PL4 Moving day, from iMac to a Mac mini

After fighting computer memory problems on my iMac for a while now, I had an opportunity to get a Mac mini at a discounted cost from a relative, who wanted the new one with the Apple chip - mine is powered by Intel. I bought his, and he bought a new Apple-chip model. Instead of 8 gigs of RAM, I now have 32, and a faster CPU (3.2 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7 replacing 3.4 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5) . The only potential issue was the graphics card (Radeon Pro 560 4 GB graphics card on the iMac being replaced by Intel UHD Graphics 630 1536 MB) - but a friend at Apple told me that was easily resolved by adding an inexpensive graphics card. Maybe someone here can advise me. I have a feeling that the upgrade will NOT be inexpensive…

Several apps such as my Adobe programs and some of my email programs, and PhotoMechanic needed attention. PL4 still opens on my iMac. I assume I need to remove it because of licensing. On the Mini I thought the PL4 program would be covered by the Time Machine move, but Time Machine didn’t copy that information. I had to go into each DxO program and enter my validation information. No big deal, just one more step.

It’s nice to have a fresh new computer that’s not going to run out of memory, but I miss having two screens for editing. Maybe I can resolve that using “Target Display Mode”. Thanks to the help from people in this forum, calibrating my ASUS Monitor was simple, fast, and easy.

Using the Mini with PL4 tonight, everything went great, and never slowed down. However, when I export an edited image to save on disk, that takes two to three times as long as it used to. Maybe someone here can confirm that is due to the less powerful graphics card, and if so, suggest an add-on graphics card.

Unfortunately, the 2018 Mac Mini no longer comes with a SD card reader, so I used a separate card reader - which is more accessible than the card reader on my port expander that came with the Mini - which didn’t even recognize the SD card. I’ll use the card reader from now on.

To test things, I went out on a short walkabout with my Leica M10 with 50mm Summicron, took maybe 50 photos, of which I kept only 7. It was also to be a test of my polarizing filter - I left the filter on all day, adjusting it to make the sky appear as dark as possible. It also removed some reflection from the water. Two of the images felt more interesting than the others, so I selected one to work on today. I’ll post the files below. I learned lots of lessons recently, so that had a big influence in my editing. I was sort of shooting into the sun, mostly as a reflection on the water, and the boats were mostly silhouettes. Rather than bring out any detail, I just made them even more silhouetted in front of the water. I used to try to bring out color and detail in the city of Miami, but I left it all as-is. I had used a polarizing filter which darkened the sky a little, but I emphasized the blue and the unusual looking clouds. I think I did things properly - will be anxious to read the feedback - and as always, anyone here is free to download the image and have a go at it. I left off the watermark which I was told wastes time of people needing to remove it. Hopefully it shows progress in my working with PL4.

When I view the image on my screen, while editing, it looks pretty much like the way I saw things, but here in the forum, surrounded by white, it looks too dark. Joanna showed me how to fix that by viewing an image in “Preview.app” but people are going to see it darker than they should if they’re reading this forum.

I have one more image that I set up for as things were developing (no pun intended), but it’s not yet ready for uploading. I hope to finish it by tomorrow evening.

L1002440 | 2021-02-13-pola filter test.dng (27.8 MB)

L1002440 | 2021-02-13-pola filter test.dng.dop (12.2 KB)

I kept going back to this photo. It’s frustrating to edit. If I would have had a longer focal length lens, I would have captured the fellow in the small boat, and the larger boat he was leaving. I was watching him the whole time, and I got one photo as he was just inches away, then this photo. I guess next time I will bring a gadget bag, with more gear, but all I wanted to do today was try out the polarizing filter. It worked better than expected - further towards my right, my angle to the sun was increasing, so the polarizing filter was having more of an effect. I lightened the right side of the image, at an angle. You can sort of “see” the rays from the sun coming down at an angle into my photo, but I have no idea how (or even if) I can make that show up better. I didn’t see it at all in person, but in the photo it’s obvious.

One new thing I can feel frustrated about. In a small size, like here in the forum, there is no indication of how much detail there really is in this image, but viewing the image at 100% it’s obvious. Those old Leica lenses are better than I used to give them credit for. Unless I make a large print though, everyone is going to be oblivious to all the detail that is too small to see.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll take a similar photo with the sun behind me, so everything will be illuminated nicely, rather than back lit.

It’s past midnight. Time for sleep.

L1002448 | 2021-02-13-pola filter test.dng.dop (108.8 KB)

L1002448 | 2021-02-13-pola filter test.dng (26.7 MB)

I have a 2018 Mac mini with the Intel integrated graphics and it’s not fast when it comes to exporting, especially with DeepPRIME.

