Photography / Buying Guide

MacBook Pro For Photographers

Going portable doesn’t mean you have to leave your image editing and viewing capabilities at home. Packed in a svelte aluminum exterior, the MacBook Pro offers computing technology that will meet the needs of many photographers. Not only will it allow you to be mobile but, for some, it can serve as the only computer that they need.

The MacBook Pro’s Retina display earns its name from its exceptionally high resolution. It is nearly impossible for the human eye to distinguish individual pixels on Retina displays, making them particularly useful when examining fine detail in photos. Large image files produced by today’s high-resolution cameras are represented true to life. Complementing this ability, Retina displays produce deep blacks, bright whites, vivid colors, and wide viewing angles.

Choosing the best screen size for your needs marks the first step when selecting a MacBook Pro model. This choice is a trade-off between image-viewing area and portability. For those who travel frequently and would like to save weight and bulk in their carry-on, the 13" option is ideal. Balancing power and portability, it uses an integrated Intel® graphics processor, which will handle a typical job while on the go. Stepping up to the 15-inch model brings with it a dedicated AMD graphics card. This provides the best imaging technology available in a MacBook and ensures that large images remain responsive as you build layers and render graphics.

Finally, at its core, MacBook Pros offer a choice of Intel® Core™ processors. As the brain of your computer, this choice will depend upon your specific needs. If you run multiple imaging applications at the same time, a faster processor and multiple cores will dramatically improve performance. If you are running one imaging application at a time, a more standard model will handle your basic tasks and applications easily.

Ensuring that your files and applications run at the fastest possible speeds, MacBook Pros contain a complete flash-memory-based architecture for both RAM and storage. More RAM makes it easier to work on large files, such as TIFF images composed of multiple layers. Solid-State Drives (SSDs) will hold your data and applications, keeping them ready for use at a moment’s notice. Photographers often choose larger SSDs to maximize storing photographs locally and more RAM to dramatically increase speed when working with images. Also, being flash-memory-based, the SSD is less susceptible to damage from movement than a traditional hard drive, making your MacBook Pro more reliable, regardless of your current adventure.

Expansion is crucial for getting the most out of your MacBook Pro, and this is why Apple has equipped it with two Thunderbolt 2 ports, a USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, and an SD card slot. Thunderbolt 2 is one of the fastest interfaces available and allows for the quickest transfer of data both to and from external devices, such as card readers or external hard drives. This means unloading cards after a long shoot is no longer the time hog it used to be, and creating backups will go faster. Also, with the Thunderbolt 2 port, several drives and devices can be daisy-chained together, allowing multiple items to use a single port.

With the Force Touch trackpad, using the MacBook Pro has never been easier. It has sensors that detect variations in pressure, allowing photographers to apply more finesse when retouching or creating adjustment layers. Photographers who still prefer a traditional mouse or a graphics tablet can connect them via the built-in Bluetooth or USB. Those working at home or in a studio can also connect their MacBook Pro to a second monitor, providing a larger screen for comfortable viewing or working with others.

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Why does Apple limit the maximum amount of RAM in the MacBook Pro to just 16GB but the PC Intel laptop counterparts can be maxed out to 32GB and even 64GB?

Unfortunately B&H is not involved in the production or design of any products we carry.  In this instance we would recommend you direct your question to Apple.