Mac vs. PC

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by michaelsmiller, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. Hi Everyone,
    I am buying a new iMac today for my photo editing/processing after using a PC for the past 10 years. I know that it's gonna be a big learning curve but I wanted to know if others have done this recently and if the switch was really worth it in taking your work to the next level or what challenges you faced, ex. downloading software issues, old external hard drives not recognizing on MAC from PC, raw files not viewing properly on MAC, navigation issues with iphoto, etc. I'm concerned that I'm going to have to purchase all new software(cs4, lightroom, etc) since I moved recently and can't find the old discs but I'm hoping the quality of the iMac will be worth it in the end.
  2. Using a Mac will not take your work to the next level. Most of the popular editing software works the same way on both platforms.
  3. As Mike points out. Switching operating systems will have no more impact on the "level" of your work than will switching camera bag brands.

    What might make a difference, though, would the lens(es) or lighting equipment or workshops you could take with the money you don't spend capriciously changing computer platforms and licensing software for the wrong reasons.
  4. To be quite honest, the only thing the Mac does that has a noticeable impact for me is run Aperture, which I prefer to Lightroom. But that's just a personal preference thing. Choice of OS is not a significant factor in the level of your work - so it needs to be examined in other terms. Are you due for a new computer anyway? When considering the Macs and PCs in your price range, what do you like better, on the merits? Do you live near an Apple store and if you do, is in-person tech support important to you?
  5. it's gonna be a big learning curve​
    It shouldn't be, and that's not being playful with the iClaim that MacOS X is "much easier to use than any other OS" (which, for me, it isn't but I admit it is a personal preference). Fact is: 95% is identical, the logic of what a folder, a file and a program do is identical. Dobleclicking an icon does the same, and the recycle bin is the recycle bin. The menus might be in a bit different places, but otherwise, it's all pretty much the same.
    The current iMac is a nice piece of hardware. Whether it's worth it to you to make the switch - it's your money.
  6. This battle has gone on from the first Mac. The answers are always very subjective. Out of the last six computers I have owned five have been Macs and four of those have been iMacs. I wouldn't use anything but a Mac. But I've got to tell you, given the fact that you can generally buy the same software for either (there are some exceptions such as Aperture) it really comes down to what type of person you are. I would normally say something along the lines of "If you are anal retentive you would be happy with Microsloth". This, of course, only reflects my view.The truth is that I have found the quality of Macs to be high with the only real problem I have ever had with my Mac was my own fault.
    The learning curve? Well, it hardly exists, unless you are anal retentive, they say that Macs are more intuitive to use but I think that you must have an intuitive mind set as well.
    Now that I have fanned the flames of PC vs Mac I would point out that one is better off using the system they are most comfortable with. I like Mac, Most of the graphics labs at the school I attend from time to time have Macs while the computer labs have PCs. Says it all really. The argument is moot.
  7. Real Users use System/360.
    However, these days, maybe BSD Unix.
  8. I used to do admin on a System/36 ... code in RPG! Backup tapes the size of truck tires! Enough electricity to run a small shopping mall! Twinaxial cable runs to Volkswagon-sized desktop terminals weighing a hundred pounds! And a line printer that, if you allowed the door to close incorrectly, could decapitate you. Now that was computing! *sniff* - I miss the blinking green cursor.

