When a photo session finally packs up, and you are back at your home office, and finally it is time to download all of the images you shot during the day to start post-processing, the need for a good computer becomes apparent. A slow system which takes ages to kick start and then load your favorite photo editing application can be a painful experience. Not to mention the time it takes to load several RAW photos at once such as when you are batch editing a shoot.
Needless to say, the best computer for photo editing is the one that packs in a lot of computing power, essentially with enough cores for several threads to work simultaneously (and therefore aid multi-tasking), along with adequate amount of RAM and a fast storage (namely SSD).
The latest 8th generation Intel Core i9 processors or any comparative technology should form the core of a computer for photo editing purposes. Having said that a Core i9 8th generation processor would be extremely pricey too. But on the bright side, it is also going to give you the best performance in terms of processing speed, ease of multitasking and the ability to access editing applications and images quicker than older technology powered systems. A high-resolution display will not harm either as you would be able to get a higher amount of detail when editing your high-res photos.
Laptops offer the best combination of power, convenience, and portability. A good quality laptop with a powerful processor and fast storage as well as memory would definitely be the preferred choice for someone who has to travel quite a lot. We have listed the best laptops for photo editing here for those of you who are looking for the best that money can buy.
Though the above is the ideal scenario, not many photographers, especially those who have just started in photography, can afford to invest a huge amount of money into a top of the line laptop. They would normally be looking for a more affordable option, something that gives them an ideal balance between power, performance, and price. So, regardless of whether you are looking for a laptop for photo editing in the mid-range (under $1,500), or in the sub-$1000 segment or even the budget segment, we have you covered.
Then, of course, there are those who would prefer the confidence that comes with a large high-resolution monitor paired with the latest processor, GPU, and fast storage. A larger monitor is most ideally suited for displaying an image or a video editing timeline in a big way. That helps the editor get a much more convenient view for precise editing. A desktop computer is the better option in this regard because you get a wide variety of large high-resolution monitors you can choose from.
When it comes to building your computer a desktop gives you much better convenience than what a laptop would in terms of upgrading the system after a period of time. In most cases, you can do simple upgrades like adding extra RAM or installing a new hard drive or replacing an optical drive on your own. Desktop computers are also better in terms of heat management and adding external accessories.
If desktop computers are something that you are interested in, either as your primary workstation or as a secondary system to fall back on when you need to, then this review of the best desktops for photo editing is something you would find worth reading. You will find a comparative analysis of different options you can choose from including all-in-one, tower (display to be purchased separately) and barebones systems, which you can configure on your own.
The best computer for photo editing requires the best monitor in the business and what better way to find out which one you need than to make a comparative analysis of the top models? But we have done the hard work already for you. And that means you can skip to the easy part – pick out the one that meets your editing requirements and fit your budget. The review of the best monitors for video editing and our list post comparing the best monitors for photo editing are good reads if you are in the market shopping for a computer monitor.
Even the best of editing platforms require a good monitor paired with it. Apple’s MacBook Pro is widely considered one of the best (if not the best depending on who you ask) laptops for photo editing. But even then, a 15″ MacBook Pro is no match for a 34″ WQHD IPS monitor, a.k.a. the Dell UltraSharp Curved Ultra WQHD. This gives a much wider display with good enough pixel density for photo and video editing tasks. This monitor is also our preferred choice when it comes to using with the MacBook Pro. For a full review of the best monitor for the MacBook Pro check this review.
Tablets have taken a backseat of sorts and only because of the Microsoft Surface devices are people still interested in this platform. The greatest strength of tablets as compared to laptops and smartphones are they sit right in between the other two devices in terms of screen size. Which is just right if you want to edit, retouch your photos sitting inside an aircraft or an airport lounge or even on your favorite sofa.
You have laptop displays, monitors for the MacBook Pro and the desktop, tablets and then you have field monitors. Field monitors are designed to give you a better high-resolution view of what you are aimed at on a larger screen that handles bright natural light better than the tiny 3″ screen at the back of a camera. The best field monitors, thus, are the ones that come with superior resolution, larger real estate for greater convenience when focusing in the manual mode. These are something traditional DSLR rear LCD screens always lacked. If you are shooting videos outdoors on a regular basis and are looking for a field monitor then this review of the 5 best field monitors for your DSLRs is a useful read.