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Whats the best size of MacBook for photos? I.e. What screen aspect ratio etc. Do I look out for?

Marty_Macfly

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 26, 2020
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Hi Guys,

Newbie question about photos on apple, hope its ok to ask here :)

Whats the best size of MacBook for photos?

For the next laptop, I may very well go for a MacBook, if it’s ARM. I’m pretty impressed with the Ipad and also all the iphones I’ve had for the last 10 years.

I’ve recently got a ipad 12.9 inches and I am blown away by how well it shows landscape photos. For example, I’ve gone back to 2010 photos on from my old iPhone 3GS, and the aspect ratio on that old phone was perfect for the ipad. There is no cropping of the photos, or black borders anywhere on the iPad screen.

So it looks like from a laments view, Apple phones hold a good photo size, that displays well on the Ipad 12.9.

Q1) Is this the same with all mobile phones photos? Or has Apple been good at holding onto common dimensions?



Anyways, back to the question of Best MacBook sizes for photos:

Q2) Whats the best Aspect Ratio I should look for, in the MacBook laptop screen, for photos?
Q3) Does this immediately translate into which size laptop I would go for?

Q4) Also, whats the best Aspect Ratio I should look for, in the laptop screen, for TV Watching? (Amazon Prime free box sets etc.)



Lastly, bit of a day dream on the current macbooks, as I’m waiting for the ARM version, but what sizes MacBook would work for me? (Hoping the dimensions would be similar, so at least I can visualise it now etc.)

I.e.
I can‘t go to an apple store just yet, we are shielding, so can’t physically see the difference in sizes.
I notice that the screen on this ipad is a lot taller than my ASUS Zenbook 14.
I’ve tried to get the screen measurements for the macbooks off the internet, but can’t get anything useful. The 13.3” diagonal is not much help. It could be taller and narrower. Or shorter but longer etc.

Q5) What’s the Horizontal and vertical measurements of the visible screens on these Mackbooks?
The 13” Macbook Air
The 13” Macbook Pro
The 16” Macbook Pro

I think the Pro models will be way overkill for what I would use them for, but I’m simply after the best screen size for photos.


Cheers
Martin
 
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Darmok N Jalad

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Sep 26, 2017
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That’s a ton of questions there, bud! Anyway, I’ll answer a few to get the ball rolling.

No, not all smartphone makers go with 4:3 on their photos, but you can often adjust that in settings. Or, you crop. Even not cropping, you’d get letterbox on top and bottom on an iPad. Probably not the end of the world.

I might be wrong, but I think all MacBooks use the same 16:10 aspect ratio. I think that is even true for iMacs. With that in mind, any size will have the same experience, so now you’re down to cost and preference. Smaller screen Macs are cheaper and more portable. Bigger screen Macs are more expensive but you get a larger view—great for movies without having the screen right up in your business. If you have a 12.9” iPad, I bet the 13” would feel pretty similar. The big difference is that iPads are 4:3 aspect.

My last thought is that the best screen for photos is typically your largest one. It allows you to see more detail and have to zoom less for edits. That doesn’t mean that’s what you need, but most photographers that do a lot of editing will be on 27” displays or bigger.
 
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glenthompson

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Apr 27, 2011
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There’s no substitute for screen real estate when doing significant editing. When traveling I use my 15” MBP for editing but prefer using it with my Thunderbolt Display when at home. Sort of gives the best of both worlds. How much portability do you need?
 
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Marty_Macfly

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 26, 2020
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That’s a ton of questions there, bud! Anyway, I’ll answer a few to get the ball rolling.

No, not all smartphone makers go with 4:3 on their photos, but you can often adjust that in settings. Or, you crop. Even not cropping, you’d get letterbox on top and bottom on an iPad. Probably not the end of the world.

I might be wrong, but I think all MacBooks use the same 16:10 aspect ratio. I think that is even true for iMacs. With that in mind, any size will have the same experience, so now you’re down to cost and preference. Smaller screen Macs are cheaper and more portable. Bigger screen Macs are more expensive but you get a larger view—great for movies without having the screen right up in your business. If you have a 12.9” iPad, I bet the 13” would feel pretty similar. The big difference is that iPads are 4:3 aspect.

My last thought is that the best screen for photos is typically your largest one. It allows you to see more detail and have to zoom less for edits. That doesn’t mean that’s what you need, but most photographers that do a lot of editing will be on 27” displays or bigger.


Hi D,

Many thanks for the replies to my musings :)


Can I check I’ve got this right?


1. 4:3 aspect ratio
iPhones take photos are the 4:3 ratio by default
The 12.9 Ipad has a 4:3 display, so views these photos the fullest on the screen


2. 16:10 aspect ratio
Macbooks all have displays to this ratio.
So the iphone photos would be the same viewing experience, of how shown on the screen, but just a bigger screen on the larger laptops


Cheers
Martin
 
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Marty_Macfly

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 26, 2020
319
85
There’s no substitute for screen real estate when doing significant editing. When traveling I use my 15” MBP for editing but prefer using it with my Thunderbolt Display when at home. Sort of gives the best of both worlds. How much portability do you need?


Hi G,

Good point on the portability front.

Thinking about it, I’d probably want to go with a 13“ macbook if I can, and just plug it into a large monitor for when I want a much larger screen, keypboard, mouse etc - For all day ergonomics etc.

“Portability” would be a large consideration.

Now:
Even Now with Covid going on, staying indoors, I am a lot of the times perched on the end of the table keeping the other half company, while she is working on the full sized monitor. I’m finding the Ipad, with its tiny compact footprint on the table a huge boon with respects to the space avail on the table for both of us. And avoiding collisions etc.


Past Covid:
(By next summer onwards hopefully - com‘on vaccines!).
Probably be good to have a smaller laptop for me again.
It will be easier to just pull it out anywhere and not worry about drinks spilling over, when I opened back the lid.
I do remember having a larger windows laptop, with the lid opened it used a huge landing strip of space on the table!


Windows Laptop comparison
Why such a fuss about photos?
I think I just got stung with the Zenbook 14, on windows 10, I bought. The photo UI was terrible. Huge borders, and the photos displayed on the screen was literally the size of post cards on a crappy screen. (Crappy screen for photos that its.)


Cheers
Martin
 
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Marty_Macfly

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 26, 2020
319
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Hi Guys,

OCD me, I’ve just measured the extended footprint of the Ipad 12.9 versus the Zenbook 14 of mine.

The Ipad is a significant 5cm shorter in depth, with both lids opened to the normal viewing angle.
(28cm, compared to the Zenbook’s 33cm.)

The Ipad is also slightly higher up off the table. Good to keep the expensive tech off the surface in case of coffee spills etc!
(3.5cm, compared to the Zenbook’s 2.5cm.)



In terms of visible screen:

Zenbook 14

Height: 17.5 cm
Width: 31.0cm
Diagonal screen: 14 Inches (35.5cm)

Ipad
Height: 19.5cm
Width: 26.2cm
Diagonal screen: 12.75 inches (32.4cm)


Comparison:
Ipad is 2cm Taller - Great for Iphone photos
Ipad is 5.2cm narrower - Rubbish for TV Viewing. I get Significant top and bottom chins, when going into Full screen mode.
 
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Ray2

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
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The best size for photos is the largest. Since mobility does not appear to be a criteria, get whatever model offers the largest display. Aspect ratio is dependent on the source of the image file and what you like. Only you can answer that.
 
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Madonepro

macrumors 6502
Mar 16, 2011
385
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Best size is any size MBP. Then just an external monitor of your sizing...
 
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Marty_Macfly

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 26, 2020
319
85
Hi Guys,

hhhhmmmm.....

I just measured the Diagonal screen size on the Zenbook 14. Tada, its 14 inches - hence the name! Doh. Have updated my measurements above.


Ahhhh.... really hoping the next iteration of the Mackbook air is 14 inches as well.

If the current MBA is 13.3 diagonal inches visible screen, compared to my current Zenbook 14’s 14 inches - That’s onto a loser already :rolleyes:


Cheers
Martin
 
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