Wednesday, January 27, 2010

iPad -- First Thoughts from a Mobile Photographer...

I'm going to jot a few notes down from my thoughts on the iPad's massively anticipated introduction today. Especially in the context of having just bought a Windows 7 Netbook...

Full disclosure - I'm editing this post a bit since when I posted it, I didn't have all the information available at my disposal. Apparently I missed the memo that there's an accessory that may mitigate my biggest beef:

No built-in USB input and no Card Reader = BAAAAAD! While there are other awesome potential uses for the iPad for the mobile photographer (think portfolio sharing, specifically, and as Scott Bourne points out -- opportunities for e-Newspaper photographers to continue to be employed), it seems apparent that you can't get photos onto the iPad without synchronizing it to your computer (a la an iTouch)*. I can kinda see not adding a camera -- it would be a bit unwieldy to use it as a camera like I do my iPhone, and even video conferencing would require some sort of stand -- but the fact that you can't get photos to the iPad (w/o synchronizing, I'm assuming) for editing/uploading via USB/Firewire/Card Reader really really disappoints me.

*Note that I made this comment before I saw they will be offering the "Camera Connection Kit" accessory. I'm suuuuper curious if the kit will work with the iPhone (after all, the iPad's OS is similar to iPhone OS, if not the exact same thing).

With a netbook, I can either use the USB port with a card reader, or if I'm shooting w/an SD card, I can just plug the card directly into the computer. Then I can copy an image or two to the netbook and open up some photo editing program (I'm going to test this more when my wife returns from her trip with the netbook). It's not something that would tear me away from using my desktop primarily, of course, but as a part-time freelance photojournalist, a Netbook might still be my best option for editing a few photos before uploading.

I'm a HUGE fan of having one device to shoot, edit, and upload photos. The iPhone has changed the way I do photography. The one frustrating thing about it for me is that I can't use it to upload photos I take on my other cameras without synchronizing it with my computer. What I wouldn't give for an app that allows me -- even via WiFi or BlueTooth -- to take a photo from my camera and get it on my iPhone for editing and uploading somehow. There are apps that turn the iPhone into a WiFi storage device, but as far as I've seen, you can't open any photos you may put on the iPhone using these apps in any of the photo editing apps.

I dream of the day when I can open a photo from my dSLR on something like the iPad and edit it with PhotoForge, Photoshop Mobile, BestCam, etc., and then upload it to the web. I love working with my Wacom on my desktop in Photoshop -- dodging/burning, cloning, etc.

If the Camera Connection Kit accessory being released for the iPad also works with the iPhone, then I'll make that a good start. Maybe after getting tired of editing pix on a small screen, I'll move to the "Arnold Scharz-iTouch"

Edited here to add more thoughts...

The iPad, though, does have some limitations that would cause me to really pause and think about buying one.

1) Like the iPhone and iTouch, it doesn't (except for iTunes of course) multi-task. No Pandora while editing photos. While I do have a decent iTunes collection, I often open Pandora to listen to music while on the computer. They have to fix this "feature" quickly, really.

2) Apparently still no Flash support. Huge mistake. Apple and Adobe need to find some sort of ground here. This is ridiculous!

3) The iPad/Feminine Hygiene Products jokes were lame and old before the official release. Yeah, yeah, be more creative people! There's plenty to rank on about it. This is low-hanging fruit and, really, not funny.

4) Even WITH the Camera Connection Kit option, there's still no way to access/use external storage on the device (without, of course, having to sync it to a computer). Being able to pull movies off an SD card or a Micro-SD card would be sweet! I get that it would cut into their pricing structure, but still...

And, I pretty much agree with everything on this list.

I'm overwhelmingly disappointed on the one hand at a few things - I thought it might be a direct competitor to Netbooks (I'm not sure it really is, but it will certainly cut a spot in that market) -- and genuinely excited on the other.

Bottom Line: I'd LOVE to be able to take this with me for photo editing and uploading when I'm on the road or in the press box. Having to lug around a laptop in addition to 50+ pounds of camera gear has proven challenging. A device like this or my Netbook would make it easier for me to choose whether or not to take a computer with me for editing/uploading. Provided, of course, the Camera Connection Kit wasn't too unwieldy or expensive...

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Blogger Charles Maclauchlan said...

I can see that there would be a couple of good uses for the device, such as manipulating iPhone images (my fingers are a bit too fat to do this well on the phone) and also for use with the various drawing programs like sketchbook or brushes. However it seems like a lot of money and a lot of device for just those 2 uses...but then Kindle is only a book reader right?

I thing the later versions will address a lot of the issues you raised. I'm betting though that regardless how sophomoric the jokes...the name will be a BIG problem for them.

3:41 PM  
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