Why are Macs better for Photography?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by appledu, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. appledu macrumors member


    Jun 16, 2006
    Somewhere. I don't remember ...
    Hello all,

    Yes, I'm on a PC, but will most probably be buying a Mac at the end of the year.

    Anyway, what I wanted to know is why are Macs better than PCs for photography?

    I plan on starting taking serious pics (digital SLR) and will be taking an introduction class to photography next year...but if all the major applications, such as Photoshop are available on both, why would a Mac be considered better?

    I know it's the "artist's computer", but is there a specific reason?

    I guess this question could also relate to other artistic domains, such as design or film directing......why the Mac?

  2. irishgrizzly macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2006
    I'm not sure if they are. More people in the creative field use them, so historically it was always easier to swap files if you also owned a mac.

    Maybe the colorsync system – if configured correctly it can ensure good colour reproduction between camera/photoshop/printer. Although maybe this is now on PC (haven't used one in years, so don't know).
  3. Super Macho Man macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

    Jul 24, 2006
    Hollywood, CA
    Aside from the better/easier color management, Macs have Aperture, PCs don't. There are some niche photo utilities/PS plugins that the PC has that the Mac doesn't, and vice versa. If you heard that Macs are better for photography you probably heard it from a Mac user. If you heard that that's not true, you probably heard that from a PC user... so there you go.
  4. tipdrill407 macrumors 6502

    May 26, 2006
    Many "creative" apps like photoshop are written for macs first, and then they are ported to windows. Theoretically these apps will run better on macs because they were originally designed for OS X.
  5. bucho macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2006
    Speaking as an amateur, I can tell you that software geared for the non-professional user is far superior than anything I've found on a PC. I don't really play with photography as much as video, but it's as simple as plugging in my camera (MiniDV or still camera) and everything just flows from raw data to finished product without the purchase of additional software and without a cerebral hemorrhage.

    This is what I miss most on my PC (I am currently macless, a horrible, horrible situation which will be remedied soon).
  6. CANEHDN macrumors 6502a


    Dec 12, 2005
    Eagle Mountain, UT
    It use to be the RISC Processors that set them aside. RISC was a faster processor when it came to editing video and images as well rendering. Now, since they are using Intel Processors, it's going to be the OS. It's a faster OS with less problems. This is in addition to bucho's response. Imaging software will play a huge roll.
  7. spetznatz macrumors regular


    Jan 5, 2006
    Really, it all boils down to colour management. Macs were always much better at this than PCs. What the difference is now, I don't know. When I taught Photoshop to photographers (onPCs, 3 yrs ago) colour management was a total nightmare... those students who had iBooks/PowerBooks -- I was able to show them how to set up a ColorSync loop fairly easily.

    It would have been nice, though, if Apple could have provided some sort of system to enable the ********s to easily understand the concept of resolution...
  8. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    At the high-end, I don't think there is that much of a difference. Macs have Aperture, Adobe makes Lightroom for both platforms.

    But, at the low and mid-levels -- iPhoto run circles around anything in the PC world. iLife is the #1 most wanted software suite from PC users for its ease of use but powerful functionality.
  9. hal0n macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2004
    core video and video processing in general (to your display) is a lot more elegant and refined. look at your raws back to back on pcs and macs... the mac makes me look like a pro photographer. before my switch back (i had a classic back in the day) i ran some pretty high end pc video cards and even the low-end unit in my 12" pb blew them away. sure, the pc was ultimately faster rendering the image but it wouldn't render it with as much detail. as if the system (windows) used a fairly lossy rendering engine to speed up the process.

    just my experience, no tech facts to back it up...
  10. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    Both platforms will serve you well, I think. Many who use Mac OS X thinks the OS increases productivity because it's intuitive and stays out of the way letting you do your work, while Windows is generally higher maintenance.
  11. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    I don't know about all the creative stuff but I did my chemistry degree on a Mac.

    Stabler, able to run Unix apps, more efficient workflow and a more consistent output - everything I need in one little package.

