September 23, 2014, 06:45:36 AM

Author Topic: Thinking of getting a Mac Air or a MacBook Pro...can't decide, thoughts?  (Read 11915 times)

Northstar

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I was looking to pick up a Mac Air because I want something light and convenient for viewing and editing photos in the field...but then I noticed the Retina display on the MacBook Pro, the resolution is so much greater than the Air...and more power.

It would be mainly for viewing and editing photos in Aperture and Nik....and surfing the web.

Any thoughts from owners of either would be appreciated.
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neuroanatomist

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I have a 13" MB Air and a 17" MB Pro (wish they'd bring that back - especially as a Retina display!).  If you travel, or want to use it on the go, the Air is awesome.  I'm not sure I'd want to do much serious editing on even a 15" display, retina or not.  Budget permitting, get the Air and a 27" Thunderbolt Display to use with it at home. Max out the RAM, and for extra storage at home consider a Thunderbolt HDD.
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acoll123

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I have a 17" MBP that is almost 4 years old. It has been great but is now slow in comparison to contemporary models and is missing a few things like USB 3, thunderbolt and solid state drives (although I could add them). I have heard that a new version of the MBP is coming out this fall and I plan to replace mine then. I looked at the MBA but it doesn't have as many connection port as the MBP and not as much internal storage. I have an external CF Card reader, an external HDD, an external monitor, a second external HDD for off-site backup and need a network connection. When I looked at the MBA, I couldn't plug in everything at once unless I also bought an apple monitor that I could use to daisy chain some other peripherals.

I think the speed on either would be fine for Aperture (what I used for editing and storage). Definitely get a large display for editing.

RLPhoto

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The MBP would be more robust and will take longer to outgrow. Its a better long-term decision.

cayenne

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I was looking to pick up a Mac Air because I want something light and convenient for viewing and editing photos in the field...but then I noticed the Retina display on the MacBook Pro, the resolution is so much greater than the Air...and more power.

It would be mainly for viewing and editing photos in Aperture and Nik....and surfing the web.

Any thoughts from owners of either would be appreciated.

A quick question. Is this going to be a secondary computer, just for taking out and about in the field.....and that you have a more robust computer at home for heavy duty processing, etc?

That makes a difference.

If it is your sole primary computer, I'd say get the MBP...but if you already have one or something more powerful at home, then sure, a macbook air is a nice secondary computer, but for me, certainly not powerful enough for the real "work" I like to do with photoshop, and with editing videos.

Remember a lot of the Adobe products in particular, are heavy users of the GPU and a good bit of RAM....so, check the specs on the Air...it may not have enough muscle if you planning on doing anything more than light editing and mostly image review, like you mentioned.

cayenne

neuroanatomist

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I have a 17" MBP that is almost 4 years old. It has been great but is now slow in comparison to contemporary models and is missing a few things like USB 3, thunderbolt and solid state drives (although I could add them).

I just put a 960 GB SSD in my MPB, major perfomance boost and definitely worth while.

I looked at the MBA but it doesn't have as many connection port as the MBP and not as much internal storage. I have an external CF Card reader, an external HDD, an external monitor, a second external HDD for off-site backup and need a network connection. When I looked at the MBA, I couldn't plug in everything at once unless I also bought an apple monitor that I could use to daisy chain some other peripherals.

With the MBA, it's best to have an external display for use at home, anyway.  I have ethernet, a FW800 HDD with a FW CF reader daisy-chained, USB cable for iPhone, etc., all plugged into the Thunderbolt Display, and since the keyboard/trackpad are bluetooth, I just set the MBA on the display's stand base and connect power and Thunderbolt, and everything is good to go. 

You could also consider Belkin's Thunderbolt Express Dock. 
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Woot had the 17 in Mac Book Pro refurbished for $1500 yesterday.  Sold out pretty quickly though.

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sjp010

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I have a 2011 Macbook Air (13") and a 2012 Retina Macbook Pro (15").  I also have the Thunderbolt display for use at work.  Both have their plusses and minuses:

MBA: Significantly smaller while still quite powerful.  When it was my primary computer, I rarely felt constricted power-wise, although I admit I was not doing heavy post-processing of images back then.  The display is good - I was quite satisfied with the display until I got....

