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06/18/2007 04:08:44 PM · #1
Hey guys.. some of you may remember me, some maybe not- it's certainly been awhile. I've been away for quite some time, and I think largely because of how overwhelmed I've become with finding time to edit my photos.. particularly my backlog of several thousand photos from Asia in the fall of last year.

In order to get through these, I've been considering getting a laptop for editing.. but I wanted to hear some opinions on this first. Obviously, my desktop would be superior. I haven't bought a laptop yet, but I'm sure that my desktop would still have a better monitor, better graphics card, better processor, and better hard drives..

With all that in mind though, is it still reasonable to consider a laptop for editing photographs? I'm certainly no professional, but that doesn't mean that I don't want to try to produce high quality work over time. It's just that it would be much easier for me to get through these photos if I had a notebook to carry around- I could work on them while at my girlfriend's place, at coffee shops, or away from home. You're probably already thinking about the glare, and inconsistent lighting from this variety of locations.. so what do you think? Is it viable? Would the photos be too inconsistent? Would processing power / graphics performance be a concern? Anything else you can think of?

edit: If it makes any difference, I shoot primarily in RAW. Photoshop CS2, CaptureOne, Noise Ninja.. all that fun stuff.

Message edited by author 2007-06-18 16:11:01.
06/18/2007 04:11:01 PM · #2
There are machines of all specs. You can get a laptop with a desktop processor in it with the sacrifice of battery power or you can go with a mid range compromise that gives great poer 3 to 5 hours (3 to 3.5 being common place.)

When laptops operate on battery power the display dims slightly consider that. Power is not a problem its more a matter of what you can afford. They make 7,000-10,000 dollar powerhouses for those that need them. Id say in the range of 600 to 3,000 you canf ind what you need.

Message edited by author 2007-06-18 16:11:53.
06/18/2007 04:12:23 PM · #3
I do all of my editing on my laptop. I do get a lot of complaints about my heavy-handed PP, but that's on purpose and the people who complain suck anyway. ;-)

Message edited by author 2007-06-18 16:12:42.
06/18/2007 04:15:20 PM · #4
Just a thought....how about getting the laptop, editing the photos and then verifying your editing on the PC? You can even put the 2 next to each other to see if there's a difference and calibrate them together.

As long as the screen is calibrated properly, I don't forsee any major problems....just get one with good battery life, you'll need it.

Added:
Originally posted by Strikeslip:

and the people who complain suck anyway. ;-)

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Message edited by author 2007-06-18 16:17:10.
06/18/2007 04:15:34 PM · #5
I do all my editing on a laptop as well. If you get fairly high end machine, it should be fine. I have an HP nw8440 (~$2500 new) mobile workstation with a 1920x1200 WUXGA display and it works great (although my work may not show it). The laptop MUST have at least 1gb or RAM otherwise you're going to spend more time waiting for things to happen than actual editing. Expect to spend ~$1500+ on a very capable laptop. You can go much lower, but there are tradeoffs. Oh and dual core is great to have too.
06/18/2007 04:17:42 PM · #6
I'm actually waiting to hear back from a relative on his employee discount with HP, so it depends on how big that savings will be. I'm probably looking a relatively mid-range laptop, probably around $1500 (pre-discount). I did a little setup and so far the relevant specs include:

Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium (32-bit)
Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo T7300 (2.0GHz/4MB L2Cache)
15.4" WXGA BrightView Widescreen (1280x800)
2GB DDR2 RAM
383MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS
160GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive

If the price savings is big enough, I may consider the 17" models and get 512MB on the video card. I would like to go for 7200RPM, but I am also trying to keep in mind that this is a secondary computer and mostly for on-the-go type stuff.. high-performance computing can always come back to my desktop, though it would be nice to have them as two independent computers.

Message edited by author 2007-06-18 16:19:19.
06/18/2007 04:23:02 PM · #7
Originally posted by MrEd:

Just a thought....how about getting the laptop, editing the photos and then verifying your editing on the PC? You can even put the 2 next to each other to see if there's a difference and calibrate them together.


I suppose that's possible, and probably a good way to double-check before finalizing anything on "important" photos.. but I'd also prefer that this not be necessary in general, since that would just increase my overall editing time. I do have a Spyder - I suppose I could use that on the laptop as well? It might be a pain to always bust that out everytime I show up at a coffee shop or someone's house though :p
06/18/2007 04:24:44 PM · #8
Originally posted by brianlh:

I did a little setup and so far the relevant specs include:

Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium (32-bit)
Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo T7300 (2.0GHz/4MB L2Cache)
15.4" WXGA BrightView Widescreen (1280x800)
2GB DDR2 RAM
383MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS
160GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive


Definitely go for the biggest screen you can get, although remember that this increases the size and weight of the laptop and you want portability... Resolution is what matters more than size (at least to me). The 512mb graphics card isn't going to do much of anything for photo editing, stick with what it comes with and definitely go for the 7200rpm drive. Also go for the 64bit version of windows if you can since that CPU supports 64bit operations.
06/18/2007 04:25:35 PM · #9
Originally posted by Strikeslip:

I do all of my editing on my laptop. I do get a lot of complaints about my heavy-handed PP, but that's on purpose and the people who complain suck anyway. ;-)


Have you had any problems with inconsistencies between your laptop, your desktop, and prints.. assuming the laptop is calibrated?

