Photographers using macbook pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by cambi, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. cambi macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2012
    I am switching to mac and I am still debating over the macbook or imac. I just love having the portability of the macbook but want to make sure this has enough power to process very large image files from my d800 (40 mb per image). Plus I want to start creating movies with my video shot from this camera. I am very ignorant when it comes to the technical piece of these machines. I would just love to hear if the macbook is acceptable and if other photogs are confident in the macbook. Thanks so much in advance.

    also if the 2.6 to 2.9 is worth it. Running mostly photoshop and lightroom
  2. comotion macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2012
    Works for me...

    I have an early 2011 17" Macbook Pro, and it handles my raw 5dII files beautifully. I upgraded my hard drive to a crucial ssd drive, and it really flies. I use a combination of aperture and photoshop, sometimes working off my SSD, sometimes off of an external firewire drive. Typically I leave the Aperture library that I'm currently working on on the SSD drive, moving to the Firewire drive once the job is complete. The SSD isn't big enough to hold more than one or two libraries at a time, since it's just a 256. I think I'll get a 512 soon, as prices continue to fall. The SSD drive plus RAM would be must gets, in my opinion.

    I also upgraded to 16gb of ram, which was cheap and worth it.

    I bought the laptop as a refurb from Apple, and then completed the upgrades myself, which was easy and cheap.

    The screen is great on the 17 inch, though I would be interested in upgrading to an external display one of these days. The 17" display isn't lacking, I just want something like an NEC that I can properly calibrate.

    A photographer friend has the iMac, and she is happy. She can't take her work with her, which is a blessing and a curse. I will say, it's nice having a laptop for jobs where tethered shooting is possible.

    Typically, video will tax your system more than pictures will, but all laptops 2011 and sooner should handle both just fine.
  3. ronjon10 macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2009
    There really isn't a notable difference in power between the iMac & MB Pros. You'd have to go over to the MUCH pricier Mac Pro line to get the most powerful processors available (well, not sure if they are as I'm not sure the last time they were refreshed).

    Max out the RAM, and get fast hard drives. If you really want best performance for photoshop, you'll want a separate drive for scratch work. I'd think an SSD drive in an external Thunderbolt enclosure would be ideal.
  4. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    I retired this spring and converted my desktop to an i7Hack. I was getting ready to do the same for the wife's desktop. But, then I saw the Retina MBP. :eek:

    For us a pair of maxed out rMBPs is perfect. They are small and light. They easily fit in our rolling camera bags or backpacks. They have the horsepower and resolution to do Lightroom and plugging. And via Thunderbolt we can hookup RAID 1 pairs for storage of media files (music, pictures, movies). The SSD space will house OS/apps/LR catalog and cache)/ and the data for apps like mail, calendar. That will still leave us 600GB+ on the SSD to use for photo downloads during field trips. So we do not have to carry a stack of external drives. We we get home we move the processed photos to the LR libraries on the RAID 1 sets and free up the SSD space for the next trip.

    A maxed our rMBPs is not inexpensive; however, I think they are going to be a key tool for our photo trips. I hope mine comes in next week. I will order the wife's on tax free weekend.
  5. Wicked1 macrumors 68040


    Apr 13, 2009
    New Jersey
    The 512SSD's just dropped, looking at the Crucial 512 for under $400, but go to and look for yourself, there are a bunch of cheap ssd's
  6. nitromac, Jul 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012

    nitromac macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2012
    I recently bought a 2.3GHz regular MBP with the hi-res matte screen and upgraded the ram to 16GB. I also use Photoshop, Lightroom, and Premiere and all of them fly. Photoshop and Lightroom are more memory-intensive applications than anything, and Premiere CS6 makes use of graphics acceleration, so your graphics card works with the CPU to do the rendering, instead of just the CPU alone. I believe Final Cut X also has some kind of graphics acceleration.

    If you're set on the 2.6GHz model, the upgrade to 2.7GHz is not worth it. For over $200, you get an additional .1GHz and 2MB more for L3 cache. The difference will be barely noticeable unless you're doing some serious compiling or multitasking many CPU-intensive applications, and even then it will be minimal.

    As for the MacBook vs iMac, it depends on what you want. The iMac will work much better as a "work" computer. It has more ports, a bigger screen (more workspace; very important for photo/video editing) and will probably be a bit snappier than the MacBook. (it's also a lot cheaper) If you're going for portability and want a computer where you can edit on-the-go and take it everywhere, get the MacBook.

    Also, as others have said, consider investing in an SSD. (if you're not planning on getting a Retina MBP)
  7. cambi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2012
    Thanks to all. I went ahead with the macbook pro today. I think I would love an imac too down the road if I get more into video, but for now this is a perfect fit.

    thanks again!
  8. Dragoro macrumors 6502


    Nov 27, 2010
    My macbook pro handles raw from my canon T3i and lightroom without a prob. I have the 15" high end non retina macbook pro.

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