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  1. #1
    Which mac for photo ? MacbookPro, iMac ? External monitor ?

    Member Since
    Jul 30, 2014
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    Which mac for photo ? MacbookPro, iMac ? External monitor ?
    Hello guys,

    I have searched on the web about tests and "versus" articles but the more i read the more i get lost. So i need some decent advises from "real users" and not benchmark testers, and this forum seems to be the right place...

    I have been taking pictures for more than 20 years with a lot of analog photography and now a Canon 5D3 always comes with my Medium Format film cameras. Now i am getting to a new level of work as i want to process and print correctly my pictures (with a professional lab), probably edit a book, etc.
    I am really fed up with windows 8, some people probably love this OS but i can't. And i really prefer the Mac Os i used to play with at some friends office.

    For Mac i have 3 options : Macbook Pro 15", Mac mini + monitor or Imac 27". MacPro + monitor is too expansive for my own use.

    First question is about the display : i really want to get as close as possible to the best final rendering. I do not want anymore approximate calibration because of the poor monitor.

    So, do i need an external wide gamut monitor such as a Nec PA272W with the Imac 27" ? Does the last Imac screen "enough" or "still far" from a Nec or Eizo monitor (of course all those monitors with a good calibration).

    I would probably use an external display with a Macbook Pro, as a 15" screen is not enough for comfortable photo editing. But will the CPU/GPU handle correctly an external display on a 27" (2560x1440) ?

    Second question is about the hardware itself : which configuration suits better for photo editing ? I think that "mac mini" graphic card is a bit too weak.
    About Macbook and Imac I've read tests and if difference between is something like 12 minutes vs 9 when processing a batch of pictures. Then i can go get a coffee or go for a p** while the computer is working, this kind of difference is not significant for me. But is there something that either an Imac or a Macbook pro cannot do efficiently ? (Note that i will not do any video editing).

    Thanks for your advises.

    Colin

  2. #2
    Which mac for photo ? MacbookPro, iMac ? External monitor ?
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.7.5
    To make things much easier...the first thing to decide on is the need for portability. You either need or don't need the portability of a laptop. Decide on this...and it narrows the possibilities.

    And a further option is (to cover the positives of both a desktop & a laptop). You can always get a MacBook Pro for portability...then plug a nice large external monitor into it for lots of display real estate when working at home.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  3. #3
    Which mac for photo ? MacbookPro, iMac ? External monitor ?

    Member Since
    Jul 30, 2014
    Posts
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    Hello,
    I do not need portability "right now" because i do 99,9% of the job at home.
    and if things change in the future, we will see.

    But my question is more about will the Macbook Pro handle correctly an external 27" monitor ?
    (i'm not "computer specs friendly", so i thought that if it's designed to use a 15" it will work hard to extend to 27")

    Thanks for your quick answer.
    Colin.

  4. #4
    Which mac for photo ? MacbookPro, iMac ? External monitor ?
    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
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    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.7.5
    Quote Originally Posted by frcolin View Post
    But my question is more about will the Macbook Pro handle correctly an external 27" monitor ?
    (i'm not "computer specs friendly", so i thought that if it's designed to use a 15" it will work hard to extend to 27")
    It will handle a 27" monitor just fine...I have my MacBook Pro hooked up to a 30" monitor.

    Specs on current MacBook Pro's...it actually says..."This model supports a simultaneous maximum resolution up to 2560x1600 on two external displays via Thunderbolt."

    - Many 27" external displays have a resolution of 1920 x 1080.
    - Some 27" displays have a resolution of 2560x1440

    As can be seen in the statement above...current model MacBook Pro's can handle external displays with a resolution of up to 2560x1600 (x2). That means two LARGE external displays simultaneously.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  5. #5
    Which mac for photo ? MacbookPro, iMac ? External monitor ?

    Member Since
    Jul 30, 2014
    Posts
    5
    Ok thanks.
    For the same price, is there a big difference between the CPU ?
    2.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz for the Macbook Pro
    3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz for the Imac

    Is the Macbook Pro "built in" battery reliable ?

