New Workshop! Lighting 3 | Advanced Off Camera Flash Preorder

Gear & Apps

Apple Is Dead To Me… | Trey Ratcliff on Switching Back to Windows

By Justin Heyes on March 12th 2017

Becoming complacent in your digital workflow is one of the main reasons photographers tend to stick to the same systems and software. Under the guise of familiarity and fear of change, people stick outmoded software, in the case of Adobe, or flock to the newest offerings of a glorified phone company, à la Apple.


While the new Macbook Pros are anything but, Apple still has a hard time keeping them on their shelves. Why is this? The OS, although flashy, hasn’t really changed since 2013, only occasionally receiving the scraps from the latest iOS release. The company has prioritized the iPhone above all, and as of late last year, has no dedicated Mac operating system team. The hardware continually drags behind the competition and the ability to upgrade the machine becomes more abysmal each year, with everything becoming proprietary and soldered down.


Apple is essentially a hardware company that seems to be marketing to the amateur creative that are allured by the status symbol instead of the specs – you know the ones who rock ironic eyewear. Sure there is probably good money there, but Apple has gotten greedy and doesn’t seem to mind that its core demographic is disappearing. Some Mac users are sitting and waiting desperately for Apple to, maybe someday, release a real workhorse computer, one that won’t choke on the 50MP files of the Canon 5DS R. Other photographers, like Trey Ratcliff, are tired of waiting and are deciding to jump ship and switch to Windows.

On his blog, Stuck in Customs, Ratcliff describes his transition from Apple to Windows (on a 60-day photo adventure around the world with his family and kids, none-the-less). Ratcliff describes his main reason (among many),

I need a more powerful machine that can handle a LOT. I doubt I’m the only creative professional in this situation. Nowadays, my camera’s RAW files are bigger and I do a lot of video work as well. I simply need a workhorse.”

He goes on to add, “It’s too bad that Apple has chosen not to care so much about the creative professional; we were the ones that got them through the lean years. Oh well…

Ratcliff remarks that he used to build his own PC before making the switch to Apple. Now, returning back to Windows he chose a behemoth of a mobile workstation in the MSI WT72 6QN-218US. While his MSI may be overkill for most, photographers who have made the switch seem to love the offerings from Microsoft, Razer and Dell, especially their XPS 15 9550.


Other tools that helped his transition:

On his blog, Ratcliff, breaks down his transition into six steps from getting core apps up and running, organization and getting colors correct on screen. One particular detail to make note of is formatting. The transfer drive should be formatted as exFAT so that both Windows and macOS can read and write to it, FAT32 will not let you transfer files larger than 4 GB.

Switching systems can be a daunting task for those who are entrenched into a particular environment. Programs like Carbon Copy Cloner and Hedge for Mac help make sure all of you files (or at least the ones you want) make the transition. Make sure to check out the full breakdown on Stuck in Customs here.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Justin Heyes wants to live in a world where we have near misses and absolute hits; great love and small disasters. Starting his career as a gaffer, he has done work for QVC and The Rachel Ray Show, but quickly fell in love with photography. When he’s not building arcade machines, you can find him at local flea markets or attending car shows.

Explore his photographic endeavors here.

Website: Justin Heyes
Instagram: @jheyesphoto

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Randall Huleva

    Trey, don’t forget to post this to your Stuck in Customs Passport site. That group still is under the impression that you LOVE all things Apple!

    | |
  2. Iván Frantar

    I honestly don’t understand the argument about ‘I’m switching to Windows, you bad Apple!’ as if you were a 15 year old girl that got rejected by the guy she liked. At least this seems to be what I’m picking up from the article in terms of details as to why you are switching.

    If you want to switch, good luck! To each its own. Certainly the alternative this person picked it’s a tank of a machine.

    As to the Macs themselves, I’m a creative professional that uses a 2016 MBP and the machine is working wonderfully. I have to admit, I don’t edit Raw files from the latest highest spec Canon camera, but I do know a couple of colleagues doing architectural and interior photography and they don’t seem to be complaining about the machine and they do RAW files as well from pretty heavy featured cameras. As for me, at the highest pushing point I’ve put the machine, it was using After Effects, Illustrator and Photoshop (here editing some raw photos from a Nikon D750) working on a project switching fairly regularly between these and the machine didn’t even have the fun running. Not even when I was rendering movies in AE. Not to mention that I had Chrome with several tabs open, Mail app, Spotify, Slack and maybe a couple or other random app that I might have open and close as per specific task needed. 

    I would agree that I would like the flexibility to upgrade the RAM. But as of now, the machine is as tough as it gets and on top of that, having a UNIX system, makes it super handy to work with some engineers I work with whom they work both in Linux and Mac and I can pretty much install and run the same way open source projects and apps as the Linux guys; not to mention that whatever you find in Windows is already as well on Mac whereas the other way around, if you are on Windows, you’d probably need to install and extra thing if you want to run something that goes for a Mac and Linux system.

    Probably what I wrote on the last paragraph doesn’t pertain much to a specific photographer but I hope I helped illustrate the level of versatility that Macs have in comparison to other systems if you are working in an organisation and, to say that 2016 Macbook Pro’s are shit because you can’t edit RAW files from your camera or videos, to me it sounds like saying—in the global scope of things—I’m going to chop my leg off because I broke a toe nail. DEFINITELY though, if Macs don’t work for your workflow and needs, you obviously have to change for what works best for you, but to undermine the machine and say Apple doesn’t care about creative people and all the other stuff mentioned just because it doesn’t adjust to your needs, that’s bullshit.

    | |
  3. Abul Shah

    This is an interesting article with little technical justification.  Trey Ratcliff is an incredibly talented photographer, whom I’ve never met, but there are a few reasons why a professional photographer would switch from Apple to windows.  Here is just one… AdobeRGB. 

    Several years ago, I used to to work for Apple at one of their flagship U.K. stores, before I took a step towards the world of fulltime photography. I love Apple. Although, even now I confess I have a love hate relationship with them. I always saw the iMac and MacBook Pro’s as the hardware platform for creatives and professionals, despite not being able to afford one, once I began my creative path. 

    There were clear advantages at the time to be an Apple user.  They knew what we needed. Yes, they DID cater for the professional creative. Pretty well. You see, I’ve built PC’s for a long time before that, being totally blown away by the no need for virus software, impressive boot-up times, my ‘apparent’ immunity to viruses and it’s ability to communicate with my several other apple streaming and non streaming devices.  Okay, but perhaps it the price tag. 

    Roll on 2017, I’m printing my work and take color correction and color  grading as seriously as Kim Kardashian’s personal insurance policy. Yes, I have been thinking about moving back to windows after several years of Apple loyalty, which have been good years.  My MAIN reason? The latest 5k monitors only display 78% of the AdobeRGB colour range.  For the professionals who are fortunate to include editorial work as a source of income, they know the crucial importance of color and the unwavering need to be 100% exact when shooting and editing for brands and commercial clients.  

    Perhaps you’re a wedding photographer. Okay then… Graphistudio are the most luxuriously hand crafted wedding albums in the world, based in Italy.  For those that know their work and have seen their prints, they use AdobeRGB to print the most advanced HD print, using the Canon dreamlab 5000, because of their partnership with Canon.  Believe me, you have to see it for yourself. 

    I am at the crossroads now, Apple in one direction, Windows the other.  I know it’s not going to be an easy jump back, but windows are ready.  I want to be in control of my hardware specs.  I want to be able to change the hardware as I see fit.  I want open source software.  I want to be able to choose how to use my workhorse that I invested in however I want, as opposed to being restricted ‘largely’ to a single App Store.  More importantly… I want to WOW my clients with my commercial work AND both bride and groom from my wedding business when I show them my printed art. This is afterall (usually) their first family heirloom.  Shouldn’t it stand a longer test of time and shouldn’t we understand the need as business owners to show that ‘WOW’ factor?

    Windows, I’m coming back to you holding a self calibrating 180 degrees portrait pivotable, AdobeRGB loving, SRGB switch, Black and white mode allowing monitor. 

    Apple, we have had some good times. Great times in fact. I owe a lot to you. But it’s not you. It’s me.  You’re holding me back now, knowing that I need more to be able to fly.  I’m sorry.  I will always love you. 

    With love. 

    | |
  4. Greg Cellini

    “…or flock to the newest offerings of a glorified phone company, à la Apple.”Glorified phone company? Sonny, maybe next time you should check your history before you decide to use your mouth as a footrest.

    | |
    • Justin Heyes

      Hi Greg thanks for your comment. I am well aware of Apple’s beginnings in the personal computer industry, but the company as of today makes 60-70% (depending on the quarter) of their revenue from the mobile market.   

       For a company, who’s main profit comes from cell phones/tablets, even if they happen to make computers, would by definition be a glorified phone company.

      | |
  5. David Heintz

    Apple is the only company making Apple computers. Dozens, if not hundreds of companies, large and small, make Windows machines. That competition alone generates the latest specs – if not, at times, the best reliability.

    When Apple does upgrade its hardware, it is usually significant (if not always welcome.) It is not simply adding on the latest component from a small supplier.

    Finally, as long time Mac users will attest, the hardware is only a part of the user experience, and not always the most important part.

    I do acknowledge that Apple appears to have shifted its focus to the consumer segment. Hey, it didn’t get to be the world’s most valuable company selling Macs. But I also acknowledge that some of the IOS development that has made its way to the OS has been pretty tasty. I am also pretty sure that most of Apple employees work on Macs even day, and that Mac is ingrained into the Apple psyche. They will not let the Macintosh diminish.

    | |
  6. Cary McCaughey

    I personally just custom built a Hackintosh.  Being tied to the price of a over-stimulated glorified piece of aluminum wasn’t my forte.  TonyMacX86 is great for these platforms and I rarely have any issues.  If I wanted to switch, I have a m.2 for windows.  I’m so far away from windows its tough to go back, but it does seem Apple is seemingly forgetting about being the key innovator.  It uses old tech and sells at a premium price.  Sounds like Beats By Dre.  They’re some of the worst quality sounding headphones in the industry, cost the most and people continue to buy them.  Seems funny huh?

    | |
  7. Chris Warkocki

    So a $4000+ laptop was the solution… something so overkill for photoshop and lightroom that the gaudy price tag makes giggle. Let’s be honest. He left Apple so he could play Steam games better not because he needs a better MacBook Pro. 

    | |
    • Njoi Fontes

      Such an overkill laptop really makes little since to make a point. As mentioned in the article, a dell xps 15 will be more than enough for any photographer and even 4k video editing and will be considerably cheaper than the macbook pro. Oh and yeah, it will be even good enough for steam games since it comes with an nvidia gtx 1050 

      | |
    • Randall Huleva

      I’ll take the Dell XPS 15 personally. Absolutely LOADED with EVERY OPTION including 4 year accidental damage protection, this system is still just under $3K. And most will be a lot cheaper because they won’t trick them out with every option available. I can still run my dual 27″ display and frankly, that particular configuration will probably dust the 18″ MSI…it certainly won’t be any distant second. Oh, by the way, still cheaper and faster that the MBP with a warranty that Apple won’t even offer.

      | |
  8. Rocco Richardson

    i’m gonna switch to nikon from canon because clearly canon does not appreciate creatives.  they make a crippled mark iv in the video dept to force to me pay more for a cinema cam bah!   i’m gonna switch to nikon since they DONT do any of that!!…………see how ridiculous this sounds!?   

    you sound just as ridiculous railing against the tool! and the company behind it!  this is supposed to be SLR Lounge.  where i come to learn to focus on the craft and not the tool.  

    btw your opinion of the MBP is obviously inherently wrong i the article. …they keep selling because they work.   

    | |
  9. Lynn Fredricks

    Creative tech fields are always moving forward. On Windows and Linux, you have continuously new CPUs and graphics cards. The problem is that Apple saw the writing on the wall a long time ago that consumer lifestyle is where the money is, which is why they dropped the “Computer” from Apple Computer with SJ’s ‘digital hub’ plan.  If the Mac you have is doing the job, then sure, keep on using it. But if you need to keep scaling up because those apps keep getting slower and slower, you need to make a move.

    | |
  10. Charles Putnam

    Trey and his temper tantrums…..  He predicted the death of DSLR’s seven years ago – hasn’t happened.

    I’d rather have dental work done without novocaine rather than switch to Windows.

    I stopped following Mr. Ratcliff after this rant.

    | |
  11. barbara farley

    things must have changed drastically because the thing that I remember most from my PC days are the anti virus software which was needed and just sucked so bad.  Is that not an issue these days?

    | |
    • Justin Heyes

      Anti-virus software is now built-in with Windows Defender. It doesn’t suck system resources the way Norton (a virus in itself)  used to. It is capable for most, granted you don’t visit shady websites. 

      | |
  12. Branko Mitic

    Your shitty website every day has same payed article. 

    | |
  13. Felix Cervantes

    Trey did this along time ago. Why are you just writing about it? Trey likes to bait manufacturers. He got into a temper tantrum when Nikon USA would not fix his grey market camera awhile back.

    | |
  14. Alex Petrenko

    Come on! 14 hours and 7 comments only for this comment bait text? We can do more :)

    | |
    • Richard Burtron

      Why? It’s another dull anti Apple fluff piece on SLR Lounge. Why not just write a pro PC piece. Negativity does not engender great conversation. 

      | |
  15. Ett Venter

    Yep, I’m in the same boat. Making the switch from Mac to PC within the next couple of weeks. I’m due for an upgrade this year, and unfortunately, the 2016 MBP is a piece of crap. PC it is!

    | |
  16. Paul Cotter

    I’m growing weary of SLR Lounge’s obsession with articles like this. This is the second article I’ve seen this week about why PC is better than Apple. I’d love to see more articles about the heart and soul of photography, and the things that make us better photographers. Yeah, I know — workflow is important. But as the legendary photographer Andre Kertesz said, “technology is in the pinkie.” In other words, stop obsessing over Nikon vs. Canon, Lightroom vs. Capture One, DSLR vs. mirrorless, etc. 

    | |
    • Alex Petrenko

      It may be the case. But if you are able to buy some additional time in this life just buying faster computer – why not?

      | |
  17. David Shepherd

    Unfortunately, While people who are jumping from one OS to another are thinking that a company does not care for them anymore, the authors of such articles that mislabels its readers have done more harm than good for the same thing Apple is being accused of worshiping. MONEY. 

    While Apple has not refreshed its Mac Pro in 3/4 years, It has refreshed the Pro Machine that creatives are using every day, the iMac. The iMac is the Pro Machine that is driving creative agencies every day…Not photographers. 

    It’s about time that photographers realize that we as photographers realize that we are not the creatives, we are the commodities. That is how creative agencies see and use our work. Let me make it clear that we are artist and creative. We are not the majority that drives the computing market for professionals. We are only the beneficiaries of the drivers. That is why when the SD card was removed from the MacBook Pro, only photographers were “enraged” but the creative agencies cared less. It was not talked about in my agency, only the photographers cared.

    It really doesn’t matter what Professional Photographers are using to build their creative libraries because those images will be applied to a design on an iMac. Most will be retouched on an iMac and a select few will see a MacPro. Every 2014 MacPro can edit every image from any camera. They are built well enough last 10 years fully efficient. They are not as fast or as sexy, but they work. I’m not an Apple fanboy, it is business, facts, numbers, perception…

    What about the non-professionals…I don’t know. If Apple updated the MacPro, iMacs and other computers every year, would they adopt every machine? Would Apple be the most valuable company from desktops? If you think so, let’s see which PC manufacturer will supplant Apple.

    | |
  18. Stephen Jennings

    I love(d) Apple. If you were a Creative you simply used Apple .. I didn’t know any Creative or agency that used anything but Apple products. But Apple doesn’t create for the Creative anymore, they create for the masses. I can’t even change the HDD in my iMac – seriously.. wtf? That’s mind blowing asinine arrogance right there. 

    I bought a Wacom Mobile Studio – an overpriced bit of hardware for sure (though amazing), but it runs Windows and can still link as a display for my Macs .. I consider it my stepping stone into PC, as I’ll honestly never buy another Apple product.

    | |
  19. Jon Liebold

    The issue I have with Apple is that they are slow to update their hardware and never drop prices. For example, Mac Mini was last “refreshed” in late 2014 and uses Intel’s Haswell series of i5 processors which are now three generations behind (Broadwell, Skylake, and the current Kaby Lake). Yet the price is still the same as it was at release in late 2014. So we’re paying today’s prices for 2014’s chips. Same goes for the Mac Pros which haven’t seen an update since 2013 and is using CPUs from 2012 (Intel Ivy Bridge).

    | |
  20. Eloise Speight

    Just as much of a trolling article as all the pro-Apple articles we had to live through in the past.  Or are we supposed to rejoice at the dedicated Apple user who converts to windows.  This kind of article is as bad as the “why I switched to Mirrorless”. 

    | |
    • adam sanford

      Hammer, meet nail.  The parallels are in plain sight:  another platform offers more value or more features so I’ll make the painful migration to it.

      …and then I’ll wonder why stuff I took for granted in the prior platform doesn’t work as well.

      I don’t doubt Windows machines offer more horsepower-per-dollar, but in my 10+ years with Apple I’ve never lost a file, I’ve never been hit with a virus, and my cloud linkup between devices is as hassle free as it gets.  You can call it overpriced — I call it effective.

      | |