Monday, December 11th, 2023

QEP certification and Golden Society Medal for my work

Last week I was awarded the Golden Society Medal by Prof. Dr. Sobotka in Vienna at the National Library for my exceptional services to photography (especially wet plate photography).

I am so proud and grateful for this extraordinary honor. Once again, a big thanks to everyone who made this special moment in my life possible.

And just a day before that I received my QEP certification. I am very proud of that as well, it was lots of work to get there and I am so honoured that the jury chose to give me the QEP title: https://www.europeanphotographers.eu/2023/11/26/qep-judging-session-november-2023-official-results/

Image by Adriano Scognamillo – thanks a lot for capturing this moment.

  • Get yourself a beautiful print here: http://prints.mhaustria.com

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  • Posted by Markus | Filed in award, medal, nassplatte, wetplate | Comment now »

    Monday, May 20th, 2024

    I nearly missed the Aurora Borealis in Austria, but then it blew me away.

    It all started when a friend texted me that I should go outside and capture today’s auroras. We call them Polarlichter here in Austria. Honestly, I would have totally forgotten about it when she wouldn’t have notified me. I had a look outside my north facing window ant did not see anything. I told her, that there is nothing to see here. She insisted (I am grateful for that) I must go. So I packed two cameras and a tripod and walked slowly to the Danube. On the way I met a woman who approached me (because she saw me with my camera) and told me that there is nothing to see. I was tempted to go back, but because I was already close to the Danube, I just kept walking. Finally I arrived at the Danube and I saw nothing. I set up my tripod and did the first exposure for about 5 seconds aaaand I saw nothing. I looked again on the screen of my camera and magnified the image. Wait, there is something there. So I changed the camera and used a wide angle lens and did a 30 second exposure.
    And there it was, my first ever captured Aurora Borealis. This is very exciting, because we don’t normally see them her ein Austria. So I started with a panorama.

    My first capture of an aurora borealis, this was just the start.

    You can imagine, that I was hooked after I saw the first little greens and purples in the sky.
    Because the light pollution was a bit to much where I was, I moved to a different place and set up my tripod again. It was past midnight already and nearly pitch black at my new location. A very loud splash scared me for a second, but then I remembered that I was standing close to a beaver’s lodge. And behind me there was a lot going on coming from the forrest. I guessed that there were some deers back there. After getting comfortable in the dark I focused back on capturing the sky. And with that I captured my second panorama.

    More and more colours were popping up and I got more and more excited.

    Right after I captures this wonderful happening, my waiting was rewarded. A fully illuminated cruise ship passed by. I rubbed my eyes and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. In this moment I knew, that I had to act fast, or I miss this opportunity. So I set up my camera, pressed the shutter button and waited for the exposure to end. I felt like these 25 seconds took forever. The outcome was a wonderful capture that looked like something from outer space.

    I love the outcome of this exposure.

    As lots of you know, that I am very passionate about my wet plate portraits. But this image got me very excited and happy as well. It really paid out that I moved myself from my living room to the Danube.
    At this moment it gets better every minute. The sky turned from pitch black to red, purple and pink. Now the aurora borealis was here with its full glory. I was so happy, excited and amazed. Please remember, we don’t ever see this happening in our latitude. So I set up my camera for the next camera and kept shooting.

    At this moment the sky was bright red. I could see and capture all these beautiful colours in the sky.

    After that, I shot some more panoramas and single images of the forrest and the water (check the gallery bellow) At about 2:30am I just sat there and enjoyed the show. Sitting all by myself there, it felt like I got a private aurora show just for me.
    On my way home I passed a little project from our community. We called it Nützlingswiese, I think the English term is beneficial insect meadow. Just a home for insects. We have lots of them on our fields as well, but this one was on my way home on a playground. I set up my camera again and tried to light it with my phone. That was a bit more complicated than I imagined. For sure, I could have just used the first capture and edit myself out of the image, but thats not who am I. So I wanted to capture it again in camera. Now thinking of it made me lough a lot. Just imagine a guy running around for about 30 minutes with a flashlight on a playground at 3am in the morning. After changing my angle of view for two times, this effort also paid of.

    My last capture on my way home.

