Mirrorless Cameras (MILC) and Lenses

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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Apparently the next wave of pro bodies will support quad rather than dual pixel autofocus, and it's fairly reasonable to think we might get real autofocus improvements in firmware over time as well. For the majority of my shooting, the eye autofocus is doing exactly what I want. Unless I screw up my metering, I'm probably getting very good pictures out of it. Of course, probably 98% of the pictures I take involve things with traditional eyeballs, so YMMV.

I decided against the R5 precisely because I didn't feel like it was offering anything extra that I wasn't also getting with the R6, other than the additional pixels. But it turns out that there's something good to be said for keeping twice as many shots on an SD card and just as much for batch processing them in half the time.

I recently had an opportunity to rent the RF 70-200 and try it out vs my Sigma Sport 70-200 and while I can't say that the Canon lens took better photos, it was a full pound lighter. I'm not sure if that's worth an extra $1000, but my shoulders appreciated it. My Sigma lenses are all hefty compared to the Canon equivalents.
 

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This was originally going to be a question specifically for LM but I'll throw it out there just in case as a topic of broader interest. Lunar just mentioned his his workflow in another thread and I'm interested in knowing what other people do.

Culling photos is a real issue for me lately. I shot almost 20,000 pictures in June. Does anybody have any specific advice for choosing what to keep? Helper software?

My software workflow is to dump my card to a folder named by date and subject, import everything into a Capture One catalog, batch-apply whatever exposure / preset / noise reduction and to do corrective work (95% of the time that's mild skin smoothing, covering bruises or wrinkles and fixing flyaway hairs) with Luminar. Luminar isn't a feature complete replacement for something like Photoshop, but it does do a good jump of smoothing skin without making it look like plastic. I can't bring myself to give money to Adobe or to install a pirated copy of Creative Suite though, which might be holding back my editing capabilities.

After editing and batch processing, I dump exported JPGs to a Google Photos album and let my model or models know they're there to be viewed. In theory I should probably be putting up 50 - 100 pictures instead of all 2000 from a shoot, but I'm very often surprised by what photos my models like best. Their eye for keeper pictures is often different from mine.

I do video editing in either Resolve, which I'm still learning, or Vegas Studio, which I used for years and know pretty well. I mostly shoot 4k, which I render out as 1080p. Here, the question is whether I should bother to keep the original footage once I've rendered it. No one ever asks to see it and in fact no one has ever asked for a 4k render after I've delivered 1080p. I use a mix of my Canon R6 and an RP, sometimes mixing in an Action Cam. Some day I hope I'll have a drone to use as well. I've only been doing serious video at all for the last few months, though, and there's been a real learning curve between dealing with a gimbal, learning about mics and color matching across multiple cameras. I have yet to shoot a video I'm really proud of, but I'm getting better at it.
 

LunarMist

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Try Photomechanic or BreezeBrowser Pro. Only the former supports the MAC.
 

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I have a couple Macs sitting around, but nothing I'd choose to use in a photography workflow. I definitely notice that a lot of the tools that get recommended for this work are Mac-only though, and a lot of others are subscription based, which is a nope for other reasons.

I can see the appeal of a 12" M1 Mac with a couple card readers and USB ports in a tablet form factor, but Apple doesn't make that device and doesn't seem interested in doing so, either.

I've been playing with a tool called Optyx, which does several sorts of AI analysis. I pointed it at 2500 photos and it selected about 250 for more attention, which feels a lot more manageable. It took about 5 minutes to chew through my CR3s, which is a lot less time than I'd spend reviewing them. I will note that it got all my personal 5-star images and left in a burst sequence of my model doing a handstand. Pretty neat.

Photomechanic, at $140, seems a little bit dear, but I haven't tried it yet, either.
 

LunarMist

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Why are you shooting 2500 frames in a session? Are there a dozen or more subjects, like some events and each needs multiple options?
 

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Why are you shooting 2500 frames in a session? Are there a dozen or more subjects, like some events and each needs multiple options?

It's very common for me to spend all day with someone, with multiple changes in clothes and of location. Summertime has been very rough on my SD cards. Being near a major city, a national park, several beaches and the one of the rust belt centers for urban exploration, I've been a lot more active than I would be otherwise. I've had way too many "We'll do that some day."-plans come to pass lately.

