The 2019 Apple MacBook Pro with 16" Display looks like a full fledged desktop computer, the top-end model being more computer than even most photographers need!
The key limitation is memory (64GB max), which I have found to be an issue for my work, so I consider 128GB in my 2019 iMac 5K mandatory for my full range of work—but my work stretches the boundaries far beyond what most photographers take on.
I’ll be putting the top-end 2019 Apple MacBook Pro 16" through its paces when B&H can ship me a loaner, specifically the 2.4 GHz Intel Core i9 8-Core/ 64GB / 8TB SSD /AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU 8GB.
With dual Thunderbolt 3 busses and 4 ports, the 2019 Apple MacBook Pro beats out my 2019 iMac 5K for external expansion (Apple, WTF?) The 2019 iMac 5K has a single Thunderbolt 3 bus with a miserly two ports, a severe headache when things like a secondary display are needed. In this sense, and 128GB memory and smaller screen aside, the 2019 MacBook Pro 16" model is a better choice as an all-arounder for many photographers. Assuming an external display is hooked up for everyday usage on the desktop.
It will be particularly interesting to see how the 2019 Apple MacBook Pro stacks up against my 2019 iMac 5K, especially under a sustained demands, such as with CPU or GPU scaling using Gigapixel AI, focus stacking using Zerene Stacker, etc.
Which model to buy
- The CPU choice is of little importance (2.3 GHz 8-core vs 2.4 GHz 8-core), but if you are spending $4K or more for a laptop, it seems silly to miss out.
- The GPU is increasingly used by photography programs (Photoshop, Lightroom, CaptureOne Pro, etc), so the 8GB GPU option is the smart move.
- Do not skimp on memory—32GB absolute minimum and it’s foolish to not just go with 64GB if this is a primary machine, what with memory cheaper than it has ever been.
- Do not consider less than 2TB SSD! The 4TB option is really a bargain at about $600 more than 2TB with speeds in excess of 3 GB/sec. You can’t touch that with even the fastest Thunderbolt 3 SSD—and it’s built-in for tremendous convenience.
Properly configured, the 2019 Apple MacBook Pro with 16" Display should have a usable and rewarding lifespan of 3+ years for the vast majority of photographers.
Below are the models I recommend for photographers who want to make the 16"2019 MacBook Pro their primary computing platform (attach a keyboard, mouse, display when not traveling). Please buy using these links if at all possible.
$100 off base models
Few people need that high end model, and right now B&H Photo has $100 off two of the base models of the 2019 MacBook Pro 16-inch in silver or gray: