Photo+Video editing while backpacking

fogravel

Prominent
Sep 10, 2017
3
0
510
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Hi,
I'm going on a 9+ months travel where I'll be spending a lot of time outdoor and carrying my gear on my back. While I've been doing photo editing for some time already (Lightroom) I'll now move into video editing (likely Premiere). Video will go on my website and potentially Youtube.

The camera I'll be using will be Fuji X-T2 and a smartphone.

I'm struggling between laptops and balancing weight vs. power as I don't have much experience in video editing. So far I had in mind:
- XPS 13
- Yoga 920
- Asus Zenbook (the new one with MX150).

However I'm not sure the power is enough to video edit in HD, and even less how it would react on 4K. Here's below the standard questionnaire.

1. What is your budget?
2000 USD but am willing to extent for a perfect fit

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
weight is more important. aiming for 13 or small and very lightweight 14/15. Those 1.1-1.2 are quite attractive

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Prefer more than HD but not the biggest requirement.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Portable

5. How much battery life do you need?
More than 6 hours. Bonus point if I can top up the charge with an Anker battery

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
No games

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Photo (lightroom) and video (probably premiere) are most demanding tasks

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
256-512 SSD, I'll have a portable HDD for the large stuff.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Buying from Canada is ideal. I could probably pick it up in the US if needed. I'm leaving for travel in 4 weeks so the model needs to be available before I leave.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Years. After travelling if I settle I probably would get a desktop for the heavy editing.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
No need

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
Asus yes, I like the style and price vs. performance
Dell yes, I hear good things about it
Acer no, I feel is "cheap"
Lenovo yes, I trust
Razor yes, but looks crazy expensive
MSI I don't know enough but heard about quality issues
Apple probably, never had and not a big fan of Apple ecosystem but can learn
HP i don't know
So I'm not super picky but want a color accurate screen and durable laptop considering the travelling I'll be doing.

13. What country do you live in?
Germany/Canada/US are options to buy.

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I'll be travelling so will have a lot of time, but also do not want to spend my life editing on the computer. As I'll be starting in video editing, I can be flexible on the type of editing and am not stuck to a software yet not a stiff process.

Thanks a lot!
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator
And in contrast to the above, I might suggest 2 or 3 small netbooks or 2 in 1 laptop/tablet things.
Instead of lugging around 6 or 7 lbs of tough, high end laptop, a easily replaceable 2lb Asus Transformer. Buy 3, stash 2 with a friend. Save your photos and renders on the (mini)SD card.
If one breaks/gets lost/gets stolen, have him send you the next one.

Yes, the performance will be quite a bit less. But performance = weight. And obviously, weight (and size) is a major concern when on a long backpack trip.
Slower render time? Let it do that overnight while you sleep.

Just another option to consider.
 

GreyCatz

Admirable
If you're going to spend the next 9 months backpacking while doing photo editing on-the-go, my advice is to get a full-on workstation that can survive the kind of 'punishment' that comes with roughing it out. Take a look at these 3 dedicated workhorses:

15.6" Lenovo ThinkPad P51:
http://www3.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/thinkpad/thinkpad-p/Thinkpad-P51/p/20HHCTO1WWENUS1/customize
This P51 starts at $1,835 and gives you a quad-core Kaby Lake i7 backed by a 4GB Quadro M1200 GPU. The battery pack is a 6-cell 90Whr unit, and weight starts at 5.6lbs. $100 extra adds touch functionality to the 2K IPS panel, and a mandatory $70 colour sensor. And another $50 will double the SSD storage to 1TB. I can't find any official info on battery life, but I'm guessing around 9 hours of real-world use. A 4K panel will reduce battery life, and it's $200 more. With these customizations you're looking at around 6lbs.

15.6" Dell Precision 5520:
http://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/dell-laptops-and-notebooks/new-precision-5520/spd/precision-15-5520-laptop/xctop5520hwus_2
Dell have this new Precision in a very stylish chassis. The base $1,829 version features a quad-core Kaby Lake i7 CPU with the same GPU as in the ThinkPad 51, a 2K IPS panel, 8GBs of RAM, a 2TB mechanical HDD, and a 3-cell 56Whr battery pack.

