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#1 pbalves


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Posted 03 January 2017 - 06:26 AM


As you all know, my mistress (underwater photography) is highly expensive and is always demanding more!

Now it is crying for a new a computer for processing the photos….

At this moment I use the Lightroom on a Mac Mini (quite old, 2009 I think!), and I am considering to go mobile.

First of all, is it possible to transfer the Lighroom catalogue from IOS version to PC version?

What do you recommend:
- MacBook Pro 13.3, i5 dual core 2.0GHz, 8GB memory, 256GB ssd
- Microsoft Surface Pro 4, i5, 8GB memory, 256GB ssd
- Any other suggestion?


Edited by pbalves, 03 January 2017 - 06:28 AM.

#2 TimG


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Posted 03 January 2017 - 06:52 AM



I used to run LR on a MB Pro with 8GB of RAM. No problem. I thought it was terrific. But......


But I now have a 27" iMac. OMG! That is fabulous and for editing, knockout.


If you decide against the mobile move, have a look at the iMac. I bought a small NeXto storage device for travelling and do all the editing at home on a BIG screen. SO much better. And so much lighter for travelling.

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#3 bvanant


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Posted 03 January 2017 - 08:51 AM

I would not recommend either machine as my main lightroom/photo editing machine; they are both harder to color calibrate than dedicated computers. That being said, we travel with a MacBook pro 16gb, 500G hard drive and we use it for both LR and Final Cut while we are on trips.  Also remember that the new MacBook pro no longer has a card reader built in and is USB C only. You will need an external card reader and a dongle.



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#4 pbalves


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Posted 08 January 2017 - 01:27 PM

Thanks Tim and Bill

At this moment I am commuting, and going mobile allows me to use it when abroad. Besides that it gives me more freedom when at home also and I can use it on the dive trips. To be honest, on the last trips I even did not took the computer with me, to travel lighter (and also I do not have a Macbook, and the computer at home is a Mac Mini as explained before, so I prefer to rely on the use of the big cards, and mobile phone is enough to access internet and communicate even by skype)

I can not afford 2 systems to edit photos, so I need to find a balance between mobility/performance/usability.

The lack of SD Card socket does not bother me a lot, as I am used to use the CF card as main card (it is faster, so I use it for the RAW files), so I am already used to use card reader.

I know that the disk size (256GB) is not big enough, and I will need to have external drives as main storage system (which might make it easier to settle a proper backup system), only keeping the catalogue on the local disk and the files that I am working on the move, being moved to the main storage when finalised and/or back home.

Bill, why do you say it will be difficult to proper calibrate? Is it due to being working on quite different places, with different ambient light, or it is something related with the hardware?

To both of you and to anybody else that wants to share his opinion, does my approach makes sense?

Do you believe I will be properly served with a system like this? Will it be a system I will be able to rely for several years to come? If not, what should be improved?

Does the MacBook Pro justify extra 350€ over the Surface (both the ones referred on my initial post)?

Have someone made the move from MacBook to Windows Surface Pro 4? If so, are you happy? Would you do it again?

Is it easy/feasible to pass the actual Lightroom catalogue on Mac to Windows one?


Pedro Alves

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 10:05 AM

I have a Surface Pro 3, and while I really love it for mobile processing, I'm not sure I would love it quite as much if it was my only machine for editing.  I also have a nice desktop with significant storage space in a RAID 1 array for redundancy.



-extremely portable

-powerful for its size

-pen/screen combo makes for quick and easy masking, selection, spot removal, etc.



-SSD size

-screen size (resolution is good, but the actual screen real estate is lacking)

-limited horsepower compared to desktop


In fairness, all of the cons will be cons for any laptop.  I do think the Surface is probably one of the better choices for mobile photo processing, and I can't say enough about the pen and touchscreen combo.  How I use it is likely going to be different than what you're hoping for though.  For the most part, I'm using it to import photos, very selectively cull (thanks to the limited SSD space), keywording, and basic processing (spot/backscatter removal, contrast adjustment, sharpening).  My camera's white balance is set to my strobe temperature, so I'm not generally making color adjustments on the laptop.  That said, perfect color calibration isn't super important to me (on the laptop) and anything I'd print would go through my calibrated desktop.  It's a difficult machine to calibrate perfectly as mentioned above, because the brightness control does not allow fine control whatsoever.  You can choose 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100%.  "Battery Saver" mode dims the screen a bit as well.  You also mentioned the lack of consistent ambient light, which is an issue, but again, would be an issue on any laptop that's being moved around.  When home, I move the images onto my desktop storage, merge the catalogs, create the necessary backups, then delete files off the laptop to make room for the next trip.


The screen-size of the Surface is definitely limiting, especially if you keep any of the Lightroom windows open.  It's simply difficult to see the image and I find myself flipping between "D" and "F" quite a bit to get a better look at what's going on.  It's not a deal-breaker, but it's nothing like editing on a proper, large desktop monitor.  You can also use Lightroom on a Surface in "tablet mode" which allows you to minimize the amount of space Lightroom is using for it's various menus.  It takes some getting used to, and I still very much prefer the normal mode, but I'm trying.  My wife has a pretty modern Macbook Air that I tried out with Lightroom in the past, and for me, the screen size difference was negligible.  They're both pretty small.


Hope that helps!

#6 pbalves


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Posted 05 February 2017 - 03:55 PM

Hi Guys thanks for the nice advices.


I have bought a MacBook Pro, i5 2.0, 512 GB SSD.

I am loving it!

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