Which MacBook Pro for new photographer

Gooberton

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Jun 20, 2010
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hey guys , can you recommend (if anyone has done a lot of photo editing) which MacBook Pro I should go with? My wife is a photographer and I’m joining her shooting and opening her (our) new studio. I will be basically editing daily but need the portability of a laptop taking it from studio home and on location if need be. She has a Mac at home but its starting to run slow. With all the options I know I want at least 16gb ram but what else would slow my work flow down if I don’t have. Please anyone with experience help me out before I purchase in the next week or two!! Thanks!!
 

Howard2k

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Mar 10, 2016
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Maybe post some of equipment you’re using. APS-C based files will be far less demanding than Medium Format, for example.

All the same, I don’t think you’ll go wrong with a base 15”.
 

bill-p

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Jul 23, 2011
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What's your budget? Without any number to work with, I'd just say get a 15" and max out everything.

 
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Gooberton

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Maybe post some of equipment you’re using. APS-C based files will be far less demanding than Medium Format, for example.

All the same, I don’t think you’ll go wrong with a base 15”.
Sony a7rii and cannon 5d mark 4
[doublepost=1561732845][/doublepost]
What's your budget? Without any number to work with, I'd just say get a 15" and max out everything.

I should have specified sorry, budget is limited . Trying to get a few years future proof for least money but not the bare bones , basically what’s the least I can get away with
[doublepost=1561732971][/doublepost]
What's your budget? Without any number to work with, I'd just say get a 15" and max out everything.

I wonder if going low on storage is the best way to save money due to external hard drives
 

bill-p

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Jul 23, 2011
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Sorry, I was just messing with you.

For your use case, I'd say the 13" is enough. Photo editing is more CPU intensive and you won't need the GPU options in the 15" at all. I had A7Rii as well and the 13" was more than enough since it now has a quad-core CPU. If you want the extra 2" of screen real estate though, then do consider splurging some extra for the 15".



If your budget allows it, I'd highly recommend AppleCare+. If you drop the computer, break the screen, etc... just pay them and they'll give you a brand new one.

I don't think you'll need more than 512GB storage because it'd be better to backup your catalogs regularly to external drives. And external SSDs are getting cheaper and more reliable by the day.
 
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Howard2k

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Mar 10, 2016
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I would go with the base model.

For storage - I’m not a professional photographer, I’m an amateur, but I work professional in I.T. If you’re buying a 4TB SSD you have a workflow issue IMO. No matter how good you are behind the lens.

You got the nail on the head. Put the money towards external storage (HDD/SSD/NAS) and a backup system.
 
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am2am

macrumors member
Oct 15, 2011
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Go for 15 for photography. Believe me - every inch counts. As to the processor, speed etc - base model is ok but make sure you'll get 512 ssd (or more if can afford it).

I've got 2019 15" base model (with 512SSD) and I was happy with it (Sony a73 RAWs) , decided to return and invest in vega 20 as I also do some video editing. Then Macbook 16 rumors appeared .. probably will wait till October to see what happens.

Side observation - people are claiming photo editing is taxing mostly CPU. What I found out is my CPU was less than 50% but GPU was constantly at 100% during editing with Photos. Maybe with Lightroom is different.
 
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Gooberton

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Original poster
Jun 20, 2010
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Go for 15 for photography. Believe me - every inch counts. As to the processor, speed etc - base model is ok but make sure you'll get 512 ssd (or more if can afford it).

I've got 2019 15" base model (with 512SSD) and I was happy with it (Sony a73 RAWs) , decided to return and invest in vega 20 as I also do some video editing. Then Macbook 16 rumors appeared .. probably will wait till October to see what happens.

Side observation - people are claiming photo editing is taxing mostly CPU. What I found out is my CPU was less than 50% but GPU was constantly at 100% during editing with Photos. Maybe with Lightroom is different.
Yes I think 15 is a must
 

currahee2100

macrumors regular
Feb 9, 2009
172
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If you’re price sensitive, you can get the 13”, a Tbolt to hdmi adapter, and a new monitor for less than the 15” if you do a majority of editing at the desk.

Best Buy runs MacBook specials during holidays, you may want to check their site religiously for deals. I was able to get a 2018 MBP 13, 8GB/512GB for 1399
 

kp98077

macrumors 6502a
Oct 26, 2010
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yes you will want the 15" for sure! the 13" Is simply too small for your purposes, that being said, the baseline 15" 6 core should be fine for $2399.
 
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dwig

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Jan 4, 2015
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Personally, and run Ps daily and have done computer images since about the year 3BPS (before Photoshop), I feel screen real estate is very important and consider a 15" display too small for serious image editing unless you're only producing small images for web use, which would make the OP's camera choices a total waste of money.

Given the OP's camera choices and assuming their work takes advantage of the image quality and size they produce, my vote for equipment would be a 13" MBP with as much RAM as practical plus two 24" or larger external monitors, one at home and one at work. Add an appropriate hub/docking station, PD power supply, and mouse to each monitor and you end up with a decent large screen workstation both at home and in the studio while having a small portable device for travel between and when on location.
 

TommyBoy5

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Dec 6, 2010
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15" i7...512SSD...and then purchase a Samsung T5 512Gb SSD USB 3.1 external...$83 at Amazon...tiny...blazingly fast and just screams....now you've got 1Tb portable storage...
 
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Fishrrman

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Feb 20, 2009
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I would think that even a base model 15" MBPro would do fine for still photography.

If it was me (and I realize you are not "me"), I would check the Apple refurbished store and wait for a 2015-design MBPro 15". A keyboard that works right and ports that you can use without dongles, INCLUDING an SD card slot.
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
15" i7...512SSD...and then purchase a Samsung T5 512Gb SSD USB 3.1 external...$83 at Amazon...tiny...blazingly fast and just screams....now you've got 1Tb portable storage...
This is exactly what I did in 2015 when it was time for a new machine and I was not happy with the offerings in the iMac line at that time. I bought a 15" 2015 MBP with i7, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD, and supplemented that with (at that time) the Samsung T1 external SSD, and over the years moved to T3 and then T5 external SSDs. This has worked very well for me! I still have that machine, which unfortunately right now is at one of Apple's repair depots getting a top case/battery transplant as a result of Apple's recent recall. She served me very well as my workhorse for three and a half years and I don't intend to part with her any time soon, as now she comes in handy for various things and is frequently pressed into service for an archiving project I'm working on. Just mentioning all this to say that yes, a 15" with i7, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD can work out quite nicely with external SSDs to provide extra storage space.

That said, though, this past December I did purchase a 2018 15" MBP with i9, 32 GB RAM , Vega 20 and 1 TB SSD, and unsurprisingly, yes, it's a bit faster than the 2015 one and gives me the opportunity to use Samsung's X5 Thunderbolt 3 external SSDs now and in the future, too, which is great when one needs even more speed than the USB 3-based T5 SSDs. I don't use this for video, but I think that is why many purchasers would. I still continue to use my T5 external SSDs for most things, though, and they have been very useful for swapping data back-and-forth between machines. For travel they are ideal, since they are so small and lightweight. They come with two cables so it is simply a matter of switching cables when using one machine or the other. No dongles needed.....

For a while I also had a 13" MBP and I agree with others here that really, for photography, unless you are going to purchase and use a separate monitor with it, the 13" just does not provide quite the same amount of screen real estate that is needed and desirable when editing images, especially if doing them for paying clients. I use my 15" MBP for editing my images but they are only shared on the web and I only do this for my own pleasure as a hobby, I am not a professional photographer. I definitely would go with a 15" MBP! This offers the flexibility of being able to edit (say, on location) without an external monitor or to edit at home using an external monitor. Since this is for a business when tax time comes you will also be able to write off some of the expenses related to the purchase of the computer itself plus any additional equipment, too, of course.

Right now, I think it would make more sense to purchase a current model rather than looking back to 2015, especially since this IS for business. A current machine will serve you well into the next several years, and there should be no issues down the road for at least five or six years in terms of compatibility with whatever Apple's MacOS looks like at that time. Apparently the keyboard issues have been resolved for the 2018 and 2019 MBPs -- I haven't seen a barrage of complaints and so far I have not experienced any problems with the keyboard on my 2018 MBP. I also have had no issues with a need for dongles and adapters, as my printer is wireless and my external peripherals are also either wireless (BT) or have the USB-C connector on one end (including my SD card reader). My older external HDDs are not a problem, either -- I simply purchased the appropriate cables for them, with their native connector on one end and a USB-C connector on the other. I now can use them with either of the 15" MBPs as well as with my 12" MacBook. That said, I do have a couple of small, tiny little adapters that I keep in my travel kit for those occasions when I might need them; so far that has happened only one time.

