Mac vs. PC – The Photographer’s Perspective

February 1st 2014 9:30 AM

SLR-Lounge-Mac-VS-PC-HDR-Software-Photomatix-650…The aftermath of the last great Mac versus PC debate, circa 2008…
(Photomatix Pro 5, available for both Mac and PC)
(Nikon D5300, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, FotoPro C5C Tripod)
(Click here to check out our HDR workshop DVD!)

The Mac versus PC debate seems to be much more heated among photographers, and for good reason.  Photographers are (mainly) creative types whose brains are wired a certain way, and whose visual attention to detail and aesthetic are (usually) much more heightened than “the masses.”

Based on the above paragraph’s use of quotes and parentheses, you can probably already tell which side of the fence I am on.   Yes, I prefer Mac, and generally speaking, I believe that Macs are better suited for photographers and creative types.  But that’s just me.

However before we start throwing rotten tomatoes, (or rotten apples?) let’s see what the core reasons are behind people preferring one or the other.

Personally, as much as I am a fan of Mac computers and the Apple OS, I have never accepted people’s emotional biases and arguments that seem to lack specific detail.  In other words, “I just prefer Mac, you PC people wouldn’t understand” is not a valid excuse for spending 2-3X more on a computer!

My Personal Story – Both Mac & PC

Unlike most people who might never even try the other side of the fence, or have made their long-term decision based on a single, brief negative experience, I have personally been using both Mac and PC computers very extensively for over 10 years now.  I have built a few fully custom PC towers, I have owned and used quite a few high-end PC laptops, from the original IBM Thinkpads to the latest Asus “Republic of Gamers” laptops.  I have also owned or used numerous Macbooks, Macbook Pros, iMacs, and Mac Pros.

Which reminds me of rule number one regarding articles and Internet advice such as this:  Don’t listen to people who only ever know one side of the story!  Even if you collect a bunch of singular opinions from both sides, you will never get the whole story.   Of course, in general, you should always question every opinion you hear on the Internet, even if someone claims to be an expert.  I know I sure wouldn’t take my own advice as gospel, so neither should you!

Suffice it to say, however, that it is my job to know these things.  I don’t get paid to “push” one product or another; that is so 1999!  Thankfully, these days I am much more valuable if just speak my mind based on extensive experience.  This is why I also put time into mastering both Nikon and Canon, and similarly heated subjects.  But I digress!

Why Photographers Prefer Apple & Mac

First, let’s talk about why I think photographers (and probably, people in general) prefer the Apple experience.  Obviously, there are the shallow reasons which I won’t dwell on too much.  In short, yes, Apple products are very sexy looking and like it or not this can affect your business as a professional.  Of course, these days there are more and more sexy looking PC computers out there, such as for example the Asus Zenbook UX32VD-DH71 laptops.  If you’re on a budget (or even if you’re not on a budget, but you simply prefer PC) then these are great machines.

[ Rewind: SLR Lounge’s Asus Zenbook Laptop Reviews & Performance Tests ]

Apple_gray_logoHowever, let’s be honest, the Apple logo itself is a status symbol.  PC’s can look pretty, but they’re still PC’s.  Like I said, this is a pretty shallow reason to choose Apple, and lately it has been on the decline.  I’m sure that if a well-known, high-end photographer were to show up to a client meeting with a sleek PC Netbook, it wouldn’t affect whether or not they get the gig!

The bottom line, for me at least, is something else.  Simplicity and reliability.  All of the Apple computers I have ever owned or used have run very smoothly with almost zero issues.  Oppositely, literally every single PC computer I have ever owned, or even borrowed, (sorry friends!), have wound up with some small bug or quirk.  Many of them have had complete meltdowns that cost me 1-3 days of work.  Not because I lost data, but simply because it took me that long to get the computer back up and running again!

Are Macs perfect?  Certainly not.  In fact anyone who knows a general history of the Apple brand will shudder at the phrase “bad logic board,” among a few others.  Yes, Macs fail.  Sometimes catastrophically.  I personally have never experienced such a total failure, but I still have minor frustrations from time to time.  The bottom line is that, for me, a PC is just far more trouble than a Mac.

Keep in mind, I just don’t like computer maintenance in general.  I am a camera geek, not a computer geek.  If my trackpad or optical drive stops working properly because of a missing driver or firmware issue, I’d rather smash my computer than waste 30 mins trying to fix it. The term “overclocked” doesn’t do anything for me at all.  If an app crashes on my Mac, it somehow manages to do so with grace.  Whereas on my PC, Windows likes to use phrases such as “fatal error,” and everybody knows what “BSOD” means.  (Blue Screen Of Death). Let me ask you, who at Microsoft thought it would be a good idea to use the word “FATAL” in a user interface?  Seriously!?!  Just thinking about it raises my blood pressure.

In other words: I don’t feel like smashing my Mac nearly as often as I want to smash my PC. That pretty much sums it up.  If you can relate, then an Apple computer is probably the right choice for you.  (Remember that photocopier scene from “Office Space?”  Yeah, that’s how I feel sometimes).


(A frequent sight on one of my most recent PC machines)

Why Photographers Prefer Windows & PC

windows-logoOf course, if there are people out there like myself who prefer the simplicity and smooth operation of a Mac, could there be others who actually enjoy a more advanced, complex computing experience?  Sure!  I have lots of uber-geek friends who just love getting their hands dirty with the latest Windows operating system, or building their own machines from scratch, and in general, having more control and customizability over their computers.

I do understand this, because that’s exactly how I feel about cameras.  I absolutely require extensive customizability and advanced control, otherwise, I will not be able to shoot at my full potential.  In fact, if I had my way, camera menus and customizations would be even more extensive and complex!

If you prefer to have full control and lots of customization, then you will probably be very frustrated with a Mac.  Apple has a tendency to completely hide things that it thinks you shouldn’t mess with, and to over-simplify the few customizations they do make available.

In fact, in many cases Apple has made things downright idiot proof, with interfaces that could be borrowed from the pages of a “for dummies” book.  For example, consider Apple’s “Time Machine” feature.  Apple makes it sound like a magical, mysterious backup system that can fix all manner of troubles.  Really, all it does is simplify a process known as “incremental backup” which has been around in the PC world forever, and with much more extensive features available.

Is Time Machine far more simple and easy to use than all the PC backup options?  In my opinion, yes.  Is that a good thing?  Not necessarily.  There are barely any options (I count just SIX?) for customizing how Time Machine works, whereas there are numerous high-powered PC applications that can perform practically any backup task you might imagine.

In summary, it just depends how much you like computers, and what you want them to do for you.  Do you dislike computer maintenance?  Hate it with a passion?  Or do you not really have any issues with your Windows experience, and prefer the more universal compatibility and customizability?

If you’re happy with what you’ve got and you’re simply curious about how green the grass is on the other side of the fence, that’s just human nature.  Don’t over-think it, though.  I only recommend seriously considering a switch from one to the other if you’re truly dissatisfied with your overall experience.


Are There Wrong Reasons To Switch To Mac Or To PC?

I hate to say it, but a single computer crash should not incline you to completely abandon one system for another.  Any computer can crash.  Even though I have personally had zero catastrophic Mac failures and over a half-dozen complete PC meltdowns, I know of quite a few people who have had a half-dozen Mac meltdowns and zero serious PC issues.  My beloved MacBook Pro that I’m using right now to write this could “brick” itself in five minutes, you never know.  (Pardon me while I click SAVE!)