I just know that if I sit a little higher or a little lower while on a laptop, the brightness can change pretty dramatically. I don't have one of my own [yet?] to calibrate and compare photos on, so these have also been concerns of mine.
06/18/2007 04:29:29 PM · #10
Originally posted by SamDoe1:

Definitely go for the biggest screen you can get, although remember that this increases the size and weight of the laptop and you want portability... Resolution is what matters more than size (at least to me). The 512mb graphics card isn't going to do much of anything for photo editing, stick with what it comes with and definitely go for the 7200rpm drive. Also go for the 64bit version of windows if you can since that CPU supports 64bit operations.


Hm, that's an extra $150 though for the 64-bit. Will that make a noticeable difference in the quality of the graphics? I would certainly prefer to go with the 17", but that may also run me a couple hundred dollars extra.. I'm still not long out of school, so I'm trying to keep costs down to the necessary - though I guess a large screen for graphics editing is probably pretty necessary (since the 17" also come in larger resolutions than the 15") :P

Message edited by author 2007-06-18 16:32:03.
06/18/2007 04:39:39 PM · #11
Originally posted by brianlh:

Hm, that's an extra $150 though for the 64-bit. Will that make a noticeable difference in the quality of the graphics? I would certainly prefer to go with the 17", but that may also run me a couple hundred dollars extra.. I'm still not long out of school, so I'm trying to keep costs down to the necessary - though I guess a large screen for graphics editing is probably pretty necessary (since the 17" also come in larger resolutions than the 15") :P


Windows can be upgraded to 64 bit later on if you choose to, not all that important right now but it is the future. Is it possible to get a higher resolution in the 15.4in screen? I know HP makes it since I have it.
06/18/2007 04:46:00 PM · #12
1280 x 800 is standard for a 15.4 inch wide screen

For 17 and 19 inch 4:3 lcd desktop moniters is 1280x1024, although the 19 inch could carry a higher res.

I know alienware makes a laptop with a 17 inch display.
06/18/2007 04:47:37 PM · #13
I'm pinching my pennies for this sweet little thing...

Axiotron: ModBook
06/18/2007 04:48:22 PM · #14
Originally posted by Angadeon:

I'm pinching my pennies for this sweet little thing...

Axiotron: ModBook


Nice
06/18/2007 04:52:43 PM · #15
Originally posted by SamDoe1:

Windows can be upgraded to 64 bit later on if you choose to, not all that important right now but it is the future. Is it possible to get a higher resolution in the 15.4in screen? I know HP makes it since I have it.


They can.. but unfortunately it looks like that option is only available in the "Small & Medium Business" range of laptops, which will run me quite a bit more in cost. I do have 1280x1024 on my Desktop and haven't been displeased (though it took some getting used to, coming down from 1600x1200 when I had a CRT).

Alienware is a bit beyond what I want to spend, since their laptops are often packed for high-performance gaming (and marked up, because of their name). And the Axiotron looks very cool! But, certainly not what I need.. my drawing hasn't improved any since 3rd grade.. hehe.

Maybe I can trick my girlfriend into never using her new MacBook and just do all my processing on that :P Actually, no.. the screen on that thing is tiny!

Message edited by author 2007-06-18 16:57:06.
06/18/2007 05:11:48 PM · #16
I use a laptop exclusively because I own my own business and do a lot of work either at home or at work and need the mobility. I love using my laptop but I have never thought to compare it to my desktop. Hmmmm.
06/19/2007 12:46:48 PM · #17
Originally posted by brianlh:

Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium (32-bit)
Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo T7300 (2.0GHz/4MB L2Cache)
15.4" WXGA BrightView Widescreen (1280x800)
2GB DDR2 RAM
383MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS
160GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive

Just about what I have.
1.85 gigahertz Intel Core 2 Duo
17" Widescreen (1680x1050), though I keep it set on 1440x900
2GB DDR2 RAM
NVIDIA GeForce Go 7600
100GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive
I love it...

Message edited by author 2007-06-19 12:51:53.
06/19/2007 01:02:40 PM · #18
I cannot edit on a laptop. I've made a major mess of almost every serious laptop edit I've done. I use a Mac ibook, which isn't that great imo but I don't think that's my problem.

Since the brightness and contrast change at different viewing angles I'm not sure how people can do things consistanly unless they are viewing the screen at a steady angle that is perpendicular to the screen. Each tilt of the screen or your head should give you different results.

I can't get decent image but some people do.

Message edited by author 2007-06-19 13:05:33.
06/19/2007 02:08:29 PM · #19
Originally posted by pawdrix:

Since the brightness and contrast change at different viewing angles I'm not sure how people can do things consistanly unless they are viewing the screen at a steady angle that is perpendicular to the screen. Each tilt of the screen or your head should give you different results.


Most newer laptops have a VERY wide viewing angle that does not change with the angle you view it at unless you go to extremes.

Just for reference this is the specs of my laptop which works great for editing (although my portfolio may not show it):

Intel Core Duo 1.86GHz (not core2duo)
Windows XP Pro SP2
15.4in WUXGA widescreen display (1920x1200)
1GB DDR2 RAM (soon to be 2GB)
256MB ATi Fire GL T2 graphics card
80GB 7200rpm SATA hard drive (storage is done externally)
06/19/2007 02:15:04 PM · #20
Originally posted by SamDoe1:

Originally posted by pawdrix:

Since the brightness and contrast change at different viewing angles I'm not sure how people can do things consistanly unless they are viewing the screen at a steady angle that is perpendicular to the screen. Each tilt of the screen or your head should give you different results.


Most newer laptops have a VERY wide viewing angle that does not change with the angle you view it at unless you go to extremes.

I can go to about 45 degrees before seeing any MAJOR difference in the screen. I can still see the screen, though to much of an angle to be of use at about 80 degrees.

Added: I can read most of the forums at 80 degrees.

Message edited by author 2007-06-19 14:15:59.
06/19/2007 05:35:56 PM · #21
Hm - I guess I should consider going down to a store to check out the viewing angles on laptops before I decide upon one. My relative's discount at HP wasn't all that sizeable (about $200 off, which is nice.. but not necessarily a deal maker), so I may end up going with Dell. I found a few coupons online for them.. either $300 off a laptop of $999+ or $500 off a laptop of $1399+. I can set up a decent 17" laptop for a little under $1000 after the discount.

Anybody have experience with Vista, and know if it will be necessary to have 2GB of RAM? I know 1GB is fine in XP, but not sure how that would cope in Vista.
06/19/2007 05:38:22 PM · #22
Originally posted by brianlh:

Hm - I guess I should consider going down to a store to check out the viewing angles on laptops before I decide upon one. My relative's discount at HP wasn't all that sizeable (about $200 off, which is nice.. but not necessarily a deal maker), so I may end up going with Dell. I found a few coupons online for them.. either $300 off a laptop of $999+ or $500 off a laptop of $1399+. I can set up a decent 17" laptop for a little under $1000 after the discount.

Anybody have experience with Vista, and know if it will be necessary to have 2GB of RAM? I know 1GB is fine in XP, but not sure how that would cope in Vista.


Do not get less than 2gb of RAM with Vista! My wife only has 1 GB and her vista laptop is pegged on RAM all of the time. I have two gigs in my desktop and it is alwasy running around 50% at a minimum, and jupms up to over 80% when I am in Photoshop.
06/28/2007 10:52:36 PM · #23
I'm glad I found this thread...since I know next-to-nothing about laptops, but am wanting to buy one (mostly so I can go wireless and be lazy from the comfort of my couch), would this one be a good deal? Would it be OK for editing (I have CS2)? I'm not into the whole huge screen thing, nor do I need the most amazing or top of the line notebook...just thought I'd ask before I click "buy now." Thanks in advance for some advice. :)

Toshiba Satellite
06/28/2007 11:25:37 PM · #24
Originally posted by L1:

I'm glad I found this thread...since I know next-to-nothing about laptops, but am wanting to buy one (mostly so I can go wireless and be lazy from the comfort of my couch), would this one be a good deal? Would it be OK for editing (I have CS2)? I'm not into the whole huge screen thing, nor do I need the most amazing or top of the line notebook...just thought I'd ask before I click "buy now." Thanks in advance for some advice. :)

Toshiba Satellite


I doubt it would be very good for editing, but for what you described it would be just fine. It would run CS2 just fine, but be slow. Also not sure how nice the screen is, it for sure isn't very high resolution so that right there is a drawback.
06/29/2007 12:18:43 AM · #25
I doubt it would be very good for editing, but for what you described it would be just fine. It would run CS2 just fine, but be slow. Also not sure how nice the screen is, it for sure isn't very high resolution so that right there is a drawback. [/quote]

Thanks for the response...any other advice out there for me?
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