Photographers / videographers your set up?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by slitherjef, Sep 14, 2017.

  1. slitherjef macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2012
    My zen box and windows 10 is not doing the trick for me and I think it's going to be a Linux and light gaming box along with a few windows centric other things, I don't think I want my photos on the windows part.

    Linux I'm not sure, but I want to give that a try but keep my serious photography on something probably more stable and safe, a Mac backed up to an external drive.

    So to the photographers and videographers here, what is your set up? System hardware specifications? If you use a new iMac you are welcome to answer as well.
  2. satinsilverem2 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 12, 2013
    Richmond, VA
    I use Final Cut and Affinity Photo dailyon a late 2016 13" MacBook Pro 3.3 i7, 16GB RAM, Intel 550, 1TB SSD. My machine is docked 95 percent of the time to a Thunderbolt 3 dock connected to a OWC elite Pro Dual RAID array and a 27 inch Dell U2717D QHD monitor.

    IMG_8754.JPG Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 10.46.59 AM.jpg
  3. kenoh, Sep 16, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017

    kenoh macrumors demi-god


    Jul 18, 2008
    Glasgow, UK
    I think I will be the odd man out on here. I have a Windows 10 workstation for my main editing machine right now.

    I work for a prominent hardware company and so for the price of a curry and a beer or three for the salesguy, I got my hands on an ex-demo machine so an effectively free machine kind of made the decision for me. I prefer using Mac for personal stuff but as I use Windows for work then I honestly dont feel there is enough of a difference to say I would choose one over the other. Think I have had to context switch between platforms on a daily basis for work for decades so it just doesnt even register in the grey matter anymore.

    So, my primary editing machine is a HP Z1 G2 all-in-one workstation with 24GB Ram, twin 500GB SSDs, a 3.5Ghz 8 core Xeon Extreme processor and 27" glossy screen (AVOID a glossy screen if at all possible). It is a workstation. I say this as it has different parts to a commercial PC. I wont claim they are any better but when they break they certainly live up to their elitist "workstation component" pricetag. For example, the graphics card in it is a fancy mobile card but it will set you back £1200 to replace it. Which is nonsense. At the point that dies, I will buy a new iMac and move everything back onto a single platform.

    All of my photos are stored on a Synology NAS device which backs itself up to a second unit on a weekly basis (overkill for a hobbyist photographer).

    My mobile editing solution is a 2016 2.6Ghz Macbook Pro 15" retina, 16GB Ram with the touchbar and an external 1TB HDD for safe copies of any images until I get back home. A recent upgrade from my old 2010 15" which was still mightily capable, just the battery wont hold charge any more. BTW switching between the two is a none issue.

    I stay consistent across the machines in my editing tools. I have tried most of them, iPhoto, Aperture, Photos, Capture One, On Photo, LR, Luminar yadda yadda... and the add ons.. NIK etc. I just find LR is the one I like for me. So both machines use LR, PS and NIK. I cant remember the last time NIK was updated so maybe a move to something else is on the cards at some point.

    With the Adobe subscription it gives me access to Photoshop and is at a price I would pay each year to upgrade LR anyway so while I hate that it will stop working the day I cant afford my subscription anymore, it is working for me for now.

    I have maybe 200 presets in LR - Naively think I can get those cinematic looks with the click of a button...

    The subscription allows me the use of the tools on two machines so it covers the workstation at home and the MBP too.

    Long winded sorry.

    **EDIT** after writing this I went and downloaded a trial of Capture One Pro... might be honeymoon period but I think I like the raw rendering better in C1P... damnit! it is expensive!
  4. MacRy macrumors 601


    Apr 2, 2004
    I like to keep it simple. Surface Pro 3 with a 2.5Ghz i5 and 4Gb of RAM. Lightroom 5. It does everything in need it to do.
  5. v3rlon macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2014
    Earth (usually)
    Late 2014 MBPro 16GB ram, 1TB SSD, Nvidia 750m graphics.
    Generally, I use an LG 34UM95 as a Thunderbolt dock with external drives connected for another 8TB of storage.

