Are Macs better than PCs for photography work? If so, why?

Started Mar 31, 2013 | Questions
theJuke2
New MemberPosts: 15
Like?
Are Macs better than PCs for photography work? If so, why?
Mar 31, 2013

I'm trying to look for a new desktop which will be dedicated just to my photography work and I won't be using it for anything else. I am a PC person by nature, but I am not opposed to Mac. What are the pros and cons? Everyone I talk to seems to prefer Mac. I'm trying to find some PC users (or past PC users) to get their input and see how they feel about the Mac/PC comparison for photography work. If you are a past PC user, why did you switch? I'm looking for the pros and cons for each. (Please don't give me the "Macs don't get viruses" reason, and please don't tell me that Macs are made with all Mac hardware and processors - that isn't true any more.) I'm looking purely for functionality. Thank you!

ANSWER:
This question has not been answered yet.
coronawithlime
Senior MemberPosts: 2,206Gear list
Like?
Re: Are Macs better than PCs for photography work? If so, why?
In reply to theJuke2, Mar 31, 2013

I bought my wife an 11 " Mac Air in early 2012, neither of us having ever used one previously.  I was impressed with the high build quality of the computer and it's compactness, as we wanted it to carry on trips.

I almost immediately noticed a totally subjective feeling of crispness and responsiveness as compared to my previous Windows systems.  Bit of a learning curve but nothing to influence a purchase decision.

In December I replaced my PC system with a base spec 27" iMac and am totally convinced that it was a good decision, although the reasons again are mostly subjective.  The system simply has a positive quality related to high quality and fine finishes, and a general impression of smoothness of operation.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am comparing the Macs to my previous HP system, which I had always regarded as adequate but wished for a better monitor.  If you are presently using a high end PC and monitor you might not notice the same difference.

-- hide signature --

One day long ago, a sorcerer and a warrior did battle, as such things were commonplace in that age. Sometimes the sorcerer won, and the sum value of human abilities was improved some trifling amount. Sometimes the warrior won, and again the human race improved by some insignificant amount, for a sorcerer who can't defeat one miserable warrior is a poor sorcerer indeed.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
hjr13
Senior MemberPosts: 1,455Gear list
Like?
Re: Are Macs better than PCs for photography work? If so, why?
In reply to theJuke2, Mar 31, 2013

Photoshop and lightroom run the same on both a pc and a mac. So if you are planning on using either of those programs it doesn't matter. That being said, I've used a mac for 20 years, and would not think of using a pc again. In my opinion macs are better to use all around.

 hjr13's gear list:hjr13's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Tom Axford
Senior MemberPosts: 1,532
Like?
I switched to an iMac three years ago and have never regretted it
In reply to theJuke2, Mar 31, 2013

Having used PCs for many years (mainly because I needed compatibility with colleagues who used mainly PCs), I switched to an iMac just over 3 years ago (I do not need compatibility with colleagues since I retired).

It is quite complicated to do a full comparison as there are many pros and cons both ways, but I feel the balance of advantage for photo processing lies with the Macs. The comparison is complicated by the fact that each new version of Mac OS X adds new features, but each new version of Windows also adds new features, and I can't claim to be fully up-to-date with Windows since I have stopped using it.

The advantages of Macs as I see it:

Mac OS X is better put together than Windows and the different parts work together more coherently than Windows.

OS X also seems to know a lot more about image files within the OS itself - many little things: like the OS knows how to decode most raw formats and show you a thumbnail of the image whenever you open a folder.

You can also change the size of thumbnails very easily up to 512 x 512 pixels, which is large enough to be really useful when scanning images.

Also one click of the mouse will expand the thumbnail to full size (without having to open a new program to view the image).

When I last used Windows it did none of these things, but I haven't used the latest version.

I think it just feels much easier working with images in Mac OS than it ever did in Windows.

Of course, there are some downsides - such as the hardware tends to be expensive, and there is more third party software available for PCs than for Macs (but nearly all the well-known image processing programs are equally available on Macs and PCs).

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
theJuke2
New MemberPosts: 15
Like?
Re: Are Macs better than PCs for photography work? If so, why?
In reply to hjr13, Mar 31, 2013

Thank you for the reply! Can you explain more about why you feel Macs are better all around?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Doug R
Senior MemberPosts: 1,470
Like?
Re: Are Macs better than PCs for photography work? If so, why?
In reply to theJuke2, Mar 31, 2013

Truth is there is not all that much difference it the OS's these days.

