I need to buy a laptop for photo processing but I need to go light as I'm backpacking

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by cuervo.taylor, May 21, 2013.

  1. cuervo.taylor

    cuervo.taylor Mu-43 Regular

    May 20, 2013
    Hi all,

    I have been backpacking for a while and I think it is time to buy a light weight laptop that has a decent performance for photo processing what would you recommend me?

    I welcome Windows as well as Mac's. (But I think a MacBook Pro is too heavy...is what I have right now and I want to see if I can get something decent but not so heavy)
  2. Mercurio

    Mercurio Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 17, 2012
    Bogotá, Colombia
    Real Name:
    Have you considered a MacBook Air? They are light and cool :smile:
  3. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    Honestly. Pretty much all labtops sold today as long as they are new would fit your requirements. The Mac-air and other ssd based computers sacrifice cpu and memory for thin light design. So you need to decide if cpu and gpu performance is important, if the amount of storage is important or if lightweight n physical size is most important. If it were me, I'd get a smaller form factor HP but not necssarily the smallest 13" as not to pay the premium and put the extra money not spent and put it towards calibrating the monitor, getting a 2nd battery, getting a backup drive and nice bag. The 2nd battery could be invaluable when traveling.
  4. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    And if you really want to make your kit cool, investing in getting it painted by colorware etc.
  5. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Real Name:
    Another vote for the MacBook Air. But pretty much any light, thin notebook with SSD will get the job done.
  6. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Real Name:
    Software should also be factored into what machine you are planning on purchasing. I would really not want to run Lightroom on a 13" screen, or a machine with less than 4GB of RAM, if you were doing any serious post-processing to your images. And color critical work is very difficult on almost all laptops. I would give some consideration to these things in addition to a machine's weight and size before buying.

    Good luck,

  7. tuanies

    tuanies Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 13, 2011
    Graham, WA
    Real Name:
    Tuan Huynh
    Find a 13" Ultrabook with a 1080p IPS display
  8. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I happily handle a couple thousand picture on a trip with a 11 in Macbook Air with 128 G ssd and 4G ram. Its a couple of years old now, so latest models will be more powerful.

    I use Aperture and shoot only RAW.

  9. cuervo.taylor

    cuervo.taylor Mu-43 Regular

    May 20, 2013
    thanks guys very useful advices!

    I think I'll try to get something decent and light within windows, as good mac book airs are more expensive
  10. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    From personal experience I'd go with an iPad and a decent editing app. For me, the weight and size gains are worth the slight loss in power (when backpacking), especially if you get one with a Retina screen.
  11. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    How long are you backpacking for?

    I prefer to leave my photo editing until I'm back home. I'm close to considering an iPad for on the go browsing and sharing and very basic editing (bit of snapseed, that sort of thing), backup is an external hard disk I connect to computers I find on the road (hostels, internet cafes, etc.). If I had to have a laptop, I'd get an 11" Air for backpacking. Nice and small, as every half kilo starts to count after a long day with a pack on your back. I am getting increasingly minimalist in my packing, though.
  12. barbosas

    barbosas Mu-43 Veteran

    May 7, 2013
    MacBook air.

    13", Core I7, 8gb RAM, 256ssd

    That's what I would buy.
  13. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 27, 2011
    Oak Harbor, WA
    I'm on the road about 9 months of the year w/ a 40lbs weight restriction to my luggage, and when I travel for fun I only take carry-on bags. A 11" MBA has been fine for me for the last few years.

    Note, the new Haswell chips should be hitting the market soon for Mac and PC, if you can wait a few months, it should be a pretty decent upgrade for ultralight laptops, especially in the graphics department.
  14. Gillymaru

    Gillymaru Mu-43 Veteran

    I have an 11 inch MacBook Air 8gb RAM and 128 ssd and have 2 of these LaCie - LaCie Rugged Triple USB 3 that store and backup all my photos.
    The 2 drives get carried in separate bags. Everything is processed in Aperture on the road and then imported into my 27" iMac when I get home.
    I find the setup works well and takes up minimum space.
  15. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Real Name:
    Asus UX21A? i7, 4gb of RAM and 256gb ssd in a 11.6 inch screen system with full 1920x1080 res and weighing in at 1.1lbs.
  16. lawa222

    lawa222 Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 3, 2013
    Second the Asus comment. It's what I have and absolutely love it.
  17. cuervo.taylor

    cuervo.taylor Mu-43 Regular

    May 20, 2013
    lawa can you share the specifications of your laptop? thanks
  18. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Real Name:
    I should preface this by saying that I am a full-time Mac user, so computers other than Macs just aren't on my radar. The latest McBook Air models are plenty fast enough... add a bus-powered 750GB to 1TB external 2.5" HDD (or two, one for redundant BU) and you're set, man. Remarkably light weight and plenty potent. 13" is a bit tight, but do-able while traveling, until you get home and can attach a great IPS external monitor.

    I should add that instead of the bus-powered 2.5" HHD, two or three high capacity thumb drives can easily get the storage and back-up job done quite reliably and compactly.
  19. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Real Name:
    rob collins
    If I was going on a long backpacking trip, I would give serious consideration to something like the HP Envy x2.


    (1) It is cheap - something like US$700 for the 128gb version. A Mac Air is really for flashpackers.

    (2) The HP is both a PC and a tablet - most connections, second battery and keypad are in a separate detachable layer. When you are travelling having access to a tablet to read or watch movies is great and pretty near essential.

    (3) The HP has 2 SD card slots. This is great. You can have one 128gb SD card permanently in place to store your photos and then you can use the other SD card to transfer your shots from the camera.

    The drawback is that with a fairly puny CPU and only 2GB of RAM it is going to struggle as a photo editing device. My view on that is that you can never truly edit on such a small screen, so it is fine enough for getting you by.
  20. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Real Name:
    What's a "flashpacker"?