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Thread: Macbook Air for Image Editing?

  1. #1
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    Macbook Air for Image Editing?

    Hi guys,

    I'm wondering if anyone can give me some insight to using a MBA to edit images. I'll be shooting out of country this year, and I offer photobooths as an ad-on to my wedding collections, and lugging the iMac around just isn't going to happen.

    Has anyone done any light editing with a MacBookAir? I'm looking to stay economical about it, so I'm currently looking at the 13" 128gb(ssd) 1.8GHz i5 model. I'll have LaCie Rugged drives connected for storage, so the internal drive space isn't an issue.

    So my question, have you worked on an Air before? Was it painfully slow, or manageable?

    Thanks in advance!
    Rodger

  2. #2
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    I have a MBA at work, but haven't used it for image editing yet. It probably depends on what you are doing. In many scenarios (viewing a lot of images, slight editing in Aperture or Lightroom), disk speed can be the limiting factor rather than processing speed. In those scenarios, the faster SSD can more than make up for the lesser processor speed compared to the MBP.
    In the bast, I have been using an old white Macbook (2007) with Aperture, and it was okayish. That being said, a MBA should do ok, and you will miss the faster processor maybe only if you apply a lot of filters and adjustments, brushing them into the image, etc.
    You might want to consider a MBP instead of the MBA if that allows you to leave the external disks at home. The 13'' MBP (which I use for personal use) is still a nice size for travel, and easier to pack than a MBA plus external drives
    Arnt

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    In many scenarios (viewing a lot of images, slight editing in Aperture or Lightroom), disk speed can be the limiting factor rather than processing speed. In those scenarios, the faster SSD can more than make up for the lesser processor speed compared to the MBP.
    Good point. I'll only be doing minor edits on a large number of photos, and since I cull images in Photo Mechanic instead of LR, that shouldn't be an issue.

    You might want to consider a MBP instead of the MBA if that allows you to leave the external disks at home.
    Although I love lightening the load of what I take with me, but the security of having the images backed up makes it worth it. I'll most likely take 2 Lacie rugged drives and clone them each night.

    Thanks for you advice!

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    If you have an Apple store close by, they usually have Aperture installed with sample images. The same might be true for Best Buy (not sure if you are in the US). Even if you don't use Aperture, it might give you an idea about performance when playing around with images. If you launch the "Activity Monitor" (in Applications/Utilities), you can see the cpu load while doing so.
    Arnt

  5. #5
    the MBA is delightfully light — I think it's about the same as a 24-70 lens. the screen is bright and given max RAM and an SSD it's fast as hell. throw aperture on it and get an external drive (western digital is what I use) that connects via firewire or thunderbolt and you are set. I use aperture.

    I carried around my trusty 17" mbp on my last trip and while the screen is fantastic I was seriously thinking about a 13" mba instead.

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    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by memostothefuture View Post
    I carried around my trusty 17" mbp on my last trip and while the screen is fantastic I was seriously thinking about a 13" mba instead.
    I love my 17" MB Pro, and I really wish Apple would start making them again. Resolution (retina display) is a fine thing, but bigger pixels are nice, too!

    But I also have a 13" MB Air, which is great for travel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist View Post
    I love my 17" MB Pro, and I really wish Apple would start making them again. Resolution (retina display) is a fine thing, but bigger pixels are nice, too!

    But I also have a 13" MB Air, which is great for travel.
    +1 .... love the MAcBook Pro. Recently put a 512gB SSD....amazing speed, boots from cold start in less than 15 seconds

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist View Post
    I love my 17" MB Pro, and I really wish Apple would start making them again.
    sadly I can tell you with certainty that it's not going to happen. our only hope is to upgrade them. I have been thinking about using an iPad as an external screen but it's complicated to set up and the size is so small that eventually I thought 'why bother' and didn't do it.

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    I know I'm a bit late to the party, however I had a Macbook Air for photography and absolutely loved it for editing. I only use Lightroom though but found the Air to absolutely blitz my Windows laptops in speed. Not only that, but the retina screen is a godsend for photography work.

  10. #10
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    Thanks everyone for your help!

    I got the MBA a few weeks ago and absolutely LOVE it. First thing I did with it was photograph in Haiti for a week and it did great. Lightroom is super quick on the flash memory.

    As a side note. The pelican laptop cases are AMAZING. Total peace of mind flying with expensive gear.

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