Laptop for photo editing - $1000 budget

drago010

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Wife is getting more into photography since the kiddo was born and she has shown much disdain for her current hand-me-down laptop that is at least 5-6yrs old. Looking to get her something new that she can play around in Lightroom with. Looking to make the purchase before Christmas time. The price is also a bit flexible depending on how much better performance can be gained by adding $1-200 to budget.

I was just looking into gaming laptops in that range. Found this: https://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-1920x...s=p_36:2421890011&rnid=2421885011&s=pc&sr=1-4

Seems to have decent specs and good display, but I'm not very familiar with hardware nowadays and especially in laptops. Would it make more sense to wait closer to Dec. to see what else comes to the market?

Any suggestions appreciated.

Thanks
 

drago010

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Thanks for the suggestion Hulk. Is having just integrated graphics good enough for photo editing? Always thought a dedicated gpu would be needed.

I know I didn't mention it in original post, but video editing might done as well.
 

UnknownSouljer

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Oof. Well truth be told the requirements for editing video versus just photos is an entirely different level.
I could honestly edit 1GB photos in Photoshop with a roughly top end laptop from 8 years ago and it would be a perfectly pleasant experience (i7 4-core, 8-thread, 16GB Ram, SATA SSD, nVidia 750m or similar). Using integrated graphics will likely not mess up your experience too much - at least not modern ones. Intel Integrated from 2013 and beyond is enough just for photos. You don't necessarily need a discreet GPU just for that.
But editing video will strain every component in the system. You basically want a top end gaming machine but with an IPS DCI-P3 10-bit display (as opposed to say some high-hz TN or similar). Most of the things that you'd be able to reliably edit 4k video on just frankly cost a lot. Basically get the fastest processor with the most cores, the best video card, the most ram, and the fastest HDD's you can afford.

Now, to be clear if all she's going to do is cut some stuff together, she probably won't experience much pain. But if there is any color grading or anything requiring any level of real time rendering - then she's going to have a bad time on a slow system.
Editing 4k can be a painfully slow experience if you have to do it with any regularity on a slow system. I basically had that experience. I outgrew my laptop when I moved from primarily editing 1080p to 4k and it seriously crushed my system. Nearing the end of a lot of projects I would make small changes and literally just wait minutes for the machine to render the changes and then test what I had done. Then rinse and repeat. I basically spent as much or more time "waiting" as I did actually interacting with my computer while doing edits. Not fun.
 
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bman212121

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Slightly above your budget, but the Surface Laptop 3 is a solid choice for photography. Screens are factory calibrated and should be dead on for photo work.

Currently $300 off right now:

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/micros...est-model-matte-black/6374334.p?skuId=6374334


You absolutely need 16GB of memory, 8GB isn't cutting it anymore on the newest versions of lightroom. If you want LR + PS open at the same time, just opening them both will go above 8GB of memory.
 

cyclone3d

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Take a look at Affinity Photo. 1 time purchase with lifetime free upgrades so no dealing with the crap monthly fees of Adobe products.

Works just as well if not better than Lightroom and only a $50 purchase to top it off:
https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/photo/

Used to originally only be for Apple products but they released it for PC a few years ago. I got in when they first released it. Performance was a bit lacking compared to Lightroom at first but they fixed that problem really quickly and it has only gotten even better over time.

You also don't have to deal with the stupid album imports like you do with Lightroom.

It is way easier to work with than with Lightroom.

Try the free trial and you probably will throw Lightroom to the curb.
 

drago010

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I really appreciate all the information provided. Good to know that I don't need to get something with a dedicated gpu and can focus on other specs. I don't think I will worry about any video editing ability.

Will definitely take a look at Affinity.

Thanks
 

drago010

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I had missed the deals on the suggestions given before. With Black Friday and cyber monday here, are there any new offerings that would work. Trying to keep it at the $1000 range as the wife showed interest in other things for Christmas/B-day as well, so rather not go too overboard on cost.
 

