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millyskate
11-25-2010, 11:23 AM
I'm off to college for an MA in documentary photography. I don't currently have a computer and need to buy one.
The course will involve quite a bit of traveling, so it needs to be a laptop. Unfortunately, I don't have the budget for a MacBook; I know those are often recommended for photo editing.


So does anyone have any suggestions? I need a good screen, good memory and speed for running photoshop, and hopefully something not too heavy.

ETA: the cheaper the better.

Erica Lee
11-25-2010, 11:38 AM
Are you sure you can't find a way to afford a macbook? I normally don't try to insist on things people have already said they don't want, but honestly - for what you describe, it would be perfect.

I think too many people buy macbooks just to be cool, but really, in this case... you cannot beat it for its photography workflow (I use Aperture), you will not be able to find a windows machine that can beat its graphics and screen, and they handle travel soooo well (durability, instant on/off, plus amazing battery life).

You can get them for cheaper through apple's education store. (Usually $100 discount or so, but it helps.)

Honestly it will cost more but it will make your life so much easier. I did photography with windows laptops for years and years and have had my mac for 1 year now... there is no comparison. I was able to do "live" photography at Canadians last year... i.e... but the time the warmup group was on, I had the previous flights' photos already online in two places. I could not have done that with a pc laptop.

If you're going to school for this because you want to get into it... this is an investment that is worth the extra money. Your computer will be your most-used tool and you really do "get what you pay for".

Sorry for the ramble... I am not usually "one of those" mac people... honest!

If it's really really just not possible.... there really isn't that big of a difference between the "major" pc brands. Definitely do not get a netbook, make sure it has a decent amount of RAM (4 GB or more), and a good sized hard drive helps too. If you narrow it down to a few models I can help point out differences or advantages for the specific ones.

millyskate
11-25-2010, 12:08 PM
Thanks Erica... To be honest, I really can't afford a macbook right now. It's just that I also need to invest in a flash, some lenses etc... It adds up. I'm looking to spend 400-500 Euros on the laptop this year.
I know I'll need to buy a Macbook sometime, but I'll need to earn the money first. It's taken me years to be in a position where I can do the degree at all.

Aceon6
11-25-2010, 12:35 PM
Thanks Erica... To be honest, I really can't afford a macbook right now. It's just that I also need to invest in a flash, some lenses etc... It adds up. I'm looking to spend 400-500 Euros on the laptop this year.
I know I'll need to buy a Macbook sometime, but I'll need to earn the money first. It's taken me years to be in a position where I can do the degree at all.

I'm guessing you might know a lot of people who are in to photography and photo editing. Because the MacBook Pro was refreshed this year, you may be able to find the prior model in your price range. If you can't find one, Asus makes a good computer with a wide screen (a little under 17 inches) that is fairly light and easy to transport. Just make sure you get enough memory on both the graphics card and the computer.

DickButtonFan
11-26-2010, 09:24 AM
HP's are good, you can get a 4GB for about 400-500 with a 15.6 inch screen. I'd try to buy a used one on amazon or ebay if you can. Just make sure the feedback is good.

There should also be a lot of sales right now with the holiday coming even at the apple store. In the US there are laptop bundles from walmart for $500 which comes with a flash, printer, and a bunch of accessories.

I know there are some acers out there for $350 or so with 3GB with 15.6 inch screen, but not so sure about that brand, I hear good and bad things, but I guess that's true of all brands.

Maybe ask those who are in your profession or look around and see what they are using and try to get something similar to what they use. Who knows maybe someone in your field is looking for a new laptop and can sell you theirs.

millyskate
11-26-2010, 11:34 AM
Thanks people. It's a good idea to look into Christmas packages, I'll see if there are any good deals going in the hypermarkets around me. I did look into second hand Macbooks, but here in France, even on ebay and stuff, the recent ones are quite pricey.
I like the HP laptops; so far I've had mixed experiences with Acer and Fujitsu Siemens.

The Fujitsu Siemens one was actually brilliant for running photoshop and had the best screen I've ever had, but it just wasn't sturdy enough. The hard drive died once and I had it replaced under guarantee, and the usb ports didn't hold up.

pollyanna
11-26-2010, 03:13 PM
Some decent Black Friday deals here..... even Apple is having a sale.

Gotapex (http://www.gotapex.com/)

Newegg's "ultra secret" Black Friday deals...but they sell out quickly. They were already sold out of the one I wanted at 1:00 this morning.

Newegg (http://promotions.newegg.com/neemail/nov-0-2010/24hoursalen26/index-landing.html?nm_mc=EMC-IGNEFL112610&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL112610-_-EMC-112610-Index-_-E0-_-PromoWord)

Good luck!

cruisin
11-26-2010, 09:59 PM
Milly, contact your school, you might get a deeper discount from them. Apple is running a one day sale today only on apple.com. the MacBook Pro is discounted, don't know if you can get an additional student discount on top of that.

I'm a graphic artist, I strongly suggest you try and get a Mac. Even if you have to get one used. Don't go for too old, though. You want to buy the most recent Adobe software and you don't want a computer that would not be compatible.

skatesindreams
11-26-2010, 10:12 PM
After much looking, I bought this Asus, today:
http://www.circuitcity.com/applications/searchtools/item-Details.asp?EdpNo=6891953&sku=A50-15658

millyskate
11-26-2010, 10:44 PM
Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately we don't have black Friday here! But we do get Christmas deals.

As wonderful as it would be to have a Mac, I really, really can't afford it. I thought I'd get one all along, but when it comes to the crunch, the cash just isn't there. I'm making this thread because I've had to downgrade my plans...
Photography is an expensive thing, and considering I don't even have a flash for my camera yet.... :wall: The computer is only useful if I get decent pics :P Any $$ I have has to go towards photography gear.

I found a good deal on an HP DV6 today, and I'm quite tempted. It's still a little expensive for me, but there's an option to pay in 10 installments without interest.

Skateindreams, thanks for the recommendation.

cruisin
11-27-2010, 12:10 AM
Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately we don't have black Friday here! But we do get Christmas deals.

As wonderful as it would be to have a Mac, I really, really can't afford it. I thought I'd get one all along, but when it comes to the crunch, the cash just isn't there. I'm making this thread because I've had to downgrade my plans...
Photography is an expensive thing, and considering I don't even have a flash for my camera yet.... :wall: The computer is only useful if I get decent pics :P Any $$ I have has to go towards photography gear.

Have you considered renting from the school? My daughter's school rented photo gear for very little $$. What kind of camera do you have? You might be able to get a second hand flash. Are you looking for remote flash?

millyskate
11-27-2010, 12:23 AM
Have you considered renting from the school? My daughter's school rented photo gear for very little $$. What kind of camera do you have? You might be able to get a second hand flash. Are you looking for remote flash?

I'm looking at the Canon 580 EXii... it's my long term investment. I'll be looking to start making money out of photography in the next year or so, so it makes sense to get a good flash. Since I plan on always using a Canon bodies, hopefully the flash will last a loooooong time.

I will undoubtedly need to rent some equipment - I don't even have a telephoto anymore since mine :wuzrobbed: broke when the bag strap gave way and it landed on the ice.
The only thing I do have at this stage is a 450D and a Tamron 17-50mm :lol: I'm counting on miracles though, since I started with a compact that helped me earn a bursary to get my current equipment, which got me through a job at a newspaper and earned me a place in college... now I need to find a another bursary to upgrade :shuffle:

DickButtonFan
11-27-2010, 01:50 AM
At apple you can't get the sale special and the school discount so the sale is really meaningless to a student.

Anyway I don't think a Mac is a smart choice for students anyway unless you get the extra ram or whatever you call it. A MacBook is only 2gb and don't even get me started on the MacBook air. The basic price $999 is only 64 ???!! That's insanely bad for the price.

The MacBook pro would be the only one worth getting but the basic price for that is $1098 with school discount, but you only get 250, and 4gb. For that price you can get so much more on a pc. Plus with a Mac iworks or whatever its called is $49 and digital software is $1-200! So really a decent macbook pro would need to be upgraded which would cost at least $1300-1500.

cruisin
11-27-2010, 03:23 AM
At apple you can't get the sale special and the school discount so the sale is really meaningless to a student.

Anyway I don't think a Mac is a smart choice for students anyway unless you get the extra ram or whatever you call it. A MacBook is only 2gb and don't even get me started on the MacBook air. The basic price $999 is only 64 ???!! That's insanely bad for the price.

The MacBook pro would be the only one worth getting but the basic price for that is $1098 with school discount, but you only get 250, and 4gb. For that price you can get so much more on a pc. Plus with a Mac iworks or whatever its called is $49 and digital software is $1-200! So really a decent macbook pro would need to be upgraded which would cost at least $1300-1500.

Are you in graphics? that is where Mac makes a big difference. Graphics/photos are stored differently in a Mac, they take up a lot less space.


I'm looking at the Canon 580 EXii... it's my long term investment. I'll be looking to start making money out of photography in the next year or so, so it makes sense to get a good flash. Since I plan on always using a Canon bodies, hopefully the flash will last a loooooong time.

I will undoubtedly need to rent some equipment - I don't even have a telephoto anymore since mine :wuzrobbed: broke when the bag strap gave way and it landed on the ice.
The only thing I do have at this stage is a 450D and a Tamron 17-50mm :lol: I'm counting on miracles though, since I started with a compact that helped me earn a bursary to get my current equipment, which got me through a job at a newspaper and earned me a place in college... now I need to find a another bursary to upgrade :shuffle:

Making money as a photographer is not easy. Get a good rep.

What kind of flash are you looking at? A hot shoe flash? I don't know what kind of photography you are going into, but studio is done with remote flash and bounce lighting. I would not invest in a really good hot shoe flash, if you are going to be doing studio. You would probably be working as an apprentice, initially anyway. And you'd have access to the "master's" lighting and equipment. Your computer will be your best friend. You can correct a lot with the right computer programs.

millyskate
11-27-2010, 10:52 AM
What kind of flash are you looking at? A hot shoe flash? I don't know what kind of photography you are going into, but studio is done with remote flash and bounce lighting. I would not invest in a really good hot shoe flash, if you are going to be doing studio. You would probably be working as an apprentice, initially anyway. And you'd have access to the "master's" lighting and equipment. Your computer will be your best friend. You can correct a lot with the right computer programs.

I won't be doing studio, just weddings. I'm not a fan of posed photography, but the 580 ex ii can be used as a remote flash anyway. I'm getting various bits of lighting equipment for Christmas, because I need to know how to use it although it won't be my specialty.
My course is documentary photography and photojournalism, with some multimedia.