RMBP Good for photographers??

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by lnikj, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. lnikj macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2012
    One of Apples major marketing claims is that the RMBP is great for photographers, something I see being parroted over and over again on other sites and in this forum.

    If you take a look around professional photography websites you will find a distinctly muted response. As a professional photographer myself I have my views on why this is.

    Please note that in the following I am not challenging the claim here that photos look great on a retina display (ie saturated and sharp). Indeed, the best case that I can see being made for the usefulness of the retina screen to professional photographers at the moment is that it is great for portfolio display to clients.

    Is my workflow of preparing photos for the web or for print really going to massively benefit from being able to "see fine details and textures like never before". I can see what I need for my purposes of fine details by zooming in on them on a normal screen.

    Do I need to be able to "see which photos are in focus just by looking at the thumbnails". I don't have any photos that are not in focus in Lightroom, they were removed when I ingested the photos in Photo Mechanic.

    More real screen estate is what matters to me. 1920 * 1200 on a 17" screen is not the same as 1920 * 1200 on a 15" screen. Sure, in a retina enabled photography app, with decent scaling of the UI elements everything will look very nice and crisp but it will still look minuscule to my ageing eyes at that resolution.

    As any professional photographer will tell you a matte screen is mandatory for editing photographs. Glossy screens are hard to colour calibrate accurately but equally as important is that they make up for their deficiencies by being excessively bright. To accurately print preview photos needs a setting of around 90 candelas per square metre, not the 200 typical of a glossy screen. Apple claim to have reduced glare by 70% but a glossy screen is a glossy screen.

    Professional photographers will also be concerned about how long it takes Photo Mechanic, Lightroom, Photoshop, OnOne, Nik, Topaz and many many more plugins to be retina enabled.

    Apart from these workflow issues professional photographers are only just starting to wake up to the fact that their websites, quite possibly more than anybody else's, look poor on a retina display and are going to need updating. However, updating them will require uploading images at four times the resolution and implementing device sensitive code. Quite apart from the bandwidth issues this will bring images within the range at which they can be usefully printed leading to further copyright and theft issues.

    The need to update software and websites is the price of progress I guess but some software and the majority of websites probably never will be updated. High DPI displays are no doubt the future but it will be a while, I suspect, before many professionals move their workflow to them.

    On a more positive note however the release of the RMBP does have its benefits. Less than a week ago a 2.5GHz 17" MBP was the finest Apple notebook a professional photographer could buy. In my humble opinion it still is, but it can now be picked up in the refurb store for a massive discount.

    Please note that I am questioning Apple's marketing claims here and it is not my intention to insult anybody who has bought, or is in the process of buying, a RMBP for whatever reason suits them.
  2. FandangoUK macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2012
    Your Analysis makes a great deal of sense to me. I was also desperate for an update to the 17" Macbook Pro but in the end was convinced by the RMBP.

    I am certainly no professional but am a keen amature photographer and do not have a desktop machine so the 17" would have been perfect. (I am coming from a 17" windows machine).

    Having said I think this will benefit photographers in the long run and it takes someone to make a move to try and force upgrades to the machines we use. CPU and GPU power has continued to advance at an astouding rate and it will not be long before all high option machines have this resolution. It is also possible to scale it down when using for Lightroom and photshop and then scale it up for when showing photos to clients.

    As the leader in the field it is going to cause some pain and I do definately believe that the line up still desperately needs a 17" version.

    I ordered the RMBP and cannot wait as it suits my needs perfectly now but my needs are less demanding and looking forward to seeing some of my photos (and other peoples better ones) on the retina display.

    As a photographer getting a headstart on this will also give you a competitive advantage over those that are slower to adapt.
  3. eron macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2008
    I'm surprised that the comment is from a pro photographer.

    IPS displays like the one on the RMBP simply displays truer colour than any other MBPs. Just on that fact alone, it's good for photographers. At least better than the other MBPs.

  4. steve-p macrumors 68000


    Oct 14, 2008
    Newbury, UK
    Yes it can.. but maybe not for long given the prices. I bought a 2.5 to replace my 2009 17", and it was cheaper than the old one was 3 years ago. It appears to be brand new stock. I agree with your analysis. There's no doubt pictures will have more detail at 1440 retina, but it's still missing 2" of screen size which I'm not prepared to give up just yet. At 133 ppi the 17" screen still looks very nice, and bigger is definitely better when showing pictures to someone sitting beside you.

