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  • Computer: MacBook Pro or iMac?

    Hello,

    I've relatively new to retouching and keen to get some advice/recommendations in terms of best equipment to do the job. I'm ready to invest in my first Mac although not sure whether to go down the Macbook Pro or iMac route - I would prefer something mobile although don't want to compromise on screen size/quality because of this. Having not used either before, I'm keen to get an understanding of the pros/cons of both to help me make a decision.

    In addition to this, it seems Apple products start to get pretty expensive the more you add in terms of memory and speed etc so any advice on the absolute essentials and the nice to haves would be appreciated. Budget wise I'm looking at approximately £2k to cover off the laptop/desktop and tablet.

    As mentioned, I am somewhat of a beginner so any advice or handy tips for someone starting out would be great.

    Many thanks!

  • #2
    Re: MacBook Pro or iMac?

    I have no idea of your ultimate purpose here, but I'll give it a try. First off if you're doing anything non-trivial, you will need a workspace. This means a comfortable chair and a desk with a good height. You will want to budget for a tablet. Trackpads and mice don't offer much in the way of precision, so they are ultimately limiting. I can't stand any smaller than a large, but mediums seem to also be popular. The smallest ones make for a very jumpy cursor compared to the others. I don't suggest any display made by Apple. A decent desktop display around 24" is almost ideal in terms of offering real estate without forcing you to navigate or map a tablet to a gigantic screen. The best option for remaining somewhat budget friendly would be something like an NEC along with a colorimeter. If that's still too expensive check reviews on a few Dells, but take note that a good screen is much more pleasant to work on. You don't need to invest in anything too expensive. While I think they have gone too long without an update, a Mac mini with maxed ram is a good choice. Ideally get the cheapest model that offers a quad cpu. Beyond that any cto cpu upgrades are a waste of money.

    The above suggestions are basically how to stretch your money as far as possible on something that is just geared toward retouching. I didn't factor in anything else. You may want a notebook, but you won't find it comfortable to do any real work that requires dexterity while on the go.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: MacBook Pro or iMac?

      One thing to be aware of, on the new iMacs it's very difficult to add RAM after the fact. Even Apple wont do it for you. So if you go that route, be sure to max it out upon purchase.

      I don't like the glossy screens though. Klev's suggestion of a Mini is good. I work with both a Mini and/or a Mackbook Pro attached to a NEC 27" monitor. Both machines work about equally. The MBP is my main unit though as I not only retouch on it (connected to the NEC) but also take it on location for photography. So if mobility is a desire for you, and you have the budget for it, I think you'll be very happy going that route. But Klev is also right in that you have to consider the whole work space (monitor, wacom, etc) in that budget. Meaning, even thought the MBP is my main retouching machine, I would never want to retouch on it using it's screen and trackpad; I retouch on it tethered to a wacom and monitor.

      So my order of preference would be:
      1. Macbook Pro
      2. Mini
      3. iMac

      The only reason I'd go to an iMac fist would be for my son, who's into video editing and gaming. The iMac has a faster video card. But that means nothing for photography and retouching. And it's downside is the glossy screen and lack of upgradeability.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: MacBook Pro or iMac?

        Originally posted by Flashtones View Post
        But Klev is also right in that you have to consider the whole work space (monitor, wacom, etc) in that budget.
        I noted the use of pounds and figured UK pricing and VAT. A 15" macbook pro alone could soak up the majority of that budget. The 13" might be an option and is probably fast enough, but I would bump ram. At that point it would still be very tight to add external keyboard, monitor, tablet, and probably storage + backup.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: MacBook Pro or iMac?

          Gear up with a decent screen as an upmost priority. You are better off with a slower machine and a better display than the other way round. Unless you are working with huge composites for outdoor advertising virtually any modern machine with an SSD drive should be enough.

          I'd say go with something like EiZO CS230 (NEC has a similar display too) and decide the next step later on. Do you really need a machine that is portable? I assume you'll do most of the retouching sitting behind your desk. I'd buy a Mac Mini (with an SSD upgrade), hook it up to the beforementioned EIZO and finish the setup with a Wacom Intuos Pro medium-sized tablet.

          My two cents.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: MacBook Pro or iMac?

            Originally posted by Flashtones View Post

            So my order of preference would be:
            1. Macbook Pro
            2. Mini
            3. iMac
            Mine too and what I ultimately did. Didn't want to move into the new MacPro yet, got rid of a much older MacPro and replaced with a MacBook Pro which drives an NEC SpectraView PA272W for color critical work (it's awesome). On the road, unhook everything, take the lovely Retina display along (but not color for color critical work). Great multitasker.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: MacBook Pro or iMac?

              Originally posted by andrewrodney View Post
              Mine too and what I ultimately did. Didn't want to move into the new MacPro yet, got rid of a much older MacPro and replaced with a MacBook Pro which drives an NEC SpectraView PA272W for color critical work (it's awesome). On the road, unhook everything, take the lovely Retina display along (but not color for color critical work). Great multitasker.
              Spot on, the only thing is 15" is out of reach as well as any decent 27 incher, however the budget will allow for a 13" paired with a 23" Eizo/NEC.

              Comment

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