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Anyone got a retina MacBook and do HDR and panos in LR?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Nawty, Mar 27, 2016.

  1. Nawty

    Nawty Mu-43 Regular

    84
    May 1, 2015
    The Internet is awash with opinion about how underpowered the new skinny MacBook is yet there isn't much actual real user experience for things like Lightroom, what little there is is based on basic retouching.

    So, has anyone tried merging HDR images and stitching panoramas with one? I'm not looking for it to be super quick, just that it doesn't give up and cry after a while and that once done you can zoom in and out easily enough.

    As a test I tried this on my 2011 MBA and it just about worked if you were verrry patient but then after a while I got the beach ball and it went to mush... (I was stitching a 5 HDR images at the time).
     
  2. brettmaxwell

    brettmaxwell Mu-43 Veteran

    350
    Dec 8, 2012
    With the 8gb of ram it should do fine despite the fanless low-power processor, with some patience. I can't say from experience though. If you have an Apple store nearby, they should be very accommodating to installing a LR trial on a machine and letting you try it out (bring your own photos on a flash drive... and ask them for a USB-C adapter).
     
  3. Nawty

    Nawty Mu-43 Regular

    84
    May 1, 2015
    Hmm, I wonder if that goes a bit beyond their sales service :biggrin:

    I've just tried this on my new 3.3ghz iMac too and although it's quicker it takes longer than I thought it would, so far i've only been trying on the Air and assumed the iMac would be almost instant. Clearly not.

    Maybe I'll take a trip to an Apple store with a memory stick and see what they say.
     
  4. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Benchmarks from Mac Benchmarks - Geekbench Browser suggest that the new Macbook will be similar to your current 2011 MBA, maybe even slower.

    I really coveted the new ultra thin Macbook but wanted more power than it offered. I ended up with a Dell XPS 13 with i5 CPU and am happy (although it took two returns to get a good copy). And it was much cheaper for the non-touch version.
     
  5. Nawty

    Nawty Mu-43 Regular

    84
    May 1, 2015
    Indeed, although as my iMac experiment shows it isn't necessarily the processor speed that is critical, it is the RAM and HD speed - both of which are faaaar superior in the new machine.
     
  6. brettmaxwell

    brettmaxwell Mu-43 Veteran

    350
    Dec 8, 2012
    Go in at a time they're not super busy and I'd be shocked if they even hesitated with this request.
     
  7. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    I think that it is more processing-centric than you think. I've got 16GB 1333MhZ RAM and 512GB SSD + Thunderbolt RAID and the slowest operation on my computer is opening up a RAW file in Lightroom. Where talking about
    1. Transferring an ~40MB file from my Thunderbolt RAID into RAM, and then
    2. Rendering it on screen

    The first task probably take less than a second. The second tasks can take 4-5 seconds or more. If you have enough RAM and a decent hard drive, loading the assets required for an HDR stitch is a small part of the equation. It's the processing that takes the most time, and perhaps your iMac test is showing a need for another step forward in processing to handle the task.

    What HDR/stitching software do you use? Is it threaded to use multiple cores? Does it use the GPU at all?
     
  8. gpburdell

    gpburdell Mu-43 Veteran

    248
    Jul 16, 2014
    A few days ago I bought a retina Macbook to replace a 2011 MBA13 as my portable machine. I didn't particularly intend for it to do any heavy lifting, so I've not really been testing it for cpu speed.

    Still, I know some are curious and I'd be happy to contribute.

    If y'all have specific test sequences you'd like me to try out, let me know. Best would be if you shared the RAW files as well, so we both can time whatever operations you have in mind and report back.

    I have LR6 & DxO Optics Pro for for RAW, as well as Macphun's Aurora HDR for HDR.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016
  9. Nawty

    Nawty Mu-43 Regular

    84
    May 1, 2015
    I'm using LR, and of very recent Nik software, primarily in PS. So yes, multi-core :)

    Fantastic! you're just the person I'm looking for as I too am coming from a 2011 MBA 13" :D

    I m also looking to the new Macbook as a travel companion and have only recently started to do heavy processing such as HDR and panoramas. Being new I don't really have many photos to share but can probably dig some out if necessary, would just be interested in your overall experience of using LR to import and play with raws.
     
  10. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    As you run the tests, turn on Activity Monitor to see how the CPU, HD, and RAM are used.
     
  11. gpburdell

    gpburdell Mu-43 Veteran

    248
    Jul 16, 2014
    Cool, to be honest I've not done much with LR with it yet, as I've also been focused on a new NAS and figuring out how I want to do my file syncs using the private cloud.

    Just for grins, I did run a LR6 export-to-jpeg of a set of 25 RAW files from my E-P5. It took 80 seconds on my 1.2Ghz retina Macbook and the same export of the same images took 45 seconds on my 2.3Ghz i7 mac mini with SSD. I didn't try the test on my Air as I've already wiped the drive in prep for resale.

    Overall feel is that it's as fast as my 2011 MBA13 if not a little more so, which matches what I saw when looking up benchmarks. I am quite pleased with it and don't feel it lacks performance for the things I am using it to do. My primary use for it with LR would be editing; culling the crap shots and rating / tagging the others. This is plenty fast enough for that task.

    BTW I absolutely love the screen; I run it at scaled 1440x900 and honestly don't miss the 1.3" diagonal difference. Keyboard is a little bit of an adjustment, but I'm good with it so far.
     
  12. gpburdell

    gpburdell Mu-43 Veteran

    248
    Jul 16, 2014
    Black Magic Disk Speed Test gives me over 400MB/s write and 800MB/s read speeds. So I'm not really worried about the SSD speeds. :D

    Interestingly, CPU sat at around 70-75% user and 15-25% idle while LR was working on the export. I have LR set to use the GPU so maybe that is it. I just noticed that LR had self-disabled GPU on my mini, so I'm going to see if I can clear that error. EDIT: looks like HD4000 isn't supported

    Ram usage with just LR running doesn't go anywhere near the 8GB; with LR and a couple safari tabs open it's showing a little under 5GB memory in use.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016
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  13. Nawty

    Nawty Mu-43 Regular

    84
    May 1, 2015
    Yep, seems to go to around 75% CPU, RAM is fine - couldn't quite tell with HDD as it wasn't constant.

    So, I've just taken some measurements on exporting 25 EM1 raws that are complex (i.e. not big swathes of blue sky) and got the following:


    2011 13” MacBook Air i5 1.7ghz, 128gb SSD (base model)
    export 25 raws to 8mp with low sharpening for screen on battery power = 2:25
    export 25 raws to 1600px with no sharpening on battery power = 2:10
    export 25 raws to 1600px with low sharpening on battery power = 2:20
    export 25 raws to 1600px with low sharpening on mains power = 2:10



    2015 iMac i5 3.3ghz, 2TB Fusion drive (top non-custom model)
    export 25 raws to 8mp with low sharpening for screen = 1:14
    export 25 raws to 1600px with low sharpening for screen = 1:09


    It is difficult to draw any firm conclusions as performing these tests on a level playing field are impossible (for example I can't put my fusion drive in the MBA, and of course we aren't using the same raws) but with the addition of your results I would say that it appears to be a combination of processor AND HD speed.

    Synthetic benchmarks show the processor on my MBA to be not too far behind the latest Macbook yet it is much slower at this test -> HDD speed?
    By rights my iMac should be far quicker than the Macbook but it isn't actually that much quicker -> Processor counts but my slower (?) HDD slows it up a bit?
    Your i7 iMac with SSD is quite a lot quicker which is no surprise BUT maybe it points to (as with the MBA vs rMB) that it isn't just outright clock speed and LR is quite well optimised for multicore.

    The other thing I've managed to garner is that general playing around with raws is good on the new rMB whereas it can be pretty slow on my MBA in that loading up and then zooming into raws is very laggy and annoying (adjustments are applied fairly quickly though).

    Interesting.
     
  14. gpburdell

    gpburdell Mu-43 Veteran

    248
    Jul 16, 2014
    Clarification, I have a 2012 Mac mini, quad-core i7. So in addition to i5 vs i7 differences, it also has two more cores to play with, so that may make a difference.

    The Apple Fusion drives are a logical volume combination of two drives; one an SSD and the other a spindle drive; generally they should move/hold recently used files on the SSD portion of the volume. When I installed my SSD in my mini I could have combined the original 1TB spindle drive with the 512GB SSD I was adding into a single Fusion Drive volume but chose to keep them separate instead.

    If you want to PM me with your email perhaps I can figure out a way for you to drop your 25 RAW files into a writable Google Drive folder and I'll run them through LR6 for comparison. That way it'd be an Apples to Apples comparison. :D (badda-boom!)
     
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  15. Nawty

    Nawty Mu-43 Regular

    84
    May 1, 2015
    Thanks for the offer but I think you've already done enough to show that the rMB is powerful enough for a travel companion :)

    Would be interested to hear your thoughts as you use it more.
     
  16. Nawty

    Nawty Mu-43 Regular

    84
    May 1, 2015
    Ok, so I bought a 1.2ghz Macbook, it arrived today and I've had a quick play at doing HDR and Stitch.


    2015 iMac i5 3.3ghz, 2TB Fusion drive (top non-custom model)
    HDR merge of 5 images, auto tone, medium deghost = 21 seconds (time to render preview)
    Stitch 4 image pano, spherical, autocrop = 9 seconds (time to render preview)


    2015 Macbook 1.2ghz
    HDR merge 5 images, auto tone, medium deghost = 1:33 with graphics acceleration enabled (time is to render preview)
    HDR merge 5 images, auto tone, medium deghost = 51s with graphics acceleration disabled (time is to render preview)

    Stitch 4 image pano, spherical, autocrop = 17 seconds with graphics acceleration enabled (time is to render preview)
    Stitch 4 image pano, spherical, autocrop = 15 seconds with graphics acceleration disabled (time is to render preview)

    Export 25 photos to 8mp, low sharpening for screen, graphics acceleration enabled = 2:07 (different set of raws to previous)
    Export 25 photos to 8mp, low sharpening for screen, graphics acceleration enabled = 1:51

    So that is, iMac vs rMB:
    HDR 21s vs 51s
    Pano 9s vs 15s

    The first test I did was the HDR with graphics acceleration on and I thought "well that's rubbish" so I repeated it with graphics disabled and I'm actually quite happy with that time (and surprised at the difference - maybe I should try it on the iMac)), yes it's 2.5x the time of the iMac but this is acceptable for a travelling tool IMO.

    Pano stitching is fine for a laptop too and in general usage it is much smoother than my Macbook Air (which I haven't done these tests on as I de-registered it from Adobe), especially considering it is rendering at a higher resolution (1440x900). No it's not as super-smooth as the iMac but it is definitely workable and the cache seems to work much better than the Air ever did so once something's done it stays done

    It will make a good travel/companion machine I reckon :)
     
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