RAW Image Editing Question?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by pjcforpres2020, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. pjcforpres2020 macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2010
    I hate to start a new thread, but can't find anything that is as specific as I am going to get or gives enough clues, unless I am missing something.

    My wife is a professional artist, she does a variety of different mediums, and some VERY large sizes. As such, we use a camera (18mp dslr canon EOS 60D) to take pictures of this art work and upload it to her websites, as well for a tattoo flash book she is working on.

    As it stands, we are looking at getting a 2011 15" MBP. I am curious as to a couple specifics:

    1. Is the graphics card in the 2.0 model powerful enough to handle CS5, specifically photoshop and indesign of large, raw, images? I am hoping for professionals with experience to chime in here, or those with first hand experience. I know it can get the job done, but is it smooth in scrolling, etc., especially with multiple images open? If the 256MB of VRAM isn't going to be enough, we will get the 2.2 model then, just hoping to save a couple hundred given the extra CPU isn't a huge deal given this work isn't a time is money thing, but smoothness of use does matter since that can make the difference between a smooth edit and layout processor and a headache.

    2. I am thinking of doing the 128GB SSD for the OS and CS5, then an external HD for the raw images (or possibly opti-bay swap out). Sound like a good plan?

    Beyond that I am pretty much set, getting AG screen, 8GB after market RAM, etc.

    Thank You!
  2. cotak macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2011
    She should be looking into either:
    A high end PC desktop (i know I'll catch flak but to hell with it)
    or if a Mac is a must
    a 27inch iMac once they updated to Sandy Bridge.

    I talk taking about this from experience as I shoot a 7D and process my RAWs on a 27inch iMac from the older generation with the Radeon 4850 graphics.

    Originally when I was out looking for my first mac at that point I considered the newly released 15 inch MBP. It turns out that the cost of the 27inch iMac was so close and I get a quad core CPU vs a dual core that it wasn't much of a contest. Also, I can put more RAM into the iMac. Aperture is a memory hog so as much as you can afford is a good mantra to remember.

    She'll love the 27inch screen for editing her photos in aperture. And having the fastest CPU possible for my budget is a big big thing. Those 18 MP RAWs comes in at 25 megs to 30 megs each. Applying things like sharpening and noise reduction in aperture will quickly bring my iMac to it's knees. Hence the suggestion for a PC. For the money you should be able to buy a more powerful PC. And in the case of the PC you can use the aperture alternative, lightroom.

    I think you'll find the small screen for editing is the most limiting factor of the laptops. That's why I am suggesting a desktop. I also have a 13 inch MBP and I only use it for RAW conversion if I don't have time to go home and do it on my big screened imac.

    Of course if money's no object a 8 core MacPro with XX gigs of RAM will be the ideal solution :).

    Anyhow that's my 2 cents. I hope she'll enjoy whatever system she receives. :)
  3. EightmanVT macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2011
    I'd recommend she upgrade to the 2.2 with the 6750 - but otherwise she'll be just fine. I crunch through RAW or jpegs with my 2011 quad core very easily. If using Aperture - it's definitely a memory hog. So max it out. Even with 8GB of memory you can easy find Aperture causing page outs to the drive - recommend getting the 7200 rpm drive as well. it will make a difference. You don't need an iMac - the MBP can handle it just fine - although it will definitely start to heat up the longer you're editing images.

    Of course - if you're planning to calibrate the display - they you may want an iMac or just use the external display of your choice with the MBP.
  4. cotak macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2011
    Let put it this way:

    i5 quad core 2.8 Ghz 27 inch iMac is $2,099.00 vs $2,249.00 for the 2.2 Ghz MBP vs the 17 inch MBP $2,499.00 in Canada at this moment.

    Was like that when I had to decide between the iMac and a 15 incher MBP.

    Frankly, in the end the 15 incher wasn't worth the money (and the 17 incher was just a waste of money) for what I wanted to do with it.

    I can assure you that adjusting things in aperture on any of the MBP and even the iMac will start to be quite annoying once you turn on sharpening and NR. The faster the better for RAW conversion if you do any adjustment.

    Anyhow talk to your wife and take her to the store. Have her use the candidates to see what she likes. I still think the best bang for your buck is likely a top end PC desktop with the faster processor you can put into it.

    The graphics chip in these macs don't do a lot of work if you are just editing photos....
  5. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    I've done quite a bit of RAW editing with 14.2 megapixel images on my MacBook Pro 13" i5 with the stock 4 gigs of ram and the Intel 3000 video card. Performance was just fine for me. Images would load in maybe half a second and displayed wonderfully on the screen. I have not applied much in the way of filters, just basic auto-correction and other basic edits but performance was fine.

    I do agree strongly with the suggestions that you budget for a larger monitor. That is a major advantage to the iMac, you get a lovely 27" monitor included. However, there is no problem getting a MBP and connecting it to an external monitor when you are at a desk. Thats what I and many others do. Its a best of both worlds scenario since you can take the system with you when needed and keep it at home when you don't.
  6. legreve macrumors regular


    Nov 22, 2010
    In short yes....
    I ordered.the 15" specifically for photo and HD video editing. Im importing from a 5d mkii and my experience with quad is that they are fine. Be sure to pick up an anti-glare screen and.probably an external screen to do the finishing touches.
    I'll be hooking mine up to an Eizo 22".

