Mid-2018 MacBook Pro Refresh, Handheld Focus Stacking, and Advanced Workshop Attendees

In Master Photography Roundtable by Jeff Harmon1 Comment

Jeff hosts with Brent and Connor at the round table to talk about the mid-2018 refresh of the Apple MacBook Pro lineup and listener questions about shooting focus stacked macro hand held and what makes an intermediate/advanced photography a good workshop participant.

Topic 1: New MacBook Pros

  • After 527 days, Apple refreshed the MacBook Pro line in mid-July 2018
    • 15” now has 6-core CPUs with Core i7 and Core i9 options, up to 4TB of SSD storage, up to 32GB of RAM (woohoo), and AMD graphics up to 4GB of VRAM.  Maxed out it sells for $6,700!
    • 13” updates to Intel’s most current Core i5 and i7 processors, including 4-core options, still only 16GB max RAM (boo), a max of 2TB of SSD storage, Intel Iris Plus 655 with 126GB of eDRAM. Maxed out it sells for $3,700.
  • Connor and Brent, what do you think of the new options?  Are you going to spend the money to buy one?
  • Jeff’s recommendation on the upgrades that are worth it in order of priority:
    • 15” Start with the higher cost model to get the Core i7 6-core processor (don’t upgrade to the Core i9 due to heat issues), upgrade the RAM to 32GB for a price of $3,200.
    • 13” Get the touch bar model (not because the touch bar is that cool, but the higher CPU is only available in the touch bar model), upgrade the CPU to the 2.7GHz quad-core for $300, the ram from 8 to 16GB for $200, and the storage to 512GB for $200 for a price of $2,500.
    • Early Problems?
      • Heat – early tests have shown that Apple didn’t update the heat dissipation to go along with the newer, faster, and HOTTER chips.  If you buy the Core i9 processor you may never be able to have it run at full speed because the computer doesn’t get rid of the heat fast enough and has to throttle it down to keep things cool enough.
      • Keyboard – Jeff really dislikes the keyboard since they changed it in 2016.  No experience yet with the updated version here in mid-2018, but the early reviews have said it feels mostly the same.  Apple did add some plastic covers under the keys to make them more dust/crumb resistant, a major problem with the 2016 MBP line.

Topic 2: Listener Q&A

  • Brian Duncan asked about focus stacking hand held, specifically macro work.
    • Brent: My basic thought is to say, not on macro. If you’re focus stacking with macro there’s just too much that can go wrong if you’re not on a tripod. If you’re doing it with a wide angle lens, then you possibly have some options given your subject. I would look for areas that are plain and bland and can easily be a transition area from one to the other areas.
    • I have some YouTube videos I’m producing right now that deal with Focus Stacking. They’ll be out on Aug 2, that’s the goal. It’ll be after I rebrand my Lens company YouTube channel to my personal and podcast branding.
  • Gary Aidekman: What are the attributes of a good intermediate/advanced workshop participant? Describe the participant who seems to get the most out of a workshop. Describe one who gets the least.
    • Jeff: best is one who is willing to engage with everyone, help others where they know something, being willing to learn and not approach the class like they know everything.  Worst is someone who signed up only to have the host of the workshop get them to the spot and then does their own thing without engaging with the rest of the participants or the host.  Be careful not to be the “know-it-all” who the rest of the group dreads hearing from.


  • Jeff: eufy [BoostIQ RoboVac 30 ($270, Roomba is more like $450 to $630) https://amzn.to/2LlnYW8
  • Brent: Barcode Reader, Global Entry (free meetup July 23)
  • Connor: Neewer Dual LCD Battery Charger for Canon LP-E6 Batteries Compatible With Canon 7D 6D 5D II III 5Ds R 70D 60D 6D a 80D(US Plug + EU Plug + Car Charger Adapter) ($25) https://amzn.to/2O0dgTx 



  1. Hi gentlemen, great episode! Love it when you guys dive into gear talk, soothes my geeky interest in photography.

    I have been a Mac user for a good 6 years and I started my photography editing on a Mac.
    But the recent releases of MacBooks have just been disappointing and just ridiculously expensive!!
    It pushed me enough to study computer building and I am currently working off of a personal build Windows 10 machine and it has been great!
    Photography has not only gave me the opportunity to learn more about photos but other areas as well.
    Keep up the good work! I enjoy the show every week.

    There is one request/suggestion/pet peve that I do have that I must address to Connor…
    Every time you speak into the microphone the sound of you taking a breath has just been really distracting to me and I noticed that I tend not to retain what you are saying because I just get too distracted by it.
    I’m not sure if it’s a technique that you can work on but given how much insight and knowledge you have I would love to be able to get through an episode without being distracted by it.
    Sorry I had to point it out but I thought it would help to improve the show! Thank you for the consideration.

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