I have lost count of the number of PC’s and Mac’s I have used over the years for photo editing, and the choice of which one and my recommendation to others has changed over the years.
Just to introduce myself, I have been a user of Photoshop for 20 years, used to teach it as part of a consultancy job I had at the beginning of my career, then on Macs. I am now a CIO of a major company – all PC’s no Macs.
I used Macs up till Windows 2000 – which was far better than Mac OS9 eg, it included multi-tasking, in those days if one application crashed the whole Mac would crash too. The Apple hardware was based on PowerPC chips in the early and mid 2000′ was very slow compared to PC’s of the time.
I used PC’s on Windows 2000 and then XP but I then had so many problems with hardware incompatibilities, I updated the firmware on a motherboard and it then refused to work at all, inability to get support from the motherboard manufacturer drove me in the direction of Apple as they at least support the whole system. I was so frustrated with all the problems with my PC’s that I decided to buy an Apple Laptop to try out the Mac again in 2007.
Incidentally I bought mine from Dixons Tax free at the airport, which was the cheapest place I could find even compared to US pricing.
Here is an article in PC magazine 2007 that rated Mac OSX Leopard – as being “better than Windows Vista for most consumers”
My conclusion was much the same, easier and more fun to use, lots of useful features – particularly automatic backup and so far much more stable.
But what about now!
I think that Apple OSX Snow Leopard is currently the best OS for photo editing.
It is simpler to use,
Has features like automatic backup
Requires less fiddling under the hood
Really good at connecting to external devices
64Bit on modern hardware
Potential to really make the most of multicore processors.
And the Mac OS can be booted from an external drive – That’s right, you can easily create a bootable external backup of your entire computer and just go and boot another Mac from your drive! This has saved me several times. Say your system becomes corrupt, (which happens often on a PC) – to recover the PC, you have to reinstall Windows on the C drive, and this wipes all of your content from that drive.
On a Mac you boot the machine from an external drive, and repair the corrupt files using a utility.
However – don’t think that switching is all plain sailing, there are new things to learn and don’t believe that Macs never crash or that you won’t have to read a manual again.
New software will also be required though all the big name Photo products work in the same way. Lightroom licenses work on both PC and Mac and the disk – if you bought it has a install for both, so that is at least one software item tat you won’t have to buy.
After 3 years experience using a MacBook Pro for work and photo editing.
The MacBook Pro’s I have are 2007 vintage, 17″ and 15.4″ 2.4 Ghz Intel Core2 Duo 6GB RAM and have 500GB 7200RPM drives. These I gradually upgraded over the years. the 17″ machine I bought second hand on ebay.
Apple’s key advantage is that they control hardware and software making their machines more reliable, less hassle to use and much better at connecting to external devices. The Apple’s operating system is based on Unix and is much more robust than Windows. There are also less viruses and malware for the Mac.
My hands on experiences.
The MacBook has been a wonderful travelling companion. I use it for my normal job, travelling the world, running meetings, Powerpoint presentations, and writing documents in Word. I use it for at least 12 hours a day, plugged into an external Eizo monitor with separate wireless keyboard at home or just on my lap on the move. The simple aircraft power cable enables me to work on long flights. So it does everything you would expect of a standard business PC laptop. I never get any negative comments from other business types, but do get a bit of jealousy!
I visited Microsoft Seattle this year. At the beginning of the meeting the presenter issued us with a password to access their wireless network. I logged straight into it (it is very easy after all) . There then followed 15 minutes of tutorials to get the PC’s logged in – some never manged it even with MS tech support guys. Smug wasn’t the half of it I should say that I am not anti Microsoft. I use MS Office 2008 on the Mac – it is fantastic. I have tried “Open Office” which is free – but I couldn’t earn my living with it. Word, Excel and Powerpoint are great on the Mac, and completely inter-operable with the PC. Unfortunately there is no MS Project which has caused me a few problems I use a Project file viewer called “Steelray”. I could have course run windows on the Mac – but although I am told it runs better on the Mac than a PC – especially Vista I have not tried it myself.
