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02-11-2011, 02:03 PM   #1
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I think I need a new computer for photo edits

Currently, I (outside of work) only have a small netbook. The tiny low resolution screen makes even viewing pictures a pain, the slow processor means it takes forever to pull them up etc. As a result, I've taken a lot of pictures that I think are good, but it's hard to tell. :/

So I'm pondering a new laptop. With a room mate moving in soon, we really don't have room for a desktop, and I'm so used to having my netbook I'd really miss being able to use it from my chair in the living room.

I'm a Linux kinda guy, so the built in imaging stuff in Apple products isn't really a draw for me. I'll probably be running either just Ubuntu or maybe dual boot Ubuntu/Windows 7 if it comes with 7. Storage is also a moot point, we've got a couple Terabytes of storage, much of it in external drives.

I just need to know: what screen size and resolution would you recommend for processing raw files from a K20d? What are minimum processor/memory requirements to handle editing and still be able to browse the internet/listen to music etc while editing? Any specific models to mention?

I'm not averse to NOS or last years model etc, but I'd prefer not to get it off Craig's List as it's just so tough to tell with electronics what the real condition is.

02-11-2011, 02:12 PM   #2
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Laptops are not really the business for photo editing. You can get ones which are powerful enough with enough RAM and HDD, but nearly all of them fall down on the screen. Very few of them have an IPS panel, and the gaumut of the TN panels they usually have is limited.

You could of course use an external monitor with a laptop. That will get around all your screen size / resolution / colour accuracy issues at a stroke. Viewsonic have started doing some IPS screens at a far more reasonable price than even a year ago.
02-11-2011, 02:19 PM   #3
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IPS? TN? I'm not familiar with those terms...
02-11-2011, 02:53 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Balog Quote
IPS? TN? I'm not familiar with those terms...
TFT LCD - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

basically a ‘TN’ panel LCD is the most common consumer level LCD display. an IPS panel essentially gives you better colour reproduction through a much larger viewing angle. this larger viewing angle decreases the level of ‘off angle colour shift’. so its common for photographers, graphic artists etc, to use an IPS panel. a lot of the high end notebooks now offer IPS displays.

02-11-2011, 03:04 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by séamuis Quote
a lot of the high end notebooks now offer IPS displays.
2 HP's and maybe a Lenovo. Not a lot. You can pick up an external IPS monitor for about $200.
02-11-2011, 03:17 PM   #6
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I'm just wondering how lcd tv's work regarding monitors. I have an extra desktop I was thinking of using only for photo stuff. If I used my 52" lcd monitor, would that suffice?
02-11-2011, 03:17 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
2 HP's and maybe a Lenovo. Not a lot. You can pick up an external IPS monitor for about $200.
there isn’t a lot of ‘high end’ notebooks either. but then I guess thats opinion. I wasn’t trying to recommend an IPS notebook either if thats what it looked like. my opinion is like most would be. get an external monitor.
02-11-2011, 03:23 PM   #8
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The only problem with an external monitor is finding a place for it in our living arrangements. /sigh

02-11-2011, 03:29 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Balog Quote
The only problem with an external monitor is finding a place for it in our living arrangements. /sigh
Then you're not set up for serious photo editing.
02-11-2011, 03:30 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Balog Quote
The only problem with an external monitor is finding a place for it in our living arrangements. /sigh
doesn’t have to be huge.
02-11-2011, 03:33 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
Then you're not set up for serious photo editing.
I'm not that serious of a photographer.

No, I don't need a full on professional editing rig, anymore than I need a K-5 or a DA Limited lens. But I do need something way better than a tiny screen low resolution netbook.

QuoteOriginally posted by séamuis Quote
doesn’t have to be huge.
It's not so much size as location. We have three rooms: master bedroom (no computers permitted), guest bedroom (can't use once our friend moves in with us), and a currently unused room that'll be a workout room with no space for a desk. And really, I don't want to be off in a room by myself all night to do photo edits. I'm not getting paid for this, so I'd like the editing to be a part of my life not an obligation. So it needs to be something I can use from a chair in the living room.
02-11-2011, 03:40 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Balog Quote
I'm not that serious of a photographer.

No, I don't need a full on professional editing rig, anymore than I need a K-5 or a DA Limited lens. But I do need something way better than a tiny screen low resolution netbook.



It's not so much size as location. We have three rooms: master bedroom (no computers permitted), guest bedroom (can't use once our friend moves in with us), and a currently unused room that'll be a workout room with no space for a desk. And really, I don't want to be off in a room by myself all night to do photo edits. I'm not getting paid for this, so I'd like the editing to be a part of my life not an obligation. So it needs to be something I can use from a chair in the living room.
well it seems that your best option would be to simply upgrade your netbook to a larger notebook. you don’t absolutely need an IPS screen. just a larger one. I do my digital photo work on my 13" macbook pro. no IPS. I would say look into investing in a mid range 15 or 17 inch notebook.
02-11-2011, 04:00 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
Then you're not set up for serious photo editing.
One does what one can. My (sometimes) workstation is an ancient (2004) tiny Sony Vaio mini-notebook with a 10.5 inch TFT screen. That's for roadwork, of course. My preferred photo machine is/was an even older (2003) Toshiba super-notebook with a 17" screen -- but its dual 3GHz P4 CPUs tend to overheat and shut down when called upon to do any real work, like desaturating colors or cropping. Bother.

So it's time for a new machine. If I rob a couple minimarts, I can probably afford a new Lenovo super-duper-notebook with a 23" display screen and a 11" command screen. Right. Or maybe it's not fast enough. An i7 processor is needed, at least, one that can be TurboBoosted to 3GHz. One that's more affordable. Right.

For reasons I won't detail now, I use laptops/notebooks only, and I buy them at CostCo. They had a great prospect a couple weeks ago, a Toshiba A665 with a 17.5" screen and bookoo storage, all for just a grand. Oops, Intel found a chip defect and that model has been recalled. The current best prospect is the Asus N71JQ with 17" screen and almost as much storage, slightly cheaper at US$950. So now, a decision: Pay to have the septic tank pumped, or buy a new 'puter?

What kind? Lenovo has a good rep. Personal experience: HP sucks. Dell sucks. Sony... not bad, but I have problems with their corporate practices. Toshiba is pretty solid. Asus has a very solid rep, and likely builds the machines that Lenovo and Toshiba sell. So Asus is it. Leave one for me, OK?
02-11-2011, 05:16 PM   #14
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My recommendation:
- NEC EA231WMi which is the most affordable IPS monitor (maybe hang it on the wall if you have little space?)
- w/o ext monitor, I would opt for 17"+ notebook. The higher the resolution, the better.
- 4GB RAM at least (for Windows 7 64bit anyway)
- Toshiba is my favour brand, Sony is ok, Levono Thinkpad are good, Ideapad not so, avoid HP/Compaq/Acer/Dell etc.
- Any PP is a waste of time w/o monitor calibration, even though nb monitors can never be as well calibrated as IPS monitors, it's worth doing. i1D2 & Spyder3 are popular choices, or have someone else do it for you.
02-11-2011, 06:18 PM   #15
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I have a $300US 15" laptop with the usual commodity screen and 2gb of memory. It's more than adequate for the editing I do, but a limitation is that the new screens are very wide, so you tend to want to edit vertical pictures by turning the entire computer sideways. 17" would be a little better. I also have a macbook with the less-wide 15" higher-resolution screen, and it too is a little better than the basic laptop.

I don't have any calibrated monitors, but nobody views my pictures on calibrated monitors, so I guess that's ok. Calibration might be more important for printing, although it also might reduce my temptation to adjust the brightness every time I view my pictures on a different monitor.

Paul
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