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Thread: Which laptop

  1. #1
    Ausphotography Addict Lplates's Avatar
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    Which laptop

    Firstly my sons call me a neanderthal regarding technology and they're right. As we will be doing a lot more travelling this year I want to invest in a decent laptop which will enable me to do some editing while away and was wondering what members who have experience in this would suggest. I'm assuming 8gb ram would be sufficient and an i7 processor. What else should I be looking for? I use windows, not Mac.
    Glenda


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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    If you like 15" touchscreen and slimness, look up the current iteration of this:
    Model: ASUS U500VZ
    Note its CoreI7 of reputable standing (not all are as they sound), and its twin SSD AND its three USB3 ports.
    A friend has a similar Mac of a few years ago (not many), and this just SHIRTFRONTS it. ( is that PC?).

    Am I telling you to buy this? No.
    Am I telling you that you could do worse than to buy this? Yes.

    Just be prepared to spend some money. This cost me $1500 odd, but I think it's cheaper now.

    Drawbacks: Prepare to spend some time getting the screen colors right, and to get the display working
    properly as lamented here: http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...ice-on-display

    This seems to have been mainly a problem with the power supply connection, now greatly reduced.

    A final point: I cannot emphasis the need for USB3 connectivity. Don't skimp on only 1 of 3 USB ports being USB3 and
    the others USB2. Then get a couple of USB3 Passport type drives. You will not look back when you see the 10X transfer speed increase over USB2.
    OK, connecting an old USB2 camera will still be slow, but add a USB3 card read to that and ZING! And to transfer between drives: USB3-USB3 is lightning.

    Am(opinionated).

    PS: The following is not opinion:

    Be very careful choosing a decent laptop. Some ***Razzle/dazzle*** specials are cheap rubbish: poor processor specs, non-HD resolution,
    few or no USB2, cheap (but "big") HDDs instead of SSDs. And even then some stores were asking premium bucks for this "clearance rubbish".
    I WAS NOT prepared to spend $1100 on such as that and willingly spent the $1500 on something worth it.

    A 2nd PS: Image processing speed is slap-down fast with this unit - even more than my friends Mac.
    Last edited by ameerat42; 04-01-2015 at 8:19pm.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    I recently had a look at the Lenovo Yoga laptops and was impressed. They seem to provide you with the best of both words - Laptop and Pad. You can either use it as a standard laptop or fold the screen over so that the keyboard is hidden behind the screen and use it as a Pad. This is for your consideration only if you see a benefit in this dual functionality. Price could also be a problem as they are between A$1700 and A$2100 when I had a look.

    With regard to RAM I would to for as much as possible. Re processor I feel that the I5 would be plenty. The I7 seems to be only important if you did a lot of parallel and concurrent processing. I use an I7 on my desktop and find that I hardly ever utilise all 8 CPUs.

    I agree that connectivity eg USB3 is just as important as the screen and nowadays an SSD instead of a HDD. You can get external drives for little money.

    Sorry I can't recommend any laptops other than the Lenovo. I am still looking.

    Christoph

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I dunno .. maybe my son is a total idiot, or just plain unlucky .. or maybe he uses his tablet as a skateboard .. or or a seat .. or maybe just a plain old punching bag/item.
    But I've never known any device to be so unbelievably unreliable! he's had to have the SSD drive replaced about 6 times over the course of the 10months of the school year!

    it's one of those Dell something or other touch screen 11" things a model just prior to the latest model.

    So .. a while back I used to have good things to say about Dell mobile PCs. I've had many folks have them, and they seem to work more than reliably.
    Most of the laptops I've had to fix, have been Toshibas and Acers .. but even that .. they were old bangers which the owners just wanted to keep going just a bit longer before they upgraded them.

    Now .. that same son(of mine) has an ASUS laptop for well over 3 years now. It's had a few bruises and scars .. nothing overly painful looking, but definitely hasn't been kept insulated in a hermetically sealed cloud and duck down environment.
    Never a problem .. he's loaded so much garbage onto it with his incessant gaming needs .. which then brings me to it's usage pattern. Sounds impossible, but 25 hours per day usage when he's with me. He's truly incredible how much stamina he has for his gaming mania!

