Editing on a laptop

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by Superstriker#8, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. Superstriker#8

    Superstriker#8 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 24, 2013
    What specifically about editing would be bad on a laptop like a 13" MacBook Air?

    Sent from my iPod touch using Mu-43 mobile app
  2. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Real Name:
    rob collins
    Well personally I see 2 problems.

    1) In my opinion a 13" screen is nowhere near big enough to edit photos - it becomes pretty tiny with Lightroom up and running. I say this from bitter experience of editing on a 13" Sony Z series. I spent 4 days editing and when I got back home, I found I had to redo everything.

    2) The Macbook Air has a very narrow color gamut - approximately 65% of sRGB (which is a narrow web gamut itself). Now how much of a hindrance this actually is in practice, I couldnt tell you but it simply doesnt make sense to me to edit photos with a maximum of 65% of colors visible.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    I think that it made a big difference when I upgraded my old 15.6" laptop to a higher resolution 17". 13" sounds too small.
  4. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Most laptop displays are not ideal for editing. Geared for power consumption and packaging rather than for accuracy.

    Either way.. always calibrate for the current ambient lighting conditions.
  5. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 23, 2010
    I think you could live with a 13" Air, but it would get frustraiting having to constantly zoom in and out. However it would if rammed out have enough grunt for a lot of images unless you do multiple layer composits. If you want the small form factor for travel etc then you can get round the screen size by getting a good monitor to work on, anything above 22" would be good. At the same time as prefering a large screen to work on I am not too keen on these heavy laptops for travel so I use a netbook that is cheep and small and a 27" IMac for working on.
  6. faberryman

    faberryman Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 15, 2013
    If you are using Lightroom, be sure to get the fastest processor you can and at least 8GB of memory. As mentioned, given all the side panels in Lightroom, a 13" screen size is not optimal from a workflow standpoint.
  7. barbosas

    barbosas Mu-43 Veteran

    May 7, 2013
    I have a 13" MBA Mid 2013 and that's where I edit the majority of my photos, it requires a lot of zoom in/out but I can live with that.

    I also have an external LCD on another desktop which I sometimes connect to the Macbook, but very rarely.
  8. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Real Name:
    I sometimes edit on a laptop. Its a 15+" compaq w/ 4gb Ram. LR2 works pretty fast, LR4 a bit slower. It's not ideal, but it works. I usually go to my desktop for more serious editing though. It's more awkward going spot treatments (changing brush sizes) than using a mouse.
  9. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    A lot of it depends on what you define as 'editing'.

    For the last couple of years, I have travelled with an 11 inch macbook Air. For the basic editing of capture, select, crop and basic global editing, along with minor dodging and burning, it works fine for my needs, but then again I am not that precious about my editing.

    Back from my travels I do move the on the road work to my iMac and do further work there... but its not radically different to what I do on the road.

    I use Aperture for all my PP, and I find the full screen mode in that app works well even on the small screen.

    Sure a bigger screen is always better, but with the 11" Air, it will fit in either of my camera bags, a Domke and a Tenba. A larger computer would not be so conducive to travel.

    In terms of processing power... yes the 11" Air is not the fastest, and it only has 4G of memory , but it is useable up to the point that you start brushing in multiple adjustments.

    Interestingly I was looking at the specs/benchmarks of the latest top of the range 11", and to my surprise, the geekbench scores show it to be on par with my 6 year old MacPro that I used as a desktop machine until earlier this year.

    just my thoughts

    • Like Like x 1
  10. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    Real Name:
    A while back I acquired a Lenovo ThinkPad W520 to use as a take along photo editor among other tasks. It has a 15.6 inch screen with 95% color gamut. I also use a WD My Passport 2TB USB 3.0 external drive for image storage. It is a very capable photo editor, but the small screen does limit things a bit. I usually process the RAW image files with LR and export them to the external drive. Unless I need a finished image right away, I will wait until arriving back home to do any extensive editing on my desktop.

  11. InlawBiker

    InlawBiker Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 1, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    Real Name:
    Editing on a 13" screen can be done of course but you'll be doing a lot of zooming. It depends on how much editing. For casual amateur editing sure, no problem. I don't see how a professional can work off a 13" laptop all day for hours on end though. You can buy a decent 23" full HD monitor these days for $150 shipped. You'll need an adapter - mini displayport --> DVI or HDMI.

    I do edit on my Macbook Pro 15, but my next laptop will be an Air with an external screen. This way you get ultimate portability, with a huge screen on your desk when you need it.
  12. orfeo

    orfeo Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 27, 2013
    If im not mistaken, the MacBook air is TN film technologie for the screen. It's the worse you can do for photo editing. Try a laptop with IPS technologie. Lenovo X230 or MacBook Pro comes to mind. There are loads of other possibilities.
  13. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Real Name:
    I'm somewhere between Robbie and Kevin. It's certainly not an ideal platform to edit on but if "editing" is cropping and minor stuff well, maybe. A decent screen at home would go a long way to sorting that out though.

    And I'll disagree with Orfeo. IPS is not inherently better than TN until you have looked at all the other variables involved in a screen. Eizo makes a TN panel that would blow your socks off (and your wallet) while being significantly better than the IPS panel in a MacBook Pro or iMac. IPS panels *can* be better. But if that's the only thing they're taling about then it's just marketing hype.

    Me. I'm currently editing on a MacBook Pro, hooked up to an Eizo in one place and a Thunderbolt display at the other. I prefer the Eizo but I can get by on the other. And once, in an emergency I completely edited a wedding on a 9 inch laptop screen. My eyes were bleeding by the end of it, though.

  14. orfeo

    orfeo Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 27, 2013
    I'm pretty sure the TN in the MacBook air is crap for photo editing. YMMV, it's only one man's opinion. We are not talking pro editing here, and IMHO any IPS will fare better for correct contrast and acceptable color than a run of the mill TN. Your Eizo TN maybe good, I never doubted it. Just TN in laptop are crap, some are crappier than others, and I believe the one in the Air isn't that crappy. Still for editing it's crap.