Hardware and software setup for cheap

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by KillRamsey, Oct 10, 2014.

  1. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey Super Moderator

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Hiya folks.

    All of you do more / better image processing than I do. I know some of you don't think you do much, but I am literally limited to a work-owned, locked-down laptop that cannot have anything new installed on it. So I have the MS Office photo editor, which will do mids / contrast / saturation / crops and not much else (and do them all pretty badly). And I had a thumb drive with Raw Therapee Mobile on it, but as soon as it updated itself to 4.1.22 recently, it will not find any images anywhere no matter what I do. RT was very nice for color channel work, tone mapping, correcting CA, that sort of thing. It was not very good at graduated filters (they look very artificial), and it doesn't do anything creative. RT Mobile also didn't work with X Trans raw files, which is a problem, given that I shoot an XT1... I just shoot jpg only.

    So here's my thought / question: What sort of software do you all like for Xtrans most, Photo Ninja? Does PS support the X Trans yet? And then what hardware (tablet, laptop) that's available used would happily run that software without being glacially slow? In my head, I picture a craigslist laptop for $300, and software for another hundred. Am I missing a tablet option? I want to plug my SD card directly into whatever it is. And it doesn't need to do anything else but edit my images, for now. I want to add borders and image-based watermarks, too, preferably in batches.

    What would you do?
  2. pdh

    pdh Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    How locked down is locked down?

    With a Linux distro like Puppy Linux, if you can boot off the CD/DVD drive, you can have a full computing environment. If gimp isn't already installed, i'd b surprised and then you have a PS equive ... all for the cost of a cd/dvd and a few minutes downloading.

    I'm a bit confused about whether you shoot raw or just jpg from your post, but if the latter then this ought to be worth considering
  3. ReD

    ReD Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    In a nutshell my philosophy is - if it ain't free (or at least dirt cheap) I won't use it.

    I see this as part of my duty and challenge to spend as least on photography as I can.

    All programs I use are either free or came with older cameras - I'm now finding that Nikon view & a couple of others are useless on windows 7 but OK on XP (which I still have) -NB I have no experience with Windows 8 which may render most of my programs useless.
    The Nikon View was an excellent Program but not supported after XP

    As a general rule I use the Fuji Studio Viewer to transfer & load up ( it often seizes up)
    Editing mostly done with The Fuji Studio and Picasa - sometimes a transfer to ipad & Snapseed

    NB - I'm talking Jpegs not RAW or RAF
  4. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey Super Moderator

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Currently I shoot 99% jpg-only, but if I had the right tools and the processing power, I'd like to shift that balance more towards raws.

    And "locked down" means once Windows is launched, I don't have admin rights, and .exe's are a no-go. I looked up what it would take to circumvent it, but in the end it was more trouble than it was worth for me, given that I can afford a used laptop or tablet. And it would be mine to tweak as I see fit, etc. I don't mind paying for a tool that I'll actually use extensively.
  5. pdh

    pdh Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    i xpect my suggestion wasn't clear.
    with a bootable linux you make a bootable cd and boot the laptop from that. it doesn't touch windows and you don't need to boot the laptop into windows first.

    i'd read your question s that you wanted the least cost option (which this is).if you've actually got a few hundred $ to spare then it's simply a question of acquiring a laptop, which doesn't really require much advice these days. they're commodity items.

    lets just hope this thread doesn;t break out into yet another nasty little episode of the "pc-mac wars" though
  6. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey Super Moderator

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Oh there's no war. It will be a PC. I grew up on Apple, I use an iphone through work, but I just prefer using a PC for this stuff.

    So... minimum RAM requirements?
  7. NathanCom

    NathanCom Regular

    May 15, 2014
    What about cloud based photo editing? I am not sure if there are decent ones but if there are it may save you making any outlay.
  8. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey Super Moderator

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    So I looked at a few online hosted options, and wasn't very happy with what I found. Mostly geared towards teenagers. I was using picmarkr.com for watermarking, but for the last few days it just crashes constantly during uploading. It's never been reliable. I'm ready for a laptop or a tablet, I'm just wondering what software people prefer for the kind of work I want to do / grow into (ie, more advanced editing and creativity options), and if there's a good piece of hardware that's light and cheap to run it on.
  9. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    FWIW Kyle, any time I am in the market for a new laptop, I just get the best spec I can for around $350-$400 and they have always been sufficient to run Lightroom or Photoshop. I refuse to spend "real" money on a computer anymore. Whether I spend $350 or $1000, they always seem to last me around 3 years. That's my 2 cents
  10. pdh

    pdh Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    6 or 8GB of RAM is plenty I'd have thought, tho I'd be surprised if any puter is shipped wit hless than 4GB these days. even if not, adding ram is amazingly cheap from someone like crucial.com.
  11. bartjeej

    bartjeej Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    4gb RAM should be sufficient if the rest is good enough to keep up; 6 or 8 will have things running really smoothly and have image updates basically real-time.

    As for online image editors, I can recommend pixlr editor. As far as I know it doesn't do raw files, but it does pretty much everything else to a fair extent.

    oh, and about tablets: last time I checked, there was only 1 proper raw developer out there for tablets, and its results weren't stellar according to DPR. There're lots of jpeg editing apps out there though, with Snapseed (free) being the standout option for me.
  12. snkenai

    snkenai All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Stephen Noel
    I have an old Dell 820, with 2gig ram, and XP, that I ran CS2 PS, with no trouble, for basic photo work. It is probably going in a yard sale next week, as we have 3 other computers.
  13. Something I am surprised nobody else has suggested (perhaps nobody else has been locked down... but I've been there too, with work computers)... theres always Portable Apps. You carry them on a thumb drive, and if you get one large enough and only install the software you want, you get a bit of space to save your stuff as well.

    Heres the main site: http://portableapps.com
    And heres the list of available graphics apps. Of those, Gimp is the one I would choose, alongside RawTherapee. http://portableapps.com/apps/graphics_pictures
    • Like Like x 1
  14. pdh

    pdh Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    but it's possible that the sysadms have restricted being able to run executables from the usb ports.
    otherwise a good thought.

    one can also run a whole linux distro by booting off a usb stick