I run Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom 2 at the same time and they worked quickly up until the point that I bought a 5D mk2 with 21MP raw files. Lightroom is now very sluggish.
I would say the Mac is about 10x as reliable as any of my PC’s – crashes are very rare, I have never seen the equivalent of a Blue Screen of Death (which was a common site on my PC laptop). Backups on the Mac are also easy – just connect a hard drive choose “Time Machine” from menu and Mac will automatically incrementally backup every hour.
“It just works” is Apples advertising slogan and I pretty much agree. An example when I present to audiences I have to go into a different room each time, plug into an unknown projector or LCD screen. The Mac almost always recognises the device even when connecting with a humble VGA cable. The speakers before and after me always have trouble connecting their PC’s – I always smile as I set mine up in seconds, making the most of the resolution of the other device (the options comes up as a list) and setting it up as a two monitor setup. It is possible for PC laptops to do the same – I just never see anyone doing it as it seems to be more difficult to do. My new work laptop is a nightmare in this regard, a brand new HP needs several re-boots and switching off and on again of projector to get a sync lock. I’ve even had it working fine, switch to another colleagues machine and then not recognise my machine again when switching the VGA cable back. The two monitor setup on this machine is hopeless
I have a wireless network at home and have all my music on a network hard drive which can then be streamed to any of my PC’s or my Sonos music players. At least in theory. One of the PC’s will not connect to it, I have tried everything to make it wok and wasted hours trying. The other PC works but it’s (new) CD/DVD combo drive will not work with my ripping software (Exact Audio Copy). So I had to rip on one machine, transfer all the music files to the other machine and then upload to the server. The first time I brought my Mac home, I connected it to the wireless network, the network drive appeared without me doing anything at all (no mapping of network drive needed), I ripped losslessly and uploaded from my laptop – no problem at all.
So far then it is mostly upsides, there are some problems however, particularly if you are looking to buy a new laptop today.
My girlfriend wanted to buy a new laptop, and of course I tried to persuade her to buy a Mac. She liked the design, usability screen quality etc. We specced a MacBook like mine, it came to around £1500, for comparison we spec’d a Dell XPS identically, 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, 320GB Hard drive (double mine at the time) it was under £800 – probably even cheaper now. The performance running Photoshop was identical in the tests. She went for the Dell. (£700 is a holiday or a new DSLR after all)
Her ownership experience. The machine is an XPS laptop quite stylish, with HDMI output, firewire etc like the Mac. We haven’t got either of these interfaces to work properly yet.
I have a PC formatted (FAT32) hard drive, the Mac can read and write to it, the PC running Vista cant! True of printers, scanners and others too.
I find using Vista to be dreadful, it is like XP (which was good but cant access 4GB memory) but with a fake copy of the Mac OS grafted onto it. Oh and mostly it doesn’t really work that well, and it’s hard to find stuff, Allison is always saying “I hate Vista”. (some say you can switch all the graphics off if you want to).
To be fair to MS, Vista before the recent service pack updates was unreliable – in fact I’d say it “just doesn’t work” but then that was true of XP also and they sorted that out eventually.
The new Windows 7 OS is now much more reliable – it had to be – Windows 7 is basically “Vista done right” I say that Vista was the beta test for Windows 7!
Other advantages of the Mac Laptop over the Dell XPS.
The screen is the same size at 15.4″ and the same resolution 1400×900 but the Mac’s is LED backlight uses far less power giving much longer battery life, (hours). Also the screen quality is simply in a different league. a slight movement of the Dell screen and the colours all change – the Mac’s is more consistent – which of course is important when photo editing. And worse of all the Dell has a glossy screen which is dreadful to use in anywhere but a dark environment because of reflections. Unfortunately , offices, airports, and in fact anywhere you are likely to use a laptop won’t be dark. Glossy screens also cant be properly colour calibrated.
