Photography Setup: Retina MacBook Pro vs. 2013 Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Blue Hour, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. Blue Hour macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #1
    Dear Reader,

    I've always had an interest in photgraphy and lately I've been making good money from it. Enough that I can quit my current job and start up my own photography business with enough left over for some new equipment.

    I'm having trouble with my current computer a Mac Mini:

    2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
    4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3 RAM
    NVIDIA GeForce 320M 256 MB GPU
    500 GB HDD.

    As you can see it's quite old and I'm having trouble with Photoshop, Lightroom etc. It can be quite laborious, the load times are awful and it crashes often. I've done a full reinstall and there's nothing wrong with the Mini as far as I can tell.

    I can't decide if I should get a MBPr or wait for the new Mac Pro. There are pros and cons to both I suppose but I'm unsure if a fully maxed out MBP could handle photo editing and maybe even some video editing.

    It may even be possible for me to purchase both but I couldn't afford to do buy both at the same time.

    Which would you choose out of the two and why?

    If I may put another question to you rather than post another thread.

    I'm also looking for a new display as my current display is a rather inexpensive TV/monitor (1920 x 1080p). From the reviews I have read some people say the "Apple Cinema Display" is not really suitable for photo editing.

    Do you agree and if so what monitor would you use in it's place?

    Regards,

    Blue
     
  2. Kohnikon macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #2
    MacBook Pro excels with Lightroom

    Get the MacBook pro 15" without the retina display before they discontinue it. I spent many hours in several stores looking at retina and non-retina MBP's side by side and the salesmen agreed with me that the 15" with the anti-glare screen actually looked better than the retina screen. I use the MBP when traveling and it imports photos in LR quickly (but use an external HD) and Photoshop loads quickly and processes fast. I maintain my desktop setup because it has two 23" monitors and gives me a better look at the details but I will eventually move to an iMac.
     
  3. Blue Hour thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #3
    @Kohnikon:

    Thank you for your reply. That's interesting it didn't occur to me to look at the non-retina display model. I would have assumed the retina looked better than the standard display model.

    You've thrown a spanner in the works now. :confused:
     
  4. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Location:
    375th St. Y
    #4
    iMac or rMBP

    4GB of VFX memory is overkill for photography.

    Also, slightly OT, be very wary of quiting your day job in hopes of full time free lance photography.

    I am a "full time photographer" but I also have a "day job" of about 20 to 30 hrs/week, even when photography fills my weeks I am eternally thankful for the backup peace of mind!
     
  5. Blue Hour thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #5
    @MattSepeta

    Thank you for your concern. My current job is also some what freelance so I could easily continue with it as well as photography if I wanted/needed to, I'll have to wait and see how busy I am.

    Regards,

    Blue
     
  6. Blue Hour thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #6
    Sorry for adding yet another question but I've been going through old posts and it seems there was a one point some issues with "ghosting" and other faults with certain panels. Is this still the case with the newest MacBook Pro screens?
     
  7. themumu macrumors 6502a

    themumu

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Sunnyvale
    #7
    When I looked at my images on retina vs non-retina screen, I could easily see the difference. Might want to go in and compare for yourself.
     
  8. Blue Hour thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #8
    @Themumu

    Thank you for your time; I think I will go to the Apple Store next week and see the difference for myself. I will most likely battle on with the Mac Mini until December so I can compare both MBP, MPBr and Mac Bro together.

    Regards,

    Blue
     
  9. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #9
    The reason photographers own notebooks is typically to accommodate the need to check and download photos while away from studio or office. Other than that I would say the minis are getting close if maxed on ram. Paired with a large graphics tablet and something like an NEC display, you would have a much nicer time editing. If I might offer some advice, photographers get sucked into doing a lot of their own post work these days. Some courses in basic illustration or painting can go a long way in helping smooth out the learning curve with post work along with some subject specific material. By that I mean anatomical study if your subjects are predominantly people. If it relates to something else such as architecture, find every book you can on it. Examine old blueprints. So many young photographers miss this stuff. Get very comfortable with the graphics tablet. Bring up a blank page. Make practice strokes. Try drawing circles, anything. You'll build up a steadier hand over time and save yourself hours of fixing mistakes due to lack of hand steadiness. I could go on if you have questions, but do consider that stuff. It makes an enormous difference.

