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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

To MacBook Air Users: Another Question Thread
Mark Kauzlarich, Photographer, Student/Intern
Madison | WI | | Posted: 2:48 PM on 11.25.12
->> Hello All,

My folks are looking to buy a laptop and want a MacBook. I have a relatively new MacBook Pro I got after my insurance company went after another person's for damage incurred in a car accident. I had to buy the most reasonable model replacement so sadly I didn't get a MacBook Air, though I kind of wanted one.

I am moving to DC, working part time at a new org there and also hopefully freelancing as well. I think that I really would love a SSD drive laptop with some power, but I don't have a desktop at home so my question is this...

My parents are interested in buying my laptop from me, but would I regret having a full-upgraded MacBook Air as my only computer? I've carried this 15 inch MBP around for a while and I can tell the weight difference when its not in my bag. I think working in various locations, having a faster read/write time, and all the benefits of a MacBook Air would be beneficial. With only 2.0 Ghz vs 2.2, would I miss the power?

Thanks.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Otto Kitsinger, Photographer
Boise | ID | US | Posted: 3:42 PM on 11.25.12
->> I'll have to leave it to others to talk specifics on those models, but here's some data and questions for you. You won't notice a meaningful difference between 2.0 or 2.2 ghz on a processor. The biggest difference I've ever made in machine speed for work is SSD, so that's a big win for an Air. The second biggest was more ram. I've never really been wowed by processor speeds that are relatively similar.

You WOULD notice these things, if they apply to these models: does one have discrete graphics and the other doesn't? Does one have a lot more ram than the other? Are you really using the screen real estate on one and would miss it on the other? Are you using ports on one the other doesn't have?

Related to the video processing and screen real estate questions: what tools are you using? Are you doing a lot of video? Are you tools multithreaded and more cores are good, or wasted?
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Chris Parent, Photographer, Student/Intern
Baton Rouge | LA | United States | Posted: 3:59 PM on 11.25.12
->> If you are on the run most of the time, the Air would be very nice. The SSD speeds things up immensely, and with OS X using hard drive space for virtual memory, it works great.

I would upgrade the RAM as much as possible, as you can't replace it aftermarket now.

As for the screen difference between 13 and 15, you won't notice that large a difference most of the time. If you decide you like more screen, get an external monitor. They're pretty cheap these days and easy to plug in when you're home.

Really, these computers are so closely matched today, unless you batch editing 1,000s of files, you most likely won't notice a large difference.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Kauzlarich, Photographer, Student/Intern
Madison | WI | | Posted: 4:50 PM on 11.25.12
->> The most taxing things I run are:

Photoshop and the CS6 suite
PhotoMechanic (not taxing)
Final Cut Pro X

And when I'm bored I play League of Legends, StarCraft II, and Civilization 5 (which is of little importance, but I'm just being a nerd).

Supposedly the FCPX will work much better than the older versions with the new computers, but I kind of just nodded my head along with the guy at the store the other day because I was getting the "I want to sell this" vibe more than anything.

I will be doing fully upgraded at the 2.0 Ghz Dual-Core i7, 8GB ram, 512 GB SSD. I will be buying a Thunderbolt to Firewire 800 adapter and ethernet adapter for my HDs and internet needs. I'll also be buying new faster USB 3.0 card readers which will make me a happy camper (I am so upset I can't get daisy-chained FW800 readers, but that I've gone over in another thread).

I was thinking about the external monitor but I probably won't be living in DC more than a few months before moving abroad, so I don't know that I want to deal with moving a monitor at the moment. I might though.
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Joel Hawksley, Photographer
Carbondale | IL | USA | Posted: 5:28 PM on 11.25.12
->> If you're on the go a lot, the MacBook Air (specifically the 2012 11" model) is perfection.

Otto is right about the differences in processor speed vs. SSD/RAM. However, once you start moving to larger SSD's you can really take a performance hit due to current design limitations. I won't get into the reasoning here, but AnandTech touches on it in this article:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6200/owc-mercury-electra-3g-max-960gb-review-...

Personally, I would go with the base model upgraded to 8gb RAM and 256gb of storage. Past that point you're looking at diminishing performance improvements.

I recently wrote a blog post about working with the Air that touches on some of the working changes I had to make when transitioning from a 15" MacBook Pro:
http://joelhawksley.com/2012/11/21/behind-the-scenes-living-with-the-macboo.../

All that being said, I would actually look at the 13" MacBook Pro with Retina Display. I checked a few configurations, and you aren't looking at a huge difference in price from the Air to the Pro, which has a MUCH better display. If I was going to start from scratch and use a single computer, this is what I would get.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Kauzlarich, Photographer, Student/Intern
Madison | WI | | Posted: 7:04 PM on 11.25.12
->> Thanks, Joel.

I was wondering if I needed that much storage... I will have to look at everything I have stored on my computer and what I really need. I have a lot in terms of my music and videos here, but the videos I don't need really. I use 325 GB of 500 GB currently... I will see what I can cut down out of that, put on other hard-drives etc.

Its not only my work computer, but my fun computer as well.

I'll work on that tonight and maybe I can do without the 512GB HD, I would just hate not having the space if I needed it. I guess thats what external drives are for, but I'd rather not have to have music and applications on an external.
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Jack Kurtz, Photographer
Bangkok | Bangkok | Thailand | Posted: 8:54 PM on 11.25.12
->> And the 15" MBP (non Retina model) and 13" MBA have the same resolution, so while the 13" MBA screen is smaller, both display the same number of photos etc. It's just that everything on the MBA is smaller.
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Chris Keane, Photographer
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 9:19 PM on 11.25.12
->> For those of you using MacBook Air's and the newer MacBook Pro's, how are you locking them down in the work areas?
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Adam Brimer, Photographer, Assistant
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 9:31 PM on 11.25.12
->> Mark, I have the i5 13" MBA with 1.8ghz processor. I use all of the software you mentioned above and it performs flawlessly for my needs. It is fast, light and I love it.

I do keep it clean and free of work I've already filed over a few days prior. That helps with the smaller SSD. The USB 3 card readers are wonderful, but again you're limited by the read/write speeds of the cards you are using.

I'd recommend getting the Thunderbolt to FireWire converter. I use that to offload work onto a portable external drive in the field.

Chris, I was wondering the same thing... My go-to has been to put it back in a backpack and lock that up with a sturdy bike lock. Not perfect, but it works.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Ralph Mawyer, Photographer
San Antonio | TX | United States | Posted: 10:12 PM on 11.25.12
->> Mark, I've been wrestling with a similar question, but have focused on the 11" for my needs. In any case, if you haven't seen it, this article might clarify a few things for you on the maxed out models.

http://www.macworld.com/article/1167418/ultimate_macbook_air_2012_models_pu...

I don't think performance will be an issue for you, even without a discrete graphics card, but if you can live with the extra pound or so the 13" retina probably gives you a better long term investment, especially if you aren't able to use an external monitor. It definitely offers much better performance.
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Tim Snow, Photographer
Montreal | Qc | Canada | Posted: 11:50 PM on 11.25.12
->> Just tossing this question out there...if it is your one and only machine, do you ever envision yourself having to burn a DVD for a client? If so...the Air is out the window...though I suppose USB keys are so cheap these days you can buy a bunch of smaller ones and give them away...
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Jim Colburn, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 12:20 AM on 11.26.12
->> "...do you ever envision yourself having to burn a DVD for a client? If so...the Air is out the window..."

Two options:
1) The Apple USB Superdrive for $79 works with the MacBook Air
2) You can use the drive in another Mac over a wired or wireless network
 This post is:  Informative (2) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Simon Wheeler, Photo Editor, Photographer
Ithaca | NY | USA | Posted: 9:21 PM on 11.26.12
->> A word of warning on Air's. I got one for an older teenager and the screen got a small ding. The screen failed slowly and progressively. Quote from Apple to repair more than $850. She is generally pretty careful with her stuff. I bought her a 13" refurb MacBook instead of repairing the Air, which I now occasionally use to watch stuff with an external monitor in clamshell mode. Treat your Air screens gently.
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Sam Morris, Photographer
Henderson (Las Vegas) | NV | USA | Posted: 9:54 PM on 11.26.12
->> I've used MBP's for years. Recently when we were getting them replaced, I pushed for Airs based on the recommendation of a few other photographers and I could not be happier. I don't miss the 15" screen much, it's nice not to have to worry about being plugged in all the time and the SSD gives me some piece of mind. I haven't used it much for video, but I did play around with iMovie on a short personal video and had no problems with performance. We got external Superdrives so we can access our archives that are on disc.

There are a few options for locking cases, such as this one
http://www.maclocks.com/macbook-air-lock.html You can use The Google to find others.
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Glenn Lee, Photographer
New Orleans | LA | USA | Posted: 9:11 PM on 11.30.12
->> ^^

Sam,

Did you guys get the 11 or 13? What are the specs on your machines?

Thanks,
Glenn
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Sam Morris, Photographer
Henderson (Las Vegas) | NV | USA | Posted: 10:37 PM on 11.30.12
->> Glenn, we got the 13" with maxed out RAM and SSD. Which, along with the external Superdrive, still saved the company about $1000 per machine, considering what they were going to get us.
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Max Waugh, Photographer
Bothell | WA | USA | Posted: 11:34 AM on 12.02.12
->> Sam, thanks for that link. I recently got the Air after my old MBP died (pleased so far), and have been ruing the lack of lock port.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Glenn Lee, Photographer
New Orleans | LA | USA | Posted: 5:03 PM on 12.04.12
->> Sam,

Thanks for the info. Ordered the same box maxed except I went for the 256GB SSD.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Kauzlarich, Photographer, Student/Intern
Madison | WI | | Posted: 8:21 PM on 12.04.12
->> I went to the local shop where my high school buddy's dad has worked for years as a camera guy (also used to shoot Packer games with the Biever family, from my understanding) and picked up a 13" base model MacBook Air from him.

The kicker, it was for my Grandpa.

Grandpa can't make it downstairs into the basement to his (2nd ever, 3rd computer) Mac Mini, anymore with his health but he's constantly writing pocket watch magazine articles or writing about Great Lakes Shipping, Googling random things, reading articles, or send emails back and forth with his friends. At 82.

I ordered my own last week, upgraded fully minus the harddrive, at 256 GB, and hope to have it in hand so once I set up the first wireless network on his block, in his little town, and hook up his wireless printer (which he's super excited about), we can start teaching him how to access his photos on his Mac Mini downstairs, WIRELESSLY.

Thanks everyone for the tips. I'll let you know how it (both of them) works out.
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Thread Title: To MacBook Air Users: Another Question Thread
Thread Started By: Mark Kauzlarich
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