Skip Navigation

Laptops for Photographers - Portability versus Utility

Travel Forums Travel Photography Laptops for Photographers - Portability versus Utility

1. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru, 5336 posts) 20 Sep '08 10:17

Hi everyone,

Another question directed to the photographers among you - when choosing a laptop that's going to go with you on the move, what are the features you prefer?

At the moment, I'm tempted by something ultra light and easy to carry like the MacBook Air, however at the same time it seems to sacrifice connection to peripherals, has no CD/DVD drive and limited storage. The limited storage would be the most off-putting factor, particularly if you are wanting to store photos.

The MacBook Pro looks more practical, and I'm leaning towards this with 250GB storage, but just wondering what the rest of you out there are using.

Thanks!
Ev

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator, 4383 posts) 20 Sep '08 12:00

There isn't a single laptop on the market at this point I'd want to do photo editing on. Screen quality (especially color accuracy) is simply abysmal. (Hell, it's hard enough to find a regular monitor with is decent in that department.)
So personally I chose portability for my laptop (it weighs a marvelous 1kg), and only used it for storage, quickly reviewing my photos, and burning backup DVDs.

3. Posted by Exposure (Full Member, 6 posts) 20 Sep '08 13:22

Sander is right, there is no laptop for photographer :) only for storage or first review...

4. Posted by Makini (Respected Member, 80 posts) 22 Sep '08 00:28

True enough.

Yet IF you want one for editing - you'll go crazy with the lazy performance of the Macbook Air. Go for Pro, if anything... As for screen performance - sure, they're all bad. Yet I seldomly deliver a completely edited photo anyway, art directors and editors always do the last bit. Hence, no need for an exact screen.

Another alternative would be one of the new ultra-portable ones... Like Asus EEE 901 or MSI Wind. They're so small you can always take them with you! Bad performace, but great for storage and simple stuff like emailing and browsing... All you need on the go.

[ Edit: Edited on Sep 22, 2008, at 12:30 AM by Makini ]

5. Posted by TLWH (Travel Guru, 516 posts) 22 Sep '08 07:21

To be honest I would avoid the Mac Air. If only for it's lack of DVD options for burning backups.

My Sony Vaio grossly underpreforms most laptops in terms of processing power. But I can use high end photo editing suites with no problems. And I built the website in my profile with it. It's 1kg and just fine.

The biggest issue with laptops and photo editing is time. Unless you are going to be on the road for years, or if it's your job. Do you really want to spend everynight editing photos?

For me as much as I love photography the answer is no. What I do is the following:

I save the real editing until I have time.

I delete the very crap on the camera, it's faster and easy to do on a bus etc.

Every 4gb I back everything up and burn twice. Post the DVDs to two separate addresses. Upload originals to online storage when ever possible. Back up to external hard dirve

I use the laptop and a free program called faststone to batch/rename convert all images to small sizes for any blog or website work. Faststone also allows me to make good simple composure changes etc quickly.

Then that's that.

Really honsetly, unless you are planning pro work while on the road, it will take a lot of time editing stuff while you could be shooting. Every month I make sure to settle somewhere for a few days R&R and backup, evaluate, and look at what I am not doing right or not taking enough of.

There are tiny portable Asus, HP machines on Linux around at the moment. Very weak, but in a pinch they would do for for my own work in case anything ever happened to the Sony. I would use cyber cafe's to burn to DVD and use Antivirus afterwards to delete the countless viruses that will be acquires from sticking your memory card in a public computer. Hence you should do you back ups first.

Hope it helps

6. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru, 5336 posts) 22 Sep '08 13:51

Yeah that helps a lot, thanks guys!

7. Posted by soupatrvlr (Respected Member, 385 posts) 23 Sep '08 12:30

i just got a macbook pro, which i use for my graphic design business. i have never traveled with a laptop before, but am planning on taking it with me to south africa over the holidays for three weeks. i'll use the software that came with my camera for organization/naming/filing/etc....but i don't really need to take it with me. its just personal preference.

if you get the macbook pro, i would opt for the faster 200gb @7200 rpm over the 250 gb...this is basically a faster machine and you will end up getting an external hd for your pics in the 1/2 tb range down the road anyway. the rule for buying a laptop is to buy the fastest machine your budget will allow. as for editing...you can't use a laptop for color corrections...unless it is hooked up to an external callibrated monitor...so scrap that part of the editing. you can however, process your raw pics, organize them, do some minor retouching if you are so inclined. but honestly, i think for the most part it would be a dumping ground for digital files like the others have said. you don't need to travel with a laptop to do that. instead you can get a small external "travel" hd. use your ipod with tons of space, get a couple of flash drives, or whatever you think you need. there are a lot of options out there.

8. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru, 5336 posts) 23 Sep '08 18:08

thanks holly!

Post 9 was removed by a moderator