mac vs pc which is better for photo editing?

Edgar

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 24, 2005
Messages
2,624
Ok so me and my gf had a discussion about photo editing because I'm becoming more and more interested in photography. All I said was both have there pros and cons but a pc can do anything that a mac can do. But she kept saying that if you do the same exact thing to a picture on both a mac and pc that the mac one would always be of better quality even though ive never used a mac i still dont believe this would be true. Help me plz.
 
Last edited:

Empty_Quarter

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 23, 2007
Messages
2,247
Good thread, while I am no expert in the matter, macs do seem to be the industry's tool of choice for photo-editing and graphic design.
 

rufio

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 4, 2003
Messages
1,354
I heard that Macs can run calculations 10% better. 2+2=4 on my PC but on a Mac its 4.4; they must be better... :D

They are the same. I worked on a Mac Pro doing print design and had to force quit illustrator daily. My "inferior" PC at home (though not immune to locking up illustrator) had far less issues working with the same number of points and curves. You cannot magically get different results out of the same information and work flow just because of the platform.
 

madFive

metal[H]ead
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
8,833
Wow - can't believe we're about to have this conversation. :p *flame-suite on*

Ten years ago (or more) you literally had to have a mac to do graphics. Photoshop just barely ran in windows, and scores of other pro graphics apps didn’t exist for windows at all. Adobe and mac practically invented digital graphic design in the 80's, so mac has a long history with the graphics industry, and many designers who have been around a while will never use anything but macs because that’s all they know. Up until a few years ago, most pro print shops were mac based (some may still be for all I know) so you had to be on mac to work with a major printer.

That being said, the mac company of today bears little to no resemblance to the hardware giant of decades past. Now they specialize in making idiot friendly user interfaces, shiny cases that all look alike, use the exact same internal hardware as windows-based machines, and charge twice as much for a machine that only runs a third of the software.

For the same amount of money you'd spend on a consumer-grade mac, you can build a pc that is much more powerful, have it customized to fit your exact needs, runs all the same pro graphics software as well or better, and you can even game on it if you want! ;)

Now, if you're considering starting a large-scale graphic design shop and will be working with major printers to create top-of-the-line mass printed materials, you may need a few mac work-stations to keep the work-flow on track; but you might want to do some research and call several local print-shops first to make sure - I'm guessing the majority of them can now handle windows-based graphics files just fine as well.
 

criccio

Fully Equipped
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
12,738
How the hell can one be better then the other? Are we really starting this conversation?
 

gtg465x

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
2,112
Most people who are into photography and photo editing are rather artsy types and thus prefer pretty looking computers.
 

phide

Fully [H]
Joined
Jun 11, 2004
Messages
16,695
Or tell me I'm wrong and to stfu because macs ARE better then pc's for photo editing.
OS X can run Aperture. Whether Aperture is better than Lightroom is open to debate (but the photos won't end up turning out any better on either). That being said, Photoshop has a 64-bit version on Windows, whereas the only option on OS X is 32-bit. Again, that won't make any difference with respect to photos looking any better.
 

WiLLiSTER

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 24, 2008
Messages
2,702
Tell her to go make you a sandwich :)

Seriously though, you could take a mac and pc, run the same filters/effects and you'd come out with (near) identical pictures. Find the mac you would buy, then get a build list together for a pc that comes out to the same price. You'll get a much better computer that will do pretty much whatever the mac can and more.

The ONLY thing I liked more about using a mac is that Photoshop would have floating windows rather than covering up everything in the background, but that's just more of a mac thing in general.
 

Auric

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
468
That being said, Photoshop has a 64-bit version on Windows, whereas the only option on OS X is 32-bit. Again, that won't make any difference with respect to photos looking any better.
This.

On the flipside, if you're looking for a laptop for photography, there are few PC laptops that have screens that can compete with a Macbook Pro. The ones Lenovo markets to photographers are $3k+ whereas you can get a MBP for $1k, toss Windows on it with Boot Camp, and have your 64-bit Photoshop too.

Personally, I use a MBP when I travel for viewing and light photo-editing, then I do the serious work on my PC desktop when I get home.
 

Dark Prodigy

Jawbreaker
Joined
Mar 10, 2006
Messages
2,803
Wow - can't believe we're about to have this conversation. :p *flame-suite on*

Ten years ago (or more) you literally had to have a mac to do graphics. Photoshop just barely ran in windows, and scores of other pro graphics apps didn’t exist for windows at all. Adobe and mac practically invented digital graphic design in the 80's, so mac has a long history with the graphics industry, and many designers who have been around a while will never use anything but macs because that’s all they know. Up until a few years ago, most pro print shops were mac based (some may still be for all I know) so you had to be on mac to work with a major printer.

That being said, the mac company of today bears little to no resemblance to the hardware giant of decades past. Now they specialize in making idiot friendly user interfaces, shiny cases that all look alike, use the exact same internal hardware as windows-based machines, and charge twice as much for a machine that only runs a third of the software.

For the same amount of money you'd spend on a consumer-grade mac, you can build a pc that is much more powerful, have it customized to fit your exact needs, runs all the same pro graphics software as well or better, and you can even game on it if you want! ;)

Now, if you're considering starting a large-scale graphic design shop and will be working with major printers to create top-of-the-line mass printed materials, you may need a few mac work-stations to keep the work-flow on track; but you might want to do some research and call several local print-shops first to make sure - I'm guessing the majority of them can now handle windows-based graphics files just fine as well.
That about settles it.
 

Zepher

[H]ipster Replacement
Joined
Sep 29, 2001
Messages
17,402
one of my best friends has been in the publishing industry for about 20 years now, him and his brother design book covers, print ads, and do book and magazine layouts. They use PC's and all of the printers they have dealt with had no problems with the files, except one, which is an Indesign CS4 and CS3 issue. He uses CS4 and they use CS3 and his CS4 files sometimes don't open up properly in CS3.
So for any designs going to that one company, he opens the file in CS3 and makes adjustments and then sends it to them.

I have built, upgraded, and maintained his machine for the past 15 years.
 

zero2dash

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 23, 2007
Messages
6,081
one of my best friends has been in the publishing industry for about 20 years now, him and his brother design book covers, print ads, and do book and magazine layouts. They use PC's and all of the printers they have dealt with had no problems with the files, except one, which is an Indesign CS4 and CS3 issue. He uses CS4 and they use CS3 and his CS4 files sometimes don't open up properly in CS3.
So for any designs going to that one company, he opens the file in CS3 and makes adjustments and then sends it to them.

I have built, upgraded, and maintained his machine for the past 15 years.
Tell him to export an InDesign Exchange (.inx) file, they'll be able to open that in CS3.

re: OP
They're the same.
A long time ago PC processors were garbage compared to IBM's PPC line. Now that Apple is Intel only and most PC's are Intel, the playing field is even.

PC's currently have better support from Adobe because CS4 has the 64bit Ps.exe.
If Steve Jobs keeps running his mouth about how shitty Flash is, he's going to piss off the wrong person at Adobe and they're going to go Windows only....bank on it (*if* he keeps running his mouth, and knowing Steve Jobs - that's EXACTLY what he's going to do). Adobe used to *need* Apple just like Apple *needed* them...not anymore. Dare I say Mac users would be up a creek without Adobe apps, but Adobe doesn't need Apple anymore especially since their marketshare is miniscule.

I've worked over 15 years, PC and Mac, dating back to when Adobe was Aldus.
Today, again, the playing field is equal. You can buy or build a PC for cheaper than what a comparable Mac costs - I +1 the statement of buying a PC and spending the rest on photo gear. If it was a VIDEO question then the picture (no pun intended) is a little more cloudy because a lot of people use FCP (Final Cut Pro) over Premiere, and FCP is an Apple product and therefore Mac only. Being a photo user though - Mac or PC, doesn't matter.

There is no longer a "platform dependency". Photoshop CS4 files open up in Ps CS4 whether it's PC or Mac; the only problems you have sometimes is that Mac fonts do not have spaces in their names whereas they usually do in Windows (ie TimesNewRoman instead of Times New Roman). Relink the TTF or OTF fonts one platform to another, problem solved. ;)
 
Last edited:

Zepher

[H]ipster Replacement
Joined
Sep 29, 2001
Messages
17,402
Thanks. I'll let him know about the InDesign Exchange file and see if that works for him.
 

TheGamerZ

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 18, 2003
Messages
5,217
Since Macs ARE PC's in shiny aluminum cases, performance is identical on the hardware level. Both have Photoshop and other programs of the like. It depends on whether you want the "bling bling look at my brushed aluminum computer while i sip my $12 latte" look or the "I know what I'm talking about and spend my money wisely" look.
 

heatlesssun

Extremely [H]
Joined
Nov 5, 2005
Messages
44,154
Since Macs ARE PC's in shiny aluminum cases, performance is identical on the hardware level. Both have Photoshop and other programs of the like. It depends on whether you want the "bling bling look at my brushed aluminum computer while i sip my $12 latte" look or the "I know what I'm talking about and spend my money wisely" look.
Can't help but to agree with this. That said, I'm a PC and I cost more than most Macs. At least my PCs.

Macs really are very average machines overall. Sure the MBP unibody designs are nice as well as the 27" iMacs.

One cool thing that's available in the PC world that's popular with digital artists are Tablet PCs. Sure you can get pen pads for the Mac but nothing like a TPC in the Mac world even today. Overall the PC ecosystem has more options.
 

Zepher

[H]ipster Replacement
Joined
Sep 29, 2001
Messages
17,402
Tell him to export an InDesign Exchange (.inx) file, they'll be able to open that in CS3.
Thanks. I'll let him know about the InDesign Exchange file and see if that works for him.
I told him about it and the issue is only a factor when laying out the text in a book. He says the Kerning values are slightly different in both versions so he has to go to CS3 to fix it so that the pages flow the same as in CS4 when he laid it out.

I suggested that he should buy them the upgrade to CS4 since they seem to cheap to upgrade themselves. :)
 
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
10
Nowadays it's user-choice...not really this versus that.

My Graphic Design Tech courses had Macs that we had to use and they sucked (performance) compared to my home PC for doing projects in PS and Illustrator.
 

botw

Gawd
Joined
Jan 13, 2007
Messages
593
and be prettier and run apple software out of the box.

@zero2dash: would love to see Adobe pull apple support for a while. Much more than Apple becoming industry standard for design/photo work, Adobe has done so.
 

jadams

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 14, 2010
Messages
4,087
I also had this conversation with a Mac fanboy declaring that Mac's were better for photo/video editing. And i told him the same things that have been reverberated in this thread.

He then went and tried to claim that Adobe products somehow magically are better on Macs than PC's. Theres just no arguing with them.....
 

zero2dash

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 23, 2007
Messages
6,081
He then went and tried to claim that Adobe products somehow magically are better on Macs than PC's.
Windows only Photoshop 64bit would like to disagree. :D

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Creative_Suite#New_in_Creative_Suite_4
Adobe CS4 is also developed to perform better under 64-bit and multi-core processors. On Windows, Adobe Photoshop CS4 runs natively as a 64-bit application. Although they are not natively 64-bit applications, Adobe After Effects CS4 and Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 have been optimized for 64-bit computers.[4] However, Adobe has stated that no 64-bit version of CS4 will be available for Mac OS X.[5] In early testing of 64-bit support in Adobe Photoshop CS4, overall performance gains ranged from 8% to 12%. Those who work with extremely large files may realize noticeably greater gains in performance, in some cases as dramatic as ten times the previous speed. This is because 64-bit applications can address larger amounts of memory and thus result in less file swapping — one of the biggest factors that can affect data processing speed.[6]
CS5 is reportedly going to have 64bit versions of Premiere Pro and After Effects; no word on whether those will also be Windows only although I'd be willing to bet they will be.

In all honesty I spend more time in Illustrator and InDesign than Photoshop so I don't see much difference myself from 32 vs 64, however the fact of the matter is: if CS4 64 was Mac only, there sure the hell would be a whooooooooooooole lot of rabid Apple fanboys claiming that their platform was superior....so since I'm on the "good" side of the fence I'll say 'nyah nyah'. :p
 
Last edited:

schizrade

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
4,821
This.

