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11-05-2009, 06:56 AM   #1
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Laptop Screen size & photo editing

My iMac is an older 20" G5 that's seeming kind of slow. I'm considering getting a 15" macbook for myself to replace it and giving my wife my 13.3" macbook to replace her G4 iBook. We're going to go to network storage for the photos and music now on the iMac.

I'm just wondering if the 15" will be big enough for my photo editing. Any opinions on this idea? Another option within our budget is to get another 13.3 macbook and a mac mini/monitor combination to replace the iMac.

Thanks

11-05-2009, 07:09 AM   #2
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I have used 15 inch laptops for some time, first in 5 x 4 format and then in 16 x 9 format.

One thing I can say is that they are big and heavy.

Screen resolution has always been good, and good enough for photo editing, especially if you are not doing it regularly, but, having said that I am presently sitting in front of a 22 inch (16 x 9 format) monitor.

I enjoy the increased working distance.
11-05-2009, 07:44 AM   #3
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I have had the 13" macbook since last September '08, and find the LED screen a little small and tricky to use for photo corrections (proper tilt angle and ambient light interference). The latest macbook advertised seems better but I still recommend you take sample photos to the mac store and view them before making a decision (just like at the HI-FI store of days gone by!).
But then the 15" is awesome and not that much thicker than the 13".
11-05-2009, 12:58 PM   #4
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Since my wife and I travel quite a bit we use a 13" MacBook for reviewing and minor editing of our images. For our purposes it does very well.

11-05-2009, 01:05 PM   #5
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I have a similar setup to you, with an older 20" G5 and a 13" Macbook, both of which I have used comfortably for photo editing, but I do prefer the 20" screen, not just for its size but also ease of viewing - with the MacBook I find that I have to be viewing the screen at just the right angle to get the right colours and contrast (I believe this is not an issue with the other MacBooks).
11-05-2009, 01:06 PM   #6
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13" would on the edge of being too small. I used one exclusively while traveling for 6 months and found it to be adequate. If I was doing it again, I'd go for a 15" MBP. Now, I like your second idea, 13" MBP, Mini, and display. That being said, I have stopped using Macs for photo editing. I find Win7 to be excellent and like the many options for building a PC at a reasonable cost. I use a 10" laptop for travel.
11-05-2009, 01:08 PM   #7
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Not a fan myself, this is why i use Lenovo so i can use their ecellent docking system to hook up my machine toa nice 20 inch IPS screen.

I understand Mac's have a really good quality screen (am i wrong?) in their laptops but I would not touch one too big, too heavy or without at least 1400x900 resolution.

I use a T400 for reference.
11-06-2009, 07:51 AM   #8
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If you want portability it'll be fine otherwise "go big or go home"

If it's for clients, 17" is the way to go.

11-06-2009, 09:54 AM   #9
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I use a 17" MBP and I don't think I could use anything smaller. What I would really love is the new 27" iMac, but I need portability. The 17" is the compromise I chose as it's the biggest I could go while still being portable.
11-06-2009, 11:25 AM   #10
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I'm interested in the fact that there have been several responses, and all of them refer to displays by their physical size in inches - 13", 15" etc.

Seems to me that the optimal pixel resolution for a display is at least as important as the diagonal size of the monitor, perhaps even more important. And the absolute physical size of individual pixels matters. In other words, a 22" monitor set to a resolution of 1024x768 would, I think, be a HORRIBLE thing to work on. The pixels would be too darned big and nothing would be sharp. A smaller monitor with a higher resolution would be much better.

I work on a Dell Latitude D820 set to its optimal resolution of 1680x1050. Works great. I have no idea what the official diagonal size is, so I took a ruler and it seems to be 15". But the pixel resolution is fine enough that sharp photos LOOK really sharp - even when I'm looking at a cat's whiskers. I calibrate the monitor fairly often and color seems to be reasonably good. Also important: it's a standard matte display. I was stunned when Apple started using glossy screens on all its new Macbooks. I think that may have changed - as it should - but gosh, how could they make such a mistake in the first place.

Will
11-06-2009, 01:55 PM   #11
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I switched to Mac about a year ago and used the 15" MBP for a while by itself. I found it adequate for photo editing but like extra real estate, so added the 24" LED Cinema Display to it. That's a great set-up for using with either Lightroom or Bridge as you can have the thumbnails on the smaller laptop's screen and the individual photo on the big display. I ended up getting a spyder since the two monitors weren't calibrated the same and that drove me a bit nuts, but now they work well together.

And when I'm traveling, I'm comfortable editing pictures just using the macbook pro's monitor by itself - something I could not say with my old HP laptop.
11-06-2009, 02:33 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Seems to me that the optimal pixel resolution for a display is at least as important as the diagonal size of the monitor, perhaps even more important. And the absolute physical size of individual pixels matters. In other words, a 22" monitor set to a resolution of 1024x768 would, I think, be a HORRIBLE thing to work on.
Exactly, 1400*900 is a minimum IMHO. Anything less is hard as hell. My screen is 14 inches so 1400*900 is a bit tight but it works.
11-06-2009, 02:50 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
I'm interested in the fact that there have been several responses, and all of them refer to displays by their physical size in inches - 13", 15" etc.

Seems to me that the optimal pixel resolution for a display is at least as important as the diagonal size of the monitor, perhaps even more important. And the absolute physical size of individual pixels matters. In other words, a 22" monitor set to a resolution of 1024x768 would, I think, be a HORRIBLE thing to work on. The pixels would be too darned big and nothing would be sharp. A smaller monitor with a higher resolution would be much better.

I work on a Dell Latitude D820 set to its optimal resolution of 1680x1050. Works great. I have no idea what the official diagonal size is, so I took a ruler and it seems to be 15". But the pixel resolution is fine enough that sharp photos LOOK really sharp - even when I'm looking at a cat's whiskers. I calibrate the monitor fairly often and color seems to be reasonably good. Also important: it's a standard matte display. I was stunned when Apple started using glossy screens on all its new Macbooks. I think that may have changed - as it should - but gosh, how could they make such a mistake in the first place.

Will
Will

I would have to agree, I work with both my 22 inch and a dell lattitude 821 D both set to 1680 x 1050.

the difference is in pixel size, and I find that the bigger pixels of the 22 inch screen are easier to look at.

sometimes on the 15 inch set to the same resolution, things are just too small
11-06-2009, 11:38 PM   #14
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I have a 17'' Laptop screen with a native resolution of 1920x1200
the pixels are extremely small, and thus far, its the best display I have worked with in terms of screen size to resolution.

Images look sharper and it gives you a lot of space for windows and stuff in photoshop and other general use.
11-07-2009, 08:47 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by flockofbirds Quote
I have a 17'' Laptop screen with a native resolution of 1920x1200
the pixels are extremely small, and thus far, its the best display I have worked with in terms of screen size to resolution.

Images look sharper and it gives you a lot of space for windows and stuff in photoshop and other general use.
I wonder, though, with such a small dot pitch, if some flaws in the PP like artifacts and hard edges get disguised.
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