Review: A few days in. Photographer in love with the 13" TouchBar!

Uofmtiger

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Dec 11, 2010
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Nice review. :apple:

I have one of the 15 inch versions that replaced my 2011 MBP 15 inch. One thing I like, that I don't believe you mentioned, is the ability to plug it into power from either side. For my use, this is much more important that magsafe. My favorite spot on the couch has the power on the right, so I had to run the cable over my lap every time I plugged it in. I also had to replace the power cable twice because it would fray below the connector.

I have Canon cameras, so I was in the same boat regarding the SD slot. I had to take a card reader everywhere I went anyway.

For my needs, it has plenty of power and I am happy with the trade offs to put it in a light package. Even when editing photos or working on the couch, I prefer having less weight on my legs. To think I used to be okay with an 18 inch HP. That thing feels like a cinderblock these days.

I should mention that I have not upgraded my 2011 iMac. It still feels plenty fast. However, I also have a 4k, 32 inch monitor, so I anticipate using the MBP to edit photos and video more than I did my old 2011 MBP. I run my iMac off of an SSD that is connected to the thunderbolt port.
 

MrGuder

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Nov 30, 2012
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I'm also curious about your testing the internal graphics card I keep reading that it's slower than last yrs model 2015, slower in running programs or slow on Internet browsing? I had a 2016 15" and didn't think it was slower than the 2015 15" with regard to the internal Iris Pro graphics.

I also wanted the Joli as it loads from the side and makes for easy charging but it's close to $130.00 for that case.
 

Richard Peters

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Original poster
Jul 18, 2010
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Surrey, UK
Nice review. :apple:

I have one of the 15 inch versions that replaced my 2011 MBP 15 inch. One thing I like, that I don't believe you mentioned, is the ability to plug it into power from either side. For my use, this is much more important that magsafe. My favorite spot on the couch has the power on the right, so I had to run the cable over my lap every time I plugged it in...
Thank you :)

And yes, good point actually. When I'm on the sofa in the living room my power cable needs plugging in from the left but when in the kitchen, the right. So it's very handy in that regard!

I'm also curious about your testing the internal graphics card I keep reading that it's slower than last yrs model 2015, slower in running programs or slow on Internet browsing? I had a 2016 15" and didn't think it was slower than the 2015 15" with regard to the internal Iris Pro graphics.

I also wanted the Joli as it loads from the side and makes for easy charging but it's close to $130.00 for that case.
I've just started to build a small library in Lightroom on it. Compared to my iMac I would say it appears marginally slower at loading a couple of my images that have huge edits in the Develop module, however that's a very brief observation. I'll see if I can do some basic side-by-side comparisons tomorrow if I have the time. I'm curious to know if there will be a performance hit with the 13" running with a scaled resolution?!

The Joli is very expensive for what it is but my last one still looks like new after 5 years and the 11" Air it housed looked like new still, so it was very good value for money in that regard. I think it's the best looking simple sleeve too, but that's very subjective :)
 

MrGuder

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Nov 30, 2012
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I've seen places like Ars Tech say that the Iris Pro in the 2016 is slower that the 2015 but they don't show the difference in the numbers for the Iris Pro between those models and more importantly what affects the user would notice by having a slower internal graphics processor. I'm surprised more people are not talking about this unless the difference is hardly noticeable.

I've seen threads around here talking about it but that's about it just talking and not showing any concrete evidence how the slower internal iris pro affects the user between the 15 & 16 models
 

Dave245

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Sep 15, 2013
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I'd probably consider putting 32gb RAM in the iMac for video editing and then stick with a cheaper MBP. Best of both worlds! Lots of power for the heavy edits and a beautiful, portable and sufficiently powerful machine for the lighter workloads :)
Yea i may upgrade my iMac at some point, for the moment 16GB is working very well. As for the 13" touch bar MacBook Pro, do you think 8GB is enough? or is it best to invest in the 16GB along with the 1TB upgrade? Also i saw that you mentioned photography, how are you finding the screen? my 2011 MacBook Pro is now old and non retina, the nearest i've got is my 2012 iMac which is 2560 X 1440.
 

Richard Peters

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Jul 18, 2010
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Surrey, UK
I've seen places like Ars Tech say that the Iris Pro in the 2016 is slower that the 2015 but they don't show the difference in the numbers for the Iris Pro between those models and more importantly what affects the user would notice by having a slower internal graphics processor. I'm surprised more people are not talking about this unless the difference is hardly noticeable.

I've seen threads around here talking about it but that's about it just talking and not showing any concrete evidence how the slower internal iris pro affects the user between the 15 & 16 models
I came from a 2012 Air so couldn't say on comparison to the 2015 Pro. That being said, I would never upgrade my computer every anyway. I'm sure there's some info around somewhere about it on the interweb.

Yea i may upgrade my iMac at some point, for the moment 16GB is working very well. As for the 13" touch bar MacBook Pro, do you think 8GB is enough? or is it best to invest in the 16GB along with the 1TB upgrade? Also i saw that you mentioned photography, how are you finding the screen? my 2011 MacBook Pro is now old and non retina, the nearest i've got is my 2012 iMac which is 2560 X 1440.
Personally, I'd always go with more RAM given the choice but if all your heavy lifting is done on another machine 8gb should be plenty but 16gb will give you maybe some flexibility further down the road, if you start having heavier workloads on the move. It's really your call. If you have the budget, stick in 16.

I didn't get 1tb because I work mostly from external SSD so 512 is plenty. Storage is a very personal choice.

I have always really liked the screen on my 27" 2012 iMac but suddenly it looks very poor compared to the screen on the 13" Pro. I've always thought Retina on an iMac would be kinda pointless as you sit far enough away it probably wouldn't show...however the second I went back to my iMac the text looked rubbish. My photos look incredible on this laptop so I am now more than ever looking forward to the iMac refresh as the time has come to fully embrace Retina! :)
 
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Richard Peters

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Jul 18, 2010
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Surrey, UK
UPDATE:

I have now returned from two weeks of safari in Africa, where I was co-guiding photography workshops and have to say I found the 13" TB to perform exceptionally well.

Performance in Lightroom has been very good. Importing images from both my D810's (36mp) and D500 (20mp) is quick and painless. My workflow whilst away is to move files from memory cards to two external SSD's for backup (Sandisk Extreme 500's) then import directly to Lightroom so I have a third backup on the laptop which I can also use to do pre-edits and key-wording.

The MBP made quick work of Lightroom and allowed me to browse, rate, reject and edit images at a surprisingly fast rate. Actually, I'd say it's comparable, if not maybe quicker than using my 2012 fully loaded (SSD and all) 27" iMac. I haven't done any side by side tests but there was no point at all during my time away that I felt like I was waiting around for the MPB to catch up with the speed I wanted to work.

I also stitched a couple of multi RAW file panoramic's together to work on and, although a little slower to load in the develop module, was entirely able to work on them with no issues at all despite the largest being 202mp.

I did notice the fan would come on quite quickly sometimes depending on my workload but the thing to keep in mind is the ambient temperature at camp was always hovering around 30 degrees. I've been continuing my edits since I got home yesterday and the fan hasn't come on once, but it's a lot cooler here in the UK... ;)

Actually, I've been so impressed with how quick the workflow has been so far that I'm actually finishing the bulk of my edits on the MBP before moving them across to my main Lightroom catalogue on the iMac.

Something else to note, of the 21 guests we had across the two weeks, almost everyone used either CF, CFast or XQD as their main memory card format ;)

We also had a guest with the Space Grey model and seeing it confirmed I made the right choice in getting Silver.

Finally, I still maintain the 13" was the right choice for me as the perfect balance of portability and power. I slip my laptop into the front of a ThinkTank Photo roller bag when travelling but always hold the laptop in my hands when putting the roller bag into cars or small internal flights, so that bags don't get piled on top. With the small internal flight from Wilson airport in Nairobi to the Mara, the 13" was the exact width of the seat pocket in front of me. A 15" would not have fit. I also found the 13" to be completely manageable on the international flight, with it sitting on the seat tray with ease. Actually it sparked conversation with a fellow passenger who decided he was going to get one after seeing me use mine.

Basically, for me, the 13" MBP TB is getting better and better as time goes on.
 
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Uofmtiger

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Dec 11, 2010
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Memphis
Thanks for the update. One other benefit of having the USB-C for charging is that you can charge it up off a portable battery charger. I have one already that I use with my iPhone, so I just plug it into the USB-C (I have a cable with USBA at one end and USB-C on the other) and it will charge my battery while I am doing other things.

I don't travel as often as you, so I went with the 15 inch, but I can definitely see why you would prefer the 13 inch for your situation.
 
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