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Author Topic: Recommendations for a light notebook/ultrabook for remote area travel  (Read 3982 times)
Tony Jay
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« on: April 30, 2013, 02:38:31 AM »
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I am planning a trip through South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia later this year.
Most of the time we will be camping (rooftop tent on a 4X4).
I will be on the road for five weeks.

My current laptop is not only dated but heavy.
So, I am looking for a new notebook/ultrabook.
The idea is to load Lightroom 4.x and to use several external HD's as backups.

A relatively small and light system is required preferably with the ability to recharge directly from a 12V power source (usually the vehicle itself) without the need for a transformer.
There are occasions where I will have access to 220-240V mains power but only occasionally.

I would appreciate any thoughts/recommendations from those inverterate remote area travellers.

Tony Jay
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BrianWJH
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2013, 03:56:41 AM »
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Tony, I like this one http://shopap.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/auweb/LenovoPortal/en_AU/catalog.workflow:item.detail?GroupID=173&Code=X1_Carbon_ANZ_C4&category_id=B9AF55C68CE1801A72F00ADAC814AC39

Hunt-Key make a universal 12 volt 90watt car charger that I'm currently using on a Thinkpad x61, also has a usb socket, details here:http://dealer.huntkey.com/en/product/p-140-609.html

UMart carry the Hunt-Key charger.

So jealous, should be a fantastic trip with spectacular scenery.

Cheers,
Brian.
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David Sutton
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2013, 04:17:08 AM »
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Tony, I have been wondering about lightweight laptops as well, and they are there if you want to spend a substantial amount of money. Two years ago I bought a second hand Dell Latitude 4300 for a smallish sum, loaded it with a 750 gig hard drive and Windows 7. It weighs about 1.6 kg but the brick is just over another 400 gm. It went fine in Antarctica and does everything I want. So far I haven't seen anything under A$1500 worth the investment for the saving of a few hundred gm.
Not applicable in your case but I would want to know if the advertised weight includes the power supply.
BTW, I put the LR main catalogue on one of the usb3 externals and use the laptop as one of the backups. Makes it faster to transfer to the desktop on return.
Have a fun trip.
David
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Jason DiMichele
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2013, 05:40:17 AM »
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Hi Tony,

I totally love my MacBook Air. I find it's the perfect balance between speed, weight, screen size and battery life (amazing). I've got the 13" model, 256GB SSD, 8GB Ram. I have also purchased a neat accessory from Nifty Drive which is a microSD to SD Adapter but it doesn't stick out of the case like am SD card would. i have a 64GB microSD card (very fast Sandisk) that I leave in there for an extra 64GB of storage (I can take it out easily enough if required). Very reasonably priced as well. My main desktop is a Windows 7 machine so I'm using both systems but this MacBook Air was what persuaded me to go Apple for my portable solution.

Cheers!
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Jason DiMichele
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2013, 06:19:03 AM »
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Gentlemen, thank you for your replies.
I will thoroughly investigate each and every lead that you have given me.

Thank you kindly.

Tony Jay
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k bennett
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2013, 07:30:09 AM »
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I have an 11 inch Macbook Air as my primary computer. I bought it last summer when they increased the RAM to 8GB. I got the fastest processor upgrade and the 256GB SSD. In the studio it's hooked up to a NEC profiled monitor. This machine is 20% faster than my old 17 inch Macbook Pro in processor-intensive tasks like exporting files from Lightroom.

The great thing about the MBA is that it fits easily in my regular camera bag, so I always have a computer with me. The screen is small, sure, but it's large enough for basic editing in Lightroom or Photo Mechanic.

Sounds like an awesome trip - have fun.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2013, 03:00:02 PM »
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Thanks for the recomendation.
The Macbook air is definitely in the running especially since a third party offers a 12V charging option which is a crucial part of what I need.

Tony Jay
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David Sutton
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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2013, 04:55:58 PM »
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Hello again Tony. If I can the spare cash I think I'd go for the MacBook Air, Dell XPS 13, Acer Apire S5 or a Toshiba Portege.
I've used all except a MacBook and they all work well.
Until now I've kept a lightweight laptop for travel and a larger one for work, but now seem to use the Dell for everything.
My suggestion really is that if you just want something for travel, check out the second hand market. I buy mine from shops so I have a guarantee, and the thousand dollars or more I save goes into the trip. I would really like a lightweight 15 inch number, but once tried using one on a plane and needed physio afterwards. I back up the third copy of my files to a hyperdrive, but if they were going to a normal external hard drive, I'd want three usb ports.
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k bennett
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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2013, 05:35:49 PM »
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We've bought our last two Macbooks from the Apple Store refurbished section. Saved several hundred dollars, got a full warranty. The selection may not always be wide, but if you keep checking you can usually find what you need.
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Craig Lamson
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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2013, 06:49:54 PM »
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We've bought our last two Macbooks from the Apple Store refurbished section. Saved several hundred dollars, got a full warranty. The selection may not always be wide, but if you keep checking you can usually find what you need.

