Apples new iPad might be just the trick for photographers on the go. I’ve used a number of portable computers and media devices to download and edit images on the fly, but they have all come up short(or BIG). Most don’t have enough features or they are too big for an editorial photographer to tote around. The iPad won’t do it all, but it might work well for viewing and transmitting images. The big backlit display, wireless connections (802.11G & 3G) , and operating system are the key features that make it unique. I have all of this on my laptop, but it’s 5.5 pounds and eats batteries.
Compact Flash (CF) and SD cards have become so cheap that there is usually no need to download to a portable media device with a built in hard drive to free up space. It is a good idea to have multiple copies of your files at all times. In the past, I’ve used a number of small devices to download and backup images on the fly, but lately I’ve resorted to either setting up a full tethered laptop or just shooting to dual cards in camera. The iPad should open up some new options that will improve my workflow.
There’s built in WiFi, which might work well with a Eye-Fi (see Eye-Fi post). There’s also two adapters for connecting cameras: USB and SD. I’m hopeful that I can work out a tethered shooting scenario with the USB. I really just want a backlit big screen to view the images as I work. This may require recording Raw plus jpeg and viewing only the jpegs on the fly. I can record RAW separately and download them when there is more time. I think I can get it to wirelessly pop up a display of the images I’m shooting for my crew and client to see.
I’m excited to see Apple’s iPad because I think it might be just the thing to keep in my bag when I’m on the run. I’m looking forward to creating a few workflows for photographers using the device. I expect a whole slew of Apps to come out that will help photographers use the iPad as a portable media device. One way or the other photography wise, the iPad is another groundbreaking device from Apple that’s going to be popular.