PC or Mac (let the battle commence)
  • Afternoon All, what sort of computers do you use for editing photos?
  • Much is down to personal preference - when looking for a computer do you want style over substance, if so buy a MAC, if you want most bangs for your bucks - and want to be able to run more software without making a Mac think it's a PC (why do so many people do this, if you want a PC buy one!) then buy a PC, it is where your preferences lie.

    Obviously if you use either one day in, day out at work you may just want something you know your way around. After saying that, do Apple actually produce a machine to the spec you want?

    If I were to buy a machine now it would almost certainly be a laptop rather than desktop. I would want an I7 processor, min 16gb ram and min 1tb SSD (solid state drive), plus possibly a second larger hdd for data. Would want a 17'' 1080p screen for when not using an external monitor - and I wouldn't want to pay much more than £1300-£1400 plus the VAT (which I can claim back). I set these requirements before deciding PC or Mac, but doubt Apple make anything that would do the job though.

    Decide on the spec you want then look at a manufacturer that delivers. Don't just buy a name. PC Specialists (Google them) and others make decent spec (to your spec) Windows Machines for sensible money. I suppose with Mac you don't have to suffer the inconvenience of considering different manufacturers because they don't do competition!
  • I agree with Graham. The Mac comes out at almost double the cost of a PC for what is basically the same spec machine. Better to get a good spec PC/laptop a second monitor and plenty of data storage not forgetting backup.
    I use a laptop PC plus second monitor, 2Tb data storage disc and a 2Tb backup disc.
  • I don't have any specialist knowledge as others will have. But also look at monitors that are specific for photo editing, at least 24 - 27" in size.
  • I've used PCs for 25+ years, but recently I was helping another member with their Mac. A few observations:-
    - if you're familiar with Windows and PCs, Macs don't feel intuitive
    - some of their file handling is clunky and illogical
    - pictures are managed by their iPhoto application and in the latest version of their operating system, images are held within it and cannot be accessed through file management. Any image that needs to be attached to an email etc., has to be exported from iPhoto. Lightroom or Bridge/Photoshop are light years ahead of this purely in terms of file handling, plus image processing in iPhoto is very basic. I would avoid iPhoto at all costs, but you would need to set up your Mac in a different way to its basic (new) installation
    - 95%+ of members use PCs so there is a wealth of knowledge that can be tapped into. There is no expert knowledge of Macs in the club
    - software is either for Mac or PC, so if you buy a Mac, you would be unable to share any applications run by other members on their PCs
    - Macs have fixed hardware, PCs can be upgraded over time, extra hard drives etc.
    - the screens on the Mac are fantastic, but for me there are too many negatives!

    Hope this helps

  • I use a 27" iMac for my photo editing. I use Windows PCs for my IT consultancy business. I do not find any issue switching between the two. I honestly find them easier to use than Windows PCs. As far as cost goes, yes, Macs are expensive, but in the 6 years I have owned my iMac, I have gone through 3 Windows laptops. So, pay twice as much but get a machine that is more stable and less likely to breakdowns. And don't forget, Mac OS upgrades are free. Apart from Win10, since when do Microsoft give anything away.

    I find the size and resolution of the iMac as being a massive bonus as I get more "real estate" when editing my pictures. I'm not sure I could switch to a Windows laptop and external screen and get the same level of resolution, without having to spend probably more than the cost of a Mac. A decent 27" screen, suitable for photo editing, will cost you around £1000 plus the price of a laptop with sufficient spec will be another £1000 and more.

    iPhoto was never meant to be a replacement for LR or PS. For beginners, its a great tool for cataloging and basic editing. I still use it so I can display my images on to my Apple TV for friends and family to be able to see my images on a 55" screen.

    Just because I have LR AND PS installed on my iMac doesn't mean I can't migrate the images over to an instance of LR I have installed on my Windows laptop and vice versa. When I go away with my IT work, I take my Fuji and Surface Pro with me. I can do whatever editing I like while I am away, and then when I get home, I can migrate from the Windows laptop to the iMac, no issues.

    I have upgraded the memory in my iMac, no issues. I recently also had the 1tb Fusion drive for a 1tb SSD, no issues.

    2011 27" iMac, 2.7ghz i5 processor, 16gb RAM, 1tb SSD. 4 external hard drive caddies, 2 holding a split of my library, the other 2 are backups of the 2 main drives, which are synced using Chronsync software, every hour. Backblaze online backup to backup the 2 main drives.
  • Hi,

    I looked into this recently thinking about an upgrade. I ended up sticking to PC because at the end of the day you get a lot more bang for your buck. I have a twin 30" monitor setup and an i7 based pc which I have had for 5 years + and upgraded from time to time. Mac's are great but by my reckoning will cost at least 50% more for the same spec. You can get a fantastic 4k 31" screen for £750 and a 27" for less than £500. I f cost is an issue you will also get better value out of PC and be able to have a better graphics card. Happy to discuss the most cost effective way to proceed. Having said said that if money's not an issueI don't think you will go wrong with a Mac. This is the latest version on my screen. https://www.amazon.co.uk/BenQ-PD3200U-Designer-Animation-Flicker-free/dp/B01N4AIIIV/ref=dp_ob_title_ce
  • Over the years I have known a number of people that use Macs and wouldn't dream of anything else. A lot of it is history (Apple machines had usable graphics software before PC's so anyone in the graphic design trade etc. cut their teeth on Apple stuff).

    If we move on to today, and do not have a prejudice in either direction, and are considering both then it really is a case of 'do you want to pay more for the style or OS?' with Apple.

    Apple have no access whatsoever to any components that are more reliable, better spec or more efficient than any PC manufacturer. Processors, motherboards, memory, drives el all are made by the same manufacturers that PC manufactures can source from. I believe that LG make the 27'' 5K screen (and have been making screens for Apple since c2012 despite knowledge that Samsung and others were more reliable).

    Apple do the OS and packaging, period. If this ticks boxes for you and are prepared to pay for the privilege you will have a capable tool that takes up little space and looks good. Nothing wrong with that.

    There are a number of PC manufactures out there (generally not available at PC World) that use equally good and reliable components as Apple but do not have the product (packaging) development, advertising and marketing budget of Apple - nor their profits, that means you do not pay anything like the same for similar quality, reliability and specification.

    I use a 5 year + old Windows laptop as my main machine, day in and day out - not missed a beat. It has got a better spec and larger screen than was available from Apple at the time, and a Mac would have cost 50% more.

    I use a laptop with large 17'' screen because I regularly need to take them out and about, and need clients to actually be able to read what is on screen - but laptop or desktop the same comparisons apply.

    I wouldn't criticize anyone for deciding in either direction, but I do find it more than faintly amusing on some of the forums how upset some Apple fans get when they actually find out that a Mac is just a collection of pretty standard and generally available third party components in a very expensive box!

    The difference in the operating systems is probably the most important consideration. I personally haven't had Windows machines crash on me for years other than when a quality motherboard on a 7 year old machine was playing up - I personally do not find the IOS (Apple operating system) good to use at all, others may find differently.

    In some ways its a bit like cameras - if you would buy a Leica M (Type 240) at £5000 over a Fuji x-Pro2 at £1350 then you are very likely to buy a Mac over a PC, if you wouldn't even give the Leica a moments second thought then you are more likely to buy a PC.

    At the end of the day computers, cameras, printers etc are all just tools to do a job. Most are pretty good these days, It's how we use them that matters.
  • fascinating discussion demonstrating the benefits of a forum and the expert knowledge in the Club
  • Thanks for all the advice I have taken most of it on board and bought an HP all in one pc. That way I can possibly change my camera body(next topic). It has a 24" hd screen and amd 12 processor so should be fine for what i require as not editing video. Thanks again all
  • Hope you get on well with your new computer. One thing to remember above all else is to make sure you have at least 2 external backup drives.

    You can easily automate daily backups of you data with something like Everyday Auto Backup http://www.backupsoft.net/

    One drive should be kept out of the house (possibly in the car, but away from risk if you have a fire). Swap them around once a week and you will never have a backup more than a week out of date even if, god forbid, the house burns down or someone steals your PC and backup drive sitting next to it.

    You could potentially use cloud backups instead, but photo files (especially raw) are quite large and in practice you effectively do not have instant access to multiple files and you can end up clogging your bandwidth.

  • You are not wrong there Graham. I use Backblaze, which is supposed to be the fastest at uploading, and I regularly get upload speeds of 15-20mbps, it took 48 days to upload my whole library. Once its done though, regular updates don't take too long.

    I use Chronosync for cloning my drives on an hourly basis.
  • I wish I got that upload speed! Until recently I was getting 0.25bmps, local exchange has been upgraded to "super fast" so now I get an upload of a whopping 5mbps!

  • I am on fibre with Plusnet so my DL\UL speeds are pretty amazing, 70+ up, 15+ down. I use it for work as well so I can justify the additional cost.
  • Yes, I am similar - goes through the business (and have 2 connections) but nothing faster than 20 down/5 up is available here.
  • hi i have a Apple mac 27ins i fined it is great
  • very interested in updating my computer, would Graham be prepared to suggest the names of the independent builders referred to in the discussion
  • Hi Tony - https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/ is a good place to start, many base models to select from (laptops and desktops), and then select precise specifications to suit. Would strongly suggest you select a 1tb SSD drive - prices are not silly (but ore for a 2tb) but SSD is so much faster booting up etc etc than standard hard drive.

    David and others have used them, and the club laptop is from them. I have also bought my most recent laptop from them. Have a good look around the options and preferably build to order/your spec rather than off the shelf - takes a little time but you get exactly what you want/need.

    Any specific questions let me know.
  • Hi Tony-pcspecialist are very good I have used them a good help team also if you need them . Including the clubs laptop there are 5 others from that company in use with club members
  • Hi Tony, agree with the above. David and I have had several laptops (Shelagh also) built to order through "PC Specialists" and David has just had a new desktop built from them also. Wouldn't buy off the shelf as photography is quite a specialist application which benefits from having a tailor made spec.
  • Hi Tony
    Richard & I have had PC Specialist desktops for years - there was one small problem but they corrected it quickly.
  • That is great advice, many thanks to you all

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