    For me this was a one in a lifetime moment. I am so glad that I went out there to capture the sky above my hometown and gor rewarded with something that may not happen again here. My Facebook posting got a huge amount of interactions and lots of people around my area wrote that they regretted not leaving their home. I also did a short video of my captured, so you guys can enjoy it on your big screen.



  • Get yourself a beautiful print here: http://prints.mhaustria.com

  • Find all the tools I use here : http://list.mhaustria.com

  • Looking for wet plate gear? http://gear.mhaustria.com

  • Buy me a tea: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/mhaustria

  • Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/mhaustria

  • Get cool analog shirts here http://shirts.mhaustria.com
  • Posted by Markus | Filed in nature | Comment now »

    Saturday, May 4th, 2024

    World Wet Plate Day 2024 – my plate

    This year I had to shoot my plate for the WWPD very early, because I was booked the whole WWPD. So I shot this one some minutes after midnight. Happy World Wet Plate day everyone. The wet plate force is strong in that one! For more wet plates from the WWPD visit: https://www.wetplateday.org/

    MayThe4th be with you “floating lens”

    I did live stream it, here you can watch the recording

    Markus Hofstätter
    Markus Hofstätter

  • Get yourself a beautiful print here: http://prints.mhaustria.com

  • Find all the tools I use here : http://list.mhaustria.com

  • Looking for wet plate gear? http://gear.mhaustria.com

  • Buy me a tea: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/mhaustria

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  • Get cool analog shirts here http://shirts.mhaustria.com
  • Posted by Markus | Filed in alumitype, preparation, star wars, wetplate | Comment now »

    Wednesday, April 24th, 2024

    World Wet Plate Day 2024

    This years world wet plate day is on May the 4th. Create a wet plate on this day and upload it to wetplateday.org Be sure to follow us on https://www.instagram.com/wetplateday/ and https://www.facebook.com/wetplateday/ . Daniel Samanns took care about the world wet plate day the recent years. He asked me if I want to take over and I was honoured to do so. Please share the wet plate day with everyone you know and be a part of it so we can celebrate this wonderful day together!


  • Get yourself a beautiful print here: http://prints.mhaustria.com

  • Find all the tools I use here : http://list.mhaustria.com

  • Looking for wet plate gear? http://gear.mhaustria.com

  • Buy me a tea: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/mhaustria

  • Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/mhaustria

  • Get cool analog shirts here http://shirts.mhaustria.com
  • Posted by Markus | Filed in ambrotype, analog, tintype, wetplate | Comment now »

    Friday, April 5th, 2024

    Visit me in Vienna and in Graz

    I will do wet plate portraits on Sunday the 7th of April at the VIENNA VINTAGE PHOTO FAIR

    And on April 19th I do my brand new Talk “Tintype Stories” during the Fomo (Fotomonat) Graz at the beautiful Mori. Entry is also free, but a reservation is needed here: hello@fomograz.at This talk is in German. More information here: https://www.fomograz.at/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/FOMO24_Mail_Tintype.pdf


  • Get yourself a beautiful print here: http://prints.mhaustria.com

  • Find all the tools I use here : http://list.mhaustria.com

  • Looking for wet plate gear? http://gear.mhaustria.com

  • Buy me a tea: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/mhaustria

  • Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/mhaustria

  • Get cool analog shirts here http://shirts.mhaustria.com
  • Wednesday, March 13th, 2024

    DIY Ambrotype/Glass cleaning clamp for wet plate photographers

    Cleaning ambrotypes is a very tedious task. Especially when you want to prepare many plates. Thats why I wanted to get one of these glass clamps for cleaning. Most clamps I found online were not what I was looking for. Then I found the one Adam Savage made for Gary Oldman: https://youtu.be/4MVxJNawefM?si=sxB__Zr7kcl_g1rQ
    I guess lots of you guys did not know that mr. Oldman is also one of us who the path down the rabbit hole to work with the wet plate process.
    Inspired by the wonderful design of Adam Savage I started to design my own version that can be 3D printed. Even the wooden version of Adam Savage is much more beautiful, my printed design may be easier to clean. You can download the files for 3D printing from my Patreon page
    No membership is needed, but consider it if you want to support me. Or buy me a tea or PayPal me


