A few weeks ago the world’s most famous HDR Photographer, Trey Ratcliff, announced that he was switching from Apple to Windows. Now that the dust has settled it seems like a good time to go over what happened and how the internet reacted.

At face value it seemed like a classic Windows v Apple argument where both sides argued who has the better system! This was especially evident on sites like petapixel where the comments sections turned into heated debates on which was better. But I feel like this one ran a little deeper than the classic mine is better than yours.

With the release of the new Macbook Pro’s in 2016 many creative’s felt that Apple had shun away from its grass roots and completely turned on creatives. If you read Trey’s blog post you would have noticed he had many valid points about why he made the switch that make sense. With the price tags of the high end Macbook pros reaching AUS $4500 you’d expect to not have to put up with slow processing times in Adobe Lightroom and long wait times for tonemapping brackets of photos in the latest HDR software. Trey had had enough with this “line of computers, albeit slower and sillier and donglier” and decided to see what he could get for the same money in the Windows machine.

So it was with a bang that the headline on one of the latest Blog’s on Trey Ratcliff’s HDR Photography blog read…

Apple Is Dead To Me… I’m Switching To Windows!

This kind of shocked me along with millions of other followers, clients, photographers and photography companies around the world because it was just a months ago Trey had partnered up with Macphun (A Mac only Photo software company) to release their MAC only HDR software. The software is the best on the market for creating HDR images and is leaps and bounds above competing HDR software but it’s only downfall is that it doesn’t offer its program on Windows, Android or Linux. I myself am an official Master of Aurora HDR 2017 so this is why the news surprised me personally (You can see my Aurora Masters Page here). As an Aurora Master I am able to pass on 15% Discount if you use the coupon code LukeZeme on checkout for not only Aurora but all Macphuns Photography Applications. 

The best Photography apps from Macphun! These all come with a 30 day trial or receive 15% off with the code LukeZeme

How far did the story spread?

So is this even news? A photographer switching his Laptop, tablet and smartphone… Yes!!! for the simple fact that Trey’s social media following is in itself a self built juggernaut. At the writing of this blog post his social followers number in at:

  • Google+ followers is at a staggering 8.85 million
  • Pinterest followers comes in at a cool 4.4 million
  • Facebook followers 350k
  • Instagram followers is at 139k
  • Youtube Subscribers amounting to 75k
  • Twitter followers is up to 65k
  • Flickr Followers 56k
  • and his Photo Blog site has a daily viewing of 155k visitors! This is per day!

So after making the BIG announcement the story was picked up everywhere and shared all over the net and you can see why! With a social following of that size he is bound to turn a huge number of ears. Here are a few examples of some of the bigger sites that gave his story some attention:

  • Probably the biggest share came from PetaPixel as the article they wrote on Trey switching to Windows from Mac has now been shared 2299 times and has over 300 comments. 
  • TWIT had him doing a segment on their live Photography about the switch and they interviewed Trey. TWIT, the show, is made in episodes and these can streamed live, listened to and watched on podcast as well as viewed later on their website.
  • The popular site SLR Lounge ran the story and it went into the technological reasons for switching from Apple to Windows. They talked about slower hardware in apple machines, the lack of advancement in the MAC Operating System and less powerful graphics cards and processors in Macbooks v similarly priced Windows laptops.
  • DIY Photography site ran with the story opting to talk about the new Windows machines Trey was switching to
  • 9to5 MAC went into the Mac Pros lack of power for photographers and talked about Apple’s plans to upgrade Mac Pro, them promising radical modular models and new displays after this year. They essentially discussed apple’s future in terms of the Mac
  • The Guardian also ran the story on its website! Which meant the story had reached the mainstream.
  • The BIG switch was discussed in various podcasts such as Cool Photo Tools and Peta Pixel Photography Podcast
  • It was discussed extensively in photography forums like DP Review and Reddit. 
  • PhotoFocus essentially copy pasted Trey’s article from his website, but with a large daily stream of visitors it pushed the stories reach even further.

So when Trey talks, people listen! The story had essentially gone viral …

Unfortunately not all the reactions were positive as I guess the keyboard warriors can sometimes be a bit cruel, creating motives and intent where in actual fact Trey’s intentions were transparent. The very next day Trey felt he had to add a Caveat to his story… The Headline on his blog the very next day ran like this.

Apple May Be Dead To Me But Aurora Still Has My Heart!

I couldn’t help but share this entire paragraph! It was so well crafted and thought out and made me LOL. The fact that he had to reply in itself is sad but his reply to the negative Nancy’s out there was so creative I am sure even they were impressed.