MBP: Retina display is really stunning - images look amazing on it.  It is worth getting this machine for the display alone.  On paper, it has a lot more power, but I'm not sure it feels THAT much more powerful than the MBA.  It is substantially heavier and bulkier than MBA - more so than a comparison of the weight stats might lead you to believe.  I recommend going to an Apple store and hefting both of them before you buy.

My advice: if you're going to move it around a lot, go MBA - max it out in CPU and RAM, and get the biggest SSD you can afford.  Also get a Thunderbolt display, if you can afford that as well.  If the quality of the display on the computer itself is most important to you - or you don't want to mess with docking - MBP is the way to go.

Northstar

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I think you've helped everyone...I do have the 2011 iMac retina 27inch, so for field work the Air might be all I need

I'm thinking as long as the power of a Mac Air is good enough for editing /handling RAW files, then I should be good to go....advice on maxing out the air is prob good.

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Depends if your going to edit with it on the road. Personally the 13" pro retina is pretty close to the price of the 13" Air.

Best Buy has a sale now and if you know someone in college they can get a coupon for another $100 off any MacBook air/pro.

The Air is nice in size but I found the 13" pro worth it and especially calibrated shows 98-99% rgb so you will be able to make better judgments on your photo's in the field. The weight difference is .57 lbs. I decided to go for the 15" pro with 256gb ssd for travel since I do not travel that much and the dedicated graphics helps a ton when you want to edit and there is not an external monitor available.

After having them all. I love the 15" and it screams when you need to process images in lightroom compared to the others.
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bycostello

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Re: Thinking of getting a Mac Air or a MacBook Pro...can't decide, thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2013, 02:12:59 PM »
despite the weight i love my 17' mac book pro.... has the processing power for editing and storage...   

Northstar

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Re: Thinking of getting a Mac Air or a MacBook Pro...can't decide, thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2013, 06:29:09 PM »
update...

at best buy i was able to spend time comparing restart, start up, shut down, application opening, and web surfing speeds on an Air and a Pro side by side...the air is actually faster in restart and start up/shutdown (must be newer and faster flash??)  but the PRO was still slightly faster on the web and in launching applications....on the web it was less than a second difference on average, opening iphoto was a full one second diff. 

overall....very little diff in speed in these simple tests

i'm not techie, but is it possible that the high res retina display has a significant negative impact on overall speed?
 
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Janbo Makimbo

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Re: Thinking of getting a Mac Air or a MacBook Pro...can't decide, thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2013, 09:09:45 PM »
Get the Mac Book Pro - its more manly!!!!

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Re: Thinking of getting a Mac Air or a MacBook Pro...can't decide, thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2013, 09:09:45 PM »

KKCFamilyman

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Re: Thinking of getting a Mac Air or a MacBook Pro...can't decide, thoughts?
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2013, 11:53:32 PM »
update...

at best buy i was able to spend time comparing restart, start up, shut down, application opening, and web surfing speeds on an Air and a Pro side by side...the air is actually faster in restart and start up/shutdown (must be newer and faster flash??)  but the PRO was still slightly faster on the web and in launching applications....on the web it was less than a second difference on average, opening iphoto was a full one second diff. 

overall....very little diff in speed in these simple tests

i'm not techie, but is it possible that the high res retina display has a significant negative impact on overall speed?
 

No. The air's ulv are less powerful as of the 2013 to give the battery life. But really depends on if your using LR or PS then you want a 100% rgb ips screen the retina 13/15 offer. I personally love my 15 and have had them all. The air is under powered and covers only 65-70% rgb plus its a Tn panel. When I look for any device for my photo's i want it to display all the colors not cut out colors.
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pwp

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Re: Thinking of getting a Mac Air or a MacBook Pro...can't decide, thoughts?
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2013, 12:35:57 AM »
Get the Mac Book Pro - its more manly!!!!

Errrm, more heavy...

13inch MBA           Weight: 1.35 kg (2.96 pounds)
13inch MBP Retina Weight: 1.62 kg (3.57 pounds)
13inch MBP           Weight: 2.06 kg (4.5 pounds)

I have a 13 inch MBP, but if buying right now, I'd get the Air.

-PW
« Last Edit: August 17, 2013, 12:38:52 AM by pwp »

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Re: Thinking of getting a Mac Air or a MacBook Pro...can't decide, thoughts?
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2013, 12:35:57 AM »