What Is The Best Mac Laptop For Photography

Posted By admin On 16.02.22

Finding the best laptop for photo editing doesn't necessarily mean choosing the most expensive model on the market. You don’t need a powerful computer to make basic edits to photos – such as cropping, resizing and applying simple filters. And making small changes to images captured with one of the best camera phones or downloaded from the web won't particularly slow down any modern computer, either.

But having lots of computing power comes in handy when it’s time to take your photography to another level, and make use of some of the complex functions and advanced plugins in professional-grade tools such as Adobe's Creative Cloud suite. Perhaps you’ve bought a powerful new camera and have started working with massive uncompressed images at ultra-high resolutions. The extreme file sizes you’ll be working with will need as much computer power as possible.

What laptop is best for photo editing?

Best for value for money. The best-value Mac for video editing is the Mac mini. If the iMac and iMac Pro are too expensive you're going to have to start to look at Apple's consumer range. High-End Laptops for Photo Editing Apple MacBook Air MJVG2LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop. Most media professionals prefer Apple computers, and the Apple MacBook Air MJVG2LL/A is a great example of a high-end product. Macworld’s buying advice: The MacBook Air is a capable laptop for your everyday work—and it won’t take up a lot of room in your bag. If you can, opt for the $1,399 model and its larger SSD. Best Laptops For Photography and Editing in 2018 Microsoft Surface Laptop Go to Amazon Many have recently said “Microsoft is the new Apple” exclusively thanks to Microsoft’s line of stylish Surface products. Along with Apple's own browser (Safari), you also get an enormous range of other useful software (email program, word processor, spreadsheet, movie editor, photo editor, etc.). DID YOU KNOW? Windows remains the most popular type of operating system to run on a laptop.

What Is The Best Mac Laptop For PhotographyBest

Right now, we think the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 is the best laptop for photo editing you can get. However, if you're not a professional photographer we'd recommend the cheaper 14-inch HP Pavilion (number one in this list) or DELL Inspiron 13 7000 (number three). But the right laptop for you depends on your budget and skill level. So what specs should you look for?

Well, crucially you’ll want a laptop with a good screen. Thankfully even the most affordable laptops now use screens with IPS technology, which means brighter, bolder images, wider viewing angles and better colour reproduction.

You definitely need to look for 4GB of memory, as well; plus at least an Intel Core i3 processor (preferably Core i5 or i7). You want plenty of on-board storage, too. Many laptops now have solid state drives (SSDs) but these tend to have lower capacity than traditional hard drives. Either way, we don't recommend less than 256GB.

If you're going to be pro editing your photos, you want a top notch processor as well as 8GB of memory plus some fairly capacious storage. Again, no less than 256GB. But like a lot of creative kit, some of these machines don't come cheap, so if you're in the market for a shiny new device, it's worth keeping your eye out for upcoming best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

Read on for our pick of the best photo editing laptops out there at the moment.

The best laptops for photo editing right now

01. HP Pavilion 14-inch Laptop

CPU: Intel Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 Display: 14-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 / Nvidia GeForce MX 130 / 150 Memory: 8GB-16GB Storage: 128GB - 512GB SSD Ports: 3 x USB 3, 1 x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), 1 x HDMI 1.4, 1x DisplayPort Size: 22.5 x 32.6 x 1.8cm; W x D x H) Weight: 1.6kg OS: Windows 10 Home

Affordable all-rounder
Entry version lacks a FHD screen

HP’s all-rounder Pavilion laptop is a perfect choice for beginner photographers as it has all the computing hardware you’ll need to run photo editing software really well.

There’s an entry-level Core i3 version, but if your budget can stretch a bit further to the next tier, we’d absolutely recommend it for a significantly better photo editing experience. The Core i5 version has a much faster quad-core processor, which will provide a noticeable speed-up when applying modifications and adjustments to your image, and the IPS-backlist 14-inch display has a superior FHD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution.

The Pavilion 14 also has a great looking silver design, and 128GB of solid-state storage comes as standard, with 8GB of memory. While this is more than enough to get by, once you start working with higher resolution images, you’ll probably want an upgrade and additional storage.

