MacInTouch Reader Reports

Photography: Questions

Feb. 3, 2009
Feb. 4, 2009
Apr. 28, 2009
Apr. 29, 2009
Apr. 30, 2009
May. 1, 2009
May. 2, 2009
May. 4, 2009
May. 5, 2009
May. 6, 2009
May. 15, 2009
May. 16, 2009
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May. 20, 2009
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May. 22, 2009
May. 23, 2009
May. 25, 2009
Jun. 17, 2009
Jun. 18, 2009
Jun. 19, 2009
Jun. 20, 2009

Newer entries...
Feb. 3, 2009

item.86525

MacInTouch Reader

What's the best watermarking software? Is it iWatermark? I don't have Photoshop or Aperture, & iPhoto & iWeb don't have watermarking capability.

Thanks!

item.86563

Skot Nelson

I believe Picasa for PC will watermark photos when you upload to web galleries. I'm not sure about Mac.

It's not the best, which is what you're asking for, but it's free.

Feb. 4, 2009

item.86578

MacInTouch Reader

You can't go wrong by investing in Graphic Converter. It's only $35.00 US. It has a lot of watermarkin, annotating, and Add Text features ready to go, and can batch process an entire Folder of photos. Very handy. Last week I was able to add my name date and copyright symbol to no less than 300 of my best photos from last year, at the same time as I resized them all to 1200 pixels wide and sharpened them 12 percent... with a single Action click. Adding a big semi-transparent Watermark is child's play for GC, for one photo or a whole batch.

Thorston Lemke does a fantastic job of keeping Graphic Converter current, always adding features and working thru bug issues almost in real time. And he is very responsive to his customers. GC is a Universal Binary and works on Tiger-Leopard - PPC-Intel machines. There is nothing like it in the Windows XP-Vista universe. I can't say enough about it. GC is always open on my Mac, and it does for me in one place with one app what it takes Photoshop, Aperture, and other programs to do separately at 25 times the cost. And GC does many things that Adobe or Apple graphics apps can't or won't. For one thing, it integrates with Google Earth to Geo-Tag your photos. OMG

Best money you will ever invest in Macintosh software. I am not affiliated with www.lemkesoft.com, just a long time satisfied user who couldn't live without my Graphic Converter

item.86601

Ira Lansing

"Best" is always a relative term, but to add to the mix there is Image Buddy. It allows you to add watermarks and more. It is especially nice for printing index pages or multiple photos on a single page, with multiple sizes of photos on the same page.

item.86638

MacInTouch Reader

I don't know if it's the "best", but I've been using iWatermark for a few years now and find it easy to use, rock solid and fairly flexible. It's also pretty cheap, $20.

item.86641

Joe Huber

TalaPhoto http://www.talasoft.com/talaphoto can watermark images and also create slideshow movies, web galleries and a variety of contact sheets and image formats. It's most often used by professional wedding photographers but it's useful to the hobbyist too.

item.86663

C Goff

I second the recommendation of Graphic Converter. It's an astonishlingly capable and astonishingly inexpensive program that I've been using for longer than I can remember. I refer to it as my "can opener" for its ability to read just about any obscure or bizarre graphics file type.


Apr. 28, 2009

item.91236

Jeffrey Folinus

... We have several recent images with problems (basically striping in locations that vary based on the content of each photo), and are trying to identify whether this is a memory card problem or a camera problem. (Camera is a Nikon P80).

So we are trying to determine likely cause of problem.

Apr. 29, 2009

item.91290

Frank T

1) Have you re-formatted the card after downloading the pics? (it is recommended you do this every time)
2) does it happen with other cards?

item.91302

John Zavinski

By striping do you mean that it's as if the image was sliced into 6 to 10 strips and then the strips are mixed up or the colors altered (inverted, colorized)? If so, it's the same problem we've seen at my newspaper.

When reading certain ones of those tiny (SD?) cards on a G4/9.22, we get that corruption no matter how we read them, including drag-copying or photoshop file>open or even using a file-typer script to make sure they are jpeg. I believe I've overcome the problem by copying them off the card onto a MacBook Pro/Leopard and then onto the G4 machine.

On the G4 in OS9, the only workaround I've found is to tediously drag the images from the card, one by one, onto a browser window, wait for it to load, then click and Save Image to disk. I forget whether that wipes any EXIF info.

The original images are not corrupted, but something in card readers or OS with this older machine does this. BTW, most of our cameras are compact flash cards and work flawlessly with the same CPU/reader. I can't remember whether we've tried a direct USB-to-camera connection to transfer; if we did, it didn't work, but maybe we never tried.

item.91303

Rich Cruse

Can you post a copy of the image somewhere? Thanks!

item.91312

Lee Clawson

Jeffrey Folinus asked:

... and are trying to identify whether this is a memory card problem or a camera problem. (Camera is a Nikon P80).

I'd substitute a new memory card and see if it continues.

item.91314

Steve Latham

I used to see this problem years ago when digital photography was relatively new, and was always due to a bad CF (compact flash) card. Formatting (not just erasing) the card in-camera sometimes helped. I would suggest always formatting the card in-camera, and trying 2 or 3 cards of different brands... if the problem is reproducible across the different CF cards, then it's probably the camera. If not, then you've most likely got a damaged CF card.

item.91317

Joseph Martines

Regarding your striping/banding problem: I would be inclined to check the condition of your batteries.

If possible, discharge the batteries completely and then recharge completely. I think you will be surprised at the results.

item.91331

Steve Thuman

I am a very prolific Nikon shooter. The test for whether it's the camera or card is easy, use a different card for awhile and see if the problem exists with it. If you're like me you have lots of cards, so mark that possible bad one so it doesn't get mixed in with the rest.

A couple notes on memory cards:

The easiest and in a lot of ways best method of removing images from the card after they have been safely downloaded to computer is to format the card in the camera. Some people like to erase the images from the card after downloading. Nothing wrong with that except it's still a good idea to format the card frequently. At least once a month or so. Just erasing the images leaves folders on the card and they take up space after awhile. But more important is that in the event any directory locations on the card become corrupted, formatting will clear that.

If you download the images by hooking a cable to the camera and computer you should unplug the card from the camera and plug it back in from time to time. The physical action cleans the pins on the camera and sockets on the card.

Having not seen the image problems it's hard to know if it could be a camera problem. Card problems are rare, but they do exist.

item.91339

Ric Ford [MacInTouch]

[Here's a follow-up from an email discussion with Jeffrey. -Ric Ford]

Re:

Any suggestions on any sites for identifying potential issues with digital cameras?

We have several recent images with problems (basically striping in locations that vary based on the content of each photo), and are trying to identify whether this is a memory card problem or a camera problem. (Camera is a Nikon P80).

So we are trying to determine likely cause of problem.

I wrote in an email response:

This is characteristic of data corruption, and I've seen it happen when a card reader went bad.

