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Apple or PC for Digital Photography?

by BeyondHelp / November 22, 2005 9:41 AM PST

I wish to advance myself deeper into the realm of Digital Photography for hopefully some type of economic gain. I just purchased a reasonable quality Camera and consider making some upgrades in the PC department for all the editing etc. Over the years I have heard many, many people say that for graphic/photographic imaging you should go with the Apple G5 style computer for all your editing compared to Standard PC Production or Home Built.

Could some of you in the industry or whom feel qualified please respond and offer me some advice.

Please note I am 48 years old and disabled with severe back pain and take serious medication to control my pain. My focus and concentration are oftern inhibited by the drugs so I feel learning a new OS might be quite an undertaking. But admit I never have even seen an Apple OS for comparison.

Expense is also an issue as I have no income at all while I continue my appeals with our beloved Social Security Department so bang for the buck is CRITICAL!!

Any help is appreciated.

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Love Apple and the Mac OS, but....
by EdH / November 22, 2005 8:10 PM PST

if you already have the software and are used to Windows you are probably better off sticking with Windows. Switching to Mac could prove expensive and frankly, the differences in quality are not dramatic.

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Either are nice, but I always see this item missing.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 22, 2005 9:55 PM PST

Too many "pros" don't have a color correction kit such as the Pantone Spyder that runs from 99 to 299 bucks. It's hard for me to imagine professional work without one.



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Color Management
by taboma / December 30, 2005 2:36 PM PST

Bob, Sorry I let this slip by. On reviewing the posts and your post concerning Pantone. Now I have to check on the color management that I have with V6. I just assumed that I had Pantone color management.
Is Pantone Spyder an add-on?

I just checked now and the color management is Adobe. Not Pantone.
Who knew??
Thanks for the heads-up. Now I have to check this out.
I think that it would be a waste of money unless you had a good monitor and had the monitor calibrated. Sort of like the Green Hair post.


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This a "Gotta see it to believe it" item.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 31, 2005 1:53 AM PST
In reply to: Color Management

You can see the problem at a big store with more than a few PC monitors or even in the TV display area. This directly translates into possible incorrect photo editing and wild color problems such as green hair.


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Gotta see it?
by taboma / January 2, 2006 3:06 PM PST

Got the message and want to see the Pantone difference. Would an Apple store have that available and loaded to show me the differnce with color management?
Thanks Bob,

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Better chances there.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 3, 2006 12:23 AM PST
In reply to: Gotta see it?

The better the Apple store, the more likely. But to see the issue is easy. Just any big store with 5 to more displays running similar screens in a row.


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Better Chances
by taboma / January 3, 2006 2:42 PM PST
In reply to: Better chances there.

Bob, have to make a trip down to my local Apple store in South Shore Plaza, Braintree. Also a new Apple store opened down on the Cape Cod area. Pretty popular these days with ipod and such.


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I've been to the South Shore store.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 3, 2006 11:12 PM PST
In reply to: Better Chances

But didn't get much time there as my kid was in the Yugioh tournament phase. If it's a good shop, call them and aks if they can demo or chat about the Spyder.

For me, the fun begins with Mactels. The older son hits college this year and the notebook will be the Athlon 64 I have now or the Mactel this or next year. I'm hoping they roll it out by August at the latest.

Back to grinding on a few papers here,


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by taboma / January 9, 2006 10:19 AM PST

Macworld will be in two weeks. I wonder what Steve Jobs will announce at that convention?
The Mactel?
Bob, Would you please post a new post on the Mactel and inform us all what your thoughts are on it later when you have a chance.

I still have to go to the Apple store in Braintree out of curiosity more than anything. One more new store down at Cape Cod recently opened.

Get back to your pages!!


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PC has come along way
by grimgraphix / November 23, 2005 2:06 AM PST

Ed is correct that there is not as much difference now-a-days between PC and apple capabilities as far as graphics go. You can get comparable copies of all graphics programs for pc. PCs do require beefier video cards and more ram to run some applications as easily as apple macs do but overall what's a few seconds of waiting for a command to render a result vs. learning a new system and replacing what you already have.

If you already have a computer it might help to post its specs on this thread... We could offer you better advice as to what direction you might take as far as beefing up your present equipment or buying new. You mention photography. Is your intention to get into photo restoration and retouching ? That can be a semi lucrative job in the right location.

I feel ya on the money issues... I got hurt at my former job a couple years back and now make 70 % less than what I did. Fortunately I'm working again and going to school full time in the evenings to retrain.

Took a year of P.T. to walk without a cane. Pain sucks !


