Our Photography Courses Blog

Mac or PC

One question we are often asked is which is better for photographic work – MAC or PC -based systems. This often causes much Mitchell and Webb-style discussion around here, as Phil has used PCs for years and Rachel is still using her venerable mac G5 – 12 years old and counting.

Our computer problems have never been around the processors etc – much more related to DVD burners, printers, external hard drives and all the peripheral stuff you need to connect to your computer. As many of you know we are of a fairly frugal disposition (and not made of money) so we have always tried to get the most bangs for our buck out of kit, whether computers or camera kit.

Finally, having had a tedious succession of computer problems (nothing lost except loads of our time), we bit the bullet and bought a new iMac – the lowliest one there is, a 21.5″ 3.08Ghz with 4Gb. It is an absolute revelation to work on, and we have just downloaded the trial of Lightroom which works a treat, as does Picasa. We’ve also started to use the iWork suite rather than office, although docs can be saved as word or powerpoint . Everything works perfectly, and even our ancient (£90 bargain) HP4600n printer worked when we plugged it in without drivers etc. Fantastic.

Pricewise, Macs are certainly more expensive than PCs, and Phil’s not sure about the keyboard not having the numeric pad on the side. The weird new magic mouse is extremely cool, though! However, we are still using our 12 year old G5 – how many of us can say that about PCs? So the couple of hundred extra quid seems like a good investment.

Better yet, we bought a My Book Studio firewire 1TB backup drive, which automatically backs up everything straight out of the box, including all our desktops and settings. This was little more than £100, again on the expensive side but not by much.

So, it looks like Mac wins in the office. We’re not sure about their laptops, though. Nice as they are, the cost is ruinous, and they still get dropped, stolen and sat on just as much as PCs. We were issued a Macbook from Malvern College, which is very nice, but we’d still buy a laptop PC and keep the extra few hundred.

Phil is happy, because now he can buy all sorts of old peripheral devices and plug them in, and they’ll work. Rach is happy, because she can finally make DVD’s without hassle. She edited a wedding yesterday using Lightroom in about half the usual time – and wedding season is nearly on us! For once we feel ready for it.

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