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Author Topic: Apple's Strategic plan for professional artists and photographers  (Read 13599 times)
bellimages
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« on: October 15, 2008, 08:55:58 AM »
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First off, I have to say that the roll-out of the new MacBooks and MacBookPros were pretty lack-luster for me -- very disappointing. Other than the "product design" advancements (eg: new trackpad, one-piece aluminum shell, LED powered screens), there wasn't much to impress me. I hoped for a new generation of processors (they kept the Intel Core Duo processor).

As someone mentioned in an earlier post, Apple realizes that there is a lot more money to be made in the consumer market, than the pro line. With that said, Apple has always taken pride in offering professional products for us graphic artists, videographers, and photographers. But I'm feeling left out of their strategic plan. The lack of a major update in the MacPro line illustrates my frustration. And these new Cinema Displays (with glossy screens) make me wonder where they are going. Are they going to supply us (professionals) with products that meet our need?

Hopefully this will all shake out in the next year or so. But, I feel a LOT of frustration, since I've been waiting for over 2 years to update my studio computer/display. I use three MacPros at work ... so I get by. But using my old G4 at home is painful -- very very slow by today's standards. Even though I need a new computer and display, I will hold out longer. AArggggggg

In the meantime, does anyone on here have a contact at Apple? I think that it would be good to pass along our feelings and comments/suggestions. I love Apple, but personally feel that it would be useful to know where they are going in the professional line.

Jan Bell

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"Making the simple complicated is commonplace, Making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity."    Charles Mingus
JessicaLuchesi
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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2008, 09:31:14 AM »
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Hi Jan,

I completely agree with you.

I'm in Brazil, and here it's harder to keep up with top notch pro gear, because taxes and the currency difference makes it harder to get the high end stuff. You eventually do, but only after some years in the work. For a starter pro photographer, the white macbook was a great acquisition. I always felt the FW800 port to be missing, but I use the FW400 a lot. Now, they took out the FW400, which is understandable, but didn't replace by a FW800, which was expected. The low end macbook got more expensive ( am talking about the new one ) with graphic board improvements, LED displays, but not much than that. Without any FW port, how am I supposed to use my FW card reader?

Anyway, it means I would possibly upgrade to the MacBook Pro. But it's not really much Pro. For a Pro notebook, I would expect at least 2 FW800 ports ( one on a MFB for instance, another on an external HD, for example), improvements on CPU, and so on.  I hope Apple will listen up, and provide a good, pro line notebook followup, updating the line to add a FW800 port on the MacBook... or another one on the MacBook Pro. And CPU upgrades. At least that. You can't do everything wireless, it's just too slow on a real shooting studio enviroment where you have to move Gb and Gb of photos fast.

I think the same kind of debate might be going on at professional music forums, and other pro forums around the world.

I hope the followup, or the 17" mbp upgrade will solve that... but apple should rethink what's consumer and what's pro in their line. And who are the professionals they're targeting.
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bellimages
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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2008, 09:47:46 AM »
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Good point about the Firewire ports. Replacing your card reader is a relatively small investment. But, replacing my six 160GB firewire hard drives is another matter (they are FW400). Hopefully there will be an adapter available at some point. Otherwise they are useless. Arrrrrgggggggggg
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"Making the simple complicated is commonplace, Making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity."    Charles Mingus
michael
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« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2008, 10:29:34 AM »
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Just for the sake of clarity Firewire 800 is backwards compatible with Firewire 400. All you need is an inexpensive cable with a 400 connector on one end and an 800 connector on the other.

Michael

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JessicaLuchesi
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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2008, 02:11:01 PM »
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I'm lucky on that point, because both my external HD and card reader are dualFW ( 400 and 800 interfaces ). The problem is zero FW ports on the macbook and only one on the pro. Why not upgrade from 400 to 800 simply? Why just remove the 400? My camcorder, for example, which I don't use for work fortunatly, but I'd not like to have to replace just because apple doesn't like FW400, is FW only.

The place I am now, is waiting to see if Apple will actually do something about it ( I would expect better CPU as well, it's not only the FW issue ). If not, it's comparing in performance and all to the windows counterparts. I would be much happier if Apple did allow an unlocked MacOS you could install on any notebook, instead of using MacOS as a way to lock you into a hardware that isn't so cutting edge anymore. On the features page you have "Inside the new MacBook Pro is the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processor running at speeds up to 2.8GHz", but the actual models are 2.4 and 2.53, being the 2.8 optional, but you can't buy it from the apple site. Also, no options for matte screens as in previous models, which people tend to prefer to work on image processing.

Apple Insider is already mongering rumors about the 17inch MBP. Let's see. If it also sports the 2.4Ghz CPU, instead of a 2.8, I'll be disapointed. Dual FW800 and a few other neat things, would be very welcome, instead of making it just a bigger version of the 15" one, for people with extra money to show off the apple logo, instead of a desktop replacement pro machine. Fingers crossed here.

There's always a bunch of disappointments when there are upgrades, but I'm usually on the cheerful part. I think the new notes have great features, but I think with a bit more effort, apple could have gone all the way and made for really high performance notebooks. My hopes are still that all this will be unleashed on the 17" model, and the 17" model won't be discontinued.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2008, 02:28:37 PM by JessicaLuchesi » Logged
GregW
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« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2008, 02:26:23 PM »
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It's a shame the FW port has gone from the MB but I think we should be more positive.

There are many FW devices out there, but increasingly fewer new FW devices are released. Most new consumer video cameras don't support it. Sony one of the original members of the FW group has dropped it. Vista doesn't support FW 800. Pro video cameras like the Red One support Compact Flash cards and have eSATA as well as FW interfaces.  

Medium Format Digital Camera Back users do have a problem because many rely on FW's ability to deliver power when their cameras are tethered. This is an issue, all-be-it for a relatively small number of people.

FW is a legacy interface. In my 20 plus years of Mac ownership I've learnt, sometimes to my cost that Apple don't do legacy. When USB 3 comes along it will be quite hard to justify FW at all.

With all of that in mind, I think it's great Apple still offer a laptop with FW.

I was a glossy skeptic, that was until I was forced to replace my beloved 12" PB G4 with a MBA. It's not my main machine but the display calibrates well, has more dynamic range than a matte display which makes it great for editing the odd image on the road with Adobe's Lightroom.

People should really try a glossy LED before commenting. You CANT extrapolate from the iMac or Macbook glossy displays.

One final point about glossy displays. According to Jobs and Apples's internal market research they sell very well in to the professional market. The reason.
Clients like them.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2008, 02:28:21 PM by GregW » Logged
JessicaLuchesi
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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2008, 02:29:54 PM »
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Quote from: michael
Just for the sake of clarity Firewire 800 is backwards compatible with Firewire 400. All you need is an inexpensive cable with a 400 connector on one end and an 800 connector on the other.

Michael
Yup, the Sandisk FW Extreme Card reader is like that. It even comes with both cables.
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JessicaLuchesi
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« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2008, 02:36:38 PM »
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Quote from: GregW
It's a shame the FW port has gone from the MB but I think we should be more positive.

There are many FW devices out there, but increasingly fewer new FW devices are released. Most new consumer video cameras don't support it. Sony one of the original members of the FW group has dropped it. Vista doesn't support FW 800. Pro video cameras like the Red One support Compact Flash cards and have eSATA as well as FW interfaces.  

Medium Format Digital Camera Back users do have a problem because many rely on FW's ability to deliver power when their cameras are tethered. This is an issue, all-be-it for a relatively small number of people.

Agreed, but maybe not right now. Still lots of FW gear running around in studios and workplaces. At least for the "pro" lineup, you could forget about the FW400... but give another FW800, or an eSATA interface instead. I'd be jumping happy to have an eSATA interface on the mbp.

Quote from: GregW
People should really try a glossy LED before commenting. You CANT extrapolate from the iMac or Macbook glossy displays.

One final point about glossy displays. According to Jobs and Apples's internal market research they sell very well in to the professional market. The reason.
Clients like them.

