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Gear Talk => Software & Accessories => Topic started by: Hillsilly on September 01, 2011, 04:50:13 AM

Title: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: Hillsilly on September 01, 2011, 04:50:13 AM
Hi.  Does anyone use a tablet in conjunction with their photography?  I'm thinking of picking up a new laptop and am wondering if a tablet is the way to go?  I like the idea of the lighter weight and good battery life.  I do a bit of travelling and my main photography uses would be to download files from the camera or memory cards (CF & SD), to view the photos, upload some onto the internet and act as another backup storage facility.  I can do any serious processing when I get home on a computer with more grunt.  Just wondering if anyone else does this?  Do you find that the processors are fast enough?  Do Canon cameras mix well with Android and iPads?  Are there any that you would recomend?  Or would you stay clear of tablets for the time being and stay with a laptop? Thanks.   
Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: tomscott on September 01, 2011, 05:16:37 AM
Tablets are nice for viewing images... thats about it. They haven't really become a photographers tool yet with very limited access to editing. I would say they are about fast enough but the software doesn't exist yet. I think there are tablet laptops now, (within a bezel, just a keyboard addition) that you can remove from a laptop form and use but not sure..

The only way i see a tablet as a photographers tool atm is as a storage device on the go... but an expensive one at that. Then getting the images off it.. might as well just keep them on the cards and load them on a machine at home...

I was interested for the same reason but they just are not a good overall option for the money. A 64gb ipad2 is as much as a decent laptop. I bought my mum one and yes its amazing but only for certain uses, like browsing, looking at images etc but you need a machine to put your images on it. Until IOS 5, unless you are importing straight from a camera.. but all images need a little editing just to make them sparkle.

The best compromise i found was buying a 13" macbook pro or a macbook air. The air is great because its tiny and very lightweight its also very fast for its specification. But the 13" MBP is cheaper faster and has alot more storage and expandability. So i went with one of those, although it is alot heavier than the air, for me its worthwhile for the benefits. In 2-3 years Tablets will replace laptops but for now no, and 2 years is a long time in terms of computer tech.

Sorry for the only suggestion being mac, but ive been using macs for 7 years professionally and even tho windows 7 is a good OS it just doesn't cut the mustard for me. A mac with OSX is the only way forward for the overall experience I am after.

Its quite an exciting concept, an ipad with a pen... like a wacom tablet on the go! I cant believe Adobe haven't capitalised on this yet, but im sure a full version of photoshop will be a hog on the current ipad and adobe cant get a decent version running perfectly on the current mac system and with their history of being extremely poor at upgrading code on the mac side i would suspect we will be waiting for this for some time.

My 2p ;)

Tom scott
Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: hhelmbold on September 01, 2011, 06:17:35 AM
I actually use the ASUS E121 and love it! (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/buy/asus-eee-slate-121.aspx) The biggest mistake people make is to place tablets and laptops or computers in the same category. The iPad, galaxy and most tablets or slates coming out now is a business tool and not a "work" tool if I may put it like this.

Quote
Tablets are nice for viewing images... thats about it. They haven't really become a photographers tool yet with very limited access to editing. I would say they are about fast enough but the software doesn't exist yet. I think there are tablet laptops now, (within a bezel, just a keyboard addition) that you can remove from a laptop form and use but not sure..

I did my homework on tablets before I bought the ASUS and the ASUS is a "first of it's kind concept", so it definately has it's drawbacks - but it is powerful enough to even produce a perfect picture for a client on the go. I say "first of it's kind concept" because there are other tablets that works similiar, the ASUS just took the best of the technologies and made it all work together. Looking at other tablets they were slow to respond to touch or using 2 fingers to zoom was very "sluggish"... The ASUS works as well as the iPad when it comes to touch.

