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Fast and portable: Using the Apple MacBook Air in a pro workflow

By David Schloss on Jan 14, 2014 at 06:00 GMT

Photographers often need to find the most powerful solutions possible and cram them into the smallest places. While the Apple MacBook Air once satisfied only the size part of the equation, the newest member of the family makes it a compelling choice for photographers. The Apple MacBook Air provides a professional level of power in a diminutive package without sacrificing functionality. 

Comments

Total comments: 351
12
mbloof
By mbloof (3 months ago)

While the AIR is indeed the smallest model that Apple currently offers its screen and processing power is dwarfed by the much better MBP-R 13" and even better MBP-R 15" "top of the line" models.

The high resolution IPS Retina displays have fairly good color rendition out of the box, calibrate easily, don't change color+contrast at different viewing angles and offer a almost unheard of +9hr battery life.

While the performance is 'decent', LR 3.6 on my 1st generation i5 WIN7 machine processes photos faster than LR5.0 on my late 2013 MBP (dual core i5 Haswell).

The size & weight savings along with exceptional battery life and awesome display were selling points that steered me to the MAC (and the lack of WIN8 was icing on the cake). The quality of the screen and OSX version of LR 5.0 IMHO make these machines an attractive photo editing/processing tool for photographers.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
ciao_chao
By ciao_chao (3 months ago)

I must say, I never found the Air to be deficient in performance. Mine is an ancient first/second gen machine, ran a core 2 processor when everyone else had centrinos, so it could munch through Lightroom and CS3 (yeah that's how old it is) without trouble. Still running it today, though the single USB port issue (solved on later models) is a pain in the behind.

This is hardly a great demonstration of what the Air can do though, some of the other responders have highlighted it's real capabilities in the mobile office setup, as opposed fast turnaround in the article where EyeFi cards and app based post pro will streamline the process.

0 upvotes
WalPhoto
By WalPhoto (3 months ago)

A year ago, I thought to get an Air or MBP - I've got the Air finally, 13" with 500GB SSD / 8GB RAM. I'm using this machine to develop enterprise SW for quite big clients (am working at TeleCom as senior architect). Let me tell you this: my Air is FASTER than our $'$$$.00USD/monthly server!! I have no idea what they've done to the HW, but our QC Dell Book is 5x slower than server: which is a bit slower than my Air.. I'm developing a specialized data-pump, importing and processing a few million records in one pass - read: running SQL Server 2012 ENT, Visual Studio ENT 2013, WinDbg, Query Profiler, Fiddler, LINQ Pad etc.. - all in parallel, with no bottlenecks. I love this machine; it rolls much faster than my outdated MBP i/DC or my iMac i7/QC/16 with a mechanical drive. You just can't compare this to anything but the most expensive HP Blade server with SAN, which is pretty crazy. I wouldn't have believed this as well, but trust me, it's my daily job ;-). And photos? Heh ;-D!..

3 upvotes
Johnhs
By Johnhs (3 months ago)

How do you get $1549? The apple store price for that build is $1849.
John

0 upvotes
lmtfa
By lmtfa (3 months ago)

Unless u have one and worked with a MacBook Air or pro with Retina Display, your talking from little to no hands on experience. This is not an OS X, it's platform is IOS. No ones breaking your arm to use Apple, u like windows good for you. Plenty more like IOS. I prefer Apple, Enjoy what u use so let me enjoy what I use.

DPreview chose to feature the MacBook Air because it is the premiere system. Wait until Apple introduces the 12" iPad, I can hear the nay sayers already.

To those that will say the price will be over blown, I have yet to see Apple go above their base rate. Go play with your Sony or Samsung tablets or notebooks.

2 upvotes
Plutone
By Plutone (3 months ago)

Sorry, this is not true, the air is not an IOS device, is is OSX.

0 upvotes
Jim Scarff
By Jim Scarff (3 months ago)

I am a serious amateur photographer (Canon 7D & 70D) and currently use a late 2013 MacBook Pro Retina 15" when traveling, often internationally. I had a lat 2012 13" MacBook Air briefly, but traded up to the Pro Retina (at first 13", now 15") because the screen on the Air was BAD for color rendition and accuracy. The color hues would shift dramatically with small adjustments in the vertical tilt of the display, making it almost unusable for editing photos. I am not a great fan of OS X and my home desktop is a Windows 8 machine, but the MBPR and its high quality display is the best travel laptop for photography I have found.

3 upvotes
Paul Takeuchi
By Paul Takeuchi (3 months ago)

I just tried my wife's brand new 2013 MBA 13" on a tethered shoot. While it does perform decently well with RAW files, the screen colors were not as accurate as my macbook pro. Just couldn't calibrate it well. So of no use to me for color critical work. When convenience and lightness is paramount, like in news or editorial work, the MBA may be good enough, but unfortunately the screen is not for me.

0 upvotes
justmeMN
By justmeMN (3 months ago)

According to IDC, the Mac's worldwide market share is in the Others category, somewhere below Lenovo, HP, Dell, Acer Group, and ASUS.

I'm surprised the DPR decided to have an article on such an obscure, unpopular, product. :-)

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
harold1968
By harold1968 (3 months ago)

the problem is that the 13" retina price drop has made the air questionable, especially for photography, unles you must have the lowest weight.
However if I wanted the lowest weight with maximum resolution I would get the Microosft Surface Pro 2 so the air is in deadspace at the moment IMHO
rgds

1 upvote
Kevin Fitzsimons
By Kevin Fitzsimons (3 months ago)

Just so people don't think I'm substituting wifi for a laptop, I was just offering another way of sending images for social media use or for quick composition monitoring by the client. Maybe that's been covered in a previous post.

0 upvotes
kenw
By kenw (3 months ago)

Interesting article. In the current model lines it would be worth considering the 13" MPBr carefully compared to the Air. Much nicer screen, more processing power, 0.5lb heavier, same size and not much of a hit to battery life either. Good enough to be a dedicated desktop machine for lower volume shooters as well. So for some a 13" MBPr might be all they need, and even those with a dedicated desktop setup might still prefer the 13" MBPr to the Air. If an extra couple hours of battery life and 0.5 lb are critical and you already have a desktop then the Air is still a good choice.

0 upvotes
dweberphotography
By dweberphotography (3 months ago)

I would still opt for my Samsung Series 7 Chronos 15.6 inch.

I love it for its truly matte screen, its 1600x900 resolutio is great, the screen can be color calibrated, and I can run Photoshop, Illustrator, and Lightroom side by side no problem.

0 upvotes
Kevin Fitzsimons
By Kevin Fitzsimons (3 months ago)

I purchased a Canon 6D specifically for it's wifi capability. I shoot photos to accompany live blogs and tweets at events that my colleagues are posting. It easily pairs with my iPhone with Canon's EOS Remote software. I turn on the wifi in the camera, select the camera wifi on my phone's wifi settings, view the images I just shot with the 6D on my phone, select one and email it to my "client" for immediate use. It's a great system. No computer involved. They're straight from the camera so exposure, etc. has to be pretty good, but it's very quick.

2 upvotes
johnfmclaughlin
By johnfmclaughlin (3 months ago)

i have the 13 inch mba that i used to early inspection of photos while traveling, then i quickly discovered that the color rendition is actually pretty poor. this is not an "apple bashing" as matter of fact, i use ONLY apple products and have always recommended them. that being said, do the research and you will see that it is/ was only a fairly low quality "tn" panel. now for the sake of full disclosure, my mba is a late 2011 model and the new one's may be better ( never had a reason to check) hope this helps..

1 upvote
jimjim2111
By jimjim2111 (3 months ago)

I have similar issue with late 2011 mbp - the supposedly super inky blacks translate into poor dynamic range at the dark end - watching dark scenes in movies is a poor experience. That latest batman film was pitch black half the time when I watched it!

1 upvote
Najinsky
By Najinsky (3 months ago)

So there's a little bit of bitching from the PC community about an article praising an Apple product. It's all good.

Despite being a long term Apple user I welcome these comments, bitchy tho they may be. I think it's really cool their PCs stayed running long enough to write and post a whole comment. PCs have clearly come a long way.

4 upvotes
groucher
By groucher (3 months ago)

That would be quite an amusing post except for the fact that Macs are PCs - same processors, same memory, same disk drives. You can load Apple OS onto a PC with a few tweeks of the code that reads the Apple ID address if you're so inclined. Since Macs and PCs are essentially the same machine, it mystifies me why anyone should want to pay 2 or 3 times the price for a similar spec Apple, when compared to PC, just to get the Apple designer label. And you're stuck with appallingly poor software such as Itunes.