Another thing I see quite often is people who switch simply because their computer is getting slow.  Sorry, but this phenomenon has nothing to do with Mac or PC.  All computers get old eventually, plus software gets more resource-hungry and cameras have more and more megapixels.  If you want your computer to never get slow, go buy a 6 megapixel DSLR and edit the photos with Photoshop CS2!

The name of the game is usually to buy the fastest computer you can afford at the time, and just expect to replace it in 2-3 years.  You could argue that a Mac will last a little bit longer than a PC, however you would probably still break even with respect to long-term costs.

Similarly, as I said before I think that the prestige factor, the status symbol of a Mac, is not a strong reason to buy one.  It is mostly just in your head.  Of course buying something just because it’s cool is pretty common in every aspect of our lives, and I understand that.  Just don’t feel like you’re missing out because of visual aesthetic alone.

Last but not least, it used to be true that Apple computers were inherently better for photo and video editing.  This might have been the case ~10 years ago back in the days of the Powerbook and whatnot, however nowadays there are plenty of PC machines out there with photo and video editing capabilities that match or totally surpass a Mac.

[ Rewind: See how the Asus G75 compares against a Retina Macbook Pro! ]

Is Mac More Expensive Than PC?

One of the major arguments that I haven’t discussed yet is price.  Yes, if you’re buying new products directly from Apple, you could easily pay $3,000-$4,000 for a laptop or $5,000+ for a desktop computer.  Apple charges a hefty premium for their latest models, and a similar premium for any pre-installed upgrades.  Their upgrades aren’t as over-priced as they used to be, but they’re still not cheap.  Any time you see nice round numbers for every specific part and the service hours required to install it, you know their profit margins are high.

Oppositely, PC laptops and desktops abound for just a few hundred dollars, and even the high-powered ones seem to be priced at almost half what a new Mac would cost.  Plus, you can upgrade almost any machine for dirt-cheap.

However there are a handful of things that we’re not considering.  Most importantly is the quality of parts that go into each machine.  An Apple doesn’t run smoothly by magic, they hand-pick every single piece of hardware based on both quality and compatibility.

For example, two computers might tout similar i7 quad cores and RAM specs, yet the manufacturers of the PC are probably just slapping together a bunch of other parts that they got from the lowest bidder.

Admittedly, this isn’t as prevalent as it used to be.  Also, for every low-budget PC out there that costs 1/4 the price of a Mac, there is also a high-end PC that doesn’t skimp on parts and is tested to professional reliability standards.

The last thing that we haven’t considered yet is the vast market for used Apple computers.  A Mac is like a car-  It depreciates quite significantly the minute you drive it off the lot, however, if you buy a used one at a good price it will hold its resale value quite well for a year or two.

Personally, I actually buy all my Apple computers used. I paid less than $300 for a 13″ Aluminum Macbook that probably cost over $1,000 originally, and it works fantastic as an around-the-house and/or travel laptop.  I paid about $1,000 for a tricked-out i7 quad-core MacBook Pro that might have cost $2,000 or $3,000 originally.  In fact, both of these computers are still going strong, even though they’re 2-3 years old.

On the other hand, you don’t really hear people raving about the 1-2 year old used PC that they just bought, and how smoothly it runs.

The point is that if you compare any Mac against a high-end PC that has truly equal components, you’re going to pay almost the same price.  Then, introduce older generations and used “mint condition” options to the equation, and in my opinion price becomes almost a non-issue.

Just as a bit of ironic trivia, here’s two of my personal purchases from over the years.  My, how the times do change!

Asus G73 17″ – 2011 – MSRP $1499
2 GHZ Quad-Core i7 – 8 GB RAM – 1.5 GB Graphics
slr-lounge-apple-macbook-versus-pc-blackbookApple Macbook 13″ – 2006 – MSRP $1499
2GHZ Intel Core Duo – 2 GB RAM – Shared Graphics (ew!)

Photo-Specific and Other Mac Versus PC Arguments

There are a few final details I’d like to leave you with in the PC versus Mac debate.  In no particular order, here they are!

  • Specialized Apps
    For sure, PC’s have an advantage with respect to specialized applications.  Off the top of my head, I love two PC-only applications: Paddy, (for customizing your keyboard hotkeys in Lightroom, for free!) and Fast Picture Viewer.  (a culling app much like Photomechanic, but only ~$40!)  There are many other programs out there that are only PC-compatible, and plenty that are only Mac compatible.  Please comment below if you know of one! Then again, Apple has its own photo/ video apps, Aperture and Final Cut.  Some people are madly in love with these apps, however I personally prefer Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Premier Pro.
  • Affordable Power
    If you absolutely must have the latest and greatest hardware such as PCI SSD hard drives, or that insanely fast new graphics card, then a PC is your best bet.  In fact, quite often certain things (*cough*USB 3.0*cough*) take quite a while to be adopted by Apple.  (Then again, I owned one of the first PC machines to have a USB 3.0 port, and it was nothing but one firmware/driver mess after another!)
  • Proprietary Connectivity
    Apple has a fickle habit of intentionally obsoleting hardware.  Firewire is gone from all of their latest laptops, and I lost count of how many times Apple has forced a new external display connector on its laptop owners.  In short, if you have a lot of FW800 external drives with all  your old photos, or a really nice display monitor that doesn’t need to be replaced just yet, get ready to buy lots of cable adapters, at the very least.
  • Lightroom Catalog Preview Files
    For some weird reason, Apple’s OSX has Lightroom’s Preview system stored as one single file, making it easier to transfer, while Windows stores Lightroom previews as thousands and thousands of tiny little files which can take forever to transfer.
  • RAW Thumbnail Previews
    One thing I’ve noticed on my PC computers over the years is that they always seem to have trouble displaying RAW image thumbnails in Windows Explorer.  There are codec thingies that you can install that support some cameras but not others, it seems, but Apple’s Finder app seems to have no problem displaying RAW thumbnails right out of the box without any special updates.
  • Out-Of-Box Colors & Displays
    Apple displays seem to be pretty awesome right out of the box.  Yes, high-quality displays are available quite affordably from many different manufacturers.  That’s not what I’m talking about. Sure, the new Apple Retina displays are gorgeous.   However, even if I plug a Dell display into my Macbook, the un-calibrated colors are nearly identical to the calibrated colors.  Yet the same exact display seems to just look less perfect when plugged into various PC’s.

Apple Macbook Air – Starting at $999, fully loaded at over $2,000slr-lounge-asus-zenbook-pc-versus-macAsus Zenbook – Starting at $559, fully loaded at over $2,000
(Including touchscreen!)

Do You Prefer Mac Or PC?

So, which type of person are you?  Hopefully, in this day and age, you already know.

The main question is, are you happy with the computer you currently have?  If you are, then stick with it.  Upgrade it when you have to.  However, if you’re not happy with your current computer system, then you have to ask yourself a few questions.  Is it simply because the computer is old and slow, or because you had a single hard drive failure?  Sure, it might be nice to test-drive a different computer system.  Just remember that it still might be better to just buy a newer, faster version of whatever type of computer you already have.  I only ever recommend that people seriously consider “jumping ship” if they’re truly unhappy with their overall experience with their current operating system.

There are so many different factors that weigh into the equation.  For example, cost is not as cut-and-dry as you’d think because it involves whether or not you are willing to buy a used machine, or perform upgrades by yourself…  Or for example user-friendliness and simplicity might be highly desirable for some, and yet extremely frustrating for others.  For photographers specifically, both Apple and Microsoft have advantages and disadvantages.  Having extensive experience with both, I cannot imagine trying to decide which I prefer if I had only a few minutes’ experience with one or the other.  So that is my recommendation to you:  As with any major debate, the best thing you can do is to invest a lot of time in really getting to know both options.

Take care,



Matthew Saville is a full-time wedding photographer at Lin & Jirsa Photography, and a senior editor & writer at SLR Lounge. Connect with him on Google Plus

Comments [64]

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  1. 1

    to put all the good things of the two worlds together, a good hackintosh do this work. =]

  2. 1

    Personally I prefer PC for many of the examples you listed above, mainly the custom build option. Also I had had bad experience with Macs at uni they would crash a lot, and I never have any problems with my PC. Maybe it is how you look after it, don’t download dodgy files off the internet etc. My sister had the same PC as me back in 2005, it lasted maybe 4 years? mine lasted twice that long. Anyway, that is probably just luck of the draw, some are assembled better than others. One thing I used to love about using macs at college was the monitor/screen, it made editing a whole lot easier being able to see detail in bright highlights and dark shadows. That would be my only reason to convert, is for their screens, but if you have a killer PC, buy a good monitor and you have the best of both worlds (in my opinion).

    Great post by the way, very detailed. We need more like this :-)

  3. 1
    Drew Pluta

    Lets hear some technical reasons why a MAC does a better job in quantifiable terms. I can put the best video cards in my PC and run the best monitors in the world so I know it’s not graphics. I can load it with the fastest and most reliable RAM and Hard Drives. I can achieve the fastest bus speeds and use the fastest processors. Most of this can’t be said of a MAC, so how do they do a better job?

    I’ve worked in corporate IT from 1996 until 2004 and have since done more boutique tech and arts jobs. I have worked for some of the biggest media companies in the world. I’ve made my living maintaining both, side by side in the same environments.

    There are a lot of Apple centric fallacies in this article. So much perpetuation of mythology. I haven’t seen the BSOD in ten years. Why, because I’m not an idiot and I take care of my and my clients computers. Wrecking your PC is like forgetting to change the oil in your car and ruining the engine. YOU need to learn a few things and take care of it properly. MAC users definitely wreck their machines on a regular basis and for every MAC user who “claims” (dubious) to never have a problem I’ll show you somebody who has them all the time. You guys just don’t lay the blame where it belongs and catalog all the times your MAC drives you crazy. I have personally had to hand hold numerous MAC users through loosing everything due to failed hard drives. And that leads to the biggest fallacy.

    MACS are not better machines! They’re mid to upper mid range at best. They typically use cheap, unacceptably, slow hard drives. Average RAM. All show and no go! They regularly retrofit or hinder standard parts to be proprietary so that they can funnel upgrades into their overpriced sales. They also have the worst customer service and repair record. Ask any tech, dealing with Apple is a nightmare. I’ve gone through some crazy stuff with that company over many years and I’m not the only one. This has been the case from day one with them and I would know. I’ve used every generation of computer they’ve ever built.

    In short, they treat their customers like dumb children with the bank accounts of executives. This is one of the most overwhelming reasons to avoid the company. They’re gerks.

    • 12096000_10153171245684013_1977723213241257596_n.jpg15
      Matthew Saville

      Drew, I think you are not giving enough credit to my own personal ability to “care for” a computer, or my interest in maintaining it etc. You’re also re-stating many of the things that I already have said are NO LONGER TRUE about Mac vs PC.

      It’s not like I go around visiting sketchy web pages, or clicking on spam email links. I take good care of my PC’s. They do run smoothly some of the time. But all in all, in the past 10 years, I just can’t say they run equally smoothly. They simply don’t. And yeah, Windows 7/8 have done away with the BSOD for the most part, but they now have a “friendly” version that still kills your PC.

      Like I said, I’m willing to believe that it largely comes down to luck-of-the-draw. For every PC that has died on me, I’m sure there is another that has lived many years for someone else. And vice versa with all my Macs that have just refused to die lol.

      I made it clear that the whole “better physical parts etc” is no longer true in many respects. You can build a killer PC with all the best parts, sure. But if you’re in the mood to do that, you might as well load whatever OS onto it you want, INCLUDING OSX. There are plenty of legal ways to do it.

      Or, if you’re comparing laptops, yes I would agree, “all they are is upper-range”. And you can buy upper-range PCs too. In fact plenty of them have better parts. But you know what? They’re pretty damn expensive, too. Price out a fully-loaded Asus Zenbook, with or without a touchscreen, and you’ll blow past $2-3K pretty quick.

      So rest assured, I’m not excusing complete computer-phobia. I would never pay Apple to upgrade my RAM or HDD for me. I know how to surf Newegg for the better brand SSD’s / RAM, and install them myself. I’m just saying that by and large, if you know how to shop, you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg and it’s okay to pick an OS based on personal preference, or convenience, and not just jump on one bandwagon or the other.


    • 1

      I think you forgot the part where people prefer OSX over windows. Maybe it is a unix thing. Maybe it is a GUI thing. Maybe it is what they’re used to. Maybe they like the minimal physical design (you see a lot of macs used for marketing for their appearance. Of course a photographer doesn’t need the worlds best stats you could get away with a 10 year old system for photography.

      I used to use PC for about 17 years, worked in IT, built, repaired etc. I used a mac since 2005 and honestly I can’t look back and no ones arrogant opinion toward Apple is going to make me change my mind, I make my own destiny, not haters or naysayers haha.

      PS, I don’t meant to be a grammar nazi but you spelt jerks incorrectly

    • 1
      Sam Dennis

      So well stated Drew. There are too many Mac fan boys/girls out there that have been sold on the “oh shiny” marketing mentality. Being force fed BS from Apple Inc. to make the general (and by general I mean non technically informed individuals) public think that their products are state of the art, top of the line, and second to none.

      One of the biggest problems that I find from Apple as a company is that they pigeonhole you into their definition of what the “user experience” is supposed to be, rather than allowing me the user to define that for myself. Now is it a cleaner OOTB solution? Yes, does that make it a better computer? No!

      I recommend people educate themselves in the features of both systems, pros/cons and then decide on how they want their experience to be defined. Knowledge is your greatest asset in making informed purchasing decisions. If you choose to not make informed decisions you are simply subjecting yourself to trends and marketing strategies. Now this can be fine, but if you actually want to know what is going on and get the best product for yourself I would recommend doing some Google searches.

      Third and lastly, I don’t understand the bashing that comes so heavily from the Mac world. If Mac is the superior system in all regards then you shouldn’t have to cut down another platform to make yours look better. Seldom will you hear PC users express negativity towards Mac computers. We might express our dislike, or reasons why we would never buy them, or how we don’t like supporting them, but slander is something that is seldom an attribute seldom expressed.

      Just my $0.02.

      Cheers All & Happy Computing

    • 1

      I bought a fairly high end Zenbook over the Macbook Pro because it’s upgradable…I now run 10 gigs of ram in it and have a SSD and HD. all for $1400. The specs on the machine are well past the Macbook pro specs…for what I paid. My previous PC laptop (Dell XPS) lasted over 8 yrs…the screen finally died. 8 yrs ain’t bad. Now, I could have gone with the macbook pro and duel booted but decided not to because of the lesser specs. I will say this, the way macbook pros are built are way more rugged than the asus….BUT, my asus is way lighter. Both run intel chipsets so I ain’t buyin the Macs run better crap anymore. Both have their pros and cons and both run programs well these days. bottom line is the gaps has narrowed. it’s all about status now…ooooo i gotta mac.! whoopty do!

