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While we're talking photography... PC or Mac!?

heavymentalheavymental Posts: 2,010
edited November 2012 in The cake stop
My old laptop is struggling under the load of working with big files on Photoshop so I started thinking about an upgrade. Obviously after 2 minutes of looking I am hit with the PC v Mac debate. Given that I already use PS and have always had a PC, what benefit would I actually get from using a Mac? I don't use PS that heavily (layers, masks, slight retouching) and know my way around the features that I use and I'm happy with it. It's purely the fact that it freezes up due to big RAW files where my problem lies.

Also I not long bought a new monitor that I run alongside my laptop for photo editing so I'm not that keen to shell out on an iMac given that I only just bought the new screen.
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  • davieseedaviesee Posts: 6,473
    edited September 2012
    Can of worms.

    May as well ask Campag or Shimano; Canon or Nikon.......

    FWIW I use both and prefer Mac. You pay extra but I think it is worth it in the long run, i.e. 5-8 years.
    My oldest Macbook Pro is 8 years old and still handles everything thrown at it.

    Software licenses can be transferred so you could keep using what you have, including Photoshop.
    The major bugbear that most people have is Microsoft Office. I don't think it is transferable and it can be quite expensive. The Mac version (Pages, Keynote, Numbers) is relatively cheap and does all I want including converting but people that use Office heavily say the it is not up to the job and the conversions aren't 100%. Then again, I got a cheap version of Office (Edit:- Office for Mac) from work anyway.
    As you have a screen you may get away with just getting a Mac Mini but I haven't looked at the specs.

    As I said, can of worms and people will no doubt jump on the cost and fan boys but I won't be going back to PC. The differences at a bit intangible but somehow - better.
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • mfinmfin Posts: 6,724
    One things for sure... a mac out of the box will give you far better colour accuracy on screen with no mucking about. (in the case of iMacs or any Mac runnng a Mac screen).
  • team47bteam47b Posts: 6,424
    What do you mean by 'big' files?
    my isetta is a 300cc bike
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    Definitely Mac

    What do I mean by big files? 60mb
  • estampidaestampida Posts: 1,008
    the main difference is that you cannot really upgrade a mac once bought so you need to spend big money to get top spec

    the old powermac's (last time I had 1) if you wanted to upgrade anything you needed to but a new OS.... and new Bios as it would not recognise what had been done to it........

    they have changed aspects of this but I like being able to upgrade ram by simply taking a cover off and reading what type it is then buying bigger ram on ebay.......
  • they have changed aspects of this but I like being able to upgrade ram by simply taking a cover off and reading what type it is then buying bigger ram on ebay.......


    amazingly thats just how i upgraded the ram on my mac mini

    and my old g5 powermac
    'dont forget lads, one evertonian is worth twenty kopites'
  • The OrsThe Ors Posts: 130
    estampida wrote:
    the old powermac's (last time I had 1) if you wanted to upgrade anything you needed to but a new OS.... and new Bios as it would not recognise what had been done to it........

    WTF? :D Not true of any PowerMac I've ever had.

    To the OP: I prefer Mac but unless you're a Pro photographer I guess you won't see much difference PS wise.
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    The better question, photography wise, is what do you use for post-production? Lightroom? Aperture? Picasa? Other?
  • davieseedaviesee Posts: 6,473
    Hoopdriver wrote:
    The better question, photography wise, is what do you use for post-production? Lightroom? Aperture? Picasa? Other?
    The OP said his current machine was struggling with large files on Photoshop - so Photoshop.

    If that was a general question, I use Capture NX but that is purely because I shoot in Nikon raw NEF.
    If I used any other brand I would probably go for Lightroom.
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • Shimano, Nikon, Mac, but we have PC as well as 2 Macs in the house with Photoshop on all 3.

    The new retina screens on Macs look lovely and I would have thought would be great for photos.

    FWIW I use photoshop (elements 8) on my macbook pro, but much prefer iPhoto which is simple to use and does most of what I do. I find that non-Apple software sometimes doesn't work as well which is probably as much to explain why I use iPhoto. A lot of Mac-users I know use Aperture because of that, and for me, I find the older version of CS2 on my PC is brilliant and actually easy to use. Elements does open most files including NEF though.

    We got fed up with the constant problems with our main PC, losing hard-drives and getting viruses, malware and trojans. We have used Macs and MacBooks (and iPhones and iPods) with no worries for 3 years now. You can upgrade Macs relatively easily if it just updating RAM - they're Intel-based and there are plenty of them about. RAW files are big enough to make you think about your RAM.
  • Personally I would go with a midrange PC and spend as much as possible on an IPS screen. A well calibrated screen is more crucial than the speed of editing files, if you do not get the photo correct on screen, how can you produce a decent print? A HP ZR2740w would be a good starting point.
  • The best thing to have when edited big RAW files is RAM, lots of it, and a dedicated graphics card.
  • Thanks all. To clarify, by big files I mean I am converting RAW to JPEG and then dealing with these in PS. They work out as between 10 and 20mb per image. When I start to add layers or blend 2 images it's too much for my 2gb memory to handle. I have to wait for it to catch up which can take a couple of minutes. Frustrating. I want to work with TIFF files but it would be way too much to deal with blending 2 TIFF files at the moment.

