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Best Travel Laptop for underwater photographers

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Right now I'm trying to choose a new laptop. I'm an underwater photographer.

 

The main use of the laptop is during photography trips, for that i need very good battery time, lightweight and true color monitor.

 

In my travel i use photoshop, lightroom, premiere. I can work with windows or OS X, despite being more dependent on OS X right now....iphone, imac and macbook pro...automatic synchronise of contacts, emails, photos, etc.

 

In your opinion what is the best option for a budget of 3000USD?

 

thanks for your help.

 

 

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I have just replaced a macbook air with a Microsoft surface pro which in my opinion leaves the Mac way behind. It is light with a detachable keyboard which then puts the laptop into tablet mode and reportedly a 13 hr battery lfe. Screen quality is superb and a pen allows for fine editing and photo manipulation. OS is Windows 10 and running Lightroom 6. No issues with performance / speed. There are quite a few versions in the Surface Pro range so a few to choose from.

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I have just replaced a macbook air with a Microsoft surface pro which in my opinion leaves the Mac way behind. It is light with a detachable keyboard which then puts the laptop into tablet mode and reportedly a 13 hr battery lfe. Screen quality is superb and a pen allows for fine editing and photo manipulation. OS is Windows 10 and running Lightroom 6. No issues with performance / speed. There are quite a few versions in the Surface Pro range so a few to choose from.

I reduced my list of options to the following models:

Dell XPS 13

Lenovo Yoga 920

Surface Book 2

What's your opinion on these?

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Xps 13 4K is great except every now and then wifi needs to be reset. Seems to have a bug there.

 

Screen is awesome.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I'll put in my vote for the Surface Book2 15" model. I've used this on a number of photo expeditions and love it. There are a couple of things about this device that none of the other options offer:

 

1) Best screen on the market at nearly 4K and a 3:2 aspect ratio at 15 inches. This means it is taller than the 16:9 in most laptops. This is Ideal for Lightroom and photoshop

2) Built in full SD-Card reader. No need for dongles and external card readers if you shoot on SD Cards, which is pretty common.

3) The CPU is in the screen which means the keyboard and base remain very cool and comfortable to use under heavy workloads. (Try holding a MacBookPro on your lap during a Lightroom batch export or Video render. HOT!)

 

Not unique, but Nvidia 1060 GPU and 4-Core I7 CPU with NVMe SSD make it super fast.

 

You can get a top spec SB2 as above for $2500.

Edited by davehicks

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I just ordered the Surface Book 2 13 "i7 16Gb Ram 512Gb ... I did not choose the 15" because it will be used in travel. For more demanding jobs I have the imac and the pc at home

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Other than the price tag, I can't complain about my 2017 Macbook Pro. Good if you're into video editing also otherwise it's overkill.

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I just bought a Lenovo. The reason I mention this is that I semi-turfed my Mac Airbook in a beach landing in Costa Rica. The crew semi-doused my computer bag, I know, should have carried it myself. The Airbook worked okay in the States, but every time I went to a tropical location, it would get cranky, often refusing to boot up. On my last trip it wouldn't boot at all, and the new battery, I just installed, quit working when I came back. Enough. I researched tough books, laptops that are hardened to resist water, dropping etc. The problem is that they are very expensive, for my budget, They start at $3,500 and go up, but they are essentially military grade. Lenovo has a compromise computer that is hardened, but not as much as the tough books. It can take a significant drop and some light water. So far I'm happy with it, but I'm not video editing.

 

It is a thinkpad 11e.

Edited by LyleORoss

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I reduced my list of options to the following models:

Dell XPS 13

Lenovo Yoga 920

Surface Book 2

What's your opinion on these?

I had the Lenovo Yoga and loved it. Switched to the Dell XPS 13 and it performs well but the battery is crap compared to the Lenovo.

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Just be aware when choosing your laptop that a high res screen makes pre-CC versions of photoshop pretty much unusable as the fonts for the menus and the tool icons are not scalable. I still use CS6 (no plans to ever get onboard the subscription wagon) and that is only usable on lower res screens. Not sure what the situation is with Lightroom.

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The new Gen8 i5 and i7's look very good these days.

 

I have the 2017 13" i7 Touchbar MacBookPro with 16GB of RAM - very happy with it - but the newer ones sure look more speedy with twice the cores

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Macbook Air is the way to go. I work with the full adobe suite and my MA is perfect for travel. The only downfall is the limited storage space so worst case scenario just grab an external SSD and you're all set.

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I was about to start a similar thread - when I found this one.  Glad to see the info.

I currently have Dell laptop for travel but it has a beastly shiny screen which distorts the colors so badly can't really edit while on trips.  I run Lightroom Classic and Photoshop at the same time.

I've heard MacBook Pro 15" is the way to go but I see now that there are is a Windows option with the Surface.

