Minimum Laptop Requirements For Photo Editing

By | 15/10/2022

Seasoned photographers know that the search for the right laptop comes downward to far more than a list of individually impressive specs. The perfect laptop for photo editing will not ever be the 1 with the well-nigh bells and whistles, considering perfection here is about so much more than: usability, ease, intuition — all the things that combine to create not only powerful imagery, merely a powerful workflow every bit well.

With this full experience in mind, we have created a list of the all-time laptops for photo editing in 2022.

What We’re Looking For

A lensman has many competing needs when selecting a laptop, then nosotros have attempted to cover the nigh mutual areas for this list. We have considered price, functionality, performance, and durability to come to the post-obit selections.

At a Glance

All-time Overall Laptop for Photographers: Apple MacBook Pro with M1 Max (sixteen-inch)

CPU:
M1 Max 10-Cadre (8 high-functioning and ii high-efficiency cores)
GPU:
M1 32-Cadre integrated
RAM:
64GB unified RAM
Storage:
1TB Integrated PCle 4.0 SSD
Brandish:
16-inch Liquid Retina XDR (iii,456 x 2,234 pixels)
Size:
xiv.01 x 9.77 10 0.66-inches
Weight:
4.8 pounds
Price:
Starting at $3,899

If your core focus is having access to the all-time possible hardware available, then look no further than the new MacBook Pro powered past the M1 Max. This laptop combines an incredible display and the render of the HDMI port and SD card reader with an outstanding keyboard and insane performance.

Read PetaPixel’south Apple MacBook Pro with M1 Max Review

Looking at the performance metrics in our testing, the new MacBook Pro is without a doubtfulness the best and most powerful laptop coin tin buy. It smokes the competition across about every one of our tests and has an insane bombardment life and near-silent operation. From a pure performance standpoint, this is the almost impressive laptop we at
PetaPixel
take ever tested. I feel similar we but said that when the M1 originally launched, and yet Apple tree one-upped themselves again.

That said, this machine is probable too much power for the average lensman, and only those with a truthful hybrid workflow of photograph and video volition actually find themselves needing all that the M1 Max scrap is capable of. It’s likewise a very expensive machine. For that reason, it’s not our selection for the best Mac that photographers should buy (that nevertheless goes to the MacBook Pro with M1) just nosotros take to tip our cap to Apple tree: the company has made a seriously impressive machine that isn’t shell by anyone. If you need power and the near you can possibly find, this is it.


Best PC Laptop for Photographers: Dell XPS fifteen (9510)


CPU:
Intel Core i7-11800H (11th Gen)

CPU:
Intel Core i7-11800H (11th Gen)
GPU:
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 4GB GDDR6
RAM:
32GB DDR4
Storage:
512GB M.2 PCle NVMe SSD
Display:
15.half-dozen-inch, 3.5K OLED (3456×2160)
Size:
13.57 ten 9.06 x 0.71-inch
Weight:
3.99lb
Price:
Starting at $2,008.99

The fundamental to any pick for “Best PC” on a listing like this is not that it does a few things flawlessly or that information technology’s loaded to the brim with features that are frankly excessive for 99% of photographers, simply that it does everything “well.” No laptop on this listing fits that bill better than Dell’due south XPS 15 (9510): information technology just apartment-out works.

No matter your need, skill, or fiscal situation, there is a configuration of the XPS 15 that is going to make you happy, and, near importantly, get the job done. The massive configuration and options that are bachelor are a big function of what makes this our tiptop pick. Every spec is user-selectable without changing the entire organisation. For instance, if y’all don’t intendance about the 3.5K OLED screen, you can downgrade to the 15.6-inch FHD+ InfinityEdge and knock about $200 off, for example. That said, nosotros remember that an extra $200 is more than worth the extra expense given how much of an improvement you get.

We take picked what we view as the optimal combination for processing power, storage, screen quality, and toll and it volition run y’all around $two,000. Its 15.6-inch 3.5K (3456×2160) Anti-Glare Screen is incredibly impressive, with 400-nits brightness and razor-thin Infinity Edge bezels on all four sides. In terms of processing power, you will get the 11th Generation Intel Core i7, a whopping 32GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD, which is enough suitable for well-nigh — particularly since many photographers work off external storage.

Pattern beyond all configurations is sleek and comfortable, with the already-pleasant keycaps and touchpad getting a size increase over prior models. In keeping with the “Practise everything pretty well” vibe of an all-arounder, port pick is by and large fine, offering three USB-C ports for charging and connecting to peripherals. Two of these are Thunderbolt 4, which is extremely welcome and something that not many PCs boast. In that location’due south also a full-sized SD menu reader.

For those who want more spring in their step, y’all tin can increase your investment by moving to the Core i9 CPU, double your RAM to 64GB, and raise your storage capacity all the way up to 8TB, and even boost your graphics to NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3050 Ti. Y’all also have the pick to upgrade to the UHD+ 3740×2400 500-nit effulgence screen. All of these upgrades are overkill for almost all photographers, but those whose piece of work entails a hybrid of both photo and video may discover the increased CPU, RAM, storage, and graphics power to be well worth the extra cash.

Conversely, the base level model is available starting at $1,273.99 — if you’re willing to driblet to a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, integrated Intel UHD graphics, and a basic FHD+ (1920×1200) display. Simply, as mentioned, you lot tin can adjust many of these specs to suit your needs (and budget). And possibly best of all, both the RAM and SSD are user-upgradeable (nothing soldered hither), making the jump from the base model to 16GB or even 32GB of RAM fairly like shooting fish in a barrel and affordable after purchase. The integrated graphics of the base of operations model are a demerit, but coincidental photographers will have no complaints as near photograph editing applications rely largely on CPU processing.

No affair which configuration you choose for the XPS 15, yous are going to find yourself steadily working without fuss, without result, and with a good bit of enjoyment. The only downside to this motorcar is that it is and then popular you might accept a little more than trouble locating one in stock. If all else fails, they are always available direct from Dell, and the website offers a price-lucifer guarantee.

If you’re non a fan of Dell, a solid culling option would be the Razer Blade 14 QHD thanks to its splendid build quality, AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU, NVIDIA RTX 3070 GPU, large 1TB SSD, and impressive port pick. In our review, nosotros noted it was made for gamers, but is keen for creators. The Razer Blade 14 was fabricated for gamers, only photographers have no choice but to love it, likewise. Razer makes college-end options (noted further downwardly), but the Blade 14 gives photographers pretty much all they need, and and then some.


Best Apple tree Laptop for Phototographers: MacBook Pro M1 (xiii.3”)

CPU:
M1 8-Core (4 high-operation and 4 high-efficiency cores)
GPU:
M1 8-Core Integrated
RAM:
8GB Embedded DRAM
Storage:
256GB Integrated PCle SSD
Brandish:
13.3-inch, Retina Display (2560 ten 1600)
Size:
11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61-inch
Weight:
three pounds
Cost:
Starting at $1,199

The 2019 MacBook Pro 16-inch was, and remains, ane of the almost impressive laptops in the industry. So why focus on the MacBook Pro with M1? Predictably, it all goes back to that M1 chip, which we described as “a revolution” in our review of the M1 MacBook Pro. Information technology may seem like an exaggeration if you lot have not used this device, but the M1 makes for a legitimately transformational experience. This matter moves at the speed of your whims.

It is possible to bog the M1 down, only you have to sweat to do it by opening an insane number of windows and programs before the hint of a stutter appears. When it comes to Photoshop, this auto apartment-out smokes much of the competition, especially those in the same price tier. Factor in the battery life and the M1 starts to feel unbeatable.

From a design perspective, it is exactly what you would expect from a MacBook, complete with all the benefits and drawbacks i expects. The 13-inch screen, while boasting that cute Retina display (with 100% DCI-P3 coverage), still suffers from the annoyingly thick bezels. That said, it is far brighter than you expect, surpassing numerous competitors (even popular members of the MacBook line), and delivers quality color information. The Magic Keyboard may not be suited to everyone, but those who love it will actually, really love it. Overall weight is still an issue, but manageable.

The maximum 16GB of RAM is one cede here, though it should be noted that the M1’south RAM goes much further than those with Intel or AMD-based processors — the 16GB model will serve those who edit very loftier-resolution photos and/or video, while the 8GB model is a great pick for the everyday photographer on a upkeep. The other niggle is its mere two Thunderbolt 4 ports, but this is easily expanded with fantabulous products like the OWC Thunderbolt 4 Hub or Thunderbolt 4 Dock.

While the M1 MacBook Pro isn’t Apple tree’s peak-of-the-line offer, it is likely the best value. Even though the M1 Max-powered 16-inch MacBook Pro might be tempting, only those who really demand the most operation are going to desire to crush out the large bucks to pick one upwards. For the rest of the states, the original M1 is plenty powerful.


All-time Budget Laptop for Photographers: MacBook Air M1

CPU:
M1 eight-Cadre
GPU:
M1 7-Cadre
RAM:
8GB DDR4
Storage:
256GB PCle SSD
Display:
13.3-inch (2,560 10 ane,600)
Size:
11.97 x eight.36 x 0.63-inch
Weight:
2.viii pounds
Toll:
Starting at $949

Like the MacBook Pro M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max models, the MacBook Air M1 is part of Apple’s foray into ARM-based SoC (system on a chip) applied science. The MacBook Air M1 represents the lowest tier of the MacBooks armed with Apple tree silicon, merely don’t be fooled — this is a powerful piece of technology that punches far above its toll form.

With an eight-core CPU (iv high efficiency and four energy efficiency cores) and a 7-core GPU, along with either 8GB or 16GB of integrated RAM, the Air is capable of incredibly demanding tasks — information technology will accept just nearly any photo editing y’all tin throw at it and can cut through 4K (and higher) video footage like butter for all merely the virtually intense editing or graphics work. It can do that all while boasting one of the longest — if not the longest — battery life of any laptop you tin buy (rated at 17 hours of wireless web browsing by Apple and tests show that is not far off).

Maybe best of all, the MacBook Air M1 loses very little to the MacBook Pro M1 — both take the same M1 CPU, RAM options of either 8GB or 16GB, SSD up to 2TB, and the same 13.3” 2560×1600 100% DCI-P3 Retina brandish. Essentially, the only difference is the size and weight, the lack of the Impact Bar on the MacBook Air, and a 7-cadre GPU versus viii-core GPU. For the first time in a Mac, or any figurer, yous lose practically nothing in performance between the base model, the Pro laptop, and even the Mac Mini and iMac M1.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment is the limitation of only ii Thunderbolt 4 ports, merely, at least for me, this is easily solved using a Thunderbolt dock or a smaller Thunderbolt hub — the OWC Thunderbolt 4 Hub is the best out there, and gives you ii additional Thunderbolt 4 ports. The OWC Thunderbolt four Dock gives y’all the same, forth with three USB-A 3.0, one USB 2.0, an SD card slot, headphone jack, and ethernet port.

For the price, portability, and versatility, the MacBook Air M1 merely cannot exist beaten. However, if you’re not a fan of Apple tree, the Asus Vivobook S15 S533 is the most consummate laptop you’re likely to find for those pinching pennies.


Best Detachable 2-In-1 Laptop for Photographers: Microsoft Surface Pro 8

CPU:
Intel Core i5-1135G7 Quad-Core
GPU:
Intel Iris Xe
RAM:
8GB LPDDR4x
Storage:
128GB SSD
Display:
13-inch, PixelSense Flow x-Signal Touchscreen (2880 x 1920)
Size:
11.iii 10 eight.2 x 0.37-inch
Weight:
1.96lb
Toll:
Starting at $one,099.99

Every company makes them at this point, but Microsoft remains king of the hill when it comes to tablet-style “ii-in-1” PC. The company’southward Surface line remains a juggernaut in an ever-expanding market place, and the Surface Pro 8 is the latest case of that dominance. Combining the functioning increases of the vii with the modern design of the X, then improving on both, the Surface Pro viii is the best the line has e’er offered.

Ane wait at the screen and the leap forward becomes clear — literally. Gone are the chunkier bezels of the past, making room for a larger 13-inch PixelSense brandish. Size isn’t the only upgrade; resolution has been boosted to a welcome 2880 ten 1920. If you are in the market for a detachable ii-in-1, you are already aware your screen will not compete directly with a dedicated laptop, but this sharper display goes a long way toward making yous forget. Add together in the surprising new 120Hz refresh rate and PixelSense’s stellar track record with color and brightness, and y’all have ane gorgeous display. Your eyes are not alone in their excitement, though. Your fingers get their due likewise. That increased refresh rate means every touch practically glides across the display at the speed of thought. There is no usage for the touchscreen non improved by this upgrade, and you volition discover.

What y’all may not notice, however, is that the weight and thickness of the Surface Pro 8 accept expanded with the revamp — and this is a good thing. The Surface Pro has ever been compact and light, an obvious positive in the 2-in-1 infinite. This provided Microsoft the space to bulk up for the correct reasons without becoming cumbersome. And then what does the extra size mean for you? Increased thermal space, and thus increased functioning. Using the Puget Systems’ PugetBench for the Photoshop test, Surface Pro 8 shows itself to be almost the meridian of the pack amongst peers for the tasks nearly crucial for a photographer.

The problem, of course, is that to really feel the upgrade the Surface Pro 8 represents, one needs to commit to the $1599 model featuring the 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7. At this indicate, cost-benefit has to come up into play, especially considering Microsoft refuses to include a keyboard out of the box. The good news is, both the keyboard cover and Slim Pen are wonderful to apply. The bad news is, you lot are looking at nearly $300 more than for the pleasure (or the necessity, every bit it were). Of course, if yous are in the market for a Surface, yous have probable fabricated peace with these realities already, and the heading here is “Best Detachable 2-in-1”, not “All-time Budget 2-in-1.” The Surface Pro viii is a truly beautiful device, and the best on offering from the leader in the field.

It probably doesn’t come up as much of a surprise that the best pick exterior of the newest Surface Pro is… Microsoft’southward next-to-newest” the Microsoft Surface Pro 7. With the introduction of the eight, the Pro vii is due for a discount.


Best Overall Workstation-Class Laptop for Photographers: HP ZBook Studio G8

CPU:
Intel Core i7-11800H 8-Core
GPU:
NVIDIA Quadro T1200 4GB GDDR6 VRAM
RAM:
16GB DDR4
Storage:
512 GB PCle One thousand.2 SSD
Brandish:
15.6-inch Anti-Glare IPS (1920 x 1080)
Size:
xiii.94 x 9.24 x 0.seven-inch
Weight:
3.95lb
Price:
Starting at $2,349

As we noted in our recent review, the ZBook line has e’er vied for attention in the mobile workstation segment just has continually gone under the radar. With the ZBook Studio G8, we think that should alter. In some ways, it should come as no surprise that a line seemingly arguing with itself over whether it wants to pump out business laptops or gaming rigs would eventually split up the difference and stumble on a auto ideal for photo editing.

The price may enhance eyebrows, but the ZBook Studio G8 positions itself in direct competition with premium machines bachelor from the likes of Razer. One time expectations conform, y’all will find the Studio G8 a more than worthy option in that space. The G8 is an all-in-ane machine meant to facilitate any work, play, or viewing experience you throw at it.

The construction alone confirms the dual focus on luxury and forcefulness. The magnesium and aluminum alloy build is every bit rugged equally it is refined. The design is sharp, sleek, but its durability is never in question. We touch on how all-encompassing the testing is on these machines in our review merely suffice to say: you lot can exist confident the G8 tin can handle whatsoever you throw at information technology. Literally.

The keyboard activeness is pleasing and precise, and the glass-topped trackpad, while smaller than yous may expect, is quite responsive and provides a very satisfying, tactile click. The xv.6-inch 4K OLED touchscreen is brilliant and one of the near satisfying screens on this listing. Playing back into that spousal relationship of polish and durability, it is also covered in Gorilla Glass half dozen.

Nether the hood, there is quite a lot to cheer for. The marriage of the 8-core Intel Core i9-11950H, 16GB of RAM, and the Nvidia Quadro T1200 4GB GDDR6 graphics bill of fare makes this a fantastic fit for any lensman. The 512GB M.2 SSD is enough for those who work off external SSDs or hard drives also.

But the ZBook Studio G8 can accept the spring from beingness a very good photo editing machine to an absolute monster for photo, video, and graphics editing — or pretty much anything else you can throw at it. Maxed out with an Intel Core i9-11950H processor, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB Chiliad.two SSD, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080, and a 120hz 3840 ten 2160 DreamColor IPS Display, it tin can handle merely about anything yous throw at it — all while remaining as sleek and user-friendly equally whatever mid-sized laptop should be. It will cost yous an eye-watering $5,198.95, however.

The one arrears — and it seems a rather noticeable ane given the goals of the device — is the dearth of bachelor ports. The ii Thunderbolt 4 USB4 Type-C are certainly welcome, simply they are accompanied only by a single USB-A 3.ii Gen 1 port, one three.5 mm headphone/mic combo audio jack, i HDMI 2.ane, and 1 Mini DisplayPort. It is a survivable corporeality, but for the price HP is request, we would promise and expect a bit more than. Predictably, for a desk-rider like this, battery life is only middling — Five hours is simply frustrating at this level.

All the same, this is one of the more beautiful, more powerful laptops on the market, and, despite its price, will likely be under-considered by those who could near appreciate it. Reliability and performance are the keys to high book, consistent work against a borderline. On this front, the Studio G8 is a curiosity. In the end, it may be well-nigh exciting for what information technology portends. If this is a indicate to the direction the ZBook line is moving, the future is incredibly exciting.

Alternatively, nosotros call up the Razer Blade fifteen Avant-garde is a solid pick. While non necessarily a “workstation” similar the Studio G8 is, nosotros reviewed the Razer Blade 15 Advanced and found information technology to be an excellent, powerful option. Slimmer and sleeker than you would await for the power it contains, it is ane of the well-nigh usable, enjoyable laptops on the market. Its half-inch thick frame holds an 11th-Gen Intel Core i7 with 32 GB of RAM and an NVIDIA RTX 3080 graphics card that volition rip through whatever creative multitasking y’all throw its way.


Best Value Workstation-Course Laptop for Photographers: Gigabyte Aero 17 HDR XD

CPU:
Intel Core i7-11800H
GPU:
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB GDDR6
RAM:
16GB DDR4
Storage:
1TB SSD
Display:
17.3-inch 4K UHD HDR OLED (3840 x 2160)
Size:
15.six x x.6 x 0.85-inch
Weight:
five.5lb
Cost:
Starting at $2,149

The Gigabyte Aero 17 successfully goes beyond “best laptop” into “best workstation” territory in a fashion few rivals can merits. The raw power of the Aero 17 is impressive, even more so once one considers its very reasonable price.

The first thing that catches my attending most the Aero is its GPU. One of the first laptops released in 2021, it boasts the latest in NVIDIA GeForce RTX thirty-series GPUs. Whether you opt for the 8GB GDD6 3070 or 16GB GDDR6 3080, the graphics processing force of this auto places information technology ahead of the pack. These may non be the desktop versions of these much-hyped (and impossible to notice for anywhere nearly a reasonable toll) cards, but they will still knock your socks off.

Whether it’s Adobe Premiere or Da Vinci Resolve or something else, the Aero is built to easily handle 8K footage, ray tracing, virtual reality, 3D modeling and animation, and visual effects work. NVIDIA DLSS utilizes the Tensor Cores for a boost in AI rendering, while the AI-powered Dynamic Boost 2.0 manages power on a per-frame basis, allowing the computer’southward AI to constantly optimize the CPU, GPU, and GPU memory for the maximum performance boost. These features are entirely overkill for those who solely engage in photo work, simply I imagine 3D artists and video editors read these specs and immediately break into a sweat, nodding and cheering. This makes it the ultimate choice for those of us who edit photos as well as video, or any other graphics-intensive work.

The build quality here is exceptional. While certainly not a slim device, it is far less beefy than ane would conceptualize given its robust functioning. The Gigabyte Fusion RGB Per-Key Backlit Keyboard may aggravate some who value cleaner and sleeker aesthetics, but this is part and bundle with a rig that screams “game on.” Unlike some other laptops on the list, you are practically spoiled with ports on the Aero 17, which features three USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A ports, 1 Thunderbolt 4, an HDMI 2.ane port (which supports 4K upwards to 120Hz), a Mini DisplayPort 1.4, a UHS-II SD Bill of fare Reader, too every bit headphone out and mic in ports. As far equally sound, the Aero sports DTS: Ten Ultra speakers which enable virtual 7.i surround sound, and Two-Way AI Racket Cancelation for class-leading incoming and approachable audio.

If there is a disappointment to be found with the Aero, it comes in battery life. This tracks, given how much processing power is packed into this thing, just for those on the become, planning out a charging strategy will be a must. Information technology too tends to run somewhat hot and a lilliputian noisier than some may prefer; just tell yourself these are the prices yous pay for power. To its do good, however, the Aero sports Microsoft Azure AI, which Gigabyte touts as “the world’south first AI laptop.” As yous use the laptop and diverse applications, the Microsoft Azure Machine Learning platform gathers data and then optimizes the CPU and GPU usage for both processing speed and to limit wattage consumption, thus enhancing battery life.

All this, and we failed to bear upon on the 17.three-inch 4K UHD OLED Anti-glare screen with 100% Adobe RGB coverage all surrounded by “the earth’s first” ultra-thin 3mm 3-sided bezel. Oh, and every individual unit is factory X-Rite calibrated with a Pantone Validated certification. Want authentic colors right out of the box? Aye, I call back I practise, thank you.

Upgrade to the Aero 17 HDR YD and you bump the specs up to a Core i9-11980HK, 32GB RAM, a GeForce RTX 3080 GPU with 16GB GDDR6, and a 512GB PCIe Gen4 SSD as well as a second 1TB Gen3 hard drive for additional storage.

If you want a proposition beyond Gigabyte, the Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen ane is a solid alternative. It is blazing fast, has a phenomenal screen, and sports a generous port pick which makes the Lenovo ThinkPad P15 one of the best mobile workstations for creatives out there. With Gen 2 just effectually the corner, Gen 1 is already seeing massive discounts online. Not merely a great value option, this i is a steal.

Source: https://petapixel.com/best-laptops-photo-editing/