Photographers / Graphics Designers / Cinematographers & Macbook Air Discussion

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by AlvinNguyen, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. AlvinNguyen, Oct 18, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012

    AlvinNguyen macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2010
    I wanna get everyone's take on their MBA, usage and what you do. Please list the model, specs, your work load, and what you use the MBA for so that future users can reference this thread. Please also state whether you are a hobbyist or professional.

    My Take:

    I consolidated my gear into a RMBP 2.3ghz 16GB CTO this past June. My argument is that it'll be great to be able to take the RMBP around on location and not have to worry about having a desktop + MBA especially since the MBA wasn't good enough for me to edit in PS (I'm a professional photographer and regular process 40MB+ RAWs). I would travel 7-10 days every 6-8 weeks and having a solid editing computer was essential on-the-go.

    After 4 months, I can safely said that while the RMBP was amazing, it has its drawbacks. When I'm traveling, I count on the RMBP's screen - except PS is unsuable (pixelated). Also, the footprint of the 15" is still large and sometimes I travel to really remote locations that requires packing large amount of gear and trekking it up to the mountains - this is where every lb counts. In terms of computer gear I always have to bring an iPad (used for portfolio / moodboards / spec sheets) + the MBA for retouching on location.

    Anyways, I ended up picking up the 11" MBA 2.0Ghz + 128GB + 8GB RAM with a speck sleeve & logitech mouse for $920 on CL today :) Couldn't be happier. Now I can sell my Cinema Display and pick up a 27" iMac next week after the announcement. All in all, I think my new combo is better than the previous:

    MBA 11" + iMac + iPad vs. RMBP + 27" ACD + iPad

    The key here is the the 2012 version has everything on-the-go photographer needs especially for editing 3-4 days at a time in hotel rooms and odd locations. The 8GB RAM and faster i7 processor with Turbo boost and USB 3.0 makes this a no-brainer on-the-go professionals. I still need the iMac for heavy liftings but having a full feature (to me) light weight laptop is pretty insane for trekking up to the mountains :)
  2. Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    Ever since the rMBP was release, these are the two exact setups I've been debating about whether which to settle with. Thanks for sharing your user experience because I really was contemplating on trying to consolidate my setup as well to just one machine.

    My current setup right now is just the iMac. I used to have an MBA 11" too, but I later gave that to my wife. I totally agree with you though: every lb counts when you travel, and when I used to carry around the MBA, it was a real delight. I was planning on buying myself a new 11" MBA to again complement my iMac when the time is right, but the rMBP had me reconsidering.

    Another thing about the rMBP that has me worried is that I would have to deck it out with an ultimate configuration to get as close to the performance of my iMac, and honestly for me, I'd be a bit nervous carrying with me such an expensive piece of kit.

    Anyway however, also factor in the iPad mini coming out later this month and I think an 11" Air with iPad mini might sound like the perfect portable Apple setup for some. :D
  3. AlvinNguyen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2010
    You nailed it on two points I also considered.

    1. Value - I'm always carrying 10k of gear everywhere I go, I don't want another 3k of computer on me. my rMBP usually sits in its own bag which increases its potential to be separated from the main gear supply somehow. I also feel really uneasy using it on location because I don't want to scratch it up. Although that's purely a personal OCD issue lol.

    2. iPad Mini would be a great addition to bring along side the 11" MBA. Purely based on pricing because I don't ever really use the iPad except as a portfolio and some times on location. A mini would bring the cost down, however, as a portfolio it wouldn't be as effective since it'll be smaller. I will buy one on launch day and see if it's a feasible option.

    If I were you I would do MBA + new iMac, that way you'll spend almost the same amount of money as a rMBP+27" TBD but you'll end up with something super portable and something super powerful.

    Getting a deal on the 11" makes it easy, but if I had to buy it new, it would be hard to decide with the 11" and 13". The 11" is just SUPER portable - the 13" has a huge footprint which makes it less desirable but still so light it might be ok.
  4. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    From MBA to rMBP

    I had a 13" MBA with 27" ACD, and I switched to a 15" rMBP with 27" ACD in July. I love the Retina display, but I miss the size of my MBA. I travel for work, and I always use an iPad on a plane as the rMBP is just too large for my preferences.

    I believe the absolute perfect setup is an 13" rMBA with no bezel which would almost fit into an 11" MBA body, with 27" ACD, and iPad/iPhone to complement the setup. Whenever the Retina makes it back to the MBA, I will again be an MBA user.

    I also have a 27" iMac, but it is more of a family computer, as I cannot stand having my files in multiple places. The perfection in using either Mac notebook with a 27" ACD is that all my files are with me at all times, and I never am working from the "old" version of a file.

    Interesting to read other perspectives.
  5. AlvinNguyen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2010
    I think a 13" RMBP is going to be an interesting choice, however I doubt it'll get even close to the footprint of the 11" MBA - even then, is there enough editing power for my needs. I think right now the bare minimum is the current 2.3Ghz quad core i7 and 16gig of RAM.If it has at least that it'll be amazing. I'm really interested in the new iMacs though - seems like those will be awesome powerhouse editing machines.
  6. wolfpuppies3 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2012
    Virginia, USA
    I find my 2012 13" MBA fills my needs as a traveling machine quite well. Just max the SSD, memory, and processor and it will do everything you need for field processing. I still use my iPad for demoing the results to customers.
  7. Team Timm macrumors regular

    May 17, 2012

    For the OCD issue, throw a Wrapsol skin on it and you will never to worry about the scratches. Doesn't add any weight and no one will notice you have it on there. I have the same issue and I'm always carrying my MBA around without that irritating feeling. :)
  8. plucky duck macrumors 6502a

    Jan 5, 2012
    I have the exact config, 11" Air + 27" iMac + iPad. I have my Air and iPad with me on the go while I am here in China. All the videos I record from my Panasonic SD90 camcorder and pictures taken from my smartphone are unloaded onto my Air nightly, where I then process them with Handbrake, iMovie, iPhoto, and Final Cut.

    I have with me my Thunderbolt external SSD for backup/storage. Never once did the 11" Air feel underpowered and small. The iPad is for viewing and sharing my medias amongst family and relatives.

    For me, it's the perfect fit for my needs.
  9. goinskiing macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2008
    Meridian, ID
    The only drawback of the 11" Air for photography in my experience is the color accuracy (I have the LG screen too :( ), but that's somewhat of a minor quibble. I have the 2012 11" 2.0 + 8GB +256GB. I used to have regular MacBook Pro 15" and went to an iMac 27" and 11" Air. What's funny was I thought I'd only edit in the field with the Air and use the iMac for heavier editing. To my delight, I honestly only use the MBA anymore as it's small, light, and powerful to chug through my Canon 5D Mk II RAW files in Aperture without a hitch. The only bummer is my iMac seems to gather more dust these days.
  10. peterb69 macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2008
    Where did you get this setup for just $920?

    EDIT: Sorry, just figured out CL= Craig's List
  11. JeffiJers macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2012
    CL = craigslist im assuming
  12. dazey macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2005
    I am do some semi-pro work and recently got a 13" Air to complement my 2008 mac Pro. Very happy with it, used to have a MBP and the weight of trying to lug that around with its charger is significantly higher than the Air. I find the air fine for light use and sorting images (but in the field I have been shooting Raw+JPG and working on the JPGs on the Air, then translating the changes in LR onto the RAW files when I get back to base). Screen on the air doesn't stand up to proper colour work but I like it as a machine.
  13. AlvinNguyen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2010
    Agreed - I am only using it for location work and light editing on the go. The color work has to be done on a TBD or iMac for sure.

    what's interesting is the 2012 MBA at this max configuration is faster by at least 1000 points than a couple different computers I've had in the past according to geekbench - all of which were fine for photoshop.

    Mid 2010 iMac 27" Core i3
    Early 2010 Macbook Pro 17" Core i7


    Yep! Best deal I've gotten in a long time, a mint condition, under warranty and current model unit that's ultimate configuration (minus the maxed SSD but who orders that anyways)
  14. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ

    I bought an 11" Air because in its bag it still fits under the seat on my moped.

    And it sure as heck does everything I need it to do.

    Big external monitor (I don't need the processing power of an iMac) at home makes it the perfect setup.
  15. pantelija, Oct 19, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012

    pantelija macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2012
    I know it is little bit off-topic, but could you please share your workflow on what and how do you procede with the SD90 videos in terms of the tools mentioned in your post?

  16. AlvinNguyen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2010
    Haha reminds me of my trip to Vietnam, I always tried to fit as much stuff under my moped seat as possible. I had the 13" air at the time and it didn't fit. To think of it the 11" would be brilliant for moped / motorcycle commuters!

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