I would like your opinion Please


Link Posted 11/03/2010 - 20:04
I need to upgrade my computer and was considering a laptop. Is any one here using one for editing? If so is there something you would change about it if you were to purchase another one?

What are some things I should consider if it's main purpose is photo editing?



Link Posted 11/03/2010 - 20:16
I do not use a laptop, and from what I've read its the display that lets them down.
Sorry I can't help further but undoubtedly some one with the knowledge will give you some pointers regarding models etc.


“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”
Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797)


Link Posted 11/03/2010 - 20:41
I recently did this test on my old laptop.

Other people who did this had a range of equipment from Apple to high end pc's.
I returned a perfect score whilst some with kit worth 4 or 5 times my laptop returned scores ranging from poor to very poor.
If you have a good LCD panel in a laptop, you have a good LCD panel. Doesn't matter if its housed in a laptop or a flat panel monitor.
Many Laptops today have very good graphics cards too.
I wouldn't discount a laptop for editing.
Hope thats helpful.


Link Posted 11/03/2010 - 20:48
My laptop is a DELL Inspiron 1501, a couple of years old. While it is powerful enough for photo editing, the screen is just not good enough to judge the results properly.

The narrow viewing angle (compared to a desktop LCD) means the brightness and contrast is not consistent from top to bottom from a single viewing position.


Link Posted 11/03/2010 - 20:54

I edit my photos with my laptop sometimes. I'd say the most important thing about laptops is the display. Quality 17" display would be good, not too big to carry along, but probably big enough for comfortable viewing. My laptop has a 15" display and it's far from great quality. Although one can usually connect the laptop to a quality external display, a good display in the laptop is worth every penny IMO, because you probably don't want to drag a large external display with you.
Also important would be the amount of RAM (though you can usually add more later), 4 gigs of that, because 32 bit operating systems can't use more than about 3,5 gigs. 64 bits opsys might be the way to go if you do some serious multitasking. A fast dual core processor should be fast enough, unless one does lots of background tasks at the same time. The hard drive should be at least 320 gigs and not too slow (I think most laptops have enough storage room, but some laptop drives are somewhat slow although you usually can swith for a bigger and faster model later). A nice range of connections, for an external display and perhaps even HDMI for example. Windows 7 is probably a good choice for the OS as it's the newest and pretty fast, Vista is slower, or so some experts say, though I never had any big problems with Vista. These are some things that come to my mind.

Good luck with hunting for the best alternative

Regards Tobio
Best regards,

K20d with Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP macro , smc da 18-55 mm, smc da 50-200 mm and smc da 55-300 mm + Metz 58 af-1. Editing with Pentax Photolab, Gimp and Paint.net.
Last Edited by Tobio on 11/03/2010 - 20:56


Link Posted 11/03/2010 - 21:35
As a rule I don't edit on my laptop, you really need a good quality (ideally calibrated) display and I'm not sure how many laptops have this. I have tried my laptop a couple of times for editing but it just doesn't compare to my calibrated Dell 2407.
My suggestion would therefore be to hook up to a good quality external monitor if you're editing.
Regards Huw



Link Posted 11/03/2010 - 21:49
i mainly use my pc but sometimes will use my laptop, my laptop has a hd screen and to be honest is probably better and sharper than my pc monitor.
Pentax K-5
DA 18-55mm AL WR DAL 50-200mm Tamron 70-300mm, Auto Chinon 28mm 2.8. sigma 30mm 1.4 DC
Metz 48 af-1


Link Posted 11/03/2010 - 21:55
I use my laptop for all my editing. I dont think its such an issue nowadays, as its easy to find a large good quality screen on a laptop. My Samsung R610 has a 16" 1080p screen that i find as good as any external screen and better than alot.

Things to check for -
built in card reader,
high res screen,
numberpad (not necessary for editing but damn handy)
As many usb ports as possible.

I did see a laptop somewhere the other day with a built in pen tablet next to the mouse pad but unfortunatley i cant remember the make or where i saw it.
K7,K10d,16-50 Da*,50-135 Da*. Looking for a good macro.

My Website


Link Posted 11/03/2010 - 23:31
My old laptop, a Toshiba Satellite, packed up and I needed another laptop in a hurry. So off I went to Tesco's and bought a lovely widescreen HP Pavilion with extra graphics and all kinds of goodies, it was the top one on the day and thought it would be excellent for photo editing etc.

It's a superb computer except for one thing. I hate the glossy screen, it's like working in a mirror and the slightest deflection in viewing angle changes the picture ( or my perception of it ) dramatically.

My old Toshiba, which I got fixed, has a matt screen which was lovely to work with, which is why it gets more use than the new HP.

The trend seems to be that all laptops have the glossy screens, but the computer place that fixed the Toshiba said they can fit a matt screen to the HP and they do quite a few for photographers.


Link Posted 12/03/2010 - 00:29
Such an enormous question, with so many possible answers, all of which could be either right or wrong.

1st point, what is your budget, and what would you like to achieve?

It is possible to have a decent screen on a laptop, it is possible to calibrate them. Personal advice here, go for matte, not glossy, resolution not size. For example a 1440x900 resolution on a 17" monitor is in my opinion a complete waste of space and should be avoided at all costs! My current laptop has a 1920 x 1200 resolution on a 17" screen, which is fantastic for editing, when I want to.

The point above depends on the 1st point though, what's your budget?

A poor screen on a laptop with a limited budget could be perfectly acceptable to you as you could use your existing monitor as the main editing screen when you get home, just using the laptop screen for more basic use only

A laptop may be a poor choice completely if you only have a limited budget. With 1TB drives at less than £70 for desktops and not even available for laptops, a small budget would go a lot further with a desktop.

We have been very lucky and fortunate, (mainly due to not having any kids!) to be able to get what we wanted, so maybe an example from a different perspective?

At home, we have a Mac Pro with 2x Quad core Xeons, 30 inch screen with 2560x1600 resolution, 10GB RAM & 4x 1TB hard drives. When we are out shooting, the MacBook Pro is in the camera bag, so we can work on site and re-shoot if needed. If there are any shots I really like and want to work on, they get edited on the home machine. If needed (say, the home machine goes faulty) the 30" display could be used on the laptop as well. Both machines have Aperture 3 and CS3 Web Premium Suite.

Now that I have been lucky enough to get used to having this level of kit, if I had to budget with a lot less money, my priorities would be:-

Decent high resolution screen
Aperture 3
Storage space

The only trouble is, I wouldn't know how to choose between only having the desktop or the laptop, as they both excel in different areas. The laptop for it's versatility, the desktop for it's power and expandability.

It's all down to budget though at the end of the day, so if you could give us an idea of your budget & what you actually need, I'm sure we can come up with some more specific advice for you!



Link Posted 12/03/2010 - 01:58
I am going to weigh in here. I have both in this realm, a desktop and two laptops for my work. I prefer to do most editing and finishing on anything in PP on my iMac desktop. The larger screen, along with the expanded memory, the tablet and additional drives (all firewire enabled) make that an easy decision for me. I use on all the computers though Capture One 5 Pro to begin my RAW processing having left behind Aperture some 8 months ago.

On the laptops, either the MacBook or Acer, I also carry an external HD that gives an additional 500GB in the field, which can be then moved to the iMac when I am back home. I will generally download the day's work in the field and evaluate if anything has to be redone. I can also make back-ups and upload to my cloud storage from the field. I do some RAW processing on the laptops, but prefer the iMac.

Whatever you chose, you will have to build a rhythm for your workflow and be comfortable with it along with taking that all important decision regarding your budget. Good luck!

The Photomonk


Link Posted 12/03/2010 - 02:02
Thanks to all for the feedback.

Pete, I did the test. Scored a 12. Not to bad I guess for this Old Compaq and my OLD eyes. By looking at the results could have been worse.

Lloydy, I never would have thought about a matt screen. I'll have to check that out. Thanks.

Unlocker, I don't really have a budget for this project. I just want to buy one that will fit the purpose. I know there are people that use laptops for editing. There will be things they like, and things they don't like. I just wanted to get some input from people that use them before I have to listen the the sales pitch.

Thanks again to everyone for your comments.


Link Posted 12/03/2010 - 07:11
I have a Dell Vostro 17" laptop which is great for everything apart from photo editing as the screen just can't hack it. That said it was cheap.


You can see some of my shots at my Flickr account.


Link Posted 12/03/2010 - 08:55
I do all of my editing, and everything else, on my laptop. I don't use a desktop at all. If I was to buy a new one today I'd get one that could take more RAM, at least 4GB, more if possible. I have a matte screen as well, they are slightly dimmer than the glossy ones but you don't get reflections. Plus get a bigger screen if you can, mine is 17" but I wish Apple made 19" laptops!
AF - Pentax K5, Sigma 10-20/4-5.6, Tamron 17-50/2.8, Sigma 30/1.4, Sigma 70-200/2.8, Tamron 70-300/4-5.6
MF - Vivitar CF 28/2.8, Tamron AD2 90/2.5, MTO 1000/11
Stuff - Metz 58 AF1, Cactus v4, Nikon SB24, Raynox 150, Sigma 1.4x TC, Sigma 2x TC, Kenko 2x macro TC, Redsnapper 283 tripod, iMac 27”, Macbook Pro 17”, iPad, iPhone 3G
Flickr • Fluidr • PPG • Street • Portfolio site
Feel free to edit any of my posted photos! If I post a photo for critique, I want brutal honesty. If you don't like it, please say so and tell me why!


Link Posted 12/03/2010 - 09:08
For editing pictures from my K20D I use my laptop.. scanned photos go onto my desktop.

I would rather use my desktop to be honest, but the laptop was prompted by the need to download photos while I was on the move and the fact my newly purchased PS CS3 would not load on the PC
Z-1p, K-1, P50
F50 1.7. FAs 24, 35, 50 1.4, 85, 135. DFA15-30, DFA24-70, D-FA*70-200. D-FA 100 (gone now!). The SMC-FA Limited Trinity.
Metz 45 CL-4, AF500FTZ. AF540FGZ.
Some Mamiya and some Nikon
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