2018 MacBook Pro Update, Mobile Backup, and Ps on iPad

In Master Photography Roundtable by Jeff HarmonLeave a Comment

Jeff Harmon hosts with Brent Bergherm at the round table to discuss an update to the mid-2018 MacBook Pro in the week since the last episode, a mobile backup solution Brent is happy with, and full-fledged Photoshop coming to the iPad in 2019

Topic 1: 2018 MacBook Pro Update

  • Jeff:
    • In the previous episode we went over Apple’s refresh of the mid-2018 MacBook Pro, offered suggestions on where photographers who are buying the new model should spend their money and where they shouldn’t.
    • As we predicted, we had a lot of feedback from our incredible community who love their Macs.  They very much disagreed with some of the things that were said, which is great. So glad we have an audience engaged enough to tell us when they disagree with something.
    • I needed to have an item on here to update things because Apple changed something significant and I wanted to make sure we covered that, but first Brent, did you want to take a moment and clarify your position on the refresh of the MacBook lineup as a Mac enthusiast?
  • Brent:
    • Yes, I just wanted to reiterate or maybe clarify my remarks. I will probably always be a mac user. The specific question about this machine was “will we update” and at this time, no. I won’t I just bought one about seven months ago. If my computer was needing an update I’d definitely do it. But, I wouldn’t see the value in the i9 processor nor the 4TB or storage. I just don’t need that and it would be too much. But also, while I often complain about Apple’s RAM prices, in this computer, $400 more to add another 16GB isn’t all that bad, it’s still more than it should be, but it’s way better than the $600 that was required to take the previous generation computers to 16GB which is half what this machine will do now. So things are moving in the right direction.
    • And as a tangent here, Black Magic has released a GPU which for video editors would be great. You can effectively add to the power of your MBP and do great video. It’s also a hub for connecting all sorts of devices. My only wish is that it were in a nice high quality display. LG makes some good thunderbolt type displays now that are 5K resolution, add GPU into that and I’d get very interested since I’m starting to increase the amount of video I do.
  • Jeff:
    • I also need to add that even though I think the prices are inflated some over some Windows options, I didn’t make it very clear in the last episode that if you really think you absolutely must have a laptop for your photo editing needs then I do recommend the MacBook Pro over Windows options.  We won’t go into the details here but I am pretty convinced that costs and lack of user upgradeability aside, Apple makes the highest quality laptops available for photo editing. Now I am going to get the Windows people mad at me? (yes, you are 😉
    • OK, so the thing that changed now, the thing I needed to make sure we talked about here in the update is a change in my recommendation.  In the last episode I recommended AGAINST getting the very highest CPU option offered in the 15” MacBook Pro. They have an option that has never been there before in a Core i9 processor and I said that I recommend photographers do NOT upgrade their 2018 MacBook Pro to that processor when they buy one.  Seems a little strange when the clock speed of the processor has so much to do with making Lightroom perform well in particular for me to recommend going with a slower clocked Core i7 processor.
    • Well, the problem with that was that when the 2018 MacBook Pro with that beefy Core i9 processor was tested, it was discovered that you couldn’t actually run the processor at full strength for long periods of time because it was being slowed down due to heat issues.  At the time I was guessing that the issue had to do with the body of the MacBook not changing in this refresh and there simply wasn’t enough cooling to make it work properly which would mean you would spend $300 more on a processor that you couldn’t actually run at full capacity and would actually get so slow it was better to have the Core i7.  Meaning you would pay $300 more to end up with a computer that was slower than if you saved the $300.
    • Apple worked with some of those who reported the processor throttling problem and they were able to figure out that a deep rooted setting in the firmware didn’t make it into the final product at launch and provided a supplemental update to macOS that fixed that problem.  People have re-run their tests that demonstrated the throttling and now the performance has shown almost 50% better performance of a Final Cut Pro X 4K export over the base model iMac Pro.
    • Now video rendering is much better at taking advantage of multiple cores of the CPU than Lightroom is today, so I wouldn’t say you should expect that significant a difference for photo editing vs. the base model iMac Pro, but it does mean I can now recommend the Core i9 option if you can afford a $3,500 investment in a computer.
    • Incidentally, before we leave this topic, I wanted to let all of the Mac users out there know that very soon you will see a blog post over at https://phototacopodcast.com about how to buy a mid-2018 MacBook Pro for photo editing where I go through all of the configuration options and offer information that should help you make some choices.  

