Finding the best laptop for photographers can sometimes feel like a juggling act. On the one hand, the machine needs to be powerful enough to handle high-end photo editors. On the other hand, it needs to be portable enough to take with you on any assignment.
Depending on your project, photo editing software can be somewhat hardware-intensive. That means the best laptops for photographers should ideally come equipped with the one of the best processors, best graphics cards, and the best RAM.
To keep your files accessible, you’ll also want a speedy SSD capable of quickly loading files and packed with plenty of storage space – even if you typically use cloud storage for photos.
Screen display is another important factor. You want to be confident that what you’re creating is accurately displayed, so look for one with an excellent screen with fantastic contrast, a high brightness level, and a wide color gamut – at least 90% sRGB and 70% Adobe RGB.
Ports will also play a part in choosing which photography laptop is best for you. Many slimmer (and more portable) devices come with just a few ports, which means you’ll need to carry dongles for peripherals.
Ultimately, you want to make sure your chosen photography laptop can match and maximize your creative workflow – whether you use a free photo editor or the top industry-standard tools like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom (or any number of Photoshop alternatives and alternatives to Lightroom that we’ve tested)
To help you find the laptop that’s right for you, we’ve tested, reviewed, and rated the best laptops for photographers. Some are so good, they’ve even made our round of the best laptops and best MacBooks overall.
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The best laptops for photographers 2022
There are a number of reasons that the MacBook Pro 16-Inch (2021) is such a fine machine for photographers and photo editors. From the inclusion of an SDXC and 3 Thunderbolt 4 ports to an extremely stunning display with a very wide color range, not to mention its incredibly powerful internals, it’s a pleasure to work on. It also comes with a stellar battery life that won’t throttle your performance when unplugged so it’s ideal for using in the field as well. Of course, it comes with quite the price tag but that’s too be expected for a laptop as powerful as this.
The MacBook Pro has truly made its complete transformation as a laptop for creative professionals with the launch of the MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) and its 16-inch counterpart. Armed with the new M1 Pro and M1 Max, this compact laptop impresses with breathtaking power – the kind that deserves the most intensive creative workloads – and an equally breathtaking battery life. Of course, Apple then rounds it all out with its XDR display with 1600 nits of peak brightness and a wide color gamut, an SD card slot, an HDMI port, and three Thunderbolt 4 ports (all of which can stay available thanks to MagSafe charging being back.) If you’re looking for the best laptop for photo editing overall, look no further.
Read the full MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) review
One of the most powerful mobile workstations out there, the Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021) comes with a lot of power, a gorgeous display, and a whole lotta ports.
Best yet, it’s priced well below its less-powerful rivals, making it a better proposition even if you have a more flexible budget. It isn’t by any means perfect. The battery life could use a bit of a boost, for example. But, for how much you’re paying and for the other things you’re getting in return, it’s a minuscule sacrifice.
The Dell XPS 15 might just be incredible enough to tempt hardcore Mac users. It’s easily the best laptop for photo editing at present, and in a lot of ways, the best laptop (period).
Combining staggering power in a stylish thin and light chassis, this laptop doesn’t hold back when it comes to internals and features that improve your computing experience overall. Among those amazing features are a gorgeous bright display with 500 nits of brightness, an extremely comfortable keyboard, impressive speakers, and a terrific trackpad.
We’re not saying that this laptop is perfect, but our coveted 5 out of 5 rating should speak for itself.
The Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) is even more powerful than its M1 predecessor, with the M2 delivering a boost in both power and battery life. Our tests show that it provides a performance excellent enough for video editing, let alone photo editing and productivity multitasking.
What’s more is that it tackles intensive tasks while staying quiet, the fans rarely kicking in to keep things cool and minimizing distractions from your creative process. Of course, the battery life is longer than ever, lasting over 15 and a half hours during our testing.
Those wanting to upgrade from its predecessor might be disappointed by the lack of design upgrades. But, there’s nothing inherently wrong with it in the first place. If upgrade in specs and performance is top priority, it’s worth it, especially considering it hasn’t gone up in price.
For those who think that MacBook Pros are overpriced but still need a powerful mobile workstation, there’s the Acer ConceptD 7.
This formidable laptop capable of handling complex and demanding tasks such as photo editing, thanks in part to its Nvidia RTX graphics, was designed specifically with creative professionals in mind. Beyond that sheer power it delivers, it also offers decent port selection, a minimalist solid white design and that stunning Pantone-validated 4K IPS display.
Obviously, it’s still pretty pricey, but if you’re looking for a Windows-powered MacBook alternative for video and photo editing, it’s certainly among the best laptop for photo editing.
With an impressive, reasonable price tag and some of the best battery life we’ve experienced in a 15-inch laptop, the Surface Laptop 3 certainly has a lot going for it.
That also includes the fact that it’s got a great look and feel, as well as a weight that surprisingly light for a product its size. Performance-wise, it certainly knocks it out of the park.
While it isn’t the most powerful 15-inch laptop out there, it has Intel’s 10th-generation chips and the Iris Plus graphics. That’s more than enough to make it one of the best Ultrabooks out there.
In many ways, the Surface Book 3 is an example of just how far the best laptops have come in just a few short years.
