#606. The Monday Post (12 June 2017) – Self imposed poverty and still no end to the post processing quest

By Paul Perton | Monday Post

Jun 12

At the risk of sounding like a pervert, I’ve got three Macintoshes.




You’ll note the capitalised “M” that ought to put me in the clear, however.


One is a MacMini which I inherited almost new from my father. It operates 24/7 as a server to our AppleTV, to provide television watching. It’s there, it’s screen is almost permanently switched off and works brilliantly and I barely take any notice of it.


The second is a MacBook Pro, bought almost two years ago when my nearly decade-old MacPro finally succumbed to living by the ocean and gave up the unequal struggle. It’s a workhorse and at any time of day, is streaming music throughout the house, collecting mail and enabling me to edit and store photographs, read and write.


The third Mac came from a buddy in Johannesburg, who no longer needed a desktop machine and in a moment of excitement, I offered him a sizeable sum, thinking that I’d replace my old MacPro and build a photo editing workstation with it, freeing my notebook computer for the daily grind of news, writing, music and accompanying me on my travels.




This beast weighing almost 20Kg, arrived via a local courier company and within days, I realised that my plan might have been less than optimally conceived. Then it’s 500Gb SSD boot drive failed and I switched it off, thinking I’d return to it another time.


That was months ago and in the intervening weeks, regular DS readers will recall the regular and recurring theme of post processing software and workflow ideas.


That was me (as much as any of the other DSers in the middle of it) and I can confidently report that not one of us is any further ahead, or satisfied than we were when this conversation started. Frustrated might be a kind word to use.


And, when ennui strikes, a lot of us develop GAS and I confess that when the arrival of a rewards statement from my bank co-incided with a browse through locally available high resolution monitors, the decision and excitement from ordering a highly recommended Dell 27” display instantly got the better of me. Paying most of the bill with reward points made it irresistible.





In comparison to the 23” Apple Cinema Display I’d been using, it’s huge. It also bought the MacBook Pro to a grinding halt. Lightroom went from unwilling donkey to cart horse – 20-30 seconds to do anything, even zooming.


Half an hour of hernia inducing strain to get the McPro out of storage, produced an even worse performance. This Mac’s video card could only drive the Dell at about a quarter of its maximum resolution – worse than the Cinema Display it was meant to replace.


I clearly needed a new video card and thought I’d add another 16Gb RAM to its current 16Gb and see where that got me.


Well, the MacPro isn’t new – it dates back to around 2010, but sports an 8-core Xeon processor, which ought to be plenty for photographic editing – the problem was that the bus is at least one generation out of date and finding a video card meant buying mail order over the Interwebs from the US.




some time later…


Video card installed (the RAM was DOA and I’m waiting for the replacement DIMMs), the Mac chimed happily as it booted up, but things still weren’t looking good. The Dell was now running at max resolution and the icons/text on screen would have been more at home in an ants nest so tiny were they.


Unperturbed, I booted Picktorial – glacial. OK, how about Luminar – 20 minutes to open a single RAW file and the Mac unresponsive to anything else during that time. On1RAW? Same. RAWPower? Slug-like. Apple’s Photos? You’re joking aren’t you?


Several hours of fiddling helped – I now use both the Nvidia driver and the MacOS display control panel and have coaxed the screen res to an acceptable level. And while the performance is not great, editing a RAW file is no longer a half hour marathon.


Who ever thought you could control the performance of your desktop system via the screen resolution?




Well, this has got me nowhere and the endless conversation loops keep dumping me back with Lightroom. What next?


Nothing. For a while at least. I first need to recover from my self-imposed financial battering.


I did wonder whether a better plan for the future might be one of the newly announced iMacs and an iPad Pro to replace the laptop. The desktop system would offer an Apple specified and built 4k on a magnificent screen, SSDs and lots of connectivity. The iPad now sports enough power to make it comparable with a MacBook Pro, so why not. I might even be tempted to try and run Lightroom Mobile.




You can read about the why nots here: and here about synching.


Try not to get depressed. This is Adobe we’re talking about.


Philippe adds


I am the odd one out, here. I’ve never gone over to the dark side, nor been tempted. Not that I love Windows, a word which which rhymes effortlessly with flaws. Just, I felt that, with a professional tool like this I needed to hang out where most professionals hung out as well.


Still, I kept hearing the claims that Mac was simpler to learn, easier to use, more robust (that wasn’t much of a claim at times, Windows had some really miserable iterations), and that things just worked together. Now, not so much, as we see by Paul’s experience. And it’s far from an isolated case. And Windows has been getting better, or un-worse, so the situation may be worth another look – for some, not me.


Conclusion: could this be what Donald alluded to when he roared: “…we need Jobs back in this country!“?



The photographs for this week’s Post are from colourful Cape Town – something missing a bit just now as we’ve finally been getting some very welcome rain, to fill our drought-parched dams. And no, I have no idea what Sex Man Chateka is, or was. Sorry.


Pascal adds …


Oh well, I had no intention of participating in this. But we have a testimony from both camps. I guess the point of view of a transfuge might be useful. Long context short : my PC laptop was really tired just as the new MacBook Pros were announced. Paul suggested a move to the Mac side of the moon and, against the best advice from litterally all the rest of the world (Philippe, readers, family, reviewers, pundits, colleagues …) I took the plunge about 6 months ago.



Stepping from the PC world into the Mac world is a bit like watching Harry Potter for the first time. Visual amazement aplenty and the not so unoccasionnal WTF ?


6 months down the road and it’s likely that some of the grey hair on my skull are due to the Mac universe. It really is an inconsistent jumble of the best of the best and the frustratingly stupid. Maybe it’s lack of practise, but there are a few areas that feel like design for the sake of design, usability be damned (try installing your first app, with zero documentation and a ridiculous cartoon on the screen as only guidance, you’ll want to axe someone down with your laptop).



Plus, for something so vastly expensive, it is disappointingly unfast … At least on some applications that were a blistering opposite on the PC.


However, while it is possible to sum up the Mac’s faults in a couple of sentences, it would take a lot more to sum up the highs, trust me. Standard apps are really good and as fast as anything else out there. Capture One runs faster on this MBP than on my higher specced (particularly the video card) PC. The look and feel of the thing is jewel-like. It starts and stops in a matter of seconds (3 seconds, max). It can sit on my lap powering through heavy PP for numerous hours on a single battery charge.


But, most of all, it’s not a PC, which two incidents from the week-end illustrate :



We were walking in the hills with friends yesterday and one of them, a home-based consultant like me, expressed how sad whe was about not being able to work out in the sun because her screen (famous brand, bright, expensive, screen) is too dark. I’m typing this under full blast mediterranean sunlight with the screen not at max power and everything is easy to read, colours are great … This screen alone is worth every single penny the computer costs. It is a life changer if what you value in life is freedom to work anywhere anytime.


Secondly, yesterday, my daughter’s top of the range Dell XPS 13 went into a Windows 10 upgrade. Uninvited, of course. And flawed, of course. After reboot, the wifi was no longer working. Which is great for a student who’s notes are all online and who’s taking her A-levels in 5 days. After hours of trying, we couldn’t get the damned thing to work. Thank you Microsoft. Thank you.



So, yeah, very different animals and, as Paul’s story tells you, the Mac is a closed world that doesn’t expand easily. It’s costly and occasionnally painful. But it is so much better than the opposition … OK, let the rage begin 😉 😉 😉


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  • Matt O'Brien says:

    I have a foot in the Mac and Win world…..Mac for travel and Win for desktop. It is fantastic to have the ability to control the upgrade options on a Win machine and decide when I want the latest and greatest hardware.

    Finder drives me crazy at times and needs some serious love.

    If you are new to the “Mac Side Of The Moon” then I seriously recommend this tutorial by Phlearn….


    Because I now only use my Mac occasionally (ie doing less travelling) I find it useful to revisit this tutorial before, during or just after I begin my journey … just to get back into the Mac groove…. rather than replaying “Wish You Were Here” in terms of missing the power of my Win machine.

