When Apple released its new tablet earlier this year, many photographers’ eyes widened at the 2048×1536 screen resolution of the new iPad. Pictures could suddenly be viewed in much better quality than previous generations – at a resolution of 3.1 megapixels – higher than most computer monitors. What’s more, the 9.7-inch 264ppi display comes close to the 300dpi we like to print at.
While you can’t currently use your iPad to control a camera directly there’s plenty you can do in terms of organising and sharing shots. The clear, bright screen makes your an excellent way to showcase your work, with the touchscreen making it easy to navigate smoothly between your iPad pictures.
You can also apply basic edits to your iPad pictures, from applying retro filters to brightness and contrast adjustments, and it’s even possible to process Raw files. Apps are also available to organise, rate and caption your images.
The iPad’s wireless internet capabilities also mean you can send your photos to friends, upload them to the internet and post them on Facebook.
Step-by-step how to download photos to iPad
01 Camera connections
The official iPad Camera Connection Kit (£25) comes with a USB port and an SD card slot. This means any camera can be connected, but remember to pack a mini-USB cable if you’re going to be connecting a CompactFlash-equipped model. The USB port doesn’t function like the general-use port on a computer – this one’s only for connecting cameras, and only for iPads.
02 Check your settings
Older cameras need to have PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol) mode enabled before they can be connected over USB, so if your iPad reports that the connected USB device is not supported, dive into the camera’s menus to enable PTP. The device connected to the iPad needs to have its own power, as the tablet doesn’t supply much through the USB port.
03 Watch the download
Images download reasonably quickly, although if you’re transferring a large number of Raw files it can still take a while. Even a Sandisk Extreme 60MB/s CompactFlash card doesn’t come near USB2’s maximum data transfer rate of 480MB/s, so this is one area in which card speed is a definite bottleneck, and a faster card can make a serious difference.
04 Where next?
Mac users can sync the photos already on their iPad with iPhoto, or import the highest-rated images in their Aperture library to turn it into a mobile portfolio. Photoshop Elements and Lightroom users have similar options, accessed through the photo-organising section, and these work on Windows as well. Images can be posted to Flickr (share them with us at www.flickr.com/groups/photoplusmagazine), Twitter or our wall at www.facebook.com/PhotoPlusMag, as long as you have an internet connection.
It’s possible to edit both Raw and JPEG images on your iPad. For JPEGs, Apple’s own iPhoto is a powerful app in its iPad incarnation, offering red-eye removal as well as tweaks to brightness, saturation and sharpness.
While it’s possible to edit Raw files, the options for doing so are fewer, and the tablet’s limited power makes it a slow process.
Note, too, that the uncalibrated screen means colours may not be accurate when viewed on your monitor. PiRAWnha (£2.99) and PhotoRaw (£6.99, free version also available) offer Raw options similar to Digital Photo Professional’s.