Don's Pages

Monday, 31 December 2012

The New iPad 3 Review: For Photographers.

Don's Review of Apple's New iPad or iPad 3.

The latest incarnation of the iPad has been around for a while now and I'm certain another new one will be announced imminently. Whenever a new Apple product is released there is always an incredible hype, joyousness and buzz about it, and with the New iPad or iPad 3 (as most people call it) there was no exception. There seemed to be delight in the crowd at the Apple big launch video that I watched on youtube, but for me the New iPad was underwhelming, because it seemed so much like a giant iPhone, so I was not amongst the unprecedented amount of people who placed pre-orders. There just didn’t seem to be enough new things in the New iPad to WOW or tempt me immediately. It’s great to get your hands on new technology and gadgets, but I like to wait until most of the bugs have been sorted out first, then read insightful reviews that highlight the strengths and weaknesses of a product. However, that didn’t stop many Apple devotees though, because the immediate demand for the New iPad resulted in a shortage in the Apple stores in the first few days. In the end though, three million New iPads were sold in the first three days. Imagine that, a million iPads a day… phew! Those cool Apple guys must be cock-a-hoop and full of high spirited delight, but it still took me a few months to be convinced enough to dip into my gadget savings account, coupled with the fact that we were going on holiday and I didn’t fancy lugging around my laptop, before I decided to out and get one. Do I regret waiting so long, not really, but now I don’t know what I’d do without my New iPad, it’s just so useful for so many things.

However, since I've had my iPad for a few months now and have been able to put it through some rigorous testing both at home and abroad, using it for business, pleasure and photography, I feel I'm ready to share with you how I feel about it.

Let me say at the outset that I love my New iPad and my wife thinks I'm too attached to it already:-) Before I owned an iPad she used to say to our close friends, "There are three of us in this relationship; Don, me and Niko (my Nikon D700)" Now I've thrown her into confusion because we're now four, because everywhere we go, you've guessed it, Nikon, iPad, Don and Julie go.... LOL. I know that sounds really sad, but I've found uses for my iPad that I never could with my iPhones, so it's a no-brainer for me that iPad comes along too.

My Granddaughter Leila with my iPhone, she didn't want to let it go and now my family are addicted to Apple Devices:-) 

Just like an iPhone only better: If you've ever owned an iPhone, then most of what it can do the iPad can do too, but only better, much better. Why is the iPad better? I'm getting older and sometimes need glasses to read my iPhone, no forget sometimes, that's me just being pig-headed and obstinate, not wanting to admit that I need reading-glasses. The iPad is better for me because I can read most things on it so easily. However, it really is essentially the same thing as the iPhone with a  much bigger screen. Also better because the viewing experience of photos and video is awesome. When I got to play with my son's iPad 2 and looked at some of his holiday snaps I was instantly WOWed....

Qualified Progressive Experience: That reminds me that I'm due to review my iPhone 5 having just upgraded from the iPhone 4 (I missed out the iPhone 4s incarnation). But I've owned every iPhone since it first came out in 2007, so have significant experience using IOS devices for photography, pleasure, creativity and business.

Taking the Plunge: Why did it take me so long to get an iPad? Well, I wanted one for ages, but couldn't justify the expense, because I had an iPhone that could do almost everything an iPad does and more. Also, until recently I've been using a laptop for mobile writing and photography. What prompted me to get an iPad really? Well my oldest boy works in the City of London (Banker), and he's owned every version of the iPad since it's first release in 2010. Every time he comes around he'd be using his iPad for something. Face-Time: Then we did face time together and once again I was WOWed! We then face-timed my youngest son who lives in Plymouth (250 miles away) on the iPad's big screen, we were chatting away and watching my newest grandson playing, crying, laughing and learning to walk. Seeing his silly expressions and funny faces LIVE, I knew in that instant an iPad was impendent. Since owning one we've used facetime whilst on holiday in Lanzarote.