    FCP X
    Hit Film - though I mostly use the ignite plugins
    Motion (not very good with this yet)
    Affinity Photo
  6. Avidfcpeditor macrumors newbie


    Sep 16, 2017
    Still a proud user of a very old (but well taken care off)
    Macbook pro 17inch late 2011 16gb Ram Samsung 840 Evo 256gb
    I have a plenty combinations of SSD and raid 0 hardrives, I use thunderbolt docks most of the time Im using premiere pro cc 2017 for video editing, I can still heavyly edit 4k, (using proxy) on offline then fullres on online
  7. someoldguy macrumors 68000

    Aug 2, 2009
    For now , HP Elite Desk 800 mini G2 ,16 gb , 512 gb 960 EVO , 2TB Seagate , Intel 530 , 4TB WD backup ,HP Z24x Dreamcolor ,Win 7 , Photoshop CS6 , ( had the presence of mind to get licenses for both Win and Mac before I retired ) Lightroom 6 , Affinity Photo , NIK
    The EliteDesk is what Apple should look at for a MacMini replacement . Too bad it doesn't run OS X .
  8. anotherscotsman macrumors 68000

    Aug 2, 2014
    My amateur needs are catered for by a 2011 iMac (fitted with SSD) with Capture One and Affinity Photo for photography and for the amount of home video work I do, iMovie does the job nicely. Backup to a networked drive and to an attached backup drive. I capture in RAW and 99% of what I do in post to the photos is in CO with Affinity being principally used for stacking and panorama merge. Although there are obviously utility factors, a lot comes down to how you feel about using the software; I personally like CO and the results it can readily achieve with little effort on my part.
  9. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

    Jun 18, 2010
    My main box is a Windows box I build. It is currently running Windows 10.

    Ivy or Sandybridge processor (the older of the two)
    32 GB RAM
    SSD boot/app drive
    Several 7200 RPM 4 TB drives for data and scratch disks
    32" Dell Ultrasharp LCD
    Two dedicated video cards so each monitor can have a calibrated LUT.

    Portable system

    2011 MacBook Pro
    16 GB RAM

    I shoot with D800s (32 MP RAW) so deal with a lot of data. It is not uncommon for me to work with a PSD that has more than 100 images stacked (star trails). Both systems can handle this workload although the MacBook runs out of steam faster. Even so the MacBook can handle the tasks I throw at it.

    When I finally bite the bullet and upgrade my desktop it will be with a system that can handle more than 32 GB RAM as this is the main bottleneck for my workflow. I'll quickly use up all available RAM when working in Photoshop. It isn't a huge issue but the extra headroom would be nice.
  10. USAntigoon macrumors regular


    Feb 13, 2008
    Rochester Hills, MI
    Photography: I use C1P as I only shoot in RAW. I also use Tangent Element devices to enhance the post work. Run PTGui for stitching work, Pixelmator for further post work, Photomatix Pro for HDR photography..and Lyn as a cheap DAM for iMac..
    Videography: FCPX, Color Finale, Compressor for Vimeo uploads..

    All handled by my 2012 (21"-i7-16GB RAM) iMac with 1T Fusion drive, a 4T TimeMachine drive, and (2) 4T drives for pics and videos.. ..Looking for a replacement and I am not convinced about the 27" i7 and the lingering heat spikes...
    Keeping my eyes open on what will expire with the iMac Pro..These programs are becoming more and more sophisticated hence higher CPU and GPU demands are inherent to these situations..
  11. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'm just a hobbyiest, but I use an iMac with Lightroom. For my mobil needs I use either a Surface Book or a MBP, depending on my mood.
  12. Synergie macrumors 6502a

    Jan 15, 2011
    Halifax, Canada
    Honestly, this may sound difficult for some, but I have moved to iPad Pro 12.9 only. I have a MBP 13" but have not touched photoshop on it in ages. Especially now with Affinity Photo (and Pixelmator) along with the Adobe apps (even in their fragmented state... photoshop is like 3 separate apps lol) I can do everything on the iPad Pro and it's super portable! In fact if I go back to MBP I keep wanting to touch the screen so I have gotten used to touching my work directly.

