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Notebook/Laptop for postprocessing

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by millimeterwave, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. millimeterwave

    millimeterwave Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 31, 2012
    ATL, GA

    I'm a relatively new shooter (March of this year) but I've been interested in photography my whole life. Now that I have a high quality and portable setup I find myself taking pictures everywhere and keeping my camera on me at a times.

    Unfortunately, being a commuting college student in engineering means I'm not home very often where my powerful desktop is and so often times I have to make due with my 12in Intel core i3 first-gen convertible tablet. I'm looking to upgrade this for a higher resolution and more powerful system and although I know what to look for in specs I'm not to sure how the quality of the screens fare.

    Here's my wish list:
    Current gen ivy bridge processor
    4+GB ram (upgradeable to at least 8gb)
    12-14 inch IPS or PLS screen with 1080p resolution.
    Build quality and weight are important.

    I have found several candidates but they all have some sort of shortcoming whether it's price, screen, etc.

    My question is what notebooks/laptops are you using and how it's working out for you with color accuracy? Currently I'm making do with my 1280x800 resolution screen and color accuracy is fairly decent on it but it could be higher resolution and less bulky (HP TM2-2150 us, 128gb, 8gb ram)

    I'm not really a fan of apple but they might be my best choice for a quality portable with a proven screen.

    PS I'm not interested in a retina macbook pro. Way more than I'm willing to spend. This laptop or tablet would also be used for school.

    I mainly want feedback on your experiences with color reproduction since resolution, size, and "IPS" specs only tell one side of the story.
  2. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    I can't really suggest anything specific (after all it may or not be available in your specific market, may have different specs, etc). But since you mention that precise color is important to you, perhaps you should consider investing in a color calibration system, whatever notebook you finally decide on.

    Also another consideration, esp. for notebooks, is having adequate in space and fast enough storage devices. This also is relevant to the volume of shooting/processing you are going to do.
  3. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    The usual: Good, Fast and Cheap/Affordable, pick any two.

    A retina iPad is quite the little platform if you're not doing extensive PS work. My quad core i7 laptop handles the heavy lifting, but the iPad gets most of the use for simply being handy, Snapseed works quite well. There's another thread on using the iPad in editing, shouldn't be hard to find.
  4. millimeterwave

    millimeterwave Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 31, 2012
    ATL, GA
    I'm in the US, I think most of the major manufacturers are available with maybe LG and Panasonic laptops being scarce.

    I do have access to an xrite colormuki photo from a friend so the calibration portion is taken care of. What I'm concerned is the display being able to show the wide range of color values.

    For my purposes I think 128-240gb ssd is plenty of space. I eventually would transfer the light room catalog and files to my spacious home desktop hard drives but my main use is to store, view, and edit raw files on the go since most of my time is spent outside home. I carry a small 500gb external hard drive with me for backup purposes.

    I wish there was a company like toms hardware that tested the displays against each other and rated them like they do with hard drives, processors, etc.

    Thanks for the response though.
  5. millimeterwave

    millimeterwave Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 31, 2012
    ATL, GA
    I think an iPad or a nexus 10 will be in my future for being out in the field but this laptop will be used for school and a iOS/android tablets are just too limiting.

    The 2k price range is hard to swallow however 1200 seems reasonable as long as it is expandable. Like the soldered ram on the macbook air (8gb) is okay but anything less than that isn't.

    I am looking for portability and battery life as well so I know I won't find a quad core processor in an ultra portable.

    Ideally a computer with a good screen, i5 ivy bridge processor and user upgradeable ram and disk drive would be my pick. Its just hard to compare screens without seeing the models in person. That's why I ask for peoples experiences with brands/product ranges.
  6. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    You are quite right; in fact we need some objective/reliable source for various photo-related computer product comparisons.
  7. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    if you are printing then fidelity of your screen is important... if you are posting to the web... then you are at the mercy of everybody's screen no matter what you do.

    every computer sold today will do pp on raw files... some faster than others.. but they will all get there.. and most laptops will be as fast as a 5 year old desktop....

    I use a 2010 mac book air and a 2007 MacPro..... its a tie in real world PP performance for my PP... which admitedly is minimal

  8. zapatista

    zapatista Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 19, 2012
    Albuquerque, NM
    Mike Barber
    I will let you know about the Nexus 10 display...should have it by Monday.
  9. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    8GB+ and SSD are the key specs you need. A quality screen would be good, I think some of the Sony machines have IPS screens but I don't remember exactly. A dedicated monitor might be a better choice. Be careful of gamut either way; AdobeRGB is not all it's sold to be. You're better off with a good sRGB panel, probably.

    Oh, and one more thing.