On the flipside, if you're looking for a laptop for photography, there are few PC laptops that have screens that can compete with a Macbook Pro. The ones Lenovo markets to photographers are $3k+ whereas you can get a MBP for $1k, toss Windows on it with Boot Camp, and have your 64-bit Photoshop too.

Personally, I use a MBP when I travel for viewing and light photo-editing, then I do the serious work on my PC desktop when I get home.
Except that the MBP's do not have a Color Calibrator built in. That is some handy stuff when you are out and about.
 

Langford

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
1,339
I'm completely happy using Linux. Gimp, Inkscape, and Hugin do pretty much everything I care about doing.
 

MixManSC

║▌║█║▌│║▌║▌█
Staff member
Joined
Aug 12, 2004
Messages
7,038
I own (and have for several years) a large format print company. We are 100% Windows PC's. Just since I've been in this I've seen the shift moving more and more towards Windows platforms as I get less and less mac files from agencies. In fact I'd say its less than 1 in 30 nowadays - when I first got into the business it was probably half and half. Because we are a large format specialty shop some of the PSB files we are working with will at times get over 4gb in size. A dual quad core xeon box with 32gb of ram, booting from an Intel G2 SSD, and storing bulk data on a raid array of 4 15k SAS drives, with Windows 7 x64 and Photoshop CS4 x64 is a freaking dream. Shit just works and is fast as hell and due to full 64 bit support, I can do many things to large files much faster than any mac can - period.

The argument that a photo processed on a mac would somehow look better than the same photo processed in the same way on a pc..... lmao.
 

schizrade

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
4,821
I own (and have for several years) a large format print company. We are 100% Windows PC's. Just since I've been in this I've seen the shift moving more and more towards Windows platforms as I get less and less mac files from agencies. In fact I'd say its less than 1 in 30 nowadays - when I first got into the business it was probably half and half. Because we are a large format specialty shop some of the PSB files we are working with will at times get over 4gb in size. A dual quad core xeon box with 32gb of ram, booting from an Intel G2 SSD, and storing bulk data on a raid array of 4 15k SAS drives, with Windows 7 x64 and Photoshop CS4 x64 is a freaking dream. Shit just works and is fast as hell and due to full 64 bit support, I can do many things to large files much faster than any mac can - period.

The argument that a photo processed on a mac would somehow look better than the same photo processed in the same way on a pc..... lmao.
I have wondered about this. I am trying to push our Marketing Dept this way.
 

madFive

metal[H]ead
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
8,833
...A dual quad core xeon box with 32gb of ram, booting from an Intel G2 SSD, and storing bulk data on a raid array of 4 15k SAS drives, with Windows 7 x64 and Photoshop CS4 x64...
:eek: I need clean underwear now - thanks a lot. :p
 

Arkangyl

Gawd
Joined
Mar 3, 2005
Messages
668
beating what sounds like a done point, but speaking as the owner of both a Windows PC and a MacBook and having (lightly!) used the software on both.

Photoshop is Photoshop IMO, pretty much the same on both. Macs have iPhoto, both have Picasa, IMO they do the same crap these days. Finally Macs have Aperture, in some light testing, and knowing some friends who have it, I get the impression it's just the more-used features in PS melded with iPhoto.

Realistically if you use Picasa to parse stuff and PS for fine tuning, you'll get the same results and the PC will be cheaper.