  • Get yourself a beautiful print here: http://prints.mhaustria.com

  • Find all the tools I use here : http://list.mhaustria.com

  • Looking for wet plate gear? http://gear.mhaustria.com

  • Buy me a tea: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/mhaustria

  • Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/mhaustria

  • Get cool analog shirts here http://shirts.mhaustria.com
  • Posted by Markus | Filed in 3d print, ambrotype, wetplate | Comment now »

    Wednesday, March 6th, 2024

    spring dreaming – a tintype story

    For me, the snowdrop is the first sign of spring. And when I see them bloom I know that spring is close and the beautiful time of the year is in front of us. It’s not there, but in my dreams it is. Thats how I came up with the idea. And a dream has to have a dreamy look. If you want to buy this plate or see it in person, visit me at the Vienna Vintage Photography Fair.. You can also get your tintype portrait taken there.

    I put a lot of time and energy into this project to archive the result I had in my mind. I always have to go all the way. This can be exhausting, but it’s the only way I know. Beside that, its also not the easiest thing to shoot a macro with an 180 year old lens. I was so happy to see the result and this assured me that all the efforts were worth it. Join my Patreon page if you want to get more background information about how I created these plates.

    spring dreaming tintype by Markus Hofstaetter

  • Get yourself a beautiful print here: http://prints.mhaustria.com

  • Find all the tools I use here : http://list.mhaustria.com

  • Looking for wet plate gear? http://gear.mhaustria.com

  • Buy me a tea: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/mhaustria

  • Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/mhaustria

  • Get cool analog shirts here http://shirts.mhaustria.com
  • Posted by Markus | Filed in preparation | Comment now »

    Friday, January 5th, 2024

    Darkroom ventilation and humidity control

    This topic sounds very simple but is probably more complicated than you thought. In this case I will explain the solution for my darkroom, but it could also be a solution for other cases.
    In this video I show you the construction (with a nice fail) process and the whole ventilation system including how I reduce humid air in my darkroom. Underneath I share some additional information to the video.

    As said in the video, if you work with chemicals like ether and alcohol, a mask alone is sometimes not enough. Because when there ar enough fumes in the room, your skin will absorb them and that way it could damage your liver. Thats the reason I always ventilated my pouring room in-between bigger wet plate sessions. When you ventilate typically with an open window, you will cool down or heat up the room (depending on the season), beside that you get for sure some dust into your rooms. Luckily my friend Wolfgang has a company ( https://www.leit-wolf.at ) who is specialised in how ventilations system and opened my eyes. Thanks a lot for that! Let’s start with the preparation. To make this ventilation system work, I needed some holes and for that I commissioned a company to do some core drilling.

    I marked the places for the ventilation pipes, so the company knows where to do the core drilling, so there are no electric wires in the way (sarcasm – see why in the video)
    to make the drilling as precise as possible for the ventilation system, I ordered the “shell installation kit WS 75 RSAP” https://www.maico-ventilatoren.com/en/products/details/p/shell-installation-kits-g61068/ws-75-rsap-p124746 this makes masking the holes very easy
    this monster of a core drilling machine made it possible to get fresh air into my darkroom.
    Because every hole needed to be drilled wet, they brought also vacuum machine that sucks all the dirt and water in. In any way you will get lots of dirt into your room, but they cleaned up very well.
    after all holes were drilled, I mounted the shell installation kit and glued the ventilation pipes into the wall. For sure not my most beautiful job, but at the end everything worked as expected.
    The next step was to mount the Ventilation unit on the wall. I chose the “Ventilation unit Maico WS 75 Powerbox H” because it has a heat recovery that reduces the cooldown of the rooms. There are also dust filters build in. Beside that it only consumes between 5,2 and 11,5 Watt. You can find lots of information about how to set it up (video and documentation) here: https://www.maico-ventilatoren.com/en/products/details/p/ventilation-units-g61071/ws-75-powerbox-h-p124754 – just click on Downloads/Videos. You can also switch the website to different languages.
    Here you can see the nearly finished ventilation system. The rectangular part near the floor is a silencer that makes the very silent ventilation system even more quiet.
    one of the last steps was the initial configuration of the ventilation system. Like moste things today, thes is pretty high tech as well and you only can set it up with a computer.
    The system comes with a control panel (https://www.maico-ventilatoren.com/en/products/details/p/control-panel-g61464/rls-g1-ws-p125256) that shows the status and also lets you control the unit. I bought a voc sensor for my unit ( https://www.maico-ventilatoren.com/en/products/details/p/sensors-g61463/ws-75-voc-p125253 ) This measures the volatile organic compounds in the air. It’s measured with ppm (parts per million). The higher the ppm, the more the air will circulate through the rooms. That means, if I pour some plates and the sensor “smells” the ether, the ventilation system turns up the power.
    outside I mounted the Combi-wall connections Duo KWS E (https://www.maico-ventilatoren.com/en/products/p/combination-wall-connections-g66762/duo-kws-e-p119350) This avoids that animals would use my ventilation system for some sleepy time. But it also avoids an “air short”.

