27 January 2010

So what does the ipad mean..

So what does the iPad mean for photography? Well to begin with, pretty much nothing. There are hardly any quick wins for the platform over the iphone. It really is just a bigger, more powerful iphone. There are the obvious content creation and payment opportunities (witness the repurposing of so much content for the iphone) but beyond this, why does the form factor and interface matter?

That screen real estate and portability does make me wonder, how long will it be until the iphone/ipod is targeted by a camera manufacturer as an external preview device? At the moment the Canon 5Dmk2 (for instance) has a HDMI output that will show live view in HD. Unfortunately it doesn’t show the HD view when recording but this problem was fixed on the recent 7D which shows Canon are paying attention to this feature.

Let me put together a small ‘upgrade’ scenario for the iphone/ipad and newer cameras. The first is a way of getting video out of the camera and into the iphone/ipad. There are a few ways to do this, HDMI being the first but we’re unlikely to see a HDMI in on an iphone/ipad. Next is wifi, which sounds like a distinct possibility as we’re seeing many wifi enabled cameras and we know the iphone/ipad has it. Wifi would be OK to show compressed video with current hardware but it would be good to use something like ‘transferjet’ – high bandwith wireless at short distances – which would probably manage uncompressed HD. However, just wifi will do for most uses.

So how does wifi help? Will, imagine a point and click, touch screen preview for your camera. Set up a composition and control focus, aperture, multi-shot, etc .. everything from your iphone or ipod. You could also use pinching to zoom in to check focus (which would be great with tilt/shift lenses).

More importantly for a lot of photography where full tethering is difficult and laptop unfriendly, composing and managing photos on a 10″ screen would be a boon and the ip*d should be powerul enough to apply some photoshoppery, live in the field. For instance, you could apply a grad onto the scene and the camera could take multiple shots and blend them as a preview! You could also include ‘peaking’ on preview to show in and out of focus areas (peaking is a videography originated concept where in focus areas blink or have a zebra pattern).

The two main things are that a bigger viewfinder on a camera is better but over the 3-4″ currently, they just don’t make sense. An ipod or ipad could act as a temporary, portable and highly functional external screen with the added attraction of ‘consumer’ developed interfaces. The democratising of the camera viewfinder could help extend the instant feedback facility of digital cameras to the point where a view of the picture as large as a 5×7 ground glass, an interesting thought..

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11 Responses to “So what does the ipad mean..”

  1. On February 3, 2010 at 2:52 am