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how much would I have to pay for a half decent laptop was thinking of getting tablet but think laptop would be better value and easier for working with photos
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That really depends on how much computer you need. What works for one person, doesn't work for another. One thing to consider is your camera and it's file sizes. working on large files on a 4GB of RAM and a slow CPU in Photoshop (if you even use it) will drive anyone bonkers. What camera are you currently using? Lets take it from there.
canon powershot/60d/oly pl3
use paint shop pro for edit will buy ex hard drive
Honestly, I'd go with something that has a 17.3 inch screen, a processor no slower than 2.3GHz, 12-16GB DDR3 RAM, and 1-2GB GDDR3 graphics. Hard drive-wise, 750GB to 1TB. The rest is kind of up to your preference. Personally, I look for a "Gaming" system, because they tend to have better colour rendition, and we have to be honest with ourselves here. Photography is in the realm of visual media, which isn't too far from video games. I like Asus laptops, but higher end HP's, Toshiba's, Dell's (I DON'T RECOMMEND ALIENWARE!!!! A friend of mine is a computer tech guy. Even he says stay away from them.), and Sony Vaio's will generally be good bets.
This is just what I look for, but I do hope that helps some.
Laptops usually have 6-bit colour depth, relatively narrow gamut, and various degrees of poor viewing angle. They're also highly vulnerable to banding if you start trying to calibrate them.
If you're even half-way serious about editing photos you're better off factoring in a desktop monitor—even a relatively cheap one these days will address some of the mentioned issues.
If space is an issue, I would say laptop with 15" screen and spend the difference on a Dell 2412 (24") screen that you can plug into the laptop for critical editing. Add an external 2TB hard drive to hold your images on (or rather two 2TB hard drives, with one as a back up).
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