    • paulperton says:

      Matt, I moved all the Windows PCs out of my business in 1995 and replaced them with Macs. ’nuff said?

    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      ?? – I have NO problems with the speed of my iMAC. I have TERRIBLE problems with the speed of Windows. And it ain’t the machine, it’s the program – because for years I’ve had them both on the same computer, using a partitioned disc, with half allocated to each of them. It’s not merely “no contest” – it’s a total no brainer!

      Of course there are features on one that are better and features on the other that are – but even on that test, Apple thrashes Windows for my purposes.

      Thanks for the ref to the Phlearn article, Matt – actually I already use two screens, plugging the second one in was a delight because I use it for all my PP & photo printing work, and the main screen for all the other functions (cataloguing, emails etc) so they don’t get in each other’s way.

  • Matt O'Brien says:

    My main point is the link to the tutorial…. https://phlearn.com/tutorial/work-faster-efficiently-mac/ for people who may be starting in the Mac world. I do not want to get into the Mac v Win debate …. I use both and do not have to replace either any time soon.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thanks Matt.

      Finder is as stupid as it gets … Compared to the corresponding PC functionality (at least on Windows 7), it is a masterpiece of convoluted crap. Maybe there’s a way of making it more efficient. But, coming from a company that pretendedly made manuals redundant, this is a serious blemish. I don’t want to have to learn how to use a file management tool. That should be the most obvious and intuitive tool in the whole OS.

      I will however read the manual with great interest. Thanks again.

      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        Hmm – once again, Pascal, “it all depends”. Overall, search WAS better on Windows – but Microsoft have stuffed that up too, so that’s no longer true – half the time it works (sort of), the rest of the time it does nothing at all. Finder does things that search NEVER did, and when I hit an iceberg with the previous iMAC & had to transfer all my files to the present one, Finder was incredibly helpful in locating ALL files with the same name, and identifying their location – something Windows NEVER did, at least not the way Finder does.

        So – depending what Microsoft has done to wreck your operating system, and depending – also – exactly what you want to do with search of Finder, one is better and the other is axiomatically worse. But there’s no clear winner in this race.

        And the venom I direct at Microsoft all the time derives from one simple “FAIL” – not only were they the ones that caused the problems on my PC, but they hadn’t the balls to apologise and hadn’t the decency to offer to rectify their mess. So instead of 5 stars, they scored 5 black crosses on the Baedeker scale. I don’t do business with firms with such an appalling attitude to their customers. Apple, on the other hand, whenever I needed help, were the exact opposite – NOTHING is too much trouble.

        As always, this ends up as personal choice. But for mine, the Devil will arrive at work on ice skates before I have anything further to do with Microsoft. EVER!!!

  • Adrian says:

    I first used an Apple Mac in 1986, when PCs still ran DOS. It was simple, clean, and lean. Thirty years later, and the need to support all the developments since then, and the last time I used a friends Mac a few years ago, I found it impenetrable and not at all intuitive. There is some evidence that latest incarnations are not any more efficient, faster or leaner than newer versions of Windows (Windows 8.1 was very lean and performant, Windows 10 is larger and in some cases actually slightly slower for some tasks). It’s also not very secure, in spite of what Apple will tell you, and there were reports several years ago that where Apple Care employees find malware they are instructed to silently remove it and not tell the owner. I certainly wouldn’t try to make any claims that OSX is “better” than Windows, so then you are just left with the hardware, which is basically a PC running a different OS. Thankfully, newer Windows hardware has become really good, and often beats Apple at their own game, usually at a lower price. Add in touch screen support, a feature that Apple still shows no signs of adding, preferring to sell you 2 devices running 2 different operating systems when one will do, and for me Microsoft devices are preferable. Computers are not an “investment”, they are a commodity item that needs to be replaced to allow you to do the latest things, so the less they cost to do what you want, the better. Microsoft have really upped the game with products like the Surface Pro, Surface Book and the new Surface Studio and are really making Apple look like they are slow to market and unresponsive – a criticism that has been made about the companies products across markets since Tim Cook became CEO. Use whatever makes you happy and gets the job done.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Well, having bought a high-spec Dell XPS and a high spec Mac last year, I can certainly confirm that the PC world offers more raw performance at a cheaper cost. But having used both side by side, I’m not going back anytime soon and the OS update process on the Mac is so much less intrusive and bothersome than that alone is worth the price of admission. I just couldn’t stand being interrupted in the middle of work by a sudden reboot with the added anxiety of never knowing what would work or not work after.

      Plus, I’m seenig more and more of a parallel between photography and computers when it comes to how meaningless lab tests really are. Some things are faster on the Dell, some things are faster on the Mac.

      In the end, I’m more receptive to feel than performance. And, on the Mac, the screen is in a completely different league, the keyboard feels a lot snappier (although the atrociously placed Siri shortcut is an absolute and constant pain in the arse), the build is fabulous … (only fair given the fact is costs 40% more).

      That said, I agree that the PC world hase caught up in terms of ergonomics. MacOs is just clumsy and old compared to something as light and efficient as Windows 7 (but then so was Windows 8 and so is Windows 10, so maybe it’s just a case of changing stuff for the sake of changing stuff, even at the risk of breaking it, in both camps).

      • Adrian says:

        Irritating thought it is that Microsoft has removed the ability to not take updates in Windows 10, I can see their rationale – it ensures everyone gets security patches, and allows incremental improvements to both user facing and behind the scenes features every few months. I actually prefer it to having to wait years for the next major release. It doesn’t force you to update – it advises that it needs to be done and automatically schedules a time when it thinks the machine is “quiet” (not being used). You can select another time, or defer it until it asks again, and continue to defer it. I have never come across a situation with Windows 10 where I am forced to restart and update my machine at a time that isn’t convenient. I think maybe this has changed from previous versions.

        I am surprised you say your Apple screen is obviously better than your Dell XPS as I thought the latter had a very good reputation for their XPS screens (did you have the 4K version? I know some older XPS screens were rather less good, whereas the newer ones seemed excellent). I have purchased a number of computers running Windows 10 in the last 2 years and all have screens at least the equal of Apple screens from a comparable model, including an Acer laptop designed for gaming (i.e. high performance) with a beautiful 4K screen and a slightly older chipset that cost about half what something from Apple with equally old processor. The screen on the Surface Book is simply stunning.

        Where I think Microsoft have an advantage is combining desktop and touch in a single OS. I wouldn’t buy another portable machine that didn’t have a touchscreen as it’s simply so much more convenient for some tasks – it matters less for larger laptops and desktops that never go out of the home and which have screens further away, although I am sorely tempted by the new Surface Studio and it’s beautiful 28″ 4500 pixel wide touch screen.

        Windows 8.1 and 10 are generally slicker than Windows 7 (8.1 was particularly lean and efficient). Perhaps my mode of use is too simple for things to worry me (turn it on, open program, use) that generally things don’t bother me. I loved the search feature of Windows 8.1 (just go to the start screen with a gesture or a key press and start typing!), and Windows 10 is notably worse on touchscreen only devices (e.g. IE11 Touch replaced the title bar and menus with big friendly icons for tabs and simple gestures, Edge for Windows 10 even in touch mode just gives you drop down menus which are too small for fat fingers). Windows and OSX are just different ways of doing the same thing, with some things better or worse in each. The thing I dislike about Apple, and some of their users, is the slight piety and superiority which really isn’t justified in my opinion. Mac OS stopped being elegant, sleek and simple in about 1995 as far as I can tell. Microsoft have really upped their game in recent years – the Windows 8 and 10 OS cores run on phones, or in tablets with 2Gb of memory. Strangely, Fuji X system users all seem to like Apple – make of that what you will!

        • pascaljappy says:

          Yes, the XPS screen is the 4K version. Colours are very true to life and it’s indeed a good screen. But the Mac is in a completely different league. Lower res but it feels sharper and is *a lot* brighter.

          My mode of use is extremely simple. I just use software, which I buy & don’t crack. I don’t game, I don’t hack, I don’t have separate file systems or multiple OS boots … My *only* requirement is that the thing just work for 3 years when my accountant says I can buy a new one.