And Jeffrey replied:

Thanks for the feedback.

Evidently, this striping is actually a characteristic of the Nikon P80 camera when used in the sport mode! The manual (in very fine print) makes mention that when in the rapid-sports mode, this can happen. The manual says the solution is to not photograph white objects that are in the frame (which evidently cause the striping). This is not really an option when photographing youth soccer, because the goal frames are white.

Interestingly, as an example of the continued decline in tech support just about everywhere, Nikon did not mention this---but did suggest the memory card as being at fault.

Enjoy the site. Keep up the good work.

Apr. 30, 2009

item.91358

Travis Butler

To follow up on the suggestion of a broken card reader, I've seen several cases where an older card reader didn't support larger card sizes; my best guess is that the reader's firmware didn't support a large enough address space for the flash memory.

If you put a new, larger card into a reader and you see evidence of corruption - missing photos, photos that display correctly on the camera but are garbled when viewed on he computer: remove the card from the reader immediately and do not attempt to write to it. I've seen memory cards corrupted in just this fashion, losing photos that family members very much wanted to have.

May. 1, 2009

item.91393

MacInTouch Reader

If you have an SD card, make it read-only before inserting it into the suspect reader to avoid the tragedy of a corrupted SD card.
I actually do this all the time, anyway.

item.91405

David Charlap

Travis Butler wrote:

"I've seen several cases where an older card reader didn't support larger card sizes"

Most commonly (at least in my experience) is the case with large SD cards. The original SD spec only supports cards up to 2GB. Larger SD cards use a new protocol, called "SDHC".

Even today, most SD card readers sold in stores don't have SDHC support. The last time I looked (about a month ago), my local store had about 10 different readers on the shelf, and only one model supported SDHC. (You really do have to read the fine print on the package when shopping for card readers!)

I don't know how all readers behave, but with the three older non-SDHD SD card readers I have (one external, one built-in to a monitor, and one built-in to a PC), SDHC cards don't show up at all. The computer doesn't see any device. It doesn't mount the card with corrupt data.

Of course, it may well be the case that some other memory card technologies or some other kinds of readers behave differently from my experience.

[I bought one of these Class 6 (high-speed) SDHC cards, which comes complete with a little card reader at reasonable cost: Transcend 16 GB SDHC Memory Card with Card Reader. Seems to work fine (e.g. in Nikon D90, Raw+JPEG files), and I use the reader with other cards, too. -Ric Ford]

May. 2, 2009

item.91446

Lee Kilpatrick

How fast is that Transcend card reader? I am interested in one that is somewhat faster than the USB transfer from my camera. I am using 16G cards that are rated at 30MB/sec, which is half the theoretical capacity of USB 2, would I be able to get anywhere near that speed on a card reader? 16G at 30MB would be like 8 minutes minimum. My camera takes about 5 times that to transfer the same amount over USB.

[Copying data, Activity Monitor shows read speeds of about 10.5 MB/sec. and writes more variable and slower. -Ric Ford]

item.91451

Grandy Pollo

Free SDHC card readers:

Many Lexar and Sandisk SDHC cards come with a free USB reader, Lexar's is a small white one with a clear plastic cap and Sandisk is a small black one. Look for packages that have both.

One note the commonly found ExpressCard 34 SD readers do not read SDHC cards, one example is Addonics who still post the device on the web site with one.

item.91477

Travis Butler

David Charlap wrote:

"Most commonly (at least in my experience) is the case with large SD cards. The original SD spec only supports cards up to 2GB. Larger SD cards use a new protocol, called "SDHC"."

Yeah... in this case it wasn't an SDHC issue; it was, if I recall correctly, a 1-GB card. Another couple of examples I've ran into in the past were SmartMedia: Olympus' own PC-Card SmartMedia reader wouldn't handle cards over 8 MB, nor would a USB SmartMedia reader that mimic'ed a flash drive. Tech Support for the USB reader said that it was a problem with the reader's firmware, and that I'd have to send it back to them for exchange, which they fortunately handled without hassle.

May. 4, 2009

item.91494

Pete Masterson

At MacWorld SF, I picked up a 'freebie' SD card reader. The label (front) reads: Panasonic AVCCAM; and the label on the back reads: USB 2.0 Card Reader; SD/Mini, SD/MMC/RS-MMC/T-FLASH; Made in China.

It reads standard SD cards and the SDHC cards with no trouble.

The surprise (now) is that the give away has no markings as to where I got it... It's proven to be quite handy but I don't know who was giving them away. (I also picked up a couple of USB thumb drives that were well marked with the vendor's names...)

item.91499

Guy Teague

Yes, the SD/SDHC situation was, and still is, confusing. And although it is more correct than not to say that SD only goes up to 2GB, I actually have a 4GB SD card which will only work in some SD readers and only in some SDHC readers -- a real black sheep of a card.

For Ric: the D90 is the only SLR so far that I know of that will take advantage of the speed of the new Sandisk Extreme3 special edition 30MB/s SDHC cards.

[I just tried copies to and from a Sandisk Extreme III SDHD card, using the Transcend USB card adapter, getting 11MB/sec. reads and roughly 9MB/sec. writes (according to Activity Monitor and using Mac OS X 10.4.11). Were you referring to the Ducati Edition? -Ric Ford]

item.91488

William Robinson

I use the Sandisk Extreme III 30mbs SDHC cards, and to get the promised transfer speeds my research led me to the Sandisk ImageMate Multi-Card USB 2.0 Reader. It was created by Sandisk to support these new cards, which were developed with Nikon for the D90. I haven't timed the transfer rates, so can't give any hard data.

Amazon has the ImageMate. If you go through the MacInTouch Amazon link, you'll help support this site.

May. 5, 2009

item.91571

Robert Sholl

I have been using the Sandisk MobileMate SD reader for a few years. The original one was SD only, but the new one is SDHC compatible. It is fast, plugs directly into the USB port and allows you to use your older SD cards as thumb drives. I have never had a card it couldn't read.

item.91581

Guy Teague

I ran a quick informal test on 50 NEF+JPG files totaling nearly 400MB residing on the Extreme3 30MB/s card and taken with the D90 using the matching ImageMate reader and got 21MB/s read speed and 16MB/s write speed to my desktop on my Mac Pro.

This site has an informal test comparing the new 30MB/s card with the regular Extreme3 card and shows the new card will allow shooting nearly twice as many continuous frames:

http://www.kevinkeeganpro.com/blog/2008/09/nikon-d90-new-sd-extreme-iii-30-mbs.html

And here is a chart from Rob Galbraith showing the new cards having a write speed advantage (especially for RAW writes) in camera:

http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/camera_multi_page.asp?cid=6007-9597

Here is the original Sandisk press release: http://www.sandisk.com/Corporate/PressRoom/PressReleases/PressRelease.aspx?ID=4371:

"The Nikon D90 is the industry's first DSLR camera to support SanDisk Extreme III 30MB/s Edition SDHC cards at increased performance. Featuring a 50-percent speed boost from previous 20MB/s cards, the new SanDisk Extreme III 30MB/s Edition SDHC card makes it possible to record 39 images in continuous shooting mode at 4.5 frames per second with a file size of 6.0 MB JPEG L Fine per image."

