iMac Pro Back View

Mid-Spec iMac Pro Review – Wow! (Podcast 601)

Having just taken delivery of my brand spanking new iMac Pro, today I'm going to share my first impressions of this awesome machine, with a few comparisons to other Apple computers of recent years to give you an idea of the perform these new Pro machines can provide. I'd like to start by explaining a little about the specification of the iMac Pro that I chose and my reasoning. First of all, my old iMac was four years old, so from a Finance perspective, it has just fully depreciated. As a business owner that's important to me. As a...

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Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer and educator based in Tokyo. He's a pioneering Podcaster and blogger, and an X-Rite Coloratti member.
14 Comments
  • Mark Casebeer
    Posted at 22:43h, 28 December Reply

    Wow! Now that’s a machine…I’m still running my old 2011 15″ MacBook Pro (ungraded SSD with 16 gigs RAM) and I’ve started to notice a few little blips late this year. I’m sure I won’t be getting a iMac Pro but I see something in the forecast. I’m having a hard time deciding if I want a iMac or another laptop. Love the screen size on the new iMac but I just don’t see me without a laptop. I purchased two new 13″ MacBook Pro for two of my granddaughters going to college. This is grandpa’s year!

    P.S. I was able to photograph two snowy owls in Northern Michigan last week. A first for seeing one and photographing them.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 22:59h, 28 December Reply

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Mark!

      Yes, it’s some machine. I’m going to start going through my 2017 Top Ten selection process over the next few days, and I’m really looking forward to just using it now that the review is done. So far it’s been very, very responsive.

      I’m envious of your snowy owl experience. I’d love to photograph them in the wild. Nicely done on your part! 🙂

      A Happy New Year to you!

      Regards,
      Martin.

  • Andrew Fuentes
    Posted at 23:35h, 28 December Reply

    Hey Martin,

    Awesome review. I arrived here from your podcast and the thoughts that you began there. Very grateful for you taking the time to test out the new machine and share your experience here with us.

    It is especially valuable to me as Ive also purchased an iMac Pro and am currently awaiting delivery. I opted for the same machine that you did with the exception of the extra storage. So good to know that the images display with such readiness in C1. I agree with you that this is one of the most important things for photographers that are culling thousands of images at a time.

    Two questions about your workflow:

    1. Do you use both monitors while doing your post-processing? I wonder if this has any impact on the GPU performance as it is driving both the 5k internal screen and the external 4k monitor.

    2. What is the slider performance like? To me, this is the most important thing in my post workflow. Having laggy sliders when editing hundreds of images is enough to drive me mad. What has been your experience?

    Big thanks again for the review. Sincerely,
    Andrew

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 23:54h, 28 December Reply

      You’re very welcome on the review Andrew. I’m pleased you found it useful.

      I actually mention above about running two displays. Not only does it not slow the computer down, some of my benchmark tests showed that it speeds up when the second display was attached. It was a small enough amount to be discounted as variance due to some service that might have been running, but it at least shows us that the machine will not slow down with a second display attached. This machine actually supports up to four external 4K displays or two external 5K displays, so just one barely leaves a mark it seems. Woohoo!

      Slider performance in Capture One Pro is very responsive. I didn’t notice any lag at all.

      I hope this helps, but you’ll be able to see for yourself soon. Congrats on the new machine!

      Regards,
      Martin.

  • Paul
    Posted at 23:24h, 29 December Reply

    Very nice review. I chose -based on some reviews elsewhere- to make the 10-core step-up also aside from the rest of the update decisions the same as you did.
    I don’t know when you ordered but it took ne some time to figure it out and justify the cost so I am awaiting the machine and am looking forward to feel how it works!

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 23:29h, 29 December Reply

      Thanks Paul. I’m pleased you enjoyed it.

      I’m sure the 10-core will give a nice boost. I was just watching my pennies a little. Just a little. 🙂

      I ordered mine on Dec 19, and it arrived on the 24th. Pretty good service. Not sure about other countries, but when you order from Japan they are customized in Shanghai and shipped pretty quickly. Although when I ordered it did say it would arrive between Dec 30 and Jan 7, so I was happy for the quick delivery.

      Cheers,
      Martin.

  • Mike Huspeni
    Posted at 23:20h, 30 December Reply

    Thanx Martin. I regret that I haven’t yet had time to try your ‘blog; but I was wondering which camera(s) you find most useful?

    From St. Paul,
    Huspomike

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 00:06h, 31 December Reply

      Hi Mike,

      No worries. Thanks for stopping by.