Which is why I process a whole bunch of photos and then set them exporting and walk away. When I come back they’re all done. That won’t suit everyone or every workflow but it does save you sitting waiting for it. I did over 100 one time — I left it going overnight.

Now I have my M1 MacBook Pro and it is much faster exporting, but I still tend to set it running for a whole bunch and walk away. On the odd occasion where I want to process just one photo, well, it’s not that long to wait, on old or new machine.

Export times depend on many things, distortion correction takes some toll as does NR, be it with Prime or DeepPrime. If your Apple friend says that the graphics card can be upgraded in your mini, (s)he also might be able to give you a few hints on what and how to install… alternatively, you could export images while going for a walk, eat dinner, take a shower etc. (as @zkarj does) :grin:

That’s sort of how I did things before PL4, do one image after another, and the final image save was to ‘jpg’, reduced in size for posting. Then I found PL4, and then I found this forum, and because of the discussions here, my workflow has completely changed. I spend what seems like forever on just one image, and then I do something else for a while, maybe work a little on other image(s), only to come back to the first image and see it from a fresh(er) viewpoint, and change it some more. Then I used to export it to post in the forum, and also copy the image to a folder of images ready to be uploaded to SmugMug. I will time it next time to be sure, but exporting images from my iMac took perhaps 45 seconds to a minute, and exporting from the Mac Mini takes two to three minutes. It’s “annoying”, but I can always find other things to do while the computer is busy exporting.

To be fair, I should add that I no longer need to close other applications because they were using up my memory - with 32 GB RAM, I can leave everything running most of the time, which saves time re-opening other programs I used to close so I could use PL4.

When I was “working”, preparing photos to send off to a magazine, I usually needed to do around 25 images at a time to send them. Now my workflow has slowed to a crawl -but- when others here are so precise in re-editing my photos, I’ve learned to do the same.

I will have a long discussion this coming Tuesday with my Tech Supervisor at Apple - she made it sound so easy to add a more powerful graphics card, and I anticipated spending $200 or so. But, I had an hours long discussion with a different Apple Tech Supervisor last night, who told me I need to select a graphics card, and then an enclosure for it - as in build my own. Now it seems like the starting point is likely to be $400. A good question at that point is should I spend so much money, if the only thing I gain is faster exporting times?

Another question is how this will affect my video editing using Apple’s Final Cut Pro. I suppose I could re-purpose my iMac to video editing - need to think about this.

The fellow I spoke with last night helped me set up my computers so I only need to use one keyboard, for my Mini. He showed me how I can shared the screen from all the other computers to do all my work on my Mac Mini and ASUS, showing other computers as windows on my ASUS. Mind boggling is how I think of this - I need to learn it.

About your other suggestion, exporting images while I go off to do something else - maybe eventually I can do that. I’m too concerned about what you, Wolfgang, and Joanna are going to say when you review my images, and I want to try to correct everything myself, so that eventually the three of you might not have so much for me to change. When/if that ever happens, I’ll have graduated out of beginner status to something better. So, I just work on one image until I think it’s “perfect” (or until I get stuck or puzzled). This is like taking a graduate level course in PL4. :slight_smile:

…please get over being slowed down by what others might think.

Different people see things differently and all these visions are equally and uniquely good - unless a standard has been established in advance, a standard against which all visions are measured.

Finding one’s own standard can be a long route and reproducing/recreating other’s visions can help to learn how to work with the tools at hand - but it will not necessarily help to find one’s own style.

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Absolutely. For now, I am trying to do what all of you do. I can get involved in my own style AFTER learning how to use the tools. Even doing things in a way that I think is “your way” is greatly influenced by what I “feel” is appropriate, but which tools I use has changed quite a bit since I started with PL4.

First one learns the alphabet. Then one learns words. Then one learns how to properly put the words together. Only after all that is “automatic” it is time to start expressing one’s “self”.

That’s how I think it should be done, but I’m doing it the other way around - I know what I want to say (create) but I’ve gradually been learning the tools to accomplish this. In other words, I’m not following the above advice, but learning the tools as I go along.

Many roads to Rome…

When I purchased my 2018 Mac Mini I also bought this eGPU.
Somewhat bulky but very quiet and has several convenient ports.

Maybe the export in the PL4 special DNG format (corrections only or so) of the selected photos and Edit these DNG files.

This would give you all the pros of PL4, let you stay ín RAW all along the Way, for some disc space.

  1. Download and cull your photos with Photo Mechanic like before
  2. Open selected photos in PL4, set NR method and export in a batch (and do something else)
  3. Edit the exported files like they were the originals ín PL4. The next export should be much quicker.

You can use this method until you get your eGPU or if you decide not to get one.

I respectfully disagree. Every time one of you suggests alternative ways to do things, I try them, not to copy you, but to learn from you.

Joanna gives me step by step instructions, and by following them, I learn how and why she does things that way.

Now that I know how to properly install one of your “.dop” files on my own computer, this will be a huge help too. I got confused before, as when I deleted my own “.dop” file and replaced it with one from Wolfgang, I didn’t see what I expected to see. Very puzzled, until I realized that my computer was still using the old “.dop” even with his file in the folder. Now I can do that correctly.

I took a class in Photography at the University of Michigan a lifetime ago, and flunked. The reason was I did things “my way”. I re-took the course, same professor, and did exactly what he wanted me to do, even if it didn’t yet make sense to me. I got an A. More importantly, I learned WHY he wanted me to do things differently than what I already (thought I) knew.

Back to the present. I’m not proud of the two photos I posted yesterday, as none of the photos had that special something to make them into what I wanted, something to attract the eye, and tell a story. But I did the best I know how to do in editing. When I finished, I felt “satisfied”, but not “excited”. I don’t see any obvious signs that they were “manipulated”. My previous mistakes have been eliminated. But they lack something - they don’t “stand out” as interesting images.

I love Joanna’s photos, as they are so well done. The ones I’ve seen are also of interesting scenes or subjects. I need to do better than I have been doing lately, and find NEW things to photograph.

I like the photo, bulky is no problem, quiet is good, lots of ports is good, but $700 ???

I would prefer something no more than half that price, hopefully much less. I went to a web page to look up the specs, and it also listed this:

I originally expected a cost of around $200 or so. Still looking - and I talk to my Apple tech person on Tuesday - she said “inexpensive”, but I don’t yet know what she was thinking of.

Truthfully, I still need to learn what an “eGPU” actually does. All I know so far is that it is faster than the standard on-board Intel chips.

I don’t think that enclosure includes the graphics card.

Apps like Affinity Photo make good use of an eGPU.

check out the following page before buying:

An eGPU is, literally, and external GPU. Modern Macs have Thunderbolt (2 or higher) which includes PCI Express (PCIe) lanes on it. So just like you can plug a PCIe graphics card into a PC you can plug a PCIe graphics card into (an enclosure on) a Thunderbolt connection. At least that’s my understanding. You do need a Mac model that supports these but I think most do now.

Sorry, I’m in way over my head. The only “Radeon 460” I could find (Radeon 460X) had the speed factor of 6.17, which may or may not apply to my iMac. I had no desire to get into this stuff this deeply. I thought I could buy an off-the-shelf product that would plug into my Mac Mini (with Intel) and do the job. I look at that chart, and to say I’m lost would be an understatement.

The best thing that has happened so far today, is my Epson V500 Scanner is now working fine with BigSur on my Mini. Epson never updated their software to 64-bit, so the Epson has been attached to my old 2013 iMac, with an old OS that worked with 32-bit software. It turns out that another company, VueScan has saved the day:

" We reverse engineered over 6500 scanners and included built in drivers in VueScan so you can keep using the scanner you already have."

VueScan is now installed on my Mini, the old iMac is free to be turned into a second display for the Mini, and most things are working pretty well.

As far as I know, PL4 will work just fine with the Mini, as-is, but not as fast for exporting images as it used to work on the iMac. Hopefully Tuesday I’ll get a solution from my friend at Apple.

Same here.
I was willing to spend the $700 because I am lazy and I knew that I would want the extra graphics power to toss around big Affinity Photo files.
The Blackmagic is plug and play.
The next mini I get will be the second generation M1 (M2?) and will not need an eGPU.

I was able to get Epson Scan 2 software from Epson’s software download page and this works fine on Big Sur and even on my M1-powered MacBook Pro. I did have to download 64-bit drivers separately for VueScan to work. My scanner is a V370 Photo which I think is older than your V500.

I checked the support page and there is a Big Sur compatible software download.

I had a nice chat with the tech people at B&H Photo. My iMac has a Radeon 560 4GB. After a long discussion, he suggested I get a Radeon 580, 8GB, so twice the performance.

Small problem they are sold out, so if I go with this, I need to wait. He suggested a “Sonic” enclosure which will be another $200 or so. I guess that’s my plan.

He also told me my Final Cut Pro video editing needs the good graphics, so I guess I’ll do that on the iMac for now.

About your next Mini - if it’s M1, I don’t think PL4 will run on it yet. I like the eGPU you’ve got - nice!! But expensive. :frowning: