Replacing MacBook Pro... iMac? macPro?



I’ve read some of the other posts about iMac 27" for example but have a more basic question. iMac, iMacPro, MacPro or even the upcoming new MacPro? Everything but the iMac seems outrageous expensive so I’m very much open to advice / thoughts. This machine will be largely for photography only as I use a macbook air for all of my business needs.

Update: worth also saying I’ve started doing time lapse work too

Background: I use external hard drives as my photo source as my iPad Pro hard drive just isn’t big enough. Big mistake! I think external hard drives are just too vulnerable and I may just have lost all of my 2019 source file. I use backblaze for cloud backups as a contingency option but upon trying to arrange a restore, I find the subdirectory on the hard drive that actually holds all of my raw files (and edits) has not been backing up. Everything else but not that subdirectory. Doh! floods of tears.

I’m sure you’ll get plenty of opinions here.

I would not buy the existing MacPro. The technology in it has not been updated since 2013 and it is simply not worth the money.

The new MacPro is really overkill for photography. It is no doubt going to be a fast machine, but it really aimed at those making full length feature movies or others needing insane compute power.

iMac Pro. Very nice machine, but do some comparisons on that versus the straight 27" iMac and my money would go for the iMac with a 1TB SSD, the fastest processors you can spec and the biggest video card. I also would not buy more than the base 8GB of memory from Apple. You can buy an additional 32GB from Other World Computing and install it in the iMac in about 5 minutes for a total of 40GB. That memory is about 1/2 the price of buying 32gb from Apple. The iMac I just described is the machine I’ve been running for a few years now. Great machine, no issues.

There’s my 2 cents on the topic.

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awesome thanks @Keith_Bauer. The memory is important to me too, so knowing you can upgrade (I imagine without compromising it’s warranty?) separately is good. I did that was an old macbook pro I was buying a new one, and gifted the old one to my son with the more memory.

Vikki, I’ll second the recommendation for the 27" iMac and extra memory, especially if you’re using Photoshop and/or Lightroom. It will give you an excellent, large screen and let you put your money into extra memory. (While the extra processing power of one of the Pro machines can be good, they’re mostly target at folks making lots of videos, so the extra speed doesn’t show up dramatically if you’re doing stills.) While SSD can be fast, Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) external drives are also very fast. Rather than get a new iMac for desktop work and limiting my 2016 MacBook pro (13") for traveling, I’ve gone to a Thunderbolt 3 dock, an external 27" monitor (4K video, not the 5K of the iMac). I have an external SSD for the MBP and I’ve found that it’s response times using Lightroom and Photoshop are notably slower the my external TB3. I like the size and weight of the 13" MBP for air travel.

Backups and restores are a whole different story. I had the internal hard drive on my 2011 iMac die and I’ve seen both my wife and daughter have problems with their laptops, so there’s no TOTALLY SAFE hardware. Apple’s Timemachine works well, but there are more sophisticated backup and restore programs, my wife has one called SuperDuper that was a lifesaver when my iMac died. She also has non-Apple disk analysis/recovery software that’s a huge improvement over Apple’s Disk Utility.

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Thanks @Mark_Seaver I’ve updated the original post you mr room I’m now processing time lapses as well as stills. It’s not full video editing but has proved a little painful with my 2015 MacBook Pro

As mentioned above, the general geek consensus online on many different sites is that the upcoming Mac Pro and the iMac Pro are overkill for still photography. If you are looking for a monitor also, the iMac definitely is your best bet. The limiting factor for future proofing your system usually is the CPU (my experience with two mac desktop systems is that after six or seven years they get too slow), so definitely get the upgrade to the i9 9900 CPU (chip). The other future proofing factor is outside of our control: at some point, you can’t upgrade to the latest Mac OS, but again, that is usually after more than 7 or 8 years. Whether or not to upgrade the GPU (video card) is more controversial. It’s probably not necessary now, but changes in LR and PS in the future could benefit from an upgraded GPU. FYI, B&H photo has a deal where you apply for their own in house “card”, and they refund you the sales tax.

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I too process time lapse sequences using LRTimeLapse with RAW images from my camera systems. It is pretty CPU intensive when it is rendering all of the exposure adjustments to create a perfectly smooth time lapse. My iMac handles it fine. I’m sure faster CPU’s on newer machines would even be better such as the i9 available in the new iMacs. As an example, here’s a link to a video I created from about 6400 frames.

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Excellent news thanks. Tried the TL link but says video unavailable

Hmmm… I just tried logging out of my NPN account and my YouTube account to see if I could still click on the video above and it worked fine. I’m certainly no YouTube guru so if other’s can’t see it please let me know and I’ll see if I can figure out why. Thanks for letting me know.

The time lapse worked for me, Keith.

Hmmm. It must just be me the. Which I guess is good news