Photographers.. how are you finding it?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by h00ligan, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. h00ligan macrumors 68030

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    A hot desert
    #1
    I'm enjoying the speed ok, not needing more on the processor front particularly.. the form factor is great to take around.. convenient machine.. ssd is cool..

    But

    The 4gb ram is a small issue.. and when I was recently reviewing a low light shoot.. I had 'pooling' and gradient issues that were the result of the screen..

    :/

    Any of the rest of you having issues?
     
  2. misterneums macrumors 6502

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    Nov 2, 2009
    #2
    Today...erm tonight...erm... a few minutes ago... I was working on a photo I shot tonight, I had lightroom up, photoshop, and preview and a few other things. When I was going out into mission control to swap between things, I was starting to get some lag in the animations. I checked out my desktop monitor and saw I was down to ~750 MB left of ram. Only thing I've really noticed so far.
     
  3. skinnfell macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    #3
    Photographers

    Hi there

    I work full-time as a photojournalist and have the new base 13".
    I use lightroom for maybe 90% of the time and photoshop CS3 for the remaining 10%. (I dont like or even have the time to doctor the images too much anyways).

    My home desktop is a 2008 Imac, and the new MBA is blazingly fast compared to the imac. Which in turn is faster than my better specced PC workstation at work. And I didnt even consider the imac slow, (apart from when the imac hard drive goes bananas from a too large catalog in lightroom).
    Geekbench estimates a 25% speed difference between my imac and my MBA, and that seems about right to me. Even though I have the "captain slow" toshiba hd. (Then again, Toshiba is as far as I can remember the only hard drive brand that hasnt crashed on me. Ill take a reliable hard drive any day, even if its slower.)

    The screen (samsung) looks very good to me, smooth gradients and fairly close to my newly calibrated Eizo coloredge screen. I would say its a warm tone. Sharpness is very good. The brightness is fine but I am surprised it is not brighter. (AC plugged in helps though).
    The screen in the MBA does have the "curtain" at the bottom, but other than that I see no defects or disabilities whatsoever. I have not calibrated the MBA yet since I dont do critical editing on it.

    Screen size is perfect for lightroom! The 11 incher has a more narrow screen (widescreen) so loses more space. The aspect ration of the 13 fits LR like a glove, especialy in full screen.
    Now If i were a travelling freelancer like many of my friends I would probably get the 11 to save space and weight.

    Lion, I love it! Trackpad too. Dont see how I would ever use a mouse with a laptop after this.
    It isnt as "instant on" as apple would have me believe, but nothing to fret about. I would say 10 seconds from I open it until the password prompt.

    Backlit keyboard is great but I usually keep it off to save battery. I havent timed it but it looks like I am getting pretty close to the promised 7 hours of battery with maybe 50% lightroom use and 50% surfing.

    4Gb ram is plenty for me, LR seems to be pretty skimpy on ram use and PS I use so rarely its not an issue. 128GB will get filled up, but so would a 512GB ssd for that matter. I have a whole bunch of external hard drives so juggling thousands of raw files around is not a new issue for me.

    The SD card slot is great to have, three of my cameras use them but I also have a cam that uses CF. Even so, I am glad Apple didnt stick a CF card reader in there.

    Compared to my trusty 12" G4 Powerbook from 2003, which still works and looks like the day it was new, btw, it is a whole new world.

    My only REAL complaint is that it doesnt have either Firewire or USB3. Since TB is both widely unavailable and extortionately priced, I am stuck with USB2 which **5UCK5** for transferring large amounts of files.
     
  4. h00ligan thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Apr 10, 2003
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    A hot desert
    #4
    Have you guys run into any color issues?

    Thanks for the feedback. I'm just wondering if I am being too picky :/

    Mister, I have to remember to quit safari completely. Or my ram is gone...but even with out that starting with 5d2 files it gets eaten up pretty fast!

    I'm a lightroom guy but to be open minded I tried aperture...it ran HORRIBLY, really not sure how people put up with that performance when there's so much faster out there (not even getting into usage, layout, etc)
     
  5. BeachChair macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2008
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #5
    If you plan to do lots of photo editing I won't recommend it, because of the screen. I don't do that much photo editing so I get by, but it still annoys me that the screen is so dull compared to the MBP's.
     
  6. h00ligan thread starter macrumors 68030

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    A hot desert
    #6
    I have one now.. the issue is channel clipping that isn't the result of development, but screen..

    Just wondering if others are having a problem. Obviously we can work from the histogram but what a pain in the (*&
     
  7. peterb69 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #7
    Skinnfell, nice writeup.

    You have LR & CS3 loaded and a 128ssd. Assume your photo files will be stored on an external. Do you feel you have plenty of drive space remaining?

    I'm looking for similar setup (not my main computer) with LR, CS5, Office for the Mac, and couple of other programs and just don't want to get cut short on storage space. But also don't want to spend extra $$ on the 256 ssd where this would not be my main computer.

    Thanks
     
  8. h00ligan thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Apr 10, 2003
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    A hot desert
    #8
    With basically those programs installed on the 128, you will have about 82-85GB free to store files, fwiw.
     
  9. The Catalyst macrumors 6502

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    Dec 4, 2009
    #9
    Thanks for the mini review, glad to hear that the 13" works well with the above mentioned programs.
     
  10. JasonR macrumors 6502a

    JasonR

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    #10
    I hate this argument. Either a) get an external display (every professional should have at least one good display) or deal with the screen. I've edited photos and created design docs from scratch on the Macbook Air's screen without one problem. The Macbook Pro screens drive me nuts because of the glossy display. If I got a Macbook Pro again (i wont' unless there's an Air like option) I would HAVE to get an anti-glare...which significantly increases the cost.

    I have a 27" iMac so I do have a nice display, but the Macbook Air's screen is fine for photo editing...and if you don't like it hook it up to a nice display.
     
  11. skinnfell macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    #11
    Space

    h00ligan:

    The way I work is that I download my raw´s to the SSD and keep them there as long as I´m working on the project. I usually have some projects I work on along the way, and some that just goes in and out.

    Once I am done with the files for a while (job delivered, project ready etc) I delete them from the laptop. I copy the raw files to my permanent storage as soon as I get home, so the files on the laptop are always duplicates.
    With that setup I have usually never ran out of space, however thre are some projects I keep on memorysticks because they go back and forth between a couple of computers.

    In fact I would say that the smaller SSD helps to force me into using correct logistics. With a larger one I might get lazy...

    With all those programs installed, I have about 100G left, which is plenty for now. I dont really game and if so, wouldnt do it on the laptop.

    I havent really made any critical color judgements on the MBA, I have a calibrated eizo for that. But it seems to me as a pretty good (but not great) screen. Either way more than suffcient for travel editing.
    The MBA would be fine as a main computer, but only with a good external screen and larger SSD.
     
  12. BeachChair macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2008
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #12
    How is not showing red and greens like they should be "fine for photo editing"?
    Let's not kid ourselves here. The MBA is fantastic overall, but the screen is subpar for Apple.
     
  13. h00ligan thread starter macrumors 68030

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    A hot desert
    #13
    That's basically my workflow now skin.. thanks for taking the time.

    The one issue I am seeing is clipped channels that aren't clipped - they are clipped in screen.

    I guess I feel like if I am going to an external monitor - maybe I should just get a macbook pro.. which can have a larger hard drive and more ram anyway.. I page a bit editing.. not horribly, but clearly 4gb isn't enough.. though it's less painful paging to ssd!

    Anyway, thanks for the info, I've got some thinking to do. Sounds like you know what you are doing and don't have an issue, so maybe it's something I am doing wrong.
     
  14. urkel macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    #14
    I can accept that the awesome magical Thunderbolt technology they're pushing isn't actually ready yet. Buy why the heck don't they have USB3/FW800 dongles out? Considering the capacity limitations of the Air drive then I had to create a workflow that puts all my RAW files on my external Firewire drive. But that FW drive is running on USB2 mode which really slows me down.

    Also, for Aperture photographers then there's a pretty huge problem where remote drives show up as "Offline". Even if you locate referenced files then every time you shut down the drive goes back to thinking its offline. This is first party software that still has no update so I guess its yet another sign that Apple doesn't care about the Pro market.
     
  15. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #15
    I run Aperture 3 on my 2TB iMac and also on my 11" MBA. A3 is fantastic at letting your move individual projects around. I create new projects on my MBA when in the field, and then transfer them to my iMac once I return home. It works flawlessly. Any work you do on the MBA such as edits, keywords, etc all transfer in when you move the project into your main library.

    /Jim
     
  16. h00ligan thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #16
    I just tried aperture and good grief it is soooooo slow on the new 13" air. Noise reduction, sharpening, adjustment brushes...it was so frustrating. Lightroom does a simpler, and IMO better, preview render which makes it about 200x faster...

    Is there a way to change the behaviour? It was brutal.
     
  17. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #17
    My main A3 library is on my i7 iMac. I do not use some of the "toy" features of A3 such as faces. I shut it off initially because with a large library it could slow down the machine to becoming useless. Maybe that has gotten better... but it really is a pretty useless feature. I think they only put it in so that A3 did not appear to be inferior than iPhoto to the consumer mass market. I never did turn it on and have no use for it. Keywords and other features of A3 are much more powerful.

    When working locally, I do not even bother putting any projects onto my MBA... I just load them directly into A3 on my iMac once home. However, on extended trips, i will create A3 projects on my MBA. You can rate, stack, edit, keyword, etc your projects on your MBA, and then when you transfer the projects into your main A3 library, all that work transfers in.

    Also... if I am going on a big trip and I want to work on a project while away from home... I'll transfer the needed projects onto my MBA... work with them during my trip... and transfer them back to my iMac once I return home.

    I did analyze both Lightroom and A3... but I did not actually load and try both. Instead, I researched the two products, and felt that A3 supported a more diverse workflow... while Lightroom was more rigid. I think LR is the obvious choice if you are going to use both PCs and Macs. Since I had no interest switching between PC and Macs.... I chose A3. It is probably a coin toss between A3 and LR.

    I found Robert Boyer's website and eBooks to be invaluable. He is very active on Apple's A3 discussion boards, and his eBooks are spectacular. http://photo.rwboyer.com/

    /Jim
     
  18. BigSaintDogs macrumors member

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    Aug 13, 2011
    Location:
    Rhode Island, USA
    #18
    I have the new 2011 MBA 13 and opted for the 256GB SSD. I installed A3 and left the other programs off. I find the organization in A3 what I use more than editing and any touch ups I do do A3 seems to do the job just fine. I could install Lightroom or more but found I don't really need it and I use it less and less on my 2009 Macbook Pro 17. I have not noticed any color issues but will watch for them. The speed of the MBA is very good. I have not encountered any lag other than large file transfers while setting it up for some road work. I chose the 256 over the 128 because I wanted room for ITunes files. Gotta have some jams!
     
  19. misterneums macrumors 6502

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    Nov 2, 2009
    #19
    Well today I finally destroyed my Air's ram. I had mail, safari, lightroom 3, photoshop cs5 w/photomerge up. Anyways--I was attempting to make a panoramic picture from a bunch of pictures I had taken in less than ideal circumstances. It really made CS5 work. Anyways, while it was working, I swapped out onto my other desktop to see my desktop monitor telling me that I had 52 MB of available ram.

    Of course, I usually don't do this and it isn't going to make me want to take it back. However--I now know to load the files up onto my PC and let CS5 on here take care of it.


    Incase you were wondering what it was:
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Chipg macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    #20
    I have the i7 13" with the supposedly faster RAM and I was Bi*tched slapped today for it, I was in Windows 7, memory errors were all over the board. Running CS 5.5... I dunno, I wasn't really doing anything spectacular by any means. So far my opinion is it's a toy computer, I'm not a big graphics guy either.

    I'd like to say it is great for emails, web browsing (only 4 hours tho from my battery), and running work stuff like microsoft office.

    Over all I'm happy with it, I just know where I stand now with it.

    ----------

    BTW, don't EVER try to color correct on ANY laptop screen.
     
  21. aCuria macrumors member

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    Aug 1, 2011
    #21
    The screen is not good enough, does not even cover the srgb space fully
     
  22. The Catalyst macrumors 6502

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    Dec 4, 2009
    #22
    Very cool pano. I really like messing with the pano app on my iphone.
     
  23. misterneums macrumors 6502

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    Nov 2, 2009
    #23
    Thanks. That was made with none of my shots really intending to be put into a pano. But, after shooting about 450+ shots from the same spot, I figured I'd be able to get it to work out. It did, just not the greatest.
     
  24. h00ligan thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #24
    Couple of points -

    There are laptops with better screens and screens good enough to profile.

    It's interesting to see others ran into some ram issues. If I have a fresh safari, mail, lightoom and cs5 open and work on one file from a 5d2, I'm paging. Working on two slows things down. In checking on things it is clearly a ram issue for me, not processor.
     
  25. Chipg macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    #25
    totally agree, the 4 gigs of ram is the weak link, if it were 8 gigs it would be perfect for my uses, don't get me wrong tho, you can get by fine on 4 gigs of ram, just don't have to many things running.
     

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