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Any Macbook Air Users?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by jloden, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Anyone out there using a Macbook Air for editing photos, especially while traveling?

    I'm looking for feedback on how it performs, bearing in mind my current system is just a Macbook Pro so my expectations are mac & laptop oriented already. Particularly interested in whether folks are using the 11" or 13" and any recommendations on size. I'm assuming 13" would be preferred when it comes to editing but I'd like to hear any experiences.

    Thanks!
     
  2. htc

    htc Mu-43 Top Veteran

    579
    Jan 11, 2011
    Finland
    Harry
    I have a previous generation 13" Air (last one without the keyboard light) and even that performs very well. At least CS5. Lightroom 4.1 seems to be a bit slower with RAW but on the other hand new Air should be much faster. I would imagine 11" might be a bit small, at least resolution vise.
     
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  3. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    I have the 13" Air (2011 edition). It's a bit sluggish with Lightroom, but then again so is my quad core desktop. Certainly usable.

    I think the 11" screen will be too small to be comfortable. Additionally, the 13" has substantially better battery life (30% in my experience) which can be very helpful when traveling.

    DH
     
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  4. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    I have the 2011 Macbook Air, 13" version. I would hesitate to use this as my primary machine - it is fairly speedy, but the processor will not keep up with a current Mac or PC desktop. I do have LR and Nik loaded, and it works fairly painlessly when traveling (just add a couple seconds to big tasks), but I would prefer to use a larger machine when I am at home.

    The Air does offer an extreme level of portability, even with the larger 13" version. I carry the Air, in a padded sleeve, along with an OM-D kit (3 lenses), Nex-7 with Sigma 19, camera accessories, power supplies, etc., all in a Domke reporter's satchel.

    I would have been tempted to get the 11" version, but I am doing some office type work on the machine as well, and with the 13", I do not feel like I am missing out on screen real estate when I am working on a large spreadsheet. I think I would feel a bit cramped working on the 11" screen, personally.
     
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  5. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    702
    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Sorry to hijack the OP, but how does the screen fare?

    My concern is that the color fidelity may be off, resulting in off-color PPing.
     
  6. yekimrd

    yekimrd Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 14, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    Mikey
    You may have to calibrate the gamma settings because your laptop images will tend to be brighter than most desktops or when printed.

    Regarding using a macbook air, I have 2010 macbook air with fully upgraded settings and I use LR4.1. Apart from editing with the paintbrush tool, everything else runs very smoothly.
     
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  7. D MATIC

    D MATIC Mu-43 Regular

    144
    Jul 18, 2012
    I have the 2011 with lit keyboard. not the current version. I use it as my main computer for work and home and connect it to a 30 inch monitor in both places. I do most my post process in ps and it is fine with the raws from my gx1. Havent installed lr yet tho.

    The previous version of the Air had a bad video card. And if you attach an external monitor, the color would subtly dither. It's hard to tell, but I did some extensive side by side tests. The 2011 with lit keyboard does not have this problem even when connected to a dual dvi monitor at 2560x1600
     
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  8. QualityBuiltIn

    QualityBuiltIn Mu-43 Veteran

    351
    Jan 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I have an early MBA with only 1 USB port. And that is the biggest problem. The internal HD is only 120GB so use an external portable HD. But if that is plugged in I can't connect the camera or USB-Card adapter.

    The screen colour is far from accurate.

    And its not very fast.

    My other domestic computer is a VIAO with a beautiful screen, much bigger, more powerful and a whole lot less cool and much less fun. There is just no pleasure in a PC.

    So yes the MBA is limited but I'd buy another in a heartbeat.
     
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  9. dannat

    dannat Mu-43 Regular

    174
    May 2, 2010
    Melbourne Australia
    I have the 11" (but then again I mostly use iPad now anyway for general use)

    The 11" is very portable, & fits easily in my lowepro camera satchel - the 13" won't

    The SSD makes most programs run fine, I doubt you'll notice a diff fom your MBP

    The newer screens are better than the old ones but can still benefit from a spyder tweak
     
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  10. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I use a 11 inch first generation MBA..128g ssd and 4g memory and find it fine for on the road use. I am not a big PP person, so all I want is the ability to import, sort and do basic PP... any heavy lifting I will do when I come home. I use Aperture

    I worked for Apple for close to 10 years and always had the latest and greatest to play with...those days are past but I think the 11inch MBA is quite possibly the best overall laptop they have ever made... sure its not as powerful or has as much storage as its bigger brothers... but it does 90% of what i want a computer for on the road... and it is so small :)

    It would never be my only computer....but as a travel computer it cant be beaten

    Your mileage may vary

    K
     
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  11. yekimrd

    yekimrd Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 14, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    Mikey
    I had the 2009 version and it was the last model with an NVIDEA graphics card before they switched over to intel HD cards. The 2010 version in spite sporting a much faster processor suffered because of the poor video card. Online testing showed a slight advantage with the 2009 vs the 2010 MacBook air. My wife has the 2011 one and it's faster (albeit not a whole lot) than my 2009 MBA.

    E-M5, O75, PL25, O12, O75-300
     
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  12. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Thanks Kevin/dannat that's pretty much what I'm looking for out of it myself. Does the 11" display feel very limiting though? I love the portable size of the 11" but if I'm going to get this primarily as a portable photo editing machine I'm not sure about going with a smaller display.
     
  13. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    looking at the specs there isn't really much in it between the 11 and the 13 in terms of pixels (1366x768 v 1140x900) though the 13 does offer a squarer aspect ratio which might be better for photo editing with 4/3 aspect ratio shots... but it would be marginal.

    Personally the physical size of the 11 is a real winner for me...just came back from a trip to the US...carried MBA, iPad, OMD/12-50, GH2/14mm plus assorted hard drives, Airport base stations, mics, flashes, a book, and magazines all in a Tenba messenger like this

    http://www.tenba.com/Products/Messenger-Camera-Bag-Medium-Black.aspx

    which by the way is a really great travel bag.....

    K
     
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  14. Geoff3DMN

    Geoff3DMN Mu-43 Veteran

    I have a 2011 11" MBA 128Gb SSD, 4Gb RAM and my better half has a 2011 13" MBA 256Gb. 4Gb RAM.

    Both of them are wonderful, light, responsive machines that are by portable computer standards a joy to use but they are more different to use than it might seem at first glance.

    The 11" is the ultimate portable, use anywhere machine but the smaller screen and keyboard restricts productivity a bit and the battery life is a fair bit less than the 13". The smaller SSD means storage limits can require using an external hard drive. IMHO it's a perfect 2nd computer to my quad core desktop with IPS screen.

    The 13" isn't so much more powerful (although the SSD and the CPU are faster) as it is more usable. The extra screen real estate and the larger keyboard make working on it faster. However my better half only has a Mac Mini as a desktop machine and her 13" is her main machine.

    It's my honest opinion that if you're going to be doing most of your work on your laptop then spec it as high as you can (15" MacBook Pro or 13" MacBook Air) but if your laptop is strictly a second machine for travelling (like me) then the 11" MacBook Air offers real and substantial size benefits.

    It's a matter of picking the correct laptop for the job and this is how I perceive that usage (at least for how we work).

    Only computer --> MacBook Pro (retina 15" preferably)
    Main computer --> MacBook Air 13"
    Travel Computer --> MacBook Air 11"
     
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  15. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Geoff, that is awesome to hear from someone that has both available - very helpful, thanks! I think a visit to the local Apple store is in order for some hands-on experimenting too.
     
  16. htc

    htc Mu-43 Top Veteran

    579
    Jan 11, 2011
    Finland
    Harry
    13" is 1440 x 900
    11" is 1366 x 768

    So the 11" is about 80 % from the 13". I agree, that 11 is truly portable while 13" not. At least when comparing those two.
     
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  17. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    702
    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    How are the viewing angle on these guys?

    I found my MacBook from 2008 has a weak panel. The colors shift too much depending on the vertical viewing angle, which makes it annoying doing PP on the road.
     
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  18. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I think you have accept that working with a laptop on the road that all the variables of screen angle and ambient lighting dont make any model an ideal platform for critical colour related PP.

    I will confess that for my photography that precise colour correction doesn't feature high on my list of criteria... the ability to import, sort and do my minimal pp in the smallest, lightest package that also my primary 'digital life' computer is very compelling

    K
     
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  19. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    702
    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Yes, I've been quite spoiled by my dark bedroom and calibrated monitor. Although if the new panels have better performance than four years ago, the differences in color may be negligible. Time to visit an Apple Store I guess.
     
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  20. sdsyver

    sdsyver Mu-43 Regular

    161
    Mar 14, 2012
    Northern Alberta
    Shawn
    I have a 2011 11" air. Just the base model and love it for travel. I just do basic editing on it by find I works fine. Has more horsepower than my first gen iPad and it run Aperture without a hiccup. I do save most of serious editing for home on the 24" iMac though.
     
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