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Laptop for Photo Editing (2013)

Jon Wall , Jul 12, 2013; 01:10 p.m.

This will be my primary and only machine for editing work.
Unless, I can be convinced otherwise I am looking for an IPS panel machine.
I care more about the display then performance. I just want the system to be able to efficiently batch edit, encode, export, and import DNG Raw files into Lightroom 5 without huge wait times.
My Budget is around 1200-1300. The Macbook Retina 13 is beautiful and the screen seems to be the best available, but it is a bit out of my budget AND it is a 13 inch AND it seems a bit underpowered, though I have no idea in reality.
I was also looking at a Asus UX31A - half the price, IPS, but also a small 13" display and also maybe underpowered.

Please help with some suggestions, if you feel like you can weigh in here.


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Leszek Vogt , Jul 12, 2013; 03:05 p.m.

I've been convinced for 4+yrs, that small screen may be OK for a road edit (or rough edit), but you just can't get the IQ or proper determination from small screen. True, Asus had 1080P screens in small version for quite a while....and I'm not even talking about 17" type furniture. My suggestion is to get larger quality monitor (24-27-30") so you can track the nuances of your photos and your edit process. It's sort of like judging the image by what you see on the net - knowing that there is more to it.


Peter Cohen , Jul 12, 2013; 03:16 p.m.

Check out the Sony SVS15127PX/B at your favorite place to spend money. My son has one. Gorgeous display -- HD IPS -- and fast.

JDM von Weinberg , Jul 12, 2013; 03:30 p.m.

However, there is another option here.

For the most part, there is enough horsepower in better laptops to do the job for photoediting--the limitation is the size of the screen and perhaps also its color capabilities.

However, many laptops will support a larger, external monitor that is capable.
When you're not on the road, just hook up the external desktop monitor.

Depending on the machine and the operating system, this might even give you a two-screen operation, which can be very desirable.

Matt Laur , Jul 12, 2013; 03:31 p.m.

I use a 17" ASUS with an IPS display, and it's quite good for editing. But the pixel pitch is pretty darn tight, and once you've edited on a 27 or 30-inch display, there's no going back. But that ASUS display is more than adequate for work if I don't have a choice.

BTW, there's no reason you can't hook up a good external display to whichever laptop you get, should your budget provide for it.

Jon Wall , Jul 12, 2013; 04:17 p.m.

thanks for the responses everyone, buying a second monitor was in the back of my mind to begin with.

Is there a reason to go mac over pc in this regards? disregarding general OS preferences.
Is a mac much better at processing (and displaying) photos and editing via lightroom/photoshop?

barry goldberg , Jul 12, 2013; 05:54 p.m.

How about a Macbook refurb?

JDM von Weinberg , Jul 12, 2013; 07:43 p.m.

I bought my first Mac in 1984 (it was why 1984 wasn't going to be like 1984), so yeah, sure the Mac is better.

I worked for a number of years on Windows machines, and with the same software, they really were pretty good.

But, it goes without saying [;)] that the Mac is better and getting better all the time.

Dan McCarty , Jul 18, 2013; 02:41 p.m.

I bought a Lenovo 530 a few months back specifically to process D800 RAW files. My old system was a tower and simply to old and slow to handle D800 RAW file sizes. At the time, The 530 could be installed with Windows 7.

The Lenovo 530 can be configured with a screen color calibrator which is very nice. When it is time to calibrate, you click a few things, close the lid, wait for the finish beep/light and you are done. So much easier than my old calibration process.

The Lenovo 530 can handle four external monitors with a docking station.

I put in a large SSD drive to help speed up photo processing. The SSD drive is very nice. I did not buy one from Lenovo but installed one myself.


Chuck Albertson , Jul 23, 2013; 01:44 a.m.

Like Dan, I have a Lenovo W530 and it works fine. I mostly edit b&w files from a Monochrom, so color calibration hasn't been a priority. But I export files to a thumb drive and take it to the digilab I use (they use Macs), and have never had to tweak the images much to print on their system.

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