My family's and their relationship with iPads: facetime...
Most of my children now have an iPad too, so facetime is awesome. We just contacted my son Richard on holiday in Egypt. Which was quite funny as we forgot the time difference and they'd just gone to bed.
Also it was my daughter Abi's birthday yesterday and we were able to see her little face with facetime, she lives about 250 miles away.
So just for facetime, portability and fun the iPad is awesome.
My grandson was playing Monopoly on it yesterday and he's only five.
My granddaughter was drawing on the iPad and loves seeing all the pictures, pinching and viewing albums. But I have to watch her as she deleted some by accident recently.

So we're definitely an iPad family. We've also got quite a few friends who've also go iPads and I'm sure we'll be using them more often to have facetime conversations with them as well.

More Good Reasons for me to get an iPad:

Start-up time: For years I stuck doggedly with a laptop computer, but what always bugged me was the time it took to start up and get going. I know I could have just closed the lid and it would fire back up in a few moments, but I always forgot to charge the damn thing. The iPad is instantly on and that's just bedazing.

Weight, Charging & Peripherals: Lugging my laptop around had become a real chore and a burden for me. Not only did I need the heavy thing, but the charger and mouse (I hate using the trac-pad) had to come along too. The speakers on my laptop were crappy for listening to music too. Now the iPad came to the rescue, it was light, portable, easy to carry and I didn't need a whole let of other things to make it do what I needed. You don't need a mouse because the touch-screen does everything and you just get into the habit of charging-up the iPad overnight. Especially if you use it all day.

Photography and Business Apps: Now we're getting down to business. The innovation of Apps constantly inspires me. There seems to be an App for everything and for Photographers that's fantastic. I've tried many over the years on both the iPhone and iPad, but a few stand out among the crowd for real usefulness. (See Apps I've Tried Below)...

Photography On the Go: 

Whilst on Holiday in November 2012 in Lanzarote (Pics Here), I wanted to be able to connect my New iPad and view the pictures. Thankfully I was able to get the Camera Connection Kit. This enabled me to both see and check my images from the cameras that I had with me and show off the pictures to my wife and new friends at the hotel. 

The Connection Kit comprises: An SD Card Reader  USB connector, but I had to purchase a separate cable to connect my Camera to the USB... Not too much trouble, but you'd think they'd include one in the kit.

With the iPad Camera Connection Kit, it's incredibly easy to download photos and videos from your digital cameras to your New iPad so you can view them on the gorgeous iPad display and share them with family and friends.The Camera Connection Kit: includes two connectors, each with a different interface:
  • The Camera Connector features a USB interface. Just plug it into the dock connector port on your iPad, then attach your digital camera or iPhone using a USB cable (not included).
  • Use the SD Card Reader to import photos and videos directly from your camera's SD card. Connect it to your iPad, then insert your digital camera's SD card into the slot.
After you make the connection, your iPad automatically opens the Photos app, which lets you choose which photos and videos to import, then organises them into albums. When you sync iPad to your PC or Mac, the photos and videos on your iPad are added to your computer's photo library.iPad and the Camera Connection Kit support standard photo formats, including JPEG and RAW, along with SD and HD video formats, including H.264 and MPEG-4. 

Showing Off Your Portfolio & Connecting your Camera: 

Connecting the Camera and reading from an SD Card was so easy and glitch free. The iPad instantly recognises them and you can view, select and upload to the iPad. A new folder is created called uploads. You can easily rename this later if you want.

It's great at the end of the day to be able to lay back and enjoy the wonders you've seen on your travels and captured with your camera. The Cameras I had on holiday with me were: Nikon D700 and Canon S90. As the Nikon had Compact Flash I had to connect the camera via the USB and cable, but the Canon had an SD card that could be inserted in the adapter.

I can imagine for Blog and Travel Writers that this would be so useful. Once again the iPad is much lighter compared to a laptop computer and more flexible.

The downside: The Hotel we stayed in didn't have internet access in the rooms so we could only connect in the Hotel Foyer and access was quite slow compared to our broadband connection in the UK. (Talking with the manager: He said they'd be upgrading this so that we'd be able to connect to the internet in our rooms soon)
The upside: However, at least it worked and I was able to share my camera pictures via the iPad connectors to FaceBook to excite and or bore family and friends. At least our good friends appreciated this and loved sharing in the excitement of our amazing holiday.