I probably should start charging, but I've gotten to do a lot of cool things, especially as Chicago has recently returned to something like normality.
 

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I use the Sony CFe cards in the R5, but I suppose the R6 can more easily get by with SDxC UHS-II cards.
I suggest that you think and plan more, and learn to shoot less. That will save time and you will obtain better results in the long run.
 

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Don't sport-focused bodies usually have lower resolution sensors?
It's REALLY hard to complain about 20MP in an R6. The other bodies I've used are 21MP and 24MP.

I try to compose for the shot I want so I don't have to do much cropping, but that's a good habit for photography anyway.
 

LunarMist

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I don't know how large you print or whatever else you do with the output. 21MP was great back in 2007, but I don't want anything less than 30MP since 2016. The original R had the right MP, but everything else was too low grade and the first round of the technology.

The issue with the R3 is that Canon should have stated the resolution up front instead of playing games, storking rumours, and pissing off many of their users.
 

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I've been able to print 44"x54" (thanks, work!) and honestly it looks good from about 10 feet away. Usually, ungodly large prints aren't meant to be viewed up close. The people doing billboard photos only use something like 2MP images for the images that actually go up.

Even at 20MP, I'm getting an image fine enough to capture someone's skin pores. That seems like enough to me.

I print Ledger-size (US 11x17") with some frequency, and 20MP makes for a gorgeous 300dpi print. I've done a few weddings where I've sent off pictures for commercial printing, but I have a Brother MFC at home and a Pixma-something and some more Brother MFCs at the office (thanks, work!) that I can use as well.

I haven't been following the R3 that closely; I'm very happy with my R6 and RP combo, but it did seem like a safe bet that all the new toys would go with a small sensor first. They have to save something for the R1.

Incidentally, weddings suck and I totally understand now why pros get $5k+ for their time on the big day.

I also managed to buy a copy of a photo culling application called Optyx 3 days before they switched to a monthly subscription. I was going to post about it, but as much as I like it, it's not worth $10/month. It is really cool to get something that will toss pictures where subjects have their eyes closed or some motion blur from an automated routine. The workflow is tunable and it's fairly easy to override some of its choices, so it's been a big win.
 

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I shot pictures in an informal capacity at a friend's wedding yesterday. I had my RP set up on a gimbal for video use and let my quasi-SO creep around with that (using a gimbal is an art and it turns out that the person with 10 years of ballet is just naturally better at that than I am) while I took photos. She took about 600 pictures and maybe a half hour of video. I took about 2100 photos on my R6 (there's some liberal use of burst mode in there; 20 shots in a second can add up fast).

The RP battery barely held out through everything. It might've been 10% charged by the time we finished up. My friend left her camera screen on almost the whole time though. I honestly haven't used the RP very much; I taught her the basics and set her up with my 24 - 70 and a 35mm. I don't think the crop in 4k is bad, especially since the output will be delivered in 1080p.

The RF 35mm 1.8 is kind of an odd lens to me because it's a wide macro but it was appreciated that each of us only used a couple lenses all day, for important stuff like the pictures of the couple's hands with the rings, the table settings and the wedding cake, the macro capabilities were really useful. No reason to pull on a 100mm macro lens that's irregularly needed a dozen times over the day. I'm not sure what to do with the control ring, either. I thought it would be really handy, but so far it hasn't been used.

My R6 was fine. I had over half a battery left when we finished. I know there are some concerns about the R6 lacking in that department, but it seems like it's enough to me. I really do love that camera.

With just under 2700 images, Optyx pulled out 383. I'm given the option to review each grouping of similar shots, so I can pull in the burst of shots that came from putting the ring on or the first kiss, and that pushed the total to more like 430 pictures. I'm not going to spend THAT long on editing since I'm not being paid, but 10 minutes with that culling tool probably saved me two hours of sorting through photos of people I don't know. I trimmed the rest to 250 pictures for an online album and now I'm trying to decide what will get set up as the 24 best shots they can turn into a book or have printed for framing.
 