    Thanks.
    Colin

  6. #6
    Which mac for photo ? MacbookPro, iMac ? External monitor ?
    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
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    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.7.5
    Quote Originally Posted by frcolin View Post
    For the same price, is there a big difference between the CPU ?
    2.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz for the Macbook Pro
    3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz for the Imac
    Again…we're back to the portability question. But if they are the same price…and you don't need portability…then the iMac is probably the better computer (better graphics hardware, higher max. ram).

    In most cases (since the beginning of "computer time")…if a desktop & a laptop computer are the same price…the desktop is usually the better deal (bang for the buck).

    Quote Originally Posted by frcolin View Post
    Is the Macbook Pro "built in" battery reliable ?
    What do you mean by "reliable"?

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  7. #7
    Which mac for photo ? MacbookPro, iMac ? External monitor ?

    Member Since
    Jul 30, 2014
    Posts
    5
    Well, i had a laptop where the battery was no longer usable unplugged after 6 months of use.
    I read that the builtin battery is quite expansive to replace (at least here in Europe) so, if it last a few years, it's better... But it certainly does.

    An other question...
    As i will use an external 27" with the macbook pro, wouldn't be smarter to take the 13" ?
    If i upgrade the 13" specs to Processeur Intel Core i7 3 GHz, Turbo Boost 3,5 GHz and 16Gb it looks the same than 15" with Intel Core i7 2,5 GHz, Turbo Boost 3,7 GHz.
    But it is 300€ (450$) cheaper.

    Last question : isn't it late on your side of the world ?

    Thanks man.

  8. #8
    Which mac for photo ? MacbookPro, iMac ? External monitor ?
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.7.5
    Quote Originally Posted by frcolin View Post
    Well, i had a laptop where the battery was no longer usable unplugged after 6 months of use.
    I read that the builtin battery is quite expansive to replace (at least here in Europe) so, if it last a few years, it's better... But it certainly does.
    You shouldn't have any problems with the Apple battery. Batteries in laptops are a consumable item…just like tires/tyres are a consumable item with an automobile. So eventually the battery will weaken & wear out. But this will/should take years & years.

    Quote Originally Posted by frcolin View Post
    An other question...
    As i will use an external 27" with the macbook pro, wouldn't be smarter to take the 13" ?
    Sure. The 13" will be lighter & more portable. Just as an FYI. The top end 15" MacBook Pro would have the most powerful graphics hardware. Otherwise…most of the 13" and 15" models are somewhat similar.

    Quote Originally Posted by frcolin View Post
    Last question : isn't it late on your side of the world ?
    Yes it is! About 2:40am at the moment.

    Hope this helps,

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  9. #9
    Which mac for photo ? MacbookPro, iMac ? External monitor ?

    Member Since
    Jul 30, 2014
    Posts
    5
    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    Hope this helps,

    - Nick
    Thanks.
    It helps a lot.

    Colin.

  10. #10
    Which mac for photo ? MacbookPro, iMac ? External monitor ?
    Exodist's Avatar
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    Specs:
    L2012 Mini, i7 2.6Ghz, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD(fusion), BenQ 32" 2.5k QHD Display
    A Mac Mini is essentially a mac Pro without a Keyboard or Monitor.

    You also don't need to buy a Apple Monitor, the mac mini has both HDMI and a Thunderbolt Display Port. You can get another quality display or your choice or even use two displays.

    I have a Late 2012 Mac Mini with 2x Samsung 23" Displays that are very color accurate for my Photography work. It handles my Lightroom, Photoshop and iMovie needs without any speed issues or hesitation.

    Joe's Photo & Video Blog on YouTube
    Lightroom, Photoshop, FCP, Gear Reviews and more...
    ***If someone helps you, please don't forget to use the reputation system.***

  11. #11
    Which mac for photo ? MacbookPro, iMac ? External monitor ?
    sn315on's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 19, 2012
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Posts
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    Specs:
     iMac, iPad Mini, MBP, Air
    I've been a photographer for 35+ years. I have a 17" MBP that I used to take on shoots with me. I love it. I would not recommend it for you though since you said that you don't need portability.
    I
    just bought a 27" iMac in November of last year and I love it even more than I thought I would. I use Adobe products on it, Photoshop CS6 Design and I've had no issues with the color or clarity.
    Sara

  12. #12
    Which mac for photo ? MacbookPro, iMac ? External monitor ?
    chas_m's Avatar
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    Victoria, BC
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    Mid-2012 MBP (16GB, 1TB HD), Monoprice 24-inch second monitor, iPhone 5s 32GB, iPad Air 2 64GB
    Quote Originally Posted by Exodist View Post
    A Mac Mini is essentially a mac Pro without a Keyboard or Monitor.
    Gotta call shenanigans on this claim. You're probably thinking of, say, the 2011 Mac Pro. To which I'd say "maybe."

    The Mac Mini is in no way, shape or form comparable on any level to the current Mac Pro.

  13. #13
    Which mac for photo ? MacbookPro, iMac ? External monitor ?
    Exodist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
    Gotta call shenanigans on this claim. You're probably thinking of, say, the 2011 Mac Pro. To which I'd say "maybe."

    The Mac Mini is in no way, shape or form comparable on any level to the current Mac Pro.
    Max Specs both machines..

    Mac Mini:
    - 2.6GHz i7 Quad Core with Multithreading (Boost up to 2.9Hz) (Ivy core)
    - 16GB 1600Mhz DRAM
    - 1TB Fusion

    Mac Book Pro: (top of the line 15" retina model)
    - 2.8 GHz Quad Core with Multithreading (Boost up to 4GHz) (Haswell core)
    - 1TB Flash
    - 16GB 1600Mhz RAM


    Now the BONUS Mac Mini can house two 2.5" HDDs, so if you get the 1TB HDD version you can add your own higher speed SSD as I did.

    The BONUS of the MBP is that it has nVidia GT 750 mobil GPU, but its a mobile GPU, not like having a real card. But its better then HD4000 any day.

    While the MBP does have a 8% faster CPU, to be fair for the mini, it is due for an update.
    So to be fair, yes these computers are very similar and are not much difference in them. The key difference is 3,199.00 -vs- 1,399.00

    But I still believe my point is valid. Yes the Mac Mini is a MBP without keyboard, mouse, monitor.. There is not that much difference in them system spec wise.. Matter of fact a fully spec'd Mini is faster then any of the 13" MBP models which ONLY offer dual core CPUs. Its only the 15" models that offer quad core CPU's.


    So yea.. A Mac Mini is a MBP.. The only other system Apple offers that is not using the same or extremely similar parts is the Mac Pro, which uses Xeon processors, ECC RAM and workstation class GPUs.



    And since were on the subject of the workstation being able to run Photoshop or Lightroom, currently not everything in PS uses a GPU. And having a huge GPU offers marginal boost in rendering. Which the HD4000 iGPU in the Mini is used and works fine. Now Lightroom does not use a GPU for any processing. If Lightroom 6 comes out next year and does offer GPU support for processing images, I will be on the next flight to Manila to pick up a Mac Pro.
    Last edited by Exodist; 08-02-2014 at 10:20 PM.

    Joe's Photo & Video Blog on YouTube
    Lightroom, Photoshop, FCP, Gear Reviews and more...
    ***If someone helps you, please don't forget to use the reputation system.***

  14. #14
    Which mac for photo ? MacbookPro, iMac ? External monitor ?
    chas_m's Avatar
    Member Since
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    Mid-2012 MBP (16GB, 1TB HD), Monoprice 24-inch second monitor, iPhone 5s 32GB, iPad Air 2 64GB
    Quote Originally Posted by Exodist View Post
    A Mac Mini is essentially a mac Pro without a Keyboard or Monitor.
    Re-read this sentence you wrote (and that I replied to) until you spot your mistake.

  15. #15
    Which mac for photo ? MacbookPro, iMac ? External monitor ?
    Lightcraftsman's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 23, 2012
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    Colorado
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    Specs:
    15-inch 2014 Retina MacBook Pro, 2012 Mac Mini, 160GB iPod Classic, iPhone 5
    The Mac Mini is not comparable to the top-of-the-line RMBP graphics card. That said, I have some drum scanned 4x5 and medium format files on my 2012 Mac Mini that are 3GB with layers and the Mini handles them easily (16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, external TB two-drive RAID). The Mini only stumbles with a few PhotoShop filters I don't use and some third-party PhotoShop software.
    "It's got to come from the heart, if you want it to work."
    Guy Clark

    Light Craftsman website

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