Photographer looking for advice.

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by rfkam, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. rfkam macrumors newbie


    Jul 2, 2013
    nowhere zen nj
    I am a photographer and I have decided that my next computer would be a mac mini - 2.3ghz i7 with fusion drive and i'll install 16gbs of ram on my own. I have been checking out the dell u2410 and was looking for opinions on that monitor or any other that you believe would be worth checking out.

    The computer would mostly be used for personal work, which is mostly black and white but like the idea of a wide color gamut since I do most of my own printing and color profile is usually adobe rgb.
    I make my own profiles using datacolor hardware and software for color. For black and white I use quadtone rip and use the same hardware to linearize and make curves for paper.

    p.s. I recently was checking prices of refurbished imacs and saw the 27" (2.7/2.9 i5) is within my budget. How does this computer compare to the mac mini (2.3 i7 with fusion drive)? I know I would give up the wide color gamut but after seeing that massive screen at an Apple store it started calling my name.

    My usual photo editing process - import pictures, open in preview and decide what to delete or keep. The best ones are imported into Lightroom 4 where they are keyworded, rated and edited. The ones that will be printed are then opened in Photoshop cs6 where I spot heal and make localized adjustments using layers and masks (exposure, sharpening, dodge and burn, contrast).

    **The only filters that I use are unsharp mask and high pass filter for sharpening.

    Thank you in advance for any advice personal or other wise you can give on my next computer purchase.
  2. orangezorki macrumors 6502a

    Aug 30, 2006
    This sounds like a great plan - I'm assuming here a few things about your camera and gear, but it sounds like your priorities for speed are a SSD, and a good amount of RAM. The Fusion drive will give you a good amount of extra speed but won't be as good as a dedicated SSD. If you can splash out a bit more and don't mind a bit of tinkering, getting one with a 1TB HD and then installing your own SSD might make sense. 16GB is the max for the RAM on those machines, so makes sense, and you'll save masses of money by doing it yourself.

    The one major thing that the mini lacks is a dedicated video card, but if you're only using the filters and apps that you mention the built-in should be fine.

    What I suspect will be the most important component will be the monitor. I'm sure that the Dell you mention is fine, but do yourself a favour and have a look at better and larger monitors. Extra display space is the greatest luxury for any photo/design work, and IMHO is much better than using multiple monitors (but many will disagree) - but a small extra screen for palettes and such might be useful. Have a look at offerings from EIZO, NEC, Barco and the like. 10 or 12-bit will help with banding on both colour and B&W pics. They may well be far too expensive as they are for me too, but at the very least you will know that what you do end up with is a bargain.

    Of course, this is assuming you are using a 'regular' camera. If you are using 40MP+ medium format then that's a whole different situation.

  3. rfkam thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jul 2, 2013
    nowhere zen nj
    Thanks for the reply.

    I have checked out some youtube videos on adding an ssd and I have come to the conclusion that the fusion hd is a good compromise for my skill set. I feel more than comfortable adding my own memory, done it with every mac I have owned, but adding the hd made me break out in a cold sweat. I guess the fusion drive precludes me from adding a second drive in the future?

    I would love to get an EIZO or NEC, in fact that was my plan when I got a new computer but the budget has shrunk a bit and I thought the Dell with 96% adobe rgb would suffice. I have used a Dell ultrasharp display hooked to my macbook pro in the past and it has worked out. I also need to factor in the new monitor calibration hardware (presently using spyder 2 pro) and memory, so, I would like to keep the monitor to no more than $400 for a 24" display.

    My cameras are only 12mpx FF and 16mpx DX but perhaps in the near future the Nikon d600, 24mpx, so, nothing too taxing, although my macbook pro - close to 6 years now- is struggling.
  4. hudson1 macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2012
    I have a Dell Ultrasharp U2412M which is good but not great. You can find them for $300 new if you look a bit. The U2410 is a better monitor and a better choice for what it appears you want to do.

    Whatever you do for a display, I highly recommend staying with the 16:10 aspect ratio and not messing with these 1080P monitors that are everywhere.
  5. philipma1957, Jul 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    A fusion drive is really 2 drives not one. So it is all you can do. I built one of the biggest fusion drives possible here is the thread.

    BTW this would be more then you need for your mini.