    • 12096000_10153171245684013_1977723213241257596_n.jpg15
      Matthew Saville

      TJ – Ironically, I did just the same. I bought a (used) MBP for about $1000, and all the “stuff” that you can upgrade, I can too. I’ve got 8 GB of RAM, an SSD, and I can add a 2nd HDD if I really want to eventually by removing the optical bay.

      I’m not a fan at all of the “ooh shiny!” syndrome. I just prefer the operating system and the reliable history that I personally have had. :-)


    • 1
      Carrie Anne

      Why do you insist on spelling this as MAC? I use a PC myself, but it’s capitalized as an acronym for Personal Computer. The only MAC that should be capitalized like that is MAC address, another acronym, stands for Media Access Control. Mac, stands for Macintosh. If you’re going to complain about fallacies and technical inconsistencies, please be accurate yourself. I see people stating MAC all over the internet, and it’s so stupid. Also, your points about fallacies and opinions, that’s all it is as he points out. His opinions. His opinions are no more fallacies than yours. Both are valid, they are just your experience and opinions. That’s all he asked for in the comments, not hate and snarky remarks about being wrong. As I stated, I use PCs. I can’t stand the Mac. But no need to bash on someone b/c of what their stated opinion is.

    • 1
      arlene arlene

      It is true that Macs are not the best machine. They don’t have the latest specs compared to PCs but somehow it works for some people. I came from windows 95,98,xp, vista, win7(i have both desktops and laptops) then mac starting 2010. I take care of my things, computers very well but i did experience alot of crash of my windows system (xp the most and windows 3 times in one year, maybe i am just unlucky with windows) except for the vista must be because i only used it for few months and sold it.
      I bought my macbook pro 2010 and i think i’m still going to be able to use it for couple of years since now it still run the programs i need well. maybe a bit slower but not lagging. I thought I must be lucky with this computer since I havent experience anything bad nor i need to re-install the OS. I know some people get issues with theirs.
      Last time I checked for new windows laptop the midrange and high end PCs is about the same price range as a mac. I still look at pc and continue to be looking at them especially those matte screens. I don’t like the glossy screen i had to buy a matte screen for my macbook. Samsung offers them but the color reproduction was kind of off for me so it means i have to buy a calibrator even add up to expenses it became more expensive than the macbook.
      I do not have a brand loyalty I like to buy things that works for me. At the moment the mbp works and maybe when it’s time for me to replace and I can find a better one be it PC or mac I will gladly get the best that suits my need.

    • 1
      Raymond Hayes

      Agreed, This article really doesn’t explain in any technical detail as to why one platform is better suited for Photography. It’s more opinion and esthetics or cosmetics than anything else. I ran across this article looking for information about issues I’m dealing with while editing my photos. My current setup in a 27″ Mac and 13″ Macbook Pro. I used PC prior to Apple and never had an issue with editing my photos. So far I have read multiple articles about other photographers having the same issue using Apple. Apple doesn’t seem to have the optimal screen resolution or video card that is compatible with something like Adobe RGB. It’s something closer to SRGB. This means Apple’s monitors and video cards don’t have the colors that you find on PC. Now there is an example of a possible technical reason for buying one over the other. Not wether or not one platform is more esthetically pleasing than the other. I would rather have a fast ugly car than a slow pretty car.

  4. 1

    Claiming that pcs are unreliable is pure bs. Windows 7 is solid as a rock and I run D800 files etc. without any problems what so ever / never had a crash.

    • 1
      Andy Martin

      The operating system is not really the issue…. I freaking LOVE windows 7. viruses and hardware issues are what have caused my crashes. Not BS. What would made a PC most reliable would be to remove its ability to access the internet.

    • 1
      arlene arlene

      i had a 3x crash in a year very unfortunate. Though i like that OS. I think i like that one better than the win8.

  5. 1

    I have been using Microsoft machines for over 25 years. After I retired, I no longer needed Windows to run windows specific apps. Before Apple started giving away their operating systems with free upgrades, I realized that I was no longer locked into the MS operation system. After acquiring an iPhone and an iPad, I realized that my next desktop upgrade could be an iMac. I paid the Apple tax and went for it. I have no regrets and I don’t know what it is like to have a system crash. I had very few blue screens with Windows OS either. I’ve run every version of Windows since Win3.1. I liked Vista when no one else would say anything nice about it. I don’t have any issues with the new Win 8 interface either. I got a virtual machine (Fusion) so I could install Windows (I do LR problem solving on an online forum). I’ll say that OSX is a simpler OS for the non-technical user So, if I were to recommend a computer for those with low computer literacy, it would be OSX. So, if anyone has issues with the performance of Windows or OSX, it is probably due to user ignorance and not the operating system.

    I do take one issue with a statement in the article above:
    “For some weird reason, Apple’s OSX has Lightroom’s Preview system stored as one single file, making it easier to transfer, while Windows stores Lightroom previews as thousands and thousands of tiny little files which can take forever to transfer.” This is an incorrect statement. OSX has a concept related to special folders called packages. The LR previews is a folder named “[catalog name] Previews.lrdata”. It is a package of files and folders, just like the one in Windows . It is not a single file (folder names can have periods in them just like file names. Just right click on the “[catalog name] Previews.lrdata” and choose {Show Package contents” from the context menu and you will see the same files and folders that you see in the windows version. And there is nothing sacrosanct about periods in file names either. The file named “[catalog name].lrcat.lock” is an example of a file with two periods in the name.

  6. 1

    And Macs can use Aperture, the best thing about them!

  7. 1
    John Vinny Marquez

    I own an 2010 MBP, its still working and I’m happy with it.
    At work I use windows 7 & 8.
    At night I dream of having a Razer Blade.

    Tools are just tools. Why are we arguing about something that is based on personal preference?

  8. 1
    Aaron Tsuru

    Photographers are (mainly) creative types whose brains are wired a certain way, and whose visual attention to detail and aesthetic are (usually) much more heightened than “the masses.”

    – This line made me nauseous.

    On topic: I’ve had PCs and Macs, they do the same thing. Old and/or poorly spec’ed ones are slow and have a hard time processing the new programs and larger files. Top of the line ones are super fast and awesome and blah blah blah. I’ve had little to no issues with both and I’ve had major bumps & hiccups with both. It really just comes down to personal preference.

    • 12096000_10153171245684013_1977723213241257596_n.jpg15
      Matthew Saville

      Aaron: good. It was supposed to be slightly confrontational, just as it was meant to be a statement that I don’t fully believe in. There are plenty of gorgeous, slick looking PC computers out there that any photographer would be proud to own. And there are plenty of idiot photographers out there who buy things just because they’re shiny.

      My whole point is that it’s okay to consider all the things you want in a computer, just so long as you understand them and don’t make any huge decisions based on flimsy criteria.

    • 1
      Blake Britton

      Matthew, rather than trying to be confrontational, try actually writing an article without any overt bias. Maybe then people will take you more seriously if they are riding the fence and trying to decide between Mac and Windows.

      By the way, a Mac IS a PC.

    • 1
      Andy Martin

      I agree with Arron… Who was it that started the whole MAC is for the artistic anyway? Who watched that movie “Jobs”.

  9. 1

    Are you guys really that strapped for content?

    • 12096000_10153171245684013_1977723213241257596_n.jpg15
      Matthew Saville

      Owen, when you get asked this question twice a week, it’s nice to have an article or two that you can refer them to.

      You and I know that the debate has been beaten to death. It all comes down to personal preference, and NOT just doing something because it is the bandwagon / sexy thing to do. But believe it or not, there are newcomers to the world of photography who ask this question.


    • 1

      This isn’t an article it’s an Apple commercial. You did nothing but say how great MACs are and how terrible PC is. Right down to the ridiculous statement that screens just look better on a MAC. SLR lounge should be ashamed of this Apple promo.

    • 1

      Owen: I was so happy to find this article, that finally lays things out in manner where you can understand it. Best article I’ve read for those of us ‘on the fence’.

      I’ve been trying to decide whether or not to get a Mac for my next desktop. I’m a photographer. PC has worked fine for me, but ALL of my friends have been pressuring me: “You HAVE to have a Mac; you’re in a creative field, and that is what professionals in that field use.” For years, I’ve been listening to this. For years, my PC just keeps on going. Now it’s slow, due to larger files, even with my RAM upgrade. It’s time to get a new one. Dreamworks now uses PC’s in their animation department. Now, that got to me. Those guys know their stuff!

      So, PC or Mac? I do love to have more control over my computer; I miss Windows 2000, where you could really get into it. My brother is an IT guy, so he showed me lots of stuff. My friend who uses MacBook Pro for years, has had 3 hard drive crashes. He lost everything one time. He has had to buy 3 new Macs in the time I’ve had my one PC. I did re-install my operating system one time–due to letting someone stupid get on my computer and obtaining a horrible virus. But, all reinstalled, it cost me…nothing but time. Mac seems to be idiot proof, and I would prefer more adjustability. Not sure why yet, but I just want it there.

      Since I’ve bought an amazing monitor now, I can hook it up to any great system. So, the old “Mac has such better graphics” no longer applies. I think after reading this, I might stick with a really great PC.

      Thanks, Matt, for the honest article. And, you’re right; photographers do have a different state of mind from those who are not visually oriented. It doesn’t mean we’re better people; we’re just more focused on light/shadow/image/composition/stuff that catches our eye, etc. Since I was a child, I’ve walked around framing things I’d see,in my mind…what would make a great image. But that’s just me. My brother is a techie; been building electronic stuff since he was a wee lad–writes software, designs things, etc. And that’s great too. Since I attune to detail as a photographer, I also attune to the details of my computer and how it works.
      Since I found this article when googling for professional photographers opinion of PC vs Mac, I assume that it’s photographers who are reading this article, who would understand all of this!

  10. 1

    I have my preference, but it is completely a moot point. I like what I like because I like it, because I am familiar with it, and it does what I need it to do. Nobody has ever looked at one of my photos and said, “That’s a great photo, too bad it was processed on a ….”

    I understand why newbies would want to try to figure out if one system is better than another, but the only thing that needs to be said is that both macs and pcs do the same things, you just have to try them out and see which one fits your needs more.

    • 1

      Yeah, this debate is pointless (although this was one of the more fair and even-handed discussions). The problem isn’t that one is better, but each is different. And most people don’t know what they need, so they try to determine which one is inherently better.

  11. 1

    It’s funny to read that photo editing is available on pc for ~10 years now. I know that Photoshop is not the only software for doing this kind of thing but lets say it’s the main one, and if you check the release history of this great sofware, you will see it was Mac-exclusive only during 2 years (1990-1992) and then , starting from 1992, Photoshop started to be released on both platform. So nop, it’s not 10 years, it’s actually more than 20! So when did you start to digitally edit your photo? i guess it was after 1992…
    I am not specially a MS fanboy (neither Apple), actually, i am waiting Adobe releases a Linux version of Lightroom :) (it may take a while…)

  12. 1

    Window’s 8 and the older Window’s Mellinium are two good example how microsoft launch a not ready OS.

    Virus and spyware are thing mostly only found on pc.

    Crappy hardware are pc specific.
    Going to find the latest drivers on each and every manufacturer website is pc specific, on mac you just need to run the automatic update :)

    Defragmentation is PC specific.

    After using my mac for 5 year, I did install a virus scanner (yes there is some for mac) and found Zero virus. I do scan once in a while but always get the same result : zero virus found. No money to spend on virus software, spyware scanner and firewall. (McAfee Total Protection 2013 is 90$cnd/year)

    I sometime have program that freeze, it dose happen on a mac, but a “force quit” always dose the job. No blue screen or solid frozen computer.

    The only thing that happened to my 3 macs, is one had the power inverted to fail after 6 years on continuous use. Costed me 7$ for the part on ebay.

    Easy unistall on mac = drap and drop the trash bin.

    Multilangual OS, you dont need to reinstall when you what to switch the OS language.

    On a plus side for pc, the system are cheap (at least in the short run)

    • 1

      I’m glad you like your Mac. They are great machines. However many of your comments about Windows OS are just wrong. You may not appreciate the changes but Windows 8 worked fine the day it was released. I wonder if you draw your conclusions from what you read rather than personal experience. Defragmentation takes place automatically on the Windows OS and has since Vista was released, if memory serves. I tend to run half of the Adobe CS Suite at once on my HP Z800 workstation and applications do occasionally freeze but a force quit and application restart does the job just fine. No BSOD—ever. Never had an issue with viruses and malware either, though they are certainly more prevalent in the PC world.

      We can agree that Windows Millenium sucked. :) Never installed it myself but I’ve had to troubleshoot it for others.

    • 1

      The reason Mac’s don’t get as many viruses? Most businesses use PC’s, so hackers, virus writers, spyware guys, all create them to aim at PC’s.

  13. 1
    Lloyd Grace

    I am a graphic designer/photographer at a commercial printer. I have used and am responsible for 18 machines on both platforms. I have equal numbers of problems with both. The problems are different but the quantity is about equal. If you want to find out how stable any OS or machine is, try taking customer files all day.
    One of the biggest differences is Dictatorship vs. Freedom. Apple is run like a Dictatorship. It is a closed system. No one else can build Apple machines. Not everyone can write apps for OSX/iOS. It is a closed, tightly run system that caters to a much smaller user base. The double-edge sword being, you pay a premium price for admission but it is more secure. (The hoodlums would rather unleash their evil to a bigger user base). PC’s are Freedom – wide open. Anyone can build a PC. Anyone can write software. Just like in society, when you have that much freedom, there are risks. Not everyone is capable of writing really solid code. The sheer number of hardware/software developers/manufacturers means that not all will conform to standards (which are moving targets) thereby opening yourself to compatibility/driver issues. They both have their pluses and minuses. Neither is “superior”.
    It has been my experience that the whole Mac/PC – Canon/Nikon – Ford/GM – tastes great/less filling debate has way more to do with insecurity than anything else. People go out, make a purchase based on who knows what criteria, then feel the need to bolster and justify their purchase decision. I will never understand how someone else’s choice could have any affect on my decision but I meet people all the time that snicker and tell me I bought the “wrong” thing. Somehow, they are the arbiter’s for everyone’s purchases. What was right for them must be right for everyone else. Pretty small minded and insecure if you ask me. Buy what works for you. Use it. Done.

  14. 1
    Alfonso Bresciani

    hmm why don’t you write about true great Canon Vs Nikon war debate too ! lol

  15. 1

    I used a PC for 3 years, and it did well for the time I had it. It was all I could afford at the time, and it served its purpose. But as I slowly started with photography more and more, Photoshop & PC did not mix well for me. It was slow in opening the files, took forever after each action to load it properly, and the colours were harder to get right because mastering the screen settings weren’t easy (for me, at least).

    I upgraded to a Mac late last year after working one one for my job at a newspaper, and I have not looked back since. I can shoot out a session in half a day, done and done. Clarity is perfect, retina display keeps amazing me to this day, and it’s fast! Took me a while to switch over in my head and learn some of the keyboard shortcuts since they change, and the small details change too, but all in all I could not be more satisfied. Only downside I’ve experience? No disc drive. Having to purchase the SuperDrive separately made me sad, but if that’s the only issue I won’t complain.

    • 1
      Blake Britton

      So you upgraded from a 3+ year old PC to a new Mac. I wonder why it’s faster…

      I’ll admit, I’m a Windows guy. It can do everything a Mac can do and perhaps a bit more. It’s just as fast if not faster. I can load Photoshop CC in about 3 seconds. I can shoot a session in half a day as well and be done. Clarity is perfect and I’m running on high resolution IPS displays. (Retina displays are a bunch of hype anyways. There’s only so much the human eye can really see)

      I bet if you went to a PC now with the same or equivalent hardware/software you’d find that there’s not much difference at all and it really boils down to personal taste.

  16. 1

    I was a hardcore Windows user (and work in IT) but now do all my photo work on a MacBook Pro. The tipping point was when I upgraded my home workstation to Windows 7 (from XP) and found that despite having all the needed drivers for my Epson printer and Epson scanner I could not get either to work (both built-in and direct from Epson). Long story short, everything works under OSX and my home built dual Xeon workstation is resigned to gaming at this point in time.

    • 1

      Thanx for that comment. This could be the game changer for me, as I have Epson scanner and printer. If they would no longer work, it would really upset me. I love my printer!!

  17. 1
    Jaques Scheepers

    I have never used or owned a MAC and the reason is simply cause I can upgrade and go nuts with new add ons to my PC.. for instance I have 5 hard drives inside my PC … and they are 100% necessary for me to have, something which would be impossible to have with a MAC to my knowledge. I have both a Lightscribe DVD burner and a Blue ray burner in my PC, again, not possible with a MAC. I dont see myself ever going the Apple way.. I need my freedom to be able to do what i want!!

    • 1

      None of what you describe as impossible on a Mac is in fact impossible or even more expensive on a Mac than on a PC. It’s the exact same Blueray burner, hard drives, etc for the Mac as for the PC. The only big difference is that many devices you attach to a Mac need no software installation to work.

      Not jumping into the debate about which is better – that’s a pointless exercise – just clarifying that this is your lack of knowledge, not facts about the Mac.

  18. 1

    You can’t base it on the retina display… There are monitors specifically for graphics and photography that stomp the retina displays. I to have owned both and have had more macs fail than pcs. Macs became paper weights. And every time I used my pc vs a mac in graphics and Web Design classes the pc was way faster and more stable. I think most mac users will continue to use the same excuses they always have. It’s a never ending battle like canon vs Nikon vs lick vs Sony ect ect. We all have our opinions, but in the end it’s what works best for us.

  19. 1

    I’ve got an ASUS G55 laptop. Sure, it’s quite powerful but it isn’t really at all portable, 5cm at it’s thickest point, 9lbs and at best I can squeeze out 2 hours from the battery.
    I’m thinking of getting meself a macbook of some sort for when I go traveling and then sometime down the road (a few years) I’ll build a desktop for high-power usage at home.

  20. 1
    Andy Martin

    What is really better for a photographer? MAC or PC? I have both. I have had issues with my PC being reliable. So I am thinking about going 100% MAC. don’t want to because of the learning curve thing. Over the past 3 years my PC(s) have crashed about 3 times screwing up my workflow and promised deadlines. I back up everything like a madman. I have gotten viruses (in spite of the latest and current full blown antivirus apps and with firewalls in place). Meanwhile my poor 4 year old MAC sits there without any issues whatsoever.
    Now that BEASTLY windows 8 OS is out I think that I am going to move 100% to the MAC platform.
    My current PC is starting to give signs of age and if I stay with the PC I will have to learn Windows 8. I hate that idea more than the idea of learning the MAC (which I am at least a bit familiar)
    Hmmm… MAC is looking like the smart choice.

  21. 1
    Sir Wick

    Nice article. I’m glad you took the time to write it!!!

  22. 1

    Who give a shit Just get your work done.

  23. 1

    It’s such a stupid debate. Use whichever system that floats your boat but don’t start telling me that I have to convert to your preferred system. I run into this debate all the time where people say “oh Macs are better for photography cause that’s what the professionals use”. Then you ask them what software they are running and they’ll say Photoshop and Lightroom or similar. It’s at that point that I pull my hair out as they are exactly the same on both platforms. It’s Canon vs Nikon and Ford vs Holden. It comes down to the skill and knowledge of the person using it.

  24. 1

    Wow what an apple zealot. Why did you even bother writing this article? You should have just posted yourself stroking the apple logo.

  25. 1

    Thanks for the great article. I’ve been using a PC laptop for the past four years and have had virtually no problems. With the upgraded versions of LR and Photoshop and the age of the machine it is starting to get slower and a new computer has been on my mind. I would love to switch to a Mac but the price is just too much for the same speed of machine. Your article was great in that it showed me that purchasing a Mac for the sake of getting something cooler or sexy, if I have been happy with my PC, just does not make sense for my situation. Thanks for making me feel okay for settling for another PC. One day, after I win the lottery, I will purchase a Mac.

  26. 1

    This was a nicely balanced article. If there was one point you left out I would say it is this: at least 8 out of 10 systems are PCs. There is something to be said for being compatible with the rest of the computer world. If Mac users are going to make the “we have fewer viruses” argument, it is appropriate to look at the other side of that coin and acknowledge the reason why this is the case.

    On the other hand, a minor but not insignificant point for this photographer is the Mac’s ability to print in 16 bit color. In most instances this advantage is theoretical—but not always. There are occasions where very subtle banding can occur with 8 bit prints that isn’t there when printing in 16 bit. For most users this will never be an issue but if you print large format canvases, 24+ inches wide, you can sometimes see a difference.

    Several years ago when it was time to upgrade my workstation I decided to go with a Mac Pro and set it up to dual boot into Mac or Windows at start up. One machine with both OSes sounded like a great plan. What I discovered is that the highest end graphics card that would work in a Mac was a low-to-midrange model in the Windows world. That was a deal killer. I ended up going with the brand new HP Z800 workstation, equally beautiful in my opinion, and much more powerful. I’ve never looked back.

  27. 1
    Ray Kelley


  28. 1
    Joao Coelho

    I’ve always been a PC guy altough I do admit MAC’s are pretty darn good machines. I have two major issues with MAC’s though.. one is the learning curve, which can be easily overcomed, and the other is the big one: price!
    I’ve had the laptop I’m using for over 3 years.. an Acer Aspire 5740. Initially with 4GB ram and 320GB HD. A year or so after I got it, upgraded to 8GB. A bit after that, swapped the 320GB HD with a 256GB SSD and removed the DVD and put a 1TB HD. All this with parts I got from Amazon at pretty low prices and they’ve extended my laptop’s life considerably. I just don’t see that happening on a MAC. I’d be spending tons of money with the initial purchase and the later add-ons.
    My $0.02.

    • 1

      Not true. My Macbook Pro uses the same SSD’s and RAM as your PC.

      Total cost of ownership in either camp is almost identical, if you buy the same calibre PC as your Mac, which are reasonably well made.