Topic 2: Brent’s Mobile Backup Solution

  • Brent:
    • Recommending the LaCie DJI Copilot BOSS (https://amzn.to/2LC0oEN $350) as a backup solution for people who are traveling or otherwise on the move.
    • You can put your SD card in the device and it VERY quickly backups up everything on the card to the hard drive inside the device
    • Was worried when it arrived that the box was pretty heavy for an external hard drive.  The reason for this ended up being a power adapter brick that you plug into the wall to charge the drive.  Made me worry even more now because that would limit the effectiveness of the device as I travel if I have to lug around this heavy and bulky brick.
    • Decided to do some testing even though I might have to send it back and was pleasantly surprised when as I was using it the device said it was charging when it was connected via USB-C (not dongle converters) to my 2016 MacBook Pro.
    • Pretty excited about having 2TB of backup available to me without having to connect the drive to my computer and use a dongle to connect an SD card reader to my computer to make a backup.
  • Jeff:
    • I don’t have a device like this and haven’t tried any of them, though I have had a number of listeners say that they use a Western Digital brand for things like weddings where they don’t want to risk losing things so they deliberately use smaller 16GB SD cards to force them to change them out and then put them in a device like this immediately to make sure they have two copies.
    • What about the Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro (https://amzn.to/2NKJcu1 $140)?  Is it similar or how does it compare.
  • Brent:
    • Very similar, just not USB-C for a connector and didn’t look like it could take quite as much abuse as the LaCie

Midroll: WeTransfer.com

Topic 3: Photoshop on iPad

  • Bloomberg reported in mid-July 2018
    • An unnamed Adobe software developer said they are planning to unveil the new Photoshop app at the upcoming Max conference in 2018 with a release in 2019.
    • Scott Belsky, Adobe’s chief product officer of Creative Cloud confirmed that they are working on a new cross-platform iteration of Photoshop and other applications.
    • The new versions of the app will allow users to run full versions of the programs on an iPad and continue edits on different devices.
  • Jeff’s take:
    • I love iPads, they are very useful media consumption devices. I love Lightroom CC on there, very functional and I find it very intuitive though I have heard from many listeners who do not.  The pencil with the iPad gives you a fantastic editing experience like a digital tablet like Wacom that you can attach to your computer, only better since you are doing it right on the image.  There is the Cintiq stuff from Wacom that can give that experience for about $1,000 too, but the iPad can do so much more.
    • I have two problems with this
      • To set the stage here, the work I do in Photoshop produces large files.  Looking through the last few compositions I did round-tripping between Lightroom and Photoshop on my computer they averaged 256MB per file and one of them was 732MB.  I have an upload speed of 10mbit, which in the U.S. is probably a little above average. To send a 732MB file to the cloud over that connection would take a little over 10 minutes.  Just for that one file.
      • When they talk about starting edits on one device and finishing on another that must mean it will require the use of Adobe cloud storage very similar to how Lightroom CC requires it.  The pricing of that storage is too high for me to do anything but playing around in the application.
      • You can buy a 10” iPad Pro with 512GB of storage for $1,000.  If I had nothing else on the device I could fit 716 of those files on there and that is it.  Now that sounds like a lot, but I have 93,120 photos in my Lightroom catalog as we speak. Sure, not all of those are composites needing this kind of file storage and Photoshop.  I am sure that Adobe would do a lot to make it so that you swap the least recently used image files out as you go to use a new one so that you can manage how much of the device storage is used, but we are back to a really serious demand on my Internet connection.
      • To make matters worse, my Internet is capped at 1TB per month.  My family already consumes about 75% of that with the way we use the Internet today, so even if it was so fast the speed wasn’t a concern it would only take moving about 350 of these files over the course of a month to go over that cap.
    • I love the direction Adobe is going here.  I love that they are stretching themselves and others in the industry to leverage the cloud because there is so much possibility there.  It just isn’t remotely practical for me today and I would imagine my situation isn’t far off from many who are listening.
    • We need faster Internet with significantly bigger data caps and iPads with far more storage for this to be something more than fun use for me and be a serious tool.

Doodads:

Jeff: Wish list item, Godox AD200 Strobe https://amzn.to/2AkIUbN ($300)

Brent: MeFoto travel tipod, titanium (BH Deal Zone for about $70, regular price about $115) https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/871069-REG/Benro_A0350Q0T_MeFoto_Travel_Tripod_With.html

Reminders:

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