So personally overall I wouldn’t swap my Mac for the equivalent PC even if it is half the price. Is it worth the extra though for YOU? It depends how you value you time. Personally having a reliable machine that works when I plug into an external device, that gives me great battery life, and that causes me less hassle is worth a lot. I would unreservedly by another Mac – however there is now an important proviso.
The new MacBooks all have glossy screens. Check the forums – there are lots of complaints about this. Only some of the models are available with a matt screen option.
Other Macs – Imacs and Mac Pro’s.
The 27″ Imac would be a great machine for photo editing with two rather important provisos
1. It has only one hard drive.
2- It has a glossy screen. You can drive another monitor though – for colour accuracy and with Lightroom 2’s support for 2 monitors enabling say the grid view on the Imac screen and the Individual picture on the other I would recommend this setup. The IMac 27″ is also fast at running photoshop, Don’t be fooled into sticking some matt film on to the Imac screen – it might help reflections but not calibration. It is possible to remove the glass that sits in front of a matt monitor though – this is what I would do.
Improve your Imac for Photo editing
I am really annoyed that Apple don’t make a more consumer focused tower machine, that you can fit multiple hard drives and lots of memory in. It this respect say under £2000 machine I think PC hardware is more useful to photographers.
The MacPro’s are the traditional PC tower designs that can be plugged into an external monitor. They offer lots of processor cores – from 4 up to 8, but Photoshop doesn’t use more than 4 effectively so the performance gains are not worth the cost. the base machine is the one for Photo editing then.
In conclusion I have now switched completely to the Mac at home. I manage 1500+ PC’s at work!
I hope this helps if you are looking for a new machine!
36 thoughts on “Mac or PC for Photo Editing?”
Great review… Thanks
Thanks for the great article…
I am in the middle of deciding on a monitor for my MacBook Pro 15″. I’ve started a small photography business and need to figure out the best monitor for doing photo editing. Should I go with an Apple Monitor or the Dell U2410??? I see that glare is an issue with the apple and several have had issues with the color being too bright where they would get a different result on paper vs. their monitor. I love the Apple look but seriously considering a Dell U2410. What is your opinion?
I would choose neither I’m afraid. The Apple is glossy and useless for photo editing. Dell’s just aren’t designed for photo editing. I remember a long phone call to their Indian call centre while I waited to see whether thay could find anyone that knew what Adobe RGB meant!
I’d buy one of these.
I’ve been using Macs since 1984!
I used to work for an Apple reseller as a consultant in the multimedia area then went on to run an electronic publishing organisation where we used used Macs. The glossy screens are still poor for photo editing. Whether they have an Apple badge or not! I now use an NEC Spectraview 30″ display with hardware calibrator on my MacPro, see my article on Building a High End Workstation for Photo Editing!
I am looking at an AirMac for Photo editing. (Just a hobby.) I have an 18MP Canon T2i and want to run PSE 9 and Light room, as well as some other digital scrapbooking software. Do you think it would be sufficient?
Michelle, I’m afraid not, I think you should get a MacBook Pro – it will be very frustrating with the Air.
Hi’ would you recommend the new mac mini server for moderate PS and Lightroom work.
Yes, if you set one drive up as system, create a partition on it for a scratch disk and direct Photoshop and Lightroom to use that scratch volume. Put Lightroom library on the other disk.
Talk about biased! And somewhat ignorant, if you don’t mind my saying.
Compact operating system – what does that mean. Small disk footprint or memory footprint. OSX is not considered especially compact – try Puppy Linux or DSL if you want compact.
Could not write to FAT32 under Vista – yes it can.
Less fiddling under the hood – again, what does that mean?
10 times more reliable than Windows? My Windows 7 has never crashed in 2 years, nor have any of my Linux boxes.
There are just so many holes in what you say, it is difficult to know where to start. OSX is not a bad OS, but neither is Windows 7. Mac hardware is very pedestrian, Apple sell on style, not performance. They do make nice screens, though, but so do Iiyama, Eizo and, amazingly, Dell.
