Buying a Mac or a PC


I love the fist pump baby. He makes me laugh every time. But I’m not posting this for LOLs. I think this is a genuine conversation that needs to be had.

We’ve all been told many times that Macs are THE computers for the photographic industry. Mac evangelists will tell you that they are SO good that they’re worth the considerably larger price tag. Many will tell you that they had a PC that crapped out after two years, but their Mac is still going strong after five years.

Let’s assume for a moment that this is true. (It’s not true, but let’s pretend that it is for the sake of discussion.) Let’s also assume that you, the potential computer purchaser, are (a) not exceedingly wealthy, and (b) do not yet own all your other dream gear – that sweet prime lens, that beautiful studio lighting kit, heck, even that amazing mentoring session with that famous photographer in another state.

So, when you weigh up your available finances, it boils down to this:

OPTION 1: Buy a Mac that might last you five years, but wait another 1-2 years for the lens you want; or

OPTION 2: Buy a PC that might only last you two years, but be able to buy the lens right away.

When presented with this fundamental choice, how can Option 1 possibly sound better to you?? If you’re going to be saving up some money for the next two years, why not be playing with your lovely lens in the meantime? If, after two years, you do have to spend your savings on another computer, so what?? You’ve had a great time with your lens, and you have been able to edit your images all the while.

And I’m sure I don’t need to spell this out for you … what makes the most difference to your portfolio? The computer you edit on (reminder: the Adobe software is identical on both platforms) or the lens you shot with? Hell, it’s the lens of course. Or the lighting kit, or the mentoring. When was the last time you commented on a beautiful photo by a wonderful photographer in your news feed, asking which platform they edited on? You never have, have you?

If you have a lot of money, then this debate doesn’t apply to you. Buy ALL the things you want! Good for you. But heck, I know that many people aren’t so lucky. They need to weigh up their purchases carefully, and Macs don’t sit well in those scales.

Now, let’s debunk the myths. A PC, well maintained, can last as long as a Mac. A good desktop screen, well maintained, can last the span of quite a few computer lifetimes; whereas an in-built screen such as on a Mac has to be ditched when the computer is. Mac screens are generally good, but they aren’t the best around, so if you’re in the market for the very best equipment, a Mac screen is not what you buy. Macs do need to be calibrated. There’s better free stuff available for PCs. And last of all, Macs DO HAVE PROBLEMS. Any given computer can have problems. Sure, Windows Vista was a dog, but does anyone remember a little incident called Yosemite?

I have worked on both Macs and PCs for many years, and I know that fundamentally, neither is better than the other. Given the choice of two tools that produce exactly the same result for me, I will always choose the one that leaves me with funds for other things that I need (or want).

Anywhere you go on the internet, Mac vs PC threads always bring out the vocal advocates, who will rant for hours one way or the other. Whatever. I’m not posting this for the vocal minority, I’m posting for the silent majority. I know you’re out there, making decisions like this daily. I want you to know that if you choose the affordable PC because that’s what your budget allows, you’re doing the sensible thing. Spending more than you can afford is NEVER sensible.


If you have a question about this article, please feel free to post it in Ask Damien.