MAC vs. MAC - please help

Discussion in 'Apple/Mac' started by heiko, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. heiko


    May 15, 2005

    I'm turning to you for some advise and opinions. I've been trying Windows XP and Linux, and none of them is currently able to deliver the goods. Here the BACKGROUND:

    Windows supports all the needed software for RAW workflow, including several RAW converters (Nikon NX, ACR, etc.), color management (incl. the Eye-One monitor calibration tool), editors (Photoshop) and printing (RIP or print processor and printer support). But it takes too much time and money to maintain - updates never stop (with the obligatory reboots), firewall, antivirus, spybot etc. software needs to be kept up-to-date, etc.

    Linux does everything well except for that it doesn't support the monitor calibration tool/s/w, doesn't support Photoshop CS2 or higher and provides less than optimal support for printers (in my case the Epson Photo 2000/2100).

    QUESTION: Will the iMAC 24" be a good solution for processing RAW images? Or does it have to be a MAC pro to get a speedy workflow?

    Regarding iMAC, I consider the 2.16 GHz Intel Core Duo processor with 2Gb of RAM and a 500Gb hard drive.

    I have no experience with either MAC nor Aperture. Is this a good combination to start with? Do I need PS CS2/3 on the MAC, or are there alternatives that may come a little cheaper?

    Many questions, but I hope you can help me follow the right track.

    Thanks in advance,
  2. iMac with max. memory will do, Mac Pro will do even better. Depends on your definition of 'fast'.

    You might look at PS Elements 4 and see if it will do what you need. Much less expensive than CS3. Shares many of the tools.

    Aperture is great, it does have a few limitations.

  3. gadgetguy11


    Nov 16, 2005
    Ditto what Larry (ozarkshome) said, with one addition. Check out Adobe Lightroom. If you have a student or teacher in your family, Adobe will sell it for $99. If not, I believe it is $199 for a limited time, then bumps up to $299.

    I bought a copy last week, and so far, I am very impressed. I have CS2 loaded, but have no experience using it - so I do not use it. Lightroom is powerful, and does not have a long learning curve. I am using it on a Mac Pro. I rate it "awesome".
  4. A 24" iMac Core 2 Duo with 3 GB RAM would certainly be speedy enough to run Aperture and CS3. If you want things to move faster, then you would need to move to a Mac Pro and add more RAM. As Larry says, it depends upon what your definition of "fast" is. For flexibility you might want to consider the option of a 17" MacBook Pro and an additional external 23" monitor, which would work very nicely for image processing and when needed you can take the MBP wherever you go. However, a limitation of the MBP would the hard drive size, although you can of course add an external HD as needed. You could install 3 GB RAM in the MBP just like in the 20" or 24" iMac.

    (By the way: it's "Mac," not "MAC.")

    Software: yes, as Larry mentions, PS Elements v.4 (for Mac) would work nicely at a much lower cost than CS3. However, PSE 4 is not universal binary, whereas the newly released CS3 is, and that will make a difference in speed on the intel machines.

    If you spend a lot of time in tinkering with your images, adding special effects and using lots of layers and filters, then CS3 or PSE will be what you want. Aperture is great if you want to process a lot of images fairly quickly and without fuss -- it does all lthe basic post-processing functions but does not get into layers and filters. I use Aperture predominantly, only occasionally popping into CS2 to tinker a little more or add some fine-tuning.

    I think you will find your computing experience and your digital imaging experience far more pleasant with a Mac! :smile:
  5. I have an iMac 24" with 2gb of RAM and am very happy with it. I'm just a hobbyist photo hac and the Mac Pro was just too expensive.

    I use Aperture and love it, although I'm sure Lightroom is good too. If you plan on going with Aperture, make sure you get the upgraded video card (7600) as Aperture needs a good video card.

    Hope this helps
  6. New iMac Owner

    Hi All.... I'll weigh in on this. I used Macs exclusively until 1990:smile: Due to work, I switched to PC's to provide professional development programs to a large school district. I retired (partly) and began to invest more time (and money) into my photo "hobby". I've been using PS2 on my PC... which began to run slower the more I learned about PS!!! Go figure. I decided to go back to my Mac roots and called up an old friend at Apple who suggested what many of you have been saying.... the "affordable" solution for me was the 20" iMac with 2GB RAM and the faster video card. I'm upgrading to PS3 via my school connection ($175). I was told it would run musch faster than PS2. So far so good.... much improved speed; video is great. Still getting accustomed to the Mac and not really that impressed with Aperture yet... but I've only been playing with it for less than a week.
  7. Macanudo

    Macanudo Guest

    Hello Heiko,

    I use a Dual 2.5Ghz G5 with 2 Gig of RAM and am pretty happy with its response. I use iPhoto for everyday shots and Nikon Capture NX when shooting raw. I purchased Aperture but really have not gotten in to it, can't really say why.

    I also have a PC but rarely use it for photography. On the PC world I liked ACDSee. The fastest viewer/organizer I have used, but unfortunately, the version they have for MAC is really bad.

    Have heard of Lightroom but have not tried it.

    Welcome to the cafe and back to the mac world. Enjoy...
  8. For quick sorting of images, Photo Mechanic rules! I just recently began using it and am delighted at how quickly I was able to get through a huge bunch of images, getting them sorted and culled before then taking them into Aperture for post-processing. While Aperture, too, is good for sorting and culling, Photo Mechanic is significantly faster.
  9. heiko


    May 15, 2005
    Hello to all.

    Thanks for the fantastic response. This is really useful / helpful. Looks like all of you are happy with the Mac, and an iMac 24" with some additional RAM and the more powerful graphics card would make a good start h/w wise.
    The Mac Pro will be a bit on the costly side for me, though I haven't ruled it out. Just a bit more than I want to spend.
  10. gadgetguy11


    Nov 16, 2005
    Good choice!

    I switched to mac in December 06' with a mac pro and dual 30" Cinemas. My wife is so impressed with the trouble free operation, lack of crashes, and ease of photo manipulation, we are about to oder her a 24" imac. This will be her first mac, as well. She borrowed mine and fell in love with it, requiring no assistance to navigate. Just as you said, we, too, are increasing what we can: RAM, HD to 750GB, processor speed, etc.

    You will love it!
  11. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  12. bep207


    Nov 27, 2006
    Columbia, MO
    i have used many Macs (not capitalized or an abbreviation :smile: ) I am currently using a MacBook Pro. I would, like many others, love to have a Mac Pro.. there really is nothing faster for photo or video editing (look at what Adobe uses to preview their products)... but the 24" iMac with 2gb or 3gb of RAM will be plenty fast with either Aperture or Lightroom.
    I use Aperture. I hear Lightroom is faster as long as your library doesnt get too large. When you start throwing thousands of images around your library, Aperture is much faster.
    You will love your new mac. The 24" screen on the iMac is absolutely amazing. (unless you look at it next to the behemoth 30" cinema display apple sells.)

    Good luck
  13. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    Mmmmm....30" Cinema Display. I want me one or two of those.
  14. I LOVE the 30" ACD!! Last year when I was impatiently waiting for the Mac Pro to be rolled out, I knew that I'd want a 30" ACD to put with it, so one day had the bright idea of going ahead and getting it early and attaching it to the MBP; worked out really well! That big screen is wonderful for editing images! Eventually got the Mac Pro, hooked it up to the 30" ACD and everything is just dandy!

    Not too long ago for various reasons I decided to put the 20" G5 iMac into partial retirement, so moved it into the bedroom, where I use it at night, and then bought a 23" ACD and hooked that up to the MBP and that is working out quite nicely. Gives me the flexibility of the mobile MBP while providing all the features of a desktop with the ACD, wireless keyboard and mouse connected to it. I use this machine for everything except digital imaging; the Mac Pro is my "digital darkroom," reserved for all image uploading, post-processing, sending to online galleries, and storage.

    Yes, the Mac Pro can be expensive, depending upon how you configure it, but in the long run it is far more expandable than the iMac line -- something to consider. You can start out fairly modestly with the basic configuration Mac Pro and then as time goes on and finances permit, could add more HDs, more RAM, etc. Just a thought....
  15. heiko


    May 15, 2005
    Hello Paul,

    Thanks for the comment, much appreciated. Looks like switching from PC to Mac is pretty easy. Two questions, though:

    1. How does the Mac OSX handle external NTFS hard drives? Can it read and write to those disks? I use an external disk to backup my pictures as well as my laptops (which are all Windows).

    2. Can I share directories on the Mac for access from Windows computers on the LAN? Or vice versa?

    Any information on that would help.
  16. heiko


    May 15, 2005
    Hello Blake,

    Thanks for the input. I read up a little on Aperture, but there is nothing like hands-on experience. Mac Book Pro is probably worth considering. But it's quite costly and I'm looking for a larger screen (currently working on a 19" screen, I need something bigger!). Also, I have two laptops at home (plus my laptop from work) and I'm not really willing to spend much more cash on that. Perhaps when these laptops retire, I'll look into MBP.
  17. bep207


    Nov 27, 2006
    Columbia, MO
    i hear ya!
    i have my macbook pro hooked up to a cinema display for photo editing.
    it works great like this and sometimes its nice to have the portability to edit in a pinch.
    But like I said, that 2 foot iMac is a beast and with enough RAM can tear through RAW files like they were nothing.
    WHat camera would you be using? I upgraded from a D50 to a D80 and noticed that the slightly larger files took just a little more time... but I assume that would be expected.
  18. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  19. heiko


    May 15, 2005
    Hello Connie,

    I had the same thoughts regarding the Mac Pro - modular, expandable, etc. It's definitely an advantage. 3 years ago I got myself a new PC minitower and soon found that it was too noisy. I changed fans several times, put in large heatsinks for some of the chips and eventually trashed the old cheapo chassis for a solid one which holds 120mm fans and comes with a much better p/s. In the meantime I added two more h/d and a new graphic card, added a new network card and more RAM etc. While adding memory and h/d is simple, any other hardware change is a pain in the neck (at least with Windows). At one time I had to re-register my Windows to get it up and running, since Microsoft checks for changes in h/w to verify if the copy is legal or not.
    Now I run primarily Linux on this machine. I need to upgrade as the PC is by all standards old (and slow when converting RAW).

    I figured that, in a normal PC environment, I could get a performance gain of around 20-30% when upgrading the processor, and more memory and disk space. Most often the motherboards are outdated aabout a year or so from purchase, unless I spent a freakin amount of money for the newest stuff. So upgrading a PC with a new processor doesn't make much sense.

    I understand that the Mac Pro allows me to add/replace dual or quad core processors later. I could then start with a simple configuration and add another processor if and when I need. I would expect to get a performance boost of around 50-60%, perhaps even more with faster processors. However, will these processors be around in two years from now when I might need this performance boost?

    The iMac 24" looks to me like a high entry level performer that will do well now and perhaps for the next 2-3 years. I would go for the 2GB RAM and 500 or 750 GB disk option. Else than that there is nothing I would have to spend for hopefully 2 years.
    The Mac Pro would require the separate purchase of a screen, is perhaps a more powerful in the basic setup (again with 2Gb memory and same disk space), but the package would be substantially more expensive to start with. If in two years from now I decide to upgrade a Mac Pro, I'd also spend some $$$$ (definitely less than now, since I expect processor prices to drop). But then again, wouldn't it be easier and cheaper to replace an iMac after 2 years?

    I wonder which path is the more satisfactory and economical in the long run?
  20. heiko


    May 15, 2005
    Thanks Paul. That is very helpful.

    Thanks Blake. I'm sure the combination of Mac Book Pro and Cinema display is something worth considering.

    Regarding camera, I still use my D70. RAW file size should be the same as the D50. Unless my camera falls appart, I won't be upgrading soon. I'd rather spend the money on more / better glas.
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