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The R5 and R6 version 1.5 firmware update is significant. The R6 is now much, much better at shifting focus to a head when it can't find a face and torso when it can't find a head. That's true for people as well as animals. I found that it even worked on someone's gecko. This update also added vehicles as an autofocus subject. Supposedly this includes bikes and motorcycles, possibly even sleds.

Canon also announced that it has a sensor that can extra color data in nearly total darkness. It's currently meant for security cameras, as it's a relatively low-resolution sensor, but I'm sure that will wind up in consumer cameras sooner or later. I'm still shocked by how well my R6 works at ISO 20,000; my old Canon 5D topped out at 3200.

These things working as well as they do really does make me excited for the next generation of cameras.
 

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I am trying to decide if I'd rather spend about $1000 on a drone with middling photo capabilities or if I'd rather get a consumer-grade long zoom lens like a Sigma or Tamron 150 - 600. The drone seems like it would lead to more interesting options in photography, but I'm also not sure if I'd really use one, since the flight times are still something like 20 minutes and I haven't been in THAT many settings where it would be appropriate.

Drones are a whole new world, but so are long zooms. Most long zooms need decent light to be worth anything, but I have been asked to take photos of people wakeboarding and swimming, or playing sports where a 70 - 200 is pushing it.

It looks like the Tamron 150-600 locks every 50mm but the Sigma is generally sharper at all focal lengths. The only Tamron lens I have is a 15 - 30 that drives me mildly nuts because it uses the Nikon rather than Canon standard for zooming in and out.

I have a Canon EF-S 55-250 lens that, considering the 1.6x sensor crop, my cameras see as 400mm at the long end, which is part of what makes me think I might like a 600mm. Getting longer than that moves in to lenses that are actually exotic or not at all affordable.
 

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I'd figure the cost of rental equiment into the price. I've used the RF 600/4 IS and the 600/4 IS III which both cost about the same to rent for a week. You cannot go wrong with the RF 100-500 either, and the combo is what I used in 2021.
 

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The R5 and R6 version 1.5 firmware update is significant. The R6 is now much, much better at shifting focus to a head when it can't find a face and torso when it can't find a head. That's true for people as well as animals. I found that it even worked on someone's gecko. This update also added vehicles as an autofocus subject. Supposedly this includes bikes and motorcycles, possibly even sleds.

Canon also announced that it has a sensor that can extra color data in nearly total darkness. It's currently meant for security cameras, as it's a relatively low-resolution sensor, but I'm sure that will wind up in consumer cameras sooner or later. I'm still shocked by how well my R6 works at ISO 20,000; my old Canon 5D topped out at 3200.

These things working as well as they do really does make me excited for the next generation of cameras.
1.5 on the R5 is such a cluster that people had to figure out how to reinstall 1.4.

After ~100K frames on R5s in six months I'm hoping to throw in the towel and look for something better. To date there is no indication of an R1 anytime soon or any body other than the R3 that is actually AF worthy with long lenses. For now I'm awaiting the kinks to be worked out of the Z9 and expect to have one this summer. The Nikkor Z 100-400S is finally out, but no matter how good it is, it doesn't have 500 mm. The 600S is still a big question, but presumably f/4 since there are no other 600s on the radar. The Nikkor roadmap is quite thin, so the 500/4 FL would have to work out as well.
 

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I'm thankful that Canon has its lens act mostly together, even if I can't afford the ~$2000 - $3000 MSRP on most of the RF lenses. I can't say I have any problems with Canon AF at or below 200mm, even on the collection of mostly adapted EF lenses I'm currently using. I've rented the 28 - 70 and the 70 - 200 RF and they're both absolute dreams to use, but it'll be a long while before those lenses hit the point where I could consider buying one. The RF 100 - 500 costs as much as my R6 did, and it's mostly for focal ranges that I'm just starting to experiment with.

Are you mostly shooting wildlife? Birds? I've gotten a few photos of hawks in flight just with my 55 - 250 and I'm always impressed with the detail I can see in their feathers, even in crop mode.
 