    All my profs used Macs, the only Windows machines were the ones the post-grad students were using because they didn't have a choice. A few of the labs had PCs for the special software but most of them were Unix stations.

    So it's not just the creative area where Macs are generally better.

    EDIT: Oh and the historical reason for the domination of Macs in creative design:

    POSTSCRIPT. Macs had the first User Interface that allowed artists to design on the computer convert to a digital format and print without anything changing. WYSIWYG was the original Mac "killer feature," artists could do their work without having to worry about different programs or printers (the Apple LaserWriter was instrumental here) altering the colours or layout of their work. Windows took a very long time to catch up.
  12. KingYaba macrumors 68040


    Aug 7, 2005
    Up the irons
  13. Heb1228 macrumors 68020


    Feb 3, 2004
    Virginia Beach, VA
    OS stability and reliability are major factors that make Macs better for any type of work, photography included. Color management has been mentioned several times - from the on-screen reproduction to print out. Software like iPhoto and Aperture make editing more accessible. Apple seems to be much more concerned with giving you ways to share your photos as well, between integrated photo books, web publishing, and email, DVD slideshow burning, exporting to Quicktime, all pretty much right out of the box. I think its a much simpler workflow.

    I think gekko said it well by saying Mac OS X lets you work and the computer get out of your way.
  14. Caitlyn macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2005
    Aside from the nice features of iPhoto, you have iMovie and Aperture which you can use for slideshows, editing, etc. The Mac isn't neccessarily better for photography. Just better for creative professionals in general, ie. web design/coding, movie editing, graphic art, etc. Plus it's easier and more fun. :p Hehe...
  15. ccroo macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2004
    Gamma Curves?

    Artistic folk like that Macs are cool looking and the OS is cool looking.

    I hate the fact that Macs and PC's have different gamma curves. I share photos using iWeb. I color correct on my Mac and they look great. Pull them up on a PC and they are dark and dismal looking. But who wants to color correct to PC gamma when you're working on a Mac? No fun.
  16. milozauckerman macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2005
    The Apple arts rep is inertia - what you found in desktop publishing/design back in the day were Macs, and you did your high school newspaper layout on a Mac, and when you went to college your arts department was Mac-centric, and from there on out... Adobe's creative products are still heavily tied to the Mac mindset.

    Generally, however, there's nothing you can do on a Mac that can't be done on a PC (video and 3d stuff may be different, I don't do them) because Adobe apps are available on both, and other products cover other areas. My Spyder2 Pro calibration software has Windows drivers, and my Epson and Nikon scanners actually get faster updates on Windows drivers and software.


    With your dSLR, you're mainly going to be looking at two programs (actually three, but we'll get to that). Photoshop has long been the most widely used program by photographers. Anything you can do in a darkroom is available - and easier, if you've got the right tools (Wacom tablets are your friend).

    For digital images specifically, there are two recent programs (and several others that aren't as widely used) - Aperture and Lightroom. Both take your RAW images, process them, group them and let you make larger adjustments - cropping, sharpening, color correcting, converting, etc.. You can't do as much localized work in terms of dodging, burning, masking. (Personally, Aperture can't get within 500k of my white balance using the dropper or auto balance. Lightroom nails it the first time, but is slower in general.) Photoshop and Lightroom are both available in Windows, all three are available in OS X.

    If you're taking a university intro photography course, I pray to god they're going to make you learn to shoot, develop and print black and white film as the basics. Photoshop and Lightroom are excellent tools, but seeing my first print come up in the Dektol was spectacular (nb: your professor will tell you to leave the print face down in the Dektol for 30 seconds - don't listen, if you do that you don't get to see the image appear and that never gets old)
  17. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    Ask the pro photogs in this photo I took of Fenway Park. Two Powerbook/MBPs in the photo.

    The irony of stadium sponsorship by Nikon, but 6 Canon cameras being used...:p
  18. macaddicted macrumors regular


    Jul 23, 2002
    Down on Copperline...
    I agree wholeheartedly. I would go even farther, suggesting that students be allowed to use only a single fixed focal length lens. Moving a few paces forward or back, left or right can make a huge difference. But if you have never learned that lesson but depend on zooming in or out you will never reach your full potential as a photographer.

    BTW, Macs are always better just because. :D
  19. elbirth macrumors 65816

    Jan 19, 2006
    North Carolina, US
    This sums up the majority of it for me regarding photography. It also is one of the primary reasons why I like my Mac much more than my PCs. When a program decides to crash on Windows, it takes the whole system with it; and if it doesn't crash the whole system, it at least freezes the whole thing up while it's closing or recovering. This kills productivity. Not to mention that the "End Task" option doesn't work a lot of times.

    On the Mac, when something is crashing, generally everything else is fine and the computer isn't slowed to a crawl. Force Quit almost always immediately closes the problem app and you can restart it.

    I actually haven't done a ton of photo editing on my Mac... I've only had one since February and the most I did was shooting for the campus newspaper which required me to not edit things on my end... simply turn them in. I haven't shot much since graduation, but what editing I have done has been seemless.
  20. mduser63 macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2004
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I'm not really a photographer, although I do use iPhoto for my personal pictures, and as a web designer I end up having to deal with large numbers of photos/images fairly regularly.

    Anyway, one reason I think the Mac is better for photography (and most things in general) is that the UI is much better designed for multitasking. Windows still retains much of its heritage as essentially a single-task OS. The poor drag-and-drop support and emphasis on the maximize function are two symptoms of this. The Mac on other hand includes pervasive drag-and-drop functionality. Even many experience Mac users don't realize all the things that can be done with drag and drop. In general working with multiple applications and transfering data/files back and forth between them is faster and more efficient on a Mac.

    Another big one for me is Applescript. I've got scripts that do all kinds of things. I've even got a script that will automatically scale photos to both thumbnail and "full-size" sizes, then write HTML to create multi-page web galleries based on a changeable template. Of course this kind of thing can be done in other languages, but AppleScript is both easy to comprehend because of it's natural-language syntax, and unique in it's ability to harness the power of other applications. Most good Mac applications (including Photoshop and MS Office) include Applescript support. If you do get a Mac, I recommend picking up a book on Applescript. I think you'll find it very useful. Automator also is good for this sort of thing, although compared to Applescript it is VERY severly limited.

    I guess my point is that unlike some of the posters here, I don't think the Mac's reputation as being better for media professionals is based just on history and tradition. I think the Mac continues to have very real advantages that make it more efficient and better-suited to media creation than Windows.
  21. xwingsct macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2006
    Mac must own Hollywood. Almost 95% of the shows or movies that I've seen where they show poeple using computer it's always Mac. Sex and the city for instance. It must be the glowing Apple logo in the back of the macbook that make it look cool :)
  22. tipdrill407 macrumors 6502

    May 26, 2006
    It's actually a powerbook.
  23. appledu thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 16, 2006
    Somewhere. I don't remember ...
    Thanks for all the responses...

    I'm doing an online basic introduction course, and the software is Photoshop Elements 4.

    I know that some of you may not consider this "pro" enough, but it's OK for me...:p

    Are there any other courses given online (either from UK or US) that are worthwhile?

  24. weg macrumors 6502a


    Mar 29, 2004
    I think that's bogus.. do you have any benchmarks supporting that claim?
  25. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    althought i'm absolutely clueless about scripting, this is a fantastic post..some great feedback.

    os stability, UI interface and the drag and drop features of a superior OS competely increase workflow capabilities. i cringe when i have to work on my pc b/c it doesn't even have expose. and i love colour coding things (if this can be done on an xp, i have no clue :)

    plus, i would think there is a level of prestige working on a mac b/c it's so much better. ie. i tell people what i do (no photography ironically, but video/dvd work) and 9 times out of 10, they say, "Oh..you must be on a mac."


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