          The XPS 13 is now on its second serious incident in 9 months, which is a lot given the considerable price I paid for it and very minimal use it gets from my daughter (it must be on 4 hours a week). I decided long ago that Dell was on the black list for me (multiple incidents on a previous laptop, arrogant sales people, a super expensive XPS tower than can only be upgraded with Dell components … no thanks) but my daughter wanted the XPS 13. Its behaviour is just par for the course when it comes to my experience.

          Windows 8 was a major factor in my buying a Mac. My XPS tower, initially in Windows 7, “upgraded” to Windows 8 and that was the end for me. I never used it again. How a huge corporation can ship such utter nonsense is beyond me. Don’t know what the future holds in store for the Mac but, so far, it’s been incredibly well behaved and a constant joy to use. Given the cost, it had better, mind you 😉

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    My views on Microsoft at this stage are unprintable. I gave them equal opportunity – actually it was more than equal – they blew it, big time. I refuse to spend another cent, sou, peso, dime or any other currency on their products. FYI – Pascal, it was their blasted Windows 10 that destroyed my confidence in them – and in the wake of what they did to my PC, in their own words it is steadily decaying, with one program fle after another being affected by their brilliance.

    Which, by default, means I have retreated to the other camp, and am in the throes of removing everything from my remaining Windows based gear, to put it on my iMAC. Forward thinking is that I will need a new MAC sometime in the next 12 months or so. NOT – NEVER! – another Windows based, Microsoft dependent, machine.

    On a brighter note, I am also in the throes of a large batch of PP, and the bulk of the work involved is simply my cataloguing system. The actual post processing is not such a load, at all, this time. I continue to curse Adobe for making LR so awkward to open files – it’s built around their cataloguing system, not mine, and their Cloud – neither of which are of the slightest interest to me, and they just get in the way with that stuff. Still, once you get in, it has its uses. From time to time I hit a pothole in the road, and need to do some fancy footwork in one of the other programs, but very little these days in PS and the bulk of what I do in LR could probably be done just as easily with presets (except I have a total disconnect with presets – they have as much fascination for me as cellphones).

    Some worthy just sent me a score card for about a dozen popular PP programs. I think I will remark them all, from MY perspective – which isn’t going to be the same as a pro’s, because we don’t have the same issues to deal with. I suspect that the totals will shift around enough for me to wind up with the various programs listed in a different “order of preference” – I will do it for that reason, if for no other.

    PP software reminds me of product development with camera bodies and lenses. Why is it so difficult for manufacturers of all of these things to tune into what CUSTOMERS want, instead of trying to promote “their latest/greatest/whatever idea”?

    • pascaljappy says:

      PP software is an interesting world. It feels like a young and unstructured market and yet, unfortunately, is a dying one. Google just somehow added their Photos app to my phone (I must have agreed to it, somehow) and while the invasive nature of the whole thing is palpable, the speed at which everything is done makes all computer-based apps so 19th century …

      My daughter made a video yesterday. With a few fingers, she cut some bits out, changed all sorts of details that would have required dedicated software just years ago and saved the results, all in a matter of minutes. Given half decent light management, you can create very decent results in very short time. It’s an amazing productivity boost when you don’t need the ultimate quality.

      So PP programs on computers should really get their sh.t together a lot better if they want to survive the onslaught. Like Paul, I spent a lot of money on various bits of software and nothing tested was as soundly built as LR and C1. Sad to say, but fact. They are all fun to play with a few days but really don’t make the cut when you want to do serious processing. I can’t see them surviving the far easier / faster smartphone apps. Which is probably why Google so insensitively acquired, dismantled and dumped the brilliant Nik suite. They got the pieces they needed and threw the rest in the bin. “Do no evil” ? Yeah, right …

  • John Wilson says:

    About 6 years ago I offloaded my old PC and moved to the Mac universe. The primary reason was viruses. I got tired to death of having to have the PC into the shop and scraped clean with industrial strength tools to get rid of all the malware. In the last 6 years I’ve had one virus problem. BUUUTTT … All was well with the universe and relativity till for some unfathomable reason Lightroom, which had been working just fine thank you, adopted all the characteristics of a drugged slug and would eventually just stop working. Fast forward several weeks of expletives, frustration, throwing things at the wall (Hey! One does not throw things at a Mac … that’s for PCs) and general fuming about Lightroom and the beast ended up in the shop for an explorative. I knew the current IOS was taking a lot of heat for messing up the performance of a lot of Macs so the solution was to offload the new OS and revert to the previous version when things ran OK. All was again well with the universe and Einstein was smiling.

    The whole problem came into focus a few months later when I bought a new Mini which came loaded with the nasty OS that was messing up Lightroom and other things. My first step was to take it to the shop and have the OS replaced with the previous version. They tried and hit a wall … several times. What they finally worked out was that the old software was not compatible with the latest version of the “BIOS” (still don’t know what that is) and the BIOS can’t be reverted to an earlier version. Sigh! with great trepidation I plugged in the new Mini, loaded all my apps and voila!!! All worked just fine than you.

    “DING”!!!! True enlightenment emerges. The upshot of the matter is that on the old Mac I was running the latest IOS and Apple does a nasty little thing every few years … they change the BIOS to a new an “better” version. And therein lies the problem. If you are running an older Mac with the latest OS you my experience some problems with internal compatibility and something in the IOS/Adobe interface was having a war with each other.

    This may be the source of your problem. Try reverting to an earlier version of the OS when all worked OK.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Ouch. All of this sounds to me like I’m enjoying the Mac because it’s still new but there may be surprises ahead. Ouch again …

      In the mean time, my daughter lost Wifi on her Dell XPS 13 a couple of days ago (no ethernet port on that computer). So it’s now essentially a heavy paperweight as all her files are online. Several hours of installing new drivers later, no change. Several hours with Dell on the phone, reinstalling many things, no change. We now have to reinstall all of Windws 10. Oh the joy …

      If Apple goes the same way, all that’s left is Linux and there aren’t many PP software choises there. Uh …

      • Adrian says:

        Wifi USB dongle as a temporary solution?
        Could be a software issue (easy) or maybe it needs a new wifi card (semi easy). My guess is software – reboot from cold, use hardware manager to check and repair/install any drivers. At least one of my machines occasionally refuses to see networks when awoken from hibernation, but generally a cold restart resolves it
        hope that helps.

        • pascaljappy says:

          Thanks Adrian. “Unfortunately”, Dell has remotely tested the machine and all is well. So it’s defintely a software issue. After a reboot, a reinstall of the drivers and a complete reinitialisation, still nothing. Now they are telling us we must reinstall Windows 10. So much fun 😉

      • John Wilson says:

        Don’t know how old the BOIS was but I got 5 years out of the old machine and that’s an eon for any computer. You are probably OK for several years before you’ll need to upgrade.

  • Bob Hamilton says:

    I’ve been in the Mac camp for over a decade now and, while nothing made by Man is perfect, have no regrets.
    My late 2012 MacBook Pro 13″ is still going strong despite constant usage and travels across Europe, West Africa and the Indian subcontinent and both it and my Mac Pro desktop run Lightroom, Capture One and Photoshop, and the latter an Eizo 4K screen and an Epson large format printer, without any issues and with no noticeable processing delays for large files well in excess of 200mb.
    Couldn’t be happier and couldn’t imagine using anything else. Seamless, robust and as trouble free as I could hope for. Neither is cheap but, amortised over the many years of use, both become excellent value.

  • Edwin says:

    I started using Macs in addition to my Windows machines since 15 years ago, and I still have 2 MacBooks that are still working, probably because they don’t get that much use….. They are now running Windows 10 on Bootcamp. Just start them up and they’ll show up as Windows machines, perfect. ’nuff said.
    There was a time when creative people want to be “different”, and use MacBooks. Now, if there is a emergency evacuation at the local Starbucks, upon returning, people would have a hard time trying to find their own laptop as they literally are the same.

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