In this blog the tasks I refer to can be achieved on either the iPhone or iPad, but to keep it simple, I will refer to only the iPad. I prefer taking photos with my digital camera as opposed to my iPhone or iPad. I have more control over settings and composition…therefore quality, but if I want to view them or share them from my ipad, there is an additional step required to move them from the camera to the iPad. There are several ways of moving the files, but I’ll refer to the two options I most frequently recommend. They are both easy to do, but require a different financial investment.
The first option for moving files from your digital camera to your iPad is purchasing an Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit for $29.
With the iPad Camera Connection Kit, it’s incredibly easy to download photos and videos from your digital camera to your iPad by plugging the connector into your dock connector port (the opening at the bottom of your iPad you use to charge it.) Once plugged into the dock port, you pull the SD card from your camera and insert it into the slot in the connector.
After you make the connection, your iPad automatically opens the Photos app, which lets you choose which photos and videos to import, then organizes them into albums. When you sync the iPad to your PC or Mac, the photos and videos on your iPad are added to your computer’s photo library. It supports standard photo formats, including JPEG and RAW, along with SD and HD video formats, including H.264 and MPEG-4. It’s compatible with first, second and third generation iPads.
Once you’ve moved the files to your iPad, you can place the camera card back into your camera and format it so you have a nice clean card for taking more photos. Easy enough, not too expensive and a great way to view your files on a larger screen than the small viewer on your camera so you can make decisions on which photos are best and which to delete.
A second option, the CamRanger, although substantially more expensive, ($300) has recently become one of my favorite new accessories because it can do so much more than transfer photos. It’s not compatible with all cameras, but if you own select Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras, you can not only move files from your camera to your iPad wirelessly, but you can also do a host of other tasks.
The CamRanger enables wireless tethering control of supported Canon or Nikon DSLRs from an iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android device, Mac or Windows computer. CamRanger creates its own WiFi network so there is no need for additional computers or existing Internet and provides near complete control of a camera from up to 150 feet away.
I will give you more details on all the things you can do using the CamRanger, but to give you a direct comparison to the Camera Connection Kit discussed earlier, using the CamRanger means you don’t need to remove the card from the camera. You simply attach the CamRanger to the USB port on your camera, and once the iPad and camera sync via the special Wi-Fi network, using the free CamRanger app, you’ll be able to see thumbnails of the images stored on your camera’s memory card. You can select photos to be permanently deleted or download them and save them in the iOS photo library.
I’ve owned the CamRanger for a couple of months now and have been using it for many of the purposes listed below and have found it to be worth the investment.
Using the CamRanger App in Live View allows you to view the scene on your large iPad screen instead of the small screen on your camera. You can even adjust the focus prior to taking the photo and control the shutter without touching the camera.
When the CamRanger is connected, thumbnails automatically appear on the top of your device’s screen after you capture a photo.
The images are still saved to your camera’s memory card, but you can see them much more clearly on the larger screen. Tapping a thumbnail allows you to view the image and its histogram and associated meta-data as well.
You can view your photos in full resolution because the CamRangers supports full-screen mode to maximize images size. You can toggle among a variety of overlays, including AF points, highlight, shadow, grid lines and aspect ratios too.
During movie recording, CamRanger allows you to start and stop video capture and view it while you record. You can perform focus adjustments via your iPad.
A few other features include the ability to wirelessly view and set camera properties. I’ve found switching between exposure and auto or manual focus is even easier using the CamRanger because I can see the screen so much better.
If you’re into HDR / Advanced Bracketing, CamRanger can be configured to capture a series of photos, automatically varying shutter speed, aperture or ISO. Images can then be combined via third-party post-processing software into a single exposure with greater dynamic range
If you’re into macro photography, the CamRanger is great for eliminating the blur which so often occurs from camera shake. By remotely triggering the camera’s shutter, rather than pressing the shutter button, your photos will be sharper. It also makes it easier to physically shoot in the awkward locations in which you commonly find yourself during macro shooting.
Because of the cost, if you only need to move files from your camera to your iPad, you may prefer the “manual” method using the Connector Kit. But if you see the benefits of some of the other applications the CamRanger provides, the higher price tag may very well be worth the expense.
So, if you’ve been using your iPad or iPhone to take photos because of the ease of quickly sharing them with others, I encourage you to grab your digital camera instead. Take advantage of the control you have using the DSLR instead of the iPad’s camera app. Then use the Apple Camera Connection Kit or the CamRanger to quicly and easily migrate the files to the iPad for sharing. It’s the best of all worlds – control over quality with ease of managing and sharing the images via your mobile device.