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Computer build for editing


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Hi Everyone,

I'm a hobbyist photographer, a few times a month I'll go out and shoot 500 photos, often time sailing regatta photos, 1 in every 10 photos is a keeper. I just upgraded from the A7rii to the a7Riv. I currently edit my pictures on a 2015 Macbook pro with 16bg of ram and the base i7 processor 256gb ssd. If I'm working remotely and do not have access to an external hard drive I often like to sort through the photos while on the card so I don't fill up the laptop hard drive for this i will use the mac preview program or sometimes lightroom. In the past this setup was barely adequate to do editing. The wait time was a couple of seconds for loading or previewing files. This is a problem when you're going through 500 photos. Like I said, I'm a hobbyist, I'm not making money off of this and waiting to load photos that need sorting and reviewing becomes a less than fun task when you're waiting on your computer. Now that I've upgraded to the A7r iv the wait times have increased but I can also tell that the computer is past its limit, I have short hangs added into the waiting time.

 

I'm looking to build a cost effective desktop PC. I want to invest money into the parts that will mostly reduce load times and processing times.

Processor:

If I were to go Intel I'd be looking at an i7 or i9 with a LGA 2066 board or LGA1151. Will either socket have much of an impact on my load times. Also I've heard good things about AMD Ryzen these days but I don't know enough about them. 

 

RAM:

Will 64GBs be more effective over 32GB or is that unnecessary. Also What impact will RAM Speed have DDR4 - 3000 MHZ vs DDR4 - 3333 MHZ

 

Graphics Card:

Will graphics card actually have any impact on anything because its not a video game

 

Also What percent breakdown do each of these categories have on load times.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Sailingphotographer said:

1 in every 10 photos is a keeper

Sounds like a low rate (no offense intended), which probably justifies a quick pre-selection before the heavy lifting starts. Provided the non-keepers are easily identifiable, because they're blurry, bad moment, bad direction and the like.

A few cheap suggestions up-front:

Set the camera to record both raw and jpg. Raw for editing, if it comes to that, and jpg for quick preview. On top, you may want to set the jpg quality not to the highest setting, for even quicker preview. Since you may be previewing on the camera EVF itself, you might want to consider setting a small jpg size as well.

That should considerably cut down on the volume which does need to get transferred to a computer.

Be aware, that for the a7riv an uncompressed raw picture consumes around 120 MB of storage, resulting in 8 pics per GB. That would be more than 60 GB for the whole batch of 500 pics.

Now we're talking about data transfer rate. (We're not processing yet).

1st, from the camera to the computer:

the a7riv has a USB 3.2 type interface, which supports transfer rates of up to 20 Gbit/s, if you use a suitable cable and the computer too has a usb 3.2 interface. Else the slowest partner would determine the actual transfer rate! I believe the 2015 MacBook Pro is limited to 5 Gbit/s. In theory, that's a factor of four already! But next comes the storage card in the camera, which will likely have a significantly slower data transfer rate. You may want to read up on card readers and/ memory cards as well.

Once the data is in your computer, it must be retrieved from the disk (SSD) and loaded into RAM.

New NVMe type SSDs promise 3.500 MB/s transfer speed. So you may want to consider that when picking a motherboard.

And then there's the RAM, which has a data rate of its own. The clock speed is only one of four factors which take influence. See this. If you decide on a RAM size, be sure to split the amount among the available slots, because this will enable double- (or multi-)channel access.

The graphics card also benefits from a high bandwidth:

This s for loading and viewing.

Only the actual image processing will be done in the CPU, more or less.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Chrissie said:

Sounds like a low rate (no offense intended), which probably justifies a quick pre-selection before the heavy lifting starts.

 

 

I shoot moving action shots while on a moving platform(a boat). Usually it’s not a focus miss or action blur as u can keep my shutter speed very fast as I’m shooting outside. The issues with the photos are framing and capturing the moment. I’ll usually shoot 5-10 or so shots of any intended shot and pick the best moment or composition after.

 

My SD cards are Sony G tough cards I.e. the fastest possible. I’ve been shooting jpeg raw for years. It would be great to have enough computing power to drop the JPEGs and make life simpler.

My focus here is to build a cost effective computer so I don’t dread viewing and processing the photos

Edited by Sailingphotographer
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13 hours ago, Chrissie said:

Sounds like a low rate (no offense intended),

My first thought was that he would be taking

9 hours ago, Sailingphotographer said:

... moving action shots while on a moving platform(a boat). Usually it’s not a focus miss or action blur as u can keep my shutter speed very fast as I’m shooting outside. The issues with the photos are framing and capturing the moment. I’ll usually shoot 5-10 or so shots of any intended shot and pick the best moment or composition after.

