Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 38

Thread: New Computer Recommendation

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    479

    New Computer Recommendation

    I will try to avoid an impossible question, like "what camera should I buy" by being as specific as I can; I was using "search", and realized I was reading something Ted Harris wrote 3 years ago, so the choices have changed!
    At PhotoPro I spoke with Ted about software for a "wet darkroom type" wanting to get into digital; since I do 99.5%B&W, and am "zone system comfortable" he recommended the Lightzone software, but I realized it won't run on my functionally obsolete PC (6-yrs old, win98, 348MB). So I figure it is time to buy a new computer, which could, if it helps, be primarily dedicated to photo work, since the old one is still fine for internet surfing and MicroSoft office programs.
    My initial use will be to scan negatives (lets say 60% 4x5 LF, 40% 6x6 MF), and make the equivalents of contact sheets and work prints. (My current workflow is to contact everything, make very fast straight work prints on RC of the images that look potentially interesting, and then edit those down to the few that are worth "real" fiber based 11x14 prints. So my starting point is to "digitalize" the process up to the wet final prints.) This is a hobby/passion, but low volume.
    While cost is a factor, it is not the deciding one. My experience is that it is cheaper to buy quality right off, rather than increment the way up. I don't use cheap cameras or lenses, so the same would presumably apply to computers. Also, while I think of myself as a competent traditional printer, I wouldn't rule out making digital prints too, just not initially. My leaning is towards one of the Macs. Also, to keep this narrower, lets say new computers only, not used.
    Is this enough info to get a recommendation (specifics, rather than generalizations, would make it easier for me)? Thanks!
    Last edited by Peter Lewin; 23-Dec-2006 at 17:29. Reason: had turned Ted Harris into "David" by mistake!

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    9,296

    Re: New Computer Recommendation

    Go visit the nearest Apple Store and get the largest iMac you can afford, allowing enough room in the budget for the largest hard drive (250 GB) and the maximum amount of RAM (3 GB). Also get a second, external hard drive that is at least 500 GB and uses Firewire -- this is for backing up your work in addition to burning DVDs for off-site storage. And if you have enough money, a Epson 3800 printer and 7500 scanner. And be sure to allow enough to buy a copy of LightZone and Adobe Photoshop CS3 when it is introduced, and probably a $100 Wacom tablet.

    Then just use it for the next four years and repeat the cycle in 2010, getting the best value state of the art hardware.

    If you have a lot of money, substitute a Mac Pro Tower with more RAM and a large 30" display.

    Internet retailers like smalldog.com will save you a few $ and they have a good reputation. I think the iMacs are the best value out there right now, although the entire Mac line-up is competitive.

    The MacWorld tradeshow is in early January so watch for new products and related price drops.

    In general, your productivity will be more impacted by the comfort of using a good computer and software -- followed by the amount of RAM -- and lastly by processor speed. It is probably wiser to purchase the last generation computer and having enough money left to buy lots of RAM than it is to buy the faster newer generation but be operating with less RAM. Especially for imaging applications!

    Good luck.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Posts
    2,390

    Re: New Computer Recommendation

    I do basically what you do, but with Photoshop, which is a pig. Balancing all of the factors, I just bought a Dell Precision workstation, 4 gigs of ram, expandable to 8, 160 gig SATA drive, high speed bus and graphics processor, Core Duo 1.8 mHz (these run slower because they do more on each cycle). Got it through the Dell outlet, where they sell open box machines for about 30% off, with full warranty. With the included onsite 3 year warranty, it was $1100. I will add another internal drive (500gig) which will raise the total cost to about $1500, with tax. The Workstations are metal boxes with very high quality construction, more like a Mac tower than a PC. It is very fast and very quiet.

    I would be interested in the comparable Mac pricing, I think it is about 2x as much.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    9,296

    Re: New Computer Recommendation

    You can find a refurb/demo dual processor tower for under $1500 at smalldog. Buying RAM and drives directly from Apple isn't the cheapest though... and you got a 3 year warranty which is pretty compelling (although I won't enter into an arguement about which company has better QC or service).

  5. #5
    Ted Harris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    3,481

    Re: New Computer Recommendation

    For RAM go to www.datamem.com, their prices are usually as low as you will find and they are the "Midwest" of memory; I have been buying from them for nearly 20 years. Ask for Bud.

    Frank is right on with refurbs and Small Dog is a great dealer ... also look for the refurbs at the Apple Store online.

    BTW, there will be an article on using LightZone in the January issue of View Camera.

  6. #6

    Re: New Computer Recommendation

    Hi Peter,

    Not being funny but check out Microsoft Vista:

    Windows Vista default page

    You may want to wait till Easter time (tax refunds)

    Merry Christmas

  7. #7

    Re: New Computer Recommendation

    What Frank wrote will work very well.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Posts
    2,390

    Re: New Computer Recommendation

    > Not being funny but check out Microsoft Vista:

    A main reason I bought now was to get a system with XP - I have learned to just say no to MS OS upgrades until they have been out for a while. You have to decide whether you want to go Mac or PC first. There is a lot to be said for Macs. I use several apps that do not run on Macs, and I know how to keep Windows running, so Macs are not as attractive to me.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Switzerland
    Posts
    1,185

    Re: New Computer Recommendation

    If buy a mac then buy one of the highend dual core Intels now and put the maximum Ram in it and then work with it for the next 6-10 years as I always did with mine!
    Happy Christmas, Armin

  10. #10
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    6,646

    Re: New Computer Recommendation

    What Frank wrote.

    You might find this article interesting.

    Also there is a short bit here on my site, towards the bottom of the page.

    And for Windows users, there's this helpful link.

Similar Threads

  1. Drum Scanning recommendation
    By Erik Gould in forum Digital Processing
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 24-Jan-2006, 20:00
  2. inkjet recommendation (EpsonR1800 vs Canon i9900)?
    By Daniel Geiger in forum Business
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 7-Sep-2005, 06:39
  3. Computer Monitor
    By Ed Candland in forum Digital Hardware
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 27-Jun-2005, 14:17
  4. Arrrrrghhh!! Ok, Developer recommendation?
    By Paul Kierstead in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 33
    Last Post: 15-Jun-2004, 15:47

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •