A question I never really considered, since just three years ago, I purchased a 15" MacBook Pro laptop computer for my photography work. It's made by APPLE and is the preferred system for downloading and editing photographic images.
So much for that nostalgic walk through the prehistoric age!! I'm always looking for better ways to process my images ... and the main man in the business right now is Scott Kelby. This guy will help you with any problem ... and unlike most big shot photographers ... he will show you in detail how to do everything you want to learn. According to Scott, the newest and best program to manage your image files and do preliminary touchups is LIGHTROOM. With all the holiday sales going on, I found it on-line for $80 ... of course I purchased it immediately, before I saw the little note that if I open the box, it is non-returnable.
I deem myself fairly smart in the computer world, having worked with the County's IT Department for several years ... but this scares me to death. The first thing I did was check out the price of a new computer, you know, just in case mine dies a horrible death. $2,600 (oh my!!!!) I found my Snow Leopard Operating System had been replaced by the Lion and Tiger ... who makes up these names??? The one I was looking for was now called Maverick and was downloadable for FREE ... my favorite word.
After a full computer backup including systems, programs and images that took 2-1/2 hours, I started the download. Four hours later, the bar hadn't moved at all. Time to call in the big guns ... my photographer friend who runs the computer systems for a huge local company who shall remain nameless ... because from his office, hooked up to his hard line internet connection, it took 30 minutes for the download and two hours for the actual upgrade of my computer. I held my breath the entire time!! He said no problem ... Apple makes sure things work. I should have him talk to our friend Nick Russell who has had major problems with a Mac Computer HE purchased.
Back home, Lightroom installed in a flash, but of course I have no idea how to use the program. I see some training in my future on this one. Everything is working fine ... there are several differences in the "view" of things, which mostly I am able to change to my preference. As with anything new, it takes a little getting used to, but overall I'm happy I chose to upgrade and EXTREMELY happy it all went so well. The upgrade was free and saved me $2,600 by actually WORKING!!
There are a lot of variables here however to be aware of. How old is your computer? Do you have enough memory to install the upgrade? Can you afford a new one if yours crashes? And lastly, don't trust that the kids working at the local Apple store, are smarter than you or know what they are doing. Try to find someone who has lived with computers for many years, to give you advice before you plunge off the cliff of upgrades!!! You always want to have a parachute close by!!