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What do you reccomend
by BeyondHelp / December 8, 2005 11:33 AM PST
In reply to: PC has come along way

I own a stock Dell Dimension 8200 which I am sure is not enough to get in deep with graphix programs etc. What would you say is a minimum starter sytem for running Photoshop CS2 to work on my digital photos. I know I will need a lot more than what I got.

I saw a barebones set-up yesterday with AMD celeron processor and 1024 gb ram for starters. No graphics card. there are so many and most are aimed at gamers I haven't a clue.

I need help here. I have decided to go this route so I am committed to get what it takes

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AMD 64 would be my choice.
by grimgraphix / December 11, 2005 5:02 PM PST
In reply to: What do you reccomend

I bought a bare bones EMachine D6417 for less than $ 400.00 after rebates (I've got Mac but needed a PC for a college CAD class) that is surprising me with the performance for the money. The AMD processor also has its own virus protection scheme as well and I've always liked the AMD machines I built in the past for gaming.

The Dell 8200 may be upgradable for your purposes right now. If you can be a bit more specific about its specs it would be helpful. The 8200 series has been around for awhile but dell regularly upgraded many of their machines while keeping the same name. Do you know the chip/mother board/ram configurations you have right now ? It's running XP home I assume ? Memory/cache and bus speed is more critical for Photoshop (I am no expert so anyone jump in if they know better). Video cards et al are more important for video processing and games. Any which way, an extra gig of memory often aids in running photoshop rather than other fancy gaming add ons.

Do you have photoshop right now and if so how does it run on your dell ?


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The Current system is moot
by BeyondHelp / December 12, 2005 12:41 AM PST

Thanks for the input. I really do not know the hardcore specifics of the Mobo etc. Not really sure where to find it. The #1 factor that I beleive has immediate bearing as you mentioned was RAM memory. The type of memory (RDRAM or Rambus I Think) is way too exspensive to upgrade when I can buy a barebones system with 1024RAM for 300 bucks. I think to add 256 RDRAM its $200. My thinking was that it would be cheaper to build a setup capable for the digital Photography. and maybe add a sound card for MIDI capability so I can Play with audio as well.

My delema, which you touched on a bit, is understanding where graphics cards etc. stop being useful for digital photography and become all about the gamers ect. I am trying to build as I can an optimum PC that will give me the ability to develope skill in Photoshop and other graphic oriented software hopefully to a professional level.

I have also heard the never ending argument Mac or PC when it comes to Photo manipulation So I have the added confusion there. The program is designed for both so what would be the difference except what you are familiar with. I would hate to have to spend $3000 for a G5 and have to learn a new OS too.

Any expertise is graciously appreciated. I just want to do it with the least amount of waste. I am disabled and have a very, very, very limited income base. I am the guy you see standing on the corner with a sign that says "will work for Graphics Card"

Again Thanks for all your insight.

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I would go with a new pc system then...
by grimgraphix / December 12, 2005 3:07 AM PST

keeping in mind you want the most memory for the buck so be careful of those barebones bargains that only give you 256 ram up front... this was the case with the emachine I got but the athlon 64 939 socket chip and the open PCI express slot made up for lack of ram since the architecture allows for future expandability.

As I said, for photoshop, amount of Ram and BUS speed I think is more critical (the bus being the information pipeline to the processor - the bigger the bus, the faster information can be fed to the processor).

Just to confirm my possibly wrong advice, I would go over to the PC forum and simply ask what equipment components are most important in running Photoshop. Detail your situation and stress the fact you are deciding on a work machine not a gamer, and need the best bang for the buck. Don't get too worried about brand names... it's what's inside that counts.

One bit of career advice... photography and photoshop are fun but you may find it easier to get work if you also learn adobe InDesign, PageMaker, Quark or some of the other programs used in page layout for magazines, newspapers and even brochures and fliers. It may not be as glamorous but I understand it's more in demand... and you would still get to work with photographs as well.

good luck and lets us know what's up


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Thanks for the heads up
by BeyondHelp / December 12, 2005 4:55 AM PST


The one barebones deal I saw quickly was case, power supply, mobo, processor, and 1024 Ram for about $300.
I don't recall the exact mobo, and I am real green when it comes to all this stuff. Way too much emphasis goes to gamers and I really have a hard time decerning the differences between where graphics quality for photo manipulation stops and gamers graphics strive for euphoria.

When you go to a website for build your own stuff the shear multitudes of options are for just a mobo are too much to grasp. I understand the idea of AMD 64 as a platform. But the processors can be as exspensive as a $grand$. Isn't the 64 Bit stuff for 3D and gamer stuff?

Grim The real problem is everybody has an idea or their own agenda. I need just the facts and someone who will answer me knowing what I intend to do with it and build it as inexpensively as possible. They are hard to find.

