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  1. #1
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    Best computer to work with your photos on

    Is there a computer preference when it comes down to what you're going to use to download your pictures onto and work with them? I know a lot of people prefer apple..

  2. #2
    drg
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    Re: Best computer to work with your photos on

    Are you more comfortable with one computer (Mac/PC) than the other? If so that is the one to use.

    There is tremendous software available for both systems. Part of it may be how much local support you have for a particular brand. If there is a well established Apple dealer or one that caters to an academic environment nearby it can help with you using Apple a lot.

    PC's are available in many more places, but still it could be quite handy to have support if you feel you need it for questions and harware/software resources, particularly for a business setting.

    I noticed you have posted several 'start-up' type questions; are you working with someone who already has run a Photography Business or are you taking classes? Either should be able to provide a lot of background information as well.

    The other question may be what applications you want to run, printers, scanners, etc. you need/want to support. Again most options are cross platform friendly.

    Displays are the biggest cost for high end work these days.

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  3. #3
    Kentucky Wildlife
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    Re: Best computer to work with your photos on

    Apple users think Apple is best. PC users think PCs are best.
    I've used both. I started on Apple in the 1980s. At the time, it was far superior to PCs for graphics and it was much more user friendly.
    I stuck with Apple through the 1990s, but started getting machines that didn't work very well, and when Microsoft came out with Windows, I switched. Everyone thought Windows was some revolutionary invention, but all it really did was make the operating systems more user friendly in the manner Macs employed all along, plus, as DRG said, graphics software became equally effective across both platforms.
    So far, I'm sticking with PCs because the broad competition in that language (IBM, Dell, HP, etc) makes them better buys.
    It is the software that has overpowered the hardware preferences.

  4. #4
    GB1
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    Re: Best computer to work with your photos on

    There's pros and cons for each.

    The Apple is known for moving the OS out of the way and allowing the artist to focus on the material rather than fighting the clunkiness of the computer. That being said, Windows keeps getting better and better and the software for PCs is cheaper and much more plentiful than Apple's (an exception may be Windows Vista, which I find myself fighting a lot more than XP. I don't know why this is).

    Apple has also controlled it's quality by not letting others make it's computers, and have shot for more of the high end than most PC makers.

    I've found a lot of graphic artists and mathematicians use Macs.,

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Medley's Avatar
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    Re: Best computer to work with your photos on

    I have a 17" MacBook Pro, which works great for me. A few random thoughts, both pro and con:

    It's an Intel Mac- I have both OSX and Windows XP installed, maximizing software compatibility.

    One of the biggest advantages of a Mac, IMO, is that it's reliable. It works the way it's supposed to, when it's supposed to. I've had to re-install the Windows side due to errors, but the Apple side has remained relatively maintenance free.

    I say 'relatively' because in the MacBook Pro, the main logic board is directly underneath the keyboard. A silicon keyboard cover is a must, and the extended protection plan is advisable, but I think that's true of any notebook.

    The only time that a 17" screen has been a detriment has been aboard a plane. A 15" would be a better fit there, but I don't fly enough for that to bother me much.

    A dual OS system is a memory hog- I've got 4gb of RAM, which seems to handle the job nicely, but increases the initial cost.

    - Joe U.
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  6. #6
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: Best computer to work with your photos on

    One of the biggest advantages of a Mac, IMO, is that it's reliable. It works the way it's supposed to, when it's supposed to
    Snort !
    Tell that to our marketing and IT teams at work.
    Marketing hate IT because they can't fix their Macs when they break them

    As far as I'm concerned there's not much difference, except that Macs are more expensive up front, need specialist assistance that costs and arm and a leg when they go wrong, and our Mac users are prima donnas

    All the software I want is available on both PC and Mac, and I have stuck with what I've known since Windows 0.95 OEM release.
    I can use a Mac if I have to, but I don't want to. Some of the things it does are just not the way I work.

    I suppose it's like the Nikon vs Canon lenses, which one focuses the "right" way?
    If you're used to infinity anti-clockwise, then swapping so infinity is clockwise feels wrong.

    I agree with drg, it's what you're used to and most productive with.
    But if you try it, and find a killer application that dramatically improves productivity on one that's not available on the other - that may make your decision for you right there.
    PAul

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    and post your sports pictures !

  7. #7
    GB1
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    Re: Best computer to work with your photos on

    Paul - It's not simply an argument like "Nikon vs Canon": I've seen some absolutely excellent hardware in Macs. Apple is a UI specialty company, they really know how to make products that uses like to hold, click and use (like Macintosh computers, iPods, iPhones). Many other manufacturers treat these as an afterthought.

