This week I finally made the jump into Ipad world. I know i’m several years behind the trend, but for many people (myself included) the Ipad isn’t an obvious choice because of it’s limitations with keyboards and grunt and the way it deals with apps instead of software. So what promoted the change? I saw someone using this rig below. It’s an Ipad mounted to a tripod that is wirelessly connected to the camera. It allows you to instantly view the images you take at 2048 x 1536 pixels! That’s getting pretty darn close to the 2560 x 1440 resolution on my 27″ Imac. So rather than relying on the small LCD screen on the back of the camera you can now check things like focus, composition, colours, and distracting elements in the field. If you have ever gone home after thinking you just secured the money shot only to realise that the same image at full size is less than perfect then you know why this is a workflow gem. It also allows you work with clients who want to see the images you’re taking straight away.

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What do you need to get this rig to work?
  • Ipad
  • An eyefi card. (This sends jpeg images from the camera to the ipad via it’s own wifi. One thing to note on this. If you shoot raw then this process only makes sense if your camera has duel card slots like the Canon 5Diii, or Nikon D800 so that you save the raw files to one card and transmit the jpegs to the ipad)
  • The mounting sytem for the ipad. The best one i’ve found is the Wallee modular system from Tether Tools.

I should also say that i haven’t tested this yet! This is more like my research notes that i’m sharing and i’ll have to get back to you on how well this actually works.

Beyond Photography

In my mind the big decision with an ipad is whether you can live without a keyboard or not. i spent a lot of time decising if i should go with a Macbook Air, which are super slim and now come with 8gig of ram, making them a powerful little computer. I weighted this up a lot and the solution I finally came up with was this.

I’m using standard Mac keyboard which connects to the Ipad via bluetooth. It means I can type properly and actually do real work. I’m using it to type this post in fact. The case is by Belkin and allows me to tilt the screen, but also keep that note book aesthetic. The aesthetic is not a minor aspec of going to Ipad. The feel and touch of an ipad was a big incentive for me to change becuase of how i could interact with clients. I can show them images, fill out model releases and briefing forms, and I can sketch ideas. I’m actually suprised by how many uses i’m finding in the Ipad that will likely change my workflow. Part of it is because of all the apps that people are creating for specific tasks. Its fun to be rethinking how i work.

Portability

I spent a long time deciding between a Macbook Air and an Ipad, but I think the Ipad is slightly infront when it comes to portabilty. It’s lighter, even when combined with a full size keyboard. Charging of the Ipad is also very convenient because it uses the same charger as an Iphone, which means charging options are everywhere.

Instant startup

Both the Macbook Air and Ipad start up almost instantly so there is no real difference there, but compared to other laptops this startup time has a huge effect on the way you actualy use it. You’re less likely to pull out a slow laptop and wait for it to startup if you bump into a potential client. The Ipad allows you to have your portfolio everywhere. The quick startup also makes it more appropriate on trains, plains, or just when you’re waiting 5 minutes for what ever reason.

Internet

I run 99% of my business in the cloud and am a heavy Twitter user and blogger so internet is fundamental to my workflow. So the Ipad works very well for me because it’s got wireless internet built in. I’m not having to plug a USB stick in to get access online. This also contributes to making the Ipad so small compared to a laptop in a bag and all the additional accessories.

 

Telco

Which telco did I go for? Telstra. I’m not a big Telstra fan but after a lot of conversations the decision was very clear, Telstra has the best coverage, the fastest speeds, and it works. That last aspect can’t be said for the other carriers. I went for an 8gig plan that should give me ample internet for everything except large photo uploads.

Sketching

I love the idea of being able to sketch digitaly. I’ve used a Wacom tablet for years and the Ipad makes this possible. Unfortunately though it’s not perfect. The Ipad is designed for fingers and so the sketching is far below wacom tablet standards. I am using a wacom stylus (Around $35) which does a decent job on the ipad, but you have to hold it arkwardly so that your fingers don’t touch the screen which will draw additional lines. That said, sketching is better then i’ve seen it displayed on the internet and it is very useful for marking up PDFs.

Photography and Images

The one thing that doesn’t make the Ipad a complete repacement for a laptop is it’s ability to handle large amounts of photographic data. On a typical shoot i can go through 16 gigs of images. On an Ipad with 64 Gig it’s not really practical. And you might say that a Macbook Air doesn’t have huge storage either, but it has one hige advantage and that’s the ability to plug in an external hardrive via Thunderbolt. So super fast transfer speeds and almost unlimited storage. I should say that you can get Lightroom on the Ipad, but because of small capacity to store photos I doubt i’ll use it.

 

Conclusion

I have to say i love the Ipad so far, but it’s defintely not a complete solution, at least not for me. It will serve me well for 99% of my admin tasks, and it will improve my workflow in new ways i haven’t even though of yet, but really it’s a tool that compliments a powerful laptop or desktop.