    I would consider

    this as you get parallels as a bonus.
  6. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    If you want to go cheaper on the display initially, check out a 23" AOC i2367Fh. I got mine for like $160 or so on Amazon, it's not perfect and is a bit lacking in features but has great image quality for the price.
  7. rfkam thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jul 2, 2013
    nowhere zen nj
    just wanted to thank everyone for the advice. Lurked around these parts for sometime figured it was time to register.

    Gonna order a mini with fusion hd from b&h, i've got some gift cards from 2% rewards and I live right across the river - no tax, free shipping and i'll get it within two days.
  8. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    The quad 2.3 has a serious bit more power than the i5 in the iMac. The i7 is 8 thread, the i5 quad thread.
    Personally I would do a 256Gb SSD myself (128Gb models as Apple uses for fusion are usually quite a bit slower than 256 ones, and the price for fusion is steep: it buys you a 256Gb SSD, 16Gb RAM and a 7200RPM hard drive). With the new iMacs, the installation is much easier than most video's suggest. As the default drive is in the upper bay, and you have access from the bottom, you can slide in an SSD without all the disassembly.
  9. Padaung macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2007
    I've been using a Dell U2410 for the past 2 years. I'm a working photographer and have no complaints with it. I calibrate it monthly using a color munki display.

    I don't do any colour matching/super accurate colour work (ie matching of colours to a print, for example), so if you do that then an Eizo or similarly specced screen would be much more suitable.

    The D600 is an amazing camera, I suffered some early specs on the sensor but that has cleared with use (never returned post sensor clean after a few thousand clicks). I'm guessing you've got a D700 and D7000, the D600 is a definite progression from both of those (already excellent) cameras. The D800 btw: WOW! It needs the sharpest lenses you can afford and your best camera skills to get the most out of it though :)

    Like you, I need to upgrade my Mac. I've been considering exactly the same spec Mac Mini.
  10. rfkam thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jul 2, 2013
    nowhere zen nj
    Hi blanka

    I was planning on getting a mini with 2.3 i7 and a fusion (wasn't interested in a 5400 rpm drive but figured the fusion would speed that up). From what i've read looks like the only imac you can update memory(yourself) is the 27". This is a bit out of my budget unless I spot a refurb, which I check out daily.

    I've been to the apple store and the 27" is gorgeous but a little out of my price range. I want to keep it to $1,5000 for the computer. My first mac was a power mac g4 mirrored drive door, which I got new for $1,5000. Wished they still sold the mac pro starting at that price.

    Are you suggesting a mini with 2.3 i7 and a 256gb ssd and then latter on add a second 7,200 rpm hd or just getting a stock 2.3 i7 and adding a 256gb ssd and 7,200 rpm hd myself. I am a little leery of adding the drives myself after checking out the videos of the process. There's a small apple repair shop where I used to live maybe I should see what they would charge.

    I am using a macbook pro with 2.2 ghz intel core two duo so just about anything would be a step up in speed and with my budget I know that I will have to make compromises. I appreciate the advice. Being a frugal person it's hard to part with money and knowing I made the right choice makes it easier. :)
  11. rfkam thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jul 2, 2013
    nowhere zen nj
    Thanks, Padaung

    I think i'm set on the 2410. I would love an eizo or nec spectraview but that would mean doubling my budget which is not possible. I'm not doing any serious color matching and i've found as long as I calibrate my monitor and profile my printer it works out ok. Last year I picked up an epson 3880 printer and it's been fantastic. Even epson's canned profiles worked great.

    You guessed correctly on my cameras and I am thinking about a d600 in the near future. A friend of mine, that I do work with, purchased one recently and loves it (she hasn't had any problems with dust or oil). She uses it mainly with an 85 1.4 and after seeing what the images looked like my interest in that camera has grown. I was a little put off by reading about all the dust and oil problems when it was first introduced but hopefully that has all been sorted out. glad to hear all is well with yours.

    I never had any problems with oil specks on my d700 until I sent it to nikon repair in long island, ny to get a yearly clean and check up before the warranty ran out. After using it for awhile I started to notice what I thought was just dust specks in the corner but soon learned that it was oil after I smeared them with an arctic butterfly. After getting it wet cleaned at a local camera store I never noticed it again.

Share This Page