Nowadays, photography and video development softwares are close to being the equivalent of the most insane, utopian and idealized darkroom any photographer from the film era could have ever imagined. But way better. At least in time and space consumption, as well as being a bit less harmful to the environment.
But having such powerful software could be a terrible idea without the proper computer to handle them in the smooth way they were planned to perform. Apple has a long tradition of delivering powerful hardware solutions for such enterprises; and have just announced a major upgrade of their iconic 27" iMac.
Within reason, anything we could wish as creatives could be achieved with the new iMac. Beautiful and intuitive as only Apple can be, this new workstation comes with all the needed tools for taking our ideas to the next level with faster processors, graphics, memory and reliable storage. All that seamlessly packed at the back of a stunning 5K Retina display. Starting at $1799, the new iMac is the desktop for the job.
Continue reading if you want to know more about it!
Not so long ago, when face-masks weren't the norm, Apple updated the cores of the iMac, specifically the CPU. 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor for every iMac. But a couple of days ago, we had the pleasant joy of reading the official press release of the update on the 27" iMac desktop.
Right out of the box there isn't much to tell about any difference, but the goodies come inside. This new power machine comes with brand new 10th generation Intel Core i9 processors, nicer graphics options, and some other improvements. Of course, the processor is the most interesting part of it.
If you are able to handle the 3.6GHz 10-core 10th-generation Intel Core i9 processor, up to 5.0GHz Turbo Boost option, then you'll be getting up to 65% faster performance. And if your wallet is deep enough, you can also add Nano texture glass for a better visual experience of your photographs. this last thing is more than just a cosmetic, it helps out into reducing reflections and improving content readability. If your income depends on precise color correction, then you shouldn't avoid this. I mean, the Pro Display XDR monitor comes with this exact feature too.
If you'll be dealing with some serious raw development (photo and video), then you should consider at least the Radeon Pro 5700, which has 8GB of GDDR6 memory. But if you really want to blast those pixels out, then you should totally go with the 16GB option. By doing this, you should be getting 55% more performance out of that GPU, resulting in what Apple claims to be a faster graphics performance.
Solid State Drive is the standard, and you can pick from 512GB to an insane amount of 8TB SSD storage. But trust us, that last one is very much expensive. We suggest getting a more humble layout, which will be sufficient as a workstation. We mean, who keeps storing their irreplaceables in one single place nowadays? A nice RAID solution or a Backblaze cloud storage could save you some extra bucks while configuring this bad boy.
Just for the Anecdote: If you pick everything that Apple offers, your new 27" iMac skyrockets to $9,227.99. And if you are waiting for the iMac Pro, it will come with the 10-core Intel Xeon processors and MacOS Big Sur.
Digging Deeper into the Sweet Specs
Nobody knows more about dealing with large catalogs or batches of raw files than wedding photographers, and these new generation processors will smoothen out your workflow in a considerable way. But we think that film editors will also find these specs interesting for sure.
Long gone are the days in which overclocking was a risky must. The new 10 core processor comes with a built in option that boosts its frequency up to 5.0Ghz, and unlike in our teenage years, this is now achieved in a risky-free environment.
CPU related, Apple's Press Release says the following about particular softwares when compared to the previous 8-core 27" iMac:
- Up to 65% more plug-ins in Logic Pro X
- Up to 40% faster 8K ProRes transcode in Final Cut Pro X
- Up to 35% faster rendering with Arnold in Autodesk Maya
- Up to 25% faster build time in Xcode
- Up to 55% faster rendering in Maxon Cinema 4D ProRender
- Up to 50% faster demo fly-through in Unity Editor
- Up to 45% faster performance in "Total War: Three Kingdoms"
- Up to 30% faster timeline rendering in Final Cut Pro X
Which correspond to the delivered graphics performance from the Radeon Pro 5000 series. This comes with a particularity, AMD's latest RDNA architecture, hence the computing efficiency. Deciding between 8GB or 16GB will be up to your real needs, but remember that upcoming software will be more performance greedy in the next couple of years.
These particular software mentions aren't the most popular or used in video or photography, but it is easy to proxy Capture One Pro, Adobe's Lightroom, or Unreal Engine out from those digits.
As we said before on the storage capacity, perhaps one could make a wise investment by picking a modest setting. Anything between 512GB to 2TB of SSD is sufficient for working in a project oriented structure. Other files, like original raws or final version post-produced files could be easily stored in a RAID setup or in a cloud environment. Or in both, when it comes to backup, there's not something as "too much".
The Pro's Philosophy on Backup: The question isn't if your drives will fail, but when will they do.
And if you'll be dealing with some sensitive data, the new iMac comes with Apple's T2 Security Chip for secure data encryption for everything that gets stored in the internal solid state drives. And most importantly, it happens to ensure an efficient load of the start-up processes, guaranteeing both a secure storage and booting.
How will things Look in It?
Before the digital age took over our lives, it was common to find people splitting the photographic workflow into three major pieces. Not all photographers enjoyed developing their film and printing out their images. Some would, but it was rather common to find people with more passion towards printing than taking photos for example. Nowadays, many photographers are in charge of the whole visual process. From designing the concept (in the case of commercial or fine art photography) to publishing them online, and a lot of that happens within the boundaries of a workstation like the 27" iMac.
Having the image power of 14.7 million pixels, 1 billion colors, 500 nits of brightness and P3 wide color support, the Retina display will ruin all screens for you. The resulting detail of it is easily compared to having print-like text, and sharper photographs. Unfortunately, you might want to develop a lot of your previously published photographs thanks to this magnificent display.
4K video editing and color correction at full-res won't be a problem thanks to the True Tone technology which automatically adjusts the screen's white balance to match your ambient lighting. Isn't that insane? Color temperature is one of the trickiest things to deal with, especially when dealing with color correction on multiple footages. Finally, visual continuity will become a less tricky task.
And speaking of true color, if you are able to kick in an extra $500, you'll get the aforementioned nano-texture glass which produces a better viewing experience by reducing reflections and glares while keeping the famous image quality anyone would expect from a Retina display.
Presenting the Self in the Digital Age
Powerful cameras have been quite a standard in mobile devices, but curiously enough, they have had less attention on non-mobile hardware like desktop environments. With the rising abundance of video-calls in 2020 (you know why), presenting ourselves through a computer has become more important than ever before.
Connecting with friends, family, coworkers, leads, and pretty much any other human being, will never be the same thanks to the FaceTime HD camera which features 1080p resolution. The problem will be the other's devices, but the Retina display might help them out. The new frontal camera also comes with an Image Signal Processor which delivers tone mapping, exposure control, and face detection for a better socially distant experience.
And as you might already guessed, such a high quality built-in camera needs a powerful microphone input as well. The new recording studio quality mic enables users to capture high fidelity audio for improved FaceTime calls, podcast recordings, voice notes and more!
Around the Corner, Big Sur It Is!
Fall 2020 will witness the release of MacOS Big Sur, which update will be available for iMac users with no charge. Big Sur is expected to introduce an exquisite user interface redesign, but don't worry, it will be intuitive, friendly and extremely familiar to use too. Besides the operative system, some powerful enhancement for crucial apps will happen as well.
Getting in touch with our own content is crucial for the never-ending process of growing as a creative. Treat yourselves with the full-height sidebars and refreshed tool bars which gives a cleaned design to the experience environment.
If you are curious about it, you can take a sneak peek here.
Why Such an Overview?
Yes, we know, why is a camera blog presenting an overview of such a piece of gear? Well, in short, you need a non-camera hardware solution for your photographs and videos.
Expanding that out, it is impossible for anyone serious about photography and video (amateur and pros alike) to simply rely on a camera while forgetting about the digital age equivalent of the darkroom. It is just nonsense. It would be like having an expensive 50mm f/0.95 lens attached to an entry level DSLR from 12 years ago.
Time spent in front of a dedicated screen has become more and more common, and when it comes to content creation, pretty much everything happens within those sweet Retina display inches. Therefore, you can't talk about photography without considering the place where your photographic workflow will bloom. Taking the photographs is just a small percentage of the whole pipeline.
For video makers and photographers alike, everything happens inside this 27" world. From research (which could be a deep dive or simply Pinterest scrolling, we don't judge) to sketching out concepts. From scheduling virtual meetings and sending quotes to your clients. From watching tutorials to seeking out inspiration elsewhere (like chilling and Netflix for example), everything is better done in a desktop environment. Period.
The 27" little brother (21.5") will feature solid state drives across the line, and users will be able to configure it with a Fusion Drive. Which is Apple's way of calling a hybrid drive which combines a hard disk drive with an NAND flash storage. Therefore, it becomes a single logical volume inside the desktop's case. Or in other words, is a built in RAID, with one Hard Disk and one SSD. And if you feel like the 27" iMac is good but not pro enough, you can also go for the iMac Pro which comes with a bit more of extra computing power.
The 27" iMac has been available to order since a couple of days ago through Apple's store. We guess that outside US users will have to wait a bit longer, especially for the 2020 general dynamics. The starting price difference between the iMac and the iMac Pro is $3,000.
Eco Note: Whether upgrading from a previous device manufactured by Apple or any other company, you can always apply for the Apple Trade In program. The only difference is that if you come from a previously owned Apple, you'll get some credit, and if not, your computer will be properly recycled. Credit or not, you'll be making an important contribution to reducing your personal environmental footprint.
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