iPad mini as RAW backup

Started Mar 19, 2013 | Discussions thread
noirdesir Forum Pro • Posts: 13,337
Re: iPad mini as RAW backup

Prophecies wrote:

So I am getting ready to leave on a 5-month trip, and I was thinking about getting an iPad mini. My main use for it would be easy access to my email, writing my blog, and most importantly, backup up, and viewing my RAW files from my D7000.

I've been seeing conflicting information regarding how this would work, or wouldn't work. Here is what I had in mind.

1. Shooting photos with my D7000

2. Using the Camera Connection Kit to get my RAW .nef files onto the iPad mini

3. Use the iPad mini for reviewing photos, as well as uploading the good ones onto Dropbox (or, simply keeping the files on my iPad, and putting them on my computer afterwards)

4. Getting home, and getting my (hopefully unchanged) .NEF files from Dropbox on to my computer

I've seen a lot of weird information here and there, some people saying that the iPad compresses, reduces, or generally degrades the quality of NEF files on import, and others saying that Dropbox for iPad will do the same.

Nonsense. Besides the camera manufacturers in the camera nobody does a lossy compression or resizing of raw files. JPEG images might be compressed or resized by several parties. For example, images send by Apple's iCloud Photostream to iOS devices are downsized to the maximum resolution of iOS devices, ie, that of the retina 9.7" iPad. Images sent by Photostream to your Mac are full-size, untouched images.

What exactly do I need to know, and would this be a good way to backup photos? Please don't suggest I purchase a Macbook Air, there is a reason why I want the iPad Mini, small size and weight.

Apart from the limited storage space on the iPad mini and possibly limited upload speeds (and upload volume) while travelling, there is one annoyance that follows from these three restrictions:

  1. The Camera Connection Kit (CCK) can only be used from the build-in Photos app.
  2. Images in the Photos app can only be deleted from within the app and to do so you first have select each image you want to delete (*).
  3. Only third-party apps can upload raw files (or jpeg files to locations other than Photostream).

The result is that if you need to clear space on your iPad mini, you have to upload them with one app and then delete them in the Photos app. Apart from the extra work, there naturally is a risk that you delete an image that you didn't upload.


A way around that is to use WiFi to transfer images directly into a third-party app that can receive images via WiFi and can upload them to a service of your choice and then can delete them easily. Transferring images via WiFi can be done with Eye-Fi cards (or similar products) or with devices like an Airstash. However, I don't know of an app that can do all these three things (I know apps that can do the individual steps) and transferring via WiFi is naturally slower than via the CCK.


(*) Selecting images in the Photos app is normally done (after tapping the edit button) by tapping each image. But there is a shortcut: place two fingers (after going into edit mode) onto one image at the edge of the iPad, wait a fraction of a second, and then slide over to the other edge of screen and select all images in that row (or column) by that.

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