New Apple MacBook Air – for Photographers and Video?

I'm a Microsoft guy and work on a PC probably 99% of the time. As i'm typing this i'm working on a Lenovo X300, a PC system that was the rival against Apple's first Macbook Air. This PC laptop is super thin, super light, and runs everything I need for mobile computing. For processor intensive and graphics work, that's all done on a home desktop system. Sure I own an Apple iPad and an iPhone, but neither one gave me the needs required for backing up photos from a shoot, editing a quick video clip, or posting up a new blog post when i'm travelling. This PC laptop running Windows 7 and an SSD hard drive is my go to system when i'm on the go.

Now comes Apple's new Macbook Air at a cheaper price than it's earlier version, and also smaller and lighter. Specs looks like it's got a lot more performance features added too. Running all solid state flash storage, and a ton of batteries all built into the unit, this thing can be on stand by for 30 days without a charge. I would say more than half the system board area was reserved for the batteries alone. Unlike the iPad that fit some needs, and failed in others, this new Macbook Air runs a full Mac OS and has a full QWERTY keyboard. With it's flash based storage system, it's instant on just as fast as the Apple iPad.

There's a discussion about an article over at the B&H Photo website that this new Macbook Air netbook is something Photographers and Videographers could find handy. Many of the new cameras are using SDHC media, only the 13" Macbook Air has a built in SD card reader for backing up photos without a card reader. They also claim that it should run Final Cut Pro - maybe not fast, but well enough. It's available now in both 11" and 13" models, with options from a 64GB to 256GB internal flash storage. Looks like only 2x USB ports are available for external devices, and nothing about Firewire being mentioned. What do you guys think? Anything interesting here at this price? The laptops aren't designed to replace true work systems, but does this suit the Mobile Media market?


The cheapest new Macbook AIR 11" here:

Most expensive new Macbook AIR 13" here:

13 thoughts on “New Apple MacBook Air – for Photographers and Video?

  1. It's not high powered, yet it's pretty darn close to my 3.5 year old Macbook Pro.

    It's easily enough for basic final cut pro and any photo editing.

    I'm interested in finding out how fast the air sucks in sd cards

  2. jb

    I say macbook pro, the AIR portability is nice but i do agree with other posts processing power wont be enough. As it is most mac apps needless to say adobe are memory and space hogs plus 2 usb's no firewire and the 13 inch price with card reader and max specs 1500.00 no way! instead 15 inch MBP bump up ram to 8g of ram and 500g hybrid drive its grea. this is my desktop on the run and it powers my virtual machine running win7 and CS5 just fine, but yes it is a little heavier.

  3. tash

    iam looking into getting this for light photography work. If you want to do any video work then look into MacBook Pro.

    To me Macbook pro is better for photo/video work but yeah Mac Air is much lighter.

  4. Ed

    I'd think that a photographer/videographer who already has to carry a ton of gear would appreciate the convenience of a smaller, thinner computer -- albeit Apple or PC. The new Air won't be snappy, but for travel it's a nice option, and should handle light editing. I leave anything serious to desktop work, if only for the convenience of using a larger screen. The X300 is a sweet machine, albeit getting long in the tooth. I work on my computer all day -- photography is a hobby activity for me me -- and travel frequently and paying a premium of a few hundred bucks for a nice computer is worth it. If it can handle some light editing for when I have time on the road, all the better.

  5. Adam Ouellette

    I use a mac book pro, and love it, but I've always thought that the Mac Book air is just a stupid product. I could never see it being used for anything video related.

    The MacBook pro 13" i use to edit video with has 8GB of DDR3, a Core 2 Duo Overclocked to 3ghz, and has two internal hard drives raided together, for a total of 1TB of storage. (I removed the disk drive) It does a fantastic job at editing video, I edited a 40 minute documentary feature on it in HD, with no problems.

    But consider how many upgrades I put into it, to get it to that point. I do agree with all the negative comments said about apple above. The fact that you cant change anything in the mac book air makes it a useless tool. The only people I see using that are business men with way too much money that only have to handle word documents and soccer moms that only want to look at their email and surf the web. (or something like that..)

  6. First up, lemme just say kudos on the site! I know I'm gunn a spend a lot of money here!!

    Just a comment on the iPad. I just purchased an iPad camera kit from apple which effectively makes my iPad a mobile storage device. I can now use my sdhc card and plug it into my iPad downloading all the shots I took from my Canon 60d. I can pick and choose the suits I need and even delete from the card ready for rind two with the camera. It works really well fir me.

    Second, I believe that wordpress works for Ipad and is a free download. I think you can place your shots via your download so it'll work just fine provided that your site is powered by WP.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

  7. MisterO

    I'm not a pc guy, so I can't really talk about those fellas.
    I'm' about to change mu old macbook and I feel like the new MacBook Pro is a better answer for all my needs: more storage, more ports, better screen, much faster processor.
    Sure it's heavier than the 13" MB Air but it's also way cheapper.

  8. Jason

    No offense, but I come from a very PC/CPU technical background, and I personally think (spec wise) the MacBook Air's are garbage. Intel's newest CPU, the Core i3/i5/i7 series has been out in the mobile space for a year now. The Air's still use a 3 year old cpu/architecture; Core 2 Duo. There has been so many improvements, specifically multimedia enhancements (video/photo editing) over those 3 years, and the fact that Apple who charges a premium for their products, doesnt take advantage of this, is just well...rediculous. It come standard with 2GB of ram, 4GB is the standard...And its not user upgradable. SO you have to again, pay a huge price premium to upgrade your ram ro 4GB. Something that could be done for $30 on a PC.

    And the same rule applies for their non-user upgradable SSDs. They're charging a rediculous price-premium on them.

    I'm all for innovation and the progression of technology. (it lacks an optical drive, and doesnt have a standard HDD option) but at the expense of functionality?

    I would not reccomend this at all for any type of serious video editing. Photoshop at best...

  9. Serge

    I walked in to my local best-buy and gave it a hands on try and although I was impressed by it's ergonomics I was not mpressed by it's speed for let's say a quick onsite edit. I took a thumb drive full of images shot on my 5D with videos clips too to test on it and I-life was quite slow at processing them took about 10 to 20 seconds to open a picture each time and about 8 seconds to close them, Video took about the same time.

    The 11 inch model surprisingly took about the same time even with less on specs, I think it is great for light work and so forth but don't see any real heavy work being done, imovie can get the job done but don't see any adobe products or final cut HD running as smooth as one might want, after all it is just an apple branded net book, for the pricei would just get a pro series Mac book with better specs and skip on the thinness.

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