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04-10-2015, 05:08 PM   #16
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Backup!

Also if you are going to be spending money on a new (or maybe even consider a high end reconditioned workstation) please have a serious think about backup.

I know so many people who just rely on the internal disk and an external, and then lose everything, all their kids photos, everything.

I have a workstation i'm just building (not recommending it, just explaining how I operate) to replace my old one

It contains 4x SSD's (boot and scratch drives in RAID 1 - Mirrored raid so I can lose 1 drive out of each 2 drive set and rebuild the data)
12x 2tb hard drives in Raid 6 - I can lose any 2 drives from the set - replace them and rebuild the data

I have a separate mini server (HP microserver) running freenas with 5x 3tb hard drives, that receives a backup of all important information (including photos) daily. the 5x hard drives are running RAIDZ (ZFS raid 5 equivalent) so again I can lose a single drive and recover the info by replacing the drive.

The most important stuff from the microserver is then re copied onto a 2tb external drive

Then items like our business stuff is then backed up to drop box or google drive.

My next step will be having a backup system outside of the house in case of fire, but with day time temps in the summer of up to 45degC its proving to be a problem!

So in a very long winded way, what I am saying is serioiusly think about your back up, even if its a preconfigured commercial system such as a synology, qnap, netgear NAS device to back up onto (preferably automated) and some cloud backup

Oh and I also went with the Creative Cloud $9.99 monthly plan as I have been a long time Lightroom user as well as use photoshop quite extensively. I dont need to then pay for upgrades in a lump so my opinion was it was reasonable value.

Just my 2 cents worth

Steve

04-10-2015, 06:18 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by ckschempp Quote
You all are SO helpful! I'm a little surprised that no one mentioned Mac- I thought photographers were into Macs Guess it's time to go shopping!
I'm a lifelong musician, so my "good" computers are Macs. I have PCs for work and astronomy, but they are "just good enough", so a comparison isn't fair. I can second the bit about the screen - so long as you're thick skinned. When I moved to the 5K mac, I was really excited to see the difference. The K-50 and K-3 both produced great images on the macbook (and 8x10 prints). When I moved to the 5k, I found out I kinda' suck. The upside is I have slowed down. I really think about what things are going to look like on the bigger, sharper screen before I push the shutter release.

If you don't mind the death sentence from Cupertino, Aperture is great. It is slower than Light Room on the same machine, but decidedly easier to use. The organization is far more intuitive. Having said all of that, I moved to Light Room. Utility and ongoing development trumped ease of use.

If you go the PC route, give Raw Therapee a look. I use it at work (technical photos). It gives remarkable results on my "just good enough" PC.
04-10-2015, 08:14 PM   #18
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Computer-wise the most important thing is RAM. I recently upgraded from a Core 2 Duo 3Ghz processor to an i7 4770 and didn't see a huge upgrade speed-wise BUT my old computer maxed out at 8GB RAM and I upgraded to 24GB RAM (though 16GB should suffice) and that's where the difference is. Keep in mind that is is with a desktop computer. Laptop processors tend to lag behind desktop processors because they have to be efficient to conserve battery power and are packed into smaller packages. So any desktop with a processor in the past few years and 16GB RAM and you should be okay. Laptops are a different story and I can't comment on them. Never had much luck with laptops and them being powerful.
04-10-2015, 08:27 PM   #19
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One last question... Do I need to buy a RAW converter if I want to use LR or PS? I always shoot in RAW.

04-10-2015, 09:08 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by ckschempp Quote
One last question... Do I need to buy a RAW converter if I want to use LR or PS? I always shoot in RAW.
LR is a raw converter, and image management system. PS is a graphics program that works well with the various image formats, and its ACR raw conversion is very basic. A lot of photographers assume that the Adobe products are the only logical option for RAW processing. You can trial other RAW conversion programs for free, and you are likely to find that some great strides have been made in recent years over those Adobe products. The other major programs have been diligent about quality profiling for brands other than Canon, Nikon and Sony, but Adobe hasn't taken the competition (most notably Fuji and Pentax) seriously in recent years.

If you want the most out of the K-3 sensor, the other converters will deliver more detail and color accuracy - and several will do so without taxing your computer to the extent of LR - which is not well optimised for modern quad-core processors. You tend not to see the difference between the K-3 and the earlier 16mp sensor when using LR (which was my main raw processor for many years until it fell so far behind), but the better products get more subtle detail out of the image.

As for picking a computer that will work best with digital processing, be very careful in selecting your desktop monitor/screen, and especially so if you plan to stick with a laptop. At a minimum you need IPS, and pretty much none of the Mac laptops will give you precise color and contrast accuracy. The standard gamma is 2.2 and Mac insists on artificial brilliance at 1.8 - which is not industry standard. The workarounds aren't easy.

I don't know what to say about the recommendation to use Aperture which hadn't been meaningfully updated in several years before it was mercifully discontinued. We're 10 days past April Fools, so I don't get the joke.
04-10-2015, 10:12 PM   #21
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I've been an IT guy and am a software engineer now. I use computers a lot.

Lots of good info here, and I agree almost any modern computer will be plenty. I usually get last year's top model or this year's second from the top. The top one is always overpriced.
Get an external drive to backup the whole PC and implement a backup plan right away. Automated is the way to go, you may need to buy software for that but some drives come with it.
Cloud backup sounds nice but you lose some control and it can be slow if you have a lot of photos, especially raw files.
Get the OS (Mac/Win) you are comfortable with. It doesn't matter once you are in Photoshop or Lightroom. Get Lightroom at the very least, maybe add PS later or just subscribe for both.
A monitor calibration system is nice, especially if you print or get prints made. I have a Huey, I hear the Spyder one is good too. Calibration is probably more important than a fancy monitor IMO.
Don't get a laptop unless you really need the portability. You pay more for less and have fewer upgrade options down the road compared to a desktop.
04-10-2015, 11:59 PM   #22
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Leave some money over to get a nice wide gamut color accurate screen and calibration device. It makes a world of difference being able to see the correct colours on your screen and when printing. It also shows up those who run poorly calibrated monitors too..
04-11-2015, 12:51 AM   #23
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I bought an external sata enclosure for manually backing up: [Optimized For SSD, Support UASP SATA III] Inateck 2.5 Inch USB 3.0 Hard Drive Disk HDD External Enclosure Case with usb 3.0 Cable for 9.5mm 7mm 2.5" SATA HDD and SSD, Tool-free HDD Installation, Compatible With Windows 2000/ XP /Vista/ 7/ 8, Mac OS
Useful for copying between computers as well, for additional backups?

Having gone through my photos since 2007 to delete duplicates and a lot of clutter, I've about 6000 photos left, 36GB of JPGs.
I think the RAW files aren't worth keeping, just use them to produce good JPGs?

256GB SSD's aren't too expensive, but 1TB seem to be 300+. Too many bad reviews on mechanical drives failing.

04-11-2015, 01:15 AM   #24
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Not wanting to derail the thread but just curious as to why advised on an i7 and not an i3 or i5?

Do LR/Photoshop (and others) use the extra cores? If not, I would think it's quite useless to buy an i7 and an i3/i5 would just be as suited.
04-11-2015, 04:58 AM   #25
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I had this very same issue when I got my K3, well in fact it was an issue waiting to be resolved before that but budgets needed to be funded and that takes time :-( There's lot's of good advice on here but I thought I would just add my list as I have been very happy with what I now have for over a year.

Having had like you, a very very old PC and mine had a pathetic amount of RAM etc I decided I wasn't going to struggle anymore with my PC being rendered a useless piece of metal which just made noises and wasted my time.

What I have now does a very nice job thank you; I'm sure people might say you don't need all of that and they might be right but hey I am very very happy with what I have, it works and works very well, I don't spend my time fighting with technology when I just want to get a job done so this is what I now have:

Mac book pro 15inch Retina (late 2013) - This monitor can be calibrated by third party monitor calibration equipment - worth doing.
2.3 GHz Intel Core i7
16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2048 MB
500 Gigabyte Solid State drive
External 3 Terabyte storage + another 1 Terabyte external drive which are synched
24'' external monitor - nothing special but will soon be replaced by a monitor that can be calibrated, those budgets again

This just sings along without a worry, I thought about an apple desktop but negations with my wife and the fact we don't have much space forced the laptop route but it still works well. The SSD memory is excellent, quick, robust and quiet :-) oh I do like quiet.

My only issue is that the internal 500 Gigabytes of SSD is too small for my photo collection, which in a way might be a good thing and not an issue if I wasn't so lazy, it means you need some discipline in managing your photo collections and having multiple copies of them synched for security.