      In my IT work, I use the OSX so I can get to Unix mostly, but still have productivity apps close at hand, then I back out of that and use OSX for both my casual use and as a part-time photographer, but all of this is for preference reasons, not because one is better than the other.

      Only big thing, with my IT glasses on, I never see people coming to me with the Macs, almost or really in tears, because they managed to do something to it that makes it not boot. I see that constantly with PCs. Viruses, spyware, driver issues causing blue screens, whatever… many fatal issues that just don’t show up in the real world on Macs, ever.

      Hardware failure seems about equal between Macs and ‘better’ PC’s, such as business-line laptops and decent quality spec’d desktops.

      One reason for the Mac-is-superior argument being so pervasive is that people often compare a $1200 Mac with a $400 PC… that’s just not fair or reasonable. In all of my IT career, if you bought better, it was cheaper in the end, whether Mac or PC.

  29. 1

    Windows 8/8.1 natively handles my D800 RAW Files and shows thumbnails just fine in the explorer windows.

  30. 1

    “The Mac versus PC debate seems to be much more heated among photographers, and for good reason. Photographers are (mainly) creative types whose brains are wired a certain way, and whose visual attention to detail and aesthetic are (usually) much more heightened than “the masses.” ”

    The first thing that popped into my mind when I read these opening sentences was an analogy. But first…

    creative types, attention to detail, heightened…

    So let’s see, on one side you have the PC (Windows) and the other you have Mac (OS X).
    On the PC side, everything is open to you. You can change anything you want to exactly however you want. You can built it to your exact specifications. You can use whatever software you want to control the OS however you’d like so that you can use it for whatever you want and exactly how you want to. This can help you precisely achieve your end result.
    On the Mac side, most things are closed off. They only give you access to change some minor aspects. You can’t build exactly what you want due to limitations on hardware offerings. Trying to do more custom type things/tasks are just not possible. If what you ultimately want falls outside of Apples standard cases/uses, you might have to settle for just almost your desired end result.

    Now the analogy for photographers…

    RAW processing vs in-camera JPG
    One gives you absolute control while the other gives you some, but limited control. You can adjust the picture style settings to a certain point in camera before it spits out a jpg, but you don’t have the flexibility like you do with RAW processing.

    So the controversial description of photographers being creative, having heightened attention to detail and aesthetics seems to indicate that they would more often than not like to have RAW processing for their images. So far so good. However, when it comes to picking a computer, many seem perfectly fine limiting their options and giving up the fine details which can make a computer go from ‘great’ to ‘amazing’.

    So, does this mean that these photographers only choose to use these talents with their art and throw it out the door when it comes to anything else?

    I just want to also state that I agree that in the end, it is user preference and situational, as with anything else (Canon/Nikon, RAW/JPG, HDR/Filters, Zooms/Primes). On the computer side, I myself started with an IBM 8088, then went to a Macintosh SE to a Macintosh SI to a Macintosh Quadra 630 to a PC running Windows 95 to a Windows 98 machine then to Windows 2000/NT and several Windows XP machines. From this point, I’ve used many XP/Vista/7/8 laptops and desktops. I’ve also used quite a few MacBooks, MacBook Pros, MacMinis and an iMac. On the PC side, other than the first Windows 95 machine, I’ve custom built the computers myself. I am a software developer by day which is why I’ve used so many different computers and OS’s. On the PC side I’ve developed for Windows NT/2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8. On the Mac side, I’ve developed for OS X 10.3 to current and iOS since the beginning.

    In the early days, yes Windows did suffer from BSOD. However, it only happened to me when I was messing around with my system swapping out hardware parts, over-clocking, or messing with OS hacks and such as to completely customize my rig. If I just left it as I had received it, it would have likely ran just fine. Fast forward to now… Windows 7 has been very solid. I have not once had a BSOD and I run LOTS of Windows machines. My work cube has 6 Windows machines in it right now that I use from time to time. I have however, had Apples version of a BSOD on a Mac Mini and a MacBook. Both were due to bad RAM though. Once I changed out the RAM, they have not given me the BSOD. Something I don’t quite get is that sometimes OS X will hang (Lion or later) or I’ll get the spinning beach ball of doom and it won’t unfreeze or go away until I do a hard reset (Luckily I save often enough to where I’ve never lost much code). For Windows 7, I think I’ve only had to do a hard reset once if ever. I definitely put my machines through a lot more than most people do as far as tinkering with the OS, encryption, etc.

    I use both every day. For what most people are going to use a computer for, either should work just fine. For my photography (and other specialized uses), I prefer a PC just for the simple fact that I can build a machine with the exact specs with the appropriate number of external/internal ports that I want for the least amount of money. I run 3 different raid setups and have multiple external drives all connected at once. It allows me the fine tuning and exact customization that I similarly enjoy with my RAW processing.

  31. 1

    When it comes down to it, PCs get their bad rep because of how they perform compared to macs. To any Mac user that says this, i say: Spend the same amount of money on your PC as you do on your mac. You cant compare the two if youre comparing a $4000 mac to a $400 pc you buy at your local electronics store.

  32. 1

    Thanks for mentioning Paddy! It does help with lightroom efficiency. I’m looking for my first ultrabook/portable laptop. I want to get the zenbook ux32vd but I am not sure if the review by Justin Lin is updated or still relevant even though its a year old. I’m really interested in what you think is the best ultrabook of 2014 or you still stand by the Asus Zenbook UX32VD.

  33. 1

    but a pc is only limited to an i7-extreme processor. photographer tools like lightroom and photoshop are not optimized for multi cores and multi-cpus/xeons on pc computers.

    but on a apple mac pro, photoshop is written specifically to run on it, photoshop is able to run on a 12-core xeon. or even on the older model macpros, a dual cpu.

  34. 1

    I have that problem with PC when it looks better on screen and looks different when you print. This is not so important The reason I switched to Mac. I think it’s a trade off. Macs don’t have the latest specs but they have the best displays while PCs have the higher specs but displays are so so or need to be calibrated. So which one to you is more important? I agree with the “out-of-box colors and displays”. What you see on screen is what you get when you print. This is what I like about Mac. My personal experience with PC was disastrous nevertheless I enjoyed using PCs at that time though it cost me time to fix every crash when I have a project working on. The last PC i was working was Win7 and my first macbook pro was Leopard. I didn’t like Mac before because well they have less compatibility with softwares but when i got mine the softwares I need to use was there already so I was and still a happy camper. I don’t think PC or a Mac is better. Both computers have weaknesses. It is how you intend to use that gives a computer more power. If you have a custom build softwares or need a specific set of hardware I think a PC is more powerful to use than a MAC. Actually the only reason I got the mac was the display when I work with photographs to be used in print advertisement as in my experience it’s more direct. Also true about RAW images it does show thumbnails previews without problems. I’m open to switch to another operating system if it serves my purpose.It’s the same as having a phone. I owned an iphone then i sold it to get a Blackberry 10. The iphone became too much of a media consumption it became less of a phone. Signal, wifi, battery was better on my blackberry. In some locations my friends with iphones(they have mostly ip5) cannot connect to a wifi or they have no signal while i have 2 or 3 bars. And I always spite and throw back what they tell when I got my blackberry ” why blackberry? it’s dying” …It’s important to buy things that serves your purpose and not because it’s a shiny nice thing. It’s whatever works for you.

