What's a Photographer's Favorite Laptop?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by victoria_harding_wakeen, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. Hi folks -- my fiancé is a wedding photog. (Massachusetts) with over ten years of experience and we're on the threshold of tying the knot ourselves. I've been thinking of getting him a laptop as a wedding gift as he doesn't yet have one, and I wanted to know your preferences ... I'm hoping he'll eventually want to use it to display ceremony images at the end of the receptions he shoots, so quality and functionality is a consideration. So is price -- at this point I can only go more 'low-to-middle' end. He shoots only Nikon ... can anyone offer any recommendations? Thanks!
  2. You know this question is going to start a war, right? :)
    Me, I'd want a MacBook Pro. Price point is different for everyone, so how much do you really want to spend? You can get a PC much cheaper if you'd like and there are some very good ones out there, but for me, its just the Mac.
  3. Rich, you're totally off your rocker! MacBooks stink! Blah blah blah flame war blah blah.
    I had to laugh when I read that opening line. It's funny 'cause it's true!
    I personally use an HP Pavillion but it's only because all of the software I have purchased over the years has been for PC and Microsoft is embedded in me like a tick. Mac is a superior operating system, but it's more expensive to maintain and even more expensive if something breaks. So the question might actually be, do you have the money to support owning a better operating system like Mac? If so, get one. If not, PCs have become tolerable enough to be useful. Finally.
    I use my HP to display and process images, and have never had any complaints.
  4. Never thought about the "war" issue, ha, ha ... but seriously, I'd like to hear from current users to know why they chose what they did, (the model) and how it's working out for them. My guy currently uses MS but would love to go Mac, alas, with the economy the way it is, for now we'll stick with what we know.
  5. Victoria -- I think part of the decision is going to be based on the software you use.
    I use a Dell XPS laptop running (gasp) WINDOWS VISTA!!!
    The Laptop is nearly 3 years old and runs like it's new. I maintain it regularly and keep all of my photos on a networked hard drive.
    Here's why I went PC...there's really only two reasons:
    Software: I use Photoshop and Lightroom primarily. They're available for both PC and Mac, but Lightroom runs exceptionally well on multi-core processors...something I couldn't afford in a Mac. I also use a variety of other software that just wasnt compatable with Macs 3 years ago.
    Cost: 3 years ago, my laptop cost $1300. To get a Mac laptop that would run everything I wanted it to as well as my PC does I would have had to shell out $2500+.
    What will I do next?
    I don't know. It all depends on what happens with LR 3 and CS5.
    Will they run on a Mac as well as a 64-bit quad-core PC?
    Will Macs come down in cost?
    What other software will I use and will it be available on Mac?
    I do know that my next purchase will be a new workstation, not a laptop...and right now I'm leaning towards PC...
    To each his own. and let the flame wars begin.
  6. I absolutely love my MacBook Pro-I got a refurbished 15" for $1,300. The MacBook is also a very good computer-Apple currently has a refurbed model for $850. You also don't say if he currently has a desktop computer. If he already has either a windows or a OSX machine and software for that, your decision is pretty much made up as far as platform. If he doesn't have a desktop and software, I would suggest going with the Macbook or Macbook pro. I personally find my multiple Macs to be much more intuitive, stable, and requiring of less maintence than the Windows machine I have.
    If you're looking for a Windows laptop for a photographer, I can't really point to specific models, but make sure it has a standalone graphics card as opposed to integrated-photoshop and other graphics programs rely heavily on the graphics processor, so you want to have a good one. As much memory as possible, and don't worry as much about processor speed.
  7. I have to go with the MacBook Pro as well. I have a 15" 2.2ghz core duo model that's a little over two years old. I just (today) upgraded the ram from 2 to 4 GB and it's made a huge difference in processing groups of RAW files in Aperture and Photoshop.
    A refurbished or used MacBook Pro with a good sized hard drive (250 gig or so) and 4 gig of RAM would be a great gift.
  8. Another vote for a MacBook or MacBook Pro. If buying new, get him a gift membership to the NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) and you will get a professional discount from Apple. The two kind of balance out but there are a lot of other benefits to the NAPP as well. A few reasons to get a MBP...
    1) your fiance wants to switch!
    2) You can run BOTH Mac OS X AND Windows on the same computer (seems to make it a no-brainer to me).
    3) I am pretty sure all models will have an extended desktop, the ability to hook up an external monitor. Especially nice if being used to display images at a wedding. You can get this in a Windows laptop but I don't think it's standard (it will cost more than the basic) and I have always found Windows to be very fussy setting up two displays. I do it using projectors and different schools and no two set ups are every the same. I personally think it's timed so that you have 15-minutes of frustration and then it decided to work. That's a joke. Kinda.
    4) Less maintenance cost. No need for anti-virus. Less time spent "maintaining" the computer. Actually, there was an independent research firm concluded that for every dollar spent on a M/S product, 7 was spent on IT.
    5) Right out of the box he has powerful ways (iLife) of presenting a slideshow at weddings. No extra software needed (although he might want some!).
    6) No registry (that's a BIG one).
    The list really does go on. And Yes, I love my Macs. Choose wisely.
  9. Take him to a Best Buy or local retailer and get him to play with the laptops there. Find out which ones he likes and then buy it a week later.
    The PC and the Mac will both do the same thing for different prices if you're using Photoshop.
    I'd recommend staying away from netbooks...they are cheap and easy to lug around, but I can barely edit anything on mine because the 10" screen is just too small to edit large images. I always use my 15.4" laptop screen over my 10" laptop screen if I want to get anything done quickly.
    I do recommend dual-core or quad-core processor with lots of memory. Laptop memory isn't as expensive anymore, but if you can get away with getting a laptop with 4GB of ram, go for it.
    Once you find one, buy it online and save a ton of money.
    I spend $0 on antivirus and maintenance on all of my Windows-based computers. There are very good free solutions. But it's all up to him based on what he liked in the store and what you can afford.
  10. Yet another vote for a MacBook or MacBook Pro. I had Dell desktops and laptops for years until I couldn't stand the viruses and crashes any longer. I made the switch to Apple exactly 3 yrs ago and have never looked back.
  11. Re John Deerfield:
    1) Switching to Mac may mean re-buying and relearning software that you already own and use.
    2) You can run Windows on Mac, but it's a compromise rather than the rule.
    3) Almost every PC laptop I've ever seen has had an external monitor port. The Dell XPS 16 I use has an HDMI port, a Display Port and a VGA port. Telling the computer to display to the projector is as simple as pressing Windows+P.
    4) TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) calculations are at the whim of the person doing the calculations. See http://techdistrict.kirkk.com/2010/03/11/cost-mac-or-pc-a-look-at-tco/ for a recent one.
    5) Windows 7 has equivalents to the slideshow feature in iLife (it's not installed by default, but is offered as an optional installation via automatic updates.)
    6) The registry solves a bunch of problems that are real problems. I no registry as a discerning choice. It would seem that apps these days are moving less away from the registry and towards xml files for configuration, alternatively configuration stored in databases.
    7) bonus! Realistically the answer is to talk to your partner about it, he's either set on a Mac or he isn't. People with their emotions already wound around a decision are often difficult to sway into the opposite decision regardless of the provision of information that would otherwise lead them to decide differently.
    The Dell Studio XPS 16 is quite a nice beast that can be specced out well beyond the equivalent Macbook Pro for a cheaper price (at least last I looked). There's a great forum at NotebookReview.com where advice on laptop choices can be sought.
  12. I use a $300 mini. It does internet, skype, photoshop cs3, Word etc and weighs under 2 lbs. with cord.
    Great for travel. Stores photos, updates Blog (erroltrip.wordpress.com) and is the envy of all with 8 lbs. monsters on their sholder.
    Also used as part of a Santa shoot in a mall last year.
    Macbook can do all this but is heavy and expensive.
  13. What does he normally use? If he uses a PC, buy a PC unless he's hinted that he wants to switch. What do his friends use? It's helpful to have friends who are using the same gear- you can show each other tricks, etc. Lastly, It might be better to give him the cash and let him buy it- computers are a tax deduction.
    I use Mac and like them alot, if it matters.
  14. One of the new Macbook Pro's with the i7 processor is what I'm saving my hard earned $'s for. I am a Mac Junkie and probably always will be. I have a Mac Pro at home now and an old Gooseneck iMac G4 that have NEVER given me any problems what so ever. I had a PC for a while but never used it because of how often it crashed and how many updates I constantly had to do. It's totally a personal preference, but I don't trust PC's with my basic information, let alone my important business information.
  15. @ Joshua
    1) Most professional software I am aware of behaves the same on Windows or Mac. With the notable exception of the current versions of Microsoft Office. I cannot stand the new interface of M/S office on Windows, whereas on a Mac, every interface I know of, including M/S Office, follows the same OS protocols. What I mean by this is that when I open any application on a Mac I can expect to find my standard menu bar (file, edit, etc). This makes learning any application much easier. On Windows this is more of a guideline- a program can display itself (like office) anyway it wants to making going from program-to-program more confusing. And of course there is always point two.
    2) Why is this the compromise? I have Windows XP installed on my MBP for when I teach. Every review I have read stated that Windows actually ran faster on a MBP.... I imagine that registry work around helped speed things up ;)
    3) I didn't say you couldn't get an Windows laptop with a monitor port. But I am pretty sure the lesser expensive versions don't have them. Getting it to work is another story. Every Mac I have ever owned I plug in my 2nd monitor and viloa', there it is. Every Windows machine I have every worked with (and there have been A LOT), I plug in my 2nd monitor and open up the Control Panel and go to Displays and then figure out how to get it to "see" the 2nd monitor and so on. I do this when I teach at schools using their computers, I do this when I try to help Bride & Grooms get their computers to see a projector and so on. It has never been easy.