    The monitor I bought is a decent Viewsonic IPS screen so I'm not looking for a monitor upgrade as such.

    The HP here http://whatlaptop.techradar.com/2012/05 ... otography/ looked like a good idea as it comes with PS (and I'm currently running CS which is quite old now). But then at around about a grand, I could get an Apple. Hmmm.
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    Apple really does handle image processing very, very well. It is pretty much the standard in publishing circles.
  • Hoopdriver wrote:
    Apple really does handle image processing very, very well. It is pretty much the standard in publishing circles.

    See, I don't know that I really understand what that means? Is it just that it's easier to use for editing? I'm happy with the fact that over the last year I've learnt how to use a number of functions on PS so I use these and have no problems... apart from the speed. Is it the whole 'intagible' useablility that makes the difference?
  • BozmanBozman Posts: 2,570
    Just go in any media room at a sports event and you'll find that 90%+ use macs.
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    I have been writing and shooting for magazines for many years, and yes, just about everything is Mac.
  • davieseedaviesee Posts: 6,473
    Thanks all. To clarify, by big files I mean I am converting RAW to JPEG and then dealing with these in PS. They work out as between 10 and 20mb per image. When I start to add layers or blend 2 images it's too much for my 2gb memory to handle. I have to wait for it to catch up which can take a couple of minutes. Frustrating. I want to work with TIFF files but it would be way too much to deal with blending 2 TIFF files at the moment.

    The monitor I bought is a decent Viewsonic IPS screen so I'm not looking for a monitor upgrade as such.

    The HP here http://whatlaptop.techradar.com/2012/05 ... otography/ looked like a good idea as it comes with PS (and I'm currently running CS which is quite old now). But then at around about a grand, I could get an Apple. Hmmm.
    Regardless of which screen you have, you really need to calibrate it with a proper calibration tool & software. The built in versions just are not good enough for quality photography levels.
    RAM = speed. See if you can upgrade the RAM in your current machine first. That said, the 2GB RAM in my 8 year old Macbook Pro handles just what you are trying to do. Maybe that ties in with why the media types mostly use Macs, they can handle what is thrown at them.
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • I upgraded my RAM from 1gb to 2gb but as it's a fairly basic Acer laptop, that was as much memory upgrade as it allowed.

    Ok ok. So what about editing packages? I typically do my initial sharpening and cropping in Canon DPP software, convert to JPEG, then open in PS CS1 to use unsharp mask, layers/layer masks and some slight clone stamping and other touch ups. I'd like to be able to open multiple RAW images for layer blending and editing. But this is my current workflow. What software am I going to need for these fairly undemanding tasks?
  • heavymentalheavymental Posts: 2,010
    I'm leaning towards a new laptop to be honest. I've got a decent enough IPS monitor and as I'm happy enough with using PS on a PC, I think I'm going to stick with it and get something with a load of memory and good graphics card. I'm not going to shell out £1700 on a 27" iMac and my current screen is bigger than the 21.5" iMac. I don't want to run 2 big screens. I also don't want to get a Minimac and have to buy all the peripherals.

    I can't really see how I would be able to get noticeably better results on my pictures. I think that liasing with the person who does my printing will be just as effective in getting correct colour calibration.

    Seems to make sense!?
  • Graham.Graham. Posts: 862
    Hoopdriver wrote:
    Try Lightroom 4.1
    Just got the Lightroom upgrade. Won't work on XP!
    More bloody expense. :evil:
  • davieseedaviesee Posts: 6,473
    .........I also don't want to get a Minimac and have to buy all the peripherals.

    I can't really see how I would be able to get noticeably better results on my pictures. I think that liasing with the person who does my printing will be just as effective in getting correct colour calibration.

    Seems to make sense!?
    What peripherals?
    I would rather be in control of my post production in every aspect.
    Other than that, fair enough.
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • heavymentalheavymental Posts: 2,010
    Peripherals.. keyboard, mouse, external CD/DVD drive, immediate memory upgrade.
  • mfin wrote:
    One things for sure... a mac out of the box will give you far better colour accuracy on screen with no mucking about. (in the case of iMacs or any Mac runnng a Mac screen).
    Not sure this is generally true. A friend of mine has a gorgeous iMac - had never done any serious photo editing on it, and had no reason to think there was any problem with the display... until she got a camera, and discovered the truth. Then, after I calibrated it for her with my Huey Pantone Pro, it looked a lot more natural, and the prints started to look like how the images looked on the screen.

    Returning to the OP's question, for what it's worth, I'd suggest that if the OP is already familiar with Windows PCs, there'll be no disadvantage sticking with Windows when he moves to a machine with a lot more grunt. It was certainly true in the past that in comparison with Mac, Windows was clunky and unreliable, but from Windows 7 onwards, this is a lot less true. My WIndows 7 PC (on which I do a lot of software dev as well as photo editing using CS5) often goes weeks without rebooting).

    It's horses for courses - if you want beautiful aesthetics, and you're happy to pay for it and have very little ability to upgrade it yourself, go for Mac. Or, if you want to pay less, have more control over the spec and installed software, but still have something very functional, go for a Windows machine.

    Incidentally, if you're shooting raw, and have Photoshop, you'll generally be better off using ACR to do the initial edits, then open in PS, do all the edits on the opened file (saving as .PSD along the way), and then convert to JPG at the very end, after resizing for whatever medium you plan to display in.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • I can't really see how I would be able to get noticeably better results on my pictures. I think that liasing with the person who does my printing will be just as effective in getting correct colour calibration.
    Indeed.

    Anyone that claims that Mac or PC is intrinsically better for photography these days is simply talking nonsense. Monitor calibration is just as important for both, and will go most of the way towards getting prints that look like you expect.

    Using specific colour profiles as required by some of the print houses is a function of the software, not the hardware, and any recent version of Photoshop will be able to handle that just fine.

    The most important things are:

    - calibrate your monitor
    - read the requirements specified by the print shop, and comply with them
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    I can't really see how I would be able to get noticeably better results on my pictures. I think that liasing with the person who does my printing will be just as effective in getting correct colour calibration.
    Indeed.

    Anyone that claims that Mac or PC is intrinsically better for photography these days is simply talking nonsense. Monitor calibration is just as important for both, and will go most of the way towards getting prints that look like you expect.

    Using specific colour profiles as required by some of the print houses is a function of the software, not the hardware, and any recent version of Photoshop will be able to handle that just fine.

    The most important things are:

    - calibrate your monitor
    - read the requirements specified by the print shop, and comply with them
    Monitor calibration is indeed important for both, but you still need a machine that is capable of handling large photo snd video files quickly and efficiently and by and large Mac seems to do better at this. Certainly it is the preferred choice if the overwhelming number of people in publishing and professional photographers.
  • Hoopdriver wrote:
    ... but you still need a machine that is capable of handling large photo and video files quickly and efficiently and by and large Mac seems to do better at this.
    This may be true - but given that most Macs used for professional or semi-pro photo editing are much more powerful than most PCs, it's hard to make an unbiased assessment that it's because they're Macs, rather than because they're already specced to be powerful with lots of memory.
    Certainly it is the preferred choice if the overwhelming number of people in publishing and professional photographers.
    Yes, I'm sure that's still true, and historically there were very good reasons for that. Of course, any pro shop that had Macs originally will inevitably continue to use them, simply because it's a lot easier to stick with what you're familiar with.

    I'm not knocking Macs at all - all I'm saying is that for someone already used to Windows, with a Windows copy of PS, there's no compelling reason to switch to Mac other than aesthetics if you're that way inclined.

    A Sandybridge (or IvyBridge now) PC or laptop, preferably with an SSD, will do the job just fine, providing it has a good lot of memory - which is dirt cheap these days anyway - and the 64 bit version of Windows.

    FWIW, I use Windows 7 on a Intel Core i7 2600K, with an SSD and 16GB of memory. I process 70MB TIFFs (I'm in the process of scanning a lot of negs with a Nikon dedicated negative scanner) and 20MB raw files (from my Pentax K5) all the time using CS5, and it's absolutely fine.

    SSD and lots of memory will make by far the most difference these days.

    Oh, and a high-end 3D graphics card is definitely not required.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • Daz555Daz555 Posts: 4,040
    Hoopdriver wrote:
    Monitor calibration is indeed important for both, but you still need a machine that is capable of handling large photo snd video files quickly and efficiently and by and large Mac seems to do better at this.
    Which Mac and of which specification.

    As long as the software you require is available on your platform of choice it really does not matter if you choose Mac or Windows or even Linux.

    A Windows box is a bit more flexible but you should really just choose the operating system you like best.
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
    If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.
    If it shouldn't move and does, use the tape.
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    Daz555 wrote:
    Hoopdriver wrote:
    Monitor calibration is indeed important for both, but you still need a machine that is capable of handling large photo snd video files quickly and efficiently and by and large Mac seems to do better at this.
    Which Mac and of which specification.

    As long as the software you require is available on your platform of choice it really does not matter if you choose Mac or Windows or even Linux.

    A Windows box is a bit more flexible but you should really just choose the operating system you like best.
    To this all I can say is that in many many years of working with some of the world best magazines and photographers I cannot, off the top of my head anyway, recall any of them using anything other than Macs
    Must be coincidence...
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