0 upvotes
darngooddesign
By darngooddesign (3 months ago)

I'm surprised people are still perpetrating the myth that Macs cost 2-3 times the PC equivalent. Perhaps you can post a PC laptop that costs $370 - $740 and matches the 13" Air's specs exactly; don't forget that it has to have an equally good trackpad and battery life. Don;t forget that they need to have equally good trackpads and battery life. That used to be true, but not anymore.

Here is a good article that shows that the Air is similarly priced to there ultra books, and in some cases less expensive. It just boils down to which OS you want.

http://www.ultrabookreview.com/177-ultrabooks-macbook-air-good-great/

Unless you are being pedantic just to appear clever, its commonly accepted that the term PC means a non-Mac computer.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
1 upvote
groucher
By groucher (3 months ago)

I'm not trying to appear pedantic or clever - merely pointing out that you're paying more for virtually identical hardware if you buy a Mac. This wasn't the case in the old PowerPC days. I don't know about the US but in the UK, Macs are much more expensive than PCs, laptop or desktop.

0 upvotes
Lunal
By Lunal (3 months ago)

@Najinsky: You're wrong. They didn't post here with their Windows PC's, they posted here with their iPads. =)

@Groucher: The main difference is the OS, Max users figured that one out ages ago.

@darngooddesign: Don't forget the resale value of a Mac vs. the peanuts you get for a used Windows PC brand or a DIY one.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
srados
By srados (3 months ago)

I am not MAC fan, but mac architecture and software outperforms PC in every aspect.Sad but true.

0 upvotes
hsv557
By hsv557 (2 months ago)

Najinsky, so true, I was a PC user all my life, Hated everything about Apple, vowed id never own an Apple product EVER, hated with a passion, why, i have no idea I just did. once I stopped playing games and started using a computer for Photo work i started thinking about a MAC, started with the IPAD, loved it.

being that my PC (as you said) would reboot itself nearly every 10 minutes when I wanted to use it I said screw this, so sick of having to fix a PC i said I’m going to try a MAC, why because I could name 100 people that have had PC issues and I couldn't name one that ever had any MAC issues (yes I knew plenty of MAC users lol), So glad I did, I’ll never buy another piece of PC tech again, why would i want to spend hours setting things up only to have to load more drivers, when I buy something for the Mac now I literally turn it on and it works out of the box, from knowing nothing about OSX its scary at first but its more logical and much more user friendly than any WPC

0 upvotes
yslee1
By yslee1 (3 months ago)

I wonder how some people use their computers. Never really had any stability issues with any computer as long as there is no faulty hardware or buggy software.

Also, there are no 10 bit displays as far as I know on notebooks. Heck, I believe all of them are 6 bit actually. Even the beloved Thinkpad IPS screens were 6 bit.

1 upvote
Black Box
By Black Box (3 months ago)

And then the "professionals will be shocked" when some newspaper removes all computers and closes the office to make their reporters work from the nearest park using (GASP!) MacBook Air. Been there with "mobile photography for professionals".

2 upvotes
jl_smith
By jl_smith (3 months ago)

MBAs are awesome little machines and very well built - my wife's 11" MBA is great.

I'm partial to my 15" MBPr, though - great machine. Got it and my iMac 27" from Apple's refurb store - great price savings much of the time, even after tax.

0 upvotes
quiquae
By quiquae (3 months ago)

I have the 2011 11" MBA. While I like it a lot as a travel PC, it isn't a good fit for photographers--1366x768 simply doesn't cut it, the color quality leaves something to be desired, you really miss that SD card slot, and the battery life isn't that good. The 2013 iteration only solves the last issue. 13" MBA and MBPr are much better choices. I've since bought a Mac mini as my main photography machine (works very well), and plan to replace both with a MBPr at some point.

0 upvotes
Green spot
By Green spot (3 months ago)

Hells bells have I missed something here I use DP Review because of the camera stuff it produces to a high standard. I have 4 Macs in various configurations including the Air. What I want to know is what compact camera he was using that produces high standard professional results!! I bet 99% of readers will want to know that or have I missed something

0 upvotes
Black Box
By Black Box (3 months ago)

A better question will be, how many pieces of silver Mr.Schloss received for this article? Apple lost any decency in promoting their products through the likes of him.

1 upvote
spen007
By spen007 (3 months ago)

I´d be interested in knowing which digital compact Mr. Schloss is using. As for Macs.... I´m now 62 years old. Back in the New York hey day of Heathkit, Dynakit, Eico & Professor Bose, we used to say to people purchasing esoteric speaker systems, "What type of music will you be listening to?" I believe the same holds true for buyers of laptops..... Which programs will you be feeding your beast?" hahahaha And beasts they are but how I love mine! Mr. Schloss, I appreciate the effort you´ve put forth. Thank you!
Krgds,
Spencer in Rio de Janeiro

0 upvotes
globethrottle
By globethrottle (3 months ago)

All I got from this article is what i already know; that some apple users will, for free, spend lots of time writing about the experience of using their favorite product. Put into the right context, its payed work also.

3 upvotes
ntsan
By ntsan (3 months ago)

Asus Zenbook Infinity is one of the best ultrabooks IMHO, WQHD and i7-4558u with Iris 5100 is quite bit faster than macbook air, and they both have similar weight.

Though now I prefer XPS 18 as my go anyway machine (sold my 2013 MBPR so have extra fund for other stuff), 18.4" is way nicer to work with video and photo editing than 13 or 11", and it weighs less than the typical 15.6" notebook too!

The temperature in MBPR is quite high, I regularly got over 100C when rendering videos from AE/Premiere, and my friend's 2013 MBPR's power adapter melted recently so he have to get another one, luckily it didn't burn down his whole house...

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Daniel Lauring
By Daniel Lauring (3 months ago)

I got excited about the Asus Infinity until I started reading about some of the reliability problems, specifically with the battery and charging. Asus used to be one of my favorite brands. They have gone downhill with Lenovo and Dell (two others I used to count on.) My Apples, on the other hand have been super reliable. In the Windows world I've had the best luck with HP lately.

Comment edited 38 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Mister J
By Mister J (3 months ago)

Yes, the new Air is so much better than previous ones, and I agree that 13in is ideal; nice as the 11in is, the screen is a bit tight for meaningful Photoshoppery.

Have to say we are deliciously spoilt these days - it wasn't so long ago that I had to carry spare batteries, portable power system, and in-car plugs.

Now it's possible to get the best part of a day's work before fretting about recharging.

2 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (3 months ago)

I have been using a 13" MacBook Air for almost 2 years now. I take it with me in my backpack everywhere I go. A few months ago I rode my mountain bike from Miami to North Carolina. I worked great on that trip, just as it does everywhere I go. I have no experience with other light notebook computers, but I have lots of experience with an old 2.33 Ghz dual core 17" MacBook Pro and various Apple desk top computers and Dell desk top and notebook computers running Windows. The little MacBook Air is by far the fastest computer I have ever used. I think that is mainly because of the fast solid-state hard drive. I have loved this little computer (with its long battery life) ever since I got it. It's getting old now, and I look forward to the day when I buy a new one. I'm hoping for a new retina display model with a new, super-efficient quad-core processor to come on the market in the next few months. Hopefully that would make processing the huge new files of newer cameras a little quicker.

3 upvotes
komondor
By komondor (3 months ago)

check out the lenovo yoga 2 pro - the resolution is higher than retina. it has the new haswell chips too.

4 upvotes
James Wages
By James Wages (3 months ago)

Hardware specs little when pitting OS X to Windows.

3 upvotes
mrmart
By mrmart (3 months ago)

Does the macbook Air have the latest version of NSA software pre-installed?

4 upvotes
EricWN
By EricWN (3 months ago)

Comically funny.

0 upvotes
James Wages
By James Wages (3 months ago)

No, you'll need Windoze for that.

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Valiant Thor
By Valiant Thor (3 months ago)

Not true. Mac or Wondoze - doesn't matter. NSA access is hard coded into the Intel chips which are used by both Apple and Microsoft. This fact was clearly revealed in the leaked Snowden material. Mac fanboys are like a hospital gown; they just think they're covered.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
EdVT
By EdVT (3 months ago)

Hey I know I am I tied Both strings on the back of the gown in a pretty bow! ;-)

And my Mac's have (almost) never let me down .

