Shoot! It's Time to talk Post Processing 101 - Apple Mac hardware

Discussion in 'Photography Board' started by PrincessInOz, May 7, 2011.

  1. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Feb 8, 2010
    This amateur enthusiast is nearly ready to move towards starting a journey into photography post processing.

    It's been something that I've been considering for a while and something that I believe that I'll need to do in the medium/longer term if I'm to continue feeding my photography addiction. I had figured that this moment could have been deferred by another 6 - 12 months, but......

    Two days ago, another family 'member' bit the dust! And it got me thinking....

    Our 6 or 7 year old Apple Mac G5 didn't get out of bed yesterday. Today, we visited the Genius Bar at a MacStore only to be told that the hard disk was dead. All our data is unretrievable. The only things of value there would have been our pictures from the old P&S camera, which thankfully DH had backed up on an external drive.

    R.I.P. Mac G5 hard disk. You've been a true old fogie....even the young whippersnipper Genius fondly referred to you as "vintage". :flower3:

    We can probably get a new hard drive for the machine, which we probably will do, but not through the Apple store.

    In the meantime, let the games begin in my household......

    ....we need to decide what configuration we want for the new iMAC (that we plan to purchase) to have..and whether we should future proof the iMAC for 3-D. :surfweb:
    DH works in the IT industry and there is no such thing as Over The Top in terms of hardware or technology here.

    I was hoping that some of you might like to chime in with your opinions.

    And more importantly, my laptop PC is hitting the big 4.0 years in age as well. I use the PC for work purposes but its also where I've been storing my pictures.

    I have been considering getting a new Macbook Pro, as my next laptop, and the iPad2 for photography purposes.

    I believe I can get PSE for the Mac (and I know how to spell A-p-e-r-t-u-r-e, which I believe is the Apple software for photos). I also understand that Photoshop might be releasing an app for the iPad2 in about 3 months time.

    Do any of you use the Mac for your photography?
    What should I be considering to think about if I'm going to use the Mac as the platform of choice for post processing?
    Do any of you use the iPad2 for your photos? I was looking at it for the portability and ease of data storage; instead of a laptop.
    Also, from my perspective, it is much more portable to carry around and to show photos with friends.

    Again, I am hoping that some of you might like to chime in with your opinions.

    And if you don't use Apple hardware, I'd appreciate if you could also post and share what hardware/software you are using for PP; plus any key learnings you'd like to share.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Revan

    Revan Mouseketeer

    Mar 12, 2008
    A new 1TB harddrive will only cost you around $60, you should still have all the program discs to re-install. I use time machine and backup my Mac to an external harddrive - cheap and easy; any external USB hard drive will do. Additionally, I use crashplan to back up my photos (almost 250GB worth) and various other files, including my music tax files and other docs. Backing up is critical, hard drives fail more often than you think. Both of these solutions are set up once and forget.

    Not sure what your husband means my future proofing for 3D, even the newest iMac (just released this week) doesn't have any options for 3D. He may be confusing the state of Apple with flat screen TV's and Blu-ray.

    Unless you use serious software like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop or are a serious gamer then you won't need to drastically ramp up the spec of the new machines. The new SandyBrook i5 iMacs are amazingly powerful at all levels.

    For your first jump into photo editing iPhoto may be more than enough - Photoshop/Aperture/Lightroom will be of limited use unless you shoot in RAW (not jpg). I use Lightroom to manage and post-process my RAW images. My wife uses iPhoto for her P&S and it does everything she needs. I can run Lightroom on my Macbook Air, which is one of the least "powerful" machines Apple offers and it does just fine.

    As far as future proofing in Apple products, they're not like Windows machines that seem to update constantly. Apple generally has once major release each year and then may do a performance boost mid model year. does a great job of anticipating the release schedule for all Apple products.
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  4. topdog

    topdog DIS Veteran

    Jan 5, 2009
    I am sorry to hear about your G5. I still have one at my office I use occasionally. It depends on which interface the hard drive your G5 have. If it's a serial ATA (SATA) drive, there are plenty available. But if it's a Parallel ATA (PATA) drive, then you need to get it while you can. There is only a handful of PATA drive you can purchase on the market. I just bought one for my TiVo Series 2 not too long ago. That took a little time to hunt for it.

    I use my first gen MacBookPro for PP. It's a CoreDuo 2.16 Ghz with 2GB ram. That's how old that thing is. I did replace the harddrive to 320 Gig because I need space to use Final Cut Pro.

    For PP, I used to use Capture NX and now switched to bibble Pro. Although bibble Pro is a little slow on my MacBookPro but that's because the CPU is just not as advance as the new Quad Core CPU which the new iMac use. That's my next goal too is to get the new iMac or Mini if it release with Quad Core. 4 Gig ram is pretty much minimum these days.

    I thought about getting an iPad before but think it's a little pricey. In addition, iPad doesn't support Flash. So surfing can be cumbersome. iPad2 is nice too. I saw people using it in my office but I just couldn't keep up with the price. When iPad3 comes out, I might look for an iPad2 refurb one.

    The iPad or iPad2 is awesome. Resolution is very sharp. However, the storage came with a price. You can carry it as a portable electronic photo album. I am not sure if I want to do any PP on iPad because the screen is just too small for this old fogie to do detail work. I think there is still a long way for any developer to come out with an app doing any kind of PP. Even if it does, functionality will be some what limited, IMO.
  5. micks

    micks The World is a MUCH better place when the road sig

    Sep 23, 2002
    I have an iMac that is about 4 years old, and I happened to look yesterday it has a 2.4Ghz Core 2 Duo processor and 4GB RAM. It came with 2GB, which I upgraded myself for literally 1/10th of the cost of what Apple wanted to do it (I think RAM upgrades have come down lately, but still look into doing this yourself if you want to - it's amazingly simple).

    I run LR 2.0 and PS CS3 Extended, both of which run just fine on this "old" hardware. As someone mentioned above, I shoot only in RAW, which is why I use this combo of software (and realistically I use LR for 95% of my post-processing). I had an older flat screen monitor from an older PC which I now use as a second display.

    I backup my HD onto an external drive about once every three months for a local backup, but I also have a Smugmug account (which I love) that all pictures go to, and pay for monthly Carbonite service to back up the rest of the drive in the background.

    Finally, I would recommend some type of monitor calibration solution (like one of the Spyder products).

    Can't say enough good things about the mac - we've owned several desktops and laptops over the years, although I'm not an iPad owner (yet...)

    Have fun!
  6. ChiSoxKeith

    ChiSoxKeith DIS Veteran

    Mar 16, 2010
    I second the thought on getting the RAM elsewhere. I too have a Core 2 Duo, 2.4GHz machine. Upgrading from 1 gig to 4gig cost less than 1/5 what Apple wanted to charge. If DH is in IT he should have no problem doing it.

    PSElements 9 runs just fine on this machine.

    If $$$ was no option, I would get one of the new ones with an SSD Drive in it. Programs launch so fast on an SSD machine (the SSDs are small - only 256Gig, so you will need an external drive for more storage).
  7. handicap18

    handicap18 <font color=blue>Husband, father of 3, and Disney

    Oct 18, 2005
    I got my iMac last year about this time. I use it everyday for everything including photo processing. I have the Elements trial version loaded but haven't pulled the trigger on buying it yet. I did buy Aperture and use that occasionally. I mostly use Nikon Capture NX2. I've been able to do everything on my iMac that I could on my PC.

    As of the hardware itself. Get the most RAM you can. I have 8GB on mine. I have the 2.4GHz Quad Core (I think, I know the newest ones now have the Quad, but I think it was the last change that got it first). I also have a 1 GB hard drive. I have a 500GB HD for my Time Machine backup. I would probably have gone with a 2GB hard drive. It fills up fast these days with all my pictures and video.

    The newest iMac also now comes with Thunderbolt. Though there are only a few things that hook up to it, you'll be all set for a while because of it.

    I also have a mini-display out to HDMI so I can use my HDTV as a 2nd screen. I was running movies to it, but instead opted for the AppleTV to run my home video's and ripped movies. It also makes it easier to play my iTunes library on the home theater speakers and we like it to use Netflix. Much easier to use the AppleTV for Netflix and the Wii or my Blu-Ray player. Especially because of the Remote App on my iPhone and iPod Touch.

    DW got a MacBook Pro last summer. She's a teacher and uses the iPad with it for her music classes and does some amazing things.

    We have completely become an Apple house in the last year and don't regret it at all.
  8. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Feb 8, 2010
    Thanks all.

    I have external hard drives that I'm using for back up right now and will probably need to purchase additional hard drives when I get the MacPro for myself as I believe that my existing external HD, which is configured for a PC, can be used for read only purposes on the Mac; but not write.

    I apologise for not being clear on the 3D side of things. My husband occassionally dabbles in development for fun...and the 3D reference is more about being able to develop applications in 3D. So that means that we need the desktop to be configured with all the bells and whistles; and we are looking at the combination of SATA and SSD as an option. We expect that the iMac would last a good 5 or so years so the reference about 'future proofing' was more about optioning it up to the hilt now so that we can grow into it. We did ask about retro-fitting the Mac; but it seems that it is probably better if we got the options now rather than later.

    But it did get me wondering about 3D photography and videoing, though....

    I currently shoot in jpeg; but am considering shooting in RAW when I start getting more serious about PP. But it sounds like I can stick with iPhotos for a bit until I am ready to leap into RAW; rather than rushing into it now.

    Thanks again.
  9. photo_chick

    photo_chick Knows a little about a lot of things, a lot about

    Mar 1, 2007
    I'm a former Mac girl (learned to program on Apple Basic way back on the II C)who went back to PC's a few years ago. My hubbie needs a PC for the 3D and programming work he does, and I got tired of paying for OS updates, so I stopped using my Mac. If your G5 was vintage what would they think of the Performa, G3 and G4 I have here? Those pre-intel macs make really nice paper weights now.

    It's funny though, PC or Mac is a lot like Canon or Nikon. Go with what works for you. If you plan to use Photoshop CS5 (or a later version), or Premiere in the future make sure whatever video card they put in the computer can handle the open GL stuff.

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