The Price Of Entry For Photographers

So its that time of year again when I go through my gear and buy upgrades and replacements to my gear.

Looking around I was surprised by how little of my gear needed upgrading an replacements so i decided to turn my attention to my computer which for some time now I have wanted to remove from the internet just to increase its life span.
Besides wanting to get the main system off the net as much as possible I also wanted to be more mobile so i had a system that I could write my blogs on while I watch game of thrones or while I'm on trains as a tablet really does not quite hit the mark.

But laptops are so expensive! ... aren't they?

The prices of laptops are still at the point where they represent a significant investment.

This got me thinking what about those people who genuinely do not have the funds to start buying expensive laptops or desktop computers so i decided to set myself a challenge just how cheap could I get an editing system for?


I need some criteria for my challenge!

So its no point having a challenge without some markers to hit so i decided to give myself some points.

  • It needs to be under 100 bucks. Because lets face it 100 bucks should be possible to save up and not be completely impossible.
  • No Adobe Products. As a creative cloud user I know I could simply load it onto my system as a second system but this is a cheap challenge so there needs to be no Adobe products and what i find would ideally be free.
  • Must be able to read and Edit Raw files. That's why we are here right?


Where to start?

Well a new laptop is out the window so that seriously narrows down the field somewhat so the second hand market

there are tons of used computers but which one to choose?


Enter the Chromebook!


I had heard about the Chromebooks and was intrigued on the concept and available on ebay around £60 it was well within budget.

Here is a little about them

Developed by different manufacturers all running Chrome OS which is a cut down Linux operating system with the emphasis on having things in the cloud.

The whole idea being them is its a computer which you cant install programs on but instead run as extensions in the Chrome browser.

This might seem a quite heavy restriction but in actual fact there are replacements for software that you would usually use such as Google Docs in place of Microsoft Office amongst others.

All of these are added to the Chrome browser as extensions (also available in the chrome browser on other computers if you find a cheaper computer)


But what about photo editing?

Well that's the whole point of this blog and I am pleased to say that you wont be disappointed with this aspect with lots of photo apps available.

Yeh but what about raw files?

I thought this might be a bit of a sticker but i found this app called Polarr


Screenshot 2015-05-18 at 14.30.45Well here we have Polarr a free app for chrome that lets you import and edit Raw files.

keen eyed viewers will see this is very much like lightroom and it is a lot like lightroom and works well.

its not for me a replacement for my lightroom set-up but for those with no budget its an ideal solution.


For Photoshop style editing there is Pixlar

Screenshot 2015-05-18 at 14.29.17

This is a free photo editing workstation with layers and able to be upgraded with things such as layer masks at minimal costs.

tools such as cloning and text are also part of the app.

A little step back when you realise that these are in your browser!


In conclusion...

I was more than impressed with what is available for free in the browser and while there are things that would not make me switch from my main system such as not being able to calibrate the screen as an entry point using a Chromebook and the browser extensions is certainly a worthwhile purchase.


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