And a personal point: I HATE the way Macs try to smooth mouse movement. Completely messes me up 100% of the time. I got used to the trackpad on the MacBook, but using a real mouse never worked for me :-\
 

absolute_zero

Weaksauce
Joined
Mar 26, 2010
Messages
102
comparing picasa and iphoto to aperture (or lightroom) and photoshop is like comparing apples to wax apples.
 

zero2dash

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 23, 2007
Messages
6,081
I'm completely happy using Linux. Gimp, Inkscape, and Hugin do pretty much everything I care about doing.
I've tried dumping CS4 to switch to Gimp + Inkscape (and using Inkscape in a quasi-InDesign alternative way for page layout since there's no good open source page layout apps) but I just can't do it....I've been using Adobe apps for far too long, I'd rather just bite the bullet and buy a new version if I have to down the road and keep what I know. :) Illustrator especially....I'm just too used to it now.
 

schizrade

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
4,821
I've tried dumping CS4 to switch to Gimp + Inkscape (and using Inkscape in a quasi-InDesign alternative way for page layout since there's no good open source page layout apps) but I just can't do it....I've been using Adobe apps for far too long, I'd rather just bite the bullet and buy a new version if I have to down the road and keep what I know. :) Illustrator especially....I'm just too used to it now.
Lol, same here. 17 years using Adobe Products and I am fully dependent on them... :mad:



:D
 

Destonomos

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 13, 2004
Messages
1,027
I didn't read all the replys but it has to do with color management. In the mac os the OS handles color management. So, for instance, if photoshop on a windows machine says this variant of red is xyz then photoshop tells windows this is what that color of red is (levels wise). Then lets say something like Quark or Paint could say that color red is another level other than xyz so on windows you can have multiple programs saying the same color is different number levels.

On OSX the operating system says this is what red is and the applications ask for what the color is so its uniform. I don't know if this changed in 7 or not.

Thats what my teacher said when I was in college and took a desktop publishing class. That teacher had a serious hardon for Mac's.
 

redmasc

Gawd
Joined
Apr 28, 2005
Messages
798
I work with a lot of 3d design packages and use photoshop for textures and I don't see a damn difference in quality. Even when I was in art school and used PS on a mac and on the pc, I couldn't spot the difference. I say, put a side by side comparison test and see if your girlfriend can even spot the difference. I say that's the only way to get a non-bias assessment.
 

Zarathustra[H]

I Complain about Everything
Joined
Oct 29, 2000
Messages
29,992
Historically, Macs were far superior in this regard.

These days there is no real difference. All the software used for photo editing exists for both platforms (Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, etc, Nikon Capture NX2, etc.)

Working on them is mostly indistinguishable from eachother, after launching the programs.

If anything I'll give the PC a slight edge, for the simple reason that if you have a fixed budget, you can get better/more hardware for the same amount of money if you choose a PC over a Mac.
 

Decepticon

Gawd
Joined
Nov 26, 2006
Messages
554
At the end of the day it's the software you use to edit your photos that really matters. However, if you're going to be doing series graphical work/photo editing and pretty much doing anything that isn't gaming...get a Mac, it's much better equipped out of the box to do this kind of thing, and Photoshop is slightly superior on OS X. It just works better in my experience (yes I frequent both).
 

schizrade

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
4,821
At the end of the day it's the software you use to edit your photos that really matters. However, if you're going to be doing series graphical work/photo editing and pretty much doing anything that isn't gaming...get a Mac, it's much better equipped out of the box to do this kind of thing, and Photoshop is slightly superior on OS X. It just works better in my experience (yes I frequent both).
I would LOVE to see the empirical data on that one. ;)
 

Zarathustra[H]

I Complain about Everything
Joined
Oct 29, 2000
Messages
29,992
I would LOVE to see the empirical data on that one. ;)
Second that.

The last data I saw on thests like these compared the highest end Macs vs PC's back when the mac's were running PowerPC cpu's. As expected the macs were absolutely trounced by the high end X86 chips of the time. (we're talking anywhere from 2-5 times faster in bulk operations).


Lately - however - I haven't seen any data. My assumption has been that due to using the same architecture performance should be equivalent these days.

The only down side of photo editing on a PC for me is that Nikon hasn't quite optimized its Capture NX2 software for 64bit Windows yet, so there are some issues there. This software is - apparently - somewhat buggy on the Mac as well though. It seems like Nikon has horrible software quality control.

I have used Lightroom and Photoshop on both Macs and PC's and apart from my occasional fumblings on the mac to click the right button at the top of the window (completely due to me not being used to it) I found the performance indistinguishable from eachother on similarly speced hardware.
 
Top