Microsoft Surface Studio for Photographers: An Early Opinion
I recently received a Surface Studio from Microsoft and wanted to put together an early impressions piece. I'll preface this entire article by saying that I have been an Apple fanboy since my first Macbook way back when. I've since purchased MacBooks, Mac Pros, and Mac Minis, not to mention iPhones galore. I've spent most of my professional working career on a Mac.
From the start, the Microsoft Surface Studio provided a new way to interact with photos, which I found incredibly intriguing. Editing on a 28 inch screen is incredible, especially when that screen flips down on the desktop, providing a tablet-like experience. The computer handles my photography editing workflow flawlessly. For context, all of my images are imported into Lightroom, tagged, and edited for color, contrast, and very basic touch-up. I setup all of my folders within Lightroom and export images directly into folders that let me know where I stand in the editing process. After I've finished the initial editing period, I move over to Photoshop, which is where the Surface really shines. Having the entire screen to retouch a photo provides an incredible level of control for retouching skin or fine detail within an image. What's more, the Surface Studio's pen has a great sense of traction against the glass, which is incredible for moving slowly and accurately. When it came to editing photos, the Surface Studio kept up with everything I threw at it. Unfortunately, I have not yet had the opportunity to combine multiple photos into a single panoramic image, but I will when the time comes.
Problems with the device only arose as I went to edit video with the Surface Studio. Now, I'll admit that the device is not advertised as a video editing monster, but rather as a computer developed for working graphic artists. Nevertheless, a computer within the $3,000 range should be able to keep up with a small 1080p export, which is exactly what I tested it with. The video, shown at the bottom of this page, crashed the computer while exporting from Premiere Pro - not once, but two times. Since that time, I have not tried to use the machine for video editing. Instead, all of my editing has taken place on my 13 inch MacBook Air while I save up for a 15 inch MacBook Pro.
Ultimately, the Surface Studio is a great computer for those who need to edit photos or graphics and want a lot of control. For my photo editing application, it's a phenomenal machine and will maintain its space on my desk. For video, the jury is still out in my opinion. I will try my hand at editing video again after my next shoot and will be able to give a more robust review at that time.