  35. 1
    Renee Akana

    You kind of lost me at the “sleek and sexy” stuff because I would hope that anyone, particularly a serious videographer or photographer would want performance and what’s wrong with a 6mp camera – they’re good, as good as my pro cameras, depending on what I do with it — the operative is me – what kind of photographer I am. That said, you wrote a good article. I have both. I’m typing this on an old Dell which I should have slammed up against the wall long ago, but then I feel like that about my mac at times. My mac- three years, three logic boards. One week out of apple care on my 2010 macbook pro 1-7 with all of the extras, the optical drive died and they would not do anything about it, except charge me more to fix it. I absolutely regret spending the $4000 I did on the thing, now four years later and I don’t use it on a daily basis because every time that I open it up, I wonder when it will blow up again. As this old Dell dies, I know I’d never own another Dell and as I get ready to put a second computer into my workstation, more of the work horse, I was almost ready to buy another mac because if anything goes wrong, I can go to the apple store and have them diagnose it for free, help me figure something out. You pay for cheaper software and customer service with the mac. The mac will also read pc files whereas you’re kind of stuck going in the other direction. In the old days, I used to daisy chain my mac peripherals. Nowadays, I daisy chain all of my hard drives because my mac cannot be built out — major bummer. I’ve heard that video is friendlier on a pc, but what’s the replacement for garageband on pc and what am I going to pay to have it compared to getting it for practically nothing on mac? Mac has color – I never worry about calibration with it and yet, with pc, it’s a nervous wreck when the light or something changes. I saw someone on youtube and he held up the mac mini and he said, buy this. They all go out of date, get the cheapest one and get newer technology on a more regular basis and he was right – if it doesn’t last, the argument becomes last forever or turn around more in a field whose foundation is planned obsolesce. It’s a hard choice. I think that if I have to make the choice, I might choose PC again, well, I hold my tongue. I’ve looked at the color, I’ve looked at that damn Windows 8 and the “8” part makes me want to run in the other direction. Any input?

  36. 9776321715_42d4b3f1f9_o.jpg4
    Joshua Ezzell

    I personally prefer to build my own computer from scratch. I love picking and knowing each and every part going into it.

    When you mentioned price differences I remembered a time I bought a new laptop. My friend had just bought his new MacBook Pro for the hefty price of $3000. I bought myself a Lenovo Y510P for $1100 (it was on sale from $1500). The thing I noticed is that they generally had identical specs. The only thing that differed was the MacBook’s Retina display and the fact the my laptops processor was a tad faster.

    My general assumption is that Apple prices their hardware at about 2x more than the equivalent PC hardware. I know, this is not always the case, but my desktop cost me $1600 and the Apple iMac equivalent at the time cost around $3000 (assuming you chose to grab the higher end GPU with it). Just some interesting points.

  37. 2
    jd kizzo

    I prefer PC for the same reason I like to constantly get new camera gear and build custom rigs… I’m a tinkerer. My first built PC was 1994, back when people put their own special “logos” in the space where the AMD/Cyrix/Intel logos went on the ugly beige cases. I’m more or less constantly upgrading or experimenting with my equipment. Mac’s don’t allow you to do that. I do like the polish of OSX better than Windows but not so much that I will give up control of making my own builds or saving a lot of $$$.

  38. 2
    jd kizzo

    Also macs do NOT have the best displays, is that a joke? I personally use Dell Ultrasharps, they will easily go head to head with ACD’s, I’ve had both of them. I don’t like the new glossy ACD’s anyway, they are good for font rendering but bad for coloring. NEC and Eizo are even more superior.
    For on the go, I actually use a Chromebook/Nexus 7/Smartphone combo, and use a desktop triple monitor (3×24) setup at home.

  39. 1
    Adam Strait

    I run an IT support company in the UK. As well as fixing PCs and Macs and looking after networks containing both kinds of computer, I also build custom PCs for people, including photographers. I use PCs and Macs in my everyday business and am therefore familiar with both platforms. As such I need to make a couple of comments about assertions in the main article.

    Although the main PC manufacturers are in an extensive price war and therefore do use the cheapest parts they can get away with, if you purchase a PC from a small custom builder such as myself, you will get a machine that will certainly be more reliable than a brand name PC and yes even more reliable than a Mac! This is because small custom manufacturers have to compete on quality because we can’t do so on price. I know the best brands and models for performance and reliability and I always put them in my builds.

    Macs do not use more reliable parts, and when you take one apart, you will find it is an absolute dog’s dinner of Heath Robinson style design decisions. However they do tend to come in to my shop for repair a lot less frequently than PCs for various reasons. The two main ones are:

    1) virtually no malware can do anything on a Mac, so even though it may be present, it will probably just be sitting around inertly. In fact your Mac antivirus software will slow your Mac down more than any malware which may be present!
    2) temperature control is more hands on in that hard drives have temperature sensors sitting on them, so if they start to get hot, the fans speed up to cool them down. This aids longevity as the spin-up hard drive is the most fragile component in any computer.

    Yes Macs are a lot easier and more fun to use, and in my experience, Mac back up tools like Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner are much more efficient than their equivalents on PCs. They just work, whereas I have found that when you try and restore from Acronis Incremental backups, very often, it gets confused and crashes. This is why on PCs I have stopped use incremental backups at my clients and prefer a big full back up image that is run once only which saves the entire system, then do daily data-only full backups with automatic deletion when a backup reaches a certain age depending on available space on backup media.

    The one thing that is inferior about Macs, particularly compared to Windows 8 PCs, is WiFi. In all installations I have been to including my own office which has macs connecting wirelessly to any brand router other than an Apple router, WiFi connection is unreliable and the Macs end up needing to be connected by ethernet cable. This has come as an unwelcome surprise to many of my clients who have recently dumped their PCs for Macs.

    Comparing and contrasting Microsoft and Apple and their future directions, things are shifting IMO. Since the loss of Steve Jobs, Apple’s quality control has gone down the toilet and its devices have become followers and ‘catcher-uppers’ rather than first and best of their kind. Are we going to be able to trust their next generation of devices? I don’t know. I find it extremely annoying that after three years, Apple Maps are still as inaccurate as when they first came out. I also find it bloody annoying that Apple is now limiting backward compatibility on both OSX and iOS platforms to try and force its customers to purchase new devices. Microsoft on the other hand have been in the doldrums for years but now have a new CEO who, early indications suggest is turning the ship around. I am actually looking forward to Windows 10 as it looks as though there are a number of exciting innovations just around the corner.

    I would say a custom built PC is a credible choice as a place to store and manipulate your images, and that credibility is likely to increase in the near future.

  40. 1
    jason pierce

    I have a PC, Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro. I have had it for over a year without any problems. I used to have problems all the time, they used to slow down dramatically and get the blue screen of death but this newer pc is much better than I have had in the past. I have built many desktops and had a blast but always ended up reinstalling windows after a while because of it just crapping out.
    That said, most photography and video editing software works better on Mac in one way I know of and that’s UI scaling on ultra HD screens. Photoshop CC just updated a few months ago to scale properly on high def pc screens such as mine. CS6 however doesn’t unless you do some “hacking” if you will. Lightroom works great as well as DXO but not one video editing app works right that I have tried so far. Everything is so small I can’t read anything in the UI, making it useless. I haven’t seen that problem with a Mac in years.
    I have CS6 working and I don’t do video editing, (was just doing it for fun). I can’t afford to pay twice as much for the same specs as my laptop so I’ll stick with PC.

  41. 1
    Leslie Hoerwinkle

    I prefer to do my photo editing on a Commodore 64. Of course, I’m still waiting for a photo I started editing in 1981 to finish. I’m adjusting the color balance.