"When placed in SanDisk's new ImageMate? Multi-Card USB 2.0 Reader/Writer, still images and video can be transferred from the new SDHC card to a computer up to 30MB/s [...]"

May. 6, 2009

item.91618

Scott Aronian

I concur with Robert Sholl's comments on the speed of the SanDisk products. My 16GB SanDisk Extreme III (30MB/s Edition) SDHC card has 13.2MB/s write and 20.3MB/s read times. Using either a SanDisk MobileMate SD+ or Moshi USB card reader connected to a MacBook Pro.

May. 15, 2009

item.92127

Paul Specter

I would like to pose a question to the MacInTouch team as well as the readers. I am using a Dual 2.3GHz Power Mac G5 with 1.5 GB of RAM, and my OS is 10.4.11.

I have been using Photoshop Elements since it first came out and my present version is 4.0.1. I am considering either purchasing the latest version of PE which is v6, or moving over to the latest version of Aperture (which I would have to buy). I know and understand the Photoshop Elements v4 interface and I really don't have much use for the editing abilities of my present version of iPhoto (v5). I would be interested to hear opinions based on experience on whether I should stay with PE or go with Aperture. Thanks.

[For what it's worth, we see Aperture/Lightroom as ideal for processing *collections* of photos (creating web galleries, etc.), as well as doing most "darkroom"-type processing (white balance, tone control, etc.), while Photoshop is a better choice for *retouching* individual images (spot removal, masking, etc.) -MacInTouch]

May. 16, 2009

item.92194

Dan Rempel

With respect to to Paul Specter's inquiry, have a look at Lightroom before shelling out for Aperture or PhotoShop updates. I agree with the MacInTouch comments to the post, and will add that PSE 4 is probably all you need for that kind of retouching work.

item.92198

Skot Nelson

I think Ric's characterizaton of Aperture vs. Photoshop is fair and apt. The two are really complimentary products, not competitive ones.

I played with the Aperture demo for its full month before committing to it. I generally prefer it to iPhoto. iPhoto seems ideal for casual snapshots and extracting photos from digital point and shoot cameras.... Aperture seems better for a more careful, selective school of working with photos. (An aside: having recently upgraded a friend to a Mac from Windows XP, iPhoto's face recogniation and geo-tagging are nice, and he loves both.)

I shoot film, and don't digitize 100% of what I do. Aperture suits me very well and has a nice workflow. I use Photoshop only when necessary...I'm sort of a photographic purist, I guess and generally use editing tools in Aperture for cropping, straightening and other functions instead of Photoshop's.

item.92201

Chris Lucianu

Paul Specter wrote:

"I would be interested to hear opinions based on experience on whether I should stay with PE or go with Aperture."

That really depends upon your precise photographic needs: PE, Lightroom, and Aperture are different toolkits for different purposes. Would you care to specify? Besides, PE may be already a bit long in the tooth.

Also, Lloyd Chambers of diglloyd.com has posted a few interesting articles highlighting performance issues of Photoshop and Lightroom.

http://macperformanceguide.com/OptimizingPhotoshop-Intro.html

http://macperformanceguide.com/Optimizing-Lightroom.html

http://macperformanceguide.com/Reviews-MacProNehalem-Tests-Photoshop.html#diglloydSpeed1

http://macperformanceguide.com/Reviews-MacProNehalem-Scalability.html

While his findings reflect only poor PS scalability on newer high-end Intel multicore Macs, I worked with Photoshop CS3/CS4 and Lightroom 1.2/2.3 on a dual G5 similar to yours, and experienced rather poor load balancing with PS, too.

item.92202

Stephen Hart

Paul Specter wrote:

"I would like to pose a question to the MacInTouch team as well as the readers. I am using a Dual 2.3GHz Power Mac G5 with 1.5 GB of RAM, and my OS is 10.4.11.
I have been using Photoshop Elements since it first came out and my present version is 4.0.1..."

Three points:

Paul may well want to boost RAM on this Mac. RAM is inexpensive now, and his machine will love it. (I have a dual 2.0 with 6 GB RAM.)

Secondly, the latest iPhoto version, 8.0.2, has some very nicely improved Adjustment tools. The Shadow and Highlight tools, especially, are excellent and easier to use than Photoshop's. It also has white-point adjustment, which can be very handy for certain photos. iPhoto can handle tens of thousands of images easily. (Some of Photoshop's spot touchup tools are still better.)

Finally, Leopard runs wonderfully on a Mac like Paul's, and is a great improvement, in many ways, over Tiger. The one obvious exception is the absence of Classic.

item.92210

Rich Cruse

I am a photographer and I prefer using the image browsing software Nikon View for editing and PhotoShop for image processing and retouching. That's just me. I have spent WAY too much money trying to find an image workflow that works for me. The biggest problem for me is that I need to be able to quickly browse more than a thousand images at a time. Lightroom, Aperture and Adobe Bridge just don't do it for me. It was after trying the Free software from Nikon, that I found what works for me.

You may want to download free trials of both PhotoShop Elements and PhotoShop as well.
  http://www.adobe.com/downloads
You can also get a 30 day trial of Aperture and Lightroom.

The point is that you need to find out what works best for you and free trials allow you to do that without spending any money.

You may be surprised how sophisticated iPhoto has become, so an upgrade to iLife '09 might be a great solution.

item.92219

Richard Ripley

Try Lightroom!

item.92222

Kevin Hawkins

Photoshop Elements is for editing a photo. And not for organizing photos. I use Aperture more and Photoshop less these days. If you only need to do minor retouching then Aperture all the way! You will love it! There are lots of stuff to study at apple.com. One thing though, an old G5 machine is not what Aperture wants! It will be *slow*. If you upgrade your machine to a new Intel machine, make sure you get the best video card you can for Aperture. If you are not upgrading your machine, then do not use Aperture. I say, get a new iMac and Aperture! Good Luck.

item.92245

Adam Newman

Perhaps considering (no pun intended) Apples vs. Oranges. As Ric noted, Aperture is more for managing collections of photos whereas Photoshop (and Elements) is more for manipulating individual photos.

So, as far as bang for the buck - it sounds like you need an upgrade for your Elements far more than the purchase of Aperture would justify. If you are happy with iPhoto for organizing your work, that would clinch the deal for me.

My $0.02

item.92246

Gordon Sick

I've got Photoshop CS3 and Aperture 2.1.3. The applications are somewhat complementary, but the feature sets overlap a lot and where they overlap, I prefer Aperture greatly. I shoot Raw and Aperture is built for Raw users because it lets you do your editing without having to render the Raw. Photoshop gives you minimal tone and exposure control capability and forces you to render the Raw into a Photoshop file before you can do extensive editing. This means you are now stuck with a very large 16 bit Photoshop file in addition to the Raw file.

Photoshop can do some bizarre things with its curves, but Aperture gives you several ways of changing curves in a meaningful way, pulling out highlights and shadows in several different intuitive ways. It also lets you remove spots, redeye, sharpen, remove noise, etc.

But, as Ric says, the other big feature of Aperture is its ability to manage a lot of pictures at once. You can be organizing your photos, ranking them, naming them and then do some editing and then go back to organizing. A Photoshop workflow is much more modal and directional, so it is harder to go back and forth.

The bottom line is that I do very little work in Photoshop now. It is almost all Aperture. That's a big win, because I'll take 600 or 700 raw pictures in a day (birds, for example) and things build up quickly. I'd never be able to handle that in Photoshop.

item.92251

Mike Youngberg

Aperture does have some non-destructive edit abilities, but nothing compared to Photoshop.

Aperture & Lightroom are photo-managing applications (+more features). Photoshop (Elements) is for editing photos/creating digital art/etc. Different & complementary animals.

item.92263

MacInTouch Reader

The MacInTouch editors' comment is very good. Aperture and Lightroom attempt to provide a complete workflow for photographers, including cataloguing of collections. Elements is not as complete.

The editing tools of Lightroom and Aperture are very good. Except for "hero" shots (in raw format), the editing tools in Lightroom are as good as Elements. "Hero" shots requiring individual attention may require Photoshop ($$$).

I am surprised at your comment on iPhoto, which I find an excellent application that has the goal of duplicating Lightroom at a more user friendly level.

I used both Aperture and Lightroom, and found myself using Lightroom exclusively.

Lightroom offers non-destructive editing of photos (including jpg files), which is very important - but so does iPhoto. Lightroom also provides for conversion to dng format when importing raw files. dng is intended to be a universal format for photos.

http://www.adobe.com/products/dng/

Poke around the indices on this website for discussions on raw format and Lightroom.

http://luminous-landscape.com/

Lightroom has good batch processing capabilities, good indexing and keywording capabilities, and great printing capabilities (including color managed printing).

Lightroom works in a very large color space.

DId I mention uploading to web galleries? (Apple's me.com with IPhoto is even easier.)

I shoot high school swim meets for a hobby. In three years, I have shot and maintained a website for (I think) about 15,000 photos, shot mostly in RAW format. Impossible without Lightroom.

item.92273

David Swift

Paul Specter:

What the MacInTouch editor said.

Aperture is basically an iTunes-ish catalog for an image collection with the ability to process images -- esp large batches.

Photoshop is for finishing individual images that Aperture can't quite finesse. Aperture handles Pshop docs like any other image file.

In short, use both.

May. 18, 2009

item.92280

Michael Mckee

In the discussion of Photoshop vs. Aperture, Lightroom, iPhoto, etc., nobody has mentioned Adobe Bridge. Bridge comes bundled with Photoshop CS whatever and Elements. It features the same core editing capabilities as Lightroom through Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). It also has the ability to add keywords to photos and rate them as well as providing browsing capabilities.

Photos put in iPhoto need to be accessed through iPhoto. I'm not fond of that approach. Aperture and Lightroom will automatically create a folder structure according to definable rules. That leaves Finder access as an option when looking for photos.

Bridge requires manual folder setup. That's the major disadvantage to using Bridge. The non-automated import of photos means that Bridge is not as elegant a photo catalog as the dedicated programs. That said, a recent survey of pro photographers showed that over half of them used Bridge as their primary photo cataloging program.

I've tried out the demos of both Aperture and Lightroom. They both have advantages. I prefer Lightroom but whenever it comes down to buying it I think of more important places to use my $300 and keep using Bridge.

item.92300

S Bowen

I evaluated both Lightroom and Aperture about a year ago. I was looking for something with superb cataloging capabilities, a workflow that suited me and image processing capabilities that would be adequate for most situations so that I could avoid the extended hours spent in Photoshop.

Aperture's advantage is that everything can be done in one module, whereas in Lightroom, one must switch modules for cataloging, developing, etc. But I found Aperture's performance to be very sluggish on my G5. As well, I often click the 'Auto' buttons to see how the software would 'improve' my shots. I much preferred Lightroom's versions in that regard as a starting point for further photo processing. I also find Lightroom's controls more intuitive for my personal workflow.

It really comes down to personal preference. I suggest using the free trials before purchase. I happily made the correct choice for myself.

Note: I now only occasionally use Photoshop to enhance individual photos. Lightroom is my principal software.

item.92309

Skot Nelson

[Re.] Lightroom... I meant to comment on one of the reasons I chose Aperture over Lightroom.

It's not so much the cost difference today (Lightroom is more expensive) as it is the cost difference in the future: Adobe has a history of expensive updates. I basically figured that if I bought Lightroom I'd end up getting screwed with some update...

Apple software has always seemed to be well priced for the most part, and upgrade policies have always been clean (or non-existent, but affordable anyway.)

This is of course a personal opinion, and others will likely disagree.

I find this comment interesting:

Aperture is basically an iTunes-ish catalog for an image collection with the ability to process images -- esp large batches.

as I don't see Aperture as being iTunes-ish at all... but perhaps it was meant to be an abstract example. It's batch export and watermarking features are great.

[As a little historical context: Apple originally published Aperture 1.0 at such an exhorbitant price that it had to subsequently cut Aperture's price, issuing an Apple purchase credit coupon to the original buyers who had paid the high price. At the moment, Amazon shows an Aperture 2.0 Upgrade at $47; it requires an Aperture 1.0 serial number. -MacInTouch]

item.92308

Bob Webster

Don't omit the software that may come with your camera. I have been using Canon DSLRs for a few years and Digital Photo Professional, the "free" software that comes with the camera, has a lot of capability, although it is clearly not Photoshop. But it can crop and resize and it very much resembles a digital darkroom. Unless you clearly desire a "Photoshopped" outcome (which has become a bit of a four letter word in some circles) DPP can make you feel more like a traditional photographer - without inhaling all of the chemicals! Having said all that I also use Photoshop, but not to excess. I am a photographer (amateur at best), not an illustrator.

item.92404

Robert Mohns

MacInTouch wrote: "Apple originally published Aperture 1.0 at such an exhorbitant price..."

Talk about a matter of perspective. Aperture's initial $500 price was certainly not cheap, but there was *nothing* else like it at the time. It was a truly revolutionary piece of software, custom built for photographers who process large batches of photos. Existing pro-grade RAW processing tools already cost $500-1000, were very slow, and didn't offer decent workflow management -- for that you had to buy other software, or learn to love the Finder (a lousy tool for managing photos, in my opinion). Aperture was a steal even at $500. Lowering its price to $300 surely helped adoption among "prosumers" and semi-pro photographers, but I cannot consider its price to have been "exorbitant" for professionals who make their living taking photos. It was priced like Photoshop and Final Cut Studio, both of which are horribly expensive for casual use but pay for themselves in no time flat if you are making your living with them. So, yes, Aperture 1.0 was not cheap, but like my Macs, it was worth every penny I paid for it.

Let's also note that Aperture prompted Adobe to promote Lightroom from an internal project to a real product, and fast track it into production. Today, we have strong competition between Aperture and Lightroom on the Mac (and Windows users can buy Lightroom too).

While we're on the topic of photo management and editing, there are some other tools out there worth mentioning too. The venerable, popular and somewhat pricey iView Media Pro was acquired by Microsoft a few years ago and turned into Expression Media ($199 MSRP, $178 at Amazon). For image adjustment,LightZone ($199, free trial download available) offers great photo correction and enhancement tools and works with many camera RAW formats.

In the past few years, there's been a veritable explosion of affordable Mac image editors, including Nolobe's Iris ($79), Pixelmator ($59), and Acorn ($50), among others, all of which can be used with your choice of photo database/manager.

May. 19, 2009

item.92383

Stephen Hart

Michael Mckee wrote:

"Photos put in iPhoto need to be accessed through iPhoto. I'm not fond of that approach."

That's only true in the sense that you shouldn't change the location of the original photo or modified versions in the Finder. iPhoto creates a folder structure and expects photos to be in the "correct" place (as defined by iPhoto). iPhoto doesn't have a way of finding "lost" photos. (That would be a good feature to request, by the way.)

But all the photos are in the Finder, in folders, and can be copied out anywhere. They're not locked into an inaccessible superfile, nor are their formats changed in any way.

iPhoto also plays nice with other apps. If in iPhoto you choose edit in external editor, iPhoto keeps the original and the edited version exactly as if you'd edited in iPhoto. You can also place any image files in the iPhoto database, for example, Photoshop files.

item.92428

Aaron Pressman

On the question of Lightroom vs Aperture vs other alternatives, barring the very tightest of budgets, I urge you not to make a decision based on the current or hypothetical future price of the programs. Right now on Amazon, Lightroom is about $100 more expensive than Aperture and the 2.0 upgrade is about $40 more. These are not significant differences given the amount of time you will spend with your photo program and the treasured pictures it will hold.

I want to second the advice given above to try the various programs under the 30-day free trials. There's no better way to figure out how a program will run on your hardware, how its workflows will fit with the way you work, and how well it will meet your needs.

Finally, keep in mind that because these higher-end "non-destructive" photo managers keep all of your photo adjustments in their own proprietary databases -- they don't alter the actual image file -- switching from one program to another down the road is very, very difficult without converting and exporting all of your pristine RAW photos to some other format. There is no simple or easy way to switch from Lightroom to Aperture or Aperture to Lightroom so make a careful decision at the outset.

item.92440

David Swift

Skot Nelson:

By "iTunes-ish database," I meant a database that makes it simple to sort, order, re-order, and otherwise locate specific files in a jiffy, making light work of thousands of files.

I love how iTunes works. Lightroom and Linotype's Font Explorer adopted a lot of iTunes chops for conducting searches et al, and I assume Aperture has too.

May. 20, 2009

item.92462

MacInTouch Reader

While you're busy parsing the Aperture vs. Lightroom vs. iPhoto arguments, do not neglect Graphic Converter and its extremely capable and wide ranging feature set. GC fully integrates with most other Mac graphics and photo apps and easily serves as a catalog and library workshop. Fully supported; constantly updated; scriptable; accepts plug-ins. Does GPS. And it's Macintosh-only.

The best $ 35.00 you will ever spend on Mac image software. I can't live without it for managing my 50,000 + image library. My opinion is unsolicited... just a longtime satisfied user of GraphicConverter for at least 15 years.

item.92468

Michael Mckee

Stephen Hart wrote:

But all the photos are in the Finder, in folders, and can be copied out anywhere. They're not locked into an inaccessible superfile, nor are their formats changed in any way.

I understand that. I should have been more precise. iPhoto does store photos in a manner accessible via the Finder. That's if the end user knows enough to use Show Package Contents to access the iPhoto Library. That one simple layer of non-transparency is enough to confuse and intimidate a lot of users.

I know it may be hard for the experienced MacInTouch reader to believe that, but having taught computer classes through a university community education program and our local MUG for 10 years, I've found that to be true, especially for Mac users who have never used Windows and contextual menus. There have been just too many years of a one button mouse.

item.92471

MacInTouch Reader

Stephen Hart wrote:

... But all the photos are in the Finder, in folders, and can be copied out anywhere. They're not locked into an inaccessible superfile, nor are their formats changed in any way.

In Finder, I can see iPhoto Library icon and when I click on it, it opens selected iPhoto Library.

Where are the folders? How can I access them?

item.92525

Michael Fryd

It's trivial to find the file corresponding to an iPhoto image.

Locate the image in iPhoto, right click, and choose "Show File"

The finder will come to the front, the appropriate folder window will open, and the corresponding file will be selected.

If you have modified the file in iPhoto, you will have a choice of "Show File" or "Show Original File." The former opens the edited image, the later opens the original image.

For those with a one button mouse use control-click.

item.92527

Steven MacDonald

Re:

"Where are the folders? How can I access them?"

Right-click on library>show package contents.

But be careful what you do in there. You can royally screw-up iPhoto's file management.

item.92546

Michael Mckee

A MacInTouch reader asked:

In Finder, I can see iPhoto Library icon and when I click on it, it opens selected iPhoto Library.
Where are the folders? How can I access them?

Right or Control click on the iPhoto Library icon. Choose Show Package Contents from the pop-up menu.

May. 21, 2009

item.92532

Stephen Hart

Michael Mckee wrote:

"iPhoto does store photos in a manner accessible via the Finder. That's if the end user knows enough to use Show Package Contents to access the iPhoto Library. That one simple layer of non-transparency is enough to confuse and intimidate a lot of users."

And, as if to illustrate Michael's point, "MacInTouch Reader wrote:

"In Finder, I can see iPhoto Library icon and when I click on it, it opens selected iPhoto Library.
Where are the folders? How can I access them?"

Of course, Michael is correct. Presumably Apple changed the iPhoto library from a plain folder to a package because of complaints from users who'd inadvertently messed up iPhoto's database by fiddling with folders in the library.

There are problems with every means of storage. Protect the user from one potential problem and you create a new problem for another user.

The core problem is that non-expert users are now storing orders of magnitude more files, and expecting to access them easily. That's what iPhoto and iTunes were designed for.

item.92535

Terry Devlin

Accessing the iPhoto Library Folder via the Finder is simply not supported.

