Best desktop computer for photography work.

Started Mar 31, 2013 | Questions thread
Pete Regular Member • Posts: 277
Re: Best desktop computer for photography work.

I use Macs. I have used PCs, owned PCs, built PCs and supported PCs. I still support PCs. They are fine for many things. They are fine for photo work, and work for many people.

So why did I choose Mac?

The basic reason: The Mac gets out of the way and lets me do what I need to do photographically without a lot of hassle. Your mileage may vary, but instead of hassling with hardware challenges or software issues, I can just get to work.

I now have a 13-inch Macbook Pro as well as a 24-inch iMac (circa 2008).

That's the 10-cent answer.

Here are some specifics that might be more useful:

  • I find the OS to be much more conducive to photo and graphics work. Type seems to render better on screen, and not having to be burdened with antivirus software and anti-spyware software, I have found that in real-world use, my Macs were always faster than my PCs of similar age/configuration. I'm not saying you won't get a virus, just that I don't run AV software. Never have, so one less thing to deal with.
  • Color calibration is predictable (note I didn't say "best" or "perfect") out of the box, and with the new Macbook Pro Retina models, the screens are amazing -- resolution, color, off-axis angle viewing. This to my my eyes, at least. 
  • The laptops all are built like tanks (unibody aluminum), which I have found a real boon for me, dragging my MBP to wedding shoots and other events. 
  • I like having Thunderbolt for expansion -- superfast hard drives, RAIDs, etc. And Thunderbolt is a connection scheme that offers much more, including Firewire (which I still use a lot, as I find it more robust than USB for external drives), display, ethernet and PCI expansion options.
  • Doing design work as well (InDesign, Illustrator) I find it easier to deal with other designers and agencies, most of whom are on Macs, in my experience. Sure, the files are the same, but font issues can be challenges when dealing with native files. 
  • For photos, in addition to Photoshop, I do use Aperture, which is Mac only. I find it to be an excellent program for post processing, organizing and book creation. The original deal-breaker for me with Lightroom was book creation (which is now offered, I believe). This allows me to, in many cases, use Aperture as a one-stop solution for projects. Is it perfect? No. Is Lightroom? No. Pros and cons to each, but it is yet another option to explore. It has significantly reduced the time I have to spend on project management and post processing.
  • Resale value on Macs seems to be higher than on PCs. I try to rotate out laptops every three years, and consistently get a good deal when I sell. And finding a buyer has never been a problem. A Mac seems to be less a commodity than a PC.
  • Longevity. As noted, my iMac (on which I am typing this) is a 2008 vintage. It runs CS 5.5, Aperture, the latest OS without a hitch. In fairness, not as fast as newer machines or my new(er) laptop, but still more than usable.

In the end, of course, you must find what works for you.

Best of luck,


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