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Author Topic: Laptops for photo editing and other use  (Read 24144 times)

7enderbender

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Laptops for photo editing and other use
« on: April 19, 2012, 05:10:01 PM »
Am I the only one who is frustrated by the limited choices available for high quality laptops? I currently use a dual core 2GB IBM/Lenovo T60 - the old kind with the 14" high resolution 4:3 ratio screen. I love that thing and it's my most used computer in the house. And I do 90% of my photo editing with it and usually don't even touch my desktop PC with its big screen and all.

The T60 is extremely sharp, the colors are surprisingly accurate and with its perfect keyboard, trackpoint and form factor just works for me. And this is for both business use (Word, Excel, email) and photo editing (CS5, LR3). Performance is mostly good enough unless there are too many photos open or if its a power hungry process such as HDR processing. So in other words: it works.

Problem is that eventually I'll have to replace it. So I started looking around. And that really wasn't a pretty sight. Lenovos still come with the good old IBM keyboard and the trackpoint and some of the other great features - but it appears their screens have a lot of issues now.

Dell seems to have an XPS model with a good screen but I always found their build quality for laptops to be substandard. Not to speak of the toy keyboard.

Well, and that gets us to Apple. I really really don't like that company and its politics. And the MacBook pros are not only ugly (who cares) but also bulky and unruly compared to my 14" IBM - and don't even match the screen resolution. Keyboard is awful also. And then you can't change anything yourself not even a battery or so. So that's very likely (again) a big no-no.

And now what? Sonys look pretty weak also. Some point to Sager. Not sure about that. I'd need to actually see one of those somewhere.

Any thoughts? It's not even the budget so much. I'm ok with shelling out $2000 or so if it is suited for lots of typing, portable and has a stellar screen for photo editing. 14 or 15" would be ok. Oh, and a large and fast hard drive. For the life of me, I can't seem to find anything like that.
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Laptops for photo editing and other use
« on: April 19, 2012, 05:10:01 PM »

prestonpalmer

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Re: Laptops for photo editing and other use
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2012, 05:13:07 PM »
just deck out a MacBook Pro.  8GB ram works very well for photo editing. 

msdarkroom

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Re: Laptops for photo editing and other use
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2012, 05:31:10 PM »
+1 for the MBP.

Get one of these: http://amzn.to/HWFzMK
And max out the ram here: http://bit.ly/rs4TM




7enderbender

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Re: Laptops for photo editing and other use
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2012, 09:36:08 PM »
I know that lots of folks like the MBPs. I just can't get to understand why. They are big, the screen resolution is low, the keyboard is horrid and you can't even change your own battery or really anything.
And for all that they are very expensive and not fully compatible with a lot of stuff. Not to speak of the fact that Adobe would charge me again to get a new CS5 version. That's not Apples fault but still. No way will I buy anything Apple anytime soon.
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arussarts

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Re: Laptops for photo editing and other use
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2012, 10:27:12 PM »
Dude... Take a deep breath and consider coming over to the dark side.  :D

Consider this.  You can get a 15" MBP with a hi-res non-glare screen.  Then max out the RAM with OWC Ram to 16BG.  Then put in an OWC Data Doubler as a dedicated scratch disc and your MBP should smoke. 

I can't speak to the PC, but like your Lenovo, my Macs "just work".  I currently use a 2009 White Macbook with a Seagate Hybrid SSD hard drive and 6GB of Ram.  I process HDR and Capture One/P+ files all the time.  Is it AWESOME... no, but it's from 2009.  And it's made of plastic, and it was $1000 so I don't care about smashing it to bits.  I'll be upgrading this year when the new MB's come out and the "old" ones drop a little in price.

I also hate the idea of not having battery swap-ability but you can get "remote batteries" if you're not near a plug for 8 hrs.  (http://quickertek.com/products/macbook_air_charger.php)  And if your battery loses its ability to hole a charge, it really isn't that hard to change yourself.

As for Apple politics, please enlighten me.  I have no idea what you're talking about.  Hippies or Facists?  Vegetarians or Meat Eaters?  Or are you just against their policy of charging a S##tload of money for an awesome machine?  Cause it bugs me too.


7enderbender

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Re: Laptops for photo editing and other use
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2012, 11:08:17 PM »
Dude... Take a deep breath and consider coming over to the dark side.  :D

Consider this.  You can get a 15" MBP with a hi-res non-glare screen.  Then max out the RAM with OWC Ram to 16BG.  Then put in an OWC Data Doubler as a dedicated scratch disc and your MBP should smoke. 

I can't speak to the PC, but like your Lenovo, my Macs "just work".  I currently use a 2009 White Macbook with a Seagate Hybrid SSD hard drive and 6GB of Ram.  I process HDR and Capture One/P+ files all the time.  Is it AWESOME... no, but it's from 2009.  And it's made of plastic, and it was $1000 so I don't care about smashing it to bits.  I'll be upgrading this year when the new MB's come out and the "old" ones drop a little in price.

I also hate the idea of not having battery swap-ability but you can get "remote batteries" if you're not near a plug for 8 hrs.  (http://quickertek.com/products/macbook_air_charger.php)  And if your battery loses its ability to hole a charge, it really isn't that hard to change yourself.

As for Apple politics, please enlighten me.  I have no idea what you're talking about.  Hippies or Facists?  Vegetarians or Meat Eaters?  Or are you just against their policy of charging a S##tload of money for an awesome machine?  Cause it bugs me too.


You know what? I'm an open minded person. I'll look into the option again just like I've done any time I needed a new computer and also in between.

But I have doubts and that's the "politics" I was referring to. And I don't mean politics really - though it somehow appears to be related, but that's where things get really complicated. It's this annoying mother-knows-best approach. Take it or leave it. And once we have sucked you in you'll have to just keep buying and updating because all the other stuff won't really work with it.

But hey, if it's really that good?? After all, my dad has never used any, err, remote assistance for his iPhone - unlike all his other (PC) gadgets that I take care of on a regular basis and from a distance.

I'll keep my eyes open and am curious if Apple will really come out with some kind of retina display. That could be the selling point - unlike their "hi res" 15" display which my 6 year old ThinkPad still beats. And if they maybe then throw in a mouse button or two in addition to the hideous trackpad we might be in business. And for Office (including a fully functional version of PowerPoint and Excel...) I could switch to a Win7 installation. So who knows - maybe I'll give it another shot. Only that this is easily a $3000 endeavor with software and all...

But then again the laptop PC market has nothing better to offer it seems.
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KKCFamilyman

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Re: Laptops for photo editing and other use
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2012, 11:22:16 PM »
I do it. I was down that same path recently. There are not many choices under $2k. I ended up with the HP envy 17 3d model. It has a 17.3" led radiance tn panel. It has can display 72% of the rgb color gamut which is really good for a laptop. It is well built and comes with all the goodies like backlit keyboard and blu-ray. It also has a msata ssd for your os and apps. There are still 2 bays for standard hard drives so you could essentially have 2tb of portable workspace. I found editing in LR was way better with the larger screen than the 14 or 15.6" panels. Either way you can calibrate it with a Spyder pro and really have a great machine for well under $2k depending on your configuration. It also has a bright 120hz panel and it's is better than any other laptop display out there except your HP dream color ips notebooks running in the $3k + range. There are many more features. I have the hp17-3090nr model. Apple is not the only way.
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Re: Laptops for photo editing and other use
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2012, 11:22:16 PM »

arussarts

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Re: Laptops for photo editing and other use
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2012, 12:17:51 AM »
Dude... Take a deep breath and consider coming over to the dark side.  :D

Consider this.  You can get a 15" MBP with a hi-res non-glare screen.  Then max out the RAM with OWC Ram to 16BG.  Then put in an OWC Data Doubler as a dedicated scratch disc and your MBP should smoke. 

I can't speak to the PC, but like your Lenovo, my Macs "just work".  I currently use a 2009 White Macbook with a Seagate Hybrid SSD hard drive and 6GB of Ram.  I process HDR and Capture One/P+ files all the time.  Is it AWESOME... no, but it's from 2009.  And it's made of plastic, and it was $1000 so I don't care about smashing it to bits.  I'll be upgrading this year when the new MB's come out and the "old" ones drop a little in price.

I also hate the idea of not having battery swap-ability but you can get "remote batteries" if you're not near a plug for 8 hrs.  (http://quickertek.com/products/macbook_air_charger.php)  And if your battery loses its ability to hole a charge, it really isn't that hard to change yourself.

As for Apple politics, please enlighten me.  I have no idea what you're talking about.  Hippies or Facists?  Vegetarians or Meat Eaters?  Or are you just against their policy of charging a S##tload of money for an awesome machine?  Cause it bugs me too.


You know what? I'm an open minded person. I'll look into the option again just like I've done any time I needed a new computer and also in between.

But I have doubts and that's the "politics" I was referring to. And I don't mean politics really - though it somehow appears to be related, but that's where things get really complicated. It's this annoying mother-knows-best approach. Take it or leave it. And once we have sucked you in you'll have to just keep buying and updating because all the other stuff won't really work with it.

But hey, if it's really that good?? After all, my dad has never used any, err, remote assistance for his iPhone - unlike all his other (PC) gadgets that I take care of on a regular basis and from a distance.

I'll keep my eyes open and am curious if Apple will really come out with some kind of retina display. That could be the selling point - unlike their "hi res" 15" display which my 6 year old ThinkPad still beats. And if they maybe then throw in a mouse button or two in addition to the hideous trackpad we might be in business. And for Office (including a fully functional version of PowerPoint and Excel...) I could switch to a Win7 installation. So who knows - maybe I'll give it another shot. Only that this is easily a $3000 endeavor with software and all...

But then again the laptop PC market has nothing better to offer it seems.



I hope I don't sound like a Mac Fanboy, because I've certainly looked at the PC market.  But by the time I got done comparing comparable platforms it was all a basically a wash.  Plus, like you, I was already heavily invested in the Mac software.

I do love my Macs though, but that's probably because I know how to keep them clean.

BTW - I have heard that Lion sucks.

RuneL

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Re: Laptops for photo editing and other use
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2012, 02:16:56 AM »
Quote


I hope I don't sound like a Mac Fanboy, because I've certainly looked at the PC market.  But by the time I got done comparing comparable platforms it was all a basically a wash.  Plus, like you, I was already heavily invested in the Mac software.

I do love my Macs though, but that's probably because I know how to keep them clean.

BTW - I have heard that Lion sucks.

OS X Lion does suck. I've used Mac laptops exclusively for 7 years now and they have consistently become worse, first with the intel CPU's and now OS X just losing steam. I reinstall every 6 months at least (like you had to with windows XP), reboot or force reboot several times a week. In the old days of the power pc my uptime was 45 days + on average, now?
Code: [Select]
7:44  up 5 days, 15:01, 2 users, load averages: 1.16 1.60 1.79. Too weak for such an expensive machine.
It's not a particularly good machine for editing, IMO, the memory management seems completely screwed, on my 2010 MBP 15" i7 2.66 ghz 8gb ram anti glare hi res machine I can bring it to a complete halt using photoshop and LR at the same time, as soon as I starte building files with more than 5 or 6 layers it gets these hiccups and will freeze for a while, I suspect that it is os x moving files from RAM to HD or the other way around, I could probably cure it with an SSD but I like inexpensive drives that I can change once or twice a year. This problem has gotten a LOT worse since lion. It was hardly noticable on Snow.  The screen is ok but low res 1680 x 1050, I love the design of it and that it doesn't really make any noise and that it is quite slim and nice to look at, i love the keyboard and the trackpad and I love when I open it op how well organized and beautiful the black circuit board and everything is inside of it, but as a production machine? Nope, not really, it's just a turd in a pretty frock.
I don't know what the alternative should be, but OP should get something with a better screen, ESATA?, There aren't enough I/O-options either in the macs, IMO, I want esata, USB 3, Firewire and Thunderbolt at the same time and more ports.
I have two stinking usb-ports, thunderbolt, firewire, that is it, they took the nice eSATA option away with the express port they somehow managed to exchange for a SD-card reader that doesn't work. What the hell.

I have a dektop machine too, it has 6GB of ram (but better and faster ram than the mac), two graphics cards in sli, 1TB storage in RAID 0, external 2TB storage in RAID 1, 3.3 GHZ i7, two firewire ports, 14 usb ports (2 are usb 3.0 enabled, four are eSATA enabled) that cost a lost less than half of what the Laptop did. It's older but miles better.

I've always fancied the Dell Studio 17, don't know if they are any good.


I took the liberty of making these two, the Dell has been top specced, every option chosen as "the best/most expensive", crap like software, anti virus, cables and mice I have not chosen. You decide.

 
Dell XPS 17
8GB RAM
256GB SSD
Nvidia 555M 3GB
17.3" 1920x1080 display
Dell Ultrasharp 24" widescreen
i7 2860QM 2.5 ghz

2748 USD

Macbook Pro 17"
8GB RAM
256GB SSD
1920 x 1200 hi res low glow display
Apple Thunderbolt 27" display
i7 2.5 ghz

4498 USD
« Last Edit: April 20, 2012, 02:20:16 AM by RuneL »

gmrza

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Re: Laptops for photo editing and other use
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2012, 02:40:04 AM »
I know that lots of folks like the MBPs. I just can't get to understand why. They are big, the screen resolution is low, the keyboard is horrid and you can't even change your own battery or really anything.
And for all that they are very expensive and not fully compatible with a lot of stuff. Not to speak of the fact that Adobe would charge me again to get a new CS5 version. That's not Apples fault but still. No way will I buy anything Apple anytime soon.

When I upgraded the RAM in my wife's 2010 unibody Core i7 MBP, it looked like it would not be a problem for me to replace the battery as well.

I have to admit my perception is that the MBP works well for her, including editing large jobs of hundreds, or even going into the thousands of images.  The newer MBPs do however perform a lot better than the 2010 models.

The keyboard is a matter of taste.

The MBP is relatively easy to profile with a Spyder.  I cannot say that for some of the more recent Lenovos.
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expatinasia

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Re: Laptops for photo editing and other use
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2012, 03:07:13 AM »
To choose a laptop forget brands, image and chit chat. Write down what you want and get the closest thing to that wish list. But, like with cameras, the best will cost you.

As you are dealing with images I would never personally go below 1920x1080 screen, I prefer matte, maybe you want to consider, toucscreens, IPS. Then you should consider the software you use, and which GPU works best with them (probably nvidia if you use Adobe products), get at least 16GB RAM but if you can expand it to 32 or more later that would be useful as well, 2 internal HDs is good for storage and speed. etc.

Once you decide all of the above there will be very few real options left.

And just to point you in the right direction. Look up Dell Precisions, a new one will come out soon the M6700. Doubt you can find anything better anywhere.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2012, 03:27:51 AM by expatinasia »
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Jettatore

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Re: Laptops for photo editing and other use
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2012, 05:00:46 AM »
I am getting a Lenovo X220 Tablet.  Has a built in Wacom + Multitouch.  I'll let you know how I like it after I test it out.  There is a review of it by a photographer here:

Lenovo X220 Tablet X220t Review for Photography Professionals - Night and Day Photography Shop Talk Small | Large


« Last Edit: April 20, 2012, 05:19:26 AM by Jettatore »

7enderbender

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Re: Laptops for photo editing and other use
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2012, 10:40:15 AM »
To choose a laptop forget brands, image and chit chat. Write down what you want and get the closest thing to that wish list. But, like with cameras, the best will cost you.

As you are dealing with images I would never personally go below 1920x1080 screen, I prefer matte, maybe you want to consider, toucscreens, IPS. Then you should consider the software you use, and which GPU works best with them (probably nvidia if you use Adobe products), get at least 16GB RAM but if you can expand it to 32 or more later that would be useful as well, 2 internal HDs is good for storage and speed. etc.

Once you decide all of the above there will be very few real options left.

And just to point you in the right direction. Look up Dell Precisions, a new one will come out soon the M6700. Doubt you can find anything better anywhere.

Thanks for that tip. I'll definitely look into that. As far as the specs go you totally nailed it. 1920x1080 on a 15" screen is the bare minimum - ideally it should be more, or rather denser- and with that you are already down to very few options. Everything else could be pretty standard specs as far as I'm concerned - whatever works well with regular productivity software plus Photoshop. That's pretty much all I need. No gaming, watching videoes, etc.
Lots of storage, 2 HDs ideally and a really good keyboard/point-and-click-device and Bob's your uncle. Only, this seems to be wishful thinking in the current laptop market.
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Re: Laptops for photo editing and other use
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2012, 10:40:15 AM »

7enderbender

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Re: Laptops for photo editing and other use
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2012, 10:59:41 AM »
I am getting a Lenovo X220 Tablet.  Has a built in Wacom + Multitouch.  I'll let you know how I like it after I test it out.  There is a review of it by a photographer here:

Lenovo X220 Tablet X220t Review for Photography Professionals - Night and Day Photography Shop Talk


Another interesting idea. I'd actually have to play with this. Not a big fan of touch screens and 1366x768 just doesn't seem to cut it.
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markIVantony

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Re: Laptops for photo editing and other use
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2012, 11:12:54 AM »
I use a Lenovo W500 with the 1920x1200 screen upgrade and switchable graphics  It's a tough laptop too.

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Re: Laptops for photo editing and other use
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2012, 11:12:54 AM »