02. Lenovo ThinkPad P1

The best laptop for professional photographers

CPU: Intel Core i5, Core i7 or Core i9 or Xeon Graphics: Nvidia Quadro P1000 / P2000 Storage: 256 - 4TB SSD Size: 36.1 x 24.8 x 1.8cm; W x D x H) Weight: 1.7kg OS: Windows 10 Pro

Amazing display
High-end model is very pricey

The newly launched Lenovo ThinkPad P1 is one of the best laptops we’ve ever used, with some features that make it an absolute dream for any kind of graphics work, including image manipulation and photo editing. It’s a real powerhouse, with graphics and processor performance that can go head-to-head against any desktop computer. It does all this while still being remarkably small - the chassis measures just 18.4mm thick and it weighs just 1.7kg, dimensions far closer to an Ultrabook or mini laptop than you’d expect from a computer that offers this much performance. It can be configured with a four or six-core Intel Core i7 or Core i9 processor, an Nvidia Quadro P1000 or P2000 graphics card, up to 64GB of memory and up to 4TB of internal solid-state storage.

That alone would be enough to earn it a recommendation, but we’ve saved the best feature for last. The ThinkPad P1 can be configured with a fantastic 15-inch 4K colour-accurate display that supports 100 per cent of the AdobeRGB colour space, something you don’t find on many other laptops. Even your older photos will look better than ever on this screen, with colours leaping out at you in ways that simply aren’t possible with a standard screen.

While the ThinkPad P1’s high-end performance is met with equally sky-high pricing for the six-core version, the lower-tier model is still a relative powerhouse for photo editing, and you can always upgrade the screen when purchasing to the brilliant 4K version for a fairly small additional sum.

03. DELL Inspiron 13 7000

CPU: Intel Core i5 or Core i7 Display: 13.3-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 Memory: 8GB-16GB Storage: 256 - 512GB SSD Ports: 2 x USB 3, 1 x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1x SD card reader Size: 36.1 x 24.8 x 1.8cm; W x D x H) Weight: 1.7kg OS: Windows 10 Home

Dual-mode tablet/laptop
Tablet mode not always needed

Dell’s Inspiron 13 is a 2-in-1 laptop, meaning it can fold down into tablet format, so you can work with photos using your finger or a stylus via a 10-point touch-sensitive screen, in addition to being able to use it as a standard laptop.

If this idea of a dual-model laptop appeals to you, you’ll be pleased to hear it also packs in some great performance too, with an eighth-generation Intel Core i5 processor. This will ensure any photo editing software you use with it will run smoothly, offering enough power for fluid manipulation of even high-resolution images, whether that’s using the trackpad in laptop mode, or with your fingers in tablet mode.

Perhaps surprisingly, given its good performance, great screen and bevvy of features, it’s far from the most expensive laptop option for photo editing.

04. Apple MacBook Pro 15'

CPU: 4 or 6-core Intel Core i7 Display: 15.6-inch Retina Display) Memory: 16GB - 32GB Storage: 256GB - 4TB SSD Ports: 4 x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), Size: 34.9 x 24.1 x 1.6cm; W x D x H) Weight: 1.8kg OS: MacOS

Processor upgrade available
Expensive

Given the choice of the 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models for photo editing, we’d recommend the larger screen size for editing photos on, thanks to the increased desktop space that make it easier to scroll around and make adjustments to images on. That’s despite the higher price of the larger MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Pro is undoubtedly a gorgeous computer, especially the more recent Space Grey colour scheme. The TrueTone Retina display on Macs looks fantastic too and Apple’s TrackPad is one of the best you can find on laptops, which will make a big difference when making fiddly edits.

MacOS works fantastically well with images too. If you have an iPhone for photography and use iCloud Photo Library, every one of your photos will be uploaded from your phone into iCloud, then downloaded straight to your Mac automatically. They’ll already be on the laptop, ready for you to edit and manipulate in Apple’s own Photos app, or in another image editing program of your choice.

Six-core eight-generation Intel processors are a new option in the 2018 version, which will make a real speed difference with the most complex of visual edits and plug-ins in Adobe Photoshop, particularly when working with high resolution imagery.

One word of caution, with 256GB of storage and 8GB of memory as standard, which is rather modest for a laptop that costs this much, you might want to upgrade the specification when purchasing, as Apple laptops cannot be upgraded by the user.