APPs I've Tried and Like: 

The Photographers Ephemeris.
This App is great for me because it shows clearly the direction of the Sun, Moon etc on the map at any time of year so you can work out in advance the best location and time to be in position to get great sunrise and sunset shots anywhere in the world. Fantastic!

Camera Awesome
Another great little App for Photographers that lets you adjust both the point of focus and exposure independently, there's also a wealth of options for different effects to apply as you shoot.

Camera Bag App & My Camera Bag 2 Review: I find this an amazing little app and desktop prog. You'll just love playing with it.

flickr App & flickstacker Apps: I really like this little App and can see what's happening whilst watching TV in the lounge with the wife.

Photo Wall Pro App: Is really awesome for producing collages with great background and flair for uploading to FB for fun and family sharing.

iPhoto App: Is good but it's a massive prog and takes up a lot of memory for what it does.

Adobe Photoshop Touch App: A wonderful app if you really want to do Photoshop on your iPad, but I don't at the moment (see below).

Portfolio Pro for Ipad App: This is a great tool to show prospective clients and those who've had a photo-shoot your work. If you connect your iPad to their TV it's awesome. However, apart from adding your logo etc, it doesn' really offer much more than the basic Photo Album App that already comes with the iPad (Perhaps they'll develope it some more in time). Also, I think it' way overpriced for what it does. But that's just me.

Fine Art America App: Good but needs adaptation / development for community feedback, comments, likes etc... But it's great for showing clients your work. One great feature is the ability to let clients see a work on their own wall in the own home and how it will look at any given size. For me this is even better than Portfolio Pro above, and it links with my online galery.

Apps for Developing / Processing: As I do most of my processing on my Desktop I'm not really into iPad adjustment progs but there are some really good ones if you need them whilst out on location or on holiday. However, I like to leave that until I get back home again and work on the full versions of Lightroom and Photoshop.

Google+ App still needs some development to make it work properly for me. Just MHO...

Blogger App: Still needs more work and development. But it's a start.

Facebook App is just Great: Join me on my Photography FB if you want to be a friend.

PhotoStacker for 500px App I like this little app. Check out my Don's 500px Portfolio if you like.

Apps I'd like to see: RedBubble...

Photography Help Apps

I'll be adding to this list later.

With the wealth of amazing Apps available you could be a bit lost. So I'll be doing individual reviews of some of the Apps in time. But check out Camera Bag 2 Review and you'll see what I'm going to be looking at for Photographers.

For Photography Itself the IPad is great, but it does look weird when you are taking photos / films with your iPad. However, if you can get over looking strange it's OK. My wife used it on holiday to take some shots of me and she was very impressed with the results. Of course she would be:-) LOL.

Facetime Conferencing on iPAD: In the new IOS 7... 

What I would like to see in the next IOS 7 Update: Facetime Conferences. So we can chat with all the family at once and see their faces on the screen. That would be fantastic! Imagine: My son in Egypt, my daughter in Plymouth, my brothers and sisters in Scotland and us in London? Now that would be something for the New Year. Come on you guys at Apple let's have Facetime Conferencing.

What about the other players on the block? 

Tablets seem to be coming out in droves; Microsoft Surface, Google Nexus, Sony Experia, Amazon Kindle Fire and Fire HD, I've never tried them, but I'd like to find out how they compare  and stack up against the Apple iPad. My wife just got a Kindle Fire for Christmas from my son Richard, so I'll have a poke around on it and let you know how I feel.

However, they all seem to be copy-cats of Apple's iPad innovation. I'm sure they'll catch up soon if they haven't already. As I've taken the leap into iPad world, I may as well make full use of it and I do enjoy the experience. But I'm an adventurer and Gadget Geek at heart (That's why I joined the RN at 16 and left home to see the world).... I'll definitely be keeping an open mind.

Downsides to the iPad? I'll let you know ASAP. But I definitely want facetime conferencing soon.

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