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I'm thankful that Canon has its lens act mostly together, even if I can't afford the ~$2000 - $3000 MSRP on most of the RF lenses. I can't say I have any problems with Canon AF at or below 200mm, even on the collection of mostly adapted EF lenses I'm currently using. I've rented the 28 - 70 and the 70 - 200 RF and they're both absolute dreams to use, but it'll be a long while before those lenses hit the point where I could consider buying one. The RF 100 - 500 costs as much as my R6 did, and it's mostly for focal ranges that I'm just starting to experiment with.

Are you mostly shooting wildlife? Birds? I've gotten a few photos of hawks in flight just with my 55 - 250 and I'm always impressed with the detail I can see in their feathers, even in crop mode.
No, I mean over about 300mm though it depends on other factors as well. At least you can zoom out with the 100-500 for orientation and acquisition.
 

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FW 1.51 is out, which supposedly fixes some of the screw-ups in 1.5. There will also be a 1.6 to address some general improvements.
 

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I saw that but since I'm not impacted by any current bug that needs fixing, I'm planning to wait for the next revision.

I picked up Topaz DenNoise, Sharpen and Gigapixel software after giving each of them a trial run. The workflow with Capture One actually sucks, but I can't argue with how well DeNoise and Sharpen work (Gigapixel was thrown in "free" with the other two tools, but other than testing I haven't needed it), but while I can invoke them as C1 plugins, they don't return the edited TIFF after they've finished their work.

I had been using Luminar as an adjunct to Capture One, but even on a Threadripper, the fact that Luminar does absolutely EVERYTHING in CPU (they say there are GPU functions but not for anything I actually use) would occasionally bring my PC to its knees. The Topaz soft was does not do that, and it only needs about 5 seconds/image to get better results than I can from messing around with sliders in either C1 or Luminar makes it very worthwhile.

I think the whole kit was $106. I used a promo code on top of a sale price to get that.
 

LunarMist

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I also have the latest suite on Topaz, but am not so thrilled with it. Most of the tools have limited controls. For example the Gigapixel produces weird artifcats and oversharpens and Denoise is inferior to the DXO PL5, which does use the GPU. The Topaz tools use some GPU and some CPU, but sometimes neither at 100%. I know you like having 32C/64T CPU, but 8C-16C of faster cores is better for many image processing tools. Luminar stuff is rather obnoxious with constantly changing versions, lack of compatibility, lack of granular controls, etc.
 

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Hey I only have 24 cores, and it was less about getting the huge number of cores as getting 88 PCIe lanes.

I'm getting better DeNoise and Sharpen from the ~6 sliders in those products than what I get from Capture One or Luminar, especially given the processing time. DXO might yet be better still, but I'm happy with the improvement I have. I'll probably at least try Gigapixel for my next large print. Still can't comment on that.

Luminar is a real impediment in processing and I'm deeply annoyed to keep it around, but I can't argue with it as a skin retouching tool. I liked it for denoise as well, but the less I'm doing with Luminar, the faster overall my workflow will be. I understand that Lightroom has an easy retouch (Texture?) feature now as well, but Luminar will do things like minimize zits on someone's back (not all the people I work with are 21 year old dancers with perfect skin) without having to break out the spot healing tool. I will say that I'm getting Luminar from Humble Bundle, so at least I'm not paying the new product cost.

For now, my workflow is to throw a shoot into Optyx, which helps me weed my pictures down to keepers. I import everything I kept into C1, look for incidental adjustments, Denoise/Sharpen with Topaz stuff (~5 seconds/image in each application) then run skin smoothing in Luminar (~30 seconds/image, maybe more, and even longer if it's doing the denoise steps as well) and then a final round of review and adjustments in C1 before export.

My roommate keeps telling me I'd be better off to use Adobe Bridge/Lightroom Classic/Photoshop; she's barely aware of what's going on with files as she works on them, but she's Adobe-only and doesn't have access to anything outside of that. I think the results of my editing look better than hers do, but she does turn around a photo album faster.
 

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A clear vote against the Sigma and Tamron 150-600s. They are heavy, bulky, slow, clumsy, and not particularly sharp. I've had a good play with the best of them (the Sigma Sport) and been totally underwhelmed by it. Very awkward to use, more akin (from a handling point of view) to a 500/4 than (say) a 70-300 or 80-400. It is a pain.

