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Hardware Questions: Pen Display Tablet or Drawing Tablet? New iMac or MacBook Pro and monitor? Large Pen Display that doubles as a monitor?



I am in a quandary about where to go with hardware purchases. Sorry this is so long but I've got a lot to consider. I need to purchase either a new iMac or a monitor and, instead of getting an iPad which can only run PS and LR mobile, I plan to get a pen display tablet where I can draw on a screen that displays my images. But I'm not sure which combination of options makes the most sense. 


I just had a new battery and keyboard replaced on my 3-year-old MacBook Pro, which I supercharged with 32MB RAM and a 2TB hard drive, using my 2011 iMac as a monitor when needed, though I mainly use the Retina screen on my laptop which has a very detailed display because the 27" screen is hard on my neck since it's so large even when situated far back on an old deep teacher's desk. 


In addition to shooting stock, I've been selling more fine art through agents and via POD sites, and am often working with 42 and 61MP files.


I do a lot of straight photography, but also do occasional freehand painting/illustrations in PS and would like to do more of that.


I borrowed a Nikon scanner from a friend and am hoping to digitize a lot of old 35mm negatives from the 1970's as well as some old family slides my dad took in the 1960s-1970s. I'll do my best with dust beforehand, but know I'll have a lot of spotting to do.


I have a very old Wacom Bamboo tablet but I want to upgrade to a pen display tablet where I can actually see my image on the tablet but am in a quandary as to what size to get. While the Cintiques look amazing, I think I'll opt for one of the less costly brands such as Huion or XP-Pen. I  was planning to purchase an iPad but since it only runs the mobile versions of LR & PS, a pen drawing tablet makes more sense. I'm just not sure what size makes sense.


One option I'm considering is a large display XP-Pen that can double as monitor (the newest one has great color fidelity) but is working on a massive drawing tablet that I can only use at my desk (about 26" with the express keys) a crazy option for photo editing and occasional drawing? It can tilt like a drawing board which is great but I'm only 4'11' and worry that working on a huge display on a desk will be hard on my back? I love the idea of a tablet doubling as a monitor but wonder if a portable 13 or 16 inch drawing tablet  that I can use at a desk and on the couch is a better option? I hope that as the world opens up I'll travel more, which includes extended stays with my daughter, where portability makes sense, and I've had no problem making huge prints that I've edited on my 15" laptop, with excellent color and clarity, though there are times when a larger screen would speed things along. So, if I opt for the smaller drawing tablet, I should get a monitor or a new iMac. 


Do any of you use a pen display tablet? What size do you use and why do you like it? 


I find that my back and neck are much better since I've been doing most work on my laptop but I do want a larger screen sometimes but have been debating monitor or iMac? Getting an iMac would probably extend the life of my laptop, but if a monitor costs a lot less with better color fidelity, maybe an iMac is more than I need? Do most of you have a desktop & laptop? Or do you prefer a laptop and monitor? Why?


Three years ago, I got the souped-up MacBook Pro instead of upgrading my then 7-year-old 2011 iMac, thinking it would let me buy one computer instead of two, but I didn't think about the fact that laptops just don't seem to last. I can't use my current iMac as anything more than a monitor these days and even then it's iffy due to age and hard on my neck due to its size so I need a new monitor or iMac. I know there are lots of monitor discussions here so I just want to know your thoughts on monitor vs. iMac, and can research accordingly.


If I do opt for an iMac, I'm wondering what the minimal 24" iMac purchase is that you'd recommend to work on large files in PS and LR Classic or would you recommend the one computer laptop/monitor option since you can't get more than 16GB RAM on a new iMac? Is a monitor/laptop a cheaper option or does the wear and tear on a laptop as your only computer negate any savings?


Thanks for your help.

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24 minutes ago, Allan Bell said:


What I was getting at in the post was that the film negative was out of focus even though the prints looked sharp.





That doesn't make sense if you were able to print to A3 size and the prints looked sharp. More likely the originals were in focus and the digitised versions were not properly focused. The critical part of camera copying is getting perfect focus which requires perfect alignment - again the reason I advocate the Nikon devices as the holders ensure perfect flatness with no alignment problems. 

Edited by MDM
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