Many INTERNET denizens, including such entities as 4CHAN and REDDIT and COMPUSERVE ALT-DATING GROUPS have made reference to the controversial BLOG-article entitled “Apple is Dead to Me.” The “Me” in this case is indeed TR (In the future to be referred to a “Trey Ratcliff”). Many Denizens may have indeed read the headline, but failed to read the actual article written by “Trey Ratcliff”, in which he details a rather convoluted DROPBOX (like “Microsoft Briefcase” that actually works for those familiar with PRODIGY) system that includes using MICROSOFT WINDOWS MS OS to do all of his photography work, however carving out DROPBOX (“MSDOS Briefcase”) as a means for transporting (over world-wide-web) certain files to his MACINTOSH system, upon delivery when he utilized AURORA HDR to process said photos, and then putting them back in the MS Briefcase (DROPBOX) to be transported across the internet (INTERNET) back to his MSDOS Windows COMPUTER, where he may or may not put them into ADOBE LIGHTROOM (to be known SLOW ADOBE PROGRAM or SAP). He then uses this SAP to receive into its digital innards the final photo which was beautifully adorned using AURORA HDR (High Dynamic Range), a program that was created by MACPHUN MS in partnership with “TR”.

What I find funny about that paragraph is that Trey manages to only use 4 full stops during the entire thing! The guy certainly does have a sense of humour. But within the lines you can see that he felt these “INTERNET denizens” didn’t understand what he was trying to share and jumped to their own conclusions on entities such as 4CHAN and REDDIT and COMPUSERVE ALT-DATING GROUPS.

I guess the story tells us is that it’s hard to please everyone when you are at the top! The way I see it is that the guy is a an artist, a photographer and a tech guru. He can’t use all brands of cameras, all computers and all software! Somewhere along the line he has to make a choice, one or the other.

I’d say a few years ago with the release of the first retina Macbook PRO’s, Apple was definitely ahead in the laptop race but at some stage Windows has been able to overtake them. The innovation of the Surface PRO for it’s price has been a game changer, not to mention what a similar price point of an Apple Laptop gets you in the Windows market in terms of specs and features.

Trey went on to say that he probably shouldn’t have announced Apple is dead to me the day before visiting Apple Headquarters as well… But he can sometimes be a bit controversial can’t he.

Let it be known that TR recently visited the HQ of Apple in Cupertino. Upon entry, he had a sudden thought that he should have published the internet-log-article entitled “Apple is Dead to Me” after his visit to said Apple HQ. Many executives withheld a quiet rage and asked TR if he would consider waiting for WWDC (What Would Diablo Create) to see if perhaps something might change his mind. TR contended he maintained a small flicker of hope, as it is the only thing that springs eternal. “Trey Ratcliff” has not completely given up this hope that perhaps Apple will come back. After all, Microsoft did.

So what was all the fuss about?

It’s so innocent right? Just a guy switching computers… Watch the video below…

The Hardware Trey Purchased For His Switch From Mac to Windows

Turns out when you switch from a top of the line Macbook PRO to a similarly priced Windows machine you get a whole lot more power in today’s market! Here is all the gear you can see in the videos and compatible hardware he has found to suit Photographers! Along with the Laptop and a Surface Pro, Trey also got a lot of storage drives for his gigantic sized photos from the Sony A7r II 42MP Mirrorless camera he shoots on.

MSI WT72 6QM-423US 17.6" LAPTOP

The beast that lives! This laptop has some stunning hardware if you are into that kind of thing 😉 Sporting a 4k resolution and tonnes of top of the line features this one won’t leave you wanting more for years to come!

  • Intel Core i7 6920HQ (2.90 GHz)
  • 32 GB Memory 1 TB HDD Super RAID 4 256 GB SSD (128 GB x2)
  • NVIDIA Quadro M5500
  • 3840 x 2160
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • BD Burner (9.5mm)


Microsoft Surface PRO

The Microsoft Surface PRO 4 has improved in leaps and bounds and for Photographers it is an easy choice over an iPad. They run on Windows 10 just like your PC which means you can run all the adobe cloud software on them like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. This just can’t compare to the limited Photo software we are offered on iPad’s. There are various speeds available in the Surface PRO 4 but even the mid ranged ones will be fine for editing your photographs! This one is the Intel core i5 8GB RAM with 256GB Hard Drive. These are lightweight and great for just throwing in your backpack when you are out exploring, will be great in combination with your laptop.

