Best mac laptop for photography 2013

Cutting straight to a point that will not be popular. If you want some more information on this check out this excellent article from my friends over at Puget Systems who have done some real-world testing of Lightroom CC with 4, 6, and more cores.

One Photographer's Search for the Right Apple Computer

Totally worth it. For the first time Apple is offering Core i9 processors and they will beat out the Core i7 processors because the Core i9 has a faster clock speed those GHz again. Before you sign up for that, there is one more thing to consider here, heat.

No, I am talking about the challenge every laptop has in trying to deal with all of the heat produced by running them. Not specific to Apple. This is a huge challenge to all laptops. Computers produce heat and there is a reason high performance desktops are physically large. With multiple fans and lots of airflow, they can deal with heat much better and can keep things running at higher speeds for longer periods of time. A beautiful form factor that contributes significantly to why people love them. Some have reported the keyboard gets physically hot to the touch.

Heat is the enemy of computers and running a computer hot reduces the lifetime of the computer. Apple next has you decide how much memory you want to put in your new MacBook Pro.

Best Computer Specs for Photoshop | Is Your Computer Up to Par?

This used to be a component you could upgrade yourself, but Apple has soldered memory in for a while now, so you are stuck with what you order. Meaning you have to decide and live with that decision now, no adding to it later. Most digital photo editing applications are going to be pretty hungry for memory, using all that you can give it. Just like the processor, Lightroom in particular needs as much memory as you can throw at it.


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Apple gets it and is absolutely right in making a professional line of computers that have enough memory. Will Lightroom run with only 8GB of memory? Yes, it will. Really not too badly for small edit projects. I have 8GB of memory in my MacBook Pro and it works well for my rare editing needs when I am out on the road or teaching a class.


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Even if it stretches that budget, you want to upgrade it to 16GB. By the straight numbers you would expect that difference to be It is far less. May seem strange to technology enthusiasts, but for the first time Apple is offering 32GB of memory in their MacBook Pro models! Yes, 32GB of memory has been relatively common place in desktop computers for some time now I have 32GB of memory in my custom PC build , and Apple took a lot of heat with their refresh of the MacBook Pro line in for not offering 32GB of memory.

Wait a second! All along in this post I have been saying you want as much processor as you can buy. Processor is the first priority. But that recommendation just now was to NOT upgrade to the fastest Core i9 processor? What gives?

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Remember that whole heat discussion at the end of Decision 4. If you have to make a choice with the budget and choose between processor and memory, go with the Core i7 and the 32GB of memory. Heat is that big a deal. Time may prove me wrong, we will see. The answer has nothing to do with Apple or the hardware they have put in their MacBook Pro lineup. The answer is the same for PCs. Adobe has yet to make Lightroom take full advantage of the incredible graphics processing capabilities available today.

Adobe has dabbled in it. In fact, here in , turning OFF the graphics acceleration remains a valid troubleshooting step if things go sideways when you run Lightroom. Absolutely true, though the very significant majority of my audience are Lightroom users. I am writing for them and it is my recommendation that photographers who use Lightroom DO NOT spend money on graphics. I doubt you see that large a difference in other photo editing software. Apple has done it for you. Almost done. Your last decision is storage. Apple is doing the right thing here in only offering super-fast SSD storage in their professional lineup of laptops.

Good job Apple! The question is how much storage should a photographer configure in their MacBook Pro? You can also not get enough storage, a worse mistake. No, you can. But you will constantly be battling a shortage of hard drive space and is that really what you want to do rather than focus on your editing? The performance here is how worried you will have to be that your computer is running out of storage. You should think of this storage as the place you have macOS installed as well as the other applications like Lightroom and Photoshop.

With only GB of storage, this is not where I recommend you store your photos. At least not for the long term. All of these options are better for storing your photos than spending hundreds to thousands of dollars for more storage in a MacBook Pro. For more information about storage check out these podcast episodes:. Only spend money on storage if you have already maxed out the processor and the memory and there is still room in the budget. If the budget is available, OK, but any more is entering the ludicrous zone for photographers.

SSD storage is a worthy investment for running macOS, Lightroom, and storing the photos that you are actively editing. Digital photo editing programs like Lightroom and Photoshop want as much CPU and memory as you can give them. It is worthwhile to invest as much as you can in those two areas as you go to order a mid MacBook Pro.

Apple produces some very high quality computers that are very capable of running Lightroom and Photoshop extremely well. They can be productive tools for many years. Good luck to you! I also really enjoy your podcasts as well. However, I still learn alot from listening to all your shows explaining various aspects of Lightroom … your research is so thorough.

You also have an excellent way of explaining yourself and the topic you are presenting. Keep at it.

Looking forward to your next podcast. Thank you so much for a really insightful article. Is the faster processor of the 13 the better option.

I was thinking going with the GB SSD as my current laptop a Air has been maxed out at GB for quite some time definitely would like some breathing room. Unless the 32 Ram upgrade is a better investment than the SSD.

One Photographer's Search for the Right Apple Computer | B&H Explora

If you are choosing between 32GB if memory or GB SSD I would choose the memory because you are going to have to use external storage for your photos anyway. This will be my primary editing computer and I also use the iPad Pro for mobile editing. Ideally I was looking for an updated iMac but have been holding my breath for that for over a year now.

And the Mac Mini, albeit great, comes up to the cost of the Macbook Pro when having to buy all the peripherals. Really, you are going to need the same external storage with the MacBook Pro as you will the Mac Mini. Hi: This has been a great resource for me. Thank you! I am not a professional photographer but a serious amateur one.


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I use my laptop as my primary desktop machine, having it hooked up to a monitor, keyboard and backup hard drive. I definitely need the hard drive of the same capacity. Maybe this is just counting the number of angels dancing on a pinhead…. Do I really need the touchbar model at all considering the clamshell will be closed most of the time?

Great article and fun to read. However I do find myself needing to be on a shoot with a laptop usually for 1 of 3 reasons…I need a glorified hard drive to store photos while out of town on a multi day shoot, tethering to the computer usually for quickie or full day of headshots of multiple people so I can email a photo to the client immediately or to do a full pass in Lightroom of a large amount of photos for a shoot.

I have thought of going with an iPad of some sort suggestions? Thoughts on the iPad method as a full replacement for a once in a while laptop user? Quite a range of options obviously.