Read the full review:Apple MacBook Pro review

05. Acer Swift 3 14”

If you're after a convertible, this is the best

CPU: 2 or 4 -core Intel Core i5 or Core i7 Display: 14-inch Retina Display) Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 Memory: 8GB - 16GB Storage: 256GB - 4TB SSD Size: 33.8 x 23.4 x 1.8cm; W x D x H) Weight: 1.6kg

Affordable
Ugly

Coming decked in an all-aluminium chassis and a range of colours, the appearance of Acer’s new laptop range has divided opinion. But what’s clear is that you get a great specification for your money, making this one of the best laptops for photo editing.

With a quad-core Intel processor and 8GB of memory as standard, even the mid-range model comes in at less than half the price of Apple’s MacBook Pros but can deliver roughly the same processing power. And the rest of the specification doesn’t skimp either – the 14-inch display uses IPS backlighting technology for wider viewing angles and brighter colours, and supports FHD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution.

They keyboard is great to work on too, making this a fantastic choice for anyone who wants the power to do serious photography work, without breaking the bank. And if you want a 4K screen, a laptop with that option is available too, again for less than competitors are asking.

Apple MacBook

One of the most portable laptops there is

CPU: dualcore Intel M3, Core i5 or Core i7 Display: 12-inch Retina Display) Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 Memory: 8GB - 16GB Ports: 1 x USB-C, Weight: 0.9kg

Super portable
Single USB-C port

If you think you’d prefer using a Mac and the macOS software ecosystem for photo editing, but your budget won’t quite stretch to the expensive MacBook Pro, Apple’s super-svelte and portable MacBook might be a good alternative, especially if you’re not planning on particularly complex image manipulation.

It weighs under 1kg, and measures 1.3cm at its thickest point, which is about small enough to fit into a bag and not notice it. It has a great 12-inch Retina display, which photos will look lovely on, a large trackpad for editing and 256GB of storage in the entry-level model, which will be more than enough to get by.

If you’re opting for the cheaper entry-level MacBook model, as with all Macs, it’s worth considering a few choice upgrades before purchase to smooth out performance. For photo editing, choosing 16GB of memory will make the biggest difference, and an upgrade from the base model’s Core M3 processor and a Core i5 or Core i7 will give it some extra oomph.

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I need a new laptop. I have a high-spec but old Toshiba Portégé that has served me well, but I’m starting an art course and will study photography so need a top-notch screen (perhaps touch screen?) and more processing power. Do I have to get a Mac or is Windows a good option? Aileen

Last week’s column covered the needs of a history student, who wanted a laptop costing up to £500. Professional photo and video editors typically go for the most powerful machines they can afford, with prices ranging from about £1,500 to £3,000. Cheaper machines can do the job, but reducing processing times from, say, 30 minutes to three minutes makes a huge difference to workflows. In providing more time for experiments, fast PCs can actually lead to better results.

Note that a good desktop will always beat a good laptop. Desktop PCs can run hotter, faster processors than laptops. They can also handle more memory, bigger hard drives and faster graphics cards, and they are easier to upgrade. It might be better to buy a really good desktop and a cheap laptop. A refurbished ThinkPad X1 Carbon would be a good portable option with a good quality screen.

Photography students typically use Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite, mainly Photoshop and Lightroom. These run on both PCs and Macs, so you have a choice.

In general, I recommend that people stick to what they know, because it takes a long time to become proficient in a new operating system. However, it would be worth knowing how many of your fellow students use each system. There are advantages to being part of the majority.

Touch or not?

Touch-screens are handy for fat-finger navigation, but they don’t add anything for photo-editing purposes. Some photographers like to use high-resolution pens – as supplied with Microsoft Surfaces and Apple iPad Pros – and some like Wacom tablets, but many others just use mice. I think it’s a personal choice.

If you really want a pen, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 is your best bet. You can get an extremely portable system with a great screen, an Intel Core i7, 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD for a student price of £1,329.30. You will need to add a Type cover, and I’d recommend buying a good USB keyboard and a Bluetooth mouse as well. In fact, you should add those to any laptop used for sustained work.

Pick a Mac

Professional photo editors often buy the top-end 15in MacBook Pro, but it’s not really worth £2,699 for student use. (Ask your university about student discounts.) However, switching to a 13.3in MacBook Pro involves sacrifices. The processor drops from a 2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 to a 2.3GHz dual-core Core i5, the 512GB SSD drops to 128GB, and the screen resolution drops from 2880 x 1800 pixels to 2560 x 1600 pixels.

If you go for a 13.3in MacBook Pro, you should pay £180 to double the RAM to 16GB, because the integrated graphics will consume main memory. That increases the price to £1,429. However, it’s not worth paying an extra £270 to upgrade the Core i5 to a dual-core Core i7, which would bring the price up to £1,699. You should switch to the 15in MacBook Pro with a 2.2GHz quad-core i7 for £1,899 instead.

The major limitations with the 13.3in MacBook Pro include the lack of a dedicated graphics card, the lack of a quad-core processor option, and its inability to handle 32GB of memory. There’s also the annoyance of having four Thunderbolt 3 ports, so any peripherals you already own – such as USB hard drives – will need adaptor cables. However, it does get you a usable MacBook for less than £1,500 instead of £1,900 or £2,700.

Note that a three-year AppleCore Plan for the 13.3in MacBook Pro costs £229, and £329 for the 15in.

What Is The Best Mac Laptop For Photographers

In passing, £1,429 also happens to be the price of a 21.5in iMac with a Retina 4K display, 3GHz quad-core i5-7400, 16GB of memory, and Radeon Pro 555 graphics with 2GB video memory.

Also, Apple sometimes has good deals on refurbished Macs.

Dell XPS

According to the Wirecutter website, “the Dell XPS 15 is the best laptop for most creative work, especially photo and video editing. The XPS 15 has the most powerful processor and graphics card – and the best out-of-the-box colour accuracy and widest colour gamut – of any Windows laptop we tested. Plus, it has fast 4K rendering speeds, all the essential ports, and a good keyboard and trackpad. It’s also light and portable for when you’re on the go.”

I like the XPS 15 a lot, and recommended it last November in another answer, Which Windows laptop could replace a MacBook Pro? It was the first 15.6in laptop with a tiny bezel and feels more like a 14in design.

The Wirecutter reviewed the XPS 15 with a 4K 3840 x 2160-pixel screen, which costs £1,849 in the UK: the same as cheapest 15in MacBook Pro.

There are cheaper versions of the XPS 15, but they have 1920 x 1080-pixel non-touch screens. Removing the Ultra HD display removes the machine’s main attraction for photo editing.

If you opt for power over pixels, an XPS 15 with a quad-core i7-7700HQ processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card with its own 4GB of fast memory, a 256GB SSD, Thunderbolt 3, USB3 and HDMI ports, and 24-hour on-site support costs £1,449 (order code cnx95602). This model only has 8GB of main memory, but it supports up to 32GB. Dell sells memory separately, but you can buy it from Crucial or another supplier and plug it in yourself.

If you buy an XPS 15, extend the on-site service to three years for £55.21 (usually £129.43).

A Dell XPS 13 might be a better compromise in delivering more pixels and less power. Like the 13in MacBook Pros, these machines have dual-core processors and integrated graphics. An XPS 13 with a 3200 x 1800 touch screen and an i5-7200U costs £1,299 (cnx93604). One with an i7-7560U costs £1,449 (cnx93616). Again, you can add RAM later.

Other options

Wirecutter’s “budget pick” is the HP Spectre x360, which I also covered last November. This is a hinged machine so it also works as a tablet. This year’s improved version includes a 4K (3840 x 2160) touch-screen, a dual-core i7-7500U processor with 8GB of memory, GeForce 940MX graphics with 2GB of memory, and an Active Pen for £1,499.

Otherwise, try searching for cheap deals on Asus ZenBooks at several sources, because these usually have screens that provide good colour rendering. A UX501VW would be good. Most cheap computers don’t cover the standard sRGB and Adobe RGB colour spaces to the level you’d want for photo editing, which is where MacBooks generally win.

Notebookcheck has a list of some of the best laptop displays, which includes a few ZenBooks.

Another alternative would be to buy a colour-accurate external monitor such as the Asus PA249Q, though you’d just be spending the money you’d saved on a laptop.

Both Windows and MacOS include utilities to calibrate screens. In Windows, search for “Calibrate display colour” then use the monitor controls to adjust the results by eye.

Have you got a question? Email it to [email protected]

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