    So on the one hand, his Dell tablet with SSD storage has needed 6 new drives in 10months .. yet his more heavily used laptop(for his gaming) with spinning drive has been rock solid and unwavering in it's performance.
    While his laptop is an i7, it still doesn't feel as quick as my AMD powered dinosaur desktop .. but then again I have quite speedy drives on this desktop so could be the difference.
    But his lappy has more than enough speed for most folks.

    My daughter has been handed down an even older ASUS laptop of even older vintage(I think about 5 or 6 years old now) .. I had a quick tune up session with it the other day, and it felt slow now(but that's to be expected).
    At $400 and with a mobile AMD CPU .. more than expected. But again .. it's still going strong(enough for her).

    I don't know about others experiences .. but my first choice of laptop/mobile/tablet type device is now ASUS.

    Lplates! .. you haven't really given any indication of price range.

    i7 is good, but not always the advantage it appears to be. i5's are as good, cheaper and can use far less power ... hence longer battery life per charge. This may be important in some way if 'traveling'.
    It's all about balance.

    For me at the moment, I like the ASUS Transformer Book Flip TP500LN. Or the cheaper and slightly lighter LA version.
    (only difference btw them is the LN has a graphics card, LA has integrated graphics chip)
    I like bigger screens(14" minimum .. 15" better).
    As the name suggests it also flips to work like a tablet if desired.
    For a rough price guide .. Scorptech(not the cheapest PC retailer around) have the more expensive LN model with i7 for $1199.



    FWIW: I'll slightly contradict Am about the USB3 ports.
    I've found that 1 of them has always been enough. That is, I always use a mouse on a laptop when I use them(not often tho), as I hate those trackpad thingies.
    and with other peripherals connected to the usually other 2 USB ports .. when I need to connect an external storage device, it's only ever been one item and this one goes to the USB3 port because of it's speed. The other peripherals(mouse/keyboard/headphones/Bt adapter .. whatever) don't really need speed the way an external storage device does.
    But more importantly .. many of the off the shelf USB hard drives will usually only have very slow 5000RPM 'green' or eco-friendly drives.
    That is, while it may be USB3 connection, it's speed is not usually at the blazing speed USB3 is capable of.
    Some of those drives can only write at about 30(or so) Mb/s .. and while this is faster than USB2 can transfer .. it's not a lot faster. So the advantage of having the USB3 isn't fully realised.

    As a comparison, I have a USB3 case, which I use a WD black 2T drive. This drive connected to USB3 can write at a sustained 80+Mb/s.
    Compared to an off the shelf USB hdd, that's nearly 3x faster. That one hour transfer now only takes 20mins.

    But my slowest drive .. a WD green I can connect either via USB3 or USB2. On USB3 it only gives me 30-ish Mb/s .. sometimes 35Mb/s sometimes only 25ish. the actual files make a difference .. but it's not all that much different in real terms.
    On USB2 it may take one hour to do the transfer .. on USB3 it may take 50mins or so. The difference is not as marked as it is for the faster(physical) drive .. because the drive is not made for performance. It's cheaper .. and as it's an always on drive uses much less power(why I got it).
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    Thanks everyone. I was leaning towards Asus - bought one years ago on somebody's recommentation for my eldest son when he started uni and it was good.
    At least I now have some more info to arm myself with before heading to the stores - or more likely on line as we have very limited retailers here.

    "I dunno .. maybe my son is a total idiot, or just plain unlucky .. or maybe he uses his tablet as a skateboard .. or or a seat .. or maybe just a plain old punching bag/item.
    But I've never known any device to be so unbelievably unreliable! he's had to have the SSD drive replaced about 6 times over the course of the 10months of the school year!" He's a boy Arthur - that's all the reason you need. Had 3 and gentle nurturing carers of their equipment they never were

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    I run both a Surface Pro 3 (Business) and a Macbook Air (Personal) and I'd recommend both if you want something compact. They aren't on the low end of the scale so I guess it depends on what you want to do with it. Both are capable of running photoshop and lightroom as they have i7 8GB configurations. Realistically 24" screens are dirt cheap these days so it's easy enough to plug into an external when you're at home for photo editing. They both also have SSD's so the performance is top notch.

