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The simple answer: Mac. :-)


Some people prefer laptops, some people prefer desktops. There is no clear winner, so go to an Apple store and try them all.


You have the choice of paid apps like Pixelmator, Photoshop, DxO, Capture One, Lightroom etc. There are also free apps like GIMP etc. There is a free RAW converter coming, Adobe software is no longer the best choice, but you have to use what you're most comfortable with. Here are some options:


The Best Free RAW Image Processors For Mac OS X


Your computer, whichever you choose, should have at least 8GB of RAM. You can get away with 4GB if you have an SSD. However... I do not trust SSDs with valuable data. If it's just personal photos, it doesn't matter if you lose some here and there, as you aren't making money from them.


I recommend that you purchase an inexpensive screen calibration tool. I also recommend that you edit and process photos in a well lit room. Do not edit or make corrections in a dark room. I made that mistake too often! You will not be able to judge exposure properly if the room is not well lit. You don't need too much light, but it should be even and neutral as much as possible.


One more thing: if you want a back-up strategy, you should understand the difference between cloud sync and back-ups. Those are very different things. This article might be helpful:


leica.overgaard.dk - Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Pages - The Story Behind That Picture - "The Ultimate Photography Backup" - Putting the backup in the old-school cloud, the bank!

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Gonna disagree with Karim on Mac as the best/only good option, as I have been very happy with PC for many years. You want a very good graphics card with plenty of processing power, perhaps even one designed for intensive gaming use. 8GB of RAM might sort of suffice but that's another area where you can boost things up a bit, as batch RAW photo editing of large files will use large amounts of memory. If you're only doing one or two images at a time 8GB is probably adequate but I recommend more RAM if you're doing more than one or two files at a time.


This is your 21st century dark room. Don't cheap out on the computer if you're using this for any sort of business use.

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I have to say I never had a problem running PhotoShop on a PC - that's leaving aside the bugs that Adobe left in most new releases before being patched! Plus Adobe's lumbering use of memory, which isn't released until PS is totally shut down and restarted.

Apart from that it's a fine program.:rolleyes:


With Apple using Intel CPUs these days, I see no hardware advantage to Apple. Insufficient to warrant their price premium anyway.


Unless you apply a lot of filters, such as perspective correction, to high megapixel images, the CPU power of almost any recent machine will be adequate. Pretty much gone are the days of thumb-twiddling while PS renders an image.


Memory is more important than the platform. Get plenty of it and you'll have no problem. Also setting up reserved virtual memory to leave plenty of disk space is a good idea.


You don't need a mega-powerful gamer's GPU. PhotoShop makes little use of a GPU's processing power - more's the pity. The GPU needs good 2D rendering ability, but its 3D capability is pretty irrelevant. That rules in pretty much any modern GPU on the market. When I upgraded my PC to a more powerful graphics processor it disappointingly made almost zero difference to Photoshop's performance... but I was able to play RPGs a bit smoother!


Spend on the monitor rather than the CPU box. The monitor is your primary interface and decides how much detail and colour accuracy you can see in your images. Spending time setting it up will pay dividends on how easily you can match any printer output to what you see on screen.

Edited by rodeo_joe|1
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Whether you prefer Mac or PC is entirely a personal preference. So whether any of us prefers MacOS, Windows or a variant of Linux does not say anything about what works for you. If you have experience with a given operating system, and feel OK with it, just stick with that.


For the tech specs, as written above: memory is important, screen is important. Put a significant part of the budget in a good screen. Most notebooks do not have very good screens, plus if you do not need mobility, a desktop will give you a lot more performance per dollar.

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Wouter has it in general.


However, the similarity or not of the underlying hardware is NOT the issue between Macs and "PCs" -- it is the operating system and there are real differences there that make one or the other a particular person's favorite.


A Chevy Nova and a Ferrari are both internal combustion automobiles, but they are not equivalents.

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Actually, I take it one step further than JDMvW, it is the editing software that is the driver, not the OS.

If you really do it right, you choose the best editing SW, then the OS and HW become a default selection based on the SW.


For me being a PC guy for MANY years, the PC does just fine for me, and it would be difficult for me to change OS.

My sister-in-law LIKES her Mac. And she can do things with her editing program that I cannot do with my 5 versions outdated PS Elements. Guess it is time for me to update my SW.


I agree with what has been said, get a GOOD monitor.

My 24" desktop monitor is much better and easier to use than my small laptop screen.

And you can always upgrade a desktop monitor. You are forever stuck with the screen on your laptop.

And do get a monitor calibration tool. However, you may find, like I did, that a calibrated monitor may be too bright for regular office applications and web surfing. What I really would like is a switch that I had on an old CRT monitor, that allowed the screen to be switched to a dimmer setting for office applications.

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it is the editing software that is the driver, not the OS.


It's actually a bit independent; good editing software exists for both MacOS and Windows, and the most interesting ones (Photoshop, Affinity Photo, Lightroom, CaptureOne) are available for both. The choice for good software with which you feel at ease is certainly important (and hence I always recommend using trial versions to get an idea first), but it doesn't drive the selection for OS nor hardware (i.e. Photoshop will run on a low-end system and do all basic things, but don't expect it to remain fluent with 10+ layers in a large panorama).

Conventions on how dialogs for settings, the control panel, file open/save dialogs etc. are laid out are different enough between the various OS - and that's where habit creeps in. I've got experience with various operating systems, but I know there is only one I prefer if I really want to get work done. I'm not saying it's better than any other, but it's better for me, because everything is where I expect it (mostly). The others - I just loose time trying to find items. So effectively, they're less easy to use to me (so it's a myth that any OS is inherently easier to use than another, it boils down to habit and preference).

Likewise for hardware, getting sufficient memory and secondary a mid-range to high-end processor will help all editing software to keep up with large files, complex filters and/or many layers. It can't hurt to "overprovision" (and hence spend more) a bit so that the system remains pleasant to use for years.

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My point was you pick the best editing sw first.

  • Where the sw runs on both MacOS and Win, then you have a choice of OS/hardware platform.
  • But where you don't, the OS/platform would be driven by the sw.

In my case, I am Win based, so I work it from the other direction; what good sw runs on the Win platform.


I agree with your other point.

Get a bigger faster computer NOW, because with sw bloat, what is big and fast now, will be just OK in the future.

I say this as I look at some of my old computers that used to be screaming near top of the line computers, back in their age, but now cannot run Win7 not to mention Win10. They are stuck on XP :(



Back to the OP.

What other work do you do with the computer?

That more than photo editing may drive your OS/platform selection.

And what kind of photo editing do you want to do?

If you are not going to do heavy PS work, a lighter sw may work just as adequately, for you. Not all of us are heavy PS users.

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For what it is worth I've been at Photoshop for many years and I still like the darkroom better. No matter though, digital is something I use every day. I've used Mac and PC, still use both. My oldest Dell is very helpful in scanning and a lot of less complex work but I prefer laptops mostly as they are mobile which is something I need often. I have current PS on the laptop tasked for most photo work. It honestly doesn't matter which way you go. If you are going to simply have one computer for general use I'd get a PC. Rick H.
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