16GBs of RAM will cost $150. 1TBs of SSD storage will add $558 and an upgraded 6-cell 97Whr battery pack is around $50. Weight starts at 3.93lbs and the overall dimension is similar to a 14" laptop because of the InfinityEdge design. I'd expect battery life to be the same as for the ThinkPad, maybe a tad better.

15.6" HP zBook 15 G4:
http://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/hp-zbook-15-g4-mobile-workstation-%28energy-star%29
This $1,990 HP zBook is very similar to the ThinkPad, but it offers more types of connection ports and a 9-cell 90Whr battery pack. Weight is 5.7lbs and battery life ought to be around 10 hours. You can't customize this laptop on HP's web page, but there are independent web sites that specialize in customizing HP workstations.

The Dell is the flashy head-turner - and ultimately also the most expensive of the three. While Dell's screens are very popular with professionals, your particular mission may take a heavy toll on the light and stylish chassis. It may simply be too 'delicate' to cope with the bumpy ride ahead.

The HP zBook line is something of an 'insider's choice' and it enjoys a very loyal and dedicated following. While it is nowhere near the Dell in terms of design, or the Lenovo in terms of brand cachet, it is considered a rock-solid, dependable, and very long-term companion by people in engineering and construction.

ThinkPads rarely need much in the way of introduction, but some of the reputation may be down to very successful PR. That said, ThinkPads are still very high on upgradability and replacing chief components on-site. And they are, generally speaking, less expensive to buy and maintain than comparable Precisions and zBooks.

Cheers,
GreyCatz.
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator
And in contrast to the above, I might suggest 2 or 3 small netbooks or 2 in 1 laptop/tablet things.
Instead of lugging around 6 or 7 lbs of tough, high end laptop, a easily replaceable 2lb Asus Transformer. Buy 3, stash 2 with a friend. Save your photos and renders on the (mini)SD card.
If one breaks/gets lost/gets stolen, have him send you the next one.

Yes, the performance will be quite a bit less. But performance = weight. And obviously, weight (and size) is a major concern when on a long backpack trip.
Slower render time? Let it do that overnight while you sleep.

Just another option to consider.
 

fogravel

Prominent
Sep 10, 2017
3
0
510
0
Thank you both for suggestions.

The Dell Precision would be in the high limit for weight at close to 4lbs and the other 2 are too heavy. Outside of rendering time, is there such a difference having a 15in vs a 13in?

I did think about Netbooks but what I've seen mostly has 11in and Power that seem sufficient more for browsing than editing.
Any suggestions somewhere in the middle?

Thanks for the help!
 

GreyCatz

Admirable
The Dell is too heavy? In that case, you should definitely consider USAFRet's suggestion and buy a bunch of tablets or tablet-style laptops. If you can get the logistics in place it could work.

Additionally, you could check your itinerary and designate certain cities as 'support points' - locations with physical computer stores. Nowadays, most stores are part of a large chain with extensive web shop options. That means you can check their wares already today.

One last thing, something tells me that my idea of 'backpacking' or 'living in the rough' is not the same as yours; a dinky tablet might conceivably last you the entire trek.
 

fogravel

Prominent
Sep 10, 2017
3
0
510
0


Hi GreyCatz,

My definition is actually spending time trekking, sleeping in a tent where temperatures likely will drop around 0 at night. This likely would not be where I'll make my edits due to limited battery, but in occasions I might have to carry the laptop for quite some time on my back.

That's why 1.8-1.9 is slightly above where I'd like this to be. But I'd still want to be able to edit photos/videos without wanting to pull my hair out when connected. That's why I'm trying to figure out the "power impact" of tablet vs. a full desktop replacement.<

Hope this helps clarify!
Thanks


 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


There's a pretty hard line between performance and battery life and weight.

More performance = more kg
More performance for the same weight = less battery life
More battery life = more kg

And of course...more of anything = more $$$
 
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