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How to Choose Apple Computers For Photography

Updated: June 28th, 2015

Important: This content is really outdated. It was written circa 2012 and Apple has moved on quite a bit since then. The principles still apply, however you need to understand that specific options, configurations, and even products might have changed.

My suggestion… read this article to learn the basics and principles of choosing a computer. Then, I recommend heading over to Mac Performance Guide created by Lloyd Chambers for the most up-to-date Apple Computer information.

Or… you could take a little detour and view my fine art portfolio that’ll soon be ready for the walls of your home or office!

A while back I was primarily a build-your-own Windows box type of guy because the hardware was more affordable and the computer did what I needed. However, after realizing how many hours I put into investigating problems with slow performance because of bloated adware, spyware, viruses, and general compatibility issues, I made the jump to the Mac ecosystem; I haven’t looked back once.

Choose Apple Computers If You Want Machines That Just Work

With that said, the Apple ecosystem has a lot to choose from – there’s the baseline configuration available from the Apple store in addition to custom-built machines from the Apple online store. So, where should you go from here?

I have done a lot of research on choosing the right workhorse for my needs. Your needs may be different and that’s okay; I will guide you through the Mac lineup and you can choose what is right for you. I am going to work from the top down so if you feel that your needs require less power, scroll down to the bottom of this article and click the link to the review article that sounds right for you. You can always scale processing power up or down by selecting from good, better, or best – where best is the most powerful and most configurable option.

What to Look for When Choosing Apple Computers for a Photography Workflow

The main points you will need to consider when determining your Apple Computer setup will be: processing power, maximum memory limits, hard drive capacity, disk performance, and expandability.

I will not make any suggestions about the video card; I find that the default option is sufficient for working with all of the major photo suites. Those really expensive video cards are great for rendering 3D and the like, but we’re not doing that here. So, stick with the base and you will be just fine.

You Buy Expandability or Portability, NOT Both

It’s worth noting that there are trade-offs with each machine. You will sacrifice portability for massive expansion capabilities if you choose a desktop; you’ll also sacrifice raw speed and huge memory reserves if you choose a laptop for portability. This simply means that if you plan to purchase one computer for your photography needs, you’ll need to consider the pros and cons of your choice.

In an ideal world, photographers would have a primary desktop machine that does the heavy lifting at the studio and a laptop for travel.

These suggestions are focused on choosing a primary computer/workstation, so best in this context represents a desktop with lots of expandability, better represents a desktop hybrid, and good represents some form of laptop.

Buy the Apple Care Plan

One last thing before we jump into the reviews… I highly recommend you purchase the Apple Care protection plan in tandem with your Apple Computer. It has saved me a bunch of times and has paid for itself in spades. You usually have one year after the date of your computer purchase to activate it so just remember to do it before then.

Let’s get right to the lineup of Apple Computers. Make your selection below.

Best Choice: Proceed to 2012 Mac Pro Recommendations
Better Choice: Proceed to 2012 iMac Recommendations
Good Choice: Proceed to 2012 Macbook Pro Recommendations

Return from Apple Computers to Learn Photography