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Photographers and a Mac

Why you love a Mac?

What is it with pho­tog­ra­phers and a Mac?! Every time a pho­tog­ra­pher sees a Mac he wants to buy it. Does no other thought come to mind? Is a Mac so irre­sistible? Or does he think his pho­tog­ra­phy will improve if  he uses a Mac? It is get­ting so irri­tat­ing, i can­not explain in words!

Just last this week i came across three inci­dents of iLust1. An acquain­tance shifted to a Mac; two weeks ago we dis­cussed how use­less the shift was, yet he could not resist it. A good friend almost bought a Mac, he barely wiped the drool off his mouth as he left the store. And, lastly, some one on a pho­tog­ra­phy forum is sell­ing his three month old Dell XPS because he now wants to buy a Mac.

I have been through this phase too, but i shopped around for a con­crete rea­son for shift­ing and found none. Here is what I found, or rather, did not find:



Sep­tem­ber 2007: Adobe Sup­port Forums
Before that: Autho­rised Apple reseller in Ban­dra, Mum­bai
Before that: Tech guy at an adver­tis­ing agency in Mum­bai
Before that: Owner of a pre­press out­fit in Mum­bai
Con­clu­sion

Q1/Q2 of 2009: Apple cor­ner in Croma, Ban­dra, Mumbai

I was pok­ing my nose in the Apple sec­tion of Croma in Ban­dra when this sales girl decided to lock horns with me. I was crit­i­ciz­ing the glossy screen for its reflec­tiv­ity when she cut me short say­ing “it is also avail­able in matt.” Then she asked me what i did and i came around to my colour cor­rec­tion and image pro­cess­ing ques­tions. As expected she couldn’t answer my queries but fiery that she was, she said if i gave her my email address she’d ask her supe­ri­ors and get back to me. I’m still wait­ing for her email. I’m sure she has found the answer to my query but her Mac hung while mail­ing me!

MacPro

April 2008: Mac for Busi­ness Sem­i­nar in Mumbai

I met Justin ( Mac sales guy for South­east Asia, based in Sin­ga­pore) in 2008 when he had come to Mum­bai for some Apple pro­mo­tional sem­i­nars. Mr. Apple wanted to push his Macs in the busi­ness arena so there was a sem­i­nar titled Mac for Busi­ness. I attended the talk and heard every­thing — how easy the OS was and how nice it looked and how lit­tle the learn­ing curve is and how well it per­formed and didn’t ask you silly ques­tions and finally how you could use Microsoft Office appli­ca­tions too. Great! I love it. But i don’t care about the OS. So at the end of the talk i walk up to Justin and his assis­tant, pull them to a cor­ner and explain my needs.

I say, “I am a pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher, have over 1 TB2 of images, gen­er­ally need to process 16bit TIFF files of 300MB each, some­times need to make TIFFs of 1GB in size. How will a Mac help me?”

He starts rat­tling, “The OS is very sta­ble, it wont hang, its slick to use.…”
I cut in, “When i am work­ing in Adobe Pho­to­shop how will a Mac be better?”

They look at each other, “Ahh…Ahhh.…But it has Time Machine, that will help with back up!”
Both appear very happy and feel they have scored an ace.

I make a face and rephrase my ques­tion, “Can you pin­point any hard­ware supe­ri­or­ity that makes a Mac bet­ter for image processing? ”

I don’t get an answer. Just some this and that. They do some sales talk and say I should go in for a Mac Pro.

At this point i gave up on the Mac.

Other Expe­ri­ences:

Sep­tem­ber 2007: Adobe Sup­port Forums
Before that: Autho­rised Apple reseller in Ban­dra, Mum­bai
Before that: Tech guy at an adver­tis­ing agency in Mum­bai
Before that: Owner of a pre­press out­fit in Mum­bai
Con­clu­sion

Sep­tem­ber 2007: Adobe Sup­port Forums.For Mac

Not know­ing whom to ask I ended up ask­ing fel­low Pho­to­shop users on the Adobe Forums.
They said if the tech specs are same the soft­ware will func­tion opti­mally on both plat­forms.
After that the dis­cus­sion spi­raled down to typ­i­cal Mac vs PC bashings.

If you want to read all the responses to my forum post you can down­load the 25 page PDF.
Down­load PDF (300kb)

Apple Authorized ResellerBefore that: Autho­rised Apple reseller in Ban­dra, Mumbai.

The owner of a book shop that i fre­quent had leased a shop to this Apple Reseller. So when i go buy books he takes me across the street to the Apple Reseller. I spend some time brows­ing and awing at every­thing on the shelves. Then i meet the store owner and get chat­ting with him. He tries to sell me end­less things and shows me how i will never trip on the charg­ing cord because of its mag­netic con­nec­tion, how a remote is stan­dard acces­sory with the laptops…etc…etc. All very impres­sive. Then i ask him the mil­lion dol­lar ques­tion, “How is a Mac bet­ter than a PC? Tell me specs, tell me hard­ware.” He says, “Frankly, the line between them is thin­ning…”. I smile. Nothing.

MacBook

Before that: Tech guy at an adver­tis­ing agency in Mumbai.

A friend of mine worked for an adver­tis­ing agency. She told me they were upgrad­ing all their machines to Macs.
I asked, “Why?”
She said, “I don’t know. Our tech head says they are better.”