I'm not complaining about the LED displays, I'm actually quite happy Apple did this move, because it's far superior choice. Glossy Vs Matte, glossy is sometimes hard depending on where you are having to work at. I'm also very happy Apple turned the macbooks into "green" notebooks.

Anyway, I'm on the list to see what the new 17" models will show. Apple Insider said they were just not yet announced due to internal problems and bugs, but will be soon. Fingers crossed here.
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bellimages
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« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2008, 04:28:28 PM »
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We all have to keep in mind that Firewire devices can be daisy chained (meaning you connect device 1 to the computer; then device 2 to 1, and 3 to 2, and 4 to 3 ... and so on). Therefore, only one port is necessary on a computer.

One "cosmetic" comment on the new MacBooks and MacBookPros -- I really dislike the new dark keys. They take me back to the original TiBook (the first Apple Laptop -- the Titanium Powerbook). The silver keys on the most recent Apple laptops are sooooo elegant.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2008, 04:28:54 PM by bellimages » Logged

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GregW
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« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2008, 04:40:15 PM »
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Quote from: bellimages
I really dislike the new dark keys. They take me back to the original TiBook (the first Apple Laptop -- the Titanium Powerbook). The silver keys on the most recent Apple laptops are sooooo elegant.

Surely, you are forgetting the Portable:

   

I think it's fair to say things have improved since the good old days  
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JessicaLuchesi
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« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2008, 07:37:39 AM »
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Correction: you CAN order the 2.8Ghz 15" models. It will cost US$300,00 extra, and the way to do is a bit tricky. You have to select the 2.53Ghz model on the Apple Store, THEN select the 2.8Ghz CPU option.
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sergio
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« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2008, 03:45:02 PM »
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Though I like the OS, I find the Mac hardware to be of dubious quality. I can attest my old Dell notebook was way sturdier than my macbook. Problem is Windows is crap. I wonder if there is another platform that actually works and can take PS and LR for the PCs. I don't need fancy graphics, buttons or anything else. Just stability, speed, robustness and security.
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« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2008, 05:26:47 PM »
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Quote from: bellimages
As someone mentioned in an earlier post, Apple realizes that there is a lot more money to be made in the consumer market, than the pro line. With that said, Apple has always taken pride in offering professional products for us graphic artists, videographers, and photographers. But I'm feeling left out of their strategic plan. The lack of a major update in the MacPro line illustrates my frustration. And these new Cinema Displays (with glossy screens) make me wonder where they are going. Are they going to supply us (professionals) with products that meet our need?
Profit is Apple's main, sorry only concern. Pros are not profitable enough it seems as they are fussy and are not willing to put up with crap if it affects their work and they all want different things. Now Apple make more money form music/phones..and have dropped computer from their name they have become just another electronics firm and the people who kept their business alive are simply not important anymore. Apple is intent on streamlining its production line with as little variation as possible so as to minimise costs as much as possible. My feeling with Apple gear as a whole is that it seems cheap in design terms, due to compromises made to cut costs and subsequent lack of choice, yet their stuff still costs a fortune.
I've now been looking at PC laptops again and the variety of choice is great, you can basically get exactly what you need, rather than what Apple deign to let you have.
PC Laptops vary from 9-20" in size, they come with a choice of screens surfaces, a variety of resolutions, two hard drives, BluRay, Wacom pads, quad core chips, 16G of memory, a delete key, back button, decent sized keyboards even on small laptops, a screen you can actually tilt back far enough to use on lap with knees up, or when standing at desk...etc.
The only thing the PCs lack is Apple's new trackpad, where Apple goes from the clunky pads of old to stunningly good.

But Apple make nothing that comes even close to this machine, 13" Pro laptop which is very close to what I need. So looks like I'll be buying a PC laptop now.

The problem with alienating the core base is that once they lose the pro lustre, consumer sales will also fall. People like to buy cheap versions of expensive/professional brands, but  if pros lose faith in Apple, then they will lose a lot of their attraction to the wannabees.

And like Sergio, I also question their quality. My new MacPro is remarkbly unreliable, my 3 year old 13" Vaio laptop simply works. Looks like I'll be sticking a faster HD in it and keep it going a bit longer. It can run CS4 OK, so not too bad for a old boy.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2008, 05:38:18 PM by jjj » Logged

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juicy
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« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2008, 05:47:36 PM »
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Product bashing is too easy. Still I have to say that I have somewhat lost my faith when it comes to Apple. All but one of my friends with Apple laptops have had problems and all kinds of reliability issues. Support has been poor. One of my friends fought over a year with Apple  to get her macbook changed after several repairs failed to get the machine working. Then she bought another one it failed too. After 2 repair attempts she got a new machine which has been perfect so far but this just goes to show there are batches of machines that should never have left the factory. She lost months of usage time in this process.
Jobs' job is to make money but the methods are bad from consumers perspective. Cutting costs by using crappy components will result in inferior products that no professional can use. Pros need to turn elsewhere.

J
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2008, 02:48:39 AM »
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Hi,

My experience with FW was a positive one and with USB mostly negative. I really think that portables should have some decent interface for hooking up hard disks, so I'm really with Jessica on the need of FW800 or eSATA. I'm still using Tiger and USB on my iMac/Tiger combo is slow while FW is fast (10 MByte/s vs. 60 MByte/s).

I absolutely agree with Jessica. I also feel bad about the attitude that now that we have a new technology (like USB 3.0) old technology (like FW) is not needed. My experience is that new technology is seldom reliable especially if a certain Redmond based company has been involved in it's development or specification. Users have investment in technology that works, methods that are proven. We also need to keep in mind that some businesses are more sensitive to costs than others. Not every one on this planet is living in a high income/high expenditure situation. I guess that for some people earning their money with hard work on a smaller scale investing in a new computer can be bad enough but also upgrading storage is additional cost.

Best regards
Erik



Quote from: JessicaLuchesi
Agreed, but maybe not right now. Still lots of FW gear running around in studios and workplaces. At least for the "pro" lineup, you could forget about the FW400... but give another FW800, or an eSATA interface instead. I'd be jumping happy to have an eSATA interface on the mbp.



I'm not complaining about the LED displays, I'm actually quite happy Apple did this move, because it's far superior choice. Glossy Vs Matte, glossy is sometimes hard depending on where you are having to work at. I'm also very happy Apple turned the macbooks into "green" notebooks.

Anyway, I'm on the list to see what the new 17" models will show. Apple Insider said they were just not yet announced due to internal problems and bugs, but will be soon. Fingers crossed here.
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« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2008, 10:15:10 AM »
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So can anyone tell me now why one should choose Mac over Windows machines for professional photography? Vista is 64 bit, so is CS4, Mac is not. New Macbooks no longer offer FW 400, and only glossy screens, not to mention that if you want to run mac, you have one choice of manufacturer for the machine you run it on, not my idea of a great structure for the professional. I have been digital for 2 years, earning my living with  location people photography in the advertising and editorial markets for 20 years. I shoot with both Canon 1DS2 M3 and PHase one P45+ (processed as 16bit) and never have a problem with file size, color compatability, workflow or processing speed. My custom laptop usually outperforms the Macs that my freelance digi-techs use.  The only drawback to windows that I see is the otherwise computer illiterate professional art directors, art buyers and designers with whom I work who are still worried that somehow they won't be able to use my files because they were "windows generated". About once or twice a year I will hear from a designer or AD that the images I provided were off in color, only to find that they are not viewing the images on a calibrated monitor, once the images go into a production machine they say "Oh, nevermind". I guess that I don't really think I need to conform to a once necessary standard due to outdated conventional wisdom. Am i missing something? The cool looking cases or clever TV advertising? Guess I never worried enough about being cool or trendy. I am about due to upgrade some hardware though, so I'd honestly like to know, I've asked several of the folks I work with on a regular basis, and stil no decent answer except the preference to the Mac OS and perceptions that I've mentioned above.
W
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juicy
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« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2008, 11:29:46 AM »
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Quote from: Greg Whitaker
So can anyone tell me now why one should choose Mac over Windows machines for professional photography? Vista is 64 bit, so is CS4, Mac is not. New Macbooks no longer offer FW 400, and only glossy screens, not to mention that if you want to run mac, you have one choice of manufacturer for the machine you run it on, not my idea of a great structure for the professional. I have been digital for 2 years, earning my living with  location people photography in the advertising and editorial markets for 20 years. I shoot with both Canon 1DS2 M3 and PHase one P45+ (processed as 16bit) and never have a problem with file size, color compatability, workflow or processing speed. My custom laptop usually outperforms the Macs that my freelance digi-techs use.  The only drawback to windows that I see is the otherwise computer illiterate professional art directors, art buyers and designers with whom I work who are still worried that somehow they won't be able to use my files because they were "windows generated". About once or twice a year I will hear from a designer or AD that the images I provided were off in color, only to find that they are not viewing the images on a calibrated monitor, once the images go into a production machine they say "Oh, nevermind". I guess that I don't really think I need to conform to a once necessary standard due to outdated conventional wisdom. Am i missing something? The cool looking cases or clever TV advertising? Guess I never worried enough about being cool or trendy. I am about due to upgrade some hardware though, so I'd honestly like to know, I've asked several of the folks I work with on a regular basis, and stil no decent answer except the preference to the Mac OS and perceptions that I've mentioned above.
W


Hi,
Check out this thread: speed
J
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« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2008, 05:39:23 PM »
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Quote from: Greg Whitaker
So can anyone tell me now why one should choose Mac over Windows machines for professional photography?
There is no reason. Unless you need to use Software that is Mac only. I use both and contrary to marketing BS, the Mac certainly does not just work and due to the sheer uselessnes of Finder, I find OSX a much clumsier and slower OS.  The other surprising thing, I find it less consistent in behaviour and also awful to use with multiple monitors. I do my Mac File mangement using my PCs over the network, much easier and quicker.
PC version of CS4 is not only faster but has a better UI too. Sure Macs may be pretty, but that doesn't make up for at times, truely crappy design and looks are far more important than usability in the Apple world.
And if you want a laptop, Apple's choice is laughably awful, compared what is available to run Windows software.


Historically, some of the first programmes to be used by people in the creative industry were Mac only, hence their popularity in this area. Not because they were any better for 'photography'.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2008, 08:59:57 PM »
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Well,

The Mac works. That's a good reason. Let's just connect two displays to a Mac, color calibration works on both. Simple as that. On the PC it's a mess. As far as I understand it may work and there are better and worse solutions.

I have used Windows for many years and still use it at work, I'm a software engineer by profession with about 28 years of experience of computer using different operating systems, so I'm not computer illiterate I guess.

I have no experience with either Vista or Mac OS-X.5, I'm still on XP and Tiger. At home, for my photographic work I switched to Mac and never looked back. I would guess is that is what we see in the business, people are OS agnostic but they try Mac OS X and send the PC to pasture.

There are benefits to having a single vendor. Apple can select components that work together and support them from the operating system. On a PC you can switch everything, which of course gives freedom, but the price is that you need to install drivers for all hardware you add. There is much less guarantee on the PC that things work well together, that's the price of freedom.

To be more specific I can give a simple example:

I bought the ColorMunki from X-rite, run the installation script and that was that. I plugged in an external monitor into my iMac and now the calibration dialog pops up on both. I need to physically move the Color Munki between the screens, but that's it. To install the Color Munki on the XP I needed to download new version of the code, install another version of .Net. I think installation took about two hours. Now I have a problem with the PC it's used for multimedia so it is connected to an LCD TV and a projector. They need different calibrations.

What needs to be done is that you would download "Microsoft Color Control Panel Applet for Windows XP", and install it. In order of installing it you need to install another version of .Net and maybe other programs. So you spend another couple of hours in front of the computer. To add insult to injury Microsoft Color Control Panel Applet for Windows XP is a piece of crap, at least if intended as a gamut loader. The idea is that you generate a profile and change name on it, then with Microsoft Color Control Panel Applet for Windows XP you can install, make it default and apply it. Problem is that it's messy, undocumented and you are never sure what you get.