UnknownSouljer

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Probably not popular to say on these forums but now at this price point the machine to get at $1000 would be an Apple Macbook Air powred by M1. It absolutely destroys everything in terms of value for photo and video work. You'd actually be able to render and cut in 4k easily with that machine. It's also incredibly light weight, has ridiculous battery life, and is completely silent. On the PC side you'd likely have to spend literally 4x as much to get something that can compete with the M1 in terms of photo and video work. Even the base model is hard to make choke. However if you're into "future proofing" then perhaps spend a little more for 16GB of RAM and 512GB+ of HD space.

Affinity Photo is available on macOS. And FCPX is a fantastic program for video editing that only has to be paid for once for life as is Davinci Resolve (if you want something more advanced and complicated - has 16GB of RAM as its minimum spec).

Only downsides is it can't really game (well, the library is much more limited), it's non-upgradeable (so get what you need during checkout), it doesn't have a huge amount of IO, and you can't run Windows. To me, none of those are big issues.
 
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drago010

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I used to be opposed to Apple products before because I thought they were always overpriced for what you got, but I honestly thought about trying one out myself if I was to ever get a laptop. The wife on the other hand has specifically said no to Apple when I suggested it before, so I'm not sure how well it would go over. She never really specified why, but I feel it's just having to learn something new that's a downside. I will see if I poke at the reasoning a bit more and persuade her to be open to something different. Thanks
 

kamikazi

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I guess I'd be resurrecting this thread if I made a new one. My sister is looking to start doing some photo editing as a side gig with Light room and photoshop. There are a few compelling options in this thread. However, she would like a 15 inch monitor and does not want a Mac. I know that Lightroom can use GPU acceleration. Is it worth it to get a 1660Ti like that Legion laptop above?
 

cyclone3d

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You want a Ryzen 7 or Ryzen 9 CPU (smokes Intel), an IPS screen (way better color reproduction, but make sure to try and look up the color gamut as well as there are not so good IPS screens) and 16GB dual channel RAM.

GTX 1650 or better should be fine and really isn't needed unless you are doing really heavy editing.
Adobe recommends a card with a score of at least 2000. A 1650 is about 1.5x that and a 1660Ti is over 2x that.
https://www.videocardbenchmark.net/directCompute.html

See here for a list of the CPUs so you can easily look up the core count, etc. since laptop mfgs don't generally list most of the specs.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_AMD_Ryzen_processors#Mobile_processors

I will recommend Affinity Photo again as I like it way better than Lightroom and Photoshop. Affinity also has GPU acceleration.

I would also recommend getting at least 1 larger external monitor. 1440p as a minimum, but 4k is even better. 27"-32" is what I would want. Trying to edit on a single 15.4" screen is going to be torture.

And if you want your prints to come out like they are displayed on the screen, a color calibration device such as a Colormunki is also very much required.
 
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kamikazi

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You want a Ryzen 7 or Ryzen 9 CPU (smokes Intel), an IPS screen (way better color reproduction, but make sure to try and look up the color gamut as well as there are not so good IPS screens) and 16GB dual channel RAM.

GTX 1650 or better should be fine and really isn't needed unless you are doing really heavy editing.
Adobe recommends a card with a score of at least 2000. A 1650 is about 1.5x that and a 1660Ti is over 2x that.
https://www.videocardbenchmark.net/directCompute.html

See here for a list of the CPUs so you can easily look up the core count, etc. since laptop mfgs don't generally list most of the specs.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_AMD_Ryzen_processors#Mobile_processors

I will recommend Affinity Photo again as I like it way better than Lightroom and Photoshop. Affinity also has GPU acceleration.

I would also recommend getting at least 1 larger external monitor. 1440p as a minimum, but 4k is even better. 27"-32" is what I would want. Trying to edit on a single 15.4" screen is going to be torture.

And if you want your prints to come out like they are displayed on the screen, a color calibration device such as a Colormunki is also very much required.
Thanks for your input. The Lenovo Legion 5 quoted further up in this thread has the following specs:

Lenovo Legion 5 Gaming Laptop, 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) IPS Screen, AMD Ryzen 7 4800H Processor, 16GB DDR4, 512GB SSD, NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti, Windows 10, 82B1000AUS, Phantom Black​

That seems to check most of your boxes. I believe you can turn off the discrete graphics to save a little juice when you don't need the power as well. I think I'll recommend it.

Thanks.
 
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