Good luck with your decision and purchase! Let us know what you decide and how things work out.....
 
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Gooberton

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 20, 2010
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This is exactly what I did in 2015 when it was time for a new machine and I was not happy with the offerings in the iMac line at that time. I bought a 15" 2015 MBP with i7, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD, and supplemented that with (at that time) the Samsung T1 external SSD, and over the years moved to T3 and then T5 external SSDs. This has worked very well for me! I still have that machine, which unfortunately right now is at one of Apple's repair depots getting a top case/battery transplant as a result of Apple's recent recall. She served me very well as my workhorse for three and a half years and I don't intend to part with her any time soon, as now she comes in handy for various things and is frequently pressed into service for an archiving project I'm working on. Just mentioning all this to say that yes, a 15" with i7, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD can work out quite nicely with external SSDs to provide extra storage space.

That said, though, this past December I did purchase a 2018 15" MBP with i9, 32 GB RAM , Vega 20 and 1 TB SSD, and unsurprisingly, yes, it's a bit faster than the 2015 one and gives me the opportunity to use Samsung's X5 Thunderbolt 3 external SSDs now and in the future, too, which is great when one needs even more speed than the USB 3-based T5 SSDs. I don't use this for video, but I think that is why many purchasers would. I still continue to use my T5 external SSDs for most things, though, and they have been very useful for swapping data back-and-forth between machines. For travel they are ideal, since they are so small and lightweight. They come with two cables so it is simply a matter of switching cables when using one machine or the other. No dongles needed.....

For a while I also had a 13" MBP and I agree with others here that really, for photography, unless you are going to purchase and use a separate monitor with it, the 13" just does not provide quite the same amount of screen real estate that is needed and desirable when editing images, especially if doing them for paying clients. I use my 15" MBP for editing my images but they are only shared on the web and I only do this for my own pleasure as a hobby, I am not a professional photographer. I definitely would go with a 15" MBP! This offers the flexibility of being able to edit (say, on location) without an external monitor or to edit at home using an external monitor. Since this is for a business when tax time comes you will also be able to write off some of the expenses related to the purchase of the computer itself plus any additional equipment, too, of course.

Right now, I think it would make more sense to purchase a current model rather than looking back to 2015, especially since this IS for business. A current machine will serve you well into the next several years, and there should be no issues down the road for at least five or six years in terms of compatibility with whatever Apple's MacOS looks like at that time. Apparently the keyboard issues have been resolved for the 2018 and 2019 MBPs -- I haven't seen a barrage of complaints and so far I have not experienced any problems with the keyboard on my 2018 MBP. I also have had no issues with a need for dongles and adapters, as my printer is wireless and my external peripherals are also either wireless (BT) or have the USB-C connector on one end (including my SD card reader). My older external HDDs are not a problem, either -- I simply purchased the appropriate cables for them, with their native connector on one end and a USB-C connector on the other. I now can use them with either of the 15" MBPs as well as with my 12" MacBook. That said, I do have a couple of small, tiny little adapters that I keep in my travel kit for those occasions when I might need them; so far that has happened only one time.

Good luck with your decision and purchase! Let us know what you decide and how things work out.....
Wow, thats a comprehensive answer, thanks and that’s a lot to think about. The more I think about it ami agree. If I’m spending 1700 for say a mid range 13” I might as well go 2500 or maybe 2100 (on sale) for the 15”
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
It looks to me as though many of us here on this thread agree that the 15” MBP is the way to go, even though the cost will be higher initially. In the long run it will be worth it!

Yeah, I tend to be rather wordy.....LOL! However, when I’ve dealt with a particular situation and realize that someone else is wondering about this, that and the other, that it really can be helpful to throw out the particulars of my own real-life experience, which can then provide some food for thought, some insights and maybe guidance in making decisions.....

Glad to help!
 

Howard2k

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Mar 10, 2016
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It looks to me as though many of us here on this thread agree that the 15” MBP is the way to go, even though the cost will be higher initially. In the long run it will be worth it!

Yeah, I tend to be rather wordy.....LOL! However, when I’ve dealt with a particular situation and realize that someone else is wondering about this, that and the other, that it really can be helpful to throw out the particulars of my own real-life experience, which can then provide some food for thought, some insights and maybe guidance in making decisions.....

Glad to help!

Totally. I use a 13” and I love it. But I don’t use it professionally. If I did it would be a 15”, unless portability was absolutely critical.