0 upvotes
Plutone
By Plutone (3 months ago)

Hey guys, read Digital Fortress by Dan Brown, there is nothing new here!

0 upvotes
More On
By More On (3 months ago)

A Windows notebook, such as the Sony Vaio Z, is even better as it does all this, plus has a much richer range of software. I'm going to give this MacBook Air 8/10 and the Vaio 9/10.

2 upvotes
Stu 5
By Stu 5 (3 months ago)

The problem with Sony computers though is their short life span and lack of reliability. There are more reliable computers around that run Windows.

8 upvotes
Georg13
By Georg13 (3 months ago)

I am using Sony 13'' Notebooks since many years and never, never had any problem or need for repair. Currently using a 4 year old Sony SZ model with 256GB SSD (4 internatl SSDs in Raid 0) 6 GB RAM and and the first i7 processor. Only invest was a second battery, since first one got tired... Great 1920x1080 Screen with great Color representation for Foto work. While travelling always in my backpack, only 1,45 kg. Best decision ever ...

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
James Wages
By James Wages (3 months ago)

The real problem with the Sony machines is the OS. Specs matter nothing to Mac users who greatly value the OS experience almost as much as weight, performance and battery life.

4 upvotes
Georg13
By Georg13 (3 months ago)

I would never try to argue against religion..

:-)

that reply above was an answer, to the mentioned problems with a sony notebook, which I never experienced. And not to start these ever boring win vs mac discussions...

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Plutone
By Plutone (3 months ago)

Whoever has ever reinstalled OSX on a Mac after a hardware crash knows the difference between simply waiting for the system to recover itself and working hard for more than a weekend!

0 upvotes
bmoag
By bmoag (3 months ago)

Sizzle vs steak: I use a MacBookPro 13 inch for its retina display, light weight and excellent battery life. I know of no Wintel laptop with a display of this caliber, which is truly awesome, and worth the Apple premium despite the machine's otherwise execrable/ripoff-for-the-price CPU based graphics. However I primarily use My Macbook Pro with Windows in boot camp for image processing with Adobe products. If you use a color managed work flow, 14 bit raw image capture with a dedicated graphics monitor (built in color look up table-can be attached to the laptop or a desktop) and plan to process your images on the laptop I hope you understand why that is for what a system like that costs. At least I save money on ink because initial prints tend to be quite accurate in color and brightness.

1 upvote
tommy leong
By tommy leong (3 months ago)

try to checking out Notebookscheck.com for a variety of fanstasic notebooks that EXCEED the the mediocre offerings ....
They do very subjective test on screens, battery life and of course CPU

0 upvotes
Johnny666
By Johnny666 (3 months ago)

Surely you jest !!! MacBook Pro and light weight do NOT go together in the same sentence !!!
At lest when the mother board fries as they all do you can use it as a boat anchor ....

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (3 months ago)

"However I primarily use My Macbook Pro with Windows in boot camp for image processing with Adobe products."

Why would you do that? That makes no sense. You get worse battery life and the trackpad support isn't the same.

1 upvote
KevinTalbot
By KevinTalbot (3 months ago)

I just got a new MB Pro Retina 13" to replace my 2012 MB Air and it's only 1/2 pound heavier at 3.46 lb vs. 2.96 for an MB air. It's very light, great battery life, amazing screen and lots of storage (512 GB SSD). Very nice laptop.

6 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (3 months ago)

Maybe I'll go for the 13" MacBook Pro when I replace my 13" MacBook Air, if they still haven't put a quad-core processor in the MacBook Air but have put one in the Pro. The Pro already has the retina display that I want and a new, super-fast SD card slot (I tried it with my Sony UHS1 memory card).

0 upvotes
mbloof
By mbloof (3 months ago)

While shopping for a high end "ultrabook" form factor laptop this winter I came across only a handful of models with high resolution IPS displays and Haswell processors. All of which had similar pricing to the MPB-R (+/- $100 for similar specs).

While a few models could be ordered from their warehouse (1-2 day to 5-10 day shipping delay) not a single store front in my metro area had a Windows based computer with similar specs to the MBP-R on display.

Apple had all models on display and in stock and with a $300 "black friday" savings my 13" MBP-R actually cost less than a similar WIN8 powered Kirabook.

0 upvotes
RyanBoston
By RyanBoston (3 months ago)

I was working with capture nx2 on a macbook air and it crashed the computer hard. Apple is fixing it the computer now and I will not install Nx2 again on it.

I got lucky... My warranty ran out and Apple is fixing it for free. The service guy is blaming it on the Toshiba hard drive inside and said it was a recall on it. Hopefully it works good after.

0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (3 months ago)

How does photo software ruin your hard drive requiring Apple to fix it?

1 upvote
KevinTalbot
By KevinTalbot (3 months ago)

How does an MBA crash it's hard drive since it has an SSD not a mechanical drive?

1 upvote
Scottelly
By Scottelly (3 months ago)

Weird. I use Nikon View NX2 on my MacBook Air with no problems. I got my 13" MacBook Air with upgraded 1.7 Ghz i7 processor and 256 GB SSD in March 2011. I wonder if maybe you jut got unlucky at that moment, and any process/program that stressed your hard drive would have caused the problem.

1 upvote
HuwW
By HuwW (3 months ago)

1st gens had a HD

0 upvotes
Michael Ma
By Michael Ma (3 months ago)

I think it would have been more interesting if someone demonstrated how someone used a chromebook in a professional workflow and talked about working around limitations and barriers. You can do this with any computer. My i7 laptop with 256GB SSD + 750GB HDD (in place of the DVD drive) and 16GB ram costed less than 1/2 of this under powered macbook air and accessories.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
Tonio Loewald
By Tonio Loewald (3 months ago)

How's the thunderbolt port on your i7 laptop, what's its battery life, and how much does it weigh?

Comment edited 30 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Artifact
By Artifact (3 months ago)

Most important question though is this: does your computer have an Apple logo? If not then quality of your photos automatically decreases by 25% and your camera loses 1 megapixel.

12 upvotes
tommy leong
By tommy leong (3 months ago)

yes
Many people are uninformed about what's out there.
Better screen, better power, etc
and don't get me started on USB3 vs thundernuts

1 upvote
unknown member
By (unknown member) (3 months ago)

"I think it would have been more interesting if someone demonstrated how someone used a chromebook in a professional workflow and talked about working around limitations and barriers."

What pro would even consider using a crippled computer that can not support mainstream photo software??

3 upvotes
fakuryu
By fakuryu (3 months ago)

hahahahaha thunderbolt... it will die soon, USB3 is the standard anyway

3 upvotes
Jun2
By Jun2 (3 months ago)

It has to be light and strong. He is running around with this thing. It can't run too hot. He puts it under the arm. i7 probably would burn his skin.

0 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (3 months ago)

My MacBook Air has an i7 processor in it (dual core only though). It does not get hot. It's 1.7 Ghz. Eventually they'll make one with a 2 Ghz or quad-core processor. Still, the i7 in mine seems very fast. I think the hard drives are the main bottleneck. My 13" MacBook Air processes large raw photos very quickly.

BTW, I was using a Windows 7 computer a few months back, and the damn thing crashed on me twice. I have found that Apple computers tend to be much more crash-free than the Windows computers I have used. (I used Windows machines for more than 20 years and still use them on occasion these days.)

2 upvotes
RichardBalonglong
By RichardBalonglong (3 months ago)

@Michael: Your laptop is great, it has all those goodies in much lower price. But the problem is the operating system, namely Windows. For the record of not being an Apple fanboy, I grew up using Windows, I've just switched to OSX last year.
Anyway, even if you have a great hardware, but when the Windows OS suddenly had issues, the performance of your computer drops down especially when it's infected with viruses.
What I like about Apple computers is their operating system, namely the OSX. The OSX is pretty impressive and runs flawlessly alongside with the hardware, plus it doesn't get infected by virus and you won't be needing too much time cleaning it, defraging, and optimizing.

Comment edited 30 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
James Wages
By James Wages (3 months ago)

Had to laugh at the comment by the feisty fellow who says Thunderbolt will die soon. Regardless of whether that comes to pass or not, have any of you hardcore Windows users examined how badly Microsoft's been doing? How about that Surface, eh?! And do you honestly think Chromebooks help Microsoft or Windows? And how about those Windows viruses that keep your wallet attached to anti-viral software companies?

