laptop specs for digital photography

  Mahombi 14:43 14 Oct 2005

I'm a pro photographer, about to switch to digital, and need a (Windows based)laptop. Being naive in this area, I'd like to know what specs to look for, besides RAM and hard drive capacity. Some of the specs terminology is impressive, but (for me,) bewildering! Why a laptop over portable storage? Well, some jobs require me to deliver results on CD or DVD at the same time.

Also, is there such a thing as a single drive that will write (or preferably re-write) both CD's and DVD's? If so do these feature on laptops?

  Kate B 14:55 14 Oct 2005

Presumably you're going to need to use Photoshop on the hoof, so you're looking at something with a fast hard drive and plenty of ram - I'd say don't go lower than 1GB of ram for starters. And a fast processor, plenty of storage space (presume you're using uncompressed tiffs or raw files).

You'll also want good battery life - the last thing you want is the lappy dying on you when you've got some agency or newsdesk howling at you. And a wireless card to connect to hotspots, and you might also consider some kind of GSM/GPRS data card, too, for when you're out of reach of a hotspot.

Yes, you can get combo DVD/CD writers.

What's your budget? It's going to cost ...

  Mahombi 19:32 14 Oct 2005

Thanks for the response Kate B. Yes, I had in mind that much RAM. I was thinking along the lines of a 60Gb to 80Gb hard drive, although I won't be storing much on it. I intend to download to a separate hard drive back at the office. I had been thinking along the lines of not much over £1000 plus Vat. Although I'm starting to think that that's laughable!

  PC Bilbo 19:40 14 Oct 2005

PCA does monthly tests and reviews and covers things like battery life which will be important as the stated manufacturers figures are usually overstated.

A Pentium M processor over AMD would be my preference as they tend to run cooler and anything around 2Gig will be fine for still digital images or even video but for the latter you want as much hard drive and RAM as you can get in.It's best and cheaper to get extra RAM if you need it fitted by the manufacturer.For stills 60/80GB will be sufficient if you back up regularly.(see below)

Most Power Notebooks come with a dual format DVD Writer/Rewriter which will also burn and read CD's.Some write quicker than others so reviews will help.

As you are a professional photographer I would also consider as well as burning to DVD/CD a large extra external hard drive that you can connect via USB and back all of your new images onto at the end of each session.That way should the worst happen and your laptop gets accidentally damaged or is stolen or lost you are still in business.

  Mahombi 19:44 14 Oct 2005

PC Bilbo. Thank you for the most useful tips.

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