Photoshop and Lightroom run almost exactly the same.

It comes down to personal preference. I think Windows is slightly better than OSX but if forced to run OSX full fime wouldn't have all that much to complain about. I use both and thats my opinion.

Hackintosh your computer and give OSX a try for a month and then decide.

http://www.tonymacx86.com/home.php

-- hide signature --

Doug

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
hjr13
Senior MemberPosts: 1,455Gear list
Like?
Re: Are Macs better than PCs for photography work? If so, why?
In reply to theJuke2, Mar 31, 2013

I haven't used windows for a long time, but with a mac in 20 years, a mother board went on one computer that was 12 years old. Other than that I've never turned on my computer and had a problem.

The same can't be said from what I see on pcs. Between hardware conflicts, viruses, etc there are problems that crop up all the time.

I have had a mac pro, white notebook, mac book pro, imac, and now have a mac mini. Never had a problem with any, except the mother board on the mac pro after 12 years. On of the mac ads used to say macs just work, simple and true.

Like I said, this is only my opinion. I am sure some feel different.

 hjr13's gear list:hjr13's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Daniel Bliss
Senior MemberPosts: 1,690Gear list
Like?
Re: Are Macs better than PCs for photography work? If so, why?
In reply to theJuke2, Mar 31, 2013

I don't think the difference is that big, quite honestly.  I have used Macs for 20 years and I doubt I'll ever switch, though I have to say I am impressed by how well Windows 8 works (not quite so impressed by its user interface, but that's another story — basically I have yet to be convinced that you can do one-size-fits-all for a UI across tablets, phones and both touchscreen and non-touchscreen PCs, but if the PC market goes all touch, then Microsoft is definitely on to something).

It's worth considering where Apple has led, and where there's not much different.  First of all, the Apple UI generally looks better, even with Windows 8's improvements in typography.  The Retina interface means truly scalable resolutions, and I think that's hugely useful in a graphics environment; you can effectively set fonts and icons to the appropriate size for the task, while always enjoying the full resolution for the photos.  Second, Apple's Apple-only software is interesting.  iPhoto is outstanding for a freebie package; Aperture combines the organizational capabilities of PhotoMechanic with most of the raw conversion strength of Adobe (and hopefully they'll soon give the long overdue upgrade to Aperture to finally bring it all the way to parity with Adobe's raw conversion) and, what's more, Aperture plays very nicely with other software if you want a different type of processing that Aperture doesn't necessarily offer and need to "roundtrip" a file out and back into Aperture.

If you use Adobe software, however, there really isn't much of a difference as Adobe has done everything they can to standardize applications, even down to some of the code they run, between the Mac and the PC.  And, especially if you use multiple Adobe applications, let's say Photoshop, Lightroom and Premiere together, there's a big benefit to using Windows because of the way the Windows toolbar sits with the application window rather than at the top of your primary monitor.  There are workarounds to this on the Mac; third-party plugins like SecondBar can give you extra toolbars, but they don't work as well as Windows' approach.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
CameraCarl
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,433Gear list
Like?
Re: Are Macs better than PCs for photography work? If so, why?
In reply to hjr13, Mar 31, 2013

My experience with Macs, unfortunately, is just the opposite. Macs are not as bullet proof as the myths seem to indicate. My 4-year-old iMac has been in the shop three times for a new logic board and for a new hard drive. Then it started having intermittent issues where the screen went completely grey with corduroy stripes. The Apple Store techs could not solve it. Two levels of tech support at Apple couldn't either; their solution every time was to reload the operating system. This would work for a month or so, then the problem would come back. It kept having problems after AppleCare expired, so I'm now dealing with it on my own. My son-in-law bought an iMac and it needed a new hard drive within months of my failure. My daughter had to have her Macbook replaced by Apple after many tries to fix it failed. She and I had AppleCare which covered all our costs. My son-in-law paid more to fix his computer than AppleCare would have cost. So Apple is batting .000 for my family. Get Apple Care if you decide to go with a Mac!

Reliability problems aside (and the frustration with wasting days troubleshooting and/or with the computer in the shop), having come from years of Windows use, the Mac has been a nice experience.  But given that I've had so much trouble with Macs, I will seriously be looking at PCs when I get annoyed enough with my iMac to throw it out the window.

Another consideration: do your photo peers use Macs or PCs?  You are better off getting a computer that your friends use so you can collaborate on issues and learning.

 CameraCarl's gear list:CameraCarl's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-6 Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Sony Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
chris franklin
Regular MemberPosts: 250
Like?
Re: Are Macs better than PCs for photography work? If so, why?
In reply to theJuke2, Mar 31, 2013

I just switched over from windows to an iMac 27" i7. After years of hard drive failures on windows machines I decided to go the apple route. My sister and her family have been using Macs for about 15 years and they have no complaints. there is a small learning curve. However, it is not that difficult to get used too. I like the little things that OS X does to integrate its self. If you choose to enter into the Mac ecosystem you will not be disappointed.

-- hide signature --

Cali
D800, 24-70mm2.8, 70-200vr 2.8, 50mm 1.8, 2 SB 600's and a bag of goodies. 27" iMac 3.4 i7: adobe CS6

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Jacques Cornell
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,165Gear list
Like?
Lemon ratio
In reply to CameraCarl, Mar 31, 2013

Every company makes some lemons, including Apple. Even so, it easily leads the pack in surveys on reliability and customer satisfaction. The support can't be beat, either, especially if you live near an Apple Store.

-- hide signature --

'No matter where you go, there you are.'

 Jacques Cornell's gear list:Jacques Cornell's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 OIS Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 +27 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Jacques Cornell
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,165Gear list
Like?
One advantage = Aperture
In reply to theJuke2, Mar 31, 2013

With a Mac, you have another option for an A-Z editing, organizing and non-destructive RAW processing tool besides Lightroom, and that is Aperture. LR and Aperture are close competitors with similar, but not identical, feature sets and very different user interfaces. I prefer Aperture for its clean, intuitive and non-modal interface. I run a high-volume event and portraiture business entirely through Aperture, with almost no need for Photoshop. Apple sells it through the online App Store for a measly $80.

-- hide signature --

'No matter where you go, there you are.'

 Jacques Cornell's gear list:Jacques Cornell's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 OIS Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 +27 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Edvinas
Senior MemberPosts: 2,808Gear list
Like?
Re: Are Macs better than PCs for photography work? If so, why?
In reply to chris franklin, Mar 31, 2013

chris franklin wrote:

I just switched over from windows to an iMac 27" i7. After years of hard drive failures on windows machines I decided to go the apple route.

Hard drive failures have nothing to do with OS...

-- hide signature --

Edvinas

 Edvinas's gear list:Edvinas's gear list
Nikon D3S Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D Nikon AF Nikkor 105mm f/2D DC +3 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Edvinas
Senior MemberPosts: 2,808Gear list
Like?
Re: Are Macs better than PCs for photography work? If so, why?
In reply to theJuke2, Mar 31, 2013

theJuke2 wrote:

I'm trying to look for a new desktop which will be dedicated just to my photography work and I won't be using it for anything else. I am a PC person by nature, but I am not opposed to Mac. What are the pros and cons? Everyone I talk to seems to prefer Mac. I'm trying to find some PC users (or past PC users) to get their input and see how they feel about the Mac/PC comparison for photography work. If you are a past PC user, why did you switch? I'm looking for the pros and cons for each. (Please don't give me the "Macs don't get viruses" reason, and please don't tell me that Macs are made with all Mac hardware and processors - that isn't true any more.) I'm looking purely for functionality. Thank you!

For photography work the only advantage of OSX over Windows, I can think of, is the possibility to use Aperture. For Lightroom, Photoshop there are no advantages.

I've switched to Macs after trying one out of curiosity. I've liked OSX better than Windows overall and that was the reason for a switch.

-- hide signature --

Edvinas

 Edvinas's gear list:Edvinas's gear list
Nikon D3S Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D Nikon AF Nikkor 105mm f/2D DC +3 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Steven Wandy
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,918Gear list
Like?
Re: Are Macs better than PCs for photography work? If so, why?
In reply to theJuke2, Mar 31, 2013

After using Windows based PCs for many years I switched my machine to an iMac about 1 1/2 years ago and my wife's more recently. While I use it for other things besides imaging, I would not consider going back. (Though I do run Windows 8 through Parallels and love the ability to run both OSs on the same machine.)

For strictly photo work - as others has pointed out - the only real advantage of Apple is you have a choice of either Lightroom or Aperture. I LOVED Lightroom but decided to switch to Aperture because I felt it integrated itself into the Apple OS better. As has been pointed out PS, LR and most programs (aside from Aperture) are available on both and run very similar. I do also like that camera RAW updates are part of the Mac OS - so it effects all photo programs that you have running.

I just like the clean way that Apple set up their OS and the way it runs. Yes people have had issues with Macs, but I seem to see MUCH less with people running Macs than I remember from my Windows days.

 Steven Wandy's gear list:Steven Wandy's gear list
Olympus Stylus 1 Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Johanfoto
Senior MemberPosts: 2,925
Like?
Re: Are Macs better than PCs for photography work? If so, why?
In reply to theJuke2, Mar 31, 2013

One difference that nobody has mentioned yet is color management. On MacOS X, color management is done by the operating system itself (called ColorSync). That means that even non-color managed applications will use color management when they show an image on screen or send it to the printer. On Windows, color management is done by the individual application. For color-managed applications, such as Photoshop and Lightroom, there is no difference between both methods. But for non-color managed applications (meaning most applications) it means that you can get unexpected results when printing a document that contains a photo or when viewing images on screen.

-- hide signature --
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
johnny_r
Regular MemberPosts: 171
Like?
Re: Are Macs better than PCs for photography work? If so, why?
In reply to theJuke2, Mar 31, 2013

If Aperture could be used on a PC, I would use a PC.

Aperture keeps me linked to Apple. I have tried Lightroom on

my PC and I did not like it. Was not even a close second.

YMMV

Regards,

John

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Silicon Sam
Regular MemberPosts: 456Gear list
Like?
Re: Are Macs better than PCs for photography work? If so, why?
In reply to hjr13, Mar 31, 2013

hjr13 wrote:

I haven't used windows for a long time, but with a mac in 20 years, a mother board went on one computer that was 12 years old. Other than that I've never turned on my computer and had a problem.

The same can't be said from what I see on pcs. Between hardware conflicts, viruses, etc there are problems that crop up all the time.

I have had a mac pro, white notebook, mac book pro, imac, and now have a mac mini. Never had a problem with any, except the mother board on the mac pro after 12 years. On of the mac ads used to say macs just work, simple and true.

Like I said, this is only my opinion. I am sure some feel different.

The Mac Pro came out in 2006, so that 12 year old computer must have been one of the older G4 or G5 machines.

I have a 2006 Mac Pro that's been decked out to the max, and it's been chugging along all this time just fine.

 Silicon Sam's gear list:Silicon Sam's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 10D Canon EOS 50D Canon EOS 300D Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Fat Dragon
Regular MemberPosts: 192
Like?
Re: Are Macs better than PCs for photography work? If so, why?
In reply to theJuke2, Apr 1, 2013

Other than having better-than-average (but not even close to professional-quality) screens built into some of their devices, Macs have no real advantage over PC's for photo or video editing. Much of the software you would use on one is available on the other (though you may have to buy a new license for the Mac version), and there aren't many differences between them.

In the PowerPC days, Macs had certain advantages over PC's, especially in things like rendering speed for various forms of video. Since they switched to Intel, you're basically running an identical machine for more money. That's not to say that their build quality and industrial design isn't excellent or that the average Mac machine isn't a lot closer to the total package than the average Windows machine (partially because Apple doesn't make any low-end computers), but you'll always get more for your money with a PC (competition), and if you're currently a savvy PC user there's really no reason to switch.

Remember when reading the posts here that you are posting in a Mac subforum, so while I haven't read all of the replies, you should absolutely expect the typical reply here to be favorable to your switch, because Apple fans are the second most-enthusiastic proselytizers in the world.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
theJuke2
New MemberPosts: 15
Like?
Re: Are Macs better than PCs for photography work? If so, why?
In reply to Johanfoto, Apr 1, 2013

Thank you for this information! That is something that I did not know about. I had already thought about the retina display on the Mac monitors and potentially using a Spyder on my PC, but I didn't think about the color management within the OS itself.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads