Mac vs PC for Photo Post Production [POLL RESULTS]

Mac vs PC for Photo Post Production [POLL RESULTS]


It is time for the results of our last poll – Mac vs PC for Post Production.


What interested me most about this result was the change from last time we ran it. While Macs seem to be gaining popularity from where I stand it seems that there’s been a shift in what our readers are using because back in 2007 when I last ran this poll the result was the other way around. Here’s the results from last time:


Of course this time our options for responses included ‘both’ and ‘other’ and the sample size was considerably bigger so it’s not a perfect comparison.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • steve December 19, 2012 11:10 am

    I've been using a MAC since the mid 80s when I used Adobe's first software, Typeface. Over the years, I have used a PC for some post production. And this past year, I was hired to do some post production work and graphic design work for an organization that had all PCs.

    The design/post production process takes much longer on a PC. The shortcuts, the appearance of background applications while you're working on your main app, and the overall operation of a PC seems to be more steps than a MAC.

    More steps = more time. More time that you have to charge your client. I challenge any PC user, that has the same specs, processor speed, etc. with that of a MAC, to a post-processing project of uploading a shoot, (i.e. a wedding shoot to lightroom, edit, etc.) and we'll see how much faster, with the highest of quality, the job will get done on a MAC vs a PC.

    Windows is a toxic operating system.

  • Mike Cole November 12, 2011 10:28 am

    I use a pc and edit with lightroom. I have never owned a mac, but see that most pro photographers use macs.
    What I want to know is would using a mac and editing with lightroom give a better quality photo than the pc lightroom combi.

  • Clickblade October 11, 2011 02:15 pm

    I only use Mac's they are so straight forward and easy to use. PC's I Find are to cluttered and seems to be to much going on on the screen

  • Abdul Azeez March 11, 2011 01:26 am

    Who would of thought that PC would beat Mac in this poll.

  • Slash May 19, 2010 09:14 pm

    hahaha people got smarter :)

  • Dave K March 10, 2010 05:58 am

    I suspect the shift "to" PC has been because as your website has grown it's attracted more "regular" users rather than early adopters.

  • Ken Bartle June 11, 2009 11:46 pm

    What is it about price when it comes to whether one uses mac versus PC for photo post production? We have what we have on our desks, period. Some people may choose post production computer/software because they have access to both OS's. Likely they will be swayed, not by what is best, but by what suits them best. (e.g. I can do this at home after work)
    What more can anyone offer?
    It's the same with Photoshop versus Lightroom or Aperture. The real question is not "what is it'; but "what does it do for you"? In parallel is a new trend in selling established real estate; its not the features of the house, but rather what does the house do for you exactly?.
    And that's it. I use a mac because it works for me; so does the software. I don't want another solution because I have my solution already. So a PC user might argue the same.
    Who cares whether I use a left handed screw driver and you use a right handed screwdriver?
    Great photos are in my vision and desire. That's all!

  • ComputerUser June 11, 2009 01:03 pm

    My first introduction was on a Windows PC back in the 1990s. My cousin used a Mac for his video production and graphics designs. I can confidently say that the difference in user interface and speed and software availability was much in favor of the Mac. The only point is price but i guess professional do not care of that "small" extra.

    My cousin once bought a PC but "throws" it away when the red color in his PC monitor turns orange in print.

    Now the gap between Mac and PC is narrowing but there is something extra about Macs which keeps people happy. I now use an Windows Laptop at work and a Macbook at home. I know that software are available for both platforms but I prefer the look and feel of the Mac. It is more personal than the "working machine" feel of the Windows.

  • jannx May 27, 2009 01:23 pm

    Since 80 - 90 percent of the computing universe uses PC / Microsoft O/S based computing, I'm frankly astounded at the large number of Mac users shown here.
    FWIW, I use a Mac personally and a PC at work. Not much difference however I prefer the Mac.

  • T Schulz May 23, 2009 03:26 am

    I find this thread to be rather funny. Dunno why, but I'm laughing.

    Danny, I totally agree with your previous comments. I am a former Apple user, later turned to Windows, and now prefer Linux.

    I think that most of the Mac crowd tends very much to be elitist snobs. (If you are a Mac user, and not an elitist snob, please don't take offense.) I think a lot of that is because of a combination of a few things. A couple being that the Mac has always been a "prettier" OS and most of the creative software people have used on a Mac (mostly Adobe products or Apple proprietary software) is much pricier software. Many Mac users think that if it's more expensive it must be better. The software is more expensive because for Mac users, there aren't too many options out there so those companies can afford to charge through the nose for their software and Mac users will buy it. Of course, many Windows users fall into that mindset trap - thinking Adobe must be the creme de la creme and will also pay through the nose.

    These days, I find the Macs to be overpriced vs a comparable Windows machine. That is only one small reason why there are more Windows users. Coming primarily from an IT background, Windows machines are just infinitely more configurable than a Mac. If you want to dig down into the guts of the OS and configure and tweak things to your liking you can do it in a way you cannot do with a Mac. Due to the nature of the Windows architecture, this does make it more prone to crashes and problems. Plus, there's Microsoft's filesystem which constantly has to be scanned and defragged to keep it running smoothly. This is something Unix-based systems don't have to deal with. but PC's are also better and more configurable at networking as well. Let's face it, Macs were originally designed for and intended to be a personal computer, not a business productivity workstation used in a collaborative environment. That is an afterthought on a Mac.

    Linux tends to give people the best of both worlds. You get the super fancy, swoopy graphical interfaces, large selection of software, it's not crash prone, it's not prone to viruses, and it's infinitely configurable.'s free - which is something neither Mac or Windows can offer.

    Like some people said previously, though, it's not really about the OS or the software, it's what you plan to do with it. There are a lot of elitist snobs who use Photoshop. Is it a good program? Sure. Is it overpriced? I personally think so. Will people buy it? Sure. Why? Because they market themselves better than everyone else. That's all. Are there better programs out there? I think so. People don't buy a program for all the swoopy "features" it has. They buy it so they can get the end resulting product it produces. I can sit someone down and show them a photo, then give them a sample of that photo already edited how I want it to look. If they are experienced in both Adobe Photoshop and Corel Photopaint, they could produce the end result much faster and more efficiently in Photopaint. Does Photopaint have more overall built-in features than Photoshop? No. It's just designed to work more efficiently. You can accomplish many of the same effects faster because there are less steps you have to go through to do most tasks.

    Like others said though, in the end, you use what you are comfortable with and what gets the job done.

    However, let me make a suggestion. If you are a new photographer or hobbyist on a really tight budget and cannot afford the Adobe Creative Suites or Corel Graphic Suites of the world, consider trying Linux or some of the other open-source (ie. free) software packages out there available for Linux, Windows, or Mac. Try programs like The Gimp or Inkscape. Try free products like Picasa. There's nothing wrong with trying new things as long as it helps you get the job done.

    By the way, if you want a good laugh, which is related to this topic, check out these commercials by Novell.

  • Danny May 23, 2009 01:20 am

    It's amazing the level of snobbery and downright vitriol that is coming out now.

    To comments, like chris shaw's above, which deem the 'non pro' as something to look down on, I'm very curious as to why the tools you are the only element to judge someone by? Personally, I couldn't care less if someone is using Photoshop or Picassa - it's about the picture.

    AS for the Apple crowd, well every time I get drawn in to one of these ridiculous arguments about which is better, it's always the Mac guys who seem to form the majority of people I'd rather not want to be at a party with.

    I use a PC, a Nikon, a Finepix, Adobe software, free softweare, my hands and my eyes. I now don't use a Mac, because I have no need to, but I can use one (it's sat under my desk as I type) if I need. I don't use an iPhone because it's too expensive. I don't use an iPod because it doesn't do bluetooth audio - see - reasons, not myopic fervour.

    You know what - who cares about all this, I just want to improve as an amateur photographer.

    Good grief.

  • chris shaw May 23, 2009 01:00 am

    does Fredshome seriously believe that genuine photographers use iPhoto or any other wannabe software to edit & process their work?.perhaps you should run a survey to seperate the pros from the mass of people that have elevated themselves to photographers since the advent of digital devices such as cell phones,cute point and shoot and sites like flickr ,picasa etc.. it would be interesting to know the ratio of PHOTOGRAPHERS who use Macs and Adobe Photoshop.Onone plugin 4,nik software full suite and Photomatix and of course Lightroom. iPhoto???? plus a PC..purrlease.

  • Ken Bartle May 23, 2009 12:21 am

    Cindy hit the nail on the head. Macs work. No fuss, no virus, no nonsense and no start button to stop. The rest is a software thing which reminds me ..... What computer does Paul Allen use? Mmm?
    Donald agrees. "I’d a thousand times rather be on the Mac. It works all day"
    So does Joel "I have been using a Mac for the past few years because i like the OS. For me, it was one of those systems that just worked.
    So does my son Craig. "some people just don't get it."
    So did the photographer in the shop where I bought my mac. "I can shoot video all day and its out there before most people have finished dinner"!
    Nothing succeeds like success.

  • KeithB May 22, 2009 11:23 pm

    I too used to believe that if you were doing intensive media work it was best to do iton a MAC...until just recently when I recently had the opportunity to use Photoshop CS3 on both a MAC and PC doing the exact same post production (even on the same photos cause I didn't finish work) and voila...there was no difference in what the outcome was on the pics...the only difference was in how I had to use the keyboards to accomplish the same tasks. This notion that if you want to be a 'Pro" photographer you have to use MACs is ludicrous unless you are using specific MAC only software and even then I'm learning that generally there is an alternative for PC.

    Now all that being said...I'm a Linux user and now have all of my post processing work happening on that OS running on Intel hardware. And I do have Photoshop running on my Linux box with Wine emulation. It works better then under Vista x64 at this time. Now that I have a RC of Win 7 I will test Photoshop running there and see how it works....

    And yes I have a fully licensed copy of PS CS3 with plans to upgrade to CS4 later this year.

  • Fredshome May 22, 2009 07:49 pm

    I believe people run what they run simply because they are familiar with it. And because it doesn't make that much difference.
    There is no inherent magic in Mac computers that make them "better". They are just designer PCs running a kludgy Unix system.
    I ran a Mac laptop as a second machine for a bit over a year and was really glad to be back to KDE and Linux, including for photography. I hated iPhoto with a passion and the interface (including the system interface, which matters to me) felt poorly designed and inconsistent. And the Mac users were really annoying.
    I haven't used Photoshop since it was a Mac only app ages ago (last time must have been on a Mac II) so I never even considered that (not to mention that a bitmap editor is not very useful in my workflow) and BibblePro was kind of slow on that machine.

    If people want to run Windows (or Mac for that matter), I can understand that, especially now that both systems finally work. There's no real significant difference between them.

    And I'll stick with BibblePro, Digikam and assorted tweakable tools.

  • Re May 22, 2009 04:58 pm

    hahahaha, I thought people used to say Bill Gates is the Devil... something about his name "translating" into 666...
    Anyhow I wonder if the reason why heaven doesn't get as many cool people (even in one of the latest windows ads they say cool people use Macs) is because their windows system keeps on crashing every time one of them cool people comes knocking on heaven's door... hahahaha

  • unfo May 22, 2009 01:08 pm

    Ah, the last great religious debate. But I'm not judgmental. I have friends who are Mac users, and I have friends who are Canon users. They're nice people. I know they're going to hell, but I still love them anyway.

  • chris shaw May 22, 2009 07:59 am

    it is interesting to note that the majority of PC preferers base price as a reason for their choice. as my camera & lenses cost somewhere in the region of $12000.00 and editing software another $2000.00 plus i am not bothered about another $1000.00 to get the,without question,best platform for my editing.if you take snapshots for flickr etc. i guess a PC is adequate. pros. like myself consider COST not PRICE. there is a great difference.

  • carole May 22, 2009 05:19 am

    I am surprised at those results!!!! As a professional photographer I find at conventions, etc...people tend to think I'm strange to be running on a Windows system. I could not justify the expense of purchasing all new software when I went Pro. I have an awesome laptop (W700 Lenovo) with a built in color calibrator and wide gamut screen (WUXGA) and a built in WACOM tablet. I was considering a Mac for about the same price I got alot more and did not have to invest in all new software.

  • Cindy Lutes May 22, 2009 05:09 am

    I LOVE my 24" imac Apple computer, had it now for 1-1/2 years, and never once had it in the repair shop, and i only have grade eight, so if i can catch onto it trust be anyone one can, i had three PC's before and i never knew where things where, with n apple computer, its just all there.

  • T Schulz May 22, 2009 04:32 am

    Honestly, I am still trapped using a Win XP PC for some of my work as my three most used applications don't have good enough open source equivalents, but I actually prefer Linux and have been doing more and more work in Linux.

    There are many great open source products out there (ie. free) so you really don't need a torrent or to buy your software. Many of the great open source tools now support RAW formats as well.

  • Jon May 22, 2009 04:28 am

    Drat... wish I could edit that... "you're" obviously was supposed to be "your"

  • Jon May 22, 2009 04:27 am

    Maybe you're readership is changing, not the ratio of mac/pc. Further a better question might be "Do you prefer to use XX/YY in post production".

  • SoftlightPhotography May 22, 2009 04:20 am

    I am a freelance graphic designer and photographer and I also teach both subjects to grades 1-12. I work exclusively on PC's at work and Mac's at home. I'm submitting my PC vs. Mac opinion. It took me awhile to get used to my Mac at home after having worked on PC's exclusively for about 10 years. Now that I am used to it, I much prefer it to my PC set up at work, but mainly for a couple of reasons: the workflow is far superior on a mac because of one amazing feature: the search capability. I can find anything on my mac with just a few key strokes. It's much harder to find files on my PC. Secondly, the operating system is so much more user friendly (too many examples to even explain). I am still on a PC at work because our school is all PC based and to add a Mac into the mix makes my tech department shiver in fear! I personally think it's because they aren't familiar with Macs, and because PC's intial price points far exceed a Mac's accessibility for many people, especially a private school. If Apple products were not so expensive I think they'd be more widely used.

  • Donald May 22, 2009 03:36 am

    I work in a cross-platform environment. Macs in the photo studio, pcs for inventory and web management. We also have one big honkin Dell the web guy uses for some minor image editing, instead of sending it back up to the photo dept. Most of the magazines I submit ads to, seem to use Macs in the design departments.
    Working side by side with both every single day all day shooting, editing, posting, etc, I'd a thousand times rather be on the Mac. It works all day, (the pc's have to restart some days multiple times, other days not at all). Also, for some reason, the pc's drag their butt some days, some days they don't. (Don't know why). I'm not a computer geek. It's just a tool to me as a photographer, and the bottom line is, they are pricey for a reason, the Mac's just work.

  • joel May 22, 2009 02:48 am

    i have been using a Mac for the past few years because i like the OS. For me, it was one of those systems that just worked. It doesn't always 'just work' for everyone, but for me it did. Part of the reason I switched was because i was tired of dealing with the viruses hitting Windows and constantly having to worry about that. While Macs are not invulnerable, they're not targeted as often so it was a bit of a peace of mind for me. However, now, i'll be switching back to a PC. The reason is two fold. As Danny mentioned earlier, the workflow for some software is the same on both platforms. My main apps that I'll be using is Lightroom and some video software that I have yet to find (i wish iMovie was available for PC). Other than that, i just need a web browser. The other reason is cost. The laptop I'm going to order today is going to cost me $800 shipped. It'll have 4gigs of RAM (upgradeable to 8gigs), a 256mb video card, 320 gig hd, and an LED screen. I think to get into those specs on an macbook, I'm looking at $1549 +T+ship. DOUBLE! that seems ludicrous to me. I'll take the Windows machine thank you very much.

  • cincypaul May 22, 2009 01:59 am

    I would tend to think that the change is related to the proliferation of digital cameras in general. More people use pc than mac and therefore more people using digital cameras is going to mean more photographers using a pc.

    Why is that people cannot just accept that some people like one platform over the other and get over it. Grow up. If you like a mac us it. If you like a pc, use it. I've used a mac for two years now, before that I used a pc for twenty. Yes there is a difference and neither platform is always the best. You are probably the same people that argue over whether or not Coke is better than Pepsi. Shut up and drink the soft drink of your choice. Why do you care of someone else thinks you system is better if you like it.

    As for the price, mac's costing more than pc for the same hardware is a myth. You can buy a cheaper pc but that's like saying you can buy a cheaper camera than a nikon or canon. Yes it's cheaper, no it's not the same.

  • Jody Lane May 21, 2009 02:32 am

    There was a lie perpetrated years ago that if you wanted to do anything "graphic intensive" you just had to use a Mac. This really wasn't true (Danny makes a good point that there was some software that was just not available on PCs, and that may have also contributed). What was true was that, especially back then, Apple computers were a bit more user friendly, especially for those who were not as technologically/computer literate as others (it's still true today, but the gap is beginning to close). I think this served to draw-in the more artistically inclined users that just wanted to create and not have to worry about what version of software or hardware they were using.

    The PC today is way ahead of the curve on sheer power and price-point (I know there will be hundreds of you who disagree). There is no doubt that Macs have the edge in ease-of-use and a slicker OS, but once you get into the actual photo editing software, dollar-for-dollar PCs win every time.

  • Pat Bloomfield May 19, 2009 07:50 pm

    Wow that really surprises me. I would a have guessed the majority would have been Mac users.

    It's interesting to see Danny's comments regarding speed of PC Vs. Mac as I had assumed a Mac would be much faster in heavy processing on images.

    Pat Bloomfield
    PatB Wedding Photography Suffolk

  • Danny May 18, 2009 06:48 pm


    One of the major reasons pro studios use Macs is familiarly.

    I'm a video editor, and for years I worked exclusively on Mac's because Avid Media Composer only came on Mac's. It was the same with Digi-Design (Avid) Pro Tools for audio work. Now these are both available on PC's, and at our last system upgrade, we switched to the PC version of Media Composer. There is no difference in work flow, and we have increased our overall work flow because it interfaces more easily with the other 40+ PCs on the network. When we upgrade our Pro Tools installation, that will switch to PC as well.

    I have to say, that I find myself more productive on PC's than Mac's - and that is more than likely down to, yup, familiarity :)

  • Nick May 18, 2009 05:37 pm

    The missing 1% is for people who make postproduction on printed photos, using actual brushes and stamps...


    50+40+7+2 = 99

  • Re May 18, 2009 12:50 pm

    @slipshod - I do realize there is piracy on Macs too... My point wasn't about windows users exclusively using pirated software. I was just trying to say that since windows based computers are way cheaper than Macs its more likely that if you only take photographs for hobby you will buy (or download) the windows version of the software you need... According to my girlfriend (who is a pro photographer) no matter what the companies say there is still differences between editing on a Mac or editing on windows...

    I actually only take photographs as a hobby, but as a musician I can tell you that, when you are getting paid for producing the best results, you do spent on the best equipment is available (hence I exclusively use Macs) I've never been in a pro studio where they use pcs rather than Macs... And yes, I'm aware that some of the software that is used in such places is actually also available for pc but I reckon that there is a good reason why these studios rather spent a lot more money on Macs than in PCs; it seems that's also the case with pro photographers... just saying...

  • Slipshod May 18, 2009 01:59 am

    Andre - the 99% is almost certainly a rounding error. There's no way the percents were all integers, they rounded everything off and lost 1% in the process.

    re - The poll isn't about software piracy, it's about platforms used in post. And you do realize that piracy happens on Macs too, right?

  • twelfthdragon May 18, 2009 01:19 am

    these surveys are not scientific. just a fun poll. that's why you're getting different results.

  • Omar May 17, 2009 10:59 pm

    Someone above hit on my reason. Two years ago, I hadn't bought my first dslr (Nikon D40; I was tired of the shutter lag on the old point and shoot but still wanted something smaller and inexpensive). Back then, I didn't have a clue what post-processing even was. I'm just an average Windows user who has gotten into photography in a much more serious way. And yes, I paid for my software.

  • Re May 17, 2009 06:23 pm

    You should also take into account how many of the pc users actually paid for their software, I mean with torrents, and piracy being a huge "reason" to change to windows (specially among those who take photographs as a hobby)

  • Geert Schneider May 17, 2009 06:16 pm

    "shows how the web page has grown in popularity on comon people and not just pros"

    Strange conclusion. Why would pro's use mac ?
    Because they are able to pay more to get the same hardware ?

  • Carlos May 17, 2009 05:43 pm

    remember that PC still the most comon platform at home and that mac its getting more and more space on comon people not just designers and photograpers but its not as much jet so maybe it just shows how the web page has grown in popularity on comon people and not just pros.

  • Kathy A. May 17, 2009 09:03 am

    How many people responded each time?

  • Stephen May 17, 2009 08:52 am

    I'd attribute this to much more readily accessible Point and Shoot cameras, phonecams and DSLR and the desire and ability to post edit in the PC community. Interesting analysis!

  • Andre Gonzalez May 17, 2009 08:48 am

    Mr. Rowse,

    I have been a huge fan of this website since I came across it about 8 months ago and would like to thank you and all the writers for all the great information and knowledge which I have acquired while browsing this website. I dont know if it has come to your attention that the graph which displays the percentage of number of users using each computer system adds up to 99. If this was in any way intentional please disregard my message and keep up the awesome work.