    Today, I used the Chipotle app on my iPhone to look up my previous order, and to place another one (mmm, burrito bowl!), and have it waiting at the register ahead of a long line of luddites who actually place an order in person, if you can believe such a thing. The iPhone has more computing horsepower and throughput than I could have ever imagined back in S/36 days. Complete sci-fi grade tools and toys we have these days. None of which make me a better photographer!
  9. I think OS X is the slicker operating system, though Windows7 has come a long way. Although I switched to all-OS X machines about two years ago, I'm actually thinking of switching back since you get so much more computing horsepower for your money with PC systems these days. A blistering-fast, Core i7 machine with a boatload of RAM can be had for just over a grand in PC Land.
    To answer your question, OS X reads PC-formatted HDDs just fine. You even have a choice of formatting options when formatting new volumes from OS X. Again, I think it's the better OS with a prettier GUI. If price weren't an issue, I would stay completely in OS X Land. Enjoy your new iMac!
  10. Just get used to (be cautious with the fingers) hitting Command 'Q' which quits apps immediately on the Mac. 'Q' is right next to 'W' on the keyboard which when hit will only close an open window of an app. One misplaced finger and you could lose all of your work if you didn't happen to hit Command 'S' to save that last edit or change to document or image.
    How's that for a learning curve?
  11. As far as I can tell from using both OSX and windows-based systems for the past eleven years, Macs have no trouble reading hard drives formatted for PC, although the reverse may sometimes be a problem if you don't plan ahead.
    If you do switch and you think it's likely that large quantities or sizes of files might have to get transferred back the other way to PC at some point, then your external drives will either need to be formatted for Windows to be readable on PC, or you'll have to get MacDisk software to make any Mac formatted drives accessible in Windows. That obviously won't be a problem with your current external drives but it is something to keep in mind if/when you get new ones after you've transferred to an iMac.
    Also, another important detail is that windows formatted drives (including the ones you're currently using with your PC) have a higher chance of getting seriously scrambled when unplugged from a Mac without properly ejecting them from the desktop first, whereas drives formatted to one of the newer Mac file system variants are less likely to get in trouble if you forget to eject before pulling the USB cord out. So the message there is to be extra careful with properly ejecting any windows formatted drives that you'll be using to shuttle back and forth between mac and pc.
    Depending on how you plan to work, a different way to get around file system and/or eject issues with external drives is to primarily depend on cloud storage, email-to-self attachments and burning files to windows-readable CD or DVD instead.
  12. About a month ago I was tinkering around with all the OS folder view options and stumbled upon the coolest feature for viewing folders full of images. See the screenshot below I took of a folder of jpegs. You have to click on two buttons to get the horizontally scrollable animated rolodex split screen view and then click on the "eye" icon next to it to get a full size, high quality color managed view. Makes my Adobe Bridge CS3 seem inadequate in some respects.
  13. Depending on how you have customized or not your tool bar in Cover Flow (as the kind of view is called) you may not see the "quick look" eye icon shown above. However, to see the content of most kinds of files, you simply have to select it in the view (not just Cover Flow) and hit the space bar for a "quick look" at the file.
    For most things, List or Columns are handier views.
    By the way, the space bar also brings up a full screen image from a selection in Adobe Bridge (5.5 anyhow).
  14. Oops.
  15. Despite some claims to the contrary, Steve Jobs had a lot to do with the kind of operating system the Mac had from 1984.
    When he left the company, when the Pepsi King took over, his foundation of NeXT was in the end a life saver for Apple. Apple's own next-generation operating system was crashing in flames and NeXTStep (link) came back to Apple with Jobs, and was ultimately the core for OS X on the Mac.
    By the way,
    the UNIX command in Terminal:
    defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool NO
    on OS X Lion turns off the danged bouncy window effect (link)
  16. Now that was computing! *sniff* - I miss the blinking green cursor... The iPhone has more computing horsepower and throughput than I could have ever imagined back in S/36 days.​
    Darn it Matt, you are making me feel my age! Sigh, yes--green screen, punch cards, tapes with Vol-Ser numbers, machine rooms.
  17. Thanks for the space bar tip, JDM, and the OS X history as well.
    BTW how come my images appear blurry in the Cover Flow window, but look fine in zoom view after hitting the space bar?
  18. I am a basic PC user. Barely literate. I have friends with Mac/I-Mac. The rest of my unwashed friends us PC. Thats the way Mac-users talk to us!
    A few years ago I did a job for a Lady. My Pentax Optio 3.5MP with a mere 285 images in small format 1600 x 1200 and 640 x 480 caused her older Mac to crash. Solution, pull plug out wall! Shortly after a brand new product,top-of-line, Mac. Result? Pull plug out wall every few minutes..Later working with other Mac users discovered this small problem.
    The cost of every program and any repairs( keyboard damage on Mac-laptop,less than 6 months old $700) are way more expensive. In that case with similar damage I bought a keyboard for under $4.00.
    My friends Mac seems to have more imaging tools..
    Note! I have never bought a new PC computer. Used at cheap, donated or lent. Lovely being the recycle person!
  19. Any comment on the need and frequency of monitor color calibration between the two systems? From comments on the web I would guess macs might be better,
  20. Jason, if a liquid-on-keyboard spill was a $700 repair, it wasn't just the keyboard that was broken. In a laptop, there are many parts located under the keyboard - motherboard, CPU, RAM, hard drive, etc. If you get liquid in there and damage a few of these parts the repair involves replacing most of the computer.
  21. The space-bar QuickLook feature on OSX is so amazing, when it appeared in 10.5 I didn't know how I'd lived without it for so long. You can QuickLook photos, PDF documents, text documents, Excel spreadsheets, movie files, pretty much anything. I use it without even thinking about it. Then in Windows I still have to double click on the icon and open it up in an application to view it, which seems so, old fashioned...
    I use Windows for games. I use the Mac for everything else.
  22. Get the extended warranty so you can call Apple with questions for the next few years.
  23. >>> The space-bar QuickLook feature on OSX is so amazing, ...

