Photographers, upgrade your gear carefully

I’ve been using Apple’s MobileMe a while.

Some of it’s features like the virtual hard drive or iDisk actually works well for me because I let my students and friends share files with me through the public folder.

But all that is going away end of June.

So Apple has forced my hand encouraging me to move up to Lion OS 10.7.

I don’t have any mobile devices other than an previous generation iPod Touch so that upgrade doesn’t really have much appeal to me.

Perhaps when I finally buy myself an iPad.

If you even dabble at all with photography, you must be aware that your computer, your photo-editing software and your digital camera are totally dependent on one-another.

Upgrading any of the 3 without doing some research can mean a lot of aggravation.

I’m lucky because I have 3 Macs.

The 2 Macs I use: a MacBook Pro and a MacPro is running Snow Leopard 10.6.8.

The 3rd, an iMac also running Snow Leopard, is shared by my wife and kids.

I have Time Machine running on 2, the MacPro and the iMac, but I have a clone of the MacBook Pro’s internal hard drive.

I should but I don’t use Time Machine on the MacBook Pro because I’m too lazy to keep it connect to an external hard drive.

Instead I schedule Super Duper to prompt me when it’s time to make a clone of the hard drive once every 2 weeks.

Anytime you change one of those 3 components expect some chaos.

If you are receive the newest camera as a gift for example, that’s when problems can arise.

Camera manufacturers change their raw files from time to time.

Then it’s up to Adobe and Apple or Windows to catch up.

As long as one of them drags their feet in giving you a prompt update, your workflow will be disrupted, especially if you shoot camera raw.

In that scenario, you will have to install the camera manufacturer’s software to read the image and convert it to a TIFF (lossless format)

So, don’t paint yourself into a corner.

Clone Your Internal Hard Drive

Always clone your hard drive before upgrading to a new operating system or even newer version of your photo-editing software. I use Super Duper to make an exact copy of the internal hard drive so if anything horrible happens I can step back to where I was.

Mac users who use Time Machine as their backup can do the same exact thing as well. But that backup only goes back as far as the capacity of the Time Machine hard drive allows.

Research the forums

With any release of software there are bound to be bugs. Adobe usually has a forum where you can find the latest releases and issues about compatibility.

Shoot only JPEGS

Yes, many people cringe at this suggestion especially now that hard drives are so cheap.

Shooting only jpegs is really okay especially for folks not interested in making large mural size prints.

When hard drives fill up, computers slow down.

Most people then mistakenly assume that it’s time for a new computer.

Shooting camera raw means you have to make sure that Adobe or Apple has the latest updates that can read that proprietary format from Nikon, Canon or other camera manufacturers.

A good alternative for those shooting camera raw is to use Lightroom to convert camera raw to DNG (Adobe’s open source Digital Negative format)

2 thoughts on “Photographers, upgrade your gear carefully”

  1. Thanks Pablo. One of the most aggravating problems can be outputting or printing and that has happened to me. I ended up downgrading luckily all I lost was a couple of hours.

  2. Well said Peter.

    Too many “photographers” jump into the latest and greatest and when they have issues, expect someone to help them out.

    The latest & greatest isn’t always that.

    A little research goes a long way.

    PS: one tip for using Apple’s Time Machine- Use an external Hard drive 4 times the size of your internal hard drive.

    PSS: Another tip- Use TWO external hard drives to archive your shoots and the edits. Make them both the exact same (mirrored, if you will).

    Thanks Peter.

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