With iPhoto 7 (iLife 08) the old iPhoto Library Folder became a Package File. The change was made to the format of the iPhoto library because many users were inadvertently corrupting their library by browsing through it with other software or making changes in it themselves.

The trick is to use one, some or any of the supported methods of accessing the files: This thread from the Apple Discussions site mentions a dozen: Rebuilt Library in iPhoto 5

If you absolutely feel you must access the file via the Finder, run a referenced Library.

item.92539

Rick Pepper

On the issue of iPhoto and where it stores images: Apple got with it and gave you the option to not copy the original files into it's bundle of funk starting in iLife '06, I believe. You have the ability to store the photos wherever you wish and it only stores its previews and such; it doesn't replicate the high res file, which was my whole reason for not using it for complete file management to begin with. I basically use it as a gateway to my iPod and for quick slideshows. Lightroom gets my vote partially because it (officially installs and) runs on my [Power Mac G4 Mirror Drive Door].

item.92541

Old Toad

In regards to accessing image files within an iPhoto Library for use outside of iPhoto read Terence Devlin's treatise on file access. You just don't have to go into the library package to access the photos for use outside of iPhoto.

item.92554

MacInTouch Reader

There is an easier way to get to the file without knowing how to deal with packages.

To show the photo in finder from within iPhoto, right-click (when in the thumbnails mode). If it has been edited (so that there is an original and a modified), you can even choose between "show file" and "show original file".

Warning: if you move or delete the file from here, it will mess up your iphoto library. In fact, I wouldn't recommend editing from here either (who knows what that would do to the library). Best to use copy and reimport later if you wish.

item.92612

Colleen Thompson

Well, yes, you can find a particular iPhoto photo in the Finder. But the whole reason (I believe) that Apple went to a package for the iPhoto Library was that people were changing things around, which can really tangle up iPhoto. It's better to open iPhoto and just drag the picture(s) you want out onto the Desktop, where they will be copied, and you can do what you will with the copies.

May. 22, 2009

item.92646

Terry Devlin

Some comments on yesterdays posts re: iPhoto.

Rick Pepper says that if you run iPhoto in Referenced Mode that the Library Package contains "its previews and such; it doesn't replicate the high res file."

In Referenced Mode the Package will contain an alias to the Original file, a full-sized file of any edited photos and a thumbnail.

While Referenced Mode has its attractions, it's worth noting that it does have significant pitfalls:

1. Import and deleting pics are more complex procedures
2. You cannot move or rename the files on your system or iPhoto will lose track of them on systems prior to 10.5 and iPhoto 08. Even with the later versions issues can still arise if you move the referenced files to new volumes or between volumes.
3. Most importantly, migrating to a new disk or computer can be much more complex.

Always allowing for personal preference, I've yet to see a good reason to run iPhoto in referenced mode unless you're using two photo organisers.

MacInTouch Reader suggest that to edit a file you copy it out to the desktop then import the edited product. This is unnecessary. You can set Photoshop (or any image editor) as an external editor in iPhoto. (Preferences -> General -> Edit Photo: Choose from the Drop Down Menu.) This way, when you double click a pic to edit in iPhoto it will open automatically in Photoshop or your Image Editor, and when you save it it's sent back to iPhoto automatically. This is the only way that edits made in another application will be displayed in iPhoto.

regards

May. 23, 2009

item.92691

Stephen Hart

Terry Devlin wrote:

"You can set Photoshop (or any image editor) as an external editor in iPhoto. (Preferences -> General -> Edit Photo: Choose from the Drop Down Menu.) This way, when you double click a pic to edit in iPhoto it will open automatically in Photoshop or your Image Editor, and when you save it it's sent back to iPhoto automatically. This is the only way that edits made in another application will be displayed in iPhoto."

Just a few added points:
-You can set an external editor to be available on control click as well, so you can choose to edit in iPhoto or in the external editor, or both sequentially.
-iPhoto treats edits in an external editor exactly like it treats its own. So your original is retained untouched, and the Photoshop edited version is imported separately. This way you can always revert to original.
-If you import a Photoshop document (.psd), iPhoto also keeps track of that original, which you can edit. If you edit in Photoshop, the file retains all Photoshop data, including layers. If you edit in iPhoto, Photoshop layers are lost, but you can still revert to original.
-If you want to change an iPhoto image into a Photoshop image, you'll need to save it to the desktop and import it into iPhoto. If you merely save it with a new name from Photoshop, iPhoto's database doesn't know about it. If you inadvertently save an image this way, you can, of course, find it in the iPhoto library, drag it to the desktop and then import it as usual. It'd be nice if iPhoto routinely checked for files in the library but not in the database and asked the user about importing.

item.92710

Robert Sholl

[Re: Finder and iPhoto files...]

In the Finder go to wherever you have your iPhoto "package" (most people have it in the default Pictures folder).

Control Click/right click on the iPhoto package

Select "Show Package Contents"

What you will see is exactly what you used to see with a folder for originals and modified pictures. From here you can run a search and have the file show up. By default packages are not searched by spotlight.

I use Photoshop Elements to edit my photos and at least once a week I forget to change the location to the folder I have for edited pics so I have to go in and get it manually.

May. 25, 2009

item.92775

S. G.

Concerning using external editors and iPhoto, I have two questions regarding geotagging of pre-existing iPhoto files.

Firstly, if I opened an iPhoto image in GraphicConverter using the "External Editor?" command, and modified the GPS data, would the resulting file be saved correctly and unproblematically to iPhoto? I've a doubt in my head regarding the way that iPhoto stores/caches EXIF data. And secondly, I've been trying to ascertain how reliable iPhoto 7.1.5 is with GPS data. I've noticed several reports that up until 7.1.4, iPhoto would corrupt any GPS data when editing an imported image. However, I've been unable to confirm (though it has been strongly suggested) that 7.1.4+ no longer does so (I know iLife '09 is thoroughly GPS-compliant, but I'm waiting for Snow Leopard so I can by the Box Set). Has anyone here had any experience on this topic? Would be grateful for feedback before I start installing necessary applications, etc.

Jun. 17, 2009

item.94229

C. R. Oldham

I have a Panasonic Lumix DMZ-T25 camera that takes SD cards. Yesterday I experienced strange behavior from the camera whereby it showed only a few pictures that had been taken that day. Plugging the SD card into a media reader, and then into my Mac I got a different set of pictures. Replacing the card in the camera showed the same pictures, but not the ones I saw at the beginning. I suspect the SD card has gone bad. I tried using Disk Utility to verify/repair, but it showed no errors. Were it not a flash card I would run 'badblocks' on it. Can anyone recommend Mac software that will test flash-memory based media cards?

