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4K? Pfft… Apple Takes It To The Next Level With 5K Retina iMac

By Anthony Thurston on October 17th 2014

4K this, 4K that. It seems like just about every tech product coming out these days has some sort of 4K technology in it, whether that be playback or recording. Looking to stay ahead of the curve, Apple has just announced a new 5K Retina iMac.


iMac’s have long been a tool that photographers have loved to take advantage of, and now, with this 5K display built in, you can really take your post processing to another level. This is a display that can actually show your images full size and at full resolution (for many cameras, obviously there are some exceptions), a huge advantage during the post production process.

The new iMac’s 27″ screen isn’t a monstrosity either, believe it or not the screen is only 5mm thick. It also uses 30% less power than its proceeding models. That said, the starting price of $2,499 will make this an investment you will want to last you a while.

If you are interested, this new model can be ordered now. Visit the Apple website to learn more.

Personally, as awesome as the 5K display sounds, it’s just not worth the price to me. Of-course, by the time 5K becomes affordable the razor’s edge will have moved on the 8K or 10K or whatever. I’ll just sit over here with my 1080 HD screen, jealous, but content.


What are your thoughts on this huge announcement from Apple? Do you see yourself grabbing one of these bad boys any time soon? Leave a comment below!

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. mugur ic

    Wow. A good choice for apple fans

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  2. David De Fotograaf

    Ok, 5k. Ok, full editing.
    Ok, how you sit about? 1meter, 2? Unless your eyes get tired really fast by soaking up so much color and detail from up close?
    And then, you edited full screen. You go check out some other pictures on the internet… Awww, so small…
    Even for your own conversions to the internet it’s just a waste because you have to resize them anyway.

    And then of course the price tag…

    All in all, not worth the hassle. :(

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  3. Mircea Blanaru

    The quality and the performance of the monitor must be impressive. The price, unfortunately, is untouchable for me. Perhaps it would be bought by pro photographers…

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  4. Gavin Wade

    I might not get one right out of the gate…but oh man, you can bet I will be in the Apple store drooling all over the images on that display.

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  5. Christian Santiago

    Apple isn’t fooling me. You’d have to be foolish to spend 2500 for the Dell screen considering the market will be producing more 5k displays at lower price points within the next year, which renders apple’s price comparison a joke. That 2499 price tag is for a base model iMac with older hardware. To get a more powerful machine you’re looking at spending 3500, which would be fine, except that the hardware inside is already dated and you won’t be able to upgrade any of it down the line when it starts showing it’s age. You’re basically paying a premium for a 5k monitor, which again is silly considering there will be plenty these coming out within the next year at lower prices.

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    • Kasun Meegahapola

      This remind me the topic “How I Built My Custom Photo/Video Editing PC for Under $800” from Anthony which was discussed sometime back. ( So ones you build your pc for $800 you have plenty to go for a good bang for the buck monitor.

      Wouldn’t it be nice to have another article with different options for photo / video editing?

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    • John Cavan

      You’ll resell that rig for what? Price comparisons always fail to include resale value and Apple resale value is very good, years after the fact. I use them all:, I have rack mounted gear in my basement and approaching 20 computers in my house, ranging from PCs, Macs, Dell servers, and more. The idea that Apple is over-priced is a myth, it means you’ve failed to do all the math.

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    • Michael Young

      John, so the resale of outdated hardware means that macs aren’t over priced? So if someone else is willing to buy your outdated machine at a higher cost, then that justifies paying more up front? That’s a fairly biased justification.

      The only counter arguments to the in Apple vs. PC debate I’ll accept are the Apple ecosystem and aesthetics. Apples look nice, they perform well, and they’re great as saving space, but at the sacrifice of power when compared to PCs in the same price range. Even the GPU in the most expensive version of the new iMac doesn’t compare to NVIDIA GTX 980.

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    • John Cavan

      @Michael – I challenge you to put together a machine with this set of specifications, including the display, for the same price. We’ve already established that the only alternative display option at that level is yet to come and currently has a planned price that is the same as the full iMac and so you’re done in one.

      However, the other place the “over priced” arguments fall a part is fact. A lesson in capitalism for you: the price is set to what the market will bear and to sell the volume the supplier desires to sell. Apple is seeing growth in computer sales, versus the competition, year over year and that suggests to me that “over priced” isn’t one of their problems.

      In any event, you absolutely have to take resale value in your cost analysis. If the total cost of ownership of the product year over year is actually less than the alternative then it makes sound business sense to go that path. There’s nothing biased about that (which is funny given that I probably have more computer varieties than most people posting here), it’s simply the facts of the matter to suggest that the price I pay today minus the price that I sell for later is less than the same for you over that same period, then mine is cheaper. I tend to take a bit longer a view.

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  6. Marc Avice

    “As usual”, Apple presented a nice upgrade on just one computer model (iMac). Next year, most of the iMac models will most likely have retina displays (as it is now for the Macbook Pro line) and the prices shall be lower. Patience…

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  7. John Cavan

    I find the price comments a little interesting… Dell announced a 27″ 5K monitor in the works with, and that’s the kicker, a $2500 price tag. Yet, somehow, the Apple iMac with a 27″ 5K display, 4 CPU cores, 8 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB fusion drive is considered expensive. There’s a disconnect there.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I wouldn’t pay for that Dell 27″ 5K display either. But if I did have the money for either, I would go with the Dell, because it would allow me to use it with any computer, where as the iMac I am stuck with the specs that Apple gives me in the iMac.

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    • John Cavan

      Not so quick on that Anthony, you need to buy the hardware that can also drive that display. :) So you’re very likely to be much more than the price of this iMac for the same capability. The take an average write off of 3 years on a computer in a business context and the resale premium Apple gear gets and there’s no way I’d buy the Dell over this.

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  8. Derek Grant

    Looks very impressive. I can see the price point being way too high to justify the spend for mortal photographers. I wonder if Adobe plan to support the 4K with Photoshop or Lightroom, as an owner of a retina Mac Book there is still no support for retina display in Lightroom slideshows, which I find BS given the amount of time Adobe have had to get it fixed. 4K is all very well but apps need to support it !.

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    • Greg Silver

      I’m a little confused. I can understand Lightroom slideshows limited by resolution for performance reasons, but not for actual editing in Lightroom and Photoshop,

      I would be surprised if those applications do not support 4K or 5K monitors. The application would have to reset your resolution when launched – wouldn’t it?

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    • Derek Grant

      Hi Greg, I am sure for editing there will be support. My beef here is simple and back to Lightroom as the example. You work your images best you can from the camera and then to your post production – from there either print or in my case you want to show these images on screen……what a disappointment to have your beautiful sharp images rendered soft and lacking punch…..surely Slideshow is a crital element, after all it is a key module – why not offer the option of a high res supported image, if it is one of performance then at least the choice is available. What we have now is no choice.

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    • Michał Obuchowski

      I think I pressed the slideshow button twice, intentionally, since 2012. I find there is little point in waiting 15 minutes while it renders previews of those 400 CR2s you’re about to play back…

      Before anyone asks: Core i7 920 ( :< ), 24GB DDR3, catalog on SSD, 2x GTX560 SLI, photos on 3TB RAID1 USB3

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  9. Michał Obuchowski

    Looking at that announcement yesterday (not being a mac user), I can’t say I’m unimpressed with the screen… As always, though, the price brings it right down, haha :]

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    • Kasun Meegahapola

      Surely that’s what everyone wish.. :)

      But just thought of giving a note that iMac with 27 inch 5K (5120 x 2880) cost around $2500 (with basic config) vs the Samsung 32inch UHD (3840 x 2160) monitor cost about $2000 or Dell UltraHD 32inch (3840 x 2160) which is about $2500. Will people prefer 5K more resolution vs bigger 4K screen?

      Another point is I’m thinking of switching to regular desktop pcs as my hard drives (1TB) get full very easily. Either i have to keep buying external hard drives like a WD My-book 4TB one. So i was thinking if i can build my own desktop i can keep on plugin internal hard drives which is cheaper. Anyone agree or disagree?

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    • Greg Silver

      Kasun – switching to a desktop would mainly be dependent on your workflow and if you require a laptop.

      Personally I prefer a desktop for editing photos for the cheaper horsepower you get compared to a laptop. For quick reviewing of photos and sorting a tablet (or even a smartphone) works great for me.

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    • Graham Curran

      I have plenty of space on my desk (workbench) and prefer decent multiple monitors. If I’m working in detail in Photoshop then I zoom in until the pixels are visible to my poor old eyes. Watching HD movies is a different matter and until 4K content becomes widely available then I’m not going to be a sucker early adopter. I’d much rather buy a nice lens for my camera.

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