iPad mini for photography

Started Dec 1, 2012 | User reviews thread
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monokul
monokul Forum Member • Posts: 76
iPad mini for photography

As a professional photographer I'm always skeptical about the latest phone and tablet photography abilities. I know how the size of the sensor and the quality of the lens is crucial for my images. So I never expect something good enough from that kind of devices.

This season I got myself an iPad mini. I was very eager to get in the flow of Instagram sharing. I was taking pictures of meals and interesting stuff with my Nokia, but just for fun. So at the moment of purchase of the iPad mini I was sure that I'll use it for photography (not mainly). For the couple of days that I'm "shooting" with the mini I find it interesting and inspiring.

Lets start with the controls. Well I have the habit to shoot trough the viewfinder of my camera so it's hard for me to get use with observing the picture on the display. However I've found that it's possible to shoot in daylight and actually see what you're picturing. The other problem for me is the focus. I'm learning to touch the display at the point where the focus should be, but it's kind of tricky to hold still the iPad and to select the focus. So usually I recompose the shot after focusing. There are applications allowing you to separate the focus from the metering point which I found useful in difficult lighting situations where the average metering is not precise enough. Interesting thing I've found while shooting a dark scene trough the window is that I was able to use the glass of the window and pres one of the sides of the mini against it and to use it as a "tripod". There is digital stabilization with some of the apps and it's normal since I've mentioned that most of the time in low light the exposure times are below 1/60s. As a whole the control of the device is a bit of a struggle for me as often I take pictures instead of changing the settings, but this is with some of the apps only. I miss the stability that the DSLRs and the regular cameras are providing, and the ability to focus on the image and not overs setting and holding properly the device.

About the ability of the iPad mini to capture crisp and clear images I would say that there is nothing more to expect as from the other mobile devices. The images are noisy and if you do not use "tripod" or support of any kind they are blurry because of the hand shake. What I'm experimenting at the moment is the use of LED lighting of a Chinese company. It's small, light and easy to care around and use. It's cheap of course - 75 euros on the Bulgarian market. The results with this equipment and the iPad mini are very interesting for me as I can create lighting set up over small objects and to control the exposure and the light cast only by moving it around the object. There is no metering and changing of f-stops so the process is very creative and fun. But the holding of the iPad mini at strange angles, focusing and holding still not to move the focal plane is tricky. I'm going to experiment with portraits, but since this requires more time for setup for now it's only a project.

About the dust on the sensor I was happy that there wouldn't be any, but this is substituted by the greasy fingers on the camera lens. This could be an effect but for a couple of times it was destroying my images with soft overall look. After wiping the camera it's all good.
About the lens I miss the variety and the telephoto capabilities of my system, but I've found that the macro distance of the iPad mini is short so that you can make interesting shots.

The overall experience for now is like this is a tool for social type of photography. Although I'm planing to test it with a stock agency and see what the results will be. If this thing is capable of earning money from photography at a technical level I assume this is turning it in to a professional tool.

For Instagram, Facebook and all the social networking style photography it's a great tool.
Let my observations be taken as a personal experience and opinion and not as a professional exam or test of any kind.
I like the iPad mini.

 monokul's gear list:monokul's gear list
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1
Apple iPad Mini
7.9 screen • 5 megapixels (rear) • 1 megapixels (front)
Announced: Oct 23, 2012
monokul's score
5.0
Average community score
4.9
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