... ... ...

My focus here is to build a cost effective computer so I don’t dread viewing and processing the photos

Batches of five hundred?  Even if you have hard/software that loads and displays the images almost immediately, I would be daunted by that. I find it hard enough when I have taken over a hundred pics of one classical concert. To the extent that I have been trying to limit myself (hey, a roll of 36 once had to last!).  I take my hat off to guys who can use burst mode and then pick one or two. Experience and  good eye, I suppose.

Anyway, all that is part of your experience but... I have recently discovered that a change of preview software makes a difference. Until a week or so ago, I was just using my OS's image viewer for that original cull. Then I found something called qimgv that makes the process of simply loading and scrolling through much faster. Operating-system dependent, but you too might find something similar. It's as good as a computer upgrade on my decade-old box.

On the other hand, if you are loading everything into a raw processor, not much will help except improving the hardware. Faster disks or SSD is a good start --- or include them in the new box.

Edited by Thad E Ginathom
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At a typical sporting event I my end up with 1-2k photos. Typically I just upload all of them to a Mac Mini, while I clean my gear. Then preview with CaptureOne to sort through them and pick the top ones. The only delay is the process is the copying of the data from SD card to the computer, and I don’t generally just sit there and watch it.

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1 hour ago, LiveShots said:

At a typical sporting event I my end up with 1-2k photos. Typically I just upload all of them to a Mac Mini, while I clean my gear. Then preview with CaptureOne to sort through them and pick the top ones. The only delay is the process is the copying of the data from SD card to the computer, and I don’t generally just sit there and watch it.

This gives me hope. So I don’t need to build a super computer to process this stuff.

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Update I purchased a AMD Ryzen 9 3900x 32gb off ram and 1tb Samsung SSD EVO Problem solved. This setup cost around $1100 and benchmarks like a $13500 Mac Pro. No problem with Lightroom or previews of raws anymore. No more hangs and much faster than my old computer with A7rii photos. Moral of the story if you purchase a A7r iv be prepared to have a workstation to match. I highly recommend AMD as a cost effective solution.

Edited by Sailingphotographer
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When I built my computer, I was listening to a lot of music, but not doing much photography. Whatever audiophools say, audio is something that is not at all demanding of computer power, and I told myself off for having to spend some time discovering the cooler/fan combination to make the box as physically quiet as possible.  But now I do photography. And I sometimes wonder just how far behind I am in processor power and storage speed.

But my couple-of-hundred photo uploads and processing are not so slow that I worry too much about it. I'd so much rather buy a new lens than a new computer. But if I ever reach a coulpe of thousand pics per session, computer upgrade will be a priority. By then, mind you, I'll probably have all the lenses I want. I've only been at this for two or three years.

 

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  • 2 years later...

The specs you've listed are quite good and it will work super well for editing. But it may be just me, but I can't always find myself in front of my PC space station at my home. Quite often I have to edit photos and videos on my old laptop. And that's when I use movavi, so save this link in your bookmarks https://www.movavi.com/videoeditor/

Edited by Makelove
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  • Posts

    • Hi Pieter, Not yet. I've thought about that, to use a tripod. But I've no time to try that yet. I'll try it this weekend and let you know.  Thanks!
    • Did you try manually focussing at 135mm, camera on tripod / solid ground, delayed release? If you can get sharp pictures that way, at least you know the optics are fine.
    • I don't know how those cameras would fare as aviation cameras - either of them are far beyond my scope of purchase - but people have been taking pictures of planes and other man-made flying objects well, as long as they have been around.  Unless the aircraft is flying straight at you or flying perpendicularly away from you, the AF lagging behind the shutter should not be an issue and in almost all cases you would be shooting at infinity so internal lens movements to acquire focus should be at a minimum.  If you are expecting to crop a lot, I guess a camera with higher resolution would be better for you but that also depends on what you are going to do with the image.  If you are going to be printing large mural sized prints, higher resolution image would be better but if you are going to print at or below 11x17 or not print at all, even a cropped image from my A7II will be good enough on any consumer grade monitors on the market.  I have seen images printed from the first generation Olympus OM-D E-M5 (16MP) at 11x17 and they were excellent.
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