PDA

View Full Version : New a new laptop


Wreckdiver
21st February 2017, 12:56 PM
I will be in serious need of a decent laptop computer later this summer for a holiday/photo trip to France. I had a basic machine last year that just wasn't up to it and editing photos whilst abroad became impossible. Would really love a MacBook Pro 15" but the ridiculous price (2699) makes it a non starter.

So, it will have to be a Windows machine. I want a machine for photo work and one that can handle multiple 102Mb TIFFs, so lots of power, memory and fast graphics card. Also, build quality very important. Price up to 1500 ish :rolleyes:

Open to suggestions and recomendations. What are people using these days?

Cheers,

Steve

pdk42
21st February 2017, 01:19 PM
Look at the Dell XPS 15. It's around the 1500 mark and has an excellent screen and the power you need (if you tick the right boxes). It's a nice build quality too.

I personally wouldn't worry about fast graphics card - that's only really for high frame rate gaming. LR/PS etc don't need much.

Ricoh
21st February 2017, 01:34 PM
For a holiday, aren't you better off letting your images mature/marinate and process on your return. Desk tops are no doubt a better solution in terms of capability per , plus the ability to upgrade more easily.
I wonder if someone somewhere has seen the commercial opportunity for laptop rental? (Slight problem of needing to flush the hard drive on return, possibly a complete s/w rebuild each time.)

Naughty Nigel
21st February 2017, 01:43 PM
I use a Toshiba Portege R30 which comes with an i7 processor and 8GB of RAM and a 13" screen. Battery life is excellent with up to about twenty hours including 'thinking time' whilst writing reports.

There is a dedicated slot for SD cards, which can remain in place to increase storage capacity. The SD card slot on the MacBook is much shallower, so the SD card will be snapped off if left in place. (Apple really don't want you to add storage capacity after purchase.)

The Portege also has mobile internet built in (3G/4G), which I find invaluable, but is not available on any MacBook. (They want you to by an iPad or iPhone to tether to.)

I travel a lot, so I am very aware of weight. The Portege is very light at about 1,200 grams. Many laptops weigh significantly more, and as much as I would enjoy using a 15" screen I wouldn't want to have to carry one!

And that is the real limitation of any laptop in my view, as meaningful photo editing requires a decent sized screen.

However, if you like the King's new suit of clothes how about the iPad Pro, which has a powerful processer, lovely screen and internet access, but no mouse support?

Wreckdiver
21st February 2017, 02:04 PM
Thanks for the comments folks. Interesting comment Paul about graphics card *yes

Weight is important. I drive to France, so weight not important there but I dive around the world and then weight is an issue. I want to be able to view the photos on a large screen because when out on a dive boat in the middle of the ocean I need to ensure I have camera settings right. Finding out simple problems when I get home (that could have been corrected on the boat) is not an option.

Also, I want to be able to offer tuition on the dive boats for other guests and work with their images.

Storage space is not an issue.

The MacBook would be great and I suppose could purchase it as a business expense but still the cost is putting me off.

Thanks so far folks for suggestions, keep 'em coming. I'll will look into all.

Steve

Wreckdiver
21st February 2017, 02:18 PM
For a holiday, aren't you better off letting your images mature/marinate and process on your return. Desk tops are no doubt a better solution in terms of capability per , plus the ability to upgrade more easily.
I wonder if someone somewhere has seen the commercial opportunity for laptop rental? (Slight problem of needing to flush the hard drive on return, possibly a complete s/w rebuild each time.)

On the subject of desktops I do intend to get a 27" iMac as well :eek:

Steve

The Technician
21st February 2017, 02:41 PM
Best stick with I7 processor and as much ram as you can get for price, then you can not go to wrong.

Wreckdiver
21st February 2017, 03:20 PM
Best stick with I7 processor and as much ram as you can get for price, then you can not go to wrong.

Exactly *chr

Steve

Melaka
21st February 2017, 03:26 PM
Many laptops have reflective screens which I find a real nuisance. I have a fairly elderly Think Pad with an i3 processor and matt screen which does well enough for me. I do a daily download from the SD cards followed by a bit of weeding. The serious work waits until I get home.

timboo
21st February 2017, 03:51 PM
on john lewis u can narrow down searches to screen resolution when looking for laptops. For example you can select the 4k ones. Then google reviews on the individual ones if screen resolution is important.
I found it useful as some computer sites dont allow you to search by resolution so you spend forever and a day selecting every model to find a models resolution. Other bonus to looking at 4k is generally will be the higher end covering CPU and RAM at same time.

granted there only 4 on there at the moment.

http://www.johnlewis.com/browse/electricals/laptops-netbooks/laptops/3840-x-2160-pixels-4k/_/N-a8fZ1z0ssq9

Asus did have one in the sale recently reduced from 1500 to 1000 it was a very good spec.

Id highly recommend Scan computers if you are not aware of them. They will offer pre sales advice and after sales are very good, and biggest bonus as they are very big prices tend to be low.

Naughty Nigel
21st February 2017, 03:57 PM
Storage space is not an issue.

Do you not want to copy your images to your computer for safety?

My iPad has a handy feature where (with the right adaptor) it will upload images from an SD card so you can view and sort them directly. This includes raw files.

However, there is a slight issue in that the iPad won't upload two files with the same file name but with different extensions, so if yet set your camera to write both raw and JPG files you will only upload one.

joglos
21st February 2017, 04:16 PM
Could you find a secondhand Macbook to suit you ? Or know a student so you could get student discount .

Wreckdiver
21st February 2017, 04:17 PM
Do you not want to copy your images to your computer for safety?

My iPad has a handy feature where (with the right adaptor) it will upload images from an SD card so you can view and sort them directly. This includes raw files.

However, there is a slight issue in that the iPad won't upload two files with the same file name but with different extensions, so if yet set your camera to write both raw and JPG files you will only upload one.

I will only store files (card backups) until I get home and then delete them. I only ever shoot in Raw, most of my cameras have never seen a JPEG *yes

Thanks,

Steve

Wreckdiver
21st February 2017, 04:19 PM
Could you find a secondhand Macbook to suit you ? Or know a student so you could get student discount .

My nephew has given me his student login details, so I will get 10% off :)

Steve

Wreckdiver
21st February 2017, 04:28 PM
on john lewis u can narrow down searches to screen resolution when looking for laptops. For example you can select the 4k ones. Then google reviews on the individual ones if screen resolution is important.
I found it useful as some computer sites dont allow you to search by resolution so you spend forever and a day selecting every model to find a models resolution. Other bonus to looking at 4k is generally will be the higher end covering CPU and RAM at same time.

granted there only 4 on there at the moment.

http://www.johnlewis.com/browse/electricals/laptops-netbooks/laptops/3840-x-2160-pixels-4k/_/N-a8fZ1z0ssq9

Asus did have one in the sale recently reduced from 1500 to 1000 it was a very good spec.

Id highly recommend Scan computers if you are not aware of them. They will offer pre sales advice and after sales are very good, and biggest bonus as they are very big prices tend to be low.

The two larger screens have superb specs *yes The 4K screen resolutions could be the clincher.

Thanks,

Steve

Gwyver
21st February 2017, 04:41 PM
.... Also, build quality very important.
Open to suggestions and recomendations. What are people using these days?

Cheers,

Steve

Suggest you take a look at the Lenovo Thinkpads - either the 'T' or 'X' series (depending on how weight conscious you are).
Thinkpad build quality is second to none.

PS: avoid the cheaper 'Ideapad' range - these are just consumer grade & quality.

DerekW
21st February 2017, 06:10 PM
Before splashing cash on any thing new do a serious search for an end of line or nearly new machine.

Jigsaw24 would be my starting point apart from eBay and Google search as well as the Apple Refurb shop.

I have not bought a brand new latest version of a Mac since 2005 and I have bought quite a few.

Sadly you have just missed a potential machine on Pink Fish Forum (HiFi Forum) see

http://www.pinkfishmedia.net/forum/showthread.php?t=197832

they discuss how different cables sound.

Macs often get offered on Pink Fish - I have sold a Mac Pro on that forum.

tmy999
21st February 2017, 06:41 PM
I must confess I run both Windows and Mac machines depending on requirements. All of my client sites have been windows so I am quite used (and prefer) windows for work BUT I do love the Macs for "it just works" scenario.

