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RHDxSPAWNx Nov 2, 2008 9:45 PM

I'm using my newly bought Canon 40D and I'm slowly filling up my gear bag and my little wish list. I was thinking about getting a laptop to take advantage of the live view and the desktop utility. But I want something small. I don't want to lugging around a 15+ in. laptop. I figured that someone on here probably uses one for out in the field and I was hoping they could make some suggestions. Thanks in advance.

Oh btw, I'm using this for landscape photography.

interested_observer Nov 3, 2008 8:21 AM

There are three main areas to consider for laptops in the filed - battery life, size and software. There are also two main laptop types that you may want to consider - the nettops (like the asus eee pc, and the like - about 2 lbs and a 7" to 10" screen) along with the smaller traditional laptops, like the dell D420 (about 4 lbs with a 12" screen, dual core). Then there is a little item of software that supports your 40D (Windows, Linux or Mac).

There are about 10 to 15 brands/models of nettops out now, hp, dell, asus, MSI, acer, and the list goes on.

So based on your software, or the software you want - I would work backwards from there. I have a Dell D420 for work that I took out aboard a Navy ship and it worked out fine (always better to have an electrical socket close by). I also do a lot of business travel, and it works well in that mode. My son has an eee pc and works great, however for either one - about 2 to 3 hours tops (battery) is the norm, dependent on how hard your using them. Extra batteries do help.

Don't expect to do a lot of image modification on the nettops - as the processors are somewhat slow. You will need one of the smaller traditional laptops if you expect to be doing a lot of image enhancement in the field. Camera control on the other hand should be ok, however displaying the image to the screen will take cycles and thus be a drain on the battery.

TCav Nov 3, 2008 10:41 AM

In general, smaller laptops have less powerful CPUs, and in photo editing, CPU speed is everything. So a 12" screen with a fast CPU, lots of memory and a big hard disk, is probably not realistic. A 14" screen is probably as small as you can go.

My experience is that Dell, Toshiba, and Lenovo (formerly IBM's PC division) make the best, most reliable products, though I've heard some impressive anecdotes about the durability of Panasonic's Toughbooks. Since you'll be usingthis on the road,you may want too take a look. []

RHDxSPAWNx Nov 3, 2008 4:12 PM

The toughbook is impressive as far as durability. The site says that it can withstand a 3 foot drop! wow. Another "wow" is the price tags on them. I'll have to pass on that one. Thanks for the quick reply.

antony Nov 18, 2008 4:45 AM

This will be biased, but I think I can add my two cents.

If you want something ultra-portable without sacrifice the screensize, my recommendation: MacBook Air.
(13", 1.36 kg (3.0 pounds), NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 256MB DDR3 SDRAM)

If you want something a bit more power on the road, my recommendation: MacBook.
(13", 2.04 kg (4.5 pounds), NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 256MB DDR3 SDRAM)

Both MacBooks can run both Mac OS X and Windows XP/Vista natively, or even run Windows under virtualization environment (that is running both Mac OS X and Windows at the same time). You can have the best of the both worlds in one portable device.

Well, I am a Mac user myself. When I go out for long, I always carry my 15-inch MacBook Pro and wireless broadband device. I don't consider myself as a photographer yet (I am more of a computer person).

hgernhardtjr Nov 18, 2008 7:37 AM

I use an HP tx2000 series notebook/tablet computer (tx2117CL) with a 12.1 inch screen. For me the convenience of being able to use its pressure sensitive Wacom "Penabled" screen to edit on the fly and on the road using PhotoShop was a great feature (I use Wacom Intuos graphic tablets when I work on desktops). I was a bit dissatisfied when I discovered I had to purchase a more comfortable pen than what came with the HP tablet, since my standard Wacom pen and Airbrush would not work with the Penabled HP.

Granted the screen is smallish, but I have not found that a problem since I can zoom in and out on the work area with no problem. Additionally, it's 250GB drive provides a great place to dump photos, something I rarely need to do now, though, since I use several 8gb Extreme III and 4 cards when traveling. But the computer is small and able to fit in my camera backpack.

Photo 5 Nov 19, 2008 9:25 AM

If price is not an immediate concern look into durabook computers. They are built very rugged and are not a thick as the tough books. I have one that I use for work and second one at home. Both have 14" screens, 4GB Ram and DVD DL Burners. The only downside of these laptops is no media card reader options other than SD/SDHC. I also have to carry a CF card reader with me. I have had both machines for about 2 years now. Never had an issue and the one at work is constantly on thwe move between my SUV and the office and home and use in the firld to burn off the occassional DVD......... For photo editing on a large scale and handing 10+MP files I would recoomend 4GB of Ram and about 40GB of free space on the hard drive so you never run out of room on the road for a place to put your images until you can cull through them and pick the ones you want to save.

Before I had the Durabook I had bad experience through work with Dell (18 months)anda Toshiba used for 22 months) that did not hold up. For whatever reason theemployeer did not get extended service plans foreither. The Dell screen hinges broke and the Toshiba DVD drive had to be replaced 3 times the laser went out.

I also know some one who bought one of those mini ACER computers from ShopNBC and they can only use 1GB of ram and a 120GB hard drive Max specs. The person wishes they had more on board ram and tells me it takes about twice as long to upload his cards as it does on his homePC. Also they only comes with an SD/SDHC slot so those with CF cards, xD, Sony memory sticks are out of luck unless you carry a card reader.


celen Apr 18, 2011 1:23 AM

if for travel i suggest you to choose a netbook.they got small size.

shoturtle Apr 18, 2011 2:55 AM

Ipad 2 and down load some editing apps, they even have RAW converters if you want to edit on the go. Can not get much smaller and compact. I love the ipad 2, got a 32gb one and the camera kit adapter. So when I fill a card, I can dump all the photos on the ipad, and keep then format and keep shooting.

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