As a Mac user since 1984, I certainly look forward to the day that the earth has once and for all ridden itself of Windows.

0 upvotes
BorisAkunin
By BorisAkunin (3 months ago)

At least the Surface (Pro) has an active digitizer so it's actually usable without an utterly crippled touch-friendly GUI...

0 upvotes
Michael Ma
By Michael Ma (3 months ago)

@James Wages,

I love Apple's products and their design but Apple users users don't realize that only 6% of all desktop computers run Mac OS X.

OS X is 10 years old, and there are no plans to make a version 11. Apple keeps updating their OS with their own software because there is very little interest from small developers to write software for the OS X. Apple can be looked at as a company that makes the world's best film. People love it, it'll probably never go away, professionals will swear by it until they die, but it's not replacing digital (Windows).

Tim Cook likes to confuse people and says stuff like this all the time. How the *growth rate* of mac users have grown by 95%. People hear this enough really start believing that 95% of all people use mac. But keep in mind that if mac users grew by .1% in 2012, and .2% in 2013, that is 100% increase in growth rate, but an inconsequential figure for the reality of the marketshare and what that means for he future of Mac OS.

0 upvotes
Matei H
By Matei H (3 months ago)

I just checked apple' s website and this configuration 1.7 dual core that boosts to 3.3 ghrz , 8 Gb / ram and 500 ssd drive is $1,849 and that's without the Apple care that takes you to almost $2,100. Why would you say this configuration is around $1,500???? Was it a Christmas gift?

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Tonio Loewald
By Tonio Loewald (3 months ago)

The price matches the configuration without the upgraded SSD.

0 upvotes
Daniel Lauring
By Daniel Lauring (3 months ago)

Yes. I pointed this out earlier. The configuration the author talked about has a 512Gb SSD, but the price he quoted is for the 256Gb SSD. The difference is $300 ($1849 vs. $1549) or 256Gb, depending on how you want to look at it.

Comment edited 33 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Jun2
By Jun2 (3 months ago)

a few hundred dollars are nothing if he uses it to make more money.

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Matei H
By Matei H (3 months ago)

@Jun2 As a professional photographer I agree 100% with your statement. I did jump up when I read that an iMac in that configuration is $1,500, and I was ready to order. At roughly 25% more then the price stated above though, not sure I am still enticed about this deal.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Matei H
By Matei H (3 months ago)

@Daniel Lauring, maybe I misunderstood, but I am pretty sure it is mis stated in the article: <<<Now, four generations later, the MacBook Air provides all the power a photographer needs and then some. The MacBook Air now comes with up to a 1.7Ghz Dual Core i7 processor (that can boost its speed up to 3.3Ghz under heavy load), Intel HD Graphics 5000 video processor, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD hard drive.

THAT build-to-order configuration comes to $1549, compared to $1199 for the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro and $2700 for the 15-inch model.>>>

0 upvotes
DonThomaso
By DonThomaso (3 months ago)

A very good alternative if you don't want a MacBook Air is the Sony Vaio Pro 11/13-range. I recently bought a 11-inch (a nice Panasonic IPS 1920x1080 display) with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD for €850. Best of all - magnesium body and weighing in at 0,87 kg! That's portable! I do most of my work on a desktop, else I would have considered the 13-inch.

5 upvotes
Artak Hambarian
By Artak Hambarian (3 months ago)

DonThomaso, is it 10 bit, or 8 bit like the Air?

0 upvotes
Tonio Loewald
By Tonio Loewald (3 months ago)

Core i5, HD4400 (vs 5000). No thunderbolt, no 802.11ac, 4GB RAM with no upgrade possible. It's 100g lighter than the Air, but gets pretty poor reviews.

e.g. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/972895-REG/sony_vaio_pro_11_svp11213cxb.html

2 upvotes
DonThomaso
By DonThomaso (3 months ago)

I don't know if it is 8 or 10 bit unfortunately. I bought it from Sony Online and then you can specify the components (up to Core i7, 512 GB SSD). Most importantly it is around 2/3 the price for a comparable Air specification. Thunderbolt, Wireless AC or a faster integrated graphics wouldn't have been very useful to me. I wanted light, portable, decent screen. Only worry was reports of unstable wi-fi, but it works just fine for me. Could have been early driver issues.
I wasn't looking at the Air at all really, the display is just too bad. A MacBook Pro 13 Retina seems like a much better choice if you want to spend that kind of money.

0 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (3 months ago)

Wow! That thing is LIGHT! I'll have to take a look at that little beast. I like its high resolution screen specs. I wonder how it looks. I would definitely want a hard drive with greater capacity. I hope Sony upgrades it to 256 GB soon.

0 upvotes
grafli
By grafli (3 months ago)

100gramms lighter??
No the 13 inch model without touch is 934gramms. The MB air is a wopping 1350gramms. Thats almost 50% havier. The sony vaio pro 13 has "ac" wifi. With 567Mbit/s.
The 11inch model is even lighter.
But the wifi card in the vaio pro is bad.
It always loses connection...

0 upvotes
DonThomaso
By DonThomaso (3 months ago)

You can spec both the 11 and 13 inch with i7/8 GB/512 GB SSD, at least in Sweden. Like I said my main worry was reports of unreliable wifi but my experience is that it works perfect (at home, in school, or via hotspot on the phone). I bought mine 2 months ago, most reviews are from the summer when they where released. It may have been a problem then, but it seems like they sorted it out.

1 upvote
Frank C.
By Frank C. (3 months ago)

I wish DPR would spend more time reviewing cameras and lenses rather than worry about satisfying/plugging their sponsors, I miss the DPR of old with Phil Askey running the site... oh well I

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
dyoon153
By dyoon153 (3 months ago)

Uh.. I get why you are worrying, but the author is not DPR staff, if I'm not mistaken. Hopefully DPR guys weren't too distracted and didn't struggle posting 2-page article, otherwise delaying long-waited reviews, but that'll hardly be the case. :)

Comment edited 45 seconds after posting
1 upvote
graybalanced
By graybalanced (3 months ago)

"Satisfying their sponsors?" I don't remember ever seeing an Apple ad on DPReview.

7 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (3 months ago)

well, we review a lot more cameras / lenses than in the 'good old days', we haven't had a penny in advertising from Apple since the days when Phil owned the site and this was written by a freelancer, thus had no effect on our core content. But yeah, you're right.

4 upvotes
tommy leong
By tommy leong (3 months ago)

if DPR runs a COMPARISION review, then it would look much less like a advertorial.

2 upvotes
Mike Sandman
By Mike Sandman (3 months ago)

But Simon, with all due respect, someone on staff presumably took time to look at the article. The Air's attributes aren't news, and the article is over-the-top giddy with praise. Seems a bit silly for dPreview.

4 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (3 months ago)

i'm sure the 15 minutes spent looking at it will be recovered somehow.

1 upvote
unknown member
By (unknown member) (3 months ago)

"But Simon, with all due respect, someone on staff presumably took time to look at the article. The Air's attributes aren't news, and the article is over-the-top giddy with praise. Seems a bit silly for dPreview."

Why is this a silly article? It's directly related to digital photography. You're not one of those people that resents Apple being praised, are you?

3 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (3 months ago)

Someone thinks they have a good solution to a problem for a digital photographer, so they decide to let people know about it . . . and their article gets attacked, with accusations about the staff of DPreview being biased toward "sponsors" of the site. Obviously, since the only product mentioned in the article is an Apple product I guess someone thinks Apple sponsors DPreview. Wow! How sad. People can't even praise a product anymore, without others attacking them or the DPreview staff for letting such an article be seen. How pathetic and immature some of us have become.

2 upvotes
James Wages
By James Wages (3 months ago)

What's laughable about some of your comments is that most of the people ripping the article are the Windows lovers! The pros who have OS X in their workflows have a few such gripes. There is certainly room for articles about a "photographic workflow" in addition to cameras and lenses.

0 upvotes
Mike Sandman
By Mike Sandman (3 months ago)

Certainly true that there's room on dPreview for articles on workflow and on specific devices like the Air. After all, no one forces me to read articles in which I have no interest. My only criticism is that the praise for the Air seemed a bit over the top. But I still read it, and as a Windows user about to migrate to Apple, I found it useful despite its giddiness.

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
brycesteiner
By brycesteiner (3 months ago)

This laptop is fantastic! I've been doing the same thing with mine. This really is a Photographer/journalist computer.
I upgraded the SSD. I wish I would have upgraded the ram when I bought it. Everything works great even with the lower RAM.
One comment people always make is it has an Intel graphics chip and how bad it is. To be honest, it's the faster than my NVidia and ATI in my other macs. I use it to run windows in virtualbox with 3d games and it's perfectly smooth.
There are really no laptops that come close in battery life and size/weight. Sony has something reasonable, but to get the battery life you have to carry a separate accessory. And the Sony isn't built of metal, just cheap materials.

8 upvotes
spitfire31
By spitfire31 (3 months ago)

But for video people, the integrated Intel GPU unfortunately can't play with Adobe Premiere Pro's CUDA dependent Mercury engine and so, Full HD editing in the field is much slower than otherwise. OTOH, a separate graphics chip would probably have sabotaged the battery life.

1 upvote
graybalanced
By graybalanced (3 months ago)

Mercury isn't CUDA-dependentb now. Newer versions can use OpenCL. But the question still is when Apple laptop graphics that will support that.

0 upvotes
brycesteiner
By brycesteiner (3 months ago)

That is a real shortcoming then. I don't do much video editing. When I do, it's just edited short clips put together in imovie for the news. I use the iPad or iPod because iMovie on it works much faster than on the Mac or PC.

Comment edited 12 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Spectro
By Spectro (3 months ago)

""And the Sony isn't built of metal, just cheap materials.""

that generalizing...

Some Sony consumer models are plastic like any other. Their more expensive models that cost close to mac pricing are magnesium alloy. A lot of ultrabook models are size of air and are metal.

Cuda is nvidia exclusive feature for their card.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
DFPanno
By DFPanno (3 months ago)

Pro workflow starts with Photo Mechanic. Surprised no mention here. Works quite well on the air.

1 upvote
kodachromeguy
By kodachromeguy (3 months ago)

Nice software; I liked the time I used it as a demonstration. But is is very expensive.

0 upvotes
Spectro
By Spectro (3 months ago)

Lightroom and photoshop or even the viewnx I use, isn't graphic card intensive. It rely heavily on processor and ram and still not on the level of videogame resource hog. I usually edit my raw on my laptop with an external calibrated ips monitor. I am on vacation now and editing my file for fun on my vaio 11" touchscreen ultrabook, 1980x1080 with integrated graphic i5 core 6gb ram ssd hd. My files are D600 and sony a7, both 24mp and the ultra book is doing fine. i will save the baby photos when i get home for more accurate skin tone, always thought laptop monitor were too saturated, lack the dynamic range and color profile (most eople won't notice but using the ips for a while it is there). For landscape this is fine, not for portrait for me.

5 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (3 months ago)

Lightroom doesn't use the GPU to accelerate functionality at all. There are quite a few things GPU accelerated in Photoshop that could be affected depending on how you work.

0 upvotes
Mark K
By Mark K (3 months ago)

Typically filled up 2 128Gb CFs..in a busy half day shooting so can this Mac Air meet the demand not just for importing but also processing some of the works in a very short lunch break?

0 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (3 months ago)

I don't think so if you're shooting 256GB in a half day. The maximum storage is only 512 GB, which I use on my D800 for tethering.

0 upvotes
Daniel Lauring
By Daniel Lauring (3 months ago)

You definitely want to carry along a bus powered USB drive and not clog up the small SSD with photo files. I picked up a 2Gb Western Digital USB3 for $90.

1 upvote
martin cohen
By martin cohen (3 months ago)

Do you mean 2TB instead of 2GB?

0 upvotes
Daniel Lauring
By Daniel Lauring (3 months ago)

Yes. :-/

0 upvotes
Tom_N
By Tom_N (3 months ago)

You can configure a MacBook Air with up to 512 GB of internal PCI-E flash (SSD) storage. If you need more internal storage than that, a Retina MacBook Pro can have up to 1 TB of PCI-E flash storage.

That's not counting the option to add external storage via the USB 3.0 ports and Thunderbolt ports. USB 3.0 gives you access to cheap HDDs, and Thunderbolt is fast enough to do justice to external RAIDs and SSDs.

0 upvotes
munro harrap
By munro harrap (3 months ago)

Since I first posted not a single respondant (note how many please, has said what equipment they are using.NOBODY. And note that this article is not accompanied by a video illustrating what the author actually does (and yes, I can be a lowenough to stream easily onanything video!).

0 upvotes
in_saner
By in_saner (3 months ago)

I said a couple of times that I used MacBook Air i7 custom, Nikon D800, Hasselblad, PhaseOne, and: Seitz files.

1 upvote
Daniel Lauring
By Daniel Lauring (3 months ago)

I mentioned the D800 as well. I also process Fuji, Sony and Olympus RAW files.

1 upvote
Jim Scarff
By Jim Scarff (3 months ago)

I am a serious amateur photographer and currently use a late 2013 MacBook Pro Retina 15" when traveling, often internationally. I had a lat 2012 13" MacBook Air briefly, but traded up to the Pro Retina (at first 13", now 15") because the screen on the Air was BAD for color rendition and accuracy. The color hues would shift dramatically with small adjustments in the vertical tilt of the display, making it almost unusable for editing photos. I am not a great fan of OS X and my home desktop is a Windows 8 machine, but the MBPR and its high quality display is the best travel laptop for photography I have found.

0 upvotes
SergioSpain
By SergioSpain (3 months ago)

Yet more free advertising for Apple, and they need it cause let's face it, they're a poor struggling company.

12 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (3 months ago)

do you consider every product we write about to be 'free advertising'? Do you apply the same logic when watching the news on TV? 'Argh! Yet more free advertising for Chris Christie'; 'How much did that snow pay to be on CNN???'. I notice you've never made the same complaint when we write about cameras.

20 upvotes
mauritsvw
By mauritsvw (3 months ago)

But you don't write about that many laptops. Why then specifically choose the Mac? There are many powerful laptops by other manufacturers that probably sell much better than the Mac, and thus would interest more people.

12 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (3 months ago)

I agree, why single out the Mac, there are now literally dozens of competitors, yet the USA still thinks the universe revolves around Apple. I was on a recent photo tour and there were 30 people total including partners and only my wife and I weren't using Apple products. We were the only non-US participants.. They bristled at suggestions of similar or in some cases better alternatives.

So given the still premium pricing despite great competition why reinforce the notion that somehow Apple is the only game in town.

15 upvotes
gerard boulanger
By gerard boulanger (3 months ago)

I don't understand why DPR has moved away that far from photography gear.
I still have respect for their reviews, but frankly, an article about a computer. What this has to do with photography?
Article about Post- Processing softwares, yes, because for a lot of photographers it's part of their process.
I don't know, I feel invaded by disguised ads on the right side of the screen (we can't even remove them anymore), do I need to see an article about a computer? This belongs to a computer forum to me.

Meanwhile a lot of lenses and bodies do not get reviewed and I guess some of them will be outdated before a review will be done.

6 upvotes
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (3 months ago)

@ mauritsvw: you're right, there are many more options. But many professional photographers use Apple computers. It is changing but still the majority of photographers I know use Apple.

Sony, Dell and other manufacturers deliver powerful laptops as well, and much more powerful as the Air.

I've used an expensive Sony laptop before I bought a Mac Book Pro 15 inch in 2011, and although expensive it is after 2 years still hard to beat, that includes the original battery.

And no, I'm absolutely not an iDiot who thinks Apple is the holy grail of computing.

2 upvotes
DPReview Staff
By DPReview Staff (3 months ago)

This is a story about how one computer worked in a pro's workflow; a pro who uses Mac computers. It's not about how all computers worked in his workflow. When we review one product, it's really not necessary to point out that there are other products. We are aware. It happens, though, that a great many pros use Apple. If we have a freelancer who uses another brand, and there's sufficient interest in this article, we'll consider doing more pieces like this. And @gerard boulanger, if you can't imagine how a computer is photography gear, I have to wonder how you process your digital photographs.

7 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (3 months ago)

@ gerard: Advertising: the activity or profession of producing advertisements for commercial products or services.

How you can call links to other content we wrote to be 'disguised advertising' is literally beyond me.

Is there no difference to you between the cover of a magazine (or for that matter, the contents page) telling you what's inside and the paid, commercial ads?