Portability is always an issue and 1-2lbs weight gain does make the difference when lugging it around.

Windows machines are significantly cheaper and easier to upgrade. I'd recently bought a brand new Dell Latitude (3 year on site maintenance) 7470 for 400 and upgraded the SSD to 1TB for 200 myself. I dont know why but there appear to be lots of sellers selling refurbished Dells on ebay which comes with 3 year warranties at a fraction of new prices. The latitudes are a bit clunky but robust, the XPS range is more similar to the MACs (although not quite there) and are significantly cheaper than MACS. Good machines.

MACs for this type of work is (IMO) the best choice but the prices are high. However, I've bought a number of MACS/iPads directly from Apple through the refurbished portal - these can sometimes offer significant savings, apple packaging and apple warranty to boot - highly recommended.

The other issue you will have is the file formats between MACs and windows - but you probably already aware of it.

shenstone
21st February 2017, 07:04 PM
i used these guys for my last machine http://www.meshcomputers.com/Default.aspx?PAGE=MAINPAGE. They built exactly to the spec I wanted

In terms of spec I agree with The Technician about best Processor you can get but not necessarily RAM (which is generally an easy upgrade if you need to do it later) I would think 8 would manage with what you are saying you would use it for, but 16 would be better (check it can go up to 16 if you only buy with 8). I would say that going for more 32 etc you are not going to see the benefit in photo processing

In terms of disk even in a laptop I would be looking for a minimum of 256 SSD for speed in boot up and copying from cards without using a lot of power if mobile - you can then flush it to standard HDD when on mains if needed. SSD's are a lot quieter and help extend battery life if you've not experienced that on a laptop yet.

Not mentioned yet is the screen type - if you are just taking a quick look it may not matter, but if you mean to edit at all I would ensure it's an IPS screen so it has a wide viewing angle without significant apparent colour change which is a PITA on many laptop screens

Regards
Andy

Ulfric M Douglas
21st February 2017, 07:49 PM
Best laptop I got from the talkPhotography forums : the crucial thing for me was screen size. I think it is 17".

Our friend uses her mac laptop all the time and I can barely read text on that tiny screen ... :(

Naughty Nigel
21st February 2017, 09:55 PM
i used these guys for my last machine http://www.meshcomputers.com/Default.aspx?PAGE=MAINPAGE. They built exactly to the spec I wanted

In terms of spec I agree with The Technician about best Processor you can get but not necessarily RAM (which is generally an easy upgrade if you need to do it later) I would think 8 would manage with what you are saying you would use it for, but 16 would be better (check it can go up to 16 if you only buy with 8). I would say that going for more 32 etc you are not going to see the benefit in photo processing.

Most laptops will go to 16 GB of RAM, but few go beyond that. I have 8 GB in my Toshiba which I find more than adequate for a laptop.

If you have an SSD fitted RAM isn't so important because the OS can read and write to the Page File much faster than to a spinning disk. Additional RAM will also shorten battery life if you use Standby or (I think) Hibernate mode, as the RAM remains powered up.

RAM and hard drives can be updated on most of the better laptops without too much difficulty, although some have RAM hard wired in, so check before you buy.

Also, if you open up a MacBook to upgrade it you will probably invalidate the warranty. Tim Cook wants you to buy it fully specced with their overpriced components. You will also find that SSD hard drives are quite specific to the MacBook, so you cannot just buy one from Amazon and expect it to work.

DerekW
22nd February 2017, 08:43 AM
On the Mac Book Pro front.
A used early 2012 or late 2011 model is a good model to look for

Ir is one of the last models that did not have soldered in hard drive and memory, so you can freely update these to 16mb and add a 1TB SSD

The spare parts eg mother board and screen panels are available and if you can get one for a price that allows you to replace either of the two most needed spares then you will have a very good machine. More than capable of running Photoshop and Lightroom.

My model type/no is
MacBookPro8,2

this version answers all N Nigel's issues (apart from it being a Mac).

Naughty Nigel
22nd February 2017, 09:04 AM
this version answers all N Nigel's issues (apart from it being a Mac).

They are good machines, but just not as good as the Apple Acolytes have been led to believe.

The late Steve Jobs was a control freak, and this is evident in the design of Apple products. Little has changed under Tim Cook.

Why allow users to upgrade their machines, or add additional storage capacity when you can rip them off for a better spec at newbuild?

(Have you seen how much Apple charges for SSD's and RAM?)

Why make life easy for customers by providing built in mobile internet access when you can sell them a much more expensive iPad or iPhone to do the job?

Why allow users to plug in ubiquitous USB devices or even headphones when you can rip them off for special adaptors?

And so the list goes on.

Apple machines are undoubtedly well designed, (I do use some myself), but they are also designed first and foremost to make obscene profits.

maccabeej
22nd February 2017, 09:09 AM
Talk to chillblast, I have one of their desktops build quality is high and good value for money. They may not have what you want but worth a try.

DerekW
22nd February 2017, 09:16 AM
nn _ I sugested the last good model that is not a fenced product - ie it does not suffer from NN's issues and by now the price will be very acceptable. Plus it runs a unix based OS ie OSX

Jim Ford
22nd February 2017, 09:32 AM
Apple computers are the best - all Apple owners say so!

;^)

Jim

DekHog
22nd February 2017, 11:56 AM
Surface Pro 4? That's what I'd have with 1500 to spend, especially if you have a decent monitor you can plug it into when you're at home......

Naughty Nigel
22nd February 2017, 11:57 AM
Surface Pro 4? That's what I'd have with 1500 to spend.....

... and you can use a mouse with those. :)

OM USer
22nd February 2017, 02:42 PM
If you decide to go down the Windows route then the MSI Defiance III could be worth a look; 2880x1630 Ultra HD 15.6" screen, i7 processor, 16GB, 128GB SSD & 500GB hard drive. The GTX 1060 6GB graphics is a bit of an overkill for you I suspect but this is a gaming machine (in fact it is on my radar for a family gaming machine).

The SSD is essential for fast startup time, either as the main drive for the operating system (makes it easy to do complete system disk backups), or configured as a cache for a conventional hard drive (my DELL does this). Use the second drive to store your photos as they should be subject to a slightly different backup regime.

However, as someone else suggested, a Surface Pro 4 has a lot to offer. Good screen and long battery life in a very lightweight package. The single 256GB SSD is a bit small (although you are not likely to exceed this in a single holiday) but a 2TB portable external drive is quite cheap. It also comes in i5 and i7 processors and 8GB and 16GB options so suits various budgets.

wornish
23rd February 2017, 10:51 AM
Look at the Dell XPS 15. It's around the 1500 mark and has an excellent screen and the power you need (if you tick the right boxes). It's a nice build quality too.

I personally wouldn't worry about fast graphics card - that's only really for high frame rate gaming. LR/PS etc don't need much.

The latest versions of LR/PS actually do make big use use of GPU's in graphics cards. Especially when applying filters etc, so they do make a difference to performance when editing.

steverh
23rd February 2017, 02:25 PM
Another vote for the Surface Pro - very nice machines with excellent screens.

Wreckdiver
3rd March 2017, 12:54 PM
on john lewis u can narrow down searches to screen resolution when looking for laptops. For example you can select the 4k ones. Then google reviews on the individual ones if screen resolution is important.
I found it useful as some computer sites dont allow you to search by resolution so you spend forever and a day selecting every model to find a models resolution. Other bonus to looking at 4k is generally will be the higher end covering CPU and RAM at same time.

granted there only 4 on there at the moment.

http://www.johnlewis.com/browse/electricals/laptops-netbooks/laptops/3840-x-2160-pixels-4k/_/N-a8fZ1z0ssq9

Asus did have one in the sale recently reduced from 1500 to 1000 it was a very good spec.

Id highly recommend Scan computers if you are not aware of them. They will offer pre sales advice and after sales are very good, and biggest bonus as they are very big prices tend to be low.

Update on this post. Thanks for everyone's input and suggestions, I looked into all and eventually went for Timboo's suggestion for a Dell (http://www.johnlewis.com/dell-xps-15-laptop-intel-core-i7-16gb-ram-512gb-ssd-15-6-full-hd-silver/p3116124). John Lewis still couldn't supply so I went direct to Dell and it's on its way.

My son did some digging and a review placed it second as the best laptop, beaten only by the MacBook pro (really? :confused:)

Once again thanks to all *chr

Steve



Steve