As for the photoshop My intent was to go with the suite that includes in design and some additional programs for a broader spectrum. The others will come as I gather experience. For now I just want to get my images out and maybe earn a little doing some others.
Thanks again for all the helpful input.

Happy Holidays

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I think you are too worried about machine power for
by Kiddpeat / December 19, 2005 12:02 PM PST

photoshop. I think I've run Photoshop CS on a 200megaherz machine with maybe a 128meg memory. Still photos do not require huge amounts of power. Video does, but that is a different issue.

I'm now using a 2.66 gigaherz pentium with one gig of memory. One gig helps, but 512megs would be fine. I pulled out the Rambus memory because I couldn't get a 1 gig configuration that works in my machine. There are times when the machine is slow, but that's a disk rather than memory issue. I don't think I noticed any difference when the memory was changed.

I've never had an issue with the video card, so I would not spend too much on one unless you have other applications in mind.

I would look second, after the Photoshop software, at CD/DVD burning, hard drive space, printer, and scanner. Images need quick, solid backup. Thus, the burner. They can also consume a lot of space if you move beyond jpeg. I save EVERYTHING in tif these days. That means a healthy hard drive plus backup ability. If you want photo printing, you'll need a good printer. Epson rules these days when it comes to photo printing. Whatever you do, don't cut corners on ink and paper. Use what is designed to work with the printer A scanner enters the picture if you work with printed photos or with film. Another very useful item is a color management system like the ones available from Monaco or Pantone. They help you insure that what you see on your screen is what you see on the print.

Bottom line? Your current computer may be able to do what you need. Perhaps you should stick with it until you are sure that it won't cut it. You may want to focus on other things you still need. BTW, I use Photoshop on a PC, and I have used it on a Mac. It works with few differences on the two machines. Where there are differences, I think the PC implementation is much better. You don't need Apple to do good work, and could be quite disappointed if you went that route.

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Go to a Mac Mini
by taboma / December 25, 2005 3:38 PM PST

Purchase a Mac Mini and Adobe Photoshop. Make sure it has plenty of RAM. Where ever you were going to for your 256 Ram at $250 is a rip-off. My last upgrade on a Mac with 512MB was $89 from New Egg out of California.
Check out for a custom Mac Mini also.
The cost for a Mac Mini starts at $499. Not $3000. Plus the Operating system is OSX10.4 Tiger.
Go to and check out the mac Mini and go to to check out the latest edition of Photoshop. Download their demo version, which is a full-blown edition to try out.
Do not forget important information and issues here:
The Mac platform is very stable and reliable.
The Mac does not have any Viruses. Period.


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My choice concerning $$$
by taboma / December 29, 2005 2:16 PM PST

Grim. He is content with the dell I think.

Adding one more gig of memory woul be my choice if he has the space for it. I have no info on the configuration for the Dell.
I just want to tell you that I am maxed out with my G4 Quicksilver at one gig. I cannot add any more ram if I wanted to. Running Photoshop with 512Megs or 1 gig are both OK. Animation or such you would need a new computer and tons of memory.
Memory is cheap these days. I added 512MB for $79 about two months ago.
Poster: PC or Mac? Up to you. If you are running Photoshop on your PC right now and decided to go the Mac route, the only difference would be to use the Apple/Command key versus the PC control key using the application. Eveything else is the same concerning the program Photoshop. Mac OSX 10.4 Tiger is a totally new operating system that you would have to learn about. Totally different from your present Dell operating system, yet easy to learn.
My way of thinking is the older you are, the more years of knowledge you have. There is no age barrier learning Photoshop or a new operating system today.
I had Adobe Photoshop on both my Mac and my PC. Easy to use both ways.
The best way is your way that you are comfortable with perhaps, but not always.
Do not forget one important issue here concerning using a Mac:
VIRUS FREE and very stable.
I have a friend that does work for Industrial Light and Magic,
The system that they use is a PC with many of their programs off-the-shelf as well as customed designed by some genious out there.

Concidering you income and if you have the space fot it is to continue using your dell and add ram plus an upgrade to Photoshop 7CS2. Adobe had a promo recently earlier than this date posted.

If ever I need a computer update, for some unknown reason, I would choose a Mac. Safe, sound and simple to use. Press control key and a single button mouse click is the same as a right click on a PC mouse.


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Thanks for all of your input
by BeyondHelp / December 30, 2005 12:59 AM PST

Thanks to everyone. I have made my choice. Its all up to the dollars and cents now. Thanks again to all

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What is it?
by taboma / December 31, 2005 1:32 PM PST

???? and why???

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