    The finished ventilation system blows fresh air into my studio and sucks it through my darkroom and pouring room back outside. With that I have always fresh air in my workplace. My studio is a pretty new building, but the other parts are old and are more humid. While ventilating in the winter mostly “dry” air comes into the rooms and there is mostly no need for the dehumidifier to start. Only when the relative humidity is about 60% I start an automation that checks how much my photovoltaic power plant is genarating and if the sound generates enough energy, I start to dehumidify my darkroom

    But when is it save to ventilate? I learned a lot and thought I just check the humidity outside and inside. And if the relative humidity is lower outside, I thought its save to ventilate. But I was totally wrong, you have to calculate the absolute humidity with a calculator like that. https://www.omnicalculator.com/physics/absolute-humidity

    The absolute humidity is measured in g/m3 and it changes with the air temperature. Here are two examples:

    lets assume it’s winter and it has 8 degrees outside with 70% relative humidity for some funny reason. Even your relative humidity is lower than the outside, its save to ventilate if you want to get the humidity down.
    Now the relative humidity outside is much lower than inside, but the absolute humidity is because of the temperature much higher. If you want to reduce humidity in your room, that it would be the wrong time to ventilate. I am working with a friend of mine on a script that compares the absolute humidity from inside and outside and when it’s save to ventilate you can start an automation or get a notification. I will upload it here.
    It was lots of work (See also my other darkroom article https://blog.markus-hofstaetter.at/2023/12/my-new-easy-to-use-darkroom/ ) but now I am super happy with the solution. With the whole new darkroom finished I am like a little kit when I start to work there.

    I hope this was helpful for you guys as well.
    If you want to support me, you can do that on my Patreon page here: http://patreon.mhaustria.com

  • Get yourself a beautiful print here: http://prints.mhaustria.com

  • Find all the tools I use here : http://list.mhaustria.com

  • Looking for wet plate gear? http://gear.mhaustria.com

  • Buy me a tea: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/mhaustria

  • Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/mhaustria

  • Get cool analog shirts here http://shirts.mhaustria.com
  • Wednesday, December 20th, 2023

    My new easy to use Darkroom

    After moth of renovating my Darkroom, I am finally finished with it and can show you what I did to make my life easier.

    One of the main things in a darkroom is the sink. I looked for age to get a fitting one, but couldn’t find any. But my good friend Lois knows somebody who knows somebody and with that I got a custom made sink that was a lifesaver. Thanks a lot for that!

    Fitting everything in a small space is making everything more easy.
    Another thing that made my life easier is the Darkroom Winch that you can get here: https://www.borutpeterlin.com/shop/hardware/darkroom-winch/ This saves so much time, because otherwise I would be standing there for hours rocking trays.
    Beside rocking trays, washing prints and plates is another thing that has to be done, thats why I build this watering system out of plumber pipes from the diy marked. I am sure you can find yourself similar parts near you. I only had to drill holes into the pipe and find some kind of holder for it.
    I just had to get an old stop watch for my darkroom and this one from Junghans fits just perfectly in there.
    Dangerous chemicals need to be locked up, thats why I use an NFC lock with my stainless steel cabinet (links to the lock and 3d print files can be found at the end of my article)
    Red light, yellow light, bright light, dark light – all these scenarios are possible with my Philips hue system that I use in my darkroom. Just with the click of a button I change to whatever color I need and I also build a protection cover, so nobody accidentally changes from red to white. You will find all prints on my thingiverse: http://thingiverse.com/mhaustria
    Humidity and temperature can have an impact of your work and also can have an impact of the darkroom. With this sensor I can easily read the values and can create automation because of it. More about that in my second darkroom video that focuses mainly on ventilation and how to save money with that.