    Not Dell. Not ever Dell.
  10. millimeterwave

    millimeterwave Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 31, 2012
    ATL, GA
    Good point about the screen for web posts, I hadn't thought about that. I am interested in printing though so it is important but I will admit I'll probably work on important shots on my desktop at home anyway. I just want to be able to do the bulk of my processing accurately on the go since that's where my time is mostly spent.

    You're Absolutely right about all modern computers being able to post process. My 2 year old 12 inch tablet got new life when I upgraded ram to 8gb and an ssd. However, the reason I had that machine was for inking notes and now that the wacom panel is broken and HP is having trouble fixing it I'm hoping to replace the bulky machine (its a thick laptop).

    Moore's law is great, eh?
  11. millimeterwave

    millimeterwave Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 31, 2012
    ATL, GA
    Burned Dell user huh? I know your pain, I've worked with dell laptops in my part time job and man have they been flaky. Seem to have cleaned up a lot lately. I think having Michael Dell come back to run the place turned it around from the downward spiral it has been on.

    I said(& continue to say) the same thing about HP and yet somehow my previous 2 laptops have been HP. The second one was a gift so that is my excuse. XD

    Sony does have some good looking models.
  12. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    I've been buying PCs since the AT :eek:  and would buy a Dell any day over other brands unless post-processing were really important...in which case I'd probably (today) buy a MBPR.
  13. millimeterwave

    millimeterwave Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 31, 2012
    ATL, GA
    I just want to share that notebookcheck.net does test the color accuracy of most of the laptop screens they review. If anyone is interested in purchasing a new laptop they have wonderful reviews on most models.

    I ended up buying an Asus Zenbook UX31A though it is not upgradeable the price I got made it worth it to at least try. Many places say it has the best screen of any 13.3 inch laptop and the best coverage of the sRGB gamut. In fact, in my research, nothing else came close to covering the sRGB color space like this screen in this size class (except the retina MBP 13 - which is much more expensive). Will report back when I get it in a few days.
  14. vinay

    vinay Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 18, 2012
    Lenovo X230 - 12.5" IPS matte display (their "Premium HD" screen). Ivy Bridge. SSD. Lots of RAM. Very light. Only negative is resolution is closer to 720P (1366x768)

    I got the X220 last year - very happy with it.
  15. ghetto

    ghetto Mu-43 Regular

    It might depend on how portable you need the laptop to be. If it's not that important, a lot of mobile workstation style laptops will kick arse on your desktop.

    Take for example the lenovo W530 series laptops, you can get them with 95% colour gamut or what ever it is, and a colour calibrator built in, and i7 quad core, 2 standard HD spaces, plus another msata slot, 4 standard sodimm slots supporting up to 32gb of ram. Up to 1920x1080 on the laptop and up to 3 external monitors simultaniously. One of my co workers recent convinced accounting to buy him one of these, it runs faster than our 8 processor xeon servers. It's also reasonably priced if you are in the USA.

    Another co-worker just got the new mac book pro, also quad i7, found out the HD is proprietary and can't use normal laptop HD's and the ram was soldiered in, basically it works great if you use it as you bought it, don't expect to upgrade or change anything.

    Both run circles around any desktop system (or server system) unless you built the desktop system with in the last 6 months... (oh and we've all ditched desktops in favour of just laptops now even for people who don't need to be mobile)
  16. Zariell

    Zariell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 28, 2012
    Bountiful, UT
    I have a toshiba satellite laptop that runs circles around my desktop, the biggest challenge I've had is keeping a decent color calibration for the display, I have a spyder 4 pro, and it gives me fits, which is another story and filled with far more foul language ;) 
  17. millimeterwave

    millimeterwave Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 31, 2012
    ATL, GA
    I still use a desktop simply because I like PC games (high end video cards). In order to match my desktop I would need to buy a $2000 w530 so that's not really favorable to me. This is after an e-coupon on lenovo's site. But at 6 pounds it does sound like an impressive machine. Sounds like you need new servers :p 

    I am trying to stay under 4 pounds. Since I'm no professional photographer I'm wondering if I should just say screw it and get something like the x230. IPS screen but 62% sRGB coverage. I can still cancel my order.

    I really wanted the lenovo yoga 13 (IPS) but they have been backordered on lenovo.com for a while. Saw a model at best buy and the screen was nice. (BB only has the base model)
  18. millimeterwave

    millimeterwave Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 31, 2012
    ATL, GA
    My photography friend/mentor has always said the spyder series wasn't very fun to use. She uses colormunki now and it is, in my opinion, magic. I borrow it when I need to calibrate.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Omega

    Omega Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 3, 2012
    IBM/Lenovo, Toshiba, or Apple. Those are the only ones I'd reach to if I wanted quality. HP has always been crap to me, and I'll never buy one again.

    Just be sure you have at least 8GBs of RAM, or at least replaceable RAM. An SSD will also work wonders.
  20. jambaj0e

    jambaj0e Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 31, 2010
    • Like Like x 1
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