Professional Photographer - Buying a 27" iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by emmamac, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. emmamac, Nov 17, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2012

    emmamac macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2012
    Hello everyone,
    Im currently in the market of buying an imac 27 and im a professional photographer ive always used windows and now have purchased a new DSLR that is 36mp the problem i have is when working in photoshop cs6 it is struggling with file size so this the main reason for purchase of my new imac 27.

    My questions,
    i know there is a new imac 27 on its way to us ive been to currys today who tell me i can have the latest model on a i5 for almost £1600
    but there is a friend who is selling his imac 27 (Mid 2011) 3.4 GHz, Intel Core i7,1TB Hard Drive/ 4GB RAM, Quad Core and comes with 2 years apple care.

    Now what would you guys go for a new imac or the second hand one he wants £1500 ?????????????????????? HELP
  2. dmw16 macrumors regular

    May 14, 2011
    Either option should work fine for you.

    The key for large image files will be RAM. It can be upgraded easily and cheaply via aftermarket kits (OWC, amazon, etc). I'd suggest getting as much as you can afford.
  3. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    To me....

    you have to consider or ponder what option gives you more. The computer from your friend is nicely priced. It is that computer cared well? The extended Apple Care can be useful. But also useful it is the FireWire. In the new machine you will have USB 3.0 (very affordable) and Thunderbolt (expensive right now). A Fusion drive may be helpful also (in the new iMac). I will no pay more than 1200 pounds for the machine your friend are selling, though

  4. Sdahe macrumors 68000


    Oct 26, 2007
    San Juan, PR
    I got an iMac 3 months ago and upgrade it to 16GB of Ram... I work with big files for bilboards and the ram really makes a big difference. You can get your friends iMac and put 16gb under the hood.. you will love it
  5. macjunk(ie) macrumors 6502a

    Aug 12, 2009
    go for the new one. you will have better resale value. Also note that the iMac is a relatively long term investment (i change my laptop every 3 years) dont buy second hand to save few quid..
  6. emmamac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2012
    Does anyone have an idea what the new imac 27 i7 will be selling for?
    i think the new imac 27 i5 standard with 8gb of ram will be £1500 but cant find any info on the i7 model.
  7. jonnyback macrumors member

    Apr 6, 2008
    London, UK
    I am a professional photographer in the same position and I am holding out for the new iMac.

    Here are a few reasons for the getting new iMac and not getting your friend's one (which seems a bit pricey for mate's rates!)...

    - Better screen (less reflective)
    - Better processor
    - More RAM capacity - calculate adding your RAM for about £200
    - Better resell value (as you can see with your friend's iMac - they hold their value!)
    - USB3 Ports (losing Firewire and gaining USB3 is a can get Thunderbolt-Firewire adaptors so this can not be a logical dealbreaker for the older Macs)
    - It will be the new iMac! (for the smugness factor of knowing you have the latest and arguably greatest!)
  8. northernbaldy macrumors 6502a


    Jan 13, 2010
    the north, UK
  9. blanka, Nov 19, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012

    blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    If you are a serious photographer, get a screen like a NEC PA271W, and grab a Mac with that. At the moment, the 2.6Ghz Mini is the best deal. It is nearly as fast as the 3.4Ghz quad (13000 vs 14000 on Geekbench), and the combination is cheaper on the long run. Mini's almost loose no value, and the NEC comes with 5 year warranty and is the last screen you ever want.
    For serious PS performance, you need 8Gb or more (16 costs close to nothing, so max it out), and an SSD, as the harddrive has to do millions of tiny writes when using PS (Slow!). So on the second hand iMac, it means a 300 bucks update at least).

    If you have a D800 (the only 36mpixel camera there is), then you prob also wanna do movies, and the Nec also offers 24P playback, something you can forget on an imac, so that means bumps in the playback.
    Other pros of the NEC: pivot/height adjustment, 2 computer KVM switch (you can switch between your D800 HDMI output and your computer for example!), matte, AdobeRGB/sRGB presets with 3D lut instead of QuasiRGB on the iMac for workflows without monitor-profiles (less error prone).