I ask if i can speak to him and get an answer, she promises to get him over the phone. So i talk to his cool dude. He obvi­ously is a huge Apple fan (so am I) He goes all over the world with me, tells me all that i already know and then some more.

He con­cludes, “They make the hard­ware and they make the OS, they know best how to inte­grate the two and there­fore it works well.”
Bingo. I ask, “Will it be of any spe­cial advan­tage when pro­cess­ing images or large files?”
He says, “Its the over­all user expe­ri­ence that makes a Mac desir­able, i will see if there is any answer to your spe­cific query.”
I say, “Thank you”.

Later my friend tells me, when a new client vis­its their office, they show him their Mac. The client is impressed with the ele­gant looks and they get the job. So Jobs, what do you have to say?

Other Expe­ri­ences:

Before that: Owner of a pre­press out­fit in Mum­bai
Con­clu­sion

Before that: Owner of a pre­press out­fit in MumbaiMac

Once i had the oppor­tu­nity to help out an NGO with their mag­a­zine. I went to the printer for colour cor­rec­tion of the images. He was doing some other work on a PC, he fin­ishes that and sits in front of the adjoin­ing Mac, the only one in the room an old G4. I take the chair beside him. After fin­ish­ing the third image i saw no dif­fer­ence in the work­flow or the end result.

Very softly i asked in Hindi, “Why are you doing it on this machine and not that one?”
He turns to face me and say, “This is a Mac, that’s why.”
I probe fur­ther, “What’s the dif­fer­ence?”
With­out tak­ing his eyes off the screen he says, “The colours are bet­ter.”
I ask casu­ally, “Why?”
He repeats, “This is a Mac that’s why.”
I was enlight­ened.
He was not.

Con­clu­sion

A Mac is a very good choice if you want one com­puter that does every­thing. Its excel­lent when it comes to a fea­ture set and ease of doing every­day tasks (I guess). But there is no rea­son to believe it’s a work­horse that will work bet­ter than a branded PC hav­ing the same tech specs.

Read this page on apple.com and note that it never says any­thing about bet­ter colour man­age­ment or bet­ter image processing.

If you want to use soft­ware made by Apple, like Aper­ture or Final Cut Pro, then you have no choice but to use a Mac. But if you are buy­ing a Mac just so that Pho­to­shop and Light­room per­form bet­ter then that does not make  any sense to me.  Pho­to­shop and Light­room will work equally well on a sim­i­larly con­fig­ured Dell.

As a pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher, I use a Dell Quad Core desk­top to process my images, a Dell XPS in the field and an assem­bled PC for surf­ing the Inter­net and other applications.

Before that: Owner of a pre­press out­fit in Mumbai

Once i had to oppor­tu­nity to help out an NGO with their mag­a­zine. I went the printer for colour cor­rec­tion of the images. He was doing some other work on a PC, he fin­ishes that and sits in front of the adjoin­ing Mac, the only one in the room an old G4. I take the chair besides him. After fin­ish­ing the third image and see­ing no dif­fer­ence in the work­flow or the end result i decided to ask him.

Very softly i asked in Hindi, “Why are you doing it on this machine and not that one?”

He turns to face me and say, “This is a Mac, thats why.”

I probe fur­ther, “Whats the difference?”.

With­out tak­ing his eyes off the screen he says, “The colours are better.”

I ask casu­ally, “Why?”

He repeats, “This is a Mac thats why.”

I was enlightened.

He was not.

.

Con­clu­sion

A Mac is a very good choice if you want one com­puter that does all. Its excel­lent when it comes to fea­ture set and easy of doing every­day tasks (I guess). But there is no rea­son to believe its a work­horse that will work bet­ter than a branded PC hav­ing the same tech specs.

Read this page on apple.com and note that it never said any­thing about bet­ter colour man­age­ment or bet­ter image pro­cess­ing. [http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/why-mac.html]

If you want to use soft­ware made by Apple, like Aper­ture or Final Cut Pro, then you have no choice but to use a Mac. But if you are buy­ing a Mac to use Pho­to­shop and Light­room then thats does not make any sense to me. Pho­to­shop and Light­room will work equally well on a sim­i­larly con­fig­ured Dell.

I use a Dell quad core desk­top to process my images, a Dell XPS in the field and an assem­bled PC for surf­ing the Inter­net and other appli­ca­tions. Yes three machines. I am also wait­ing to buy my first Mac, hope­fully it will be a Mac­Book Air.

  1. A word I use to describe this lust for Apple prod­ucts
  2. now over 2TB of images

Comments

  1. some other ”good rea­sons” that you ;should’ buy mac.its preetier and there­fore its bet­ter. its white and so its bet­ter[ not a racist com­ment but most comps r grey or black], its an apple and so u should buy it.same with the iphone. designed for an individual…but works ONLY with apple prod­ucts, no blue­tooth means u cant even get a song from any other phone. rather well thought out indi­vid­u­al­is­tic plan[ read apple is the only individual :)]

    • :) Yes Kunal, real good rea­sons! ;) Spe­cially the being white one. I mean, how short sighted of other man­u­fac­tur­ers to assume every­one will want a black or gray lap­top. Dell has recently started ship­ping colour­ful machines but they are not push­ing the whites! Surely we are leav­ing the white indi­vid­ual alone!

      If i am allowed to rant, there are sim­i­lar issues with Apple soft­ware too…they are quite locking-in type.

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