    Here are all the links to the tools I used, consider buying that stuff locally as well.
    For easier user I use my Amazon affiliate links.



    Darkroom automation video: https://youtu.be/odMC7_wjzPE
    Darkroom Timer video: https://youtu.be/o2XN9FEeuNk
    My Thingyverse: http://thingiverse.com/mhaustria
    Darkroom Winch https://www.borutpeterlin.com/shop/hardware/darkroom-winch/
    Stainless Steel cabinet: https://www.ggmgastro.com/de-de-eur/edelstahl-arbeitsschrank-eco-1200x600mm-mit-schiebetuer-asfk126
    Curly hose with spray gun: International: https://amzn.to/3NvAdOD German: https://amzn.to/3Twi9b0

    Door Sensor International: https://amzn.to/48sbbYL German: https://amzn.to/48ruYHQ
    Thermometer – Hygrometer International: https://amzn.to/4740Scp German: https://amzn.to/3GQSEJX

    NFC cabinet lock International: https://amzn.to/3NBZBCC German: https://amzn.to/4771E8v
    Squeege International: https://amzn.to/477krjW German: https://amzn.to/48qV4dY
    Hue bridge (needed for the lights): International: https://amzn.to/41CGQEP German: https://amzn.to/3v7Loqz
    Hue lightstrip International:https://amzn.to/47VXaTv German: https://amzn.to/41Lu9rz
    Hue Bulb International:https://amzn.to/3GRa49m German: https://amzn.to/3GTwKpD
    Hue dimmer switch International: https://amzn.to/4asbyV4 German: https://amzn.to/48p5PO9
    Silvos Silver nitrate stain remover https://www.carlroth.com/de/de/sonstige-reinigungsmittel-spezialreiniger/reinigungsmittel-fleckenentferner-silvosol/p/0047.1

  • Get yourself a beautiful print here: http://prints.mhaustria.com

  • Find all the tools I use here : http://list.mhaustria.com

  • Looking for wet plate gear? http://gear.mhaustria.com

  • Buy me a tea: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/mhaustria

  • Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/mhaustria

  • Get cool analog shirts here http://shirts.mhaustria.com
  • Posted by Markus | Filed in analog, collodion, darkroom, diy, tutorial, wetplate, workshop | Comment now »

    Wednesday, December 13th, 2023

    Decision of Power or how to chose between Windows or a Mac

    Why did I do this project?

    I was interested to work with ai on a local system instead of all these cloud solutions, where you often don’t know what happens with your data. My first contact with local ai solutions was pinokio, a system that automates localized ai installations. Pinokio runs lots of python scripts locally and I have lots of respects of these scripts, because they could do anything on your system. That’s one reason why I wanted to run them on a non productive computer of mine. The second reason is, that lots ai models rely on Nvidias Cuda cores and wont even run on a Mac. The third reason is that I thought that I can speed up my workflow with very large scans with a system that has more ram (I was wrong on that one).

    Reasons for the hardware I chose

    For the reasons mentioned above, I wanted a Nvidia card. Nvidia are producing cards that are made especially for ai work (Nvidia A series), but these cards are very expensive. The high end gaming cards like the RTX 4080 and 4090 are also pretty expensive and are as well very energy hungry. So my decision went to the RTX 4060ti with 16 gigabytes of ram. The internet is full of hate for this card, because it’s too expensive for what it delivers on gaming. But gaming is not an important part for me. The 16 gigabyte of ram are essential for ai models and the low power (compared to 4070 and above) consumption is another thing that made it more compelling for me. My CPU choice, the i7 13700kf was done because of a great offer I got. I hoped the new Intel 14th generation will consume less power, but that was not the case. Maybe AMD would have been a better choice for less power consumption…

    Mainboard wise I went for ASUS, because I had good experiences with this brand many years ago. I think hardware wise, they are still great, but software wise I am not sure anymore (I dont want to go down in that rabbit hole today). 