      Personally, I use the Canon EOS 5Ds R. I like this camera so much I just have two of these, and nothing else.

      If I wasn’t concerned about megapixels, I’d probably be using a Canon 5D Mark IV instead, as it’s a better camera in every other respect, but I do like my 50 MP. 🙂

      Regards,
      Martin.

  • Dirk De Block
    Posted at 07:57h, 31 December Reply

    Hi Martin,
    One of the best reviews I read on this new machine. I had the same config in mind so I guess I’ll stick to it. THNKX!

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 10:48h, 31 December Reply

      Good to hear Dirk. I’m pleased my post helped.

      Thanks for your comment and all the best for 2018!

  • David Lederman
    Posted at 05:58h, 05 January Reply

    Hi Martin

    Thanks for an excellent review.
    For the last few years I’ve been running a highly upgraded Mac Mini with a 27″ NEC MultiSync display. I calibrate the display using NEC’s calibration tool. I also use a cheap small second display to hold Photoshop pallets when I’m not using LR. I have limited desk space, so I’m not sure how well I would do with both the iMac Pro and NEC on the same surface. So I have a few questions.

    1. Have you found any issues in calibrating the iMac display? Do you think that could replace the NEC without any degradation in color rendering? What do you use to calibrate an iMac?
    2. I know Apple doesn’t say much in advance, but do you think it”s worth waiting to see if they come out with either a new upgraded Mini or a new Mac Pro w/o a screen? Or is this new iMac Pro just that good that it’s not worth waiting?
    3. Did you do any tests on speed increases for merging panoramas with a large number of RAW files. I can run 20-40 images in a pano and would sure like to see that function speed up.

    Thanks and Happy New Year

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 11:07h, 05 January Reply

      Hi David,

      I’m pleased you found the review useful.

      On your questions, I had no issues calibrating the iMac Pro display. I don’t have any first-hand experience with the NEC display, but comparing the ICC profile of my iMac and my Adobe RGB BenQ display, they both have very large gamuts. Slightly different color reproduction, but about the same volume.

      I use the X-Rite i1 Pro 2 to calibrate my displays. These are for printing profiling as well though, so a bit on the expensive side. You can see all the tools I’d recommend here: https://mbp.ac/bhcolor

      The Buyer’s Guide at Mac Rumors says there’s a Mac Mini update imminent, so if that’s the route you’ll take, it would be better to wait. https://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#Mac

      As for a Mac Pro, I wouldn’t hold your breath. Personally, I think the iMac Pro is enough machine for most heavy duty users. Even my mid-range spec is more powerful than the 2013 Mac Pro. I have no inside information of course, but I double Apple is in a hurry to update the Mac Pro.

      I didn’t do any tests to see if Photoshop got quicker at stitching lots of images together, and I really don’t have time to do that now, with my winter tour season coming up. It will certainly be much faster though. I encoded a 15-minute screen capture video yesterday, which used to take around 30 minutes on my old iMac, and this completed in around 3.5 minutes, which is great!

      I hope that helps, and a Happy New Year to you too.

      Regards,
      Martin.

      • David Lederman
        Posted at 04:07h, 06 January Reply

        Martin

        Thanks for the advice. Given a possibility of an upgrade for the Mac Mini, I think I’ll wait awhile.

        Regards
        David

  • Brant Bady
    Posted at 05:50h, 08 February Reply

    Martin, I HATE you now

    Well not really, thanks for the posting actually.

    So I was considering an iMac Pro ( 27″ retina, 10 core, 2 tb SSD, 64 ram, 16 gig video) but was choking at the price.. and “had” decided that instead I would go for a loaded iMac 2017, 4.2 gz processor, 2tb ssd, 64 ram doing the ram upgrade myself , 8 gig video) … saving a whopping $4K Canadian with the iMac over the iMac Pro

    Damn, now I am on the fence again.. after reading your post.

    I am a photographer, using C1 too like you, and some other editing programs like Aurora and Luminar, shooting everything in uncompressed RAW and often doing 5 frame composites, and doing more video these days too 4K etc.. Your use case is closer to mine than anything else I have seen so far…

    Wanting to get the most mileage out of this that I can,

    I worry about the 2017 iMac being older technology design wise, consumer grade rather than workstation components, less connectivity in terms of monitors and thunderbolt/USB, more prone to overheating..

    On the other hand, I have heard some people having software compatibility problems with the iMac Pro,, and that for apps that dont multi-thread, or ones that are not yet optimized for the iMac Pro (Final Cut Pro), there might not be that much of a difference..

    Anything else you can add to help clarify my decision?

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