Photoshop/Lightroom notebook for professional photography

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by kmsch, Oct 26, 2021.

  1. kmsch

    kmsch Notebook Enthusiast

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    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?

    $500 to $1500?

    Not really sure what is required. Will spend what I need to, but would prefer to spend less if possible.

    ***If there is great value to be had from a greater budget, then I’ll spend more. What would going from $1500 to $2500 or $3000 yield??***

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?

    e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen

    3) Which country will you buying this notebook?

    USA

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    No

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?

    No

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?

    Photoshop, Lightroom, other Adobe applications. So my understanding is that single core performance would be more important than having a larger number of cores.

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?

    Both. Desk ~80%

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?)

    No

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?

    Not sure, but more is better of course

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?

    Online is ok, but screen color accuracy is absolutely critical. I don’t know if IPS, OLED or some other type of screen would be best for color accuracy

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.

    Windows

    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? (See further below for explanations.)

    Higher is better(?) I would assume, but not certain.

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (See further below for explanations.)

    Not certain. Probably glossy if that is the more accurate.

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?

    Somewhat. It cannot look like a crappy generic box.

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need?

    Enough. I would like to be able to put in whatever size SSD I want.

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity


    16) When are you buying this laptop?

    When I find one that fits my needs

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop?

    Ideally at least a few years, so I’d like as much performance as possible.

    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail?

    I have a desktop that does the job.

    19) Would you be willing to pay significantly extra for on-site warranty, or would it be acceptable to you to have to ship the laptop to the vendor for repair with perhaps a week or more outage?

    Not sure, but with COVID, would probably be shipping it out regardless.

    THANKS IN ADVANCE!
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2021
  2. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Deity

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    So, first off Intel is releasing 12th gen CPU's in a week or so. This would future proof your purchase for a few years as they're upping RAM / PCIE to Gen 5 which doubles the speed of components and switching to a hybrid core system with a few Large and a few Small cores for better output / processing.

    Screen.... I prefer Matte so I don't have to deal with reflections of things behind me. Coverage for colors can be pretty good these days and if they're not then a screen swap to something better runs about $150 for whatever you want if you want to do UHD or FHD.

    https://rjtech.com/shop/index.php?dispatch=categories.view&category_id=248 - if you want to pick your own RAM/Drives (cheaper post purchase) $1130+

    https://rjtech.com/shop/index.php?dispatch=categories.view&category_id=250 - configurable w/ base options $1260+

    The nice thing about these is most of them can hold 2-3 NVME drives internally and some do a 2 NVME + 1 2.5" for mass storage at a cheaper price. The one I have has dual NVME+ 2.5" as an option.

    You're probably not looking to get a RTX3xxx GPU for gaming but, it might help with speeding up editing.
     
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  3. jwolf7722

    jwolf7722 Notebook Deity

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    Dell XPS 15 or 17. At times can get crazy deals from outlet or even new. Currently I use Lenovo P1 with Dolby vision screen for photo/video editing. It's fairly color accurate. I'm sure 4k screen would be more color accurate. If it was me I would grab a good monitor and a refurbished straiting from Lenovo or Dell (Thinkpad or Dell XPS). Just pay attention to screen's. My wife's 2016 Macbook pro is also fairly color accurate. That's the benefit of Apple, better color management.
     
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  4. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    Just because it's released, doesn't mean there's anything to buy. One generation to the next or two doesn't mean much in practical terms in my experience.

    Typically when you want the best you'll pay more for it. If color accuracy is a top need and your budget is limited, you might be better served going as long as you can accept the lesser performance. Photoshop and Lightroom are a wide path that need varying levels of oomph. Used does presents its own challenges, like no warranty, but you'll get better bang for you buck.

    I like the idea of hooking a desktop screen to a notebook since you're not moving it much. A desktop screen will offer you better value and you can get a smaller notebook, say a XPS 13 or ThinkPad Nano, that'll give you more portability the 20% of the time you need it.
     
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  5. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Deity

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    The breadcrumbs out there surely indicate higher probability of Desktop units being ready in inventory . Laptops being leaked with AL specs on them are more scarce but, I think I spotted a couple of them. The other price issue is the DDR5 prices are 30-50% higher but, they offer 2X the speed of DDR4. It's all speculation until Intel rips the hood off the chis in a day or so and things get released from their NDA and posted for sale.

    OEM's have this stuff queued up for release sitting in the warehouse. Figuring out who will be releasing what at this point is hard to figure out but, I do expect the likes of Dell, Lenovo, HP, and others to have some systems ready to order / delayed shipping for maybe Thanksgiving time. It's all a bit of a logistical nightmare as orders flood in and whether or not companies have enough HW on hand to fill them before being pushed into a backorder situation.

    11th gen though is good but, the 12th gen speed boosts doubling for GPU / RAM might be worth holding out for.

    On the desktop side it seems most offerings are splitting between DDR4 and DDR5 options to reduce costs in just porting over the RAM vs buying DDR5. Then again with mobile releases it might get pushed to Spring. Should know though within a week for what's being released and the timing.
     
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  6. N2ishun

    N2ishun Notebook Consultant

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    I do lots of Adobe products and have the master collection installed which includes everything (Pshop, lightroom, premier, all of it).
    You need RAM and as much as you can stick in the thing.
    You will also want a OLED display and a 4k if you can swing it.
    Go for matte if you can find it in a OLED, that won't be easy and you might have to pass on that.
    Any NVME drive will do, obviously faster is better but you shouldn't worry anything about PCIE5 unless doing video.
    If you're just doing photos and not video you won't need to get crazy on a video card, if you're planning on videos go crazy you'll need something badass, minimum RTX3070.
    Step up your budget.....you'll be looking into 2k or more but if willing to do upgrades yourself you can obviously do the pay as you upgrade route but nothing really is upgradeable save RAM and drives in most every laptop.
    32 meg RAM minimum, 64 better.
    Most any modern I7or 5000 series AMD cpu will get you where you want to go.
    Stay away from HP and MSI, HP is pure fluff and MSI is garbage build quality.

    Uhh, that's about all I got for ya.
     
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  7. etern4l

    etern4l Notebook Virtuoso

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    If the laptop is to be used purely for photography, then a modest CPU with iGPU will do fine. Processing single images is not going to be a problem, even for a mid-range CPU.

    The only things you really need to worry about are the screen, build quality, ports and expandability (and perhaps warranty/support). The target laptop should be well within your budget.

    Obviously if you are trying to run a studio with heavy batch work etc., that's another story. Assuming that's not the case, I would suggest the following approach:

    0. If you require professional results, budget for a screen calibrator ($150+), as whatever the factory settings the screen calibration is best verified or tweaked to local lighting
    1. Shortlist a few models based on the suggestions above, including the best screen options (you can also take a look at previous gen Dell Precisions - they are very configurable, but could push your budget)
    2. Google detailed reviews to verify particular screen details (would recommend Notebookcheck)
    3. Pick a well priced CPU option and no to low end dGPU, budget permitting
    4. Ensure the laptop has a Thunderbolt 3/4 port. Should you ever actually need a discrete GPU, you will be able plug in an external one (eGPU) - this will also offer flexibility and upgradeability, subject to availability and pricing of graphics cards :)
    5. 16GB of RAM should be plenty for your needs, but do pick something with upgradeable memory just in case. Make sure your initial RAM setup consists of 2 RAM sticks (don't get 1x16GB). Precisions, for instance, have 4 RAM slots, so you could get 2x8GB and upgrade as/if needed. To get a Precision, you'd probably need to visit Dell Outlet.

    HTH
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2021
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  8. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    Surely there'll be a few notebooks to pick from when it's released, but wide availability won't come for months. Given the OPs modest budget and need for an accurate screen, they're trying to thread the needle, which is tough to do with a limited selection. I'd agree it would be useful if the OP gave more details about their specific needs. Photo editing doesn't need much processing power, but rendering is a whole new ballgame.
     
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  9. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Deity

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    I would say it's a 50/50 shot of them coming out sooner than later after the 11th gen disappointment. I'm just thinking of costs when it comes to DDR4 being phased out with DDR5 being phased in. It's a bit of a premium since it's a "new" option for PC's outside of GPU's in desktops. The boost from the underlying characteristics though should make for a comfortable experience for a few years compared to DDR4 . The RAM segment won't be changing again for several years thus not having to spend as much in say 6-12 months to add additional capacity if starting out with 16GB now and switching things up to 32GB later. The 1.5X factor in speed and additional features embedded in the newer RAM make for a long lasting solution. Also, the PCIE5 / USB 3.2 2x2 port make for quick work on moving files around if they're huge which could be the case with photography / video. TB3/4 // USB4 sometimes push costs beyond what is needed. 20gbps enclosures are ~$45 vs $90 TB and USB4/TB4 right now looking at the MOBO's out there require add in cards to supply the ports as it's not built into Z690's natively.

    Using an enclosure over USB-C with the camera would give greater storage at a great speed vs flash cards. Even the fastest flash is UHS-II(~300MB/s).... I can get closer to 400MB/s with a SanDisk Extreme Pro. I digress though since I don't have more specific details on the camera setup or additional needs. No one knows what's around the corner for Camera storage though other than the potential to switch up to a SDExpress setup which boosts transfers to SSD speeds which would benefit from at least the 3.2 2x2 port.

    SD Express and microSD Express 7.0 will max out at about 1,000MBps read speed. SD Express 8.0 will increase speed by doubling the PCIe lanes to get to 2.1GBps. The fastest SD Express 8.0 implementation will hit 4GBps when introduced.

     
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  10. etern4l

    etern4l Notebook Virtuoso

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    With the budget above the only reason to wait for Alder Lake is to hopefully bag a previous gen bargain, which they can do already with a similar effect.
     
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