[In a similar experience, we found the culprit to be the media reader, which was corrupting data from any card inserted into it, so that's one thing to check carefully. Intech Speedtools (bundled with some OWC drives) includes an Integrity Test module that we use sometimes for quick tests of storage devices. -MacInTouch]

Jun. 18, 2009

item.94306

MacInTouch Reader

CR Oldham did not identify type or make of the SD card she/he was using but several things immediately came to mind. (1) Have you been formating/erasing the card in camera rather than on the Mac? This is the recommended way of clearing the card. I've seen instances where people have drug files (pix) to the trash, not emptied the trash, and ended up with odd numbers of pictures reported by camera/computer. Always format card in camera. (2) Is the card SDHC and does your reader support this format? Incompatibility between card and reader can produce strange results. (3) If the card is SanDisk you should have gotten or have access to "RescuePRO" which allows one to recover most image files from most of their cards (and other brands). The link to it is www.lc-tech.com/rescuepro. There are shareware alternatives but I'd have to search for them.

In several years of digital photograph (>6) I've never had a card actually fail except one that left on the dash of a truck in Arizona in 115 degree sunshine. It melted. They are pretty tough though magnetism will get them every time. Good luck.

Robert

Jun. 19, 2009

item.94417

David Charlap

A MacInTouch Reader wrote:

"Is the card SDHC and does your reader support this format? Incompatibility between card and reader can produce strange results. ... In several years of digital photograph (>6) I've never had a card actually fail except one that left on the dash of a truck in Arizona in 115 degree sunshine."

In my experience, putting an SDHC into a non-HC reader simply does nothing. The card doesn't mount and is inaccessible. I've never heard of the card mounting, but with corrupt data. (Of course, the reader device could simply be broken as well.)

As for card failures, I have never had an SD card fail, but I have had a CF card fail. It was a 512M CF card made by PNY. The camera formatted it fine and had no problem shooting lots of pictures, but when I went to review the pictures (both in the camera and in the computer), there was nothing.

(This, BTW, is one reason I always tell people to avoid PNY brand products. I have bought three PNY products over the years - a CF card, a DIMM and an SO-DIMM. All three have were either DOA or failed within a few days of purchase. I will never give them a fourth chance.)

item.94473

Steve Thuman

I am currently using a Quicksilver 2002 G4 (933 mghtz). As I understand it, I can install Photoshop CS4 even though the machine doesn't meet the min specs, (I currently use CS3 and Lightroom 2), but will be very annoyed with its slowness. So the answer is a new computer! No duh, it's about time huh? So my dilemma is deciding which one. I also have a 17" (CRT) Studio Display which is long in the tooth and my SpyderPro calibrator says it has gotten so it can't set brightness correctly anymore. So I will need a display also. Obviously a Dual Quad Mac Pro would be ideal. But with a 24 inch monitor we're talking $5K. The alternative is an iMac. $2K. So what I am trying to figure out is if I would be happy with the performance of an iMac for mainly photo work. I shoot NEF (Nikon RAW), which means image files average about 15 megabytes or so and seldom with with multiple layers in CS Again, a Mac Pro would be great, but I could get an iMac and a new camera or lens for the cost of the Mac Pro and monitor. I've looked at a lot of benchmark results, but they are always done on massive files etc. I don't work with stuff like that. 40 or 50 megabytes is a huge file for me. So the benchmarks, while clearly showing a Mac Pro is much quicker, don't give me a feel for what I could expect. Obviously an iMac will be much quicker than my G4, but will I be disappointed with it versus a Mac Pro? Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Thanks!

Jun. 20, 2009

item.94519

Rich Cruse

If the screen on the new iMac 24" works for you, there is no need to buy a Mac Pro to run Photoshop. The processors in the iMac are more than enough. Besides the screen, the other factors that you must consider are the limitations of the iMac vs. the Mac Pro.

An iMac has limited ram capacity, one internal hard drive and optical disc burner and you cannot upgrade the video card. Of course you have the option of adding external drives and displays to the iMac as well.

The advantages of the iMac include: 24" display, all-in-one design, small footprint and reasonable price.

The Mac Pro is an industrial strength machine with amazing upgrade capabilities including: up to 4 internal drives, up 32 Gigs ram and multiple video cards.

The downside is it is expensive and big. It also uses a lot more power and it may be overkill for PhotoShop users.

I have a Mac Pro with a 30" display and I am sure that an iMac 24" would work just fine for me. It was mainly about the two internal optical disc burners, 4 internal hard drive bays and expanded memory capacity that I would miss.

item.94520

Rich Cruse

SDHC has less problems in my experience. I too have never had an issue with the SD cards. I had one Kensington and one Lexar card go bad. The Lexar was replaced for free.

Those long pins in CF cards are a liability as well! My brother smashed the pins into a big mess by forcing a CF card into his Digital Rebel that was turned the wrong way. It cost him $150 to fix.

SD cards are much smaller and have very simple connections that are not pins at all. There are fewer contacts and it is almost impossible to bend them! Since the newer SDHC format has been introduced, I would be surprised if more pro cameras didn't use them!

CF cards were mostly about capacity and performance and now SDHC has caught up.

item.94523

Gregory Weston

Steve Thuman asks about a new machine:

"I am currently using a Quicksilver 2002 G4 (933 mghtz). ... Obviously a Dual Quad Mac Pro would be ideal. But with a 24 inch monitor we're talking $5K. The alternative is an iMac. $2K. So what I am trying to figure out is if I would be happy with the performance of an iMac for mainly photo work."

Whether or not you'll be disappointed with an iMac in comparison to a Mac Pro I think is mostly to do with how prone you are to feeling you need to have the absolute best. If you're still working with a 2002 G4, I'd guess "not very."

Here's what I can chip in: For video transcoding, my 1.5GHz Core Solo mini was insignificantly slower than my dual 1.8GHz G5. My 2GHz Core 2 Duo mini is roughly twice as fast as the G5 was. The iMac will be faster. So if you believe that, say, 8x as fast as what you've got currently is going to satisfy you for the *next* 5-7 years, save the money on the computer, and make sure you get a good screen.

item.94530

Stephen Clark

To Steve Thuman:

If you're used to a 2002 G4 now, and find it limited but productive despite its vintage, I trust you'll be quite happy with any of the current line of iMacs.

Money (if you don't have an unlimited supply!) is always the biggest hurdle to get over; spending more than you're comfortable with, for a Mac that's (at best) a year away from being somewhat outdated, will leave you questioning your choice.

I'm still running one of the first-generation Mac Pro's where I work; compared to the G5 I'd used previously (2x2 Gb) with CS3, CS4 on the Mac Pro is vastly superior.