    Also for software development Xcode and Qt with their many windows work a lot better at bigger resolutions. If I bought a retina 15" I would probably run it at 1680 which is a good resolution for the size, but it would defeat the object of the retina somewhat.
  5. lnikj thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2012
    I will give you the fact that an IPS display has better colour accuracy than a TN model. How much more with this particular display I've yet to see figures for.

    Colour accuracy is a part of the whole experience however, along with glossiness and brightness. iMacs and Cinema Displays have had IPS panels for years but have been largely shunned by professional photographers who choose Eizo or NEC for their external monitors.

    All the same, I will concede your point. I have yet to see the figures on how substantial an improvement in colour accuracy the display will offer so that part of my analysis was perhaps unwarranted at this stage.

    It is just one part mind you. A bright glossy screen is just a non-starter for me.

    If/when a 17" matte RMBP is released and all the software I rely on has been retina enabled I will be first in line for it if finances permit (won't be cheap I suspect).
  6. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    I'm sure it has nothing to due with the fact it was just announced 3 1/2 days ago, or that most people won't even receive one for another month.

    But, you are entitled to your opinions.
  7. eron macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2008
    Then it's a matter of the Mac's IPS display being glossy instead of matte. You can simply wait for the matte Retina if your current MBP is fast enough.

    In terms of colour accuracy IPS panel is significantly better than TN panels.
  8. steve-p macrumors 68000


    Oct 14, 2008
    Newbury, UK
    Likewise. I would have ordered one straight away instead of settling for a late 2011.
  9. brokeneck macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2010
    Boston, MA
    Interesting. I agree with several of the OP's comments (except the matte finish comments, that seems quite overstated to me). The real estate issue is real. I just went from the 17 to the RMBP and I can tell you that the loss of screen real estate is tangible. The scaling helps for sure because technically you can keep the same working space but you can't help but feel the loss of screen size.

    But the retina display is stunning. Just stunning. It's like L glass versus non L glass for Canon shooters. You have to experience it to really appreciate it. And honestly I am not sure that you'll really "get it" in an apple store. I wasn't sure in the store but once I got home and configured the new laptop and loaded it up with my pics and updated aperture... all I can say is wow. Using loupe is just a new experience. It's pretty much like the experience I had when I went from iPad 1 to iPad 3... I'd also say the anti-glare screen is amazing.

    I can understand sticking with the 17. I was torn. But for me, I do 75% of my post on a 27" so I took the leap as it isn't as much risk for me. I did post for a shoot last night on the new machine and I'm not sorry.
  10. markp99 macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2012
    New Hampshire

    What is your experience with Aperture, pre-retina-enhanced? Any odd UI scaling/fuzziness issues?

    I also do post on external monitors; I wonder/worry about proper scaling on those.
  11. eron macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2008
    Have you tried using it in 1900x1200 mode? That will be the same screen estate (resolution) as your 17" MBP.

    Personally I prefer the 1900x1200 on my 17" MBP, over that same resolution on my 24". Our eyes tire less when it's only required to focus on a small area, vs a large one.
  12. MacBird macrumors 6502a

    Apr 1, 2010
    To the OP, why do you think you have to upload images 4 times the resolution to your website? The images on the new displays have the same dimension as on a 1440x900 display.

    Personally, I process my images on a 24'' monitor but if I am in the field, an IPS display might help quite a bit, not at least because of the darker blacks.
  13. brokeneck macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2010
    Boston, MA
    I haven't found any significant scaling issues - nothing that impacts image. I mean compared to LR I find Aperture buggy... but those issues are more restricted to stability issues, nothing that impacts the images IMO. I have not found any issues using the thunderbolt display, works perfectly for me.


