A Photographer’s Perspective on the iPad

posted by on 2010.04.05, under Photography Equipment
The iPad is hard to photograph because its so shiny!

The iPad is hard to photograph because it's so shiny!

So if you don’t want to buy an iPad, whatever you do, don’t go look at them in the store. That’s the mistake I made yesterday on launch day. The iPad is stunningly beautiful and will immediately find a spot in the heart of any geek. It sure found a spot in mine…I walked out the door as a proud new owner of a 32GB model. This brief review is basically my first impressions of the device coming from a photographer’s perspective.

First off, photographers are sure to appreciate the iPad’s GORGEOUS display. I am most interested in the iPad as a way to show off my photos to people and it does a stunning job of that. The IPS screen is better than many computer monitors out there. It’s crisp, bright and has very good viewing angles. It’s also pretty color accurate. I freshly callibrated my Samsung 245T monitor (on which I do all my photo editing) and then synched some of my favorite photos (from Aperture through iTunes). The photos on the iPad looked very close to the way they displayed on my monitor. Impressive color accuracy for a consumer device straight out of the box. The only gripe I have is that the photo synching process in iTunes down-rezes and compresses the images and there doesn’t appear to be a way to control that process. Zooming into the photos on the iPad shows noticeable compression artifacts, but overall it’s no big deal…they still look amazing.

Other observations:

  • It’s fast. Sooooo much faster and snappier than my iPhone 3G
    The apps that have been reformatted for the iPad are where it’s at. Standard iPhone apps work but are greatly disappointing on the large screen.
  • The optional VGA output adapter will only output a signal when a video is playing (such as a TV show or movie). It wont show you the screen operations of the iPad. It does work for photo slideshows through which look pretty good. I haven’t tried it with Keynote yet. The output resolution is obviously VGA so don’t expect to get blown away by HD video or anything.
  • Typing will take getting used to just like the iPhone, but I think it’s fine for emails or short bits of writing (I’m doing this entire post on the iPad and I’m typing pretty fast).
  • If you’re a photographer and want to take the iPad into the field and use it for location scouting purposes, be sure to wait for the 3G version. The wifi version won’t do you any good unless you have a portable wifi hotspot that works with your phone service.
  • For some reason, it doesn’t charge when connected to the computer…only when plugged into an AC outlet. Annoying, but not a big deal.

That’s all for now, but as I continue to use the iPad, I’ll post more in the coming days.