Apple Computers; why I prefer them


Just as ‘seeing’ a picture is what really counts, not the equipment you choose to accomplish its capture, so the use of computers and Photoshop, for example, depends on your skills with the software, not so much with the hardware.


However, if you are serious about reducing your workload and increasing your efficiency, the choice and specification of a computer and its associated software will have a vital bearing on your results.


Once I used to be a dedicated Windows user. Despite knowing next to nothing about Apple Macintosh computers, I was outspoken in my condemnation of them! Too expensive, too exclusive, too complicated and with not enough software or hardware available; these were just a few of the moans that I heard on the Windows-led grapevine. Eventually, when I had a chance to work on a Mac, I realised just how wrong I was!


At the heart of digital imaging are large numbers numbers of big files. As cameras and scanners improve, so the bigger the files become. Then you have to buy larger hard drives to store the files and everything else has to be upgraded as well; more RAM, faster processors, bigger monitors, new graphics cards and upgraded software are just a few areas where getting it wrong with your basic computer setup can be very costly later.


After years of struggling to keep up with the demands, I carefully researched the alternatives. There had to be a very good reason why professionals used Macs. Eventually, in 1999 I undertook a job for the Army that enabled me to purchase two complete Blue & White PowerMac G3 systems, just at the time when Apple were introducing a revolutionary new range of computers, starting with the iconic iMac.


It only took a couple of weeks to discover what a fool I had been, putting up with Windows for so long. The Macs were so user friendly, as well as so elegant, that I found that my productivity increased by 200%. Crashes on the Macs were relatively rare in those days; now they are such a rarity that I am hard pressed to remember one.


Bangs for bucks, Macs are really no more expensive that Windows PCs and last much longer, spreading the cost further - what is referred to as TCO; Total Cost of Ownership. Today, my very first PowerMac G3 with 1Gb of RAM, bought in February 1999, is still in everyday use alongside the latest offerings from Apple. As a print server and host for ancient, but specialist software, it still runs perfectly using OS X 10.4 Tiger, whilst the latest ones run OS X El Capitan, have upwards of 32Gb of RAM and blazingly fast processors that deal easily with the power hungry imaging tasks.


There is still a place for older Macs as they run legacy software or hook up to specialist items of kit that can no longer be replaced. I have a PowerMac G5/1.6 running OS X 10.5.8 Leopard that is the last OS that Nikon Scan 4 is able to run on. This is linked to my large format Nikon SuperCoolscan LS8000. I've bought the latest version of SilverFast scanning software - and it's brilliant (and expensive) - but I find that it's too slow and fiddly, so I've reverted to Nikon Scan. Similarly I have a ten year-old PowerMac G5/1.8DP that also runs Max OS X 10.5.8 and contains my legacy Extensis Portfolio DAM databases as well as having terrabytes of storage attached. I doubt that there are many Windows PC users who get such longevity and good value from their machines.


This, and indeed all my work, is now produced on a 27" iMac with a 5K Retina screen, a 2Gb graphics cards and 32Gb of RAM that allows me to see the subtle nuances of shots that I was never able to see on the lower resolution screens of only a few years ago, allied with the grunt to get all the tedious outputting and conversion jobs done without a second thought.


It’s easy to fall into the trap of becoming a Mac evangelist when you find that others cannot see why they ought to make the change. However it’s a free world and there is one compelling reason why people who would like to change don’t - the initial expenditure. A basic iMac, MacPro or MacBook Pro is still an expensive item to fund. Despite the fact that the Mac will still be working perfectly in three or more years time, long after most PCs have given up the ghost or their owners have lost patience and are on their second or even third cheap PC, the low initial outlay for a PC is undoubtedly what attracts users. And who can blame them? However, if you approach the change sensibly, as many clients and friends have done, and spread the cost over a few years you'll wonder why you didn't make the change much earlier! The hardware used in both PCs and Macs is very similar today; the way the Macs are assembled and the bomb-proof operating system is what makes them so much better


Mac Training


I am a committed Mac user and rarely touch Windows PCs, save for the times when I am asked to ‘cure’ them. This often leads to the owner switching to Mac after seeing the real benefits.


However, once you’ve switched, you still have to learn how to find your way around and extract the best from them. Despite what I have said, this is not always such an easy task if you have a busy life and little time to experiment. Like the world of photography, there are lots of magazines aimed at the Mac user, but many suffer from the same problem of assuming that you have more knowledge than you really have.


Whether you just need help setting up your new purchase, or whether you need to learn how to integrate your whole new digital lifestyle in the most effective, cost efficient way, I am able to offer a solution to your woes. Just email me to find out what can be done.


Apple Macintosh