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04-10-2015, 01:50 PM   #1
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computer buying advice for k3

My current toshiba laptop from 2006 is not cutting it. I have had my k3 for 2 months and am not liking the silkypix that came with it. I tried to download an older, free PS, but that tied up my computer so as to render it non-functional. I downloaded a 2 week trial of photoninja, which worked fine, but it was also slowing down my computer.
We just got a hefty check from IRS and nice hubby agrees I should get a computer specifically for my new-found hobby
What should I get? What are all the accessories that hobbyists use? Should I go for PS or something else? What about storage- cloud or hard drive? External?
Crazy how much I don't know, but I'm the type that just has to dive in and start doing in order to learn.
This will be a whole new ball game for me, but I want to aim for the stars and see how far I can take this.
Thanks!!

04-10-2015, 02:04 PM   #2
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I'd recommend Lightroom, but you will have to check your computer's specifications. The next version of Lightroom will require 64 bit Windows.

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04-10-2015, 02:07 PM   #3
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I can't give you specific PC recommendations, but get one that handles graphics well and has a lot of RAM and as much storage space as you can, larger hard drives also help the computer run faster. If you go with a laptop make sure you have some extra storage capacity like external hard drives.

I would recommend Lightroom for processing, Photoshop is more than you need for just photography, but if you plan on doing posters or advertising, things like that, it's great.There are a lot of other software apps that work with Lightroom, or separately that I can't talk about from experience, but you'll get suggestions. What ever you get, develop a workflow and organize you storage as fast as you can.
04-10-2015, 02:13 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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Any modern desktop with a good screen will be more than enough. 2006 is a long time ago.

If you want actual suggestions for a real top notch computer: Intel i7 processor, 16gb RAM, an SSD drive for the OS and a 1 or 2 TB hard drive for storage. If you can possibly swing it get the SSD, nothing I have ever seen has improved the speed of a computer like it. That is plenty and you can certainly get by with less. Don't worry over much about the graphic card unless you are going to do 3-D renders or heavy (really heavy) Photoshop work. Lightroom, at least last I heard does not even use the GPU so it does not matter.

The screen is more important than most people realize. More important than the computer IMHO. I like the Dell Ultrasharp line but there are lots of good ones. Just do not cheap out on the screen if you are going to be processing images. Get a good one that will last you. Also, get a monitor calibration tool. Spyder or something else, a calibrated monitor is required to develop images IMHO.

For back up an external 2tb USB drive is standard, but cloud storage should also be considered depending on how serious you are. Lot's of ways to do cloud, many of them free. If you are an Amazon Prime member you get unlimited storage.

For software, get a copy of Lightroom and learn to use it. Unless you are really into graphic design and layers and creative work Photoshop is massive overkill. If you think you want to get into Photoshop type things try the $9.99 a month Lightroom / Photoshop bundle. But honestly, just get Lightroom, it handles 95% of what most photographers do anyway. After you have learned LR and find you still want more then get Photoshop. But you need Lightroom anyway for the catalog and retrieval functions so start there.

04-10-2015, 02:15 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ckschempp Quote
My current toshiba laptop from 2006 is not cutting it. I have had my k3 for 2 months and am not liking the silkypix that came with it. I tried to download an older, free PS, but that tied up my computer so as to render it non-functional. I downloaded a 2 week trial of photoninja, which worked fine, but it was also slowing down my computer.
We just got a hefty check from IRS and nice hubby agrees I should get a computer specifically for my new-found hobby
What should I get? What are all the accessories that hobbyists use? Should I go for PS or something else? What about storage- cloud or hard drive? External?
Crazy how much I don't know, but I'm the type that just has to dive in and start doing in order to learn.
This will be a whole new ball game for me, but I want to aim for the stars and see how far I can take this.
Thanks!!
Photoshop + Lightroom is a powerful combo and you essentially get the latter for free if you subscribe to Creative Cloud.

If you go to a B&M store, most modern desktops/laptops (not counting ultrabooks) there should be just fine for basic image processing. With that said, if you want the best performance, get something with an SSD drive (greatly speeds up file transfer from an SD card to your computer as well as file browsing), >=8Gb of RAM (so you can have multiple files open without slowing down), and a dedicated graphics card (useful for dual monitor setups, also used by Photoshop for certain tasks). Modern CPUs are usually not going to be the bottleneck, but the higher the clock frequency, the better. Ironically, sometimes an i5 can be faster than an i7, but I don't think this will have any practical effect in your case. Try getting an i5 over an i3 though.

Both my desktop and my laptop have SSD's now, but I installed them myself as it's cheaper than what OEM's charge, and not every computer is available with one yet. So, if you have a friend who knows his/her way around computers, buying your SSD separately and having them replace your hard drive would be the way to go. In my opinion replacing your hard drive with an SSD is the single biggest hardware upgrade you can make, since files open lightning-fast and your boot time goes from 1-2 minutes down to around 15 seconds.

I use external drives for long-term image storage since they're big and cheap.

TLDR here's a great desktop that's currently on sale:
XPS 8700 Performance Desktop | Dell

Adam
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04-10-2015, 02:21 PM   #6
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I agree with Jatrax's recommendations. The K-3's 24MP files will require a fair bit of horsepower to be processed, especially in raw mode. If you can afford it, go for an i7 system with at least 16 GB ram.

Adobe Lightroom is my goto program for virtually all my photo processing and asset management. The initial cost is quite low and each time there is a major revision, it's around $80 to upgrade. Well worth every penny and certainly less expensive than photoshop.

With Lightroom 6 just around the corner, you may also want to invest in a decent graphics card since it is purported to use the extra processing power and may result in a significant speed increase in your workflow.

Granted, this system would likely be a desktop unit, but the advantage is that you can get a wide-gamut monitor which is really beneficial for accurate color previewing. Moreover, dollar for dollar, you are going to get more bang for your buck compared against a laptop system.
04-10-2015, 02:24 PM   #7
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I prefer open source solutions (in general) and I am pretty happy with Rawtherapee+Gimp(+geeqie) combo. I am using linux though..but rawtherapee and gimp work on windows as well...
As for the hardware, I would recommend you to invest in a good monitor (and calibrate it)..I think any recent hardware is capable to work relatively fast these days ( for hobbyist, at least)
04-10-2015, 02:54 PM   #8
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Some good recommendations made already.
I'll make a few general observations... Don't try to buy at the bleeding edge - those cost way too much $$$ just to have the latest slightly better setup. However don't buy the el-cheapo system that is almost redundant already. Personally I try to buy the not quite newest generation of computers... tends to have a good $ to performance ratio.
Personally I will take a laptop over desktop, but I like to take my computer with me... I can show off pictures just about anywhere - I even hook it up to my big screen tv via hdmi cord for fun slideshows (It's also amazing comparing photos at that size... we pick our favorite vacation photos on the TV because it shows so much detail)... Also bring it with me on vacation sometimes so I can look at the photos I've taken in the evenings...
At my desk I have an external 23" flatscreen. Really nice working with lightroom when you have 2 monitors - playing with stuff on one screen while the other shows the "finished" product in it's full glory.
Other stuff has been mentioned... Hard drives are great, but an external storage solution can take care of that handily. My hard-drive in my laptop is "only" 750GB, but I have a 3TB external drive set up on our network... an SSD drive would be great (don't have one) it is much faster than typical hard drives. A good graphics card built in (yes even laptops have decent graphics cards if you shop around) again you don't need the latest / greatest graphics card, but something recent so it will still work with new software in 2-3 years.
I notice you have a toshiba laptop... I personally prefer them... they still make some really good equipment (we own 6 of them - gave my 2007 toshiba to my father-in-law to play basic games and surf on).
I also have lightroom, which I highly recommend for processing photos.

04-10-2015, 02:57 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ckschempp Quote
My current toshiba laptop from 2006 is not cutting it. I have had my k3 for 2 months and am not liking the silkypix that came with it. I tried to download an older, free PS, but that tied up my computer so as to render it non-functional. I downloaded a 2 week trial of photoninja, which worked fine, but it was also slowing down my computer.
We just got a hefty check from IRS and nice hubby agrees I should get a computer specifically for my new-found hobby
What should I get? What are all the accessories that hobbyists use? Should I go for PS or something else? What about storage- cloud or hard drive? External?
Crazy how much I don't know, but I'm the type that just has to dive in and start doing in order to learn.
This will be a whole new ball game for me, but I want to aim for the stars and see how far I can take this.
Thanks!!
A quad core Dell, Latitude, XPS or Precision will really help your workflow immensely, preferably with OS running on solid state hard drive, 8gb of ram and an 2+ GByte external for storate. Hook a nice 24"-27" monitor and you'll be all set.
04-10-2015, 03:50 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Any modern desktop with a good screen will be more than enough. 2006 is a long time ago.

If you want actual suggestions for a real top notch computer: Intel i7 processor, 16gb RAM, an SSD drive for the OS and a 1 or 2 TB hard drive for storage. If you can possibly swing it get the SSD, nothing I have ever seen has improved the speed of a computer like it. That is plenty and you can certainly get by with less. Don't worry over much about the graphic card unless you are going to do 3-D renders or heavy (really heavy) Photoshop work. Lightroom, at least last I heard does not even use the GPU so it does not matter.

The screen is more important than most people realize. More important than the computer IMHO. I like the Dell Ultrasharp line but there are lots of good ones. Just do not cheap out on the screen if you are going to be processing images. Get a good one that will last you. Also, get a monitor calibration tool. Spyder or something else, a calibrated monitor is required to develop images IMHO.

For back up an external 2tb USB drive is standard, but cloud storage should also be considered depending on how serious you are. Lot's of ways to do cloud, many of them free. If you are an Amazon Prime member you get unlimited storage.

For software, get a copy of Lightroom and learn to use it. Unless you are really into graphic design and layers and creative work Photoshop is massive overkill. If you think you want to get into Photoshop type things try the $9.99 a month Lightroom / Photoshop bundle. But honestly, just get Lightroom, it handles 95% of what most photographers do anyway. After you have learned LR and find you still want more then get Photoshop. But you need Lightroom anyway for the catalog and retrieval functions so start there.
I agree 100%. Especially about the screen. My chief problem is developing photos that will appear in print as they did on the screen. A more accurate screen rendering would be helpful.
04-10-2015, 03:57 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by stsimmer Quote
My chief problem is developing photos that will appear in print as they did on the screen.
Good paper / printer profiles help and so does Lightroom's softproofing. but ultimately you just have to push print and see what happens
04-10-2015, 04:23 PM   #12
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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!
04-10-2015, 04:32 PM   #13
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It is really depending which platform you like to embrace, Windows or MAC, maybe Linux. Usually most of the new computers comes with 64-bit system. I recommend 8.1 Pro 64-bit vs Win-7 as it is a bit easier on resources (speak, runs faster on slower hardware).

for Windows or Linux

CPU: Intel i5 is a minimum and if you can afford go for i7.
RAM: minimum is 8GB better 16GB and best 32GB (check prior purchase how much RAM motherboard supports, must support 32GB or more even you will get only 16GB maybe.), remember you will be able to use PC also for longer time and withthis you can add RAM latter, when necessary.
HD 1: as main drive get SSD, I recommend 256GB SanDisk Extreme Pro or Samsung Pro series also Samsung Evo; If you can afford get 2 of them and run them in RAID configuration (do not worry where ever you will purchase PC they should know what is this).
HD 2: Western Digital Red NAS drive 2x (again in RAID configuration) 1 or 2TB each should be sufficient.
GRAPHIC (VIDEO) CARD: Get the basic for now with at least 4GB of internal RAM and wait until 4K graphic cards become more available, than you can change if necessary.
DISPLAY: This is where you should spend your money. Too many options out there but you might look for 4K display or less. Maybe Dell Ultrasharp series, pre-calibrated with Premier Color. NEC has also excellent PRO series as well as LG. They are more brands out there but this will confuse you even more.

for Macintosh platform:

Not to much choice here, but at least you can get iMac with i7 and 32GB of RAM

Consider getting Adobe CC subscription (I think it is around $10 a month for LR+PS) and get a Wacom pen tablet (you will find after you use for some time LR+PS out why).

That's from me... Have fun!

---------- Post added 04-10-15 at 07:33 PM ----------

I just mention MAC but I typed when you posted your message... sorry that I am to late.
04-10-2015, 05:03 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by RAART Quote
It is really depending which platform you like to embrace, Windows or MAC, maybe Linux. Usually most of the new computers comes with 64-bit system. I recommend 8.1 Pro 64-bit vs Win-7 as it is a bit easier on resources (speak, runs faster on slower hardware).

for Windows or Linux

CPU: Intel i5 is a minimum and if you can afford go for i7.
RAM: minimum is 8GB better 16GB and best 32GB (check prior purchase how much RAM motherboard supports, must support 32GB or more even you will get only 16GB maybe.), remember you will be able to use PC also for longer time and withthis you can add RAM latter, when necessary.
HD 1: as main drive get SSD, I recommend 256GB SanDisk Extreme Pro or Samsung Pro series also Samsung Evo; If you can afford get 2 of them and run them in RAID configuration (do not worry where ever you will purchase PC they should know what is this).
HD 2: Western Digital Red NAS drive 2x (again in RAID configuration) 1 or 2TB each should be sufficient.
GRAPHIC (VIDEO) CARD: Get the basic for now with at least 4GB of internal RAM and wait until 4K graphic cards become more available, than you can change if necessary.
DISPLAY: This is where you should spend your money. Too many options out there but you might look for 4K display or less. Maybe Dell Ultrasharp series, pre-calibrated with Premier Color. NEC has also excellent PRO series as well as LG. They are more brands out there but this will confuse you even more.

for Macintosh platform:

Not to much choice here, but at least you can get iMac with i7 and 32GB of RAM

Consider getting Adobe CC subscription (I think it is around $10 a month for LR+PS) and get a Wacom pen tablet (you will find after you use for some time LR+PS out why).

That's from me... Have fun!

---------- Post added 04-10-15 at 07:33 PM ----------

I just mention MAC but I typed when you posted your message... sorry that I am to late.
QuoteOriginally posted by RAART Quote
I just mention MAC but I typed when you posted your message... sorry that I am to late.
Not too late- still haven't bought anything yet! Thanks for your input.
04-10-2015, 05:07 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ckschempp Quote
I'm a little surprised that no one mentioned Mac- I thought photographers were into Macs
I think most here are agnostic, although please don't get anything started there are a few fans.

For photographers though the software is more important than the platform and though the look is a bit different running Lightroom or Photoshop works about the same on either platform. In fact it is rather trivial to move a Lightroom catalog installation from PC to Mac or back.

The important thing is to define what you want to do and get the hardware / software that best accomplishes that within your budget.
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