    To make the system as silent as possible I went for an aio (al in one) water cooling from Artic / the Artic freezer 240 and the Be Quiet pure base 500 case. Both brands I know from back than and they are still great today. For the power, I went for the Corsair RM750x Shift Fully Modular ATX Power Supply, because the plugs are all on the side and much easier accessible than on usual power supplies. I calculated the needed power supply here. https://www.corsair.com/us/en/pc-builder/psu-finder/psu

    Here is the full list with my Amazon affiliate links. I always think it’s great to have also a look at local stores, but as an overview it’s easier to link to Amazon.

    Intel i7 13700kf
    International: https://amzn.to/41iT0m5 Germany: https://amzn.to/46MAFPu

    Iceberg Thermal FUZEIce Plus High Performance Thermal Paste
    International: https://amzn.to/41iUL2F Germany: https://amzn.to/3t3fHOF

    ASUS Prime B760-PLUS 
    International: https://amzn.to/48eovjF Germany: https://amzn.to/3uTHJws

    GeForce RTX 4060 Ti Graphics Card 16GB 
    International: https://amzn.to/3NlgMYN Germany: https://amzn.to/46MBkAs

    Crucial Pro RAM 64 GB Kit DDR5
    International: https://amzn.to/3RBk4K0 Germany: https://amzn.to/3NnYdU2

    ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240
    International: https://amzn.to/3tlln6x Germany: https://amzn.to/3TiTS8s

    WD_BLACK SN770 NVMe SSD 1 TB 
    International: https://amzn.to/48cLuLE Germany: https://amzn.to/41emhOR

    Crucial P3 2TB PCIe Gen3 3D NAND NVMe M.2 SSD
    International:https://amzn.to/489Hrjw Germany: https://amzn.to/48cLCe6

    Corsair RM750x Shift Fully Modular ATX Power Supply
    International: https://amzn.to/485SHxP Germany: https://amzn.to/3RE1z81

    be quiet! Pure Base 500
    International: https://amzn.to/3NijfU3 Germany: https://amzn.to/3NlVESy

    I like simple and functional things. Like Burt Reynolds said in Smokey and the Bandit – Black is beautiful
    Finding all components without RGB was more difficult as I thought.

    How did I do the tests?

    As mentioned in the video, all my tests are not scientific in any case. I just wanted to see for myself how much of a difference such a machine makes to my workflow.
    All recordings were done remotely. That means, I connected with Microsoft Remote Desktop to the Windows machine and with the Apple Remote connections to the Mac Mini and MacBook.
    With that I wanted to make sure, that I don’t use to much computing power for the recording on the tested device.

    For the Lightroom tests, I used the images of my award ceremony where I saved all the changes to xml files, so all clients have the same work to do. I chose Lightroom for testing, because lots of analog photographers will do their scanning with a digital camera.

    The Lightroom test included images from my Canon 5D MKIV, MKIII and Canon M50

    As an analog photographer, especially with the wet plate process I work often with huge scans that I use for my talks, like my last one at the 8K Deep Space experience in the Ars Electronica Center.

    These huge scans turn out great for talks like that.


    With that big scans I experienced sometimes some slowdowns on my MacBook (So I thought). To make it more fair, I tested it with a 180 megapixel scan and  1.12 gigapixel scan. This test was for sure the least accurate one of them all. Because I did every step manually. That’s why I said the test times will vary up to 10 Seconds because of my click and work speed. But you will see that does not change anything on the results. 

    working with huge files is often challenging or most systems.

    Why did I measure power consumption?

    I think this is a part that lots of tests are not taking care of. I understand that time is money, but energy is as well. With the energy costs going up every year, it is an important topic to me. And when a device needs 5 or 20 times the power than another device, it makes a big difference. I think saving energy is an important task for everyone. I understand compared to big corporations (see my article here) this is nothing, but I still think we all can make a difference.

    And yes, my power consumption measurements aren’t scientific as well, but you get an idea about the difference. I used the same power plug on all computers, to avoid differences. And yes the power plug was called Windows computer, even a Mac was plugged in :). One more thing I closed the lid of the MacBook to only measure the consumption of the computer and not the display. With the display turned on at medium brightness it was only 2 to 4 watt more.

    Saving energy is a thing where all of us can contribute our part. In an upcoming video about my new dark room, I will show how I integrated energy saving on that as well.

