I was recently spoiled this Black Friday! 🙂 I had been needing a new laptop for a LOOOONG time as my little old white Macbook was likened to an old flee bitten dog with 3 broken legs trying to limp itself back home so it could be shot out of compassion. The battery died and ceased to work at all, the screen was wrecked, I’d gone through 3 hard drives, but it’s still kick’n, even if it is only with one leg. 😉 Long story short was, this past Black Friday I took advantage of Apple’s “generous” $101.00 off deal. I’d been eying up a new Macbook Pro, but didn’t want to spend the long dollar for the Retina display. I need a laptop primarily for work – running presentations and bible studies, movies for the confirmation kids, etc. Nothing really over the top powerful. But I also thought it would be cool to have a mobile computer for photography needs as well. But the more I priced things out the more I concluded that if I’m gonna be slugging through D800 RAW files (price drop coming this December!), I’d need massive grunt power. Like I mentioned, I didn’t want to spend oodles of cash. So, I decided to dump the photography needs from the equation and focus on a simple, light and portable solution for work. And, I made up my mind on a Macbook Air.
I had looked at them awhile ago and concluded they were for trendy vegan hipsters whose limp wrists couldn’t hoist the heft of a Macbook Pro at Starbucks whilst sipping a mocha frappa latte chino. 😎 I had concluded that the MBP was the only way to go. I liked the idea of the SSD over the traditional hdd and if I had got the MBP, the first thing I was going to order was a SSD to use in it. But it was an extra expense. Plus, the 13″ version that I was interested in maxed the RAM at 8GB. If I couldn’t have 16, I wasn’t interested. So, I decided to give the Air another look.
But what absolutely blew me away was how fast it is. My main computer is a 21.5 iMac with the Core Duo 2 chip and 16GB of Ram, not a slouch but not the latest kid to the party either. I wanted to test this little Air’s performance and I know of no better way than to try to choke it to death on D800 RAW files. I had an 18GB library of some files I shot with my friends camera. So after I got Aperture 3 installed on the Air, I attached my USB 3.0 Seagate drive and got ready to give the digital Heimlich maneuver. But I never got the chance. I watched as the RAW files loaded up in the library and snapped into focus. There was hardly any long delay waiting for the files to render. I slid the mouse around the file look at 1:1 view and the little computer kept up with no issues. In short, it’s FREAKIN’ AWESOME!!!! 😀 With the 1.7 i5 chip and 8GB of RAM, this sweet little computer cooks RAW for breakfast. I was astounded at the performance. But the achilles heel of the 128GB SSD drive is the rather conservative size. Not a whole metric tonne of room for storage. However, with the sweetness of USB 3 and Thunderbolt, you’ve got awesome high speed mass storage solutions. I plugged in my USB 3 Seagate 1TB drive and it ran the Aperture library without a hitch. And, the drives are only $100 buckeroos. Cheap.
So to recap, I’m really happy with the Macbook Air! It was rather serendipitous that it turned out to be an exceedingly capable photography computer as well as basic “light-duty” portable laptop. Ideally, a larger 15″ retina screen would be nice for doing tethered shooting, but the 11″ is just that much more portable. Easily fits in a camera bag with no issues. It’s incredible value for the money I’d say. It was basically $1100 in the configuration I bought. We know that these little computers aren’t going to be upgraded ever, so I bought the max RAM I could. I’m confident that it will serve me for many years to come, just like my old palliative Macbook did. 🙂
Oh and as for “JoJo”? I asked Phoebe what I should name the new computer. “JoJo” was the answer. 😉
I did a screencast of editing the froknowsphoto RAW file of the week, a really cool portrait! The video is me showing you how I did my interpretation of the image in Aperture 3 using Nik Software’s Color eFex Pro plugin.
I was watching the Fro Knows Photo show and they were editing a pretty nice landscape image and I thought I would give it a go. The original RAW file is submitted by a viewer and then Jared & Greg edit it on the show. Afterwards, the file is made available for other people to edit. Very cool stuff. There are lots of really neat examples of what people did to it on the website. Check it out! It’s a really fun interactive idea! 🙂
I watch a ton of YouTube instead of Satellite TV. Why? Because there is not much on TV worth watching! 🙂 I also like learning constantly. I seldom watch TV to be entertained, that’s what movies are for. Instead, I dial in YouTube on my AppleTV and watch photography videos! 😉 Recently, I have been watching lots of FroKnowsPhoto – Jared Polin’s channel. He has a website too and he makes videos constantly that cover lots of great topics from editing pictures to taking pictures to gear reviews, etc. He also shoots Nikon which makes him OK in my books. 🙂 Right now he’s got a contest on and I decided to enter Phoebe. It’s a self-portrait with something from the show, either the “I Shoot RAW” slogan or the fro or whatever. I figured we’d cover all of our bases for these shots. Notice the depressed cable release? She actually took the shots her self and had fun blowing the motor drive at 7 frames a second! heheheeh….. 10 zillion Phoebe Fro shots! 🙂 The winner of the contest will be selected on their live show. I hope we win because a really cool camera bag is up for grabs! (Ignore the Canon stuff in the picture) 😉