As for using the cloud for my photo collection well that's just a joke the cost and performance issues make it a non starter.

Software:
Since the sad demise of Aperture's future I have been a refugee in search of a new workflow home, I shoot in RAW or RAW + Jpeg; I have procrastinated but it comes down to Lightroom or capture One or maybe the new Affinity Photo by Serif (Beta) (Mac only) .. did I say I procrastinated? I would advise getting the 30 day trials and have a proper play.

Good luck
04-11-2015, 06:56 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
Not wanting to derail the thread but just curious as to why advised on an i7 and not an i3 or i5?

Do LR/Photoshop (and others) use the extra cores? If not, I would think it's quite useless to buy an i7 and an i3/i5 would just be as suited.
They don't but for sure they will in the future... As OP wanted to use computer for longer than 1-2 years, therefore i7.

All the best.
04-11-2015, 07:30 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by ckschempp Quote
You all are SO helpful! I'm a little surprised that no one mentioned Mac- I thought photographers were into Macs Guess it's time to go shopping!
I switched to a macbook pro 13 last year. At home I use it with a 27 inch Dell. I like it much more than windows.
04-11-2015, 07:51 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by PT1 Quote
I bought an external sata enclosure for manually backing up: [Optimized For SSD, Support UASP SATA III] Inateck 2.5 Inch USB 3.0 Hard Drive Disk HDD External Enclosure Case with usb 3.0 Cable for 9.5mm 7mm 2.5" SATA HDD and SSD, Tool-free HDD Installation, Compatible With Windows 2000/ XP /Vista/ 7/ 8, Mac OS
Useful for copying between computers as well, for additional backups?

Having gone through my photos since 2007 to delete duplicates and a lot of clutter, I've about 6000 photos left, 36GB of JPGs.
I think the RAW files aren't worth keeping, just use them to produce good JPGs?

256GB SSD's aren't too expensive, but 1TB seem to be 300+. Too many bad reviews on mechanical drives failing.
For the price of a 256gb ssd + enclosure you can get two 1TB external hard drives (or thereabouts, local pricing and deals may vary). I'd take 2 external mechanical drives as backup over one SSD. Keep one off site, one on-site and rotate every few weeks to keep your offsite backup fresh. The odds of both hard drives simultaneously failing will be pretty teenie. Extra-redundancy is a good thing.

Your preferences may vary, but I keep all my raw files. Processing algorithms slowly improve over the years, and my own tastes/skills also adjust, so being able to go back and re-work a raw is useful.
04-11-2015, 08:09 AM   #29
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First thing. Don't use Linux, Darktable and JPG. I have first gen i7 machine with 32G memory K-3 JPGs consume a lot of it.

System is on 2x300G SAS RAID1 and data is stored over network to other computer. So that is just a normal dumpster server

QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
Not wanting to derail the thread but just curious as to why advised on an i7 and not an i3 or i5?

Do LR/Photoshop (and others) use the extra cores? If not, I would think it's quite useless to buy an i7 and an i3/i5 would just be as suited.
Not that graphics aren't multithreaded but other software (OS, display clock, terminal windows) might want to get their CPU time.
Anyway now I can use that machine something else than just Darktable when I switched slower i7 from i5.

My biggest problem so far has been display which doesn't stay in calibration and doesn't have the colour space.

In windows world the speed difference might be different.
04-11-2015, 10:07 AM - 1 Like   #30
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Everyone usually seems to go mainstream with Windows and LR, but I can highly recommend the open source darktable if your on Linux! I've used the 3.x versions of LR before and recently tried the latest 5.x of LR to process a few K-3 raws and didn't care for the over all experience or end result of my edits compared to latest build of DT. To be honest though unless your some what familiar with Linux stick to the mainstream.

My PC has an Intel I5-3570K CPU @4.2Ghz, 32GB of DDR3 ram @2400Ghz and a GeForce GTX 760 w/ 2GB GDDR5 ram. It more than meets all my computing needs, but I can tell you the amount of ram is important. I've monitored my processes and ram usage when editing Pentax K-3 raw images to see ram usage reach as high as 24Gb or more with the larger raw sized files. I've noticed 32Gb to be snappier, but everything ran fine with 16Gb of ram previously and IMO would suggest that amount minimum for smooth raw edits and operations specially since Windows tends to devour ram.

Whatever you decide hope its a good fit so it doesn't get in the way of the fun of photography and your edits.
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