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These tiny Hard drives are incredibly fast for transferring the large and bulky sized photos that comes with modern cameras. This is the 1TB version but it also comes in 250GB, 500GB as well as 2TB’s. They are ideal for transferring your photos from one place to another or even using them as a portable work drive. They’re lightning fast with USB 3.1, shock resistant and are compatible with PC, MAC and Android. So they are ideal for switching from Apple to Windows… and then just using them solely for Windows or Android if you want.


WD 4TB My Cloud Pro Series PR2100 Network Attached Storage

This is only going to attract the very serious photographers who move around with a lot of gear and take a high volume of photos. It can also be used for a studio workstation or amongst a team of photographers! It’s essentially like having your own cloud storage and if you think about it that’s incredibly valuable if you are travelling or working off multiple computers. This is especially true for Trey who is working off both an Apple Macbook Pro and his new Windows MSI Laptop as well as working within his team. They can all access the working files either over hard line or the cloud. You can edit files, stream and it’s even adobe creative cloud connected. This is actually an awesome investment for any photographer.

WD 10TB My Book Pro Professional RAID Storage - Thunderbolt USB 3.0

This a 10TB! yes 10TB storage drive for those with big storage needs. This version is preformatted for MAC computers and features 2X thunderbolt connections as well as USB 3.0. It copies at a cracking 435MB/s which is essentially Solid State Drive Speed. This one doesn’t offer cloud storage like the WD 4TB PR2100, but instead has over double the amount of Hard Disk Storage space. My Book Pro professional RAID storage was created with photographers, videographers and other creative pros in mind. It offers the performance, capacity and flexibility you need to quickly transfer and manage the hours of HD footage or thousands of shots from your last shoot so you can spend more time doing what you love.

WD My Passport Wireless Pro- 2TB

It is your Creative Hub in the Field, My Passport Wireless Pro gives photographers and filmmakers portable storage to easily offload, edit and stream photos or HD videos in the field. It’s basically like carrying around a small computer for storing photos on! Streamline your workflow with this all-in-one drive and work seamlessly from your mobile device, or transfer files with the built-in SD card reader. It’s not much bigger than a wallet in size so could fit in your pocket or backpack. Not only can your transfer your files to it, BUT it’s also equipped with a 6,400 mAh power bank, you can charge your smartphone, tablet, or other USB devices wherever you are. This little gadget is turning into something that every field photographer should carry! Take a look at the link to see how much they are. Comes in 1TB, 2TB, 3TB and 4TB options. The pricing structure is very affordable.

Trey's How-to Guide for Switching From Mac to Windows

*Note towards the end of this next film Trey found out why Lightroom was loading slowly after filming it, you have to enable your graphics card for use in Lightroom.

Bonus Items You Can Now Use On Windows Machines!

Here are some other goodies he got for the Windows ecosystem that wasn’t possible within the framework of an Apple Computer, tablet and smartphone system. So these work in tandem with a Windows computer, Samsung phone (Android smartphones).. and of course your Windows Surfaces Pro’s. For most of us these might just be on our dream lists! But they are more affordable than you realise.

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There are so many cool options open to you in regards to peripheral gear when you switch to Windows that weren’t available in the Apple bubble. Take this Samsung 360 degree Cam that you can view live feed through at 30MP! You may have seen the infamous video blogger Casey Neistat running around with this on a stick in New York or when he had Karlie Kloss on his show and taught her how to use it! For the price, these are fantastic!

Well this is the video Karlie made here and remember it’s 360! so slide the view around to take a look at Karlie’s world in 360!

*For best results view it on a computer and click on the video when it is playing and move your mouse around. The smartphone view is not nearly as cool yet but the technology is coming!


HTC Vive- Virtual Reality System

The future is now! Yes you can own your own personal virtual reality system and do tonnes of exciting things with it. It’s like stepping into another world once you put the headset on and you can do almost anything from climb mount everest to walking a plank on the top of city skyscraper buildings. Vive is connected to SteamVR and there are 100’s of games to choose from, it can even be used to exercise in a virtual world with a virtual exercise instructor… the possibilities are endless. Just hook it up to any windows computer via the cable and away you go!!!


Wacom Intuos Pro Pen and Touch Small Tablet

Wacom set the standard when it comes to pen tablets for photography. I’ve had my Medium sized Intuos PRO Pen and Touch for a couple of years now and I love them. They are essentially a pad which you draw on using the digital pen provided which is then translated to the computer screen. You can set the sensitivity of the pressure as well so pushing harder creates a harder line and the same for a light stroke. These Pro models also allow you to use your fingers instead of a pen which can be great if you are doing a presentation or like to just work with the tablet on your lap. In terms of size, which is best for you? Well I’d recommend the small if you are taking it travelling and then a medium-large if you are going to use it in the studio. A medium for me is more than big enough and I often actually shrink down the working area on it so I am only using 25% of the surface so that I don’t require long hand gestures to slide my pen/brush across Photoshop on my laptop screen. Everything on these Wacom intuos Pro’s is adjustable, check them out in the link provided below.


Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum Professional Grade Wired/Wireless Gaming Mouse, Ambidextrous Mouse

I know this might look like a professional gaming mouse, well that’s because it is! But what it gives you is incredibly fine control when editing your photos with it. The key feature is the adjustable 200-12,000 DPI range with zero smoothing and if you combine this with a high grade mouse pad you will find it a pleasure to process your photographs with. It comes with adjustable weights so that every person can set it to their preference. As well as having the option to be wired or wireless and has up to 30 hours battery life. If I was going to buy a Windows mouse for editing photos (as well as playing the odd game) this would be at the top of my list!


The Verdict! Should You Change To Windows From Apple Too?

So I think I’ve shown throughout this blog, Trey switching from Apple to Windows was a little more deeper than one computer being faster than the other. There are just so many more benefits for photographers when it comes to using Windows setups right now compared to Apple. It is true Apple has forgotten the creatives, the ones who lifted it up in the first place. Here are some glaring advantages of using a Windows system (& Android) over an Apple system:

  • Similarly priced Laptop will have a faster CPU processor, faster speed hard drives, 32GB RAM (up to 64GB!), more Hard disk drive space, a BD Burner in it, a 4K resolution screen, 17inch screen, 6 USB 3.0 ports! A much more powerful 3D graphics card.
  • Use of the FULL Adobe Creative Cloud Suite on a Microsoft Surface Pro 4, including the full version of Lightroom and Photoshop. This isn’t possible on iPads, as the Adobe programs on iPad’s offer only a sample of features nowhere near the full sized programs. Lightroom doesn’t even allow you to use presets properly! I had to develop a work around system for using my own presets on my iPad Lightroom.
  • Being able to run Windows 10 on a Surface Pro means you can run all of your favourite Full version Photography software on it, all of it!!! This is definitely not possible with iPads, not OS Sierra means limited Apps.
  • There is a huge amount of extra gear you can get to run in tandem with your Windows & Android Laptops, PC’s, smartphones and tablets. Some of the cool ones were discussed above like the HTC Vive Virtual Reality System and Samsung 360 cam.

Some negatives to being on windows

  • You can’t run Macphuns Aurora HDR 2017, the best HDR software for photographers, as it is a MAC only app.
  • Software on an Apple machine does integrate nicely together
  • Windows can sometimes require more knowledge about running a computer where as Apple computers make the process easier for some.

Currently Aurora is being developed for Windows but it has already been 6 months since it’s release and it’s a big job for a company who was solely developing MAC only Apps to pivot into the Windows direction as well. Hopefully that release will be later this year!

So the big question should you switch to Windows?

At this stage Apple still has a chance to respond to critics about turning their backs on creatives. Apples WWDC event kicks off in June and they promise that they have thought long and hard about creating for the creatives once again.

If you are happy with your current system then there is no reason to change. But if this blog post has opened up your eyes a bit about what’s going on over on the other side of the fence then that’s great. As a creative you should always be pushing the boundaries and not get too comfortable. I think for a lot of us it comes down to money… Switching from Apple to Windows is not cheap either, especially when you are fully set up with a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, phone and TV. But perhaps you might like to start switching one item at a time, starting with something like the Surface book pro 4 for example and working your way up to the Laptop.

Only time will tell which will pull out ahead, but for now Windows is definitely ahead when it comes to options and support for photographers!

Other Options if you can’t decide…

I have both a Macbook PRO Retina and a custom built Windows Desktop PC, but I can’t always be home to use the Windows Desktop. So on my Macbook PRO I run a software called Parallels. So essentially Parallels installs software on your Apple computer that allows you to install a copy of Windows! So on my Macbook PRO I run this software and I then have a copy of Windows 10 installed. This means that I can run any photographic software that only runs on Windows PC’s!



If you found any of this thought provoking and want to leave a reply, you can do so below.

Author, Luke Zeme

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