    Depending on the kind of travel, the Surface Pro 3 has the advantage of doubling as a tablet on planes and has a retina display.
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    D750 Shines cupic's Avatar
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    For the money I would go with the Macbook pro with retina display.I mean the colour pops out in living colour.
    Expect to pay around the 1500 if you find a nice JB HIFI Saleperson.For the money you get the SSD drive and 8gb of ram.Surge a bit more and you double the ram to 16 gb is optimal results.this is the 13" monitor size .Great battery life approx 9hr less if your into video .Its a mine field and lots to investigate ...good luck



    cheers



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    Fishy bricat's Avatar
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    I have a HP laptop 17" screen etc etc Probably 6 years plus old now but the main thing is it is heavy. On a recent trip O/S I relied on my wife's I PAD. Big mistake as could not connect with camera. However I might have been over-weight for carry on with all camera gear etc and compuuter. I updated one of my drives to an SSD a few years ago so make sure you can upgrade should/when technology gets better. And I dislike those flick-screen Ipads, Ipods whatever they are called. cheers Brian
    Cheers Brian.

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bricat View Post
    I have a HP laptop 17" screen etc etc Probably 6 years plus old now but the main thing is it is heavy. On a recent trip O/S I relied on my wife's I PAD. Big mistake as could not connect with camera. However I might have been over-weight for carry on with all camera gear etc and compuuter. I updated one of my drives to an SSD a few years ago so make sure you can upgrade should/when technology gets better. And I dislike those flick-screen Ipads, Ipods whatever they are called. cheers Brian
    Did you get the camera connection kit. I've never had issues connecting cameras to an iPad and storing my photos. With the iPads moving up to 128GB, it makes a suitable temporary photo storage for long trips if you have one, although its not my first choice.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cupic View Post
    For the money I would go with the Macbook pro with retina display.I mean the colour pops out in living colour.
    ......

    While this is both true and important, there is one major point to consider about colour accuracy with laptops.

    Accurate colour rendering is highly dependent on your operating environment!

    On a desktop, the implication is that your computer is fixed, and that the room lighting is also fixed.
    (you may change the lightbulb to another type, but overall the room lighting is pretty much stable)

    When you calibrate your desktop's monitor, it'll be done under certain lighting conditions(eg. nightime with the room light as the main lighting source)
    If you view your images at midday tho(on the desktop) and you can't black out the room from the brightness of daylight your room's lighting conditions will almost certainly be different to the night time room light bulb conditions you calibrated your screen with.
    The result is that your screen, while it's calibrated, is not calibrated accurately for the daytime conditions .. colours are not 'accurate' any more.
    They may be close, but not accurate.

    Consider now a laptop .. which by it's very definition implies that you use it for the simple reason it's a mobile computing platform.
    Use it outside, use it at your friends house, or in your caravan on the other side of the country .. lighting conditions are almost certain to vary from one location to another compounding the variable lighting conditions between day/night as well.

    I find the idea of an IPS display on a mobile computer device where the expectation of perfect colour reproduction to be a bit of a waste! You'll never get it, unless you're willing to calibrate the screen every single time you edit your images.
    If the device has it .. well and good, and you calibrate the screen for an environment which you will be likely to do accurate editing, but don't think of it as a panacea of some kind.

    Other manufacturers have high powered 13" IPS ultra portables for under $1000 .. with removable screens.

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    Fishy bricat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    Did you get the camera connection kit. I've never had issues connecting cameras to an iPad and storing my photos. With the iPads moving up to 128GB, it makes a suitable temporary photo storage for long trips if you have one, although its not my first choice.
    Could not find one in Alaska or Canada for that matter. I bought a portable hard drive but of course I Pad don't have USB connections. (HE may have been very smart but stupid also) Got MMC files transferred by computer shop where I purchased H/D MEMO to self "check before you leave"

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    D750 Shines cupic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    While this is both true and important, there is one major point to consider about colour accuracy with laptops.

