New Apple 14″ and 16″ MacBook Pro: Built for Creators

In digital photography and video, the most important thing after the camera is the workstation. There must be a means to upload, process, and share. With higher resolution images, high-quality codecs, and more, the need for an ultra-powerful workstation is higher than ever. Just for sanity – because who likes working on a slow computer.

Another consideration is the associated lifestyle of many digital photographers and videographers. We’re on the move. Traveling to find the best landscapes, the most diverse wildlife, we’re after the best shot. That puts many of us on the road and away from home throughout the year. So, a workstation solution not only needs to be powerful, but mobile. 

Apple answered the call. 

Apple has released new 14” and 16” MacBook Pros, supercharged by newly developed M1 Pro and M1 Max processors. For those in the Apple ecosystem, these MacBooks are the best ever from Apple and I definitely recommend looking into upgrading. 

Apple had disappointed some with past MacBook releases, a shift to sleek, ultralight designs was definitely welcomed, but it came at a cost of performance and ports. I believe the new MacBooks compromise neither of those things – they are powerhouses in a small package. 


MacBook Pro 16.2”
Price: Starting at $2,499 (customizable up to $6,099)

Key Specifications

  • Apple M1 Pro or M1 Max 10-Core Chip
  • Up to 64GB Unified RAM
  • Up to 8TB SSD
  • 16.2″ 3456 x 2234 Liquid Retina XDR Screen
  • Up to 32-Core GPU | 16-Core Neural Engine
  • Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) | Bluetooth 5.0
  • Thunderbolt 4 | HDMI | MagSafe 3
  • SDXC Slot | FaceTime HD 1080p Camera
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard
  • Force Touch Trackpad | Touch ID Sensor
  • macOS

MacBook Pro 14.2”
Price: Starting at $1,999 (customizable up to $5,899)

Key Specifications

  • Apple M1 Pro or M1 Max 8 or 10-Core Chip
  • Up to 64GB Unified RAM
  • Up to 8TB SSD
  • 14.2″ 3024 x 1964 Liquid Retina XDR Screen
  • Up to 32-Core GPU | 16-Core Neural Engine
  • Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) | Bluetooth 5.0
  • Thunderbolt 4 | HDMI | MagSafe 3
  • SDXC Slot | FaceTime HD 1080p Camera
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard
  • Force Touch Trackpad | Touch ID Sensor
  • macOS

This tidbit from Apple really says it all, ‘…MacBook Pro delivers groundbreaking processing, graphics, and machine learning (ML) performance whether running on battery or plugged in, as well as amazing battery life — enabling workflows previously unimaginable on a notebook. The new MacBook Pro also features a stunning Liquid Retina XDR display, a wide range of ports for advanced connectivity, a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, and the best audio system in a notebook.’

These are groundbreaking machines. The early benchmark results from the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors are extremely impressive – something like a performance increase of 60%, which is crazy for a one-generation change. We won’t know the true performance abilities of these MacBooks until they launch, but it will be interesting to see how they stack up to competing PC processors. 

If you’re doing any photo or video work in Adobe suite apps, Blackmagic apps, or Final Cut Pro, you’ll be getting anywhere from 5-10x better performance than the last-gen. Again, those are huge steps forward in just one generation. 

I think it’s worth noting the sizes of these MacBooks too. I think 14.2” is a really good size if you’re traveling and need a portable solution, but also prefer to get home to a larger monitor for the bulk of your work. If you’re looking for a do-it-all solution, the 16.2” MacBook squeezes a bit more real estate in there but doesn’t sacrifice much in overall size and portability. 

I personally am the former. I have a 15” Dell XPS, but I’d love something just a tad smaller since I do most of my work on a larger 27” monitor at home. The 14.2” MacBook seems perfect. 

Even with a new display and ultimate performance, Apple says that battery life is 2x longer than last generation MacBooks when doing photography tasks, like working in Adobe Lightroom. 

Plus, the new MacBooks get all those ports we wanted. More Thunderbolt ports, HDMI, SD slots, and MagSafe 3. These don’t come at the cost of size either. The design of these notebooks is classic Apple sleek, with the classic aluminum casing. They’re relatively small and lightweight for what they offer, and similar to Dell XPS models featuring smaller screens than the MacBooks. 

Overall, these MacBooks look awesome and have great specs for the ultimate performance. I can’t think of a better option for viewing and processing photos, and they’ve caught my eye (I currently have a Dell XPS 15). 

The downside is they are expensive. That’s really the downside to most Apple products, the price premium. I love Apple products, but I opt for PC mainly because of price. 

This is the customization I’d recommend:

  • 14.2” or 16.2” depending on preference
  • M1 Pro 10-Core 
  • 16-Core GPU
  • 16 GB Memory (32 GB if working a lot with Photoshop and Lightroom open at the same time)
  • 512GB SSD (use external drives to store images/video and keep the internal drive for applications)

Depending on the model, those specs will run you about $2,200-$2,800.

Matt Meisenheimer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin.  His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special.  Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image.

Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world.

As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals.

You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com

 

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