    It's a nice.portable work station. Regarding ssd... I came to the conclusion that 120gb wouldn't be enough, so I have preordered the Vertex 3 240gb. I'll be putting a 750 gb 7200 drive in the optibay (5400 will be a bottleneck if you work directly on it...) and an external 750 as back up.

  7. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    Aperture 3 does indeed use the GPU pretty heavily. CS5, less so. There are a handful of functions which can use it.
  8. Guy Mancuso macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2009
    Im a working pro photographer and I shoot a 40 Mpx medium format back with my work . So I need a lot of horsepower. As far as raw processing you just hit the land of bliss with quad cores. My speeds have increased in speeds up to 53 percent processing raw images. I would certainly go for the 2.2 or 2.3 but if you after saving money the 2.2 is fine . Max it out with Ram at least 8gb . Mine will get pushed to 16gb when the prices come down some. You can order Ram from almost any 3rd party and save some money there . You can also install your own SSD drive as well. Many new Sata 3 drives will hit the market soon. I would go for a 250gb drive. Here is why , you will be processing from that OS drive and you pretty much will have about 65gbs of OS with your apps on the machine. You need room here so say you download 10gbs of Raws than process them out at 16bit Tiff files than you most likely will have about 15 more gbs of Tif files sitting on your desktop than you may need to do some work on them. If you have not noticed your filling that drive right up. SSD drives need room to breath so a 120gb drive is not going to cut it efficiently . Even though all your images will go to externals the fastest that external will ever get is Firewire 800 so use it for storage not a working drive to work from. You want to work from your OS SSD for speed at least until thunderbolt externals are a reality.

    Unfortunately being a Photographer is a power hunger business . CS5 loves ram and Raw processing loves quad cores and processor. There is absolutely no escape from these two facts. Buy the fastest processor you can get sine you can't buy it later. Certainly get 8gbs of ram since it is cheap now and than seriously consider a fast SSD 200 or 250gb drive which you can put in anytime. Also get the anti -glare high res screen.

    Just read your follow post answer is no get the 2.2 or 2.3 never skimp on the processor speed. YOU can't change that later
  9. pjcforpres2020 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2010
    Thanks for the feedback guys! Like I said in the OP, not too concerned about how long it takes for the computer to do the processing of a new filter or effect, etc. Mostly concerned about whether the video card in the 2.0Ghz i7 model is powerful enough to smoothly scroll around with raw image files of this size. I know CS5, in general for photo/print, isn't super GPU intensive, but I also know the GPU in the base model isn't all that great either.

    I do plan on using an external monitor when doing the final touches (actually, it is a 32" LCD TV that will be used at shows, etc. as a virtual portfolio).

    I had thought a lot about an iMac after they get a refresh (as it stands the current MBPs are more powerful than the current iMacs), but I want this to be a mobile work station that can be used at home or when she is at the tattoo shop, or whenever she decides a different room is more inspiring. Also, the screens on the iMacs are nice, but way too many issues with them in the long term.

    So I think I am set on a 15" AG with the 2.2Ghz (just to be super certain the GPU is never an issue). 256GB SSD with either optibay or external HD for the raw image file storage (of course 7200RPM), and then 8GB of after market RAM.

    I believe that will be a good balance of performance and portability, especially given that the photo work is secondary. She only produces a couple pieces of artwork a week that we want to do this level of work too, but we want to make sure it is 100% professional and that the process of doing this is pleasant, especially when it comes time to put together the tattoo flash book.
  10. cotak macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2011
    The GPU of all of the macs are more than enough to drive very large screens. There is hardly any reason to be concerened about them and smooth scrolling.

    What will affect your perception of smooth scrolling us how fast your CPU can crunch those previews. I mentioned noise reduction and sharpening.
    If you shoot above iso 1600 on the 60d you'll want to enable NR. Once NR and sharpen is on in aperture you will find it lags alot. Just trying to drag a slider to adjust say contrast can take a while for the system to response.

    Anyhow good luck with your purchase. Hope she likes it.
  11. Akoiso macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2011

    I was in your very same position a couple of weeks ago, finally decided to go the same exact route. I wanted something portable (being a current iMac user) but I also wanted a big screen when doing edits at home.

    This I think is a very good choice. Especially getting a AG screen.

    Good luck
  12. abhic macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2011
    This is the exact same choice I had to make & I ended up going with the 15" 2.2 i7 + 8GB RAM + 128GB Apple SSD. I bought an external OWC 750GB 7200RPM FW800/400 Drive to manage all my RAW files and handle them quick enough. Wish there was a Thunderbolt option right now, but nothing so far.

    I compiled a detailed review of the performance and storage options from all over the web for myself - http://bit.ly/fp35F7


Share This Page