It has an extremely premium piece of kit – with one of the best displays we’ve used in a laptop, a keyboard that will put the MacBook Pro’s new Magic Keyboards to shame, and a hybrid design that’s great for creative tasks. More specifically for what you’re looking for, this follow up to the outstanding Surface Book 2 has configurations with a discrete GPU and more RAM than everyday consumers will ever need. This all makes the Surface Book 3 an amazing choice for content creators and one of the best laptop for photo editing currently on offer.
Read the full Microsoft Surface Book 3 review
This laptop’s claim to fame is being the smallest 13.3-inch laptop on the market. It’s slim screen bezel helps contribute to a svelte 304mm x 200mm x 15mm form that needs to be held to be truly appreciated.
But it’s also among the best laptop for photo editing. The XPS 13’s screen is touch-sensitive, and it boasts a similar resolution and pixel density to the MacBook and Surface Book. Image quality is more in line with the ZenBook though, falling slightly short on colour and contrast intensity compared to Apple and Microsoft’s displays. A highly portable package with little compromise other than battery life.
Sartorially-conscious photographers will love the look of this 13-inch stunner, sure. But the Spectre x360 also takes things to another level, power-wise.
With its gem cut design and sleek profile, it’s this one of the most beautiful laptops on the market right now. However, HP also fitted this with powerful Intel Whiskey Lake processors and long battery life, which means that you’re getting one of the best laptop for photo editing.
Watch the video above for the top 7 things to consider when buying a laptop.
It’s easy to get bogged down in the tech and spec soup of computer terminology, but there are a couple of key areas photographers need to think about.
The first is the quality of the screen. This used to be more eye-sore than eye-candy, with appalling contrast and viewing angles, but thankfully IPS display tech fixes this and you shouldn’t settle for anything less.
An SSD (solid state drive) is a must as your primary storage in any new laptop. A conventional hard disk drive will bottleneck performance like flat tires on a Ferrari, and while dedicated graphics cards are great for gaming, they’re not a necessity here. Today’s processors can fill in for them, and they pack enough pixel-pushing punch for photo editing.
The MacBook is favoured by many photographers, and for good reason. But don’t rule out comparably priced laptop PCs, which can offer more bang per buck with better upgradability.
Below is an excerpt of “The Digital Darkroom: The Definitive Guide to Photo Editing” by James Abbott, published by Ilex Press (£17.70 on Amazon.co.uk(opens in new tab)). James talks briefly about the essential photo editing accessories that any image manipulation aficionado need to consider.
“As a photographer, you will be well aware that there is a plethora of accessories that you can buy to aid your photography, and photo editing is certainly no exception; some are essential, others are nice to have while the remainder simply come down to personal preference. It’s like any hobby really – you can buy as much or as little as you want to but having all the gear does not always guarantee excellence.
您将需要一台计算机——笔记本电脑或台式机——而且，在许多情况下，这将使您在图像编辑方面取得 70% 的成功。但是让自己达到 100% 的攀登难度要大得多，并且需要一些必要的配件来帮助您到达那里。实际上，您只需要两个额外的配件，而其他配件可以提高舒适度和控制力。我使用了这里推荐的所有配件，但到目前为止最重要的两个是显示器校准设备和广色域显示器，按顺序排列。
强大的计算机图像处理需要大量的处理能力，因此具有多核处理器和大量 RAM 的强大计算机是必不可少的。您应该考虑的最小 RAM 是 16GB，但 32GB 甚至 64GB 将更好地帮助图像编辑软件平稳运行并更快地执行任务。如果购买新的 Mac，您需要在购买时增加 RAM，但对于 Windows PC，以后升级要容易得多。此外，在 Windows 中，游戏 PC 是照片编辑的理想选择。
广色域显示器能够显示 98-100% 的 Adobe RGB (1998) 色彩空间。这些显示器几乎总是使用平面内切换 (IPS) 技术，这意味着显示器将从更宽/多个视角显示清晰的图像，因此您不必直接坐在显示器前面即可查看可靠的图片。一些最好的摄影显示器由 BenQ 和 EIZO 生产，这些显示器可以连接到笔记本电脑和台式机。
一些专为照片编辑而设计的 BenQ 和 EIZO 显示器包括显示器罩，但您也可以为外接显示器和笔记本电脑购买通用罩。显示器遮光罩只是一个 C 形塑料罩，有助于阻止杂散光从上方和侧面照射到显示器表面。这意味着您将看到比屏幕受到眩光影响更可靠的更清晰图像。
图形输入板执行与鼠标相同的功能，但不同之处在于您将特殊笔移动到连接到计算机的输入板上以移动指针。优点是它比使用鼠标更自然、更舒适，并降低了发生重复性劳损 (RSI) 的风险。此外，它们提供了更高程度的指针控制和准确性，因此更容易进行微调 – 他们刚开始需要一点时间来适应。
显示器校准设备，例如 Datacolor SpyderX，是必不可少的附件。这些设备确保 照片编辑监视器 正确显示颜色、对比度和亮度，因为大多数未校准的屏幕都不会。这里的问题是您会根据不正确显示的颜色、对比度和亮度来处理图像，因此您的图像将在线、打印和校准显示器上显示这些问题。”