    Also doing fairly professional level video editing and using LumaFusion full version. It's basically same layout and features like the professional editing suite I used at a TV station.

    Workflow I have a 4 TB western digital my passport wireless and files are stored there till I need them and them I transfer locally on the iPad to work on them using File Browser. Once I export the completed video I then delete the copies off he iPad as I still have the originals on the portable Drive.
  13. Mark0, Sep 19, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017

    Mark0 macrumors 6502


    Sep 11, 2014
    SW Scotland

    Hardware; rMPB 2014, 2.5Ghz i7, 16Gb RAM, nVidia Geforce GT 750M, G Technology 4Tb backup drive and 512Gb G Technology SSD portable. Magic Mouse, no graphics tablets or an of that. I also just use the retina screen with sRGB and full brightness etc with no monitor calibration or anything, all seems well coming back from the printer. For film; Epson V500 Scanner with film holder, Medalight A5 5600k lightbox.

    Software; Adobe Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC, Iridient X-Transformer, Fast Raw Viewer, Epson Scan, Canon Digital Photo Professional for older CR2's from long, long ago.
    Plugins/Panels/Actions; Topaz Denoise, NIK Sharpener, Raya Pro. There's also a few old actions I don't use or have never used.

    I'd really like a WD MyCloud Mirror EX2 NAS but it's not happening because I'm skint :/
  14. pixelatedscraps, Sep 24, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018

    pixelatedscraps macrumors 6502


    Jul 11, 2017
    Hong Kong
    I’m always curious how other photographers set up their own workflow so this is a long post to share with anyone who might be interested. I’m going to focus on two of our computers here at the studio. The first image is of my setup where I do all the importing, processing and proofing and production work on a 2010 cMP, details in my sig.

    The second image is of my partner's computer setup. Being my better half, she gets the newer, shinier toys (check the keyboard / mouse courtesy of Colorware). As we quite often swap computers depending on requirements and who is traveling for a shoot, etc., it's difficult to say exactly whose is whose. Generally though, I handle all the tech for my studio and so make all the decisions hardware-wise. On the whole, the hardware is collectively ours but I like to think there is a little bit of me in all of them ;) Details also in my sig.

    All 6 computers in our studio (1x iMP, 2x cMP, 3x MBP) run the same Dropbox Plus (1Tb) + extended version history (up to 1 year) where we store Lightroom Catalogs, Final Client Images, Portfolios (keynote and PDF), Inspiration / Moodboards and Client Proposals - basically, any files that everyone needs access to. Once everything is synced, any user can edit and pick up the catalog wherever they are in the world - provided they have hard drive with the raw files. All raw images (we use UPDATED: two Sony A7R III, a Canon 1DX II and a 5D Mark III as backup) are stored on external drives only.

    In terms of storage, we utilise the following items:

    Day-to-day / on shoot storage
    • 1x SanDisk Extreme 900 1.92TB (these and the LaCie's below go on shoots with us, only for storage of current week's Raw images)
    • 2x 5TB LaCie Rugged TB2 / USB-C hard drives (only for 2017/2018 Raw, LR and Client Images. Cloned, one for myself, one for my partner. These always only ever contain the work from the current year.)
    • 2x 5TB Seagate Backup Plus - copies of the LaCie Ruggeds above with one stored at home and in a safety deposit box.
    • Numerous 4TB Buffalo / Seagate or WD hard drives that are backups of the LaCie's (at the end of every year we make sure the LaCie's are backed up to the Buffalo drives and the server before wiping them clean and reusing them again as only Current Year storage. These are then backed up to their own newly purchased 2.5" HDDs). These drives are usually kept at home away from the office. My partner and I each have our own copy.