    I forgot to respond on the cinema display. The problem there is they're all old at this point, and they were never amazing. There are a few things that matter in a display. One is how well it represents colors, including weird ones like oranges, maroons, dark greens, etc rather than just typical ones. Higher end displays have a lot of features to help compensate for inevitable drift which happens in every display. The other extremely important point is uniformity. If you want a notebook, why not save money with a refurbished model? Either way ensure the maximum amount of ram possible. Buying one today the very least you want is 16GB. Anything less is doing yourself a disservice. If you can get a 2012 or 2013 machine with a quad core cpu and enough ram, you'll be fine. I guarantee the reason you're crashing is a combination of things. It's probably ram, disk access, and that stupid interference Adobe always has with its metadata and spotlight. If you're willing to disable spotlight on all private/system folders, the crashes will go away even on your current machine.
     
  10. Blue Hour thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #10
    @TheKey

    Thank you so much for such an in-depth reply. The added mobility with the MBPr is more and more appealing at this point. Although I will likely purchase a Mac Pro at some point I may leave it until the 2nd gen hits the Apple Store and opt for a MBPr in the mean time.

    If I were to purchase anything from the Apple Store I would BTO and max out the RAM anyway. At the time I bought my Mini 4 GB was the maximum amount of RAM available.

    Moving on I didn't realize the Thunderbolt display was that old. I'm thinking there will be a refresh sooner rather than later. So I think I'll buy another high-end display and think about the Apple display after the next refresh, thanks again.

    Regards,

    Blue
     
  11. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #11
    It's unfortunate that there aren't many locations where you can see "demo" units of NECs. If you saw one of their PA models set up, I do not think you would want the Apple display anymore. For what you're doing, as long as your preferences keep you within the ram limit, I don't think you would see a crucial advantage in the mac pro. They were common among photographers for a few reasons. Now it's mostly convention. They had a lot of space for internal disks as well as ports for external arrays. You could get cost effective e-sata NAS or DAS units. The new ones basically support usb3 and thunderbolt. The minis and rmbp also support those. The mac pros can take more displays, but you can still drive an external display from that rmbp. Given that you're starting out, you're probably not going to use anything that exceeds the capability of that notebook. You are probably not going to put together 100+ layer comps where your files are GB in size. If you did that I would say the mac pro would start to look much more like a necessity. As it is you probably won't see as big of an advantage. I don't regard raw files processing a little faster as a big advantage anymore. We're well past the days where it takes all night to process a big shoot.

    Also you never mentioned anything regarding subject matter or whatever else. I'm curious about your emphasis.
     
  12. Blue Hour thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #12
    @TheKey

    Thank you again for your time, you've made some valid points that I did not consider before. :eek:

    I apologize for not including subject matter it completely slipped my mind. So far my commercial work has been portraits. Wedding photos and head shots that sort of thing; however personally I still take landscapes and wildlife photographs for fun in my spare time.

    Regards,

    Blue
     
  13. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Location:
    Earth
    #13
    Retina Macbook Pros screens were supplied by 2 companies, Samsung and LG. The LG supplied screens usually yielded ghosting problems. Though when you make a purchase, not sure if you can specify a Samsung screen. The Retina MBPro is adequate for your photography needs

    You'll have to keep in mind you might need more storage space as your files get bigger later on. I do editing of raw photographs from various photographers and ample storage was also important. The specs of your Mac Mini with 4 gig of ram and 500gb HD is not enough. 12 gig ram or higher is recommended. The NEC monitor is good as its colors are accurate and has the most number of color gamut. The 30" is just pricey at around $2000+ : http://eshop.macsales.com/Search/Se...P_Popularity|1&Ne=5000&N=5695&Ntt=LCD+Display
     
  14. dollystereo macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Location:
    France
    #14
    imac 27 is a great setup.
    Is fast, good screen with plenty of state. Even in a D800 with huge files it fly.
    the mac pro is just to expensive.
    Imac+notebook (an air for example) is a great setup.
     

Share This Page