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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

iMac - New hardware for editing photos


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KevinLK

 
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Hey guys,

I need to get a new desktop computer very soon and I'm getting it primarily for photo editing so I thought I'd post here and see some opinions. Basically, my choices come down to this: the iMac 20 inch, the iMac 24 inch, or a custom Vista PC.

The Macs look nice but I've never used one before. Is it true that they are any better for editing images, and if I'm looking to get into photography in general should I use this opportunity to learn how to use one? If I do go with Mac, then I have to choose between the 20 and 24 inch models. I read that the 20 inch models have a lower quality monitor and would not be as good for photo editing, but I don't know how true that is.

If I go with the PC I could have significantly higher power (Quad Core 3.0Ghz rather than Dual Core 2.66/2.8 , 4GB of ram rather then 2GB, and 512mb dedicated video memory rather then 256mb, not to mention a larger hard drive). If I go this route I could use the 64 bit version of Vista and be able to take advantage of the 64-bit native versions of Lightroom and upcoming CS4, but I don't even know if I would notice the advantage of 64 bit since I'm only dealing with images that are coming out a Pentax K10D, and not huge files from scanned film. If I went the PC route, the monitor I would likely get is the HP 2207, which seems to be a pretty good monitor but I don't know if would be as good as the iMac 24 inch display for photo editing.

I realize I'm gonna get somewhat of a Mac bias on this board but like I said, just looking to see some opinions because on most PC hardware forums absolutely no one will recommend the Mac.


Thanks in advance for any help!
KevinLK
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hughvane

 
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I recently read a review of comparisons between high-end Mac and PC machines for photo and video editing. The benchtop tests showed the 2.8 GHZ Mac surpassing the 3.06 PC in almost every respect. Most analysts dismiss the numbers game anyway.

Mac is highly respected in the photo, video and music industries. If you want massive power, why not go one step further to the 3.06 24" iMac?

If you like the idea of a separate monitor, then the G5 Mac Pro with an Apple cinema display could suit your purposes admirably.

One last thing - Vista. It has been an embarrassment to Microsoft. No such thing can be said of the Mac OS to Apple.
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rockworthy

 
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Don't get caught up in the numbers game. Do yourself a favor and test drive the machines your thinking about purchasing. What looks good to some people doesn't to others. Also photo editing can be as easy or as complicated as you want it to be. I like using Photoshop CS but I haven't got it for my 24" Imac yet because my life is too busy to spend hours on editing photos like I used to. Iphoto is a good compromise. What I'm trying to say is get the machine that looks best to you (not to others) and then get the editing program you want and then learn how to use it. Don't go out and buy the full version of Photoshop because most reviews say it's the best. PS takes a LONG time to use to it's fullest potential.
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Bluray

 
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Having switched from a PC to a Mac at the back end of last year, I can recommend the Mac for photo editing as that is what I do a lot of.
In all honesty I wished I'd switched to a Mac years ago.
I bought a 24" iMac and I'm over the moon with it.
you can't go wrong!

Dave
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KevinLK

 
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Thanks for the advice guys.

Regarding the processor power, I personally wouldn't care or notice a difference between the 2.8 or 3.06 Core 2 Duo processors, my only concern was that I could go all the way to a 3.0 Quad Core if I went PC. But then again, I'm not rendering movies or 3D animations or anything.

As for Photoshop, I'm already used to using a combination of Photoshop and Imageready 7, but I've never used CS/2/3 so I have a bit of catching up to do I guess. But I don't think iPhoto alone will cut it for me so I will probably end up with CS3 (or maybe I'll wait until CS4 depending on the release date).

@ Bluray: Being someone who has switch fairly recently, did you find that a lot of stuff was not compatible with OS X? My biggest fear is that I'm going to drop $2000 on a system only to find out that nothing is compatible. That being said, I mainly use Lightroom, Photoshop, Pentax software, iTunes, Firefox, Frostwire, and MSN/Windows Live Messenger, all of which are available for OS X anyways, so I guess I shouldn't be worried about it.
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petenick

 
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I don't post here often but read daily. I have a Pentax K100D Super and use a Macbook 1.83Ghz for photo editing with CS3 and Pentax's imaging programs, and use Adobe RAW for raw files. You will find everything to be compatible with a Mac you are trying to use. Use Adium for messaging, it's wonderful. I switched to Mac 3 years ago and haven't looked back. I ordered a 24" iMac 2.4 on clearance that will arrive Friday because the Macbook has 64mb of VRAM, and that combined with a 13.3" screen just doesn't cut it when editing and converting RAW files. Nice to see another Pentax user around here! Oh, and I ordered and would recommend the 24" iMac because the 20" version has a display which can only show hundreds of thousands of colors as opposed to the 24"s millions of colors. I plan on using a monitor calibration tool, and have read that the iMac's display brightness will need turned down around 50% to be realistic. All I want is for it to print exactly how it looks!
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KevinLK

 
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Good to know that the Pentax stuff will work fine, since the camera was a pretty big investment itself so it would suck if it wasn't compatible. I don't know much about calibration other then that you're suppose to do it if you want the most accurate color possible, but as long as there is software for OS X that will do the job (just in case I give it a try in the future) then I have no issue.

Is Adium a substitute for using MSN messenger on Windows? I'm in Canada and MSN (or Windows Live as its called now) is the big one here. I actually went into Future Shop today to have a look at the iMacs and play around with them. They had an internet connection so I downloaded the Windows Live Gadget for OS X off Apples website but I was really disappointed by it so I'm hoping there is something better (and maybe Adium is it).

Aside from the Windows Live messenger thing, I was really impressed with the iMac 24 though. The screen is beautiful, and I guess since I'm looking for a computer mainly to edit photos, thats the most important thing.

While I have this thread going, I should ask two more questions that I have. First, if I get a Logitech mouse that has a right and left button, will I be able to right click without holding down the control key (thats the one thing that drives me nuts on OS X). Second, is the Apple Care warranty worth it, and do I have to get it right away or can I add the warranty later on?
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hughvane

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinLK View Post
While I have this thread going, I should ask two more questions that I have. First, if I get a Logitech mouse that has a right and left button, will I be able to right click without holding down the control key (thats the one thing that drives me nuts on OS X).
Just to clarify, it's Ctrl-L,click that gives you the menu. R-click on its own in OS X is the same as Ctrl-L,click. Therefore, the Logitech mouse should give you the R-click options straight away. One of the really good features of OS X is how it accepts non-Mac peripherals, no drivers required.

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Second, is the Apple Care warranty worth it, and do I have to get it right away or can I add the warranty later on?
This topic has been debated a good deal on this forum. Use the forum Search function with the keyword AppleCare for the varying points of view about it. From what I've observed, most answers are a resounding 'yes'. I believe you would need to sign up for AppleCare when you bought the Mac.
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petenick

 
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I use Adium almost exclusively with MSN messenger as that is what my co-workers use in office. It works great. You can use a Logitech mouse for sure and have the right click function work, no drivers were necessary for me. I am using a wireless one right now. Also, to the best of my knowledge (a Google search, haha) you can buy Applecare anytime before your original one year warranty is up. Personally, I will be buying it around 11 months after I receive mine. One last thing, if you ever do find anything that isn't going to work with OS X, you can always install Windows XP or Vista, or Linux to handle just about anything you will come across. I have OS X Tiger, Windows XP Pro, and Linux "Gutsy Gibbon" on my MacBook.
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petenick

 
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[QUOTE=hughvane;711951]Just to clarify, it's Ctrl-L,click that gives you the menu. R-click on its own in OS X is the same as Ctrl-L,click. Therefore, the Logitech mouse should give you the R-click options straight away. One of the really good features of OS X is how it accepts non-Mac peripherals, no drivers required.


Using a MacBook right now, Control-click brings up the exact same menu as Control- L-click. Through three years and five different Mac notebooks, I have never heard of Control-L-click but it does work, albeit with more effort that necessary, as the L button is on the opposite side of the keyboard from Control. Try it!
Edit: I just noticed in your "Mac Specs" section you have all desktops. Perhaps on a desktop you don't have the option of right clicking without pushing "L" with your Control-click.
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KevinLK

 
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When I was playing around with the display model iMac, I only had to Control-click, not Control-L-click to bring up the right-click menu.
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hughvane

 
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Yes, I have desktop machines, and I can't replicate your laptop situation. I'm using a USB generic PC mouse (and an external extended keyboard).

If I L-click anywhere, I can highlight an icon or make a window active etc. If I Ctrl-L-click, I get the menu display, if I R-click only I get the same. I'm left to wonder why R-click doesn't do likewise on the laptop machines.

You're right, we're discussing two quite different physical setups. Perhaps posting your question in the Apple Notebooks section might elicit useful responses to your initial question. KLK, I'm sure there's a way to make your Macbook give you a simple R-click menu option.
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KevinLK

 
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I went ahead and bought the iMac 24, and it's beautiful! At first I thought I had a problem with the screen but it turns out there was some condensation behind the screen cover which was caused by the monitor being turned on and heated up for the first time. Anyways, the screen is great and I've been loving OS X so far!
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clawhammer

 
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Kevin, congrats on your purchase of the iMac- you'll love it. It's fun to see another Pentax shooter out there- I've got myself a K10D as well. Have you tried Aperture? I found it easier to use than Lightroom, and I havn't run into too many situations where I would need the full power of photoshop (your style may vary).
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Mjc.americor

 
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Lightroom is easier for me.
Depends on the user and what you are used to.
Get what you can afford and either way youll be in good shape

15.4" MacBook Pro Unibody
2.4GHz 4GB Ram and 500GB HD nVidia Geforce 9600
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