    Accurate colour rendering is highly dependent on your operating environment!

    On a desktop, the implication is that your computer is fixed, and that the room lighting is also fixed.
    (you may change the lightbulb to another type, but overall the room lighting is pretty much stable)

    When you calibrate your desktop's monitor, it'll be done under certain lighting conditions(eg. nightime with the room light as the main lighting source)
    If you view your images at midday tho(on the desktop) and you can't black out the room from the brightness of daylight your room's lighting conditions will almost certainly be different to the night time room light bulb conditions you calibrated your screen with.
    The result is that your screen, while it's calibrated, is not calibrated accurately for the daytime conditions .. colours are not 'accurate' any more.
    They may be close, but not accurate.

    Consider now a laptop .. which by it's very definition implies that you use it for the simple reason it's a mobile computing platform.
    Use it outside, use it at your friends house, or in your caravan on the other side of the country .. lighting conditions are almost certain to vary from one location to another compounding the variable lighting conditions between day/night as well.

    I find the idea of an IPS display on a mobile computer device where the expectation of perfect colour reproduction to be a bit of a waste! You'll never get it, unless you're willing to calibrate the screen every single time you edit your images.
    If the device has it .. well and good, and you calibrate the screen for an environment which you will be likely to do accurate editing, but don't think of it as a panacea of some kind.

    Other manufacturers have high powered 13" IPS ultra portables for under $1000 .. with removable screens.


    Life is always easier when you can calibrate your monitors with Spyder 4 pro
    So its living colour all the way


    cheers

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    Member michaellxv's Avatar
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    I find buying a laptop is a bit of a mine field. From my experience there is no direct relationship between price and performance. The best buy can change from day to day and certainly from week to week. No two retailers will have exactly the same model for price comparison. For the uninitiated not all i5's or i7's are equal, even the oft quoted speed is not a true indicator.

    So how do I do it? A lot of web work is involved. I set up a spreadsheet of the specs that are important to me and start gathering detailed specs from the retailers web site and also the manufacturer web site, they don't always agree. Don't look at the front page glossy specs on the retailers front page, dig down to the full spec listing. If they don't have it they miss out. Then I give each spec a weighting to normalise the values so you can compare RAM in Mb to HDD in Gb/Tb etc and come up with a performance score for each model. You can play with the weights depending on what is most important to you and see what it does to the score although usualy you start to see a clear pattern of which components are of most benefit to you.

    For the CPU and graphics card score I go here http://cpubenchmark.net/ find the specific processor and graphics card model and look it up. You will see that some i5's perform better than some i7's and you can see where the AMD's slot in.

    Finally I look up the price and find the cheapest price for each model then divide the price by the performance number and you can see just how much you are paying for that leap in performance or those extra USB3 ports. You can also see where the bargains are and which ones are way over priced.

    Full disclosure. I work for one of the major manufacturers although not in the relevent division so I won't be commenting on different brands. Choosing between brands is something I haven't had to do for a while so I don't know how you would score that.

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaellxv View Post
    I find buying a laptop is a bit of a mine field. From my experience there is no direct relationship between price and performance. The best buy can change from day to day and certainly from week to week. No two retailers will have exactly the same model for price comparison. For the uninitiated not all i5's or i7's are equal, even the oft quoted speed is not a true indicator.

    So how do I do it? A lot of web work is involved. I set up a spreadsheet of the specs that are important to me and start gathering detailed specs from the retailers web site and also the manufacturer web site, they don't always agree. Don't look at the front page glossy specs on the retailers front page, dig down to the full spec listing. If they don't have it they miss out. Then I give each spec a weighting to normalise the values so you can compare RAM in Mb to HDD in Gb/Tb etc and come up with a performance score for each model. You can play with the weights depending on what is most important to you and see what it does to the score although usualy you start to see a clear pattern of which components are of most benefit to you.

    For the CPU and graphics card score I go here http://cpubenchmark.net/ find the specific processor and graphics card model and look it up. You will see that some i5's perform better than some i7's and you can see where the AMD's slot in.

    Finally I look up the price and find the cheapest price for each model then divide the price by the performance number and you can see just how much you are paying for that leap in performance or those extra USB3 ports. You can also see where the bargains are and which ones are way over priced.

    Full disclosure. I work for one of the major manufacturers although not in the relevent division so I won't be commenting on different brands. Choosing between brands is something I haven't had to do for a while so I don't know how you would score that.
    I agree. It's price vs quality but there are some aspects that price obviously has a major impact on that do impact performance like the use of SSD.

    I think some brands also do a better job of matching components together which is similar to where the cpubenchmarks come into play. As an example, PC magazine's top performing windows desktop was actually a Mac Pro which beat similar specced clones because Apple had done a better job of matching components to make sure they worked optimally together.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    I agree. It's price vs quality but there are some aspects that price obviously has a major impact on that do impact performance like the use of SSD.
    Apart from the multiple "impacts", I also "agree" to the extent that the price reflects some better quality componentry - such as a (good) SSD, CPU, good RAM, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    I think some brands also do a better job of matching components together which is similar to where the cpubenchmarks come into play. As an example, PC magazine's top performing windows desktop was actually a Mac Pro which beat similar specced clones because Apple had done a better job of matching components to make sure they worked optimally together.
    But this sounds like a case of going from a specific - what PC Mag did there - to a generalisation on the quality of a brand. At the end you then restate that Apple had excelled in this instance only.

    In conclusion you show that brand is not necessarily of paramount importance.

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    Apart from the multiple "impacts", I also "agree" to the extent that the price reflects some better quality componentry - such as a (good) SSD, CPU, good RAM, etc.



    But this sounds like a case of going from a specific - what PC Mag did there - to a generalisation on the quality of a brand. At the end you then restate that Apple had excelled in this instance only.

    In conclusion you show that brand is not necessarily of paramount importance.
    Depends on whether that is what Apple always does. These days they do because most of their gear is built to spec and non-replaceable

    In all honestly though, I have heard that some of the premium brands (not just Apple) do put more work into these kinds of choices whereas the budget end of the market is often a price war for the cheapest component because there isn't much margin to play with. Whether that's true or not is a different question.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cupic View Post
    Life is always easier when you can calibrate your monitors with Spyder 4 pro
    ......
    Spyder 4 is basically a slightly improved Spyder 4(in terms of hardware) .. and I have the Spyder 3(with the Pro software).

    I actually prefer not to use the software actually, as BasICColor does a better job of calibration(more accurate and stable).

    But I get the point of your comment .. the light meter feature can be handy for calibrating in varying light conditions.
    I've already partly alluded to this, and my point is that it's not quite as easy as it should be.
    You can create calibration points for varying lighting conditions and switch between one type and another quite easily, but then for 'accurate' colour reproduction the conditions need to be identical. They almost certainly won't be tho!
    So any pre set calibration point is again only a rough estimate. eg. if you calibrate for a sunset conditions whilst in your teak coloured caravan, not every sunset around the country will have the exact same lighting environment .. so to be to be truly 'accurate' you need to spend the time calibrating for every different environment.

    I personally couldn't think of anything more tedious!

    I personally don't do it, even tho I could.
    I have mine set for when it's dark outside, I have my study windows blocked from outside light as best as I can so that the room light is the dominant light source on the screen.
    All my major editing is done once it gets dark. I sort through and do preliminary edits during the day, knowing that the screen is not 100% right .. but will double check images later when I know my screen is more accurate.

    FWIW tho, don't get me wrong, I agree with the sentiment you're making .. a better screen is always better(obvious I know) .. but there are limits.
    I've seen my images both on calibrated high end screens and lower end screens, and in prints(which is really the major purpose for calibration) and sometimes the higher end screens arent' the be all and end all that should be considered.

    My daughters (ASUS)laptop screen is atrocious in terms of image rendering, and my sons more expensive (ASUS)screen calibrates well enough to be considered accurate. Both of the TN type tho, ie. not the much revered IPS types we photographers lust after.

    The ASUS convertible tablet/tops I referred too have IPS type screens.

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