Let your pocketbook be your conscience....

item.94543

Dan Kittay

To Steve Thuman:
My situation was a little like yours. My Quicksilver 733MHz wasn't going to handle Photoshop CS4, plus video editing was getting frustratingly slow. I also did the iMac vs. Dual Quad Mac Pro debate. I decided that looking toward the future, with things like being able to expand the number of hard drives and adding RAM, it was worth it to me to bite the (rather large) bullet and get the Mac Pro. I figured it would put me in better shape for Snow Leopard, Photoshop CS5 and 6, and whatever else comes my way. I played a bit at the Apple store with an iMac and Mac Pro, and saw quite a bit of difference. Apple's 1 year interest free financing helped ease the pain a bit, too.

item.94548

David Redfearn

I expect you would be very happy with an iMac (24"). I have the original 24" aluminum iMac (2.8GHz) and use it a lot for photo processing - mostly with DxO batch processing of raw files from my Canon Xsi. It's a very responsive system and the 24" monitor is great. It's glossy, however, so be careful about reflections.

item.94549

James Wages

Steve Thurman asks for advice about the possible purchase of a new Intel iMac as an upgrade for his G4. I too made the same move myself a few weeks ago, moving up from an "accelerated" 1.3GHz G4 Cube to a blazing 3.06GHz Intel iMac. I like Steve do photography and graphics work, and I also have a calibrator. As such, I am very sensitive to what I see on the screen. I would therefore recommend that Steve, and all other would-be iMac buyers consider all the facts prior to purchase. I am not saying it will be a "bad purchase" but there are important caveats that exist even though some users are sadly apathetic toward them. With regard to screen issues, a good starting point is my recent post on MacInTouch, in the iMac Reader Report section.

Be sure to see the Flickr photo I have posted there, as it shows a clear photo of the inconsistent backlight of the iMac.

In terms of raw speed though, I absolutely love the iMac 3.06GHz. Almost everything is instantaneous. Knowing everything would be much faster than my old G4, I was not "blown away" by the speed but it is very fast. I consider performance to be "what a computer should be." The computer is now my friend, not my enemy. Before on the G4, it was a constant battle between myself and sluggishness. Of course, my G4 Cube was also limited to 1.5GB RAM, so the 4GB standard RAM on the 2009 iMac 24" is very nice indeed as it improves performance.

If it were not for the screen issues (and the insane laptop style keyboard that I immediately swapped out for an ugly-yet-usable MacAlly keyboard on had on my Cube), I would say the iMac is quite nearly perfect. It gives the best value of any Mac in Apple's current lineup. And if MacWorld's Speedmark Scores mean anything to you, the iMac 3.06GHz bests even a 2.8GHz 8-core Harpertown Mac Pro with 3GB RAM:
http://www.macworld.com/article/139507/2009/03/macpro2009.html

item.94555

Harold Zeh

Steve Thuman asks about alternatives to the Quicksilver 2002 G4, chiefly a new iMac, for running PhotoShop and LightRoom. In short, you will love the speed increase the iMac will give you! For the (50 MB) files you are manipulating, it will not choke . . . or hick-up in the least. Even a fully decked out Mac Pro will not beat it by much given the limitations of PhotoShop - 64 bit unaware, can't use more than 4 Gigabytes of RAM . . carbon coded . . . (slam me here if I am wrong about that . . )

For that matter, neither will a new Mac Mini - which can be upgraded with a 7200 rpm hard drive a and 4 Gigabytes of RAM. I recommend the WD 320 Black Scorpio from Amazon - very quiet. Perhaps the new 7200 rpm 500 gigabyte Seagate is another option.

You can do the upgrades yourself to save some real money - iFixit has a guide - it is actually very easy and according to the "Genius" I spoke with at the Kahala store, will not void your warranty. Ramjet sells a 4 gig package at a very reasonable price. This set-up has no problem with files ten times the size (or larger,) than you now require.

The advantage with the Mini is the wide selection of - matte included :-) displays it can support - including two monitor set-ups.

However, hands down, the iMac is the clear winner for overall value (bang for the buck,), but you have to like its built-in display. If you don't, no amount of saving a bit of money up front will comfort you over what appears to be the long periods of Mac ownership you enjoy. Moreover, since I did nearly the same switch, moving from two DP MDD G4s a few months ago to two new Minis - my electricity usage has fallen measurably - looks to be around 10 to 15%.

Another viable option is the MacBook (and MBPs.) It is even faster than the Mac Minis and provides you with the flexibility to take it with you. Add a display, keyboard and mouse for your desktop pleasure. Same recommendations on the HD and RAM upgrades.

item.94565

MacInTouch Reader

Steve Thuman's search for a good Photoshop machine is unfortunately a bit complicated by the problems posed when trying to calibrate the new units.

We have many recent 24-inch iMacs, and they are quite fast, and now that the new ones have upgraded GPUs, they can really take advantage of CS4's new zoom controls, and other features.

Unfortunately we have had a problem calibrating them, especially with XRite iOne Display2 calibrators. I've been able to calibrate a year old iMac with the iOne Pro, but with the iOne Display, it's been no go.

The reason is that you can't throttle back the brightness of the display enough. Proper calibration is around 130-150, and the new units seem to be almost double that, even at the lowest brightness setting.

We have also battled a strong magenta cast in final profiles. We have had great success with the Spyder3 Pro models and the software is current and up-to-date, which isn't the case for the XRite software, which runs under Rosetta!

So, my suggestion is to try calibrating a new iMac and see if it works for you. If so, then it's a reasonable system, albeit one with no expansion or e-SATA options.

Because you don't have access to e-SATA and drive speed really affects performance, especially with Photoshop Lightroom, it would make sense to get the largest internal drive you can. Another option to purchase a large fast drive, and have an Apple VAR swap it for the factory drive, pop the OEM drive in an external FW800 case, or on the new bare drive docks. If they do the swap, your warranty will be intact. And get Applecare!

One last option to buy the iMac and consider purchasing a wide-gamut external display, so you have the best of both worlds.. but price now, we are in the MacPro range unfortunately!

Hey.. Fathers Day is coming up, maybe someone will buy you a real gift on Sunday!

item.94566

W. Keith McManus

I'm using an Intel iMac 24" and Photoshop CS4. No problems.
It actually seems to be doing better then a G5 Quad I have been using for still photography.

item.94578

Walter Dufresne

When applying custom batch actions in Adobe's Bridge/Photoshop CS4, I've had good luck with new iMacs, so long as they've got four gigabytes of RAM. Correcting density, contrast, and color on individual 12 mega-pixel camera raw files from a Nikon D700 can happen in real time with new iMacs.

Processing 24 mega-pixel raw files from a Nikon D3x (and sharpening every last camera pixel) is a different matter, in my experience. The new 8-core Nehalem with lots of RAM (and a striped scratch disk) allows me to work in *real* time on those bigger files. HTH. YMMV.

item.94561

Gary Kellogg

Steve Thuman writes about his dilemma in selecting a new Mac:

"...Obviously an iMac will be much quicker than my G4, but will I be disappointed with it versus a Mac Pro?..."

I'd go into an Apple Store and mess around with the machines for as long as I wanted. You can stick around there almost all day, no problem. You might even take some of your files with you; you won't probably get to use CS3 or CS4 but you can compare some manipulations in the iLife apps (How happy? Well, happiness is a very personal matter and you're on your own there).

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