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Macbook Pro to replace Windows laptop for travel/holiday?

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agouldtdc

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Joined
Apr 27, 2023
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Lightroom Version Number
12.3
Operating System
  1. Windows 10
  2. macOS 13 Ventura
I recently posted this question on the Adobe Community LR forum, but no replies, so I am hoping that I might get advice here from those who have been down this road already.

I need to replace my 10 year old Surface Pro 3 for Lightroom use when away. It was fine with my Canon 6D and 7D2 up to a few years ago, but no more as I have moved to mirrorless with larger files and more demands from the software. Recently I have used my Dell M4800 Precision (same vintage as the SP3) which is a lot quicker than the SP3, but it is a lot bigger, still slow with the latest LR/Topaz and won't run the latest version of Premiere.

I have looked at the latest MS/Dell laptops, but for similar specifications they are in the same price range as the Macbook Pro M2, and this does seem to offer the best feature set/value for me. None of the laptops is inexpensive, so I need to optimise my purchase. The MBP is of appeal not only because of power etc but the display. At home I use a PC (Ryzen 3900) and BenQ SW271 calibrated with a Color Munki. I hope the MBP will enable me to do my editing whilst away and not have to spend too much time (preferably any) re-doing edits on the PC, especially from a colour perspective.

My current workflow is to import to the laptop whilst away and when back I export the catalogue and re-import to my master one on the PC. Usually I import the photos to the laptop SSD, but these could be to an EHD with the catalogue and previews on the laptop SSD if space becomes an issue.

Having spent too much time researching this, I am inclined towards a 14" MBP M2 Pro. The base model has 16Gb RAM/512Gb SSD with 10/16 CPU/GPU cores, which I think will be more than adequate for now, but apparently 32Gb RAM/1Tb SSD with 12/19 CPU/GPU cores would be better long term. My PC has 32Gb RAM and is not stretched, so whilst the MBP configuration is probably more than I need now I am thinking of the future, especially as the MBP cannot be upgraded (unlike my M4800). Hopefully the MBP will serve my needs for at least five years. Maybe it will be as quick, if not quicker than the PC.

Any advice appreciated!

Andrew
 
…My current workflow is to import to the laptop whilst away and when back I export the catalogue and re-import to my master one on the PC. Usually I import the photos to the laptop SSD, but these could be to an EHD with the catalogue and previews on the laptop SSD if space becomes an issue.

Having spent too much time researching this, I am inclined towards a 14" MBP M2 Pro. ..
. For quite a few years I used your Workflow.

It does not matter what the OS is on the Desktop as long as the unique characteristics each the operating system is taken into consideration. I found it best to use a portable drive to transport the exported catalog and image files. This portable disk drive needs to be formatted as ExFAT or FAT32. So that both Windows OS and MacOS can read and write to it.

The “Export as a Catalog” creates a package of catalog and image files contained inside one folder with subfolders for image files. The reason for this has to do with the differences between Windows disk mounting (Drive Letters e.g.C:\ ) and MacOS disks which are mounted a a sub folder of the root folder (“/“ ). The Catalog database contains two fields for path: “absolutePath” (containing drive letters in the Windows OS) and a “relativePath” which is understandable by both OSes as long as the relative path from the catalog file to the image files is a sub folder of the folder containing the catalog and never crosses volumes which are mounted differently on each OS.

I no longer use this workflow while traveling. Instead I use Lightroom on the travel machine and let it sync to my Master Lightroom Classic catalog on the Desktop. Now my travel computer is a 12.9” M1 iPadPro.

My current camera is a 48mp Nikon Z9 creating 40-40mb NEFs


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
Many thanks for sharing this Cletus. I did see the iPadPro workflow mentioned as an alternative, but didn't give it too much thought because there is no support for Premiere, which I use for video. However, after your post I have had another look and I see that Resolve is available. It is also interesting to see comments from photographers who like the tactile editing on the tablet as opposed to mouse on the laptop.

The only thing is that the cost mounts for the 12.9" iPadPro; with a keyboard etc the M2 and pencil with 512Gb is pretty much on a par with the base level 14" MBP M2.

I am beginning to wonder if using the MBPM2 with my main LR catalogue, importing images to either the local or EHD then simply copying over within LR Classic to my NAS storage when back would make most sense for the moment. I sync selected catalogues to the LR cloud, which makes sharing much easier. I can see an iPadPro on my wish list though!
 
I no longer use this workflow while traveling. Instead I use Lightroom on the travel machine and let it sync to my Master Lightroom Classic catalog on the Desktop. Now my travel computer is a 12.9” M1 iPadPro.

My current camera is a 48mp Nikon Z9 creating 40-40mb NEFs

Hi Cletus,
Since you have used your new travel workflow for a while now, would you be willing to jot down some pluses and minuses of using the iPad + sync route vs the temp catalog + export/import back at home route? This could be most insightful.
Thanks,
 
Hi Cletus,
Since you have used your new travel workflow for a while now, would you be willing to jot down some pluses and minuses of using the iPad + sync route vs the temp catalog + export/import back at home route? This could be most insightful.
Thanks,
Since that explanation is off topic for this thread, I'll post a new post.
 
Having spent too much time researching this, I am inclined towards a 14" MBP M2 Pro. The base model has 16Gb RAM/512Gb SSD with 10/16 CPU/GPU cores, which I think will be more than adequate for now, but apparently 32Gb RAM/1Tb SSD with 12/19 CPU/GPU cores would be better long term.
I have that configuration, with the older M1 Pro processor that has fewer CPU/GPU cores. I don’t see any problem with your choice, because I’ve been very happy with it as my everyday Lightroom Classic computer for almost a year and a half, also traveling with it overseas. It’s powerful enough to be a quiet desktop at home (through a dock connected to displays, storage, etc.). For portability and travel, the size works well for me because it doesn’t need a big laptop backpack. The 14" fits in smaller bags I originally bought for my iPad and previous 13" laptop.

However, if I was already using a powerful desktop computer for Lightroom Classic, and if the laptop was mostly just for occasional travel, I would think about spending less money on an M2 MacBook Air with 24GB memory instead. It’s fast enough, noticeably thinner and lighter than the 14", and the battery lasts longer. The compromises might be that the Air lacks an SD card slot, fewer ports; and the display is not quite as good as on the 14", but for editing on the road that should be only a minor difference. Yes, the 14" Pro might be somewhat more future proof than the Air, but not by a lot.
 
However, if I was already using a powerful desktop computer for Lightroom Classic, and if the laptop was mostly just for occasional travel, I would think about spending less money on an M2 MacBook Air with 24GB memory instead. It’s fast enough, noticeably thinner and lighter than the 14", and the battery lasts longer. The compromises might be that the Air lacks an SD card slot, fewer ports; and the display is not quite as good as on the 14", but for editing on the road that should be only a minor difference. Yes, the 14" Pro might be somewhat more future proof than the Air, but not by a lot.
It is for these same reasons that I opted for the iPad Pro. I have not been disappointed in the iPadPro
 
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