    Also, in case you haven't come across this yet... You can select a folder full of images (or other docs), hit the space-bar
    and can then step through them with arrow keys, play them as a slide show, or view them in a grid.

    I use that feature all the time...
  24. Get the $99 "one on one" classes, in addition to AppleCare. You can then schedule visits to Apple Store experts on pretty much whatever you need to do with your Mac, in addition to the excellent telephone support via AppleCare.
  25. I was first introduced to computers using punch cards on an IBM S/370 - Us electrical engineering students at Youngstown State were eventually given probational use of a TI 820 KSR interactive terminal hooked into the S/370- If we somehow managed to keep from bringing the S/370 to its knees, we moved on to the dumb terminal with a real green-screen monitor. One of the neatest things we were able to do back then was to send an "instant message" to the person on the adjacent "tube."
    In my junior year I began fiddling with microprocessors on an E&L Trainer in the latter 70's:
    For my senior thesis I built a 'notebook' computer, the IMSAI 8048 Control Computer. I built the 2K RAM model. IIRC I could have purchased another 2K RAM for around $200.
    I graduated in 1978 and went to work for the family business. I was one of the first purchasers, at the local ComputerLand, of the Apple II+ with a Disk II primary disk drive and, hold on to your seat, a second Disk II. Each floppy drive stored a whopping 128K of data. To top it off, I maxed out the II+ with a 16K RAM card for a total of 64K of RAM.
    Getting to the meat of the OP's question, I became an Eagle Computer dealer. When the IBM PC was introduced, along with the soon to follow clones, I switched to MS-DOS on an Eagle Computer and sold a fair number of these machines: Concurrently, one of my business buddies was a Franklin Computer dealer. He also did much better in the business world when he switched from selling Apple compatible to PC compatible computers.
    Approximately around the same time the Mac was introduced: It was soon obvious that the PC had much more general business potential than the Apple. Sure, the Mac had better graphics (it had graphics). But there were many more accounting programs available for the PC than the Mac. If you were in a the graphics design/production part of industry, Apple owned the market. If you were running the graphics design business (accounting), the PC had the edge.
    Today there are very few programs that run on the Mac that are not available in some form on the PC. There are many, many more programs available today for the PC than the Mac. The PC is still 'open' to aftermarket add-in cards, software utilities, etc. The Mac is pretty much a walled garden hardware-wise.
    For my dollar, I get much more bang for my buck with a PC, or any other computing device that runs a Microsoft operating system. I'm not locked in to one vendor with my PC. I can order custom built laptops, desktops/towers, and servers from several local computer dealers, all based on industry standard specifications.
    Just my 4 cents - Mark
  26. Some very good advice for the OP in this thread.
    - Get the Applecare 3 year warranty. <-- good idea. It's cheap insurance and you get phone support for any question you might have for 3 years. I've had great experience with this.
    - Get the $99 One On One <-- another good idea. Though I haven't done this, I have heard it is a very good way for PC users to transition to Mac, and get the most from their purchase.
    I have 3 Macs that I use regularly. A mid-2009 24" iMac that I absolutely love. Use it for all my photography. It lives in my home office. A late 2006 black Macbook that goes with me to school and on trips. Wonderful machine. And a mid 2010 Mac Mini that is my music server and general web browser. It lives in the living room near my stereo, and I play all my music from it into my stereo via USB for great sound quality (with an outboard DAC). It also connects to a USB keyboard for piano practice.
    I also have a couple PCs in my home, a tower and laptop. Wife uses these more than me (she didn't drink the Apple koolaid like I did). Though I spent more money on the iMac than I did on the PC tower, I still feel the iMac is a better value, mainly because it takes up so little room on my desk, has such a gorgeous IPS LCD panel, and runs the magnificent Apple OSX.
  27. Mark - good point. Lotus 1-2-3 was not available for Mac until 1991. So the OP should opt for a PC if he is a business user.
    But realistically, in 2011, is there anything your average reader will run that is only available for Windows and doesn't have a good substitute on Mac? I can't think of anything. There's one big one I can think of that's Mac only, which is Aperture. Software availability is not a factor.
    Most readers are never going to install a PCI card in their PC - people use externals for most peripherals now, even I don't have any cards in my tower except a PCIE video card and I used to run out of slots, so being able to install cards isn't much of a factor. All the commonly used external peripherals work with all the commonly used computers, so that's not a factor. Almost all CPUs in computers people actually buy that aren't ultraportables are powerful enough for almost all tasks. The selectable options on major brand computers are as close to a custom build as most people want to get.
    So what's left that actually is a decision making factor? Personal preference, price and customer support are all I can think of. So I ended up with a Mac for my large laptop (personal preference and service outweigh the higher price) and Windows for my desktop and ultraportable (price differential for what I wanted was too high).
  28. Thanks for all the responses everyone. I know it isn't going to change the level/quality of my work as an art, but it will allow me to speed up my workflow, have better viewing of my images while I edit, etc. I was more concerned with operating issues that I might have switching from one system to the other(ex. multiple external harddrives being converted to work on Mac, losing images that were edited on PC)
    Thanks for all the input.
  29. Oh, right, one thing, actually on topic:
    There are three main hard drive formatting systems you could be dealing with. Apple has its own, which Windows will not recognize - a hard drive that's been set up to be able to be a system disk on a Mac won't work if you plug it into a Windows box. This can be solved by installing a program called Macdisk on the Windows box.
    Windows has two formats: FAT and NTFS. If you format a large hard drive in Windows it will make it NTFS because Microsoft didn't give Windows the ability to format FAT drives over 32GB. BUT it is possible to have very large hard drives, formatted by other software, over 32GB - a Mac can format a large FAT volume, and external drive manufacturers will often preformat them in FAT. Mac and Windows can both read and write on FAT disks, no problem.
    NTFS, which is what a Windows box will use whwnever formatting a large hard drive, is read-only on a Mac, but you can add 3rd party software to make it read/write. I've used this before:
  30. Michael, Congratulations. I'm a big Mac fan. There's no learning curve to be concerned about; Mac is so intuitive. I really like my 27" iMac. Enjoy and make great images. Larry
  31. It's a strange discussion to have in the week that Steve Jobs passed away. :-(

    Apple made "personal computers" before the "IBM PC" was released. Apple, as everyone knows, adopted the
    graphical user interface before PC's did. The Microsoft attempt at a GUI was extremely unreliable for many years (
    until Windows 95). Apple adopted USB and other hit swappable technologies first.

    Our entire idea of what a computer is and does has been influenced heavily by Apple and it's innovations.

    One thing that I enjoy is that my Mac is up and ready to use in less than a minute after I power it on. PCs take a
    while to "warm up". It's a small detail, but it can be important when you need something in a hurry.

    PCs are very stable and easy to use today. You might say that they've become Mac-like. ;-)

    Thanks for all of your great ideas, Steve! PC users and Mac users alike have benefitted from your vision and your tenacity. Well done!
  32. There's a lot of viral "PC" lore on this thread. Lotus 1-2-3 is and was irrelevant. Visicalc was first done on an Apple ][, Excel was originally a Macintosh program, just for one part of it.
    From the Wikipedia article on Excel:
    first version of Excel for the Mac in 30 September 1985, and the first Windows version (numbered 2.05 to line up with the Mac and bundled with a run-time Windows environment) in November 1987​
    Has DOS/Windows outsold the Mac OS? Yes. Are many of those PC-only programs really all that original or cover areas not available on the Mac? Not many.
  33. Great wandering thread. I agree with getting Applecare©. They're great. But I think after all the discussion, the decision needs to be made on more than feelings and emotion. My thought is that it's wiser to make a machine that runs software you write than it is to make software for some else's machine. Smoothness of operation is a big difference in platforms. But the answer to your question, which has already been noted, is that no system will take your work to the next level. That's your burden and yours alone. Good luck.
  34. "The Microsoft attempt at a GUI was extremely unreliable for many years ( until Windows 95)."
    It was never particularly unreliable, except to the extent that all operating systems without memory protection are unreliable. The reliability issue was solved with NT in 1993, if you used it. Also, the least reliable OS I ever used was a dual processor Mac running OS 9 in 2001. What a piece of sh1t that was. Apple's OS didn't have memory protection until OS X. Really archaic stuff.
    What the early versions of Windows were was unusable. The first usable Windows version (ie one you'd actually want installed on your machine and run all the time, without bailing out to MS-DOS when you actually wanted to get something done) was 3.1 in 1992 as I recall. 3,0 was very close, but fell down accessing network drives and resources.
    I use OS X mainly because I prefer a Unix-based OS to Windows, and still want to run some commerical apps that aren't available for Linux. There are of course a lot of tradeoffs, no matter which of the three you pick. Frankly I'd probably be happier if any two of them died and I didn't have to worry about what OS to run. It's sort of ridiculous really. They all do fundamentally the same thing.
  35. What about monitor clarity? I find Macs to be far superior when needing to look at an image vs Windows?
  36. They should look the same, assuming everything is set up correctly. You're probably used to PC monitors that aren't set up well.

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