Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Shooting Tethered to the iPad

When I first heard about the new tablet computer by Apple (April 2010), I was thinking the same thing EVERYONE else was thinking... WHAT A BAD NAME!!!! An iPad? Really???

Anyway, despite the name, I REALLY wanted to want this device. It is essentially a giant iPod Touch. I was sure that I would enjoy traveling with this but it could not replace my MacBook Pro. I knew that I couldn't depend on it as a deadline device or as a transmitting computer. I wouldn't drop $600 to $800 for just a web surfing tablet with email. To further complicate matters, the iPad camera connection kit was in short supply.  No one that I knew could get their hands on one. 

On July 12, a photographer friend in West Palm Beach posted a status update on his Facebook account. 

Steve Mitchell

I was waiting almost two months for an Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit, the local Apple store about twenty of them in stock as of today.

Of course, I immediately called the local Orlando Apple stores and was able to get a saleman on the phone who did confirm that they had the iPad Camera Connection kit in stock, but he would not, or could not set one aside for me. So after driving quickly (but safely) to the Florida Mall, I was able to secure the kit. When I got home, I was able to test it out. I called my neighbor and friend Gabe, who was an early iPad adopter and had the 64GB 3G+WiFI model. I borrowed his machine quickly learned that the USB connector is not useable with the standard CF card readers. The port is not powered, so any device needs to bring its own power to work. 

I then plugged in my Nikon D3. I am still shocked by how easy it is to set up. 

When you plug in your camera to the  iPad Camera Connection kit USB adapter, the Photo program in the iPad knows that a camera is connected. When you shoot a photo while tethered, a tab named "CAMERA" appears, and when selected, you will see the contents of your CF card on the camera. These small thumbnails are not large enough to view, but they load fast.  You then select whatever frame (or frames) you want, then click import. After a few seconds the images are now on the iPad, under the "Photos" tab. (I shot both basic JPG files and RAW+JPG files. While the basic JPG only files loaded much quicker, the RAW+JPG files were not unreasonably slow. I am not sure if the RAW files are actually read by the iPad photo program. It may have been the larger JPG file associate the RAW)

When you click on the "Photos" tab ,all the ingested images show up. You can click on one to enlarge it. You can zoom in and scroll photos just like you do with the iPhone and iPod Touch. 

Now, you all may be wondering why you should do this rather than just tethering to your laptop. 

Viewing photos live, on the iPad is a much more immersive experience than with a laptop. 
The art director , the prop and food stylists on my Tupperware shoot were all AMAZED at the clarity of the photos and the ease of use. They were able to flip back and forth between photos, and setups to compare. They loved how they could zoom and virtually crop the images. 

In EVERY other instance where I shot tethered to a laptop, a client or art director ALWAYS touched my laptop screen and that drove me batty since I hate having fingerprints on my screen. Now, with the iPad, I want them to touch the screen and interact with the photos. 

I had told my friends how I did not want or need an iPad. I was talking about how the iPad doesn't do this, or that... but...
I may have approached it the wrong way. The iPad will never replace my MacBook Pro, but it doesn't need to. It does one thing really, really well - It provides an easy, immersive way for my clients to experience my photography. That in itself, is all the reason I need to get an iPad. 

Now, I need to ask Gabe how much he wants for his iPad!!! :)

P.S. - I am not allowed to show images of the new products I shot today. After they are published by Tupperware, I will upload behind the scenes video of the iPad in action. 

P.S.S - In the off chance that Steve Jobs winds up reading this, these are the 8 things that I would like to see in the iPad iOS4 release. 

1- With import, allow iPad users to see and select only "tagged" images from the DSLR. This way, a shooter can edit in camera quickly, then import the edit without thinking.
2- Allow larger thumbnails in the "Camera" tab. If you can have larger images viewable, a person can make an edit on the iPad before selecting images. This can be a simple image browser, like "Photo mechanic" is on the Mac or PC.
3 - Allow photographers to pick which file to import. You should be able to import an JPG, and not the associated RAW file.
4 - In the Photos tab, you should allow tagging of photos so you can make new events or move images. Needs to be a better way to organize.
5 - The iPad needs a way to apply IPTC info onto the images. Batch IPTC application or individual files.
6 - Aperture "Lite" would be nice to have on the iPad. A simple way to tone and color correct images. 
7 - Calibration of the monitor to Adobe RGB or whatever standard so we can have an idea of what the color will be on the photos. 
8- A way to store images in a queue -  ready for FTP, or email uploading. 


  1. Come on Preston, we are all DYING to see pics of tupperware! Btw, my Ipad comes next week and I cant wait to find ways to integrate it with my workflow.


  2. I found a CF card reader that plays nicely with the iPad's camera connection kit. It's brand is i dot Connect. It's very portable; does not need any added power supply and it was only $7.99 at Fry's.

  3. and I forgot to add: You don't have to shoot RAW + JPG for the iPad to recognize the file. I shoot RAW only and it works great.

  4. Thanks Lourdes! I need to go get that CF card reader!

  5. This sounds fantastic but what about the memory size on the, iPad? If all images get sucked direct to the iPad then it will get eaten up rapidly.

    Or are you just suggesting that only selected images get downloaded?

    I have all so seen on you tube a guy demoing the iPad wirelessly which looks like he is tethering into laptop then out via blue tooth to the iPad?

    This would enable you to let your clients use the iPad still while you focus on the laptop.


  6. I am suggesting u that u should always select the photos categories in JPG format not PNG and other. That get low space in your ipad and u can take it transferred easily to help of Bluetooth Or USB cable.
    iPhone Repair Centre Preston