Apple Mac Hexacore 3.33Ghz memory limit update

As expected the Hexacore Mac Pro will take 4x 8GB DIMMS, giving 32GB, despite Apple insisting it will only take 16GB total. Mine arrives tomorrow! This news makes the hexacore machine the best choice as it has the fastest clock speed and still has 12 virtual cores. Few applications will be able to make the most of any more.

I will be building my machine over the weekend with 1 Solid state drive partitioned as the system and scratch disk, and 4x 2TB drives for photo storage and backup. I’m expecting a “dramatic” improvement over my 2007 MacBook Pro 17″ 2.4 Ghz. Updates to follow.


MacPro Hexacore – 6-Core maximum memory limit

UPDATE: THe 6 Core Apple Machine can take up to 32GB RAM. See my article about building a high end photo editing workstation.

Apple launched their new MacPro models today, including the 12 and 6 core models. The 6 core 3.33Ghz is the one to choose for a high end photo editing workstation, with fastest clock speed and memory speed, without the system overhead of the 12 cores / 2 processors that most applications will not use. However Apple appear to have limited the maximum amount of RAM available for the single core processors to 16GB. The single processor machines have 4 memory slots, the dual processor machines 8 slots. Apple say that the 8GB modules will not work in these machines.

Two of the biggest companies selling after market RAM are disagreeing about whether it is possible to get around this. OWC are currently saying they think it does have a 16GB limit, but in a conversation with Crucial earlier it seems that they are guaranteeing that their modules will work up to 32GB! Great!

Here is the conversation:

Welcome to Crucial Technology’s Expert Online. An Expert Online agent will join you in a moment… Please do not begin typing until you have been connected to an agent.
Hello, my name is Sean . How may I help you?
Wayne Grundy: I have just ordered a MacPro 6 core from apple. I am looking for the memory to take it to 16GB. I was expecting to see 4x4GB modules for this machine – as recommended by Apple. Apple say that this machine has a limit of 16GB, but on your site you are selling 8GB SIMMS, and say that it can go to 32GB RAM – I think this must be wrong???
Sean : One moment, please, while I review your inquiry.
Sean : Okay Wayne, looking at a Mac Pro 6-core system’s memory specifications. I see that it has four slots and that each slot can definitely handle 8GB each for a maximum memory of 32GB total. We guarantee that for that particular system. I’m sorry if I cannot draw you a comparison from what Apple say’s in reflection to what our website say’s but we definitely guarantee that system maxing out at 32GB. If you are still too concerned about that then my absolute best suggestion would be that once you receive that Mac Pro 6-core, you run our Crucial system scanner on it. It’s right on our home website and is a free download, what it does is scan that system’s information and gives you a list of all of the guaranteed compatible memory based off of that scan result.
Wayne Grundy: OK I will do that – I know that OWC are saying that the max is 16GB too see here MacPerformance Guide

Wayne Grundy: I think you need a definitive answer otherwise people will be ordering from you and they may not work!
Sean : That’s the best answer I can give you above Wayne. If for some apparent reason the configuration would not work for you a return can definitely be setup for the memory because it would be under warranty. But it still stands that we guarantee the 6-core going to 32GB. We wouldn’t guarantee that if that did not work.

So there you go!! – You read it here first!

6 cores, 3.33Ghz, 1333Mhz memory up to 32GB – Lightroom will fly!
Crucials 8GB SIMMS

Goodwood Festival of Speed

I went to the Goodwood Festival of speed last Friday, for a full day of petrol head nirvana.

Highlights of the day was seeing a Ferrari 458 in the flesh, and photographing it from all angles, and seeing an attractive Audi hybrid prototype, which was really well lit, and ideal for photographs.

Audi hybrid

I also met Anna Louise Felstead, a brilliant painter of all things military and motoring, see her website and photograph below.

Anna_Louise Felstead - famous painter.

Callibrating your camera

If you have calibrated your screen, printer and paper and inks, and are still not getting accurate colour, the only step remaining in the process is to calibrate your camera. It is remarkably easy to do.

Step 1. Take a photograph of a known calibrated colour chart such as the Xrite chart below.
Step 2. Open this with Adobe’s free DNG profile editor, click on the “chart” tab, and move the 4 circles that appear onto the four corner colours.
Step 3. Click “Create colour table”
Step 4. Export the profile “recipe” created for your camera.
Step 4 In Lightroom, choose this profile from the drop down list in “camera profiles” function of the Develop module.

It took less than 15 minutes, and the results were good, with the resulting on-screen image closely matching the Xrite colour chart.

Adobe DNG profile Editor with X-rite 24 patch colour chart

Adobe DNG profile editor can be downloaded for free here

A comprehensive set of instructions from Adobe can be seen here
Adobe Instructions

X-rite colour chart on

X-rite on

X-rite chart from Bodoni Systems

Park Cameras Open day – tests of lenses and camera

Yesterday I visited a Park Cameras open day in Burgess Hill, Sussex where a number of camera manufacturers had representatives and equipment to sample, and there were some seminar sessions, including a talk by fashion photographer Jon Gray who demonstrated a photoshoot with fashion model Katie Green (Who famously campaigns against size zero).

Katie Green - Canon 5dmk2 24-105 @ 75mm f8 1/125th

I had the chance to play with the new Sony Nex3 and 5 which have APS-C sensors in a body that is unbelievably small body. Samsung EX1 image samples- new compact camera, Sigma 50mm f1.4, Zeiss 85mm 1.4 AF for Sony Alpha, Sony 500mm Mirror lens and the Canon 7D!

See more….

Mirror…Mirror..A guide to choosing and using a mirror lens

Mirror lenses, which are also known as ‘catdiotropic’ or ‘reflective,’ were all the rage in the ’70’s, and 80’s but dropped out of favour in the ’90’s . In the digital age do they have a purpose? This article tests several mirror lenses from different manufacturers, explains the advantages and disadvantages compared to conventional (refractive) lenses and shows how most of the disadvantages can be overcome in the digital darkroom. There are plenty of test pictures throughout and sample images taken in the years since I carried out the test all available in a Flickr album at up to full size.
Up until around 6 years ago, Tamron, Nikon, Zeiss and Minolta all still had mirror lenses in production. Now of the big brands only Sony have one available, and this is the previous Minolta model rebranded. There are some other cheaper makes such as Kenko, Vivitar and Centon new. There are plenty of lenses to choose from on ebay, and I bought 4 of them to evaluate, eventually selling all but one.


500mm f8 Mirror lenses from Nikon, Zeiss and Tamron

How far digital cameras have advanced in 9 years.

My first digital camera was the Canon D30 from 2001, a DSLR with a 3 Mega Pixel APS-C sensor, I just found this comparison with 100ISO film, and it wins! No wonder I didn’t shoot a roll of film after buying it! My latest camera is the 21MP full frame 5D mk2, I regularly print A2 images which look sharp even when viewing from inches away. It’s hard to imagine how far we have come in 9 years of digital camera technology, looking at my film prints from several years BD (Before digital) they look soft and grainy. (if you like that effect, it is easy to replicate using Photoshop and/or plugins like Nik Silver Effects Pro).

Imagine if cars had advanced so much in that time!

It is interesting that when scanning a 35mm slide, it is possible to obtain a simply huge file, – bigger even that a 21mp digital file, but the file size is so big because of the intricate detail of the film grain. This larger file contains no actual extra useful resolution, which is why the D30 managed to deliver such an an unexpected result in 2001.

Canon EOS D30 compared to Film