Need suggestions for a new photography laptop

It’s time to replace my Surface Book 1. Would love some feedback on what I should be looking for in a laptop I will use for processing photographs using Lightroom, Photoshop, and Luminar.
Most of the time it is connected to a 34" 4K monitor, but I do travel and want to bring my hobby with me. Nothing better on a rainy day camping than processing photos. :slight_smile:

I prefer a 13" monitor. 15" is too big.
What kind of specs and machines would you recommend? Graphics speed is important. Anything to speed up the Lightroom Import function would be wonderful. Need at least a 1TB of storage. I’d like to keep the cost under $3,000 or so.

Back in May, Wirecutter recommended the Surface Book 2. Not sure I want to go there again.

NO Macs!!! Windows Only.

Thank you!

@ant_pruitt any ideas?

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actually, yes. But they’re usually 15’’. I don’t think i’ve seen a 13’’ that has the storage you want and the horsepower. At least not off the top of my head. I’ll look this evening after the gym.

Maxes out at 512GB storage, but maybe the Razer Blade Stealth would be suitable. Supplement the storage with an external SSD to compensate?

https://www.razer.com/gaming-laptops/razer-blade-stealth/

That razr looks good. I’ve reviewed this 15’’ and really liked it for performance. I like to see how laptops handle After Effects and Photoshop files. In my experience, if it can handle that, it can handle Lightroom. https://amzn.to/2KdqZpK (affiliate) I’m still searching for a < 15’’ though

I’ll be talking about this on HOT, soon. It is not gonna be a machine to run After Effects, but it does work well with Lightroom. And it’s a light ultrabook. https://amzn.to/2O6irCn (affiliate)

Dell XPS 13. Get an OLED screen if you can.

If I have to go 15” screen to get other specs I’m okay with that.

OR that new 16" MacBook Pro looks real sweet. I tried a Mac a few years ago and learning MacOS was frustrating.

I’m starry-eyed in love with my new MacBook Pro 16".

My new workflow (with the 61 MP RAWs from my Sony AR7IV):

  • Copy contents of card to desktop (save originals just in case)
  • Open folder in FastRawViewer
  • Grade photos fast - roughly speaking it’s 0 - reject/ 1- keep for personal albums/ 2 - keep for sharing on flickr/ 3 - good enough for smugmug/portfolio
  • Move rejects to _Rejected folder for eventual disposal (no hurry)
  • Import the rest into Lightroom
  • Edit with Lightroom and, if needed Luminar/Aurora/Nik plugins
  • Import the keepers into Photos and Google Photos
  • Post the gems

All of this is pretty fast on the MacBook and I trust the true-tone screen.

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Thanks for the workflow and FastRawViewer - glad to see it has a Windows version.
I’m still trying to decide what laptop to get. Just not sure I want to jump into MacOS.
Any thoughts on a Lenovo Thinkpad P53 with OLED screen?

When you import into Lightroom, where are you storing them? On the Mac?
Is your entire RAW photo library on the Mac?
How about the Lightroom library?

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Thanks for the workflow and FastRawViewer - glad to see it has a Windows version.
I’m still trying to decide what laptop to get. Just not sure I want to jump into MacOS.
Any thoughts on a Lenovo Thinkpad P53 with OLED screen?

When you import into Lightroom, where are you storing them? On the Mac?
Is your entire RAW photo library on the Mac?
How about the Lightroom library?

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We used to issue P50 ThinkPads to staff who moaned about the performance of the standard-issue T Series ones. We usually got them back after a few days :grinning:

They’re big and heavy machines - just thinking about your original post saying you liked to travel with it.

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Thanks for the input. Very good observation.

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I’d definitely look at the Dell XPS with OLED. Assume they do a 13" OLED too which might be your sweet spot?

Macbook Pro vs Dell XPS (Forbes)

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Thanks for posting that. Very interesting.

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From the Forbes review:

Colors pop, blacks are really black, contrast is astronomically higher

That doesn’t sound like an accurate screen to me. Great to look at but for photography accuracy is paramount. I’d look to see what the Dell does on that score.

Having said that I love Dells, and the XPS 15 is a great machine. I just don’t want to use Windows.

So which is more accurate? DCI-P3 or 100% Adobe RGB?
Touch is not a big deal.
The Dell has Thunderbolt 3 too. :grin:

You don’t want to use Windows. I don’t want to use macOS. We’re even.

Don’t confuse gamut with color accuracy. Just because something can reproduce all the colors within the P3 or sRGB range doesn’t mean it’s doing so accurately.

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Those are both gamut standards (range of colours). I’ve had zero experience of OLED laptops (I use an IPS MBP), but it does make sense an OLED may cause issues if you are doing colour sensitive work, as you’ll be working with very saturated colours.

I processed a bunch of photos last night with night shift on :man_facepalming:t2: Wondered why they looked a bit weird this morning!

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