MacBook with Retina - Helpful for image processing?

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by carlb, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. carlb

    carlb All-Pro

    Feb 6, 2013
    I'm shooting the Fuji X-E1 and X20 quite a bit these days. It seems the best raw converters and image processors for the "X" sensors have passed by the XP operating system, so it's time for an upgrade. I'm not very interested in upgrading to Windows 7-8-9-whatever, it seems their biggest changes are more annoying than truly helpful.

    The Macs seem ahead of the PCs for conversion of Fuji raw files, and for post processing choices. So I think I'll switch from PC to Mac.

    My question is: Are the MacBook "Retina" displays better for editing than their regular displays? I'd be thinking of a 15" laptop. They'd certainly look better, but I wonder if they'd really be better, or not much better for editing photos.

    Thanks for your opinions. :)
  2. Just a comment... you wont ever be using it at its top (retina) resolution... it makes everything on screen insanely small, you'd nearly need a magnifying glass to do anything, even if you have 20/20 vision. Having said that, though, the normal resolution 1440/900 IIRC on a retina screen is streets ahead of the same res on a normal screen. Someone else will understand the mechanics of that.

    If I could afford it, I would probably get one (but 13"... I find 15" laptops generally just too big)
  3. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I find it helpful in one sense. After coming from a 27" display, even a 15" laptop display just felt too small to work with. By using the 15" retina at its highest resolution, it makes the control panels on either side of Lightroom smaller and gives me more image area to work. When I get the left panel out of the way (not much happening there during development except presets and history and easily fetched if needed), it actually gives me a pretty workable setup.

    I recorded a couple of short routines that I made double clickable using the Automater app to switch pretty much instantly between full resolution for processing and default resolution for everything else. It all works well once you figure out how to manage the windows between these transitions in screen resolution.

  4. donlaw

    donlaw All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    Upgraded from a 2008 MacBook Pro to the 15" with Retina Display about a month ago. The screen is really outstanding. I have used ii for highly detailed post processing with PS and not at all disappointing. Quad speed is good and battery life is impressive. I looked at the 13" and the new Air. But 13" was too small for me.
    You can definitely count on this machine for a great photography computer.
  5. Well... clearly... I am wrong. :p
  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    You're kind of right Sue - when you're reading or writing at the highest resolution, things are pretty tiny. That's why I usually switch resolutions between doing photo work and everything else. But I think for processing, you're kind of wrong - I find the highest resolution on the 15" retina screen about the only way to have a large enough work are to get anything done, at least that's my perception, and perception is at least half the game.

  7. carlb

    carlb All-Pro

    Feb 6, 2013
    Thanks for the insights, folks.

    Having the "effective" extra screen space for editing would be very nice. My XP laptop is 15" and I'm usually juggling and trading-off edit view versus options/controls views.

    I am a bit surprised to learn about the small font and small image views as seen on a Retina at full resolution - I would have thought Apple OS and apps to have been better at making view size independent of pixel size. (PCs don't have this worked out either - that I know of.)

    Well, I'll likely get a retina. Probably don't need the speed of a SSD, so maybe an Apple refurb for a bit less money ...
  8. romi.gilles

    romi.gilles Top Veteran

    May 17, 2013
    back in Crooklyn
    i think as far as the ssd goes, it's probably one of those things you learn to love after having used it. try one and then go back to a hdd.

    (Sent from my EVO via Tapatalk)
  9. flash

    flash Veteran

    May 6, 2011
    You'd be better off spending the difference on a hardware calibration system for the screen. That will give you better results. Personally I don't like ultra high DPI screens. But that'sjust personal taste.