I finished up calibrating the projector, and adjusting the LCD TV using it's controls to look decent.

Now, why do I have a PC as a multimedia machine? There are some good reasons. I can add different cards, multiple hard disks and it's much cheaper. I could use Linux, which was my favorite OS until the need of color calibration forced med to switch to Windows. Setting it up was a painful experience, though. Installing Windows was not really easy, than I needed to upgrade BIOS, even if I only had the computer for a couple of days. Video was boggling down CPU and was hacky. After some research I found out that my Graphics Card vendor (ATI) had new drivers downloaded another 30-40 MByte from the internet and finally got it working. Most applications and especially video still ignore color management and installed color profiles, so getting colors right is still not easy.

Now I feel it's perfectly OK for any people to use any OS of their choice, but my personal experience with Windows is bad. May be that Vista is a great improvement but I won't any longer touch any product from Microsoft voluntarily any more.

Best regards
Erik



Quote from: Greg Whitaker
So can anyone tell me now why one should choose Mac over Windows machines for professional photography? Vista is 64 bit, so is CS4, Mac is not. New Macbooks no longer offer FW 400, and only glossy screens, not to mention that if you want to run mac, you have one choice of manufacturer for the machine you run it on, not my idea of a great structure for the professional. I have been digital for 2 years, earning my living with  location people photography in the advertising and editorial markets for 20 years. I shoot with both Canon 1DS2 M3 and PHase one P45+ (processed as 16bit) and never have a problem with file size, color compatability, workflow or processing speed. My custom laptop usually outperforms the Macs that my freelance digi-techs use.  The only drawback to windows that I see is the otherwise computer illiterate professional art directors, art buyers and designers with whom I work who are still worried that somehow they won't be able to use my files because they were "windows generated". About once or twice a year I will hear from a designer or AD that the images I provided were off in color, only to find that they are not viewing the images on a calibrated monitor, once the images go into a production machine they say "Oh, nevermind". I guess that I don't really think I need to conform to a once necessary standard due to outdated conventional wisdom. Am i missing something? The cool looking cases or clever TV advertising? Guess I never worried enough about being cool or trendy. I am about due to upgrade some hardware though, so I'd honestly like to know, I've asked several of the folks I work with on a regular basis, and stil no decent answer except the preference to the Mac OS and perceptions that I've mentioned above.
W
« Last Edit: October 18, 2008, 09:21:36 PM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

The View
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« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2008, 10:06:38 PM »
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Quote from: jjj
The problem with alienating the core base is that once they lose the pro lustre, consumer sales will also fall. People like to buy cheap versions of expensive/professional brands, but  if pros lose faith in Apple, then they will lose a lot of their attraction to the wannabees.

And like Sergio, I also question their quality. My new MacPro is remarkbly unreliable, my 3 year old 13" Vaio laptop simply works. Looks like I'll be sticking a faster HD in it and keep it going a bit longer. It can run CS4 OK, so not too bad for a old boy.

I have not heard of the MacPro being unreliable. Maybe you should give yours to a check-up.

I also love the OS and its reliability and I cannot imagine working on a PC (I had one, thank you, never again).

Generally, Mac computers are on the top end from what is on the market. They work reliably, and you don't have to constantly install codes and security software and drivers, etc.

And the customer service is unbeatable. If I have a problem with my Mac and it's still within warranty, I just drop it off, and there is no haggling about what is to fix.

The fact that Apple has had mass market success does not mean that its high end machines are less high end now.

It is actually more astonishing that mass market success can be had with such well designed goods like the iPod or the iPhone and the MacBook.

Compared to that, I don't like the aesthetics (or the lack of it) of windows equipment (including the software interfaces).

Creative people like that Apple combination of reliability and esthetics and good performance and ease of use, and they are willing to pay premium for that.

And I don't need to choose between half a dozen keyboards and screen surfaces. And if I don't like the glossy 24" display, I go buy an Eizo or a NEC. Which also work seamlessly on a Mac.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2008, 10:28:24 PM by The View » Logged

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