Jul 2, 2010

iPad, the photographers friend

It's been a few weeks now since I laid hands on my iPad, and to be honest, there was a little bit of "what the hell did I just do" when I walked out of the Apple shop with my brand new 'designed in California' piece of kit.

I'm not an Apple fanboy in the traditional sense; meaning I don't own a Mac of any description. I do however have various iPods and I'm on my second iPhone, so I guess I'm more into the 'i' stuff purely cause of the geeky, gadgety, gotta have it cause Uncle Steve told me so. Plus the packaging is always cool :)

Anyhow, the reason why I was a little regretful was the fact that it really did dawn on me that I'd just slapped down a grand for what was really just a 'big phone' as my niece calls it. What could this iPhone Maxi really give me that I didn't already have on my phone? I mean pretty much every function on the iPad is identical to the iPhone - and pretty much every app for the phone runs on the pad. It's just more cumbersome and sucks up slightly more power.

In the past few weeks, I've really now learnt to love this tiny laptop. It's funny cause although it's is just a big iPhone in so many ways, I use it completely differently. Firstly it's an e-reader. I read Wired, The Australian, BBC News and ABC iPad editions every day. Although a little heavy, its big, bright screen is easy on the eyes and a cinch to use.

I also use it as an email reader, the mail application is really easy to navigate and really fast.

Of course there's a stack of games on there too, but for now they're pretty much ports of the iPhone versions. However Scrabble gets the thumbs up for its 'party play' mode that hooks up the iPhones as your tile holder. Nice.  Unlike my phone and iPod, I rarely use it for playing music.

But the single best use for the iPad for me is for photo viewing.

As an amateur photographer, I love to show off my work to family and friends. With the pad, this is now so much easier to do because of its beautiful, 1024x768 132ppi, 9.7inch screen. Photos really come alive on such a large display.

Putting your photos onto the device is really easy too, you can either use the Camera Connection kit and copy photos straight from an SD card or your cameras USB port, or you can just use iTunes. I prefer the iTunes method as you can keep your albums nicely organised. Just create a subdirectory on your PC and it will appear as a new album in the photo viewer - just like the iPhone.

By way of apps, there's quite a few good photography related apps available that do a variety of things from connecting to Flickr to manipulating images. Of these, really like Colour Splash and TiltShift Generator. The first allows you to add spot colour to a photo, the second helps you create an artificial tilt-shift for that miniature effect (check out my Flickr photo set for some examples).

When it comes to having a bit of fun, the camera sharing apps such as Duplicam do things like letting you control one or more iPhone cameras straight from the pad itself. You can even do some cool Matrix 'bullet time' effects if you have enough iPhones lying around ;)

I'm not saying that it's a replacement for a good PC (or Mac) and Photoshop or Lightroom, but the iPad really holds its own when it comes to portable image viewing, backups and quick and simple editing.  Now if someone were to develop an adaptor that allows you to use the iPad as a camera remote like Camera Control from Nikon, I think we pretty much have the perfect companion for photographers at every level.

Go iPad!