Okay, I’ll admit it… I’m a self-proclaimed computer geek. When it comes to digital photography and computers, one question that I am often asked is, “What would be the best computer to use for digital photography?” There are many answers to that very question and the tough part is, many of them are the right answer. My advice to those that ask that question is use and/or buy a computer that meets your specific needs and works well with your workflow. A photographer that is using Photoshop Elements to edit their images won’t need as much memory or processing power as another photographer who uses the full version of Photoshop.
Mac vs. PC – I’m a HUGE fan of Apple and Macs. They are touted as being the best of the best when it comes to multimedia and graphics. I agree. PCs also have their advantages. For the most part, they are more common among everyday users and most businesses. Personally, I would choose a Mac over a PC any day, no matter what I was using it for. I have also used Lightroom and Photoshop on Windows XP and Windows Vista Ultimate. Vista has it’s quirks, but I haven’t had any major problems with it. Most notably, I have yet to experience the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). Although it’s VERY memory hungry, Photoshop and Lightroom still run quite fast on my Windows box. There are a lot of variables that come into play with both platforms, like hardware specs, other installed programs, configurations, etc.
A Note On Hardware – One of the biggest pitfalls users fall into are the sales gimmicks. Ads convince people that the new “all-in-one” computer will do everything for them. What most people don’t know, is that brand spankin’ new 512MB video card that all the gamers are raving about could actually bog down Photoshop. Hard to believe I know, but it’s true. If you’re in the market for a new computer for digital photography, your best bet is to call the manufacturer and speak to a sales person and let them know your unique needs. Most of the sales people at major retail electronics stores are clueless. You can also call my friends at B&H Photo as they sell both Mac and PC systems and can set you up with more of what you need and less of what you don’t, saving you money in the end.
I could go on and on forever on this subject, but there is too much to write about at one time. The big things to consider when purchasing that new computer for your digital photography workflow are your budget, your needs, and what you are comfortable with. If you’re open and willing to learn new things, switching to a new platform could be just the thing for you. But keep in mind that crossing over will require purchasing new software and when you’re talking Photoshop that can cost you a bundle by itself. Feel free to contact me with any specific questions that you may have, and I’ll do my best to answer them for you. That’s it for today!