Are there many content websites you visit that don't tell you about / have links to the content, or are they too all full of 'disguised adverts'?

Are all the links on the BBC News website to stories 'disguised adverts'? I just don't understand your comment.

Do we not have the right (or even duty) to tell visitors about editorial content we've produced that we think they might be interested in reading?

DPReview is MORE THAN JUST A FORUM!

5 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (3 months ago)

I've always found PCs give you more for less. More power, more speed, more aggravation.

8 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (3 months ago)

Given this the only laptop review on DPR, done in a non-systematic way, and there are no plans to test any others.. then, yes, this screams advertorial. Its certainly generating a lot of click revenue.

3 upvotes
qianp2k
By qianp2k (3 months ago)

However MACs are still being widely used among photographers. Personally after decades of Windows user, I moved two my home machines to MACs, 13.3" MBPr for traveling and also for home usage and another iMAC recently. PC laptops such as from Samsung have the same or even a bit higher spec hardware but MAC laptops just work smoother, booting, to sleep mode and wake-up quicker, and much less required to be rebooted after software upgrades. I was tired of endless Windows patching and reboots and more vulnerable in virus attacks. I still prefer Windows multiple monitor geometry better.

Personally I picked up MacBook Pro with 13.3" Retina display with 512G SSD, a bit heavier but more powerful than MacBook Air. I believe 13.3" is the right size for travelling, not too small but not too big and can support upto 2650x1440 resolution with retina display.

4 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (3 months ago)

Why not at least a comparison of say 4-5 cutting edge high end ultra books, with high res screens with good gamut range, then it would be useful.

2 upvotes
citrontokyo
By citrontokyo (3 months ago)

I'm glad they posted this because this is exactly the computer I'm considering. Granted, I'm no pro (far from it), but I use an older mac with Aperture and was wondering how capable the new ones really are.

Mac laptops have never been the favorite for most photographers, and yet they offer a very smooth interface experience, which is exactly why it was about time someone came out with a review of one.

Thanks for the review.

1 upvote
dyoon153
By dyoon153 (3 months ago)

@thx1138 - I'd like to see that happen as well, then everyone who have different laptop than those 4-5 will complain about exclusion of their favorite ultrabooks or brand, price being too high, etc....

2 upvotes
w. coyote
By w. coyote (3 months ago)

27 yrs on PCs, switching to mac 3 yrs ago after a total loss due to virus (which was supposed to have been protected by fancy up-to-date top-of-the-line antivirus software). macs have stunning retina screens, great keyboards, excellent customer service, no viruses, last a long time, etc.

i too have considered an Airbook for travel and i thank you for the review. my home unit is 15" MBP-R 16GB Ram 512SD which is truly amazing. sure, there are some nice PCs out there, so enjoy 'em! but i ain't going back....

6 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (3 months ago)

I agree with you SergioSpain, and to be fully consistent with your opinion, I am many times angrier about the far higher amount of free advertising that Microsoft Windows PCs have gotten in the last 20 years in magazines and web sites.

1 upvote
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (3 months ago)

Given this the only laptop review on DPR, done in a non-systematic way, and there are no plans to test any others.. then, yes, this screams advertorial. Its certainly generating a lot of click revenue. - Jogger, this isn't a review, it's an article about travel photography workflow... and why is it a bad thing if content gets lots of interest / traffic? For us that's a good thing, though obviously only content that no one reads has any integrity. Finally, I'll say it again. Ethically, legally and by our own corporate policies, paid content (which we don't run) advertorials have to be clearly and prominently marked as such. Now either you genuinely believe us to be dishonest liars, or you're just making trouble. Which is it?

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Johnny666
By Johnny666 (3 months ago)

Watch the documentary "The Tyranny of Cool" and then you might begin to understand the Apple brain washing effect ....

2 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (3 months ago)

"Yet more free advertising for Apple, and they need it cause let's face it, they're a poor struggling company."

The best products always get "free advertising." Think about it.

Consider losing the Apple hate.

0 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (3 months ago)

Sounds like more iDrivel.

1 upvote
Scottelly
By Scottelly (3 months ago)

"Watch the documentary "The Tyranny of Cool" and then you might begin to understand the Apple brain washing effect ...."

Excellent products = brainwashing

. . . of course.

2 upvotes
AliRoust
By AliRoust (3 months ago)

The problem with this laptop is that it is 8 bit only so you can't ever see 10 bit color
In order for one to be able to see 10 bit color one needs to have the following chain of elements. If any of these elements is missing it won't work:
1) A camera that can capture RAW images ( Jpegs are 8 bit and won't work). Most quality cameras offer RAW as an option even some cell phones like Nokia 1020 now also do.
2) An operating system that supports 10 bit images. Mac os X does not, Windows does!! Even older version of windows do.
3) Appropriate software such as Photoshop or Lightroom
4) A video card that can output 10 bit signal such as Nvidia Quatro or AMD Firepro lines. The Nvidia GeForce Gt on this one does not.
5) An LCD that can display 10 bit color. This one does not. No Apple LCD does.

In other words even if you purchase a second monitor to attach to any Apple product you will not be able to ever see high quality 10 bit images.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
in_saner
By in_saner (3 months ago)

Sadly, you're right. Just want to note: 99% of people, who'd see your photos whether on web or print, will have no chance to see them in high quality 10 bit either. Why worry then?

13 upvotes
in_saner
By in_saner (3 months ago)

And more, I quite complain, that Ansel Adams had no chance to use 10 bit images as well.

6 upvotes
grock
By grock (3 months ago)

I get all that, and it's true, but the reality in the real world is that not a lot of people are going to be able to see such high quality images anyway. The general public hasn't adopted the tech that quickly. When I bought the Macbook with Retina display for my wife last year, she had to turn down the resolution because there weren't really any websites using high res images. Everything looked like garbage. And that's still often the case. My wife works at a large digital ad agency, and even they weren't optimizing images for the retina.
I'd say right now, 99% of the time, most people don't need that much resolution, especially on the go. I strongly suspect that the only people who care about 10 bit color are people REALLY interested in 10 bit color. Most people--photographers, photo editors, the general public-- just want to see a pretty picture. I don't even send super hi-res photos to editors. And most photo depts use Macs and can't see 10-bit anyway.

3 upvotes
AliRoust
By AliRoust (3 months ago)

It matters when you are retouching pictures in Photoshop. You wanna stay in 16 bit ProPhoto RGB as long as you can . So you can cause the minimum amount damage/degradation to your file (such as banding in your shadows) when editing pictures. Having a 10 bit monitor helps you better see what you are actually changing...Plus RAW photos look amazing on those type of displays. You'll get much better results when you downgrade to an 8 bit mode afterwards.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
AliRoust
By AliRoust (3 months ago)

grock let me recommend you checking out phootime.com they do not downgrade your pictures. You can even upload RAW files now!!

1 upvote
Artak Hambarian
By Artak Hambarian (3 months ago)

AliRoust, can you rcommend a 10 bit, i7, USB3 1920X1080 or higher notebook? 13" seems reasonable to mee too... is it easy to search for 10 bit ready notebooks?

1 upvote
in_saner
By in_saner (3 months ago)

tricky question, Artak :)

0 upvotes
AliRoust
By AliRoust (3 months ago)

HP dreamcolor workstations are available but expensive. My recommentions are get your self a $400 laptop. And do your basic editing on that. Then build youself a custom pc that has one of the above video cards. Add an NEC or Eizo monitor and you'll never look at an Apple product again....

Comment edited 45 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
AliRoust
By AliRoust (3 months ago)

Also remember that unless you are doing 3D rendering you can stick to mid range component. Though I recommend 16 gig of RAM. Some also some recommend for really good results to have actually 3 hard drives. One for windows, one Solid state 120G to install Photoshop and another 120 G drive as a scrabble book for Photoshop... That will avoid partitioning your main hard drive..Voila ,,Save your money for a nice LCD. My current systm cost me about $1700 ...I have a core six ADM and 27 inch NEC monitor...things are running pretty smooth.

0 upvotes
Artak Hambarian
By Artak Hambarian (3 months ago)

Thank you! I will check if my 30" hp is 10 bit.

0 upvotes
Scottelly
By Scottelly (3 months ago)

I've never heard of 10 bit screen display before. I have heard about various uses of color spaces though. I'll have to look into this. I am surprised to hear this stuff about 10 bit color in Windows vs. 8 bit color in OSX, because I always heard that Apple displays were the best and showed color better than anything else except some extremely expensive monitors for systems like Sun and Silicon Graphics workstations. Thank goodness for this article!