+1 fro Apple refurbs.  Oneof my favorite places to shop.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2013, 05:56:08 AM »
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The Apple refurbishments look very intriguing indeed.
Thank you for the pointers.

There 12V charging and external battery options available, so possibly a very workable solution.

Tony Jay
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2013, 07:18:00 AM »
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Just out of curiosity, why not just take many memory cards and do the processing when you come back home?

I used to take a laptop with me on such trips and later realized that there was always a better way to use time when in the field rather than sitting in front of a small laptop screen.

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
ripgriffith
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« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2013, 09:41:53 AM »
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Avoid, at all costs, anything running Android!  Without adequate research, I bought the Asus Infinity Transformer with Android Ice Cream Sandwich (the name of the OS should have been a giveaway that this was nothing more than an expensive toy, incapable of running any serious graphics processing software).  My loss, your gain in information. Android is only suitable for mobile phones, if even that. 
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AFairley
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« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2013, 11:47:34 AM »
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Just out of curiosity, why not just take many memory cards and do the processing when you come back home?

I used to take a laptop with me on such trips and later realized that there was always a better way to use time when in the field rather than sitting in front of a small laptop screen.

Cheers,
Bernard


Agreed, but  I like to back up to a second location on the trip while also keeping the original images on the cards.  But for that you can use a slow $200 netbook and sitll have enough processing power to run LR or PS, albeit with a fair amount of lag.  About twice the weigh of an ultrabook, just need to make sure you have the 768 pix screen since you can't run LR or CS on the 600 px screens.
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2013, 12:16:50 PM »
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you can't run LR or CS on the 600 px screens.
I've got LR3 & CS4 happily running on my XP netbook running a 1024x600 screen here, no hacks needed either.
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AFairley
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« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2013, 04:22:21 PM »
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I've got LR3 & CS4 happily running on my XP netbook running a 1024x600 screen here, no hacks needed either.

Adobe does say min is 1024x768.  Anyway, I could not get the full CS5 window on the 1024x600 without a hack, and hacked it was squashed.  Machine was a Dell, I got a 768 screen for $50 and swapped it out.  So I guess it's a case of YMMV.
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kencameron
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« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2013, 04:36:05 PM »
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Avoid, at all costs, anything running Android!  Without adequate research, I bought the Asus Infinity Transformer with Android Ice Cream Sandwich (the name of the OS should have been a giveaway that this was nothing more than an expensive toy, incapable of running any serious graphics processing software).  My loss, your gain in information. Android is only suitable for mobile phones, if even that. 
Android is excellent software for mobile phones and most tablets. which is what it claims to be. I would have to concur with your own assessment of your research if you imagined it would run serious graphics processing software.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2013, 04:48:25 PM »
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Just out of curiosity, why not just take many memory cards and do the processing when you come back home?

I used to take a laptop with me on such trips and later realized that there was always a better way to use time when in the field rather than sitting in front of a small laptop screen.

Your suggestion is a consideration Bernard but five weeks and several thousand images will be a big backlog to catch up on.
Most of the work required will be importing, metadata acquisition, and keywording.
Also several external hard drives will be required to back-up images.
So, not taking a computer of some description is not really an option.

Tony Jay
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k bennett
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« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2013, 07:23:12 PM »
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Your suggestion is a consideration Bernard but five weeks and several thousand images will be a big backlog to catch up on.
Most of the work required will be importing, metadata acquisition, and keywording.

And the keywording and captioning is best done right after shooting, at least at my advanced age. Smiley Plus, you'll know quickly if there is a problem with a camera, like a bad shutter or similar issue.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2013, 12:20:40 AM »
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Yes, there are several reasons not to want to only start on one's images at home.

I am pretty organized with my workflow so the time taken to import, add metadata, keyword etc will not take long.
I use a lot of presets too.
In the case of this trip I will be well prepared since I know where I am going and, roughly, at least my likely subjects.
I have an extensive keyword hierarchy (25 000 keywords) that will grow during this trip with mostly location keywords for small places in South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia although I will try as much as possible to be prepared prior to departure, but from experience this will never be complete.

The middle of the day will be my most likely time work on images.
Early morning and late afternoon I will very preferably be shooting.
I am expecting to get pretty tired so even after 20:00 I expect to be asleep for an early start the next day at 04:00.

Tony Jay
« Last Edit: May 05, 2013, 12:22:50 AM by Tony Jay » Logged
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