You get at least equal image quality, faster focus, and vastly better handling from a Canon 100-400 II. A much better option all round, and not wildly different in price. There is also (I think) an RF equivalent now, which is doubtless just as good provided it has the same specs (i.e., a useful aperture - some of the RF lenses are pretty crippled).

Or, of course, a drone.
 

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I've given up on Topaz. Over-hyped, underwhelming in practice. I'm well on the way to dropping Adobe stuff completely. DxO Photolab is my main raw converter these days and is useful for a heap of other stuff too. Not expensive, and no bloody subscription.
 

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Now we have Acapulco of ridiculous new lenses that Canon is producing instaed of updating the 500/4 to RF or making a 600 DO RF to replace the bag-busting RF version. The 100-500 is really nice, even compared to the 100-400 II.
 

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A clear vote against the Sigma and Tamron 150-600s. They are heavy, bulky, slow, clumsy, and not particularly sharp. I've had a good play with the best of them (the Sigma Sport) and been totally underwhelmed by it. Very awkward to use, more akin (from a handling point of view) to a 500/4 than (say) a 70-300 or 80-400. It is a pain.

You get at least equal image quality, faster focus, and vastly better handling from a Canon 100-400 II. A much better option all round, and not wildly different in price. There is also (I think) an RF equivalent now, which is doubtless just as good provided it has the same specs (i.e., a useful aperture - some of the RF lenses are pretty crippled).

Or, of course, a drone.
What are you using now; do you have the R5, R3 or just DLSRs?
 

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I've given up on Topaz. Over-hyped, underwhelming in practice. I'm well on the way to dropping Adobe stuff completely. DxO Photolab is my main raw converter these days and is useful for a heap of other stuff too. Not expensive, and no bloody subscription.
DXO PL5 is good for some things, like the NR, but other corrections are not nearly as good as the Canon DPP DLO module. I'lll probably use it more with the Nikon bodies. It's also disappointing that so many lenses are missing DXO profiles.
 

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If I remember right, Tannin dumped the R for an RP. Maybe he's moved on from there?

You get at least equal image quality, faster focus, and vastly better handling from a Canon 100-400 II. A much better option all round, and not wildly different in price. There is also (I think) an RF equivalent now, which is doubtless just as good provided it has the same specs (i.e., a useful aperture - some of the RF lenses are pretty crippled).

The Canon 100 - 400 II is ~$1500ish as a secondhand lens and $2300 new. The Sigma and Tamron options are about $800 new. That seems wildly different in price, although I understand that things might be a bit different down under. I'm planning to rent both Tamron and Sigma lenses sometime in March to test them. It helps that I'm not really after a wildlife lens so much as a lens for events like air shows, water sports or concerts.

It's been my experience that everything that comes in RF is somewhat lighter and physically smaller than the EF version. I have noticed the RF megazooms often have slow apertures, but when they're mated to something with IBIS, that might not be the end of the world. And hey, if you have US$20k sitting around, you can always pick up that RF 1200/8 for the day you feel like picking the tail numbers off overflying commercial aircraft.

I've given up on Topaz. Over-hyped, underwhelming in practice. I'm well on the way to dropping Adobe stuff completely. DxO Photolab is my main raw converter these days and is useful for a heap of other stuff too. Not expensive, and no bloody subscription.

I went to C1 because I didn't like the idea of paying a monthly fee to Adobe. Capture 1's main feature is tethered shooting, something I've done all of about three times, and beyond that there's a lot less out there for support and instruction than the embarrassment of riches Lightroom offers. At one time I might've just shrugged and stuck with DarkTable or RawTherapee, but those guys didn't even support Canon Raw 3 until a few months ago, so they weren't really an option.

When I made the investment in C1, DXO didn't have relatively new DeepPrime processing it does now, and it still doesn't really have asset management. I don't make frequent use of that as it is, but a couple years ago when I really started getting serious about taking pictures, DXO looked like a less complete offering. Nowadays it seems that Lightroom is the middle of the road, master of none option, but it still has that damned subscription. I still don't wanna touch it, but I do sort-of think it's probably the best compromise from the major options we're given. Just too bad that it's an Adobe product.
 

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Even with modern low-res cameras like the R6, a 70-200/2.8 would be a better choice for most concerts than a slow, giant zoom. I'm assuming you have some credentials to shoot at the event?
 

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I have access to the local "big" venue in my area, thanks to a friend of a friend, but only from the control booth, which is at the back and top of the space. That means I can record the venue sound, but 200mm isn't great for video from the space I can access. I also have some ambition of trying to record concerts at the Pritzger Pavilion at Millennium Park in Chicago. I attend Chicago Symphony performances there when I can, but I can see how cool it would be to zoom in on a soloist.

Gary and Chicago both play host to air shows. My apartment is in the flight path of all of that, so most Augusts I have fighter jets and crazy prop aircraft in line of sight from my balcony. I don't even have to do anything. They're going to fly by no matter what I do.

I also have irregular access to things like sailboats, if only because my friends are attractive young women who like to fool around with the rich guys who own most of the property along the shore of Lake Michigan. Last summer I was kicking myself for not having anything better than my 55 - 200 for long reach.

My Sigma Sport 70 - 200 is maybe my favorite overall lens but it can't do everything. I put that to the test last summer.
 

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I finally tried Gigapixed. I printed a 4x upsampled photo (~21k pixels x 14.5k) on a 32x24 sheet. The denoise + sharpen + upsample did make a hard line from the backlighting on my subject's arm and cheek. I could've masked that and fixed it, but it's barely noticeable even on the large print.

A second print, taken under the hostile conditions of stage lighting, worked much, much better, albeit with very slight apparent banding in the
regions of lighting, probably the result of oversharpening a bit.

I see these things. I'm not sure anyone who didn't spend time pixel peeping would.
On the other hand, my roommates are less than thrilled that I have a functionally life size print of each of them that are now waiting for a frame.
 

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Now you can get 64 cored 5000 series Threadripper Pro 5995WX with 64 cores and 280W.

I might be willing to look at a bigger GPU if there's some evidence that something is a big enough upgrade. If for example I can triple FP32 performance by moving to a Lovelace-series card for some reasonable (i.e. under $1000; the RTX A6000 does that but it is about $4k right now) amount of money. FP32 benchmarks seem to be the closest indicator of GPU performance for media content creation.

Threadripper Pro is no joke though. It supports a meaningful enough amount of RAM that having an absurd number of fast cores has real value. That's the level of hardware where you can put together a host where you can allocate 16 cores, 256GB RAM and a full fat dedicated GPU and nVME drive to a virtual desktop and make your video editing or CAD work run on a terminal style system. That 280W CPU might not be a bad deal compared to buying a bunch of individual workstations.
 

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On a related note, having just digested the M1 Pro/Ultra stuff that was just released, it's a goddamned shame that it's going to be tied to something that only has Thunderbolt ports (PCIe 4x equivalent) for expansion and IO and no capacity for RAM or internal storage upgrades.
 

LunarMist

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Yeah, that MAC Studio looks nice for anything involving image processing, but $8K and not serviceable makes me pause. It does allow a personal monitors, which would solve some issues.
 

Mercutio

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It's hard for me to throw stones given that I'm sitting in front of a very expensive desktop as it is, but this is a system that has been continuously upgraded for over four years. I never put more than about $2000 into it at any point in time. $8k is about what my annual rent costs me.
 

LunarMist

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My understanding is that MACs are like modern cars or cellphones and you cannot do many upgrades with them except crush or trade in the product for a new model. Additionally that influences the consumer to buy the most heavily optioned (highest profit) models for fear that long term performance is adequate. $8K is also about the cost of the Z9 and 100-400.
 

Mercutio

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Macs these days are the proverbial car with the hood welded shut. Yes, having no modularity means they can do whatever they want for RAM and CPU interconnects, which is the real power the M1 seems to have, but it's going to be so much e-waste in five years when 16GB will be a laughable amount of RAM for a mainstream computer. It's smart for Apple but it's truly hostile to its customers.
 

Handruin

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I agree it's a double edge sword not being expandable which is why I fell into the category of getting more ram and the Max to have a longer service life. The benefit of unified memory vs numa is nice as are the seriously reduced thermals.

My previous 16GB work Mac Pro lasted me about 7 years without any upgrades which is decent.
 
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