Pay over the odds, by all means, but please don’t blindly lead others down the same path unless you can come up with an unbiased review.
Chris, I am sorry you thought my review biased against PC – I have others that think I am anti Apple, see below
I use both platforms, I have run major networks, and small networks over 21 years experience. There is no question I pick Mac for Photo Editing, but as I said, not an Apple Screen – I use an NEC Spectraview.
you have no idea what is MAC.
I’m a freelance photographer, used vindoz since 1994 with PSE for photo editing.
5 years ago I switched to MAC and couldn’t be more happier. I only wish I knew about MAC much earlier.
what do you mean by “glossy”…? Sure, Apple is TheBest, and that’s why it SHINES in everything they do.
APPLE = SteveJobs = revolutionized 21st century computing. Every single product Apple created Rules the world, incl. Mac computers.
So back to what I do for editing: same PSE for MAC. There is no better. NOTHING comes close to the ease and power of PSE. Not even Pixelmator and not Accorn.
Exactly the same is for vindoz – PSE is the only best and easy photo editor. Period.
So I think my review was on the whole quite balanced!
Hi Wayne, I’m looking at buying the new MacBook pro (retina) for photo editing. I’ve just started in photography &i have a canon EOS60D. I currently shoot in jpeg but will probably move to raw as I learn more. I intend to use Lightroom & Elements as a starting platform for editing. My question is: how much SSD Storage will I need? The difference here in NZ between the 256GB SSD & the 512GB SSD is $1000, so if 256 will be enough I’ll go for that! I realize photoshop etc store photos which will take up SSD space but is it difficult to transfer those to an external hard drive for storage once edited on a Mac?
$1000 is a lot extra to spend if it’s not necessary but I’m worried I’ll regret it down the track because of the inability to upgrade – however I have no idea of the likely amount of storage needed!
I would store the photos that you are not currently working on, on an external Thunderbolt drive. Much cheaper than a big SSD.
Hey what desktop would you recommend for Photo Editing and Video Editing. Or could a powerful laptop and a monitor be better?
See my article – building a high end workstation for photo editing. Bottom line a Mac Pro with SSD system drive and a RAID array for storage and backup.
Over the years I tested over a 100 computer operating systems for photo editing, art, and music.. Apple, Windoze, and a lot of Linux distros, and stuff I still can’t label.. Most of it turned out to be just crap..
Finally I found an OS that doesn’t fight the user.. “Scientific Linux”.. It’s the best of the best.. and it has RedHat high-security, which is better security than all the OS’s available combined…
In SL-OS file windows hold their placement, and customizing is a dream come true.. Everything works fast and snappy, and exactly how you needs it be done from a computer OS…
If you do pix editing, Scientific Linux is the rollsroyce of OS’s.. Windoze is like a wrecked VW with a killerbee hornet’s nest in residence…
And the whole SL-OS package is 100% free.. and five times better than any windoze OS in every way…
Here’s how you do it:
How to get started with installing Linux the easy way..
a 10-year old could do it…
How to get started with Linux…
Step-1: Download these three ISO’s: (see links below..)
System Rescue CD..
Step 2: Make the three downloads into ISO CD’s or ISO DVD’s..
Step 3: Backup all you personal data to flash & DVD.. your files, pix, music, favourites, bookmarks..
Step 4: This will totally erase everything on that hard drive..
Nice thing about Linux is that you can install it on a hard drive, and install that hard drive into any computer, and it works right-off.. You can load-up ten scrapper (garage sale) hard drives with all your private stuff, as an instant fully functional backup, and keep them in a box for any time your main hd fails..
Every day you should backup your files to a large flash..
CAUTION! Do not have any removable media attached to the computer for step-4.. This next process will destroy everything on any connected removable media, in
just a few seconds after “autonuke” starts.. Been there, done that.. Not fun!..
This 100% erases (“formats”) the hard drive..
