Have you thought of travelling with an iPad 4?

I think it is getting more common carrying a tablet than a laptop, if you want to travel light. My experience of carrying a netbook works excellently so far. However, when you add up the netbook power cord and external voltage adapter, it becomes not as light as you originally thought. Nowadays most of the airlines have very strict hand-carried luggage allowance policy in terms of weight and baggage size. Imagine how hard you squeeze everything valuable in your baggage. So in theory the 7kg hand-carried baggage allowance tells you that you will go naked if you still insist to take so many photographic gears. I don’t want to risk the loss if I place some items in the checked baggage. I always travel with a camera and a lens.

That said, I ended up carrying an iPad on my recent travel overseas.  This is an iPad 4 , featured with WiFi and cellular and 64 GB storage. This is the largest capacity of storage you can get. Unlike some other Andriod tablets, there is no way to expand the storage on the iPad. So it is a matter of choice whether to get an iPad with 16GB, 32 GB or 64 GB.  If you can afford, I suggest you spend the money on the 64GB  capacity because of this limitation, although cellular may not be necessary.

In specification, the iPad 4 has decent front and rear cameras. The front camera takes 1.2 megapixel photos and the rear iSight camera takes 5 megapixel photos. It features autofocus (you can surely see how the focusing really works on the screen) and the f2.4 aperture enable capturing shots in low lights. Of course the iPad camera cannot entirely replace your favourite camera and the interchangeable lenses, but taking a shot by the iPad cameras and upload it to Facebook or Instagram is very straightforward.  The quality is surprisingly quite good.

Adding to the capability of the cameras, you cannot deny that the iPad 4 has one of the best screen resolution. The 9.7 inch retina display has a resolution of 2048 x 1536 at 264 pixels per inch (ppi), although it is not the best. It seconds to none except the Google Nexus 10 (2560 x 1600). The Dual-core A6X with quad-core graphics does a great job in displaying crystal clear images. Viewing enlargement of photos on such a screen resolution is a pleasure.

For those who take photographs on a camera such as DSLRs, what you really need is a way to transfer your photos to the device. I am disappointed that Apple has designed the new and smaller Lightning port. That means you cannot use the SD card reader designed for previous version of iPads (of course you can purchase an adopter). This card reader transferring the files is now called Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader adapter. We use this card reader to import photo or video files from the SD card to the iPad. The procedures are:

  1. Connect the adapter to the iPad
  2. Take the SD card out of your camera
  3. Inset the SD card to the card reader
  4. The iPhotos app will start automatically
  5. Select which one or all to import
  6. At the end, you can decide to remove or keep all files from the SD card before removing it from the card reader
  7. Move the files to different folders

If you take both RAW and JPEG formats, all of them could be imported but only the JPEG image is shown. For video files, iPad can take SD and HD video formats, including H.264 and MPEG-4. You can then sync these files using iTunes back to your PC or Mac. How about if our cameras use CF cards? Officially Apple does not have a solution.  But you can find CF card reader for iPad available in many IT gadget stores. If you use the latest Canon 6D, transferring the files by using its WiFi capability to iPad or other mobile devices is painless and easy.  I would say this is a perfect match.

To be continued…

Featured image: The bike. Elmarit-M 28 mm, ISO160, f4.0, 1/1000 sec

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