    4) Agreed. We could argue TCO all day long.
    5) Which clearly outlines two things (for me anyway). One, it just isn't simple. I have to download the update to do it. Is that a huge deal no. But then why make me do it? Two, the Apple OS is just that, an OS. There applications are separate from the OS. M/S has been in HUGE trouble for NOT separating Windows Exploring from the OS yet they continue to embed applications for their benefit (it does me no benefit). Heck, another piece of software that drives me nuts on Windows is just simply the DVD player. On a Mac, I get a free DVD player application. Simple. On Windows, I get several choices of DVD playback software. Most of which are stripped down free versions where the "real" version costs more money (going back to that TCO argument ;)
    6) I have never seen the registry solve anything. The registry is THE reason a PC gets slower and slower over time. The registry tracks everything, including software you have removed. The larger that database gets, the slower your PC becomes. You can do a clean install (recommended PC or Mac anyway every now and then)(but then installing OS X is a breeze.... Installing Windows has always been a HUGE PIA) and there is registry "cleaning" software (there's that pesky maintenance and TCO thing again) but this brings me about to nothing good I know of comes from the registry.
    7) That was my first point, the OP said he would love a Mac.
    I love telling the story about why I switched and anyone is free to email me for it! I don't want to add gas to the fire here so to speak!
  16. Prior to 2000, I was a STAUNCH PC person. Then I had a job that only used Macs. That's when I realized how much better they really are than PCs. They truly are a good example of you get what you pay for. I'm on my 3rd Mac that I've owned. The first was an old mac powerbook from a job that had upgraded to iBooks, so they gave it to me for free. That puppy lasted YEARS. In 2006 I got a macbook, and in late 2009 I gave my old macbook to my mom and got a new macbook. Some of the more soupped up macbooks are nearly identical to the current mac book pros. This can cut off some of the price tag, instead of getting a mac book pro. While iPhoto isn't nearly as great as lightroom, it is pretty great for an out of the box product on your computer. You can do several of the same types of manipulations, and it will process RAW files.
    But the real question is, what do you really see him using it for? If it really is just to show the photos to people at the reception from the ceremony, etc, there are MUCH cheaper ways to do this. The PC realm is probably smarter to go with if that's the main intended use for it. Because frankly, if you are using it as a slide show projector, he will have to leave it unattended when he is shooting the reception. If this is a computer he is going to work on for processing digital images, etc, this is probably NOT the computer he wants just left lying around, where it is likely to get knocked off a table, steped on, cracked, or stolen (if you don't have a lock leash on it).
    From a newlywed's perspective, I'd just offer this bit of personal advice. If you are paying for the wedding yourself and finding it a VERY expensive proposition, then buying him a new computer if he has a well functioning one right now is probably not the best idea. Come the day of, you both will be so happy to be getting married, that giant presents like that really aren't that necessary. Being slammed with the bills for the wedding after and then a computer that is going to cost at least a grand isn't too much fun. If you think the cost is going to stress you out, don't get it. If money isn't an object for you guys at all, then sure, do it up right, get him a mac book pro, and a cinema monitor screen and light room or aperture and adobe photoshop. Keep in mind, if he isn't a student anywhere though, these programs are fairly expensive (both for mac or PC).
    Hope that helped. And congratulations on your pending nuptials! ;)
  17. MBP, fast and with a large capacity.
  18. @John
    1) Re-buy was the core message I was trying to impart here. OP's husband already has a PC and presumably software to manage photos. Re-buying all that software in a Mac version means that this is a significant cost. Photoshop alone costs photoshop price for the mac = $700USD, moving photoshop license from old PC to new laptop = $0. I agree that for a user experienced with Office, the new UI paradigm can take a bit to get used to. For me, the UI works, and is more usable than the alternative toolbar design.
    2) The reviews stating that the MBP running Windows faster weren't even correct at the time those reviews were done http://gizmodo.com/331223/macbook-pro-fastest-windows-laptop-not-so-fast. This was only true for a short period of time. My statement that running Windows on a Mac is a compromise is based on the numerous incompatibilities that are found in doing this. See http://www.macwindows.com/
    3) We're not suggesting lesser expensive PC models though are we? We're comparing to the very expensive MBP. I'd assume we should be comparing to not so expensive but still decent PC laptops, not the bottom end. Again, I'll reiterate, plugging an external monitor in Windows 7 (which we can assume that any new PC comes with these days) just works. Not really a comparative point in that case.
    4) This point has intentionally been left blank
    5) Am I to understand that you're suggesting that a) OSX is better because it includes apps, but b) Windows is worse because it used to includes apps but got in trouble for that? But then you're complaining that a freely available app is about 4 clicks away from a standard install. Windows 7 supports DVD playback using Windows Media Player or Windows Media Center if you're using it as a home theatre setup. This functionality is free, not a stripped down version of an external piece of software. Neither OSX or Windows 7 support Blu-ray playback without adding additional software. (Though perhaps that's a moot point with the MBP given that it doesn't come with a Blu-Ray drive...).
    6) You've probably never worked in a corporate IT environment where the Registry solves many many problems that would be significantly harder to address with the way that OSX does settings. That the registry is "The reason gets slower and slower over time" is a bit misleading. (http://serverfault.com/questions/51751/system-degredation-does-windows-slow-down-over-time). Registry cleaning software is snakeoil and serves no purpose for a properly maintained system. Installing Windows 7 is a breeze (2-3 clicks from CD insertion to running machine IIRC).
    senor croc: "Lastly, It might be better to give him the cash and let him buy it- computers are a tax deduction."
    +1 on this. As an IT professional, I'd hate for my partner to buy me computer equipment compared to giving me the cash and letting me buy the equipment. Whilst I'd appreciate the gesture, it would be a non-optimal way of doing me a favour. OP's fiance might be the same, and might have his own notion of what he wants better than a MBP. Communication is key in any good marriage.
  19. yes, perhaps you can do what I sometimes do with my husband for presents that are on the more expensive end. Put a picture of the product in an envelope and say, a new laptop of your choice or something. Not quite as fun, but can result in a happier ending.
  20. I would suggest the Macbook Pro. Preferably the 17" model.
    I use the 15" model, and it's fine for my needs. But your husband-to-be shoots weddings professionally, and well the 17" Macbook Pro just looks cool and will make a very good impression on the clients.
    If the laptop is really getting out of your price range, you might consider, gulp, an...iPad! It's pretty cheap, won't really replace a full blown computer, but might just be the hippest way to show off some photographs while on the job!
  21. If your fiance is a wedding photographer he must have a desktop computer, right? Assuming it's a PC, you'd probably want to stay with the Windows platform in a laptop.
    Personally, I dumped all my PC gear years ago for a mac.
  22. I was a PC person until I used MAC's at work and then shortly afterward upgraded to a MacBook Pro. (I work for an Ad Agency doing Photo and Graphics editing). MAC is definitely superior in my opinion.
    Adobe allowed me to simply swap - cost free - my PC version of Photoshop for MAC version. Many of my friends have also done this so if you already have current version Photoshop for PC, it's free to switch to MAC. Or, with CS5 on near horizon, you can upgrade to MAC version from your current PC version.
  23. @ Joshua!
    1) There is nominal charge ($10?) to transfer a Windows licensed Photoshop to a Mac version. But yes, getting new versions of software can add up. Or again, you could just run a dual boot system. My problem with the file menu is that on Windows it is NOT seamless: any app can do whatever it darn well pleases. This can be confusing. On a Mac, every app conforms to a standard Window!
    3) Some will suggest getting a lesser expensive PC laptop because they are less expensive. However, a lesser expensive laptop may not support dual displays. That point aside, I personally have never had an easy time making Windows "see" the 2nd display. However, I have not used Windows 7.
    5) No. I am saying that Microsoft has had legal woes for embedding Internet Explorer into the OS here and in other countries. IE wasn't a separate program that could just be uninstalled and that was that. Whereas Mac may include apps such as iLife, but they are not built into the OS. You can delete them without any issues. Finally, I am saying that iLife works out of the box, I don't need to install an update to make it work. It goes back to the "it just works" paradigm.
    6) No, I do not work in IT. One of the reasons I like my Mac :) Installing Windows 7 may be a breeze and that would be a blessing. It only took M/S 10-years (maybe more, I am just going off when I switched to Mac!) to make it simple!
    Just clarifying some of my points.
  24. 1) Well may that be, however if you want to use adobe software (PS/LR) on multiple computers, does that still work for Mac/PC versions? I.e. if he keeps the PC and buys a Mac laptop does the transfer to Mac version invalidate the PC version? If he buys a PC laptop, the licensing explicitly allows multi-use - i.e. $0 for use on his desktop and laptop, so long as their not in use simultaneously. Is there such a nominal transfer charge for the other software that he uses (Office, ...)? Seamless menus are a personal choice. I respect your opinion that you don't like the way this is up to the individual app. I grew up and have been using PCs since the early 80s. To me, the Mac menu paradigm just feels wrong. I perceive the unit of interaction as a window, each window having menus / other controls. Mac sees the unit of interaction as an application, each having a menu. Neither is right or wrong. Neither is particularly hard to get used to or a differentiator that can be used for more than personal preference between the two platforms.
    3) I think you're suggesting that I'm talking about budget model laptops. Phooey to budget models. Dell Studio XPS or the equivalent spec HP / Lenovo is all I'd really consider suggesting here. Past issues in previous versions of windows aren't really relevant if the issue has been fixed.
    5) I was being a little cheeky on the IE thing ;) The minimal effort required to install the Windows Live Essentials tools wouldn't sway me on choice of platform. Not installing this stuff is the right thing for an OS that is used for many things (e.g. I use many virtual machines for software development purposes, I don't want anything on those machines except what is actually needed for development.) There is also the concept of Attack Surface. The more applications that you install on a box, the more you increase the likelihood of being insecure. Your claim that Mac is secure is not supported by real world data. At the Pwn2Own contests held annually, the Mac is usually the first one to be broken into.
    6) Again, past history does not dictate my present advice about systems. If we were still stuck with XP / Vista, my advice would be possibly different. The Apple did that first argument is done to death, so I won't bite on that one.
    BTW, I'm not saying that a MBP is the wrong tool for this situation at all, just that other tools might work just as well and giving the required information that may help the OP assess whether that is the case. I own an iPod and I think it's a brilliant piece of tech. I intend to buy a iPhone 4 when they come out to replace my piece of junk WindowsMobile phone.
  25. IF you do get a mac, buy it with the smallest hard drive and least amount of ram that the Apple store will allow. Then, head over to MacSales.com and buy your extra ram and bigger hard drive to save money. Apple often charges too much for their ram and hard drives. You get a bigger hard drive (plus keep the one that came in the computer as a spare) and you can send them in the ram that came with the computer for a rebate, and still come out way ahead. There are instructional videos that show how to change out the ram and hard drive on a Macbook/Macbook Pro, and a 12 year old could literally do it in five minutes. Happy shopping.
  26. I recommend the computer I use.
  27. Whatever you choose, I would recommend researching the graphics card of the laptops you consider, since he is going to be using it to work with photos. I would also recommend focusing on the amount of RAM and the amount of hard drive space. That said, personally I have had an HP dv5t, for the past year, use it often for Adobe Bridge and Photoshop, with large digital photo files, and it's been fast, smooth, and great. I'm definitely no expert, and also not an HP salesperson, it's just what I know, but to give you an example: Comparing the prices of an HP laptop (the current dv6t as an example) and an Apple MacBook Pro, it looks possible to get 4GB of RAM, a roughly equivalent graphics card, an Intel Core i7 processor vs. Apple MacBook Pro's i5 processor, 640 GB hard drive vs. Apple's 500GB, for $1350 vs Apple's $1999. However, the new HPs are using Windows 7. I don't know anything about Windows 7 and whether your software, printers and other stuff will be compatible. I would research that. Also, Apple does seem to be favored by some and I'm sure they are great machines. It's just for me personally, that $600+ difference in price for an (arguably) better product, with a better processor and more memory space, is not outweighed by fear of viruses or other such considerations.
    Good luck.
  28. 17 inch MBP :).
  29. Thank you everyone - there's some really good information here! I've got lots to think about. I'm beginning to like your idea Vail, about putting a couple photos in an envelope and having him go look and choose. Thanks too Senor C. for your input on tax deductibility -- giving him the money to purchase it directly would be wise! He currently uses a PC (as do I), so there would be somewhat of a learning curve, but he has mentioned several times that if money weren't an object, he'd go to a Mac. Right now, money is an object since we're paying for our wedding/honeymoon expenses -- btw, eloping in July to Napa Valley and having a private ceremony overlooking the vineyards of Calistoga! Anyone out there wanna offer their services pro bono? nah, didn't think so .... I truly appreciate everyone's involvement in this forum, you've been a world of help.
  30. Alot of odd responses here, considering your specific request on Apr 21, 2010; 10:09 a.m. for Windows platform suggestions. If you need validation on your camp in this flame war, I can perhaps help you out. I'm a Windows user, not because of pride, but mainly because of convenience. It's alot cheaper to use Windows than Mac. I have no brand envy, no brand loyalty. Never have...never will. The problem with Windows is that they periodically release trash. Later they fix it. Windows XP was trash, and then they fixed it. XP SP2 is rock solid. Then they released Vista, which was trash. Then they fixed it. Vista SP1 is also rock solid. Now it's Windows 7, trash again, but nearly as good as Vista SP1. I can't wait until they release the Service Pack for Win7.

    If you're using Windows already on two machines, yours and your fiance's, then it doesn't make sense to get him a Mac out of the blue. First of all, they cost between 2 and 3 times the money for the same performance. Second of all, at their best, they do exactly what a Windows PC does. So if you stack a $1,200 Windows Super-PC next to a $3,000 Mac Pro Super-Mac, you get the same performance, same reliability, same everything. They're just the same. Shame on everyone here for heralding the MacBook as the PC of the Gods. It's just a stupid computer. That's all it is. Especially considering that the OP readily admits she can't afford one. It's like recommending a Maserati to someone who just wants a Corvette.

    Dell makes fine laptops. So does Sony. So does Toshiba. So does Panasonic. So does Asus. So does Lenovo. HP sucks. Acer sucks. Gateway sucks.

    See this article at SquareTrade for reliability study data: http://www.squaretrade.com/pages/laptop-reliability-1109/

    Best idea: let him pick it out himself.
  31. FYI, most software companies who offer a MAC version, will transfer your liscence from PC to MAC. I have done it a few times with Adobe and such.
  32. As for the cost of a MAC...
    Its not so much that I am brand loyal, just recommending something that works well. I have used PC's since 82 and loved many of them, despite crashes etc. I began my MAC journey in the late 90's and finally started to use it for work in 03. Since then, I had PC's for working some things till last year. So, its not brand loyalty, just what works well.
    As an aside; If you choose PC based laptop, my three Toshiba laptops are all over three years old and working perfectly. The batteries are about dead, but that is to be expected IMO.
  33. Just to show both sides of the story, here's another example for reference to the cost of a PC:


    That PC has much the same specs as the MBP listed above, except it also has a larger HDD, more commodious screen, and better graphics card, but costs $340 less, and it's even brand new, not refurbished. I'm honestly not trying to say it's better, but it's at least equal, and it is certainly cheaper.
  34. I use both a MAC and a PC desktop and I understand the pros and cons of both OS. However, for the biggest bang for the buck in terms of construction quality in a PC, tactile feel of the keyboard, performance and I/Os, I'd suggest a near top of the line Lenovo ThinkPad laptop with Intel i5 or i7 processors and a 7200 rpm hard drive. With Windows 7 64 bit, it will fly and for a lot less money than a Mac Pro laptop with a far more extensivearray of inputs/outputs. With a good (free) antivirus program and (free) maintenance program to automatically run in the background for viruses and to do scheduled registry cleanups (much the same as Mac Mechanic), the entire perpetuated issue of slow downs and crashes with a PC, especially with Windows 7, is nonsense.
  35. I have just bought a Dell Studio 15.4" with Windows 7 and am so far very happy with it. When you go to the Dell website you can select the basic model you want and then customise it (processor, disc size, RAM etc). The picture is bright and clear and a good resolution. I am using it for pre-viewing pictures, viewing/sorting on the road, maybe doing tethered shooting and basic manipulation - I am leaving critical processing to the desktop. I run 3GB RAM with an i3 processor and I load all my pictures to external hard drive so hold very little on the laptop disc itself (save a bit of money on the hard disc size to pay for the external drive). I am a casual shooter and its performance suits me just fine. My only gripe is the screen ratio: my old laptop was a very ancient 15.4" at 4:3 ratio. Nearly all laptops now are widescreen (for the movie brigade) so the vertical dimension is smaller and this limits the size of the picture I can see in Zoom Browser/PSE. But there's no way round it (other than buy a 17") so I live with it.
    I have only ever used PCs so I have no particular view on PC vs Mac. But I don't agree with John Deerfields comment 'No need for antivirus' on Macs - they are starting to appear and are catching out some people in a big way.
  36. I have a 15" Dell with Vista, well configured. I bought it because it was more affordible than a Macbook Pro and that money was better spent on a photo trip. My son haas a MacBook Pro so we get to compare.
    Neither has been perfect and it took me nearly a year to get the touchpad on the Dell to work correctly which was ultimately a software fix. Typing with a jumping cursor is a real pain in the a__. I never had any previous problems with Dell computers but I was literally ready to take a sledge hammer to it!
    The Dell display is great but you better look at a perfect angle. The Mac is much better on this point.
    In the end I don't think there is a huge difference between the Mac and Dell. Both are highly useable. As much as I like the Mac, they are so similar, I think the choice is not a big deal. No reason to go ballistic over the choice. Personally, I fell the Mac is better and even with a software fix, the Dell trackpad is inferior to the Mac trackpad. Apple really got that right. Even so, I am not sure which I would buy again.
    I would suggest taking him to a Mac Superstore where he can try a variety of computers, loaded with software. The guys in the Genius Bar and salesmen and women know their product very well. I am not so sure I would trust the geeks in the Geek Squad at Best Buy, nor the salesmen. Just my opinion.
  37. I would certainly look for a laptop with last year's 16:10 aspect ratio, rather than this year's 16:9 aspect ratio. It makes a world of difference. The new look might be great for lightweight, portable laptops for kids who watch movies more than anything else, but they suck for work. Mac, to their credit, has refused to adopt the new TV-craze inspired format in spite of overwhelming wide-spread conversion in the PC sector. The change was only brought about in the first place by TV makers' desire to use the same screens for both TV's and PC's for cost-savings. No other reason than that. They aren't ergonomic, they aren't comfortable. They are simply cheaper to build.
  38. Another vote for the Mac. If only for the vastly reduced (still) possibilities of getting malware, spyware, viruses, anti-viruses and all kinds of garbage eating up all of your resources. This leaves you more processor cycles and memory allocations available to the apps you produce with.
    I use a Mac but every now and then I have to go back to Windows. Seven, its latest version seems stable and nice but it requires hefty hardware. As for XP it's ubiquitous now so there's nothing I can tell that you don't already know.
  39. 'No need for antivirus' on Macs - they are starting to appear and are catching out some people in a big way​
    This simply isn't the case. There are no known viruses for OS X other than proof of concept attacks and even then I am fairly certain that the attackers had the Admin password. Now phishing is a different story and one that is platform independent. If you give out your personal information for whatever reason, then that isn't the fault of the computer and there isn't any software to protect you. I am sure it is possible to attack the Mac OS, but for the past 10-years anyway, Mac OS X has trumped Windows in security related issues. Some will say that is because Apple has such a smaller market share. To that I say... So? I enjoy a more secure system because Apple sells few computers. GREAT!
  40. Mac VS PC is still not the topic of the day. Maybe another day. I believe the OP wanted to know which PCs worked well for people, or other experiences with certain PCs. It's hard to get a derailed train back on its tracks...
  41. Used Dell laptops in years past with ok results. I started using a 15" MBP (refurbished) early last year and just love it. Who knows, I might feel the same way about something running Windows 7 now, but there's no need at present. Just my $.02. Good luck with whatever you choose.
  42. Wow. lots of good responses.
    I'd ask him if he's got a way to backup his pictures. If not, maybe look at an external backup solution for him. You don't want him crying on your shoulder when his computer breaks and he looses all his images.
    Otherwise... if he's got a PC, there's nothing wrong with PC's. If he want's to learn something new... there's nothing wrong with Mac's either... just get a Core i5 or i7 model with at least 2 Gigs of ram and decent specs.... maybe a SSD would be nice. ( Solid State Disk)
  43. I'm thinking if he's been doing this for 10 years and does not have a laptop - he probably doesn't want a laptop. silly me.
  44. Victoria--when is the wedding?
  45. definitely going with macintosh next time, after 20+ years with PCs.
    the anti-virus routine just wastes too much time. life's too short.
  46. Michael Chadwick, you are totally off your rocker when you say that MacBook stinks. Use one and then talk. Till now I was using HP Pavilion dv9000, and have now shifted to Mac. I couldn't be happier. Everyone knows about heating issues with HP laptops.
  47. Moderator Note: Folks, remember we are talking about laptop recommendations for a wedding photographer. Let's not veer off into a PC/Mac debate, complete with 'language'. On the question at hand, at a certain level, either the PC or the Mac will be adequate--more than adequate. Beyond that, what makes a laptop (either one) good for a wedding photographer?
  48. I have a Macbook Pro and I love it! BUT, I have a PC desktop and some of my software is not "mac" friendly. Couple of thoughts....what kind of computer is he using currently? I would suggest staying with a windows PC if that is what he already has. That way he can use the same software on the laptop. If he has made any suggestion of wanting to go mac then maybe that would be a better idea. If he has not given ya an idea as to his preferrence....bring it up. Like, "So honey, I was thinking maybe we could get a laptop sometime after the wedding, maybe with any gift money or gift cards we get to go toward it. What do you think about getting a mac or pc?" LOL....use that sneaky route to get the info you need. He doesn't have to know that YOU are actually getting it for him.
    There's good and bad about both. Go check them out and see what you like best. Personally, I like my mac for viewing photos and movies. My hubby says that macs are better for pictures and graphics. He's a computer geek so I trust him. Although I still have to buy photoshop for the mac as the windows one doesn't work on mac. :-(
  49. Well that usually depends on how much the laptop is lugged around... If it is for doing actual photo work, then you MUST either attach it to a color-correct external display to perform any kind of color changes OR you should get a Lenovo W700. It is a large17" laptop but has the most accurate display of any laptop (although it does not come close to what you can get in an LCD for about $480). The W700 also has an Xrite color-calibrator built-in and a pressure sensitive Wacom tablet which are used for performing corrections and photo-manipulations which I understand wedding photographers do regularly.
    For someone who does not manipulate his images, then the display issue is only important if he wants to showcase his images on the laptop. If the laptop won't be used for manipulation or display of images, then you can go for something more portable which is basically a laptop used by a photographer rather than a laptop for a photographer. In the former case, any with a big hard-drive and a burner should do.
    - Itai
  50. I second Itai Danan. IF you are intending to do photo-work on the laptop, then it should have something better than a tn-panel ... PVA or IPS are the (better) alternatives.
    The high-end ThinkPads (w700) or, if I'm correct, also some from HP and Dell exist.
    As far as I know, all Mac Notebooks only use tn displays (correct me if I'm wrong ... sadly Apple is not clear about that in their specs on their webpage). This rules out MacBooks (even the Pro) for any serious photo works (as it rules out most laptops and all cheap desktop monitors).
    tn-panel means: strong change in colour depending on the viewing angle as well as only 6bit/channel brightness resolution.
    Flame-proof suit is on :)
  51. it


  52. Forget laptops. I have 2 15" macbooks and just can't do any real professional work on them. Screen is too small and photoshop and most applications take a lot of screen real estate. I still prefer the desktop for when it comes to editing photographs. No laptop comes close to my mac tower with 24" widescreen.
  53. Rafael: You know laptops can work with external displays? With a docking station, a number of Thinkpads can drive 30" displays, otherwise you are limited to 27".
    There is also a dual-screen version of the W700, the W701DS, it has a main 17" display which is the same resolution as most 22 to 27" screens (1920x1200) and a second 10", 1280x800, display. Both are led backlit. The built-in Xrite calibrator calibrates the 17" display.
    So, yes there is a way to work with a laptop if you really want. Of course it would cost much less to have the same power in a desktop unit with more room for expansion and a more advanced RAID.
    - Itai
  54. I'm a wedding photographer, not a tecno geek. I use Mac as my main desktop and laptop tool. Here is why:
    Before retiring, I was a partner in an Ad agency. All the graphics people, producers, and art directors were on Macs. All of the graphic studios, printers, editing houses, professional photographers and cinematographers we used were on Macs. All the remaining ad agency administration and business people were on PCs.
    We had to have an IT person on staff to maintain the PCs ($$$$!). None of the Mac users would let him touch their Macs ... we just did it ourselves because maintenance and updates were simple and infrequent.
    I've been doing weddings on a Mac for over 10 years. I've had a Mac "Genius" work on my computers exactly once, and that was my fault ... but it was free even though the laptop was out of warranty.
    One of my wedding shoot partners uses a powerful PC that he had an IT guy build for him. Every time he sits with me while we're editing a wedding he marvels at the Mac's ease and speed. It seems like he's always screwing around with his computer for some reason or another ... or having his IT guy screwing around with it ($$$$). I'm sure there are counter experiences, but I can only speak to my direct experiences or observations.
    I also use Hasselblad digital and Profoto gear ... the Hasselbad Processing software only recently was released in PC version. Last time I looked the Profoto remote was only available in Mac.
    I use a Mac because an overwhelming majority of visual professionals use them, and we speak the same language and paths when sharing techniques and training.
  55. it


    That's so true. When I was on PCs it seemed I was always 'under the hood', trying to figure out what went wrong, tinkering with apps etc etc.
    Now after 3 yrs on a Mac, I just turn it on and work. I never have to fix or play with anything. Since I shoot on the road for a living I don't have the option of a desktop. Almost everyone I know in the same position is on a MBP.
  56. I use MacBookPro/2.2Ghz in my "front office" and "custom made PC with Win7" in my "back office, dark room". I used MBP to get into Internet, to do task like album design and etc. I do connect ext-monitor if the task required. Mac is so user friendly. My back-office PCs is not internet connected ever. Just don't want to mess with viruses - another BIG vote for Mac here. It has i7-920 processor /12 Gb Ram and it is very (!!!) fast for the money (about $1200 for all without monitor). Check its calculation power - 1000 raws from 1d3 convert to jpg from LR with numbers of settings for less then 30 minutes(!). When the time will come I just throw the main-board and CPU away, invest about $500 in new parts.
  57. I'd actually go with buying him a new computer with a good IPS screen. A calibrator should also be bought.
    A laptop is not suitable for photo editing, as viewing angles and general accuracy is not fantastic.
    If not a new computer, then a really good IPS screen and a calibrator. Unless he has these things, then... the laptop for on the go work, of course.
  58. If you truly love him...LOL....I can recommend nothing but a Mac- MacBook or MacBook Pro. PC's were nothing but a headache. Have him get "Apple Care" if your concerned about repairs. He has a year to decide. It will give him 3 years piece of mind if he decides to get it.
  59. @Itai "You know laptops can work with external displays?"
    Yes this is true. I have tried this setup before in the past but my laptops are carried all over the place throughout the day; to and from work, coffee shops, airports, etc. It just isn't practical to me that if you spend the money on a laptop and just have it sit at your desk so that you can connect to a 24" widescreen. It defeats it's purpose. I am a web designer and freelance photographer and I find that it is almost impossible to get any real work done away from being at a desk. Especially when you are editing and building websites. Most of us need to be settled somewhere where we can focus and not be distracted. Honestly the only good thing my macbooks do for me is provide a way to surf the internet when away from home or office, and I am thinking about selling them on ebay since my HTC Android phone basically does that too. Not to mention that my Macpro tower has 3 drives and room for another (first macbook is on a 2nd drive, first one failed on me), a 2.66 Intel dual core, and an Nvidia graphics card that outperforms everything on the macbooks I own.

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