Battery life can be a problem because of the processing power of this tablet, but you have no limitations in software. Disc space can be a problem too if you load the whole Creative Suite + Lightroom and expect to get all your photos on the hard drive. But it has a built in SD slot and I have several 64GB SD cards that I use as "external harddrives". You can even get bigger SD cards at a price. It also has a pressure sensitive Wacom tablet and this is GREAT for photo editing! RAM is the other downside at the moment. 4GB is the max at the moment, but this is because DDR3 SO-DIMMS are only mass produced in max 4GB modules. There are some 8GB modules, but it will cost you more than a decent laptop.

Overall - I love this tablet and shooting tethered works like a charm. Editing photos... taking notes from my client directly on the photo with the Stylus or just writing notes to myself in the Journal or OneNote... It has everything a photographer needs on the road.
Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: tomscott on September 01, 2011, 06:54:00 AM
Sorry my general basis was on the iPad. From the link it looks quite nice, very useable and the spec is very compelling too! especially for the price, you cant really complain about this one. Although if your a mac user which I would say 90% of pro photographers are it would be a no-no. Hopefully the iPad will evolve into more of a photographers tool in time, not just a consumer product.
Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: MarkB on September 01, 2011, 07:50:30 AM
I was surprised at how functional the iPad 2 is as a hyper mobile stuido computer.   I recently took a trip to Maui and ended up with around 1500 shots.  I shoot RAW on a 60D so file sizes are around 20 mb.  I was pleasently surprised that the iPad could handle Canons RAW format for this camera.  I was about to lug my MacBook pro to Hawaii solely for that purpose.  I was bringing the iPad anyway, but I really didn't expet much from it.  While I didn't download all 50 gb of pics to the iPad I was able to get the 100 best and do credible touch up and editing with Snapseed. 

I was really impressed with the results.   It's not a power house, but edits happen interactively and while I was a surprised and happy with the results, I assumed I was only scratching the surface of the photos quality.  I assumed i would refine and improve them even more when I got home and edited them in Aperture.   Honestly, almost all of the photos edited in the Snapseed app looked better than the results I obtained upon returning home and processing them through Aperture.   I will have to check for resolution issues, but for casual and online viewing the iPad edited photos looked slightly better.  I would have no problems from this point forward using the iPad when I am not in the office.   Very little chance I will travel with my notebook.  It's a shame in the sense that that was why I recently upgraded...the assumption that I would need a mobile Aperture machine.
Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: hhelmbold on September 01, 2011, 07:57:53 AM
Quote
Sorry my general basis was on the iPad.

I wasn't shooting you down at all Tom ;) Not a lot of people are aware of the ASUS tablet. I fall in the other 10% of Pro Photographers who prefer to work with REAL power... Windows! LOL

Just kidding - I know the best tool is the one that works for you and Apple got one thing right in making things simple. I tried to switch from Windows to Apple a couple of years back and it only lasted 3 months. I will never be able to work on Apple because it just doesn't work for MY use. But I LOVE the iPhone!!  :D Using the ASUS with Windows for instance will work perfectly and integrate with your current Apple system, unless you use something like Aperture for instance. But it will also mean 2 licences of Adobe (Mac + PC) which will cost you the same as a MacBook :-)
Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: dstppy on September 01, 2011, 08:43:39 AM
Wow.  Let me just say (from the conversation so far) that the replies here have been both open-minded and helpful.  The last few threads descended very quickly into anarchy --- good job folks :)

My wife has an iPad2 and the only thing I would say that it is missing is a native SD slot (which wouldn't help CF people, but you get the point).  MarkB --- what accessory are you using to transfer images?  I saw another photographer using something, but it was REALLY slow.

I have a MacBook Pro (the wife has a Win7 laptop) and I have to say that my vote is the MacBook Air, or a PC equivalent.  Something that has processing power, but is miserly with the battery.  The one edge that the iPad2 has over the MBA is the built-in 3G, which wouldn't be for photography so much as making it more usable on the road.

It will be interesting to see the Windows offerings with the Ultrabook project . . . Win7 is a good platform, let's hope they don't mess up Win8 where they 'will take the new release in a very different direction'.

These are just my opinions but worth every cent paid :D
Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: TexPhoto on September 01, 2011, 08:54:11 AM
I have an iPad, and it is perfect for handing to a model who is waiting to be photographed.  Like giving a ball of string to a cat.
Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: WarStreet on September 01, 2011, 09:27:16 AM
My laptop just died about 2 weeks ago. I just assembled a strong pc with the intention to use it as my main photoshop work (and other heavy stuff), and then get an ipad for the mobile alternative for standard mobile use. Rather than having a decently strong laptop which is small and light, I feel it is better to have a very strong pc and a very small/light mobile device. My laptop was just a compromise. This is true if you don't need to use software which are not available or have limited features on the tablets.

The Ipad's use an IPS screen which is the preferred technology for photography. It also has a 132 ppi, which although is still far from 300 dpi of  prints, it is better than any pc monitors I know.  I looked at photos from a 7D on the original ipad, and I was really impressed. There are rumors of a new ipad next year, which is going to have double the resolution, which would be similar to good print quality.

For your intent of viewing and copying photos, together with other standard mobile staff such as internet use, the tablet is a good small and light solution. If you look to an android alternative, look for the quality of the screen and availability of software. I am an android fan, but up to now, the ipad would be my preferred choice.
Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: Picsfor on September 01, 2011, 09:39:38 AM
I have an Ipad 2 64gb wifi only.
I use it for photography for back up storage at daily shoots, which also allows me to review the files more accurately than the 3 inch screen on the back of a camera.

I have 50gb storage capacity and can upload SD or CF cards, which is more than enough for a day or weekend shoot.

I use mine in conjunction with a Canon 5D2, which produces some hefty files, and yet using PiRAWna and Photosmith i find myself able to view the pics ok, and at a slow rate, even do some file processing. But the software people do admit that 5D2 file sizes are pushing the limit.

I have got to spend 2 weeks in Vega in a few weeks covering a wedding, and will have to take my laptop for main back up storage, as 50gb will not be enough. For that trip i will shoot RAW+JPEG and download JPEG's to the iPad whilst downloading RAW files to the laptop. It is the only way i can see of doing it unless i add another 60+ gb of CF cards to my collection at a cost of £200+.

Is an iPad expensive? In some ways it is - but as i never take my laptop out with me any more, and get an almost equal computing experience without the weight and bulk, then i'm really on a winner. Add to that the hotspot facility meaning i can get internet and e-mail anywhere that my phone can get a signal, and i'm on a winner!

But that's my 2 penneth worth...
Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: tomscott on September 01, 2011, 09:50:00 AM
Well from a professional point of view on the iPad it is not geared up for the kind of imagery I shoot. If i go to a wedding and shoot between 1000-2000 images there isnt a good program like the pro aps on the mac say. I use lightroom and its great because if you use multiple libraries you can work on the single library like an album and edit them on the fly with a laptop then import the changes back into a studio mac like a mac pro and continue working on them, then if you have someone else working with you you can export the album as a library again and send that to another employee to edit some more and after everything is finished it can be synced to a main library. This is the way i work, plus it is all non destructive.

Now the iPad isnt really geared up for this, hopefully IOS5 will bring something new to the table for developers. The potential is massive but atm it is easier to use a laptop because all the pro aps are readily available. Also atm there isnt much of an option through IOS4 to send your images anywhere, apart from the web or iphoto... and really it would just be easier to import them straight into a desktop or laptop to start with. Because it takes twice the amount of time and im not sure if this is the case with the new iPad but with the USB connector it takes literally forever from your camera! Instead of 5 mins for an 8gb card its more like 20-30 mins, well it is on the mk1 iPad. If im out on a shoot I probs only have 20 mins with a client so taking that long just for them to see isnt feasible.

Im not disagreeing with a previous post, but I find it hard to believe that a simple app would produce better images than a pro app like lightroom. If that is the case I would go back and have a play with lightroom as the file is the same regardless what app you use, it is the editing. Lightroom has endless possibilities I find this hard to believe.

Anyway back on track, so if these aps eventually get ported over to IOS and are compatible with the studio counterparts I think the iPad may have a great place in the photographers kit. Just from other posts i can see people already being fond of using them, But im guessing these image are not for any export usage like newspapers, magazines etc. More of a preview tool, "here are a couple of images I have previously taken, we could do something along these lines.." or "here are a few pics I took of your wedding today" its great for that or even as self promotion using it as a tool to show clients images, and lets be fair they look great and clients like to play with intuitive gadgets.

As it sits the iPad doesn't have room in my kit because its just as easy to use a laptop and the laptop is better value money and has more space, power and all the programs work in the studio and on the go and are all compatible. And the iPad is an expensive indulgence if you got a 64gb you need to drop £600! You could buy the new Canon 100mm F2.8 IS for that! If you are a photographer you eat space! my 5D MkII on raw fill up disks quicker than I can buy them. my 4TB raid and 4TB in the mac pro are nearly full just from this years clients. most of my shoots are between 4-6gb x that by 3-4 a day and you get the scale. 6x4+24gbs so i would have to get the 64gb model simply for space and less recycling of images, where as my little 13" MBP has 2 1TB drives in it (removed the optical drive) so less back and forward which is nice. 

So maybe in two years but for now the old laptop does everything better for work purposes except the main point that it is waaayy less fun! haha No Work No Play ;P

Tom Scott
Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: iTasneem on September 01, 2011, 09:58:59 AM
http://www.macworld.com/article/160231/2011/06/ipadhyperdrive.html
Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: tomscott on September 01, 2011, 10:33:18 AM
Very good article! Sums up most of my faults with the iPad, but why go to these massive lengths if you already have a fully fledged laptop? the weight maybe but then its more to take with you and mess around pluging in, especialy if you have all your camera kit too. Then there is more software and then you cant make a fully edited version... so when you get back you have to do the editing again beyond me but.. everyone to there own.

Tom Scott

Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on September 01, 2011, 12:03:11 PM
The ipad is very good for displaying jpeg images to show to others.

Lenovo makes a High powered tablet which has a price to match, however, it has a super bright outdoor rated screen, and will run lightroom or photoshop very nicely.   

You should determine how much storage space you need for images, most of the tablets are limited, while the Lenovo can have a hard drive with lots of room, or even a hugs SSD if money is no object.
Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: sb on September 01, 2011, 12:42:09 PM
I never understood how people can "work on the go" :-), and maybe I'm old fashioned, but the only thing I want to do on the go (assuming I'm on the subway, and not busy holding the steering wheel) is read news until I get to my destination where I'll actually do work. Like somebody already said, tablets are great for viewing (already edited) pictures and maybe browsing if you're not annoyed by fingerprints (although I still prefer mouse and a keyboard, sorry).

I have an iPad 2 and I only use it for portfolio presentation to clients. Saves me from having to haul prints with me, they get impressed by shiny technology - everybody's happy :-)

When it comes to actually working on pictures, I wouldn't want to edit on anything but the biggest monitor connected to the most powerful desktop I can build (sitting in the most comfortable chair :-)). Therefore I have the 27" apple LED display and a custom built PC (not a Mac) with hand-picked performance components.

I need screen real estate, I need custom hardware, I need comfort, I need Lightroom.


Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: tomscott on September 01, 2011, 02:46:09 PM
Well working on the go for me would be... if im at a shoot away, say abroad or a different county. Meaning im staying in a hotel or im on a flight, the laptop is a nice thing to use to flag, tag and star rate the images maybe start editing etc.

I have to agree with everything you said sb. In my opinion its best attribute.

Tom scott
Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: fotoray on September 06, 2011, 03:44:44 PM

Its quite an exciting concept, an ipad with a pen... like a wacom tablet on the go! I cant believe Adobe haven't capitalised on this yet, but im sure a full version of photoshop will be a hog on the current ipad and adobe cant get a decent version running perfectly on the current mac system and with their history of being extremely poor at upgrading code on the mac side i would suspect we will be waiting for this for some time.

My 2p ;)

Tom scott

If I have my facts straight, you can only get iPad apps from the Apple Store.  It's a closed system.  Adobe might want to have an iPad version of Photoshop, but the Apple apps policy currently prevents it.
Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: tomscott on September 06, 2011, 05:14:50 PM
Adobe already has aps on the ap store. It is a closed system but only in the respect that apple has to approve the application. Many major companies have aps on the ap store not just minor developers. Otherwise whats the point?

Tom scott
Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: unfocused on September 06, 2011, 05:40:09 PM
I've been going through a similar decision process. My five-year old laptop is heavy, slow and the battery died several years ago, so the only way I can use it is to plug it into an outlet. It is time for something new.

My needs are pretty simple.

I wanted something as small as possible.

I wanted to be able to check e-mail and respond for my real job, which means being able to write and attach a small word document.

I wanted to be able to surf the Net.

I wanted to be able to dump a CF card's contents onto either a hard drive or onto a portable drive, which meant it had to have a USB port.

As a bonus, I wanted to be able to view (but not edit) RAW files, just to see what I was getting.

I have no interest in editing on the road. My only interest is to be able to preserve and backup files for later editing.

Finally, I wanted to spend as little as possible. I ultimately decided on a cheap ($240 U.S.) netbook.

I'm a cheapskate and just was not quite ready to drop $400-$500 on a tablet, especially because as I researched tablets, I came to the conclusion that the technology hasn't matured sufficiently to meet my needs. (I admit I'm also a little ticked off over the inability of iPads and even a number of other tablets, to accomodate Adobe Flash.)

I figured that even if I end up dumping it after a year, it will have served its purpose and I won't have invested a lot in something that will quickly go obsolete.
Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: Picsfor on September 06, 2011, 06:08:25 PM
Interesting the needs of 'unfocused'.

Those were my needs. My iPad does them all more than adequately.
I surf the net, send and receive e-mails.
I write and read Word docs and Excel spreadsheets.
I download a CF card full of pics, I tag and rate them etc - then upload them to LR3 when I get home.
The pics get backed up via iPad as well as what's on the card.

It's small, light, has no start up time and no shut down time.
It synchs with my iPhone and Mac computers without a care in the world.
I read books as easily as on a Kindle.
Catch up with the news without having to go to a site.

Oh, and my files are always RAW and at least 21mb in size, and I can do some processing if the urge takes.


As for  Flash, don't have a need to view a site with it, too clunky IMHO.

Yep, it is an expensive way of doing such things, but I can assure you the technology is more than up to it.

Regarding Photoshop for Macs, I suspect the answer lies in the same argument as to why Apple don't support Flash!
Title: Re: Tablet Computers - yes or no??
Post by: afira on September 06, 2011, 08:51:57 PM
Hi.  Does anyone use a tablet in conjunction with their photography?  I'm thinking of picking up a new laptop and am wondering if a tablet is the way to go?  I like the idea of the lighter weight and good battery life.  I do a bit of travelling and my main photography uses would be to download files from the camera or memory cards (CF & SD), to view the photos, upload some onto the internet and act as another backup storage facility.  I can do any serious processing when I get home on a computer with more grunt.  Just wondering if anyone else does this?  Do you find that the processors are fast enough?  Do Canon cameras mix well with Android and iPads?  Are there any that you would recomend?  Or would you stay clear of tablets for the time being and stay with a laptop? Thanks.

Yes. I use one on occasion. The processors are fast enough to do everything you've asked for, and can do some minor photo editing. Dual core tablets are hitting the market for a little more grunt as well.

I typically use mine in conjunