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Laptop advice for photo editing

Discussion in 'Computer Related Help & Discussion' started by ojb28, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. ojb28

    ojb28 Well-Known Member

    Hi all,
    I haven’t posted here for some time but I’m back with a dilemma! My early 2006 vintage laptop is finally giving up the ghost and it’s time for a replacement. It’s done me proud getting through two degrees in architecture and has been worked hard! The reason I have stuck with it for so long is because it has a fantastic high res 17” screen. Colours, blacks and contrast are all good which is important for photo editing. Most modern laptops have very disappointing screens – poor contrast, colour shifts, poor viewing angles. However a few with IPS screens seem much better but there are not many available and all pretty expensive. I’m also keen to have a machine running with an SSD for the quick startup times – I feel I’ve done my time waiting for laptops to get a move on! One which is just about in budget is the Lenovo Yoga 13 (the original version not the just released Yoga 2) Curry’s has got it for £649. While the 1600x900 screen is gorgeous it’s only 13.3” which might be a bit of a shock coming from a 17”, and it only has 4GB RAM. Does anyone here use a similarly sized machine as their main editing platform? Too small? And would only 4GB RAM be underpowered for running Adobe creative suite CS5/6 and Lightroom with its 3rd gen i5 processor? I don’t want to go down the external screen route as I want portability. I do very much like the flexibility of the Yoga’s design, it makes a lot of sense with Windows 8.

    The other option is to bust the bank and go for a Macbook pro 15 (or 13?) as I’m about to become a student again. The retina screen is lovely and it has all the power anyone could want. Even so, it’s a months’ income, more than twice the price of the Yoga. Otherwise it’s the perfect laptop.

    Does anyone have any thoughts or advice on these options, or could suggest alternatives for a keen amateur? Any comments much appreciated! Regards, Oliver
  2. NosamLuap

    NosamLuap Rebmem Roines

    If the 13" is too small, how about a laptop that works well as a laptop (i.e. "small and portable") and an external monitor for when you're editing at your desk? (you can get a reasonable IPS 24" 1920x1080p monitor for ~£130)
  3. LargeFormat

    LargeFormat Well-Known Member

    My ageing laptop is a Sony Z with 13" 1920 x 1080 screen and isn't too bad. A larger screen might help at the expense of portability. If you aren't wedded to Windows the MacBooks are probably unbeatable for screen quality but at a price.
  4. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Thanks very much for this info. Most interesting and helpful.

  5. ojb28

    ojb28 Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your replies. I think this is one of those situations when you ideally need to try out the various options and a friend has kindly lent me his Macbook Air 11 inch to get a feel of how the mac OS works. It’s wonderfully portable and for web browsing and the like is all you need really, and the two finger scrolling etc is brilliant (I wish more windows machines had such nice touchpads!) but for photo editing you can forget it, 11” is WAY too small which rather suggests 13” would be too! I may also have an opportunity to borrow a macbook pro 15 which would be interesting. I had not considered the ‘small laptop + big screen’ combo as I wanted portability, but I’m warming to the idea!
  6. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    I'm guilty of going off Thread or hi-jacking, I know, but please may I ask a techie question just in case you know the answer, Paul, straight off. {Please don't go hunting for ages to find an answer, that's my next task!} Can you get a single cable with a 'split' that will allow two different (tower) PCs to remain hooked up to one monitor, obviously with only one PC being on at a time?

    Sort of the computing equivalent of a Bowens Quad splitter. :)
  7. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    If I can jump in, short techie answer - No!

    A simple cable would effectively connect the video outputs of the two computers together, which would cause them to "fight each other" if they were both on, and cause uncertain line impedance even if you made sure only one was on at a time. This is likely to damage the output drivers of the video cards.

    It would be theoretically possible to build a video mixer, which could take inputs from two PCs and output to a single monitor, but that would be a more complex device, and I don't know of any off the shelf.
  8. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    There certainly used to be simple switching boxes to allow two computers and one monitor, but I've not seen one in many years. A quick search shows VGA ones at least are still around. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Port-Way-VGA-Monitor-Switch/dp/B000J249JC
  9. Fen

    Fen The Destroyer

    Maplin also sell them, I bought one from there last year.
  10. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    And there are HDMI and DVI versions, too - not sure about Thunderbolt.

    Slightly differently, the monitor I use on my desktop has a DVI input from the desktop, and a VGA one that I sometimes use from my laptop, but with the desktop switched off. And of course TVs can switch easily enough between multiple different inputs, often including VGA.
  11. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    That's where I was expecting to pop up first, TBH.
  12. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Back on topic then, I have a 15" MacBook Pro and whilst it can be used for photo editing I prefer the 21" screen on my iMac as it is easier to see what is happening. You can easily connect a larger screen to a MacBook, if you want portability and image editing together I wouldn't think anything less than a 15" screen would be satisfactory.
  13. ojb28

    ojb28 Well-Known Member

    That has been my suspicion all along. My current machine is 17" which is great so you can imagine how much of a shock 11" has been. I'll see if I can borrow a 15" and see where we go from there. Whether I'll have the guts to get one of my own I don't know, but I haven't yet found a windows machine quite as 'right', and the lack of Windows based replies seems to reflect that...
  14. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    OK, I'll try to put that right. A long spiel, I hope it helps.

    I have often been tempted, especially after the two Microsoft 'improvements' to their Mail systems have wrecked my machines, to switch to Apple.

    (I was very taken with the original iMac but the lack of peripherals connection when it was launched meant that I fell in to the MS sector despite that point in time coming after the connectivity issues were solved. That's now ancient history.)

    What puts me off? The fact that you pay a premium to buy Apple. The fact that they are slightly more blatant about retail price maintenance than other manufacturers, even if they are not alone in doing it. The reliability issue is, I think, something of a myth. I personally know four people who have had fairly major issues with Apple products, two of them fresh out of the box and have heard of others. Proportionally to sales, that's probably as high a number as you get with Win based machine problems. Once upon a time processing speed was a clear advantage in the Apple armoury but that's also now gone.

    So, what's going for them? They are 'an industry standard' and during my photographic life I have come to realise that certain products become that for a variety of reasons and, usually (not always), the reasons are good. Something does the job that little bit better than its competitor products.

    Then there's the design. The Apple look.

    That gets me dribbling at times. I admire it. That is one aspect of Apple that is right up my street, presses all my right buttons :D etc., etc., etc..

    So, here's a little right up to date thought for you. I was at a club for a judging session last week when the DPIs were projected via a very slick, shiny new looking HP widescreen laptop. For logistical reasons, I was perched for the session just behind the projectionist, using his body to mask the screen from my view most of the time. When I did take a look at the laptop screen, I was impressed by what I saw. When he was packing up, I was impressed by what I saw. It was big (15 or 17") but did not appear clunky, heavy or bulky. I did not get my sticky fingerprints over it but I did make a mental note to wander into a retailer & check them out. You could say I had been rather impressed. ;)

    I'm going through a computer dilemma, different to yours but also with some similarities except I have an elderly (by computing standards) Acer laptop (2007) and a slightly less geriatric tower PC. I also have its predecessor languishing, little used, with huge high quality CRT monitor. Hence my question about putting two machines into one screen rather than the more usual using two screens with one PC.

    Which leads neatly to screens. I'm producing this on a flatscreen linked machine that seems tiny but is a 19". The CRT is colossal but is also 19". For some reason, the image on the CRT appears larger than on the flat screen. My laptop is 15.5" and does not appear unduly small although I've not done a lot of image processing, manipulation, etc. on it although it was, for quite a while, my only workable computer. It seemed a big improvement over its 2001 Dell 14" predecessor for size & clarity. One day soon, if Govts (all that lovely VAT!) and TV screen manufacturers have their way, TVs will be good enough for image processing if not already. Do you have these at home? Are you likely to have the latest screen at home? More than one, so others can watch TV on one while you use another. Might be an option. If so get as large an Apple laptop as you can afford and a DVI cable.

    Projecting myself into your position, I'd ask two questions. Do you have an iPhone or expect to get one sometime? Ditto an iPad? If so get the most powerful Mac laptop you can afford AND a flat screen monitor for photo editing plus a graphics tablet.

    Final thought: future upgrading. I am led to believe by those that know about these things that the advantage of a tower system is its upgradeability. Buy wisely from the outset and you can upgrade individual components. It might be a good idea to ask about that issue - if it's an issue for you - when choosing between laptop & tower, and Apple or MS:Windows.

    My personal inclination is to look upon a laptop as being rather more disposable than a tower system anyway. In addition, pads & tablets are probably the future, rather than laptops. Would one of those get you through the next years of study?

    Hope this helps in some way.

    My most pressing need is for a re-installation. Am wondering whether I can get MS:W8.1 to run on a 2008 Intel dual core machine .....
  15. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    One (possibly) final piece of help for you, Oliver, from me : I was in my local Library recently when the All-in-One version of Windows 8.1 for Dummies by Woody Leonhard jumped off the shelf at me. It's an engaging read & I'm finding it very helpful in thinking about an upgrade.

  16. psj23

    psj23 Well-Known Member

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