;)

1 upvote
grock
By grock (3 months ago)

I shot four days of showcases at South By Southwest last year, and took over 1000 shots a day. I had my mid-2011 MacBook Air with me, and after finishing shooting around 2AM, had to have edit photos in by 10am. I had no problem at all dealing with large RAW files in Adobe Camera Raw and PS CS6. Granted, I the Air isn't my main computer and I keep it pretty lean, hard drive and application-wise, but it's been a dream for photo editing while traveling. Especially when I travel with so much heayy camera gear. It's nice to have a computer that's so light.
I'm sure there are cheaper and maybe even lighter laptops that would get the job done, but I haven't tried any of those. I actually got my Air through my old job, and I don't know that I would have bought one otherwise. But all that being said, when I've had to do serious photo editing with a huge number of large files, it came through, no problem. And this was on a 2 year-old laptop, which is fairly old by current standards.

5 upvotes
skytripper
By skytripper (3 months ago)

I think it's hysterical that some people insist that a MacBook Air doesn't have enough power for photo editing. I was editing photos in Photoshop on a 12" powerbook G4 for months on end more than ten years ago with no trouble whatsoever. By modern standards, that computer was a dinosaur.

But consider this: No laptop is ideal for critical photo editing because the brightness and contrast of the image change as the viewing angle of the screen changes. Because it is very difficult to position the screen at exactly the same angle every time you use the machine, it is almost impossible to edit consistently from one session to the next.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (3 months ago)

You working with 14 bit, 24-36 mp RAW files ten years ago? Interesting.

3 upvotes
AliRoust
By AliRoust (3 months ago)

You can do photo editing but no serious color editing ...

3 upvotes
Impulses
By Impulses (3 months ago)

Software requirements and the files you're working on change with time too you know... I started off writing using a 486 and Wordperfect for DOS, quite a simple task, doesn't mean the process hasn't been streamlined by Word, more modern OS, etc (ironically keyboards are the only part of the system that hasn't improved much since then, the average membrane kb of today is actually far worse). Heck I'd hope computers evolve and continue to improve how they handle most tasks, even the basics, otherwise I might as well go back to film, paper and pencil.

0 upvotes
Tord S Eriksson
By Tord S Eriksson (3 months ago)

The size of modern cameras' files is vastly bigger than those you used ten years ago, so hardly a fair comparison! A compact of today produces bigger files than those your G3 experienced!

1 upvote
Impulses
By Impulses (3 months ago)

Not as much of an advertorial read as the comments would have me believe, but not that critically thought out either... Seems like the number one purpose for your Air is shifting files around with little editing (at least on the scenarios discussed), in which case the MBA 11 would work just as well... Heck a Surface Pro or even an IPad might be more mobile for that purpose, without "having to find a flat purpose" or tucking card readers between display and keyboard as you described (why not just disable sleep on display close btw?).

I'm not sure how easy it is to import RAW files into an iPad, it's pretty simple to do over USB OTG on modem Android tablets though (and obviously over faster USB 3.0 on a Surface Pro). For sending them out online via Dropbox, USB 2.1 wouldn't be a bottleneck, your Wifi/connection would be the slowest link... Obviously for other scenarios like quickly showing proofs to a client USB 3.0 would be a huge boon.

I actually had no clue the recent MB/MBA had high speed SD readers... I'm sure they're just wired over USB 3.0 internally (rather than 2.1 as they'd been for years), but I think that's still pretty uncommon outside of Apple. Very interesting, kind of a small but overlooked advantage. Apple's battery life edge is worth praise too, and it's something they'll always have by virtue of having less systems to optimize their OS for. It's more of a factor in usage cases that involve plenty of idle time, but that's a lot of usage cases.

For actual photo editing the Air is still woefully under spec'd compared to the competition or even the rest of Apple's lineup though. A 1440x900 TN display with lower color accuracy on a $1,000-1,500 system is inexcusable at this point. That display was pretty solid when the Air first launched but you can now find plenty of $1K systems with higher quality and more accurate 1920x1080 IPS displays (or even higher res if you go up the price scale, all the way to the retina MBs obviously).

I have a feeling Apple will get around to addressing that this year, just kind disappointing they've been pushing super high end high DPI displays on the regular MBP while ignoring the MBA entirely, decent 1080p (or even 1920x1200) displays aren't hard to source and they don't bring a large performance impact like the "retina" displays do. They're just trying to milk higher profits out of the Air since it's probably one of their best sellers.

No love for the NEX btw? At least it looks like that's what you used in the Radio City job (if that photo at the start is from said job). I was surprised it's alluded to as a "compact digicam" or a non-DSLR in an article that's all too eager to name/brand drop elsewhere. Just saying... No dog in this fight btw (Windows/Android/iOS & M43 user here).

0 upvotes
in_saner
By in_saner (3 months ago)

You can import RAW files to iPad for back up purposes, but you cannot convert them, not even with preview, as most of apps on iPad do. I tried with D800 files - once you start doing something - it crashes, probably because of memory limits. The only way is to make a screenshot and use it.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Under The Sun
By Under The Sun (3 months ago)

@impulses I have the same experience as in_saner in trying to load my 1DX files on tablets, I'm not sure it can be done reliably for the moment. For ultra portables, I'm eyeing an Air as my secondary travel system but open to similar Wintel systems. Do you have any suggestions?

0 upvotes
Tom_N
By Tom_N (3 months ago)

There isn't a huge price difference between a mid-range 13" MacBook Air and a comparably-equipped (RAM and SSD) 13" Retina MacBook Pro. Aside from battery life, weight, and normal desktop area, the comparison favors the rMBP. But it is not an accident that the MBA wins on weight and battery life. Most of the rMBP's advantages come with increased power consumption, which must be paid for with a larger battery (more weight), or with shorter battery runtimes.

Unless Apple is going to combine the MBA and MBP entirely, it makes sense for the MBA design to continue to place a higher priority on low weight and long battery life than the MBP design does.

So, for instance, there might be few if any drawbacks (from a customer standpoint) in equipping the Airs with IPS panels that have the current resolutions. But going to a Retina display on the 13" Air might not be desirable if it forced a large reduction in the weight and battery life advantages the Air has over its 13" rMBP counterpart.

0 upvotes
in_saner
By in_saner (3 months ago)

When I started as a designer at 1998, I had a coolest x486 PC with 15-inch Viewsonic monitor. We scanned 6x7,5 positive films on AGFA DuoScan 2500 with 2500dpi resolution. We had huge files about 5Mb, and that was pro workflow.

Nowadays, my smartphone probably 10 times faster then that computer, my 20Mpx pocket camera has 10 times more resolution then pro scanner from 1998, my photos that I upload on Gallery here is 5 times bigger then I used to make for 3x6m billboards, BUT...

We still got same eyes, same brain. Why it suited us then and why we complain now?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 58 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
Impulses
By Impulses (3 months ago)

Because the human brain/body is amazing and current technology still can't compete with it, so anything that continues to improve the way our photos look or how fast we can work with them is worth praise... And as the brain ages it starts to get nostalgic and view everything as a complaint or affront... Just kidding, I started on a 486 too on an even smaller display and I'm "only" 31.

1 upvote
in_saner
By in_saner (3 months ago)

You're right, I just remember how we've been impressed with the scans, said: wow - that's a resolution! That was cool and it costed hell lot of money.

I agree that our brain is amazing tool, but my ageing brain is only complains about some people here, unlike you and me, don't use theirs for thinking :)

Comment edited 14 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
disasterpiece
By disasterpiece (3 months ago)

Dual core Core i5 at 1.3 GHz and just 4 GiB of RAM (for the standard configuration) sound to me a bit shabby for serious photo processing.

1 upvote
Impulses
By Impulses (3 months ago)

Meh, the TN display would be as much of a hindrance as anything else... You can spec it with more RAM (even if Apple charges easy too much of a premium for $50-100 worth of RAM), you can choose a larger SSD, can't do anything about the display. Dual core's just a result of the form factor, can't do anything about that but neither can Apple... Laws of physics, heat dissipation and all that. Apple's pretty good about quickly adopting Intel's latest and greatest though, quicker than most other PC OEM... Having a good handle on their stock supply/demand has long been one of their advantages as a (relatively) smaller manufacturer.

1 upvote
in_saner
By in_saner (3 months ago)

On a custom models with i7 processor they set up LG displays instead of Samsung that are slightly better.

0 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (3 months ago)

What photographer would buy the standard configuration of anything? The standard configuration of any PC or Mac is for Microsoft Office, email, and web browsing.

I have used MacBook Pros for years, but looking at the specs of an upgraded MacBook Air 13", I might switch to that as my next laptop. It would have an i7 and 8GB RAM at least.

0 upvotes
kwa_photo
By kwa_photo (3 months ago)

I agree, nice post. My main computer is a 2012 MBA (8G, 1G vid ram, USB 3/TB, etc., 13"). I have had ZERO issues editing files using Aperture 3 via my USB 3 "aperture drive". The SSD drive is blazing, even though the 2013 is faster yet! All of the other benefits of the form factor are spot on as well.

My other machine is a "souped up" 2012 Mac Mini + TB monitor (also used for MBA). It's a 2.3GHz i7 quad core with 16GB and 1GB video ram. It's "more than sufficient" for imaging and the videos I do. I'll eventually add an SSD.

2 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (3 months ago)

It's great that Macbooks are this capable because it looks like when the current MacPros go away the only other option will be the tube, with a stack of $800 SSDs.

1 upvote
Impulses
By Impulses (3 months ago)

SSD are getting cheaper all the time... The next article on Thunderbolt or NAS storage solutions should be interesting.

The "tube" does go a bit too far in the name of minituarization though... I get that we're long past the point where a desktop HAS to be a big clunky box, but a desktop for a power use should still be something that's easier to expand or even work on and quickly repair. Otherwise there's no point to having one vs a laptop. It's not like smaller workstation class systems means cheaper, half the money is still going to premium components or certifications...

0 upvotes
Jon Plain
By Jon Plain (3 months ago)

Interesting read, it does slightly feel like an advertorial but I've also been considering a new air to replace my 2011 13-inch macbook pro.

I also do video editing however so would be curious to know if a new air would still be worth a look or if I'll just have to stick with getting another Pro....

1 upvote
Light Adrenaline
By Light Adrenaline (3 months ago)

I use my 11" for some FCPX stuff. Decent and obviously screen real estate is terrible, but when I'm on international travel working on getting video/audio syncing and basic edits with what I happen to be carrying with me it does the job. I wouldn't want it to by my only editor, but for a small system, it's my favorite all-time for convenience and weight with digital shooting and preliminary documentary film editing. 13" offers SD slot and more screen space, but I opted for weight and size. It's nice to make clips and delete the bad stuff on the go so I don't have to lug it all back to the states and then sort it out. Also helps me get editing boards (tentative layouts) in place while they are fresh on the brain. If you have the HDD space, it'll do well. An external USB3/TB drive is a huge help as well. Cheers

2 upvotes
Light Adrenaline
By Light Adrenaline (3 months ago)

Pro will certainly offer you more power

1 upvote
in_saner
By in_saner (3 months ago)

it deepens of what kind of video editing you do. The main luck of Air is a video-graphics card. I use Apple Color for grading and it's fine. But if you been fast rendering after or work with Da Vinci - then you'd better go with MacBook Pro 15'

0 upvotes
photosen
By photosen (3 months ago)

Good article, it's always useful to read on actual uses. I discovered to my delight that the Macbook Air 11 fits perfectly inside a Flipside 300 even with a (made to measure) sleeve on. I agree a 13" screen would be better but it's just so practical...

3 upvotes
munro harrap
By munro harrap (3 months ago)

Depends what camera you are using. I note you do not say, but the photo above shows a D2X. If a D2X is enough OK, but you cannot work at speed with D800 files even using a Macbook Pro now. I HAVE tried-cant be done, sorry.
So possibly OK with 2005 technology.
Thats D2X, 5D, and if you pray hard, a 1Ds Mk II.

But not a D7100, or any 24MP machine, I fear and certainly not with a D800.
Yes, you can edit the files but they are big and it is very slow.

I believe that such product-pushing articles need to respect the reader enough to state not merely the equipment used, but the TIMIMGS with how much RAM and the rest.

0 upvotes
Daniel Lauring
By Daniel Lauring (3 months ago)

I work with D800 files on a previous generation i5 Macbook Air just fine. No it isn't my main machine and I save the really heavy lifting for that.

2 upvotes
in_saner
By in_saner (3 months ago)

That's not quite true. I have D800E and worked with NEF files with no problem. I worked with Hasselblad and PhaseOne files from my client - it still works. When I stich Gigapixel panos, well it takes time, but still works. Slow? May be you faster than me, but my i7, 4 GB RAM MB Air allowed me to prepare about 70-60 CMYK files for about 4-5 hours including retouching, colorcorrections, and any manipulations. That's fast enough for me, cause I have to think over about ideas and photographers needs.

It's not a product-pushing article, it's workflow-pushing product. Try to do the same on any ultrabook with WIN8.

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
Eric Hensel
By Eric Hensel (3 months ago)

"Try to do the same on any ultrabook with WIN8."
With similar hardware, it will work fine.
You still believe the old "Win for biz, Mac for graphics" spiel....it's 2014, my friend.

2 upvotes
in_saner
By in_saner (3 months ago)

Partially agree with you, but hardware is not everything, very important how it works altogether. And the operating system. And colour handling. Let's say I was quite impressed with latest Lenovo Ultrabooks, with the accurate screen, touchpad ets. But when my friend's wife said that it stacks twice a day with Skype. Well, hope it works better with Photoshop, but as a person who earns money on that, I don't even want to try.

Recently I made about 40 shots on Sony RX100 with PQI Air-flash SD adapter and tried to transfer it to my Xperia Z, I thought it was a good idea to use Sony with Sony. Well, it stacked on 15th shot and drained battery of Xperia on 30%. And it took 30 minutes with no luck. Then I switched on iPhone and it took 10 min and 5% of battery. Well it's 2014 now, and as a kind of pro, I'd say, Mac still better for me.

1 upvote
RichardBalonglong
By RichardBalonglong (3 months ago)

That's a Nikon D3s, and the new MacBook Air can handle the latest full frame cameras.
I agree with in_saner, this article is not about product pushing, but it's about workflow pushing. This is a good article for on-the-go photographers like photojournalists or others who needs to process their photos on-location without carrying too much weight and not too bulky...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
HeyItsJoel
By HeyItsJoel (3 months ago)

How about that. A Mac vs. Windows debate in a Photography forum.

I bet somewhere in a Computer forum, they're debating Nikon vs. Canon.

21 upvotes
disasterpiece
By disasterpiece (3 months ago)

Glad you didn't word it 'Mac vs. PC'.

5 upvotes
Woodlink
By Woodlink (3 months ago)

you made my day with that comment.

0 upvotes
James Wages
By James Wages (3 months ago)

Actually, Chromebooks were mentioned too.

But the reason why such debate exists in a "photographic forum" is because most Windows users are oblivious to the fact that "hardware specs" matter little to fans of Apple's OS X. That's why comments like "why not choose a Sony VAIO instead?" will fall on mostly deaf ears when spoken to someone who prefers Macs in their photographic workflow.

At the end of the day, I prefer to jump on my Mac to get some real work done with my photos, rather than worry about viruses or malware. If viruses or malware are not issues on your Windows machines, more power to you!

To quote Rodney King:

"Can't we all just... get along?"

1 upvote
in_saner
By in_saner (3 months ago)

Interesting article! That's surprising, how people in comments eager to start holly war, instead of find something useful for themselves. The main point of article is how technologies gone so far, that we can replace huge desktop with thin and powerful piece of aluminium, and it's truly amazing. This days, workflow can be as light and mobile, as never been before.

I used MacBook Air 11" for two years as my only workstation for colorcorrection with photo as well as for movies colourgrading and it was just fine. It gave me freedom to move around the world without keeping my clients waiting me to come back to my studio. When people arguing that it's to slow for them or limit them for any kind of reasons, well, may be it's a good warn for them to be more skilled and professional?

If it works with me, why it couldn't work for the others? See no reasons. Of course it's a matter of choice of each one, but we have to admit that it works. And it works well.

2 upvotes
durrace
By durrace (3 months ago)

I've had the Macbook Air for quite some time and I use it for travel with Lightroom and Photoshop with no problem at all .... I have all my photos on a Thunderbolt external drive.

0 upvotes
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