The Ultimate Photo Editing Setup

April 24, 2021

From the moment I got the Gigabyte Aero laptop, I was in love with the display, so much so that I wanted to get the same screen technology for my desktop computer. After nearly 18 months of ownership, I am still waiting for a screen that uses the AMOLED technology of this screen, in a large desktop monitor.

I am sick of waiting. The choice was simple, just use the laptop, right? Well, not so easy as I was not able to store my over 2.6TB photo library on it as I did not have, and could not buy, enough storage to have it all internally on the laptop…until now.

I already had a 500GB SSD that it came with, and the 2TB SSD I added in, but what I needed was a 4TB M.2 SSD to replace the 500GB, giving me a total of 6TB of internal FAST SSD storage. Thanks to SABRENT having released the Rocket NVMe M.2 4TB SSD, my dream could become a reality. So, within 24 hours of seeing the SABRENT SSD, I had it in my laptop and setup. With a Core i9 (9th Gen) CPU, an NVIDIA RTX-2070 GPU, 32GB RAM and 6TB of internal SSD storage, this is now the ultimate photo editing machine.

At the same time, I finally took the time to try a workflow that a fellow photographer Ben Wever uses all the time, one that uses Capture One as the primary editor, and DXO Photolab purely for its insanely good noise correction software, PRIME and the new DeepPRIME. In addition, DXO’s superior lens correction comes into play as well. I use Capture One in catalogue mode, but DXO is easily able to edit any of the files from within the image folders I have on my SSD. So, the process is rather simple, elegant even.

For any image that is shot in higher ISO settings, I simply open DXO Photolab, open the image in question, and upon opening it DXO applies its lens correction, and then I manually apply either PRIME or DeepPRIME to the image, and then export it as a DNG file into the same directory the original image is in. Back in Capture One I tell it to resynchronise the folder and the DXO files appear. From here I simply continue with the edit in Capture One.

To me this is the ultimate photo editing workflow as it uses the two best RAW photo editors on the market, each for their strengths; Capture One for its superior colour, and DXO Photolab for it out of this world noise correction capabilities. Of course, all of this is done on what I consider to be the best screen I have ever used for photo editing, the Samsung AMOLED 4K display built into the Gigabyte Aero XA laptop. Happy editing!

Bowie Unzipped Live at The Orpheum Theatre, shot at 3200 ISO

UPDATE: Recently, Sabrent has released an 8TB M.2 SSD, and it occurred to me that if I bought this new SSD, and replaced the 2TB SSD I have in my Gigabyte Aero, then I would have a total of 12TB of ultra-fast storage, allowing me to use the gigabyte for all my work, without the need for external drives etc. This new 8TB SSD does not come cheap however at AUD$1799, but I took the plunge and rebuilt the Gigabyte using this new dual SSD 12TB setup.

It blows my mind somewhat, that this is even possible. I don’t think anyone would have believed it was possible to have 12TB of storage in a laptop as little as 2-3 years ago, but here we are. In reality, I could have up to 16TB if I was to replace the 4TB with another 8TB card, but that would be overkill for my needs I have to say. Crazy times we live in, and thanks to Sabrent, my Gigabyte laptop has become my main machine for everything I do.

UPDATE 2: I have since moved to DXO Photolab full time for all of my editing. Main reason being, I discovered that DXO does a better job with images off my Sony A7R IV in terms of the default setup of the image, which I use as a base for my adjustments. I always found Capture One to blow out the highlights, which I was constantly reigning back in. The other, main reason, is the fact that Capture One’s constant very highly priced upgrades which offered little, and their ultimate move to a subscription model, as I did with Adobe, I moved on to better software.

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