Restart computer with the DBAN CD in the slot.. At prompt, key-in “autonuke” > Enter.. Takes a couple hours on a slow machine to clean a 100-gig hd..
Step 5: Pull the AC cord from the tower, or remove the power-cord and main battery from the notebook.. If you can, remove or disable the internal bios battery for ten minutes.. Reassemble the computer…
Step-6: If DBAN didn’t start.. On next bootup start, hit the key that gets you in to where you can choose to bootup with CD-ROM as first-boot device.. On my machines it’s f12.. When you’ve finished all your installing, reset it back to first-boot the hd..
Reboot with the Scientific Linux DVD in slot.. Do the questions.. Encrypt the OS.. Write down all your NEW complex-passwords..
If the OS won’t let you in at bootup, and shows only a prompt “login”, it might have booted into “stage-3”.. It needs be “stage-4 or 5” to load the desktop.. It probably means your machine probably doesn’t have enough memory or technology to install SL-OS, the best OS of the best OS’s.. There are other distros that run on older machines, hundreds of them.. (See “Distrowatch”, and “the List”)… If you can’t install SL on an old machine, install the hd in a newer machine, do the install then plug that hd into the old machine…
DBAN’d, Batteries and power-cords back in, DBAN-CD out, Restart computer with Scientfic-Linux DVD ISO in slot..
Answer the few questions..
Encrypt the OS with a password-phrase, with numbers and symbols too…
Run “customize in advance”..
After reboot click to: “main menu” > “systems” > “admin” > “software update”..
Or, “main menu” > “system tools” > “terminal” > key-in “su -” > enter > your root password > key-in “yum update” > Enter.. Whatch for the “y’s”.. answer “y” > Enter…
A couple hours, and it’s all done..
After install & update, reboot > right click the lower desktop toolbar > click “add to panel” > Add: “force quit”, “main menu”, and “shut down”..
Right-click any icon in the toolbar to modify it’s place…
Right-click the desktop > “change desktop background”..
Right-click any icon on the desktop > click “rename” or “stretch icon”..
Mouse-to the main-menu “foot-icon” > right-click any tab to add it to the toolbar or desktop..
CAUTION: Some Linux softwares don’t work in SL-OS.. They can really damage the OS, sending you back to step-1 or 2.. Make sure a softy is SL-compatible before you install it.. That’s where new users commonly mess-up…
Check-out these links:
It’s all free..
It’s all honest..
It’s all “state of the art”..
It’s the point of “the brotherhood of mankind” being nice to humanity.. It’s all about love and respect…
Should you find problems in the operating system, it’s probably that you have installed conflicting software, or your computer’s CPU cooling fins are plugged with dust, or the fans are failing, or there’s a loose connector in the tower, or one of your hardware wires are damaged, or the battery is failing, or the video card is drawing too much current for an old machine, which can nuke a power supply…
If nothing works, and you are isolated, and need to try to fix the thing.. Make a diagram of the wiring, then take it all apart gently.. Those circuit boards are soldered by a wave soldering robot.. Too often it’s just a bad solder joint making things not work.. Use a fine soldering iron &
finest electronic solder to resolder the whole board, which often fixes a bad circuit board.. Only use enough heat to get it soldered, so you don’t heat-damage the circuit board.. Do not use a soldering gun nor torch nor a carbon tipped electronic soldering iron.. Try to not touch the black things on the circuit boards, unless you’ve grounded your wrists from static with a wire to house-ground or water-tap… A few fragile components can be destroyed by the
tiniest bit of static, but it’s generally rare…
Other precautions: When bringing-in an electronic-device from sub zero temps, first wrap it in a plastic bag outside, then bring it in, giving it time to warm-up inside without moisture condensing on the circuits, before removing the plastic and turning it on.. Electronics and water don’t mix well…
Never have the tower On when house-cleaning and raising dust.. airborne dust will find its way into the tower’s fans..
Never place a tower near a hot-air vent.. the fans will heat what they’re suppose to be cooling…
Open the tower, and blow the dust out with an air compressor.. then check each connector that it’s solidly in-place…
Never plug or unplug hardware-wires or cards from the tower when it’s On, unless they are USB’s or audio pins.. One cross-pin spark can totally destroy a computer in a hundredth of a second if it gets anywhere’s near the logic
Tidy-up those messy wires.. Don’t mix data wires with AC power cords.. it’ll drop your BW…
Don’t drop a cheap flash drive.. Sometimes a tiny drop can nuke a cheapy flash..
Don’t trust flash drives to be your only backup.. use DVD’s too, or secondary hard drives as full backups..
Store your backups in a place not even a god could find…
Make your backup-flash daily, or even hourly…
If you are a little paranoide.. when running on a high-risk connection or editing infected pix, or when composing on the desktop, start by clicking the Internet icon to disconnect.. Connect when you need to publish it…
Great article Dragonspirit. But how do you run Lightroom and Photoshop? Many of us have many years invested in these tools in terms of knowledge and training 20 years + in the case of Photoshop. I’m not going to swap OS to then have to use unfamiliar tools. My MacPro build shown here has been reliable and fast I certainly wouldn’t change it now.
Above, Kerri mentioned using a MBP with Retina Display. I love the look of this screen as well but reading your review, it sounds like this screen may not be the best way to go in your opinion. Does this screen have too much reflection to do any good photo editing from? Also, can this screen be color balanced?
I haven’t tried to calibrate a retina display yet. It is still shiny, which I don’t like, and I don’t think Lightroom works on it yet (menus to small etc) but Aperture does. Photos look great on this screen, with 5MPixels. How well they will match your printer for colour accuracy is yet to be discovered.
Just a quick inquiry, and I apologise if I didn’t glean the answer from the above review, but I’m considering purchasing a MacBook for photo editing and was curious about the fact that you mention they now have glossy screens – would you suggest a separate monitor for editing in this case (like the one you linked above) to get true colors? Or would the MacBook with glossy screen still be adequate in that regard?
I would recommend you specify an anti glare screen, an option on most MacBook Pros, and/ or use a separate monitor.
Whether for photo editing or general use, I find glossy screens unusable.
MacBook Pros have an anti-glare screen as an option. However they can only be bought from Apple, not from a reseller.
Your review is right on the money. I’m a pro retoucher and there is no doubt that working on OSX is better than any Windows (not sure how Windows 8 is) Photoshop just acts less quirky, especially when using a Wacom tab, which I use exclusively for work.
IMac’s are beautiful, but there screen is just way to glossy and are 16:9 instead of 16:10 ( as for the individual who claims…”Apple is way better that’s why it shines”..obviously doesn’t do Photo Editing for a living because you cannot in any way do serious Photo Editing on those super glossy screens.
Hopefully the new IMac which is suppose to have 75% less glare, will be photo editing friendly unlike the Retina Display which is just as bad as the previous screens( still super shiny ), as I’m looking to get one and don’t want to have to purchase another screen.
I run Photography A-Level at my school and we have just gone over to using a new suite of Macs for editing which have proved to be very successful. We are now looking to get a laptop for the Art department so that the students in the Art rooms can also edit their photos to a high standard using Photoshop and Lightroom during their lessons. Can you please recommend which apple lap top would be the best performance and cost wise?
I’d recommend a 15″ MacBookPro with ANTI GLARE screen.
Not the retina display as though it has more pixels, many apps are not designed to run with it yet and it is shiny.
I am looking at purchasing the 15″ MacBook Pro for photo editing. I use Photoshop and Lightroom. Would you recommend the 2.3 GHz or 2.8 GHz. I love you articles. That’s for sharing your knowledge.
Faster the better and with the most memory if you can afford it. Truth is that no computer is fast enough until previews build instantly in Lightroom!
Interesting article Wayne, and pretty much what I would have expected to read given the limitations of PC. If only everybody were as experienced hey…
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I have read with interest your views on the glossy iMac screens. Apple claim to have reduced reflection by 75% on current 2013 models. I’m new to photo editing & was planning to buy a 27″ iMac & install lightroom 5.
Are the new iMacs any better or is reflection still an issue
Personally I wouldn’t use any glossy screen for photo editing. I have looked at the retina display for example – lovely resolution, but colours don’t look like printed material – and if you are trying to match prints to screen I think that will be a struggle. I bought recently a 15″ MBP Anti-Glare – I love it, prefer it to the retina. I found someone who has managed to get an iMac screen working – but note that the fix doesn’t work with Lion, http://blog.bretedge.com/2010/01/12/the-imac-calibration-conundrum/
I thinks mac has had its day as an art media base..
A few wise computer techs tell me that mac and photo-shop is over-rated.. but if I could afford a state of the art mac, I’d have me one in a newyork minute, with the newest photoshop, and the complete maya pkg, in it…
Surf: “gimp tutorial” in youtube…
Check out in youtube: “scientific linux” and “ultimate edition 3.4″…
Maybe computer art needs very special ambient lighting..?
Get pinkish gels that are as close to ambrosia glass as you can..
Make that lighting be your room lighting for artsy work, glossy screen or dully screen…
Maybe make the screen background ambrosia too..?
Maybe shine a “neodymium rare earth light bulb” through the pink gel..?
Science declared that the light that emits from an ambrosia glass lamp filter is the most comforting light to the human eyes and psyche.. When you see it, you’ll understand instantly.. It makes you feel like you absolutely Must be in that room right Now.. It gives a parallel inner feel like “gazing at a goddess-class beautiful woman, passionately smiling at you”…
If anyone has any leads to purchasing ambrosia glass, please let me know.. I’d be interested in even shards of it.. You know it’s ambrosia glass if it’s pink, and all its reflections show as pure gold…
Gimp has only in the early part of this year started to support 16 bit images and has no inherent RAW capability, so you need to convert the images to TIFF before import. I use Lightroom for that. It has a superb workflow and integration with Photoshop. That has been an epic fail for photographers I’m afraid.
Photoshop is the currently best tool bar none for editing photos. the jury is out on photo management and workflow tools. These are much closer in capability – Adobe Lightroom, Apple’s Aperture and then there are tools like Capture One and DXO.
However I personally don’t like the new Adobe cloud model. Photoshop is incredibly expensive and I applaud the concept of an open source product, like Gimp. I can’t see too many studios abandoning Photoshop in the near future though.
Gimp I’m afraid is not yet a top photographers tool. Though your comment has reminded me that I should post a comparison review.
It’s development is years behind Photoshop and updates to include conversion are not quick to be developed.
I suspect Gimp will run really well on my MacPro though! 😉
I think it would be easier to discuss religion or politics than to take a side on the Mac vs. PC debate. It is a debate that seems among photographers to be second only to the Canon vs. Nikon (or Sony, or Panasonic, or any of the other manufacturers). The discussion is a little easier when you put a photography related slant on it, but it can still be fairly heated.
Still, as the hobbyist editor here at improvephotography.com my job is to take a view on these kinds of things and recommend something based on my own experience as well as what I have learned from other great photographers. Remember this when you comment on the post, but please do comment.
At some point it is likely to become necessary to get a better computer than what you had when you started into photography. Photoshop, Lightroom, and many other photo processing tools run much better when you have a good computer. That machine you bought online for $200 last Christmas is simply not going to work well.
You can make due for some time, and you should for as long as you can. But when processing a shoot takes twice as long as it should because you are CONSTANTLY waiting for your computer, or the display connected to your computer is not good enough (1080p HD is NOT enough), you will want to do something about it.
At the point when you have decided it is time and the next photography investment you are going to make is a new computer, think of it in the same you think about investing in a new lens and be prepared to spend as much in a lot of cases. Check out the last part of the article here on recommendations of what the minimum hardware should be in both Mac and PC computers to make editing photos go well.