbuck's grab your coffee and touch-up some photo's while you sit in chair. I'd also suggest buying an additional display later on since you said your funds can't cover one right away. The iMac is incredible, don't get me wrong I am buying on in a few months but it's not something I want to sit in front of for hours at a time when I can be in a car (passenger of course) on a plane, starbucks, barnes and noble, etc with the ability of doing something I love without lugging a massive iMac under the plane, trunk of a car, etc. Especially on vacations you want to carry something small and light not an entire iMac. Just my opinion.
  3. stefankr macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2009
    Hi, as a hobby photographer with a 17" i5, I thought I should give you my opinion :)

    Both the iMac and the MBP i7 are powerful enough for this tipe of work. I use the latest version of Lightroom, and it runs perfectly smooth.

    You should look at the way you work to determine what you really need: Do you do all your photo post processing at home ? Then an iMac would be fine. But if you need a laptop to take to locations and shoots, allowing you to edit photos on site and show them to clients, than the MBP will be the better choice! You can always hook up the MBP to an external display at home. That way you can even use the MBP screen as a second display while doing your primary work on the external monitor. I use my MBP together with an Eizo screen when I need a big screen, and I am very happy with this solution.

    If you do most of your work at home and rarely need a computer at a shoot, you could as well get a less expensive 15" AND an external monitor for the price of a 17" MBP.

    Both machines offer enough power, but the MBP gives you more flexibility, too.

    Hope this helps :)
  4. rickzwebz macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2009
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    If you don't really need to use your computer on site and if you are going to be doing any editing of your images through the use of PhotoShop or whatever perhaps the larger screen of a desktop might be an advantage over the smaller laptop. That was a issue I had to look at.
  5. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    You should also look at this site, MacPerformanceGuide. He talks about how to tune your system, reviews products, and talks about what you may or may not need in a Photoshop system.

    The light you are sitting can affect your colour corrections. That is to say, if you calibrate your monitor in your office, and then take that monitor to a coffee shop your colour corrections will be off slightly because of the intensity of light, the colour of the light, and the colour of you surroundings. What I'm trying to say is, you shouldn't use a portable system for critical colour work, except in the location you have set up for it. This might eliminate one of the advantages of the MBP.

    That said, there are other things you can do with a portable - like all of the keywording and filing and initial editing in Lightroom.

    Have you considered a Mac Mini hooked up to a decent monitor, and then a Mac Book for portability? The Mac Book is plenty powerful enough for Lightroom work, and for showing potential clients your presentations. The Mini is not as powerful as the iMac, but it should suit your needs if you are just getting started. Eventually you could think about upgrading the Mini to the MacPro.

    You are going to find, as a photographer, that storage needs start becoming the important factor. You can hook up all sorts of external enclosures to the iMac (and Mini), but the internal bays of the Mac Pro are way way easier and faster.... so do think about your eventual upgrade paths.

    Good Luck.

Share This Page