    Example: if you close your PC laptop while working it will go into a suspend mode. When reopening it will take a few seconds to reload all that info: my laptop takes about 3-5 secs. With Apple laptops, Bam! it's there in about 1 second. That's quality hardware!
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  8. #8
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: Best computer to work with your photos on

    It's not simply an argument like "Nikon vs Canon"
    I wasn't making a vs argument, I was just comparing the UI of the cameras.

    Apple is a UI specialty company
    See, we agree - it's user interface of the lenses I'm talking about !

    I could use another UI point, where the control dial is.
    Canon on top, by the shutter release; Nikon on the front of the grip.

    Neither is right or wrong, it's just different. Same as Mac and PC.
    They are similar enough that a user can point, click, type, drag and drop on either.
    The subtle differences may frustrate people moving from one to the other, or have love/hate reactions from users.

    With Apple laptops, Bam! it's there in about 1 second
    On a PC it depends, suspend is immediate, hibernate is a few seconds.
    It's software, not hardware that does that !
    I'd crack a joke about comparing Apples and Oranges but it's rather lame

    My Sony has programmable settings that will suspend, hibernate, or just sleep when the lid is closed - and I use the one that restarts it immediately because I, too, want it to work fast.
    But I also use the two reprogrammable buttons to make it hibernate or suspend on command for when I pack it away. Best of both worlds.


    they [Apple] really know how to make products that uses like to hold, click and use
    My Vaio is as curvy as a Macbook - but that's just style over substance.
    More relevant perhaps the grip on the Sony A900 is a dream compared to my Canon.
    I think Sony has "got it" more than other companies, not just in the PC market.


    Almost anything that can be pointed to and say "Mac is better because" can be countered by a suitable comparison to the PC market. And the corollary holds true too.
    PAul

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    and post your sports pictures !

  9. #9
    Senior Member Medley's Avatar
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    Re: Best computer to work with your photos on

    Paul, I agree with you on your two main points, that it's all about the ui, and that it comes down to personal preference in the end.

    As for your marketing and IT teams, I would hazard a guess that they are Windows power users, not Mac power users. In this day and age, it's difficult to have enough time on your hands to be up to date on both systems.

    Having a bootable flash drive with a root user account (different from an administrator account, it bypasses almost all permissions), as well as access to the Unix command line through the monitor app, allows me to make most of the necessary adjustments to fix any problems. It also allows you to really effectively crash the entire computer if you don't know what you're doing, so it's not for the faint-of-heart (kind of like wet-cleaning the sensor on a DSLR).

    What I really like about this setup, as it relates to photography, is that I can use it to do a complete data dump on a Raw file and get not only the Exif information that is normally viewable by simpler means, but also the manufacturer's proprietary data that is normally used only by their Raw converters. If the manufacturers are aware of this, they're either incapable of changing it without altering their converters, or they're unconcerned.

    Either way, it allows me to see exactly where the differences are between their converters, and commercially available ones such as Photoshop or Lightroom, and conceivably, to alter those apps with third-party add-ons to get the best of both worlds. It is primarily those third party add-ons, generally created by users, that I was referring to when I spoke of maximizing compatibility across platforms.

    While I suspect it would be possible to do a similar data dump on a Windows machine, I am absolutely positive that I would have no idea how to go about it. I'm also fairly certain that that data would interact differently on a PC, and figuring out HOW the data is used is a much more time-intensive task than figuring out how to dump the raw data itself. You are not far off in your "apples and oranges" comparison.

    So yeah, "user interface" and "personal preference" just kind of covers that whole argument.

    - Joe U
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  10. #10
    Junior Member WildlifeNate's Avatar
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    Re: Best computer to work with your photos on

    Macs and PC's are too similar anymore to make a whole lot of judgements one way or the other. I stay with Windows because it's what I'm familiar with. I looked at a mac for my last computer I bought a year ago and I honestly couldn't see the value. I built my pc from scratch with hardware of my choosing. It screams.

    I could not have done the same and just installed OSX on it, even though they use the 'same' hardware. I'd have had to get my hands on a hacked version of OSX, which wasn't something I wanted to do.

    Comparing an off-the shelf mac to an off-the-shelf windows box doesn't net you much of a difference. But, when it comes to customizing hardware and going beyond the off-the-shelf configuration that apple becomes the stinker in the market. Voiding the warranty becomes an issue with some components, and then you have to deal with apple's overpriced upgrades.

    If you like to buy a machine off the shelf and just use it, then it probably doesn't matter a whole lot which you choose.
    If you like to customize, do frequent upgrades, and tinker, an apple may not be the best choice.

    Beyond that, if you don't like Windows, you're not stuck. Give Linux a look. It's eerily similar to OSX...and it's free. I run Vista on a desktop and a laptop, and I'm going to be making a home media server/media center pc (for storing photos and music and serving the music to the home theater system) and running Ubuntu Linux on it.

  11. #11
    Senior Member readingr's Avatar
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    Re: Best computer to work with your photos on

    I agree with Paul in his comparisson of Mac and PC.

    I recently looked at getting a MAC to replace my old Windows based laptop

    PC = £399 - equivalent MAC £1200

    Hmmm! more money for lenses. Sorted, I bought the PC which included Elements 6 and a TV usb thingy in the price after a bit of haggling.

    Roger R.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Medley's Avatar
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    Re: Best computer to work with your photos on

    Quote Originally Posted by WildlifeNate
    Comparing an off-the shelf mac to an off-the-shelf windows box doesn't net you much of a difference. But, when it comes to customizing hardware and going beyond the off-the-shelf configuration that apple becomes the stinker in the market. Voiding the warranty becomes an issue with some components, and then you have to deal with apple's overpriced upgrades.

    If you like to buy a machine off the shelf and just use it, then it probably doesn't matter a whole lot which you choose.
    If you like to customize, do frequent upgrades, and tinker, an apple may not be the best choice.
    I disagree. I've upgraded the stock hard drive and added a second drive to my MacBookPro to set up a RAID array, swapped out Ram, and tweaked it so that it connects to my TiVO and Xbox 360. I've also done multiple software hacks, mostly to improve performance. The most that the Apple people have ever done is to return my Mac with the Ram removed, telling me it wasn't authorized hardware (um, OK, but Apple doesn't MAKE Ram.....). Sure, I get the warnings about voiding my warranty (which is now about to expire anyway), but the shop has never failed to provide the service as needed. Consider the upside of having a Raid array in a field notebook, and you'll understand WHY I made my tweaks. The only downside I've encountered is that I've lost about 10% of my battery life. But that's what the extra battery's for, right?

    Now, it probably helps that I'm the technical advisor for our local Mac Users Group, and that the head of that group works at the local Apple Store. It also helps to have a strong purchase history with Apple. But by and large, I think they can be reasoned with. I've even had one of the techies at the warranty repair shop return my Mac with a note that it was one of the most interesting configurations he'd ever seen.

    So I'm sorry, but I don't buy the bit about not being able to customize, upgrade, and tinker with your Mac.

    - Joe U.
    Last edited by Medley; 01-29-2009 at 04:28 AM.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Best computer to work with your photos on

    the good old CRT monitors are the best....

    singapore corporate and industrial photographers photography

  14. #14
    Formerly Michael Fanelli, mwfanelli, mfa mwfanelli2's Avatar
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    Re: Best computer to work with your photos on

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynnzora
    Is there a computer preference when it comes down to what you're going to use to download your pictures onto and work with them? I know a lot of people prefer apple..
    I have both a Vista laptop and a MacBook. Both are pretty much equivalent these days. I choose the Vista machine over the MacBook for photography because of the piece of software I use: Picture Window Pro. For me it is, by far, the best photo software out there.

    But there is very little on my Vista laptop that does not run on my MacBook in native mode. I don't use emulators. I use the Macbook at school because it's small and light. The UI is not as advanced as Windows (opinion) but it gets the job done reliably.

    The Macbook costs more than a windows machine but it does have some nice little features that may or may not be worth the money. Vista starts up and shuts down more slowly. Vista has better eye-candy. The trackpad on the MacBook is superior by quite a lot. The Mac is not error free or immune from the computer ills of the world as some would like you to believe. The Mac looks nicer.

    Bottom line? No major differences, try out both and see which you prefer.
    “Men never do evil so cheerfully and completely as when they do so from religious conviction.” — Blaise Pascal

  15. #15
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Big, fast, cheap and I can fix it

    My needs in terms of processing power are going up (along with the size of the RAW files and the number of sophisticated things you can do nowadays).

    I'm a computer professional. Last year I made a few careful purhases at the right prices and now I have two very powerful systems (desktop and portable) which I can maintain myself.

    Of course they are PC's, running Vista. Apple is unknown to me.
    Charles

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