Looking for a lightweight laptop that is excellent for photo processing

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by carlosmiller, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. I currently own a ToshibaSatellite A45-S1202, but at 7.7 pounds, it has proven to get heavy when traveling with a lot of other gear. I would also like something faster and more powerful with larger capacity.
    I've never owned a Macintosh before, but I hear they're much better than PCs for photo processing. Is the Mac worth the hype?
  2. I think a laptop with a DVD writer would be better, holds alot more data, four or five times as much.
  3. >Is the Mac worth the hype?

    Not hype; pro standard.
  4. Like Garey said, it's the pro standard: http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/
  5. But if the OP's workflow and tools are PC-based, isn't the "pro standard" response a little short sighted?

    Surely there are PCs capable of photo processing, that don't weigh a ton?

    As for the recommendation that it include a DVD writer, that's of little or no help because DVDs hold only ~4GB, where even a minimalist laptop has a ~200 GB hard drive these days.

    Someone here surely must be able to recommend a Windows-based laptop for this use?

    Jumping in because I'm in the market also, and I'm not interested in buying a Mac.
  6. I'd be interested in knowing which (if any) laptop screens can be calibrated most successfully, and give the best results for photo editing.

    Also, what size/resolution do people favor? My IBM R51 has a 15" 1440x1050 screen that I love for clarity. Right out of the box, it's also quite close to sRGB, too.


    Geoff S.
  7. How much is your budget? For small laptop under 15" screen, the Macbooks are nice.
  8. If you can wait to do the actual photo processing until you can get to a calibrated powerful system, you're better off getting a small laptop with a decent screen for field use that allows a preliminary review and editing, then doing your hardcore Photoshop work later.

    One of the newer portable hard drives with an LCD screen would be even lighter weight.

    "Lightweight laptop" and "excellent photo processing" equals compromise.

    The largest capacity laptop hard drive as of NOV '06, is about 120GB.
  9. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The largest capacity laptop hard drive as of NOV '06, is about 120GB.
    I don't think so. See this, for example. There are plenty of laptops around with 160GB drives.
  10. Go to a store that sells Mac. You will not use anything else after that. An Apple store is listed in the phone book of major cities. Independent places now carry them. Look at the screens from an angle and compare with others.

    You can edit with a PC, but my next purchase will be the dual core Mac with 20 in screen. No it ain`t portable, but is the cat`s meow.

    Get a Mac notebook for roadwook.
  11. I use the Dell Inspiron E1705 with 2 gigs of ram. However, it is heavy. Try the smaller E1505. Upgrade to 2 gigs of ram and the fastest CPU currently available. Lots of Mac talk here, but my laptop will stand up to ANY Mac laptop in terms of PS CS2 speed and reliability - and image quality. I use it exclusively with PS CS2. Although it is not nearly as fast as my home made Core 2 Duo (running the equivalent of 4 processors at 3.5 gig) it certainly is twice as fast as my old desktop - a P4 running at 3.2 gigs - and approaches the speed of my friends G5 Quad. Heresy, I know, but many tests running PS CS2 bare this out repeatedly.

    Remember, faster means it uses more watts - which means it will need a heavier battery - which puts you back into the 7 lb catagory. As for Macs being better than PCs for photo processing that is pure non sense. An urban myth created 10 years ago and no longer true. In fact, just the opposite. Example: I convert a raw file from my Nikon D200 in LESS than 1 second using Adobe Camera Raw. I repeat, LESS than 1 second! My fellow pro friend who uses the latest Mac G5 Quad can't come close! No need to switch.
  12. Dells do well for me, but I don't do much processing on the road. I do buy Dell refurbs (with the warranty). A DVD writer in a laptop works well to back up those images that you shoot during your current trip. (At least, I don't ordinarily back up my entire hard drive while on the road.) Then, after you have seen the images on the laptop screen, you do your backups and you have the copy on your laptop hard drive as well as the copy on your DVDs. For me, I then feel a lot better about formatting the used CF cards that if I only put them on a portable hard drive. Also, if desired, you can mail your DVDs home.
  13. I've been happy with my Dells. I have a Dell laptop I bought back in 1997 that still works fine. (Can't use if for Photoshop though!) I'm not familiar with the weight of their current models but I'm sure a quick trip to their website will tell you.

    I don't think a Mac holds any particular advantage over a PC laptop. The "hype" probably came from Photoshop *initially* being a Mac-only program and yeah, back then, Mac was it. But today, there's functionally no difference; Photoshop works fine on both platforms and recently Apple switched to Intel processors anyway. You may prefer the style and/or design and/or operating system of a Mac but they hold no magic advantage in Photoshop.

    IMHO opinion it boils down to this: Do you want a desktop replacement laptop? If so, it won't be light. If you want a travel laptop to look at images, do some backups, etc. then you can use a relatively modest and lightweight laptop PC or Mac. In other words, "light" and "powerful" are typically not found in the same machine.

    One last thought: If you don't mind using a "light duty" photo editor like Photoshop Elements, you probably won't need as much horsepower - and thus weight - to run it effectively. Good luck!
  14. ....."As for the recommendation that it include a DVD writer, that's of little or no help"
    I think a part of photo processing, actually the first part, is to backup your work, if it means anything to you! Two backups are a standard with me, harddrive and DVD. This is the FIRST thing I do once I start to process my photographs. Don't want to have all your eggs in one basket, that would be very irresponsible, and foolish.
  15. Charles Webster ...."where even a minimalist laptop has a ~200 GB hard drive these days"..
    I really don't know where you get your "facts"? But I believe your WAY off base. Most major PC/Laptop manufacturers just announced 200GB in their laptops this past summer, and they are by no means minimalist, most are double the price of a mid grade laptop, $3k and up. Fujitsu and other major HDD makers will not have them out before 2007.
  16. "I don't think a Mac holds any particular advantage over a PC laptop."

    He might not think so, but coming from someone who works on a PC at work all day and a Mac at home - there is a big difference (working with Photoshop and Indesign). Macs just work better, period. Ask anyone who's used one for awhile. And, no stupid font isses like with PC's - drives my whole department crazy.

    Check them out - you'll be pleasantly surprised.
  17. Check out the for sale site here on Photo.net some one has a lap top for sale for $700.00 would be good for what you need

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