Macbook Air for Photo Editing

Started Aug 31, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Macbook Air for Photo Editing
Aug 31, 2014

Just wanted to give my feedback on using the Macbook Air for photo editing. My previous machine was a core 2 duo macbook pro with 8 gigs of ram and a standard spinning hard drive. I agonized over whether or not to get the new pro or air. I was worried that I wouldn't see much of a performance boost with the air. I was also worried that I'd be disappointed with the screen compared to the new retina screen on the pro. After doing a bunch of research I decided that if I'd go with the air I'd have to max out the ram at 8 gigs. There seemed to be no consensus between the i7 and the i5 processor in terms of getting a performance bump so I wasn't sure which on the air laptop would be a better deal?

Anyway, I went to the local apple store and put the two machines side by side. I opened up iPhoto and booted up the exact same photo on each. The screen on the pro was clearly better. The viewing angles were better and you could see more detail. It also seemed to have a wider color gamut and dynamic range. I edited a few photos on both machines while I was there to see how each screen would feel to me. Honestly the Air screen was working just fine and I could see that for my purposes the pro screen wasn't necessary. I could see though that if I did color critical work the pro screen would be the way to go.

While I had the machines next to each other I tried opening some apps, restarting, and other tasks to see how they performed next to each other. I really didn't see any difference in my non scientific test. Once I decided that I didn't need the screen of the pro and that they performed pretty close to the same the decision was easy. Go for the air.

I found the air with 8 gigs of ram and the i7 processor at the Apple store refurb department and went ahead and purchased it. I figured I may as well go with the better processor even though it was debatable whether or not it had an impact on performance.

Cut to 2 weeks later and I'm really happy with my choice. The performance of this machine is WAY faster than my old core 2 duo pro machine. I currently have my iPhoto library (350 gigs) on an external USB3 drive and it is super quick. Takes about 10ish seconds for it to boot up the library. No lagging at all editing RAW files. With my old machine I just built in lag time. Not with this machine. Changes are reflected automatically and quickly. Another pleasant surprise is that importing photos is about twice as quick as well. I'm using Aperture BTW. I've always loved the Aperture interface but hated the legginess. It turns out that it isn't laggy at all. Not on my new Air. It's really zippy quick even though I'm storing the library on an external. I would say that for any enthusiast interested in the Air don't hesitate. It's a great machine and plenty powerful enough.

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