 

A couple questions, please: 

1 - What about size?  13" or 15" ?  I'd like to stay small and lighter is always better - but have heard one needs 15" for decent editing.

2 - Both have only one USB port.  How do you deal with that?

3 - What specific model should I be looking for?  I only use it for travel so I'd like it to be economical - but don't want it to be a slow beast either.

4 - Minimum specs - ie:  SSD, RAM, processor, etc... 

 

Thanks so much!

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On the 13" or 15" issue, are you doing final edits on the machine? Or is this a quick edit whilst on a trip and then flick it onto a big desktop when you get home?

If it's the quick edit, I'd suggest that a 13" screen is enough. I've been using a 13" MacBook Pro for years for travel editing (plus a whole year of working in the Lembeh Straits) and then transfer things to my iMac when I'm home. I've found 13" fine for deciding whether a pic is worth keeping or not and checking if there are any kinds of housing/equipment/lens issues going on that I can't see on the camera LCD etc. Even a simple edit is doable.

The advantage of 13" is portability. The difference between 13" and 15"  doesn't sound much, but given the amount of gear we lug around, the extra weight and volume of a bigger laptop would be, I'd suggest, significant.  

One USB port? Buy a plug-in hub.

On the other specs, my experience has been that an off-the-shelf MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD will run PS and LR just fine for short trips.

 

 

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Thanks TIM!  I hope to do all (or the bulk of) the editing whilst on the trip.  Once I get home - tough to find the time.  Thanks for the specs.

 

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On 8/14/2019 at 11:18 PM, TimG said:

On the 13" or 15" issue, are you doing final edits on the machine? Or is this a quick edit whilst on a trip and then flick it onto a big desktop when you get home?

If it's the quick edit, I'd suggest that a 13" screen is enough. I've been using a 13" MacBook Pro for years for travel editing (plus a whole year of working in the Lembeh Straits) and then transfer things to my iMac when I'm home. I've found 13" fine for deciding whether a pic is worth keeping or not and checking if there are any kinds of housing/equipment/lens issues going on that I can't see on the camera LCD etc. Even a simple edit is doable.

The advantage of 13" is portability. The difference between 13" and 15"  doesn't sound much, but given the amount of gear we lug around, the extra weight and volume of a bigger laptop would be, I'd suggest, significant.  

One USB port? Buy a plug-in hub.

On the other specs, my experience has been that an off-the-shelf MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD will run PS and LR just fine for short trips.

 

 

Tim do you think a 13" Mac book Air does the trick ? My daughter just got herself a new Mac Book pro! and her air is just lying around :-( Currently am using a 6-7 year old Mac Book pro which is still an efficient workhorse.

 

Diggy

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36 minutes ago, diggy said:

Tim do you think a 13" Mac book Air does the trick ? My daughter just got herself a new Mac Book pro! and her air is just lying around :-( Currently am using a 6-7 year old Mac Book pro which is still an efficient workhorse.

 

Diggy

Really hard to say, Diggy. Can you compare the specs?

My experience is that LR will run fine on 8GB RAM - (I've got more than 45,000 images in my catalogue and they're almost all FX sized RAW files). Storage: you need about either 250GB of disk space- for the software and to allow image storage (or, a bit slower, an external hard disk for storage)  during, say, a 2-week dive trip. I have honestly no clue on chip speeds. I never buy the fastest ones and have never noticed any of the four iMac/MacBookPros (MBPs) I've ever had choking on LR/PS.

If your workhorse is still jumping the necessary hurdles, then you're in business anyway. Seems to me that MBPs are almost like diesel engine cars: they just keep going and going! Depending on the year model, you could if necessary always add more RAM (there are a couple of model years where you can't) or a bigger SSD/hard drive. It's easy to do.

Why not though install LR on the Air, go out for a weekend of topside shooting, import the files onto the Air, edit a bit and see what happens. If it works well you can make your daughter an offer she can't possibly refuse and bingo you have a very nice (newish) machine. But if it's not a Happy Mac, you've got the Workhorse. What's there not to like, eh?

I'm not sure if you can add RAM to an Air or not. It could be that the RAM is soldered in (unlike most MBPs). A quick look on the Apple Support website will tell you - as, I think, if you go into the About This Mac icon/tab in the OS - it'll show how much RAM you have and if there is the potential to increase it. I don't think you can upgrade the disk on an Air - but am not sure.

Lots of options!

 

:P

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga has been my daily driver for several years now; at first a 1st gen one, and since last year, a 3rd gen. I replaced the original 256GB SSD with a 2TB Intel 660p, so space is not an issue, and I don't need to mess around with external drives. At work I keep it docked to two monitors with the laptop itself in tent mode giving me a third screen. A quad-core CPU and 16GB RAM give sufficient performance for all but the heaviest tasks.

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Whenever I travel for diving I now carry my laptop in a backpack with weather seals. It won't survive a complete dunking but the bag will keep water off a laptop for a short "excursion" in ocean.

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