    The results

    I am still surprised how well the base M2 Mac Mini with 8gb of Ram and a 256gb ssd held up. For under 600 Euros this is a great deal (also power consumption wise). If you invest 100 Euros on an external ssd, you can easily work with bigger scans in photoshop and will avoid the scratch disk is full message. 
    The second competitor to the windows machine is a MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro CPU. It has 16GB of ram and a 1TB ssd.

    Please be aware that the power consumption is only a snapshot from the time when the task was finished. But overall it reflects the consumption that was used.

    All three machines imported the images very quickly. But as you can see, the power consumption is on a totally different level. I use the M2 Mac mini with a “docking unit” that has an integrated SSD, thats the reason it consumes a bit more power than the MacBook
    Here you can see how the powerful Windows machine outperforms the Mac’s easily. But that reflects also in the power consumption.
    Again the Windows computer kills this task with only 17 seconds. That makes a big difference when you have to denise multiple files. I really love this new Lightroom feature. It’s a game changer for old cameras.
    Opening the 180 megapixel image, zooming in and out, duplicating the layer, applying dust and scratches and painting in a mask and saving the file afterwards again. Again the windows machine shows again that it can outperform its competitors. But the Mac’s crush the windows machine power consumption wise.

    The tasks were the same, but the file size very differrent. The 1.12 gigapixel psb file has over 12gb. After all the Lightroom tasks and the previous photoshop actions on the large scan, the Mac mini ran out of space on the ssd and got a scratch disk full message. With a bigger external ssd you could avoid this issue, but I thought it’s not a fair comparison if I “modify” the base model.
    Saving on my Mac took about 10 minutes. Thats why I was surprised that it took the same time on the Windows machine with 64gb of ram. SSD wise both machines perform similar. As mentioned in the video, I have an open case with Adobe because saving takes that long. And just in that moment when I am writing that article I heard back from them. They tested my file and confirmed that these long saving times are as expected with large files like that. You can see that the power consumption on the windows machine is pretty low in that case, but I think its only that low, because saving a file for 10 minutes is a task that does not need much power.

    My thoughts

    The new installed Windows machine was faster at every single task. On some tasks it just killed it.
    I am not sure if it would have made a difference to use a new installed Mac, because I work with the same backup on my MacBook since 2016, but I don’t think so.
    For a final conclusion the question should be, how much benefit would I get from a faster machine. How important is the time I saved with the faster machine. I think there are always tasks you could do while Lightroom is exporting or photoshop is saving. During my work on the huge scan in photoshop, only the Mac Mini kept me waiting for some seconds when I duplicated the layer or applied the filter. Also the loading time took much longer. But otherwise, I was surprised how well it held up against the two others.

    I know I went a little overboard when I compared the Windows machine with my heat pump. But sometimes the computer needed 350 Watts and much more. And when it’s about 15 degrees outside, my heat pump has a similar power consumption to keep my house warm. Let this thought sink in for a moment. Luckily I am can create my own energy and will try to limit the use of the windows client to the sunny days.

    Since I have my solar power up and running, I automate lots of tasks to run only when it produces energy.

    I hope this comparison showed you a different view of how powerful a computer must be.
    The question is now, was it a good idea to build this computer for ai and scans. Honestly I am not sure anymore.
    It’s fun to play with ai models locally, but I will limit the use for Lightroom or Photoshop. I guess I will use it for huge scans where I need to work with more layers, but for my usual workloads, my 16gb MacBook is more than capable.

    Also the noise it makes is something you should think about. Even this machine is pretty quiet (it just sounds loud in the video, because I went very close with my phone) I dont like listen to the fans all day long, that’s why I put it in a different room and only connect remotely to it.

    A very capable computer that outperforms my Mac’s in any task, but it comes with a cost, power consumption is on another level.
    Honestly it’s hard to justify buying a Mac Studio with similar specs like this machine. You easily spend 5000+ Euros on it and with that extra money, you can power up this one with energy for years. But if you don’t mind waiting a little longer, you got cheaper options that consumes much less of energy.

    At the end it’s always a decision what operating system you prefer and how much money you want to spend.

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  • Posted by Markus | Filed in ai, analog, diy | Comment now »