  10. Djarum

    Djarum All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    We just picked up an HP 1920x1080 on a 15" screen running Windows 8. Most of the Icons and text I can see ok, but I think a 17" or larger would be better to see. I know windows has options to increase ICON and font to support readability. Images are pretty good but the screen only supports about 60 percent NTSC, and doesn't cover sRGB. I think the new Retinas now cover all of sRGB and Adobe RGB, so I would think from that perspective it should be fine once calibrated.
  11. Gubrz

    Gubrz O.* Gonzo's & Bentley's Dad

    Jun 5, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I got a 15". I went with a buddy to look for new laptops for him. He asked if I thought he should get retina. I said "nah I think ur---" then he turned them side by side in the store. I can't imagine going back to a non retina. That screen was horrid! I needz dem pixlz!!! Lol
  12. carlb

    carlb All-Pro

    Feb 6, 2013
    Well, I decided to go for a used 15" high-res matte with 512 SSD and 16GB of RAM. I'm typing on it now, taking a bit of getting used to.

    Not a Retina though that would have been about $700 extra or more. Beautiful machine, but slippery. Have a cover coming coming in tomorrow.

    Transferring Tiffen Dfx to it, downloading the Iridient raw converter to see how that will work on my Fuji raw files ...

    Again, thanks all for your inputs and ideas, best to you all!

    - Carl
  13. donlaw

    donlaw All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    Sound like a great machine! The SSD is really cool. I got the Incase zippered slip cover and it provides a nice padded home.
  14. I want one. I like my Mini with the Dell screen but I've realised I do prefer to be able to do my processing anywhere in the house. The MacBook Pro 13" wasnt good enough. The Retina would be. If/When I get one, the mini will become an HTPC, and the study will become a spare bedroom again :)
  15. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    May 13, 2013
    Congratulations, Carl.
    SSD is a very wise choice indeed.
    16gig. wow.
    Were you able to choose between graphics cards?
  16. carlb

    carlb All-Pro

    Feb 6, 2013
    Hey Pete, Sue, and Don,

    It's really a nice machine. All that waiting for the processor to catch up to the present is gone - or at least vastly minimized. I think that's mostly the SSD - no seek times adding up.

    I bought it used, it's about a year old. I was looking for price versus performance, this seemed a very sweet deal toward that. Although not a Retina screen, it's a bit higher in resolution than normal - a "matte" screen they offered that year. I like it better than the glossy screens I've seen.

    There's still a year of "Apple Care" left on it, so I figured it's already survived "infant mortality" and a year of warranty just made it that much better of a deal.

    And the partial impetus to buy it, Iridient's raw converter, is great for the Fuji X-trans sensors.

    I'm getting used to the "Mac" user interface, and am almost completely at home on it now. I give these a strong recommendation, especially bought used. The whole experience is much more "ironed-out" for bumps than on a PC. When bought used, that experience doesn't come at too high of a cost (for me at least).
  17. stratokaster

    stratokaster Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 27, 2010
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Despite popular opinion, screens with full AdobeRGB coverage are more pain than gain, so to speak. Apple's Retina screens have 100% sRGB coverage and that's how it should be.
  18. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    May 13, 2013
    Could not agree more. In the house we've been using Macs since 2009 and I did not have to solve one single problem yet. When we had 6 PCs I had to do a major cleanup every year.

    Smart move to buy a used one. Even smarter to buy a matte screen. I've been told (and have seen) that matte screens are better for postprocessing photos.

    Anyway, welcome to the mac world.

  19. ReD

    ReD Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    I was thinking of asking about monitors so here goes

    My previous monitor was a Viewsonic 21” 4:3 ratio & I loved it for its resolution & colour. When it packed in I bought a Samsung F2380 23” 16:9 – it doesn’t have the same colour quality but for CAD work its not bad at all. (also matt screen)

    On this image viewed straight on I see outline – when viewed from side or top I see more image information on the right

    This led me to wondering what the rest of you see ??? Is it outline or do you get the right side filled in?

    View attachment 75171
  20. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I see more than outline, but not much more. A bit of detail on the guy's collar, in their hair, etc. When I click through to the host site and look at a larger version, I see a lot of detail in blacks...