    Long term storage
    • Synology DS416Play (4x 8Tb WD Red in SHR RAID setup) - this new NAS contains everything from 2017 onwards.
    • Synology DS414j (4x 8Tb WD Red in SHR RAID setup) - this is an older NAS containing everything from 2014-2016.
    • Orico 4-bay USB3.0 SATA HDD enclosure - random assortment of 3.5" and 2.5" HDDs from before 2014. Looking at around 20Tb in total scattered across the globe.
    • No cloud backup solution as of now, no bank vaults or Pelican cases stuffed under the bed. Though a couple of hard drives with all our client images from the last few years probably should go into a safe deposit box somewhere.
    We are predominantly an Adobe-based studio. This is more out of work experience / familiarity going back 10+ years and convenience. We currently utilise separate personal CC subscriptions as currently it is just too expensive to go on a Business plan (we're a small studio). Yes, I yearn for the old days of actual Adobe products instead of subscriptions! We use Lightroom, Photoshop and our retoucher / graphic guru uses Illustrator / InDesign and After Effects for our short video clips. Plugins such as Google Nik Collection and Alien Skin Exposure X do get used but to be honest, our style is very natural so we try to avoid too much post unless its for beauty or architecture.

    We have started experimenting with Capture One, particularly for its tethering reliability and other benefits but I'm still not sure if we'll make the switch. Learning new software is a huge hassle for us when free time is already limited.

    As photographer / director of operations, I have a separate Accounting user account setup on my cMP that only uses Pages, etc., and Google Drive that only I have access to (also on my personal MBP and my partner's). Nothing to do with finance or how the business is run is stored on Dropbox.

    What you guys can't see is that there are two large floor to ceiling cork board panels to the left of the top image filled with clippings, cutouts and printouts which we use as a mood board for everything we find inspiring, client proposals and other random images.

    Some other hardware we use:
    • EIZO CS2730 with CH2700 27" LED
    • Dell UP2716D with hood 27" LED
    • EIZO CG222W with hood 22" LCD
    • 2011-2014-2015 MBPs (16Gb RAM, 512Gb SSD, etc)
    • OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock (13 port)
    • OWC Thunderbolt USB-C Dock (10 port)
    • Wacom Intuous Pro (M)
    • Wacom Intuous Pen (S)
    • Rain Design mStand for MacBook Pro (2x)
    • Gitzo Series 3 carbon fibre tripod with Induro PHQ-3 5-way head (my go to combination for weight + value)
    • Manfrotto 055 aluminium with Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head
    • Manfrotto 190Go! carbon fibre 4-leg travel scouting tripod
    • Elinchrom Pro ELC HD 500 (2x units) monolights
    • Elinchrom Softlite 70cm beauty dish
    • Phottix Luna / Octa 110cm collapsible soft box with Elinchrom mount (custom fitted, my favourite light diffuser)
    • Variety of reflectors, grids, snoots, etc.
    • 3x Canon Speedlights (2x 600EX II RT, 1x 480EX II RT); 1x ST-E3-RT wireless trigger)
    • Nanuk 935 hard case roller (similar to Pelicans, I went with this because of the gorgeous army green colour)
    • LowePro X200 AW Roller
    • Able Archer Photo Rucksack (light grey, love this)
    • And a whole bunch of other stuff I can't remember right now
    Anyway, I hope the gear list may prove useful for some people looking at how my studio is run. All of the equipment was exhaustively researched, I know there are alternatives, cheaper or better, but everything here was carefully selected to provide the best value for money while not compromising on quality.

    My advice to all new photographers is to buy the very best you can afford - within reason. Never update to the latest and greatest unless you're either a) sponsored or b) can afford to lose time, money or effort in troubleshooting an increasingly common issue of essentially undertaking final beta testing for said camera or computer hardware.

    Unfortunately, the theory of diminishing returns is something that took me many, many years to finally understand. Damn, this is long!

    UPDATE JAN 2018: I now use an iMac Pro as our main editing rig, handling all importing, processing and exporting. The throughput is just amazing. Our cMPs and MBPs handle retouching on the EIZOs while my partner and I have moved the 2014 MBP and Dell UP2716D home to setup a mini home workstation.

    untitled-1.jpg L1530059.jpg
  15. Mark0 macrumors 6502


    Sep 11, 2014
    SW Scotland
    @pixelatedscraps - I'm enjoying the wee Balvenie 14 rum finish on the desk, I used to have a bottle :D
  16. pixelatedscraps macrumors 6502


    Jul 11, 2017
    Hong Kong
    Always useful to have one in the office for those late nights!

    Right now, I rotate between Oban 14yr, Hakushu 12 yr or a Balvenie 12yr. Like I said, diminishing returns - after $100 bottles of single malt! ;)
  17. Foogoofish macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2011

    That mug though... Best part of the setup...
  18. Mark0 macrumors 6502


    Sep 11, 2014
    SW Scotland
    haha! I was too busy looking at the whisky to notice!
  19. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    In process of moving all field work to iPad Pro 512GB. It can store well over 30,000 raw images from my EM-1 II. I can view the raw file previews and cull. If for some reason I need to edit an image in the field, I can use Photos or Affinity Photo for iPad. When I get back home, I can hook up the iPad to my Mac and run Image Capture to retrieve the files and trigger Photo Mechanic to do the import/ingest. Photo Mechanic will do file renaming, create new folders as needed, fill out the IPTC fields and copy the images. Photo Mechanic will show me contact sheets of my images where I can select them and send them to editing apps.
  20. pixelatedscraps macrumors 6502


    Jul 11, 2017
    Hong Kong
    I’m sure this is a sign of the future but for the kind of commercial image work, file sizes and level of colour critical postproduction (billboard) we do, it’s simply - and currently - just not possible. Bravo for making it work for you though. What I wouldn’t give to stop shooting with 3kg worth of camera gear and a ton of accessories!
  21. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    One advantage of m43, my two bodies and 4 Pro lenses, batteries, chargers and iPad all fit in a larger messenger bag. No more more 20kg+ roller bags that may or may not fit in the overhead bin.
  22. pixelatedscraps macrumors 6502


    Jul 11, 2017
    Hong Kong
    For billboard / commercial work, we've just switched to Sony A7R III bodies from our 5DS. My god, the difference in weight, accessories, lenses...everything - is enormous. I can pack a quality rig the far surpasses the image quality of my Canon system down in a day bag that is less than half the size and weight of my roller.
  23. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    And you would get the same kind of drop in size and weight if you had gone with Olympus E-M1 II where your could show high res images of still subjects that are full of detail.
  24. slitherjef thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2012
    Just an update, I have slowly been getting back into photography, I have been using my windows 10 desktop, although it is a bit quirky at times. I have opted to just try to use the box as I intended when I built the thing rather then going out and getting yet another system. Just as long as my data don't get mangled.
  25. pixelatedscraps macrumors 6502


    Jul 11, 2017
    Hong Kong
    Meh, never been a fan of the m4/3 system. I loved my E-1 when it came out but the raw files could never stand up against full frame or even APS-C Canon/Nikon at the time. I also loved my E-M1 - again, its dinky portability was great but the raw files weren't, not to mention the serious detriment of having a subpar Pro service (one reason I dropped Nikon's NPS for Canon's CPS Platinum; thankfully Sony Imaging Pro has improved massively here in Asia).

    Aside from thorough after-sales repair maintenance service, I need the dynamic range, high ISO capability and ability to use a 17L and 24L tilt shift, those gorgeous Canon 50/1.2 and 100Ls and my adapted Zeiss lenses on a full frame body. Good thing there's something for everyone's need / use base, eh? ;)

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