    Mini 2.6ghz quad: 760
    16Gb RAM: 70
    Nec PA271W 900
    256Gb Samsung 830: 130
    2nd drive mounting kit: 30
    Total: 1890, roughly the same as the second hand iMac with RAM/SSD update, totally cheaper than a BTO new 27 inch iMac (the non BTO's are way slower than the mini), and the most professional rig of them all.
  10. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    Neither. A professional photographer needs something like an NEC monitor. Wider color gamut, 14 bits, non-glare, store multiple calibrations (like one for printing and one for web work) - basically the ability to see the actual color not a monitor designed to make things look better. I had a 2009 iMac and sold it for my NEC and MBP and the difference, especially on my eyes, not to mention prints that exactly matched what I saw, was incredible.
  11. jonnyback macrumors member

    Apr 6, 2008
    London, UK
    The NEC has amazing reviews and I can see the logic for buying a separate computer, but surely I can just calibrate the iMac display? In my office glare off a screen is not a problem so I am not swayed by a matt screen.

    And the Mac Mini's inferior graphics card (Intel HD Graphics 4000
    in the Mini vs NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX in the iMac) compared to the the iMac. Does this have an effect? (Graphics cards do not have a big impact on Lightroom use I have read).

    To me it goes down mostly to performance in Lightroom over Photoshop as that I where I do 90% of my edits.

    So what will be quicker, Mac Mini i7 2.6 or iMac i7 3.4 both with 16gb RAM in?
  12. davidjearly macrumors 68020


    Sep 21, 2006
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Yes, you just calibrate the iMac display.

    Many professional togs use the iMac and the display is one of the best available. When properly calibrated, there is little real-world difference.

    For me the downside of not having the AIO solution far outweighs any technical, imperceptible improvement in colour rendition.

    The iMac will be faster.
  13. jonnyback macrumors member

    Apr 6, 2008
    London, UK
    Thank you!
  14. golfgirlgolf macrumors member


    Aug 6, 2008
    Californian living on the other West Coast (FL)
    I'll just chime in here - I'm also a pro photographer and went to 27" iMac quad core i7.

    I would never go back - just based on screen real estate alone it's worth it. I do a lot of detailed retouching work and the resolution is great. I thought the glossy screen would be a huge bother but it's not an issue.

    I was running a Dell 2408WFP previous to the iMac screen and it's different but a good low price monitor in the 24" range. I tried to keep it and run it as a second monitor but don't recommend a 2 monitor setup unless you never sleep the screens as there is a huge delay getting the second one back awake.

    The more RAM and more CPU the better for intensive stuff.

    Of course you need to calibrate your display on any computer - but the stock settings are pretty accurate.
  15. Benbikeman macrumors 6502a


    May 17, 2011
    London, England
    Yes, properly calibrated and with the appropriate ICC profile for your lab, you'll get very accurate results with any modern Mac monitor.
  16. emmamac, Nov 24, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012

    emmamac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2012
    Ive got the price down to £1400 is that a good deal now ???

    If i dont act fast i will not be able to buy the second hand computer as he will sell it on to someone else,
    the problem is i dont know the price of the new i7 model and for the extra you get with the new imac im unsure about it all.

    The mini mac is on the apple website for £679.00 so i would need a keyboard mouse and monitor not sure how much all that would cost.
  17. golfgirlgolf macrumors member


    Aug 6, 2008
    Californian living on the other West Coast (FL)
    The best price you'll likely find for iMacs new (refurb) are here -
    Looks like the equivalent model to your friend's is £1,489.00.

    Differences - Apple charges tax.
    Apple store units are perfect - like new and carry full warranty (1 year in UK?).
    2 years apple care is even better.

    Mini - compare the processors you get in the iMac to those of Mini. Betting here you get more power in iMacs. Add in - iMac's 27" IPS display. Go try to buy a stand alone 27" IPS display to use with a Mini and see what the end total cost becomes. don't get me wrong - I love Minis - I've owned several - but after moving up to 27" iMac, I've never once regretted it.

    Cheeky sales guy saying - but sometimes true -

    "Isn't it better that you spend a little more than you wanted, than spending less than you needed?"
  18. Ademordna, Nov 25, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012

    Ademordna macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2012
    For an extra £200 I would buy new.
    Don't be rushed into this decision either.
    I would also want max ram for photoshop. If your budget will allow it, spend as much as possible without going silly. I am in a similar position to you, although an illustrator not a photog, and I am currently stuck between the 21.5" with Fusion and max ram or the 27" with max ram.

    For that amount of money I would prefer to purchase a new machine, not to mention extend the Apple care to 4 yrs total.

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