A new laptop and it's not a Mac!

October 07, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

If you are someone who constantly travels, rarely stays home for more than a week, and needs a high- powered computer, you will possibly not bother owning a PC. The need to have all of your creative or work programs on one computer will invariably force you to have a laptop, not just any laptop, a high powered modern laptop computer that can manage all sorts of tasks with ease and do this on the move.


For me personally, I am constantly on the move. I work in the Western Australian mining industry where I work a week on, week off roster. With so much travel I worked out that having a PC at home is not ideal for my needs. I actually purchased a wonderful monitor at one point to make sure my photography post-processing was the best it could be. The BenQ SW271 was a monitor that came highly recommended and so took pride of place at my home office for nearly a year.


I was running this monitor off an older Hewlett Packard laptop which was possibly not a great idea, although, without a PC tower, it would have to do for the time being. It did not take long to realise the covers on the BenQ monitor started to not come off on my week at home and that the purchase of the monitor was probably not the best decision I have ever made.


I sold the BenQ monitor a few weeks before I was due to submit images to the Australian Nature Photographer of the Year competition just after Christmas 2018. This proved to be a bit of a mistake on my behalf because two of the images I processed on the Hewlett Packard were accepted into this competition and I was not seeing the correct colours or brightness. When I attended the awards night in Adelaide in August, I was slightly embarrassed at the quality of my prints in the exhibition.


The colours were dull on both images and the brightness was not where it was supposed to be. I knew what had caused the inconsistency in the final print files, although, it was too late to do anything about it, and there was no one else to blame except myself. I have come to realise that life is about making mistakes and learning from them.

It was clear a new laptop was needed. I had always been a Windows user and although I knew that Apple Mac book pro's were the go-to computer for most professional photographers, I wasn’t interested in them, and I knew that there were some really powerful and colour accurate windows based laptops and that was what I was going to buy.


After researching for what seemed like a year, I settled on the highly regarded Dell XPS 15. The reason I was interested in this computer was the accurate colour display, the fact that it could handle multiple photography editing based programs running at the same time and the speed it could do all these things in. The most important factor in choosing this computer was that it displayed 99% of the Adobe RGB colour spectrum.

It took a bit of work to tame the vivid colour display after initially setting up the computer as it was set to really impress with a super bright screen and heavily saturated colours. As well as purchasing the Dell XPS, I made the decision to also change the program that runs my colour calibration. I changed from Spyder to Displaycal. After using both programs now, I believe the latter is far better.


Another program I downloaded, which is actually free off the internet, is Faststone image viewer. I felt that when looking at colours in lightroom or photoshop the colours were correct, although, when I viewed them with windows image viewer, they still looked slightly saturated which is the one thing that does annoy me about windows based computers. With Faststone, I feel that I am seeing images correctly when I am not viewing them in lightroom or photoshop.


In conclusion, the quality and accuracy of my post-processed images are now at a much higher level than ever before. I feel much more confident in submitting images to photography competitions around the world and also sending files to my printer for my limited-edition fine art print sales with the confidence of knowing the images are looking their best.


So, if you are in the market for a new laptop for photo or video editing, do not immediately think Apple mac, because these days there are some very powerful and colour accurate windows based laptops out there like the Dell XPS 15. I would recommend it to anyone.



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