    Yes, and it's good for working. I feel you lose some of the UI crispness (not images), so I am preferring non-scaled for web browsing. But I did post in scaled due to real estate and it was fine. I do feel going from 17 to 15 requires an adjustment though, notwithstanding resolution. That's more what I was driving at... of course it's the same issue when I need to do post on the road and I was doing it on the 17 when used to the 27!
  14. lnikj thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2012
    Somebody correct me if I'm wrong but a retina display browser on encountering a photo on a web site that is, say, 800*800, has a choice of two things.

    It could render it at 800*800, which on your retina display will look a quarter of the size that it would on a non-retina display (ie 400*400), or it could (which is what I understand is what actually happens) pixel double it. But then it will look a bit fuzzy. That might not matter for some but a photographer wants his/her work to be shown at its best quality.

    So, as well as serving up the image for 'normal' devices at 800*800 an image of 1600*1600 needs to be served up for retina displays.

    For more info see here:




    thanks for the replies. Good to to hear what the experience is actually like instead of all the speculation!

    I guess we will have to differ on the matte/gloss issue and for the record I am really envious as I know how gorgeous images look on the ipad3 but I will just hold out for that matte display for editing.

    (My MBP is my only machine and it is hooked up to a 24" IPS at home).

  15. spdntrxi macrumors regular

    May 11, 2012
    used to be a freelance sports guy... still use a Dell ..rMBP on order.. I have no want for a 17 (too big) If I need something that big might as well have a desktop and multiple monitors.

    Hoping the rMBP screen calibrates well.
  16. altmac macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2007
    How could you work on your pictures with a mirror?!?

    From seeing the RMBP at the store today....I just cannot imagine how one could do any post process work with that retina mirror in front...
    Very very disappointing....!
    Specs are good though.....
    Question is are we EVER going to see any real Matt version of these machines?!?
  17. millerrh macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2005
    For you photographers out there, do you anticipate your sharpening will change when using the RMBP screen?

    For instance, maybe you edit photos and sharpen to taste on the super clear screen. But your clients still have non-retina screens and the image appears not as sharp (or too sharp) as it would have been if you had done your editing on the same type of screen.

    Of course on the other hand you will be able to visualize sharpening on a print much better than ever before.

    I just wonder/question how work done on one screen translates to another mostly.
  18. ladeer macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2007
    How do u make website photo optimized for retina screen? If u upload a 200x200 image file for your original 100x100 art work, it will just scale to 400x400 on your retina display. How does ur retina browser know u intended your 400x400 image for native display equal in size for a 200x200 image? Otherwise it will scale it to 400x400 to make it same size as a 200x200 non-optimized image.
  19. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    You use CSS to scale in browser.
  20. mackmgg macrumors 65816


    Nov 2, 2007
    I'm not a professional photographer, but it's definitely a big part of my free time. I've never had a 17" laptop, because it just seems too big for me to carry around and I'd rather just have an external screen at home so I can't really comment on that part. I also agree with you about the glossy vs non-glossy. Because of that, I'll probably do most of my photo editing on an external display. That alone negates Apple's claim that this is great for photographers because I won't even get to use the retina display for editing. However it will definitely be great for both sharing with others and allowing me to optimize my website. I'll probably end up having Photoshop on the external screen, and Lightroom on the internal one. As soon as Lightroom is optimized I could see that being helped by the retina display a lot. But for the actual editing, I'll probably stick with my current display.
  21. mattkilla420 macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2009
    san diego
    not a pro photographer and ive only spent 15-20 mins on the mbpr at the store, but the glossy screen is well...glossy. someone brought their matte mbp and had it side by side to the mbpr and the retina was pretty reflective. it probably isnt as bad if youre using the retina at home because at the store there was significant light coming form outside (was probably 10 feet from the front of the store with open doors during 2pm on a sunny day) i have also read that the retina cannot get as bright as the mbp but it was not a significant amount.
  22. MacBird macrumors 6502a

    Apr 1, 2010
    For the OP: I went to an Apple Store and compared the same images on a Retina display and a regular 15'' MBP at 1440x900. On the retina display it is absolutely impossible to check for sharpness and detail because of the upscaling. I guess you could adjust images on your personal website by posting images that compensate for that but if you post images on forums etc. there will be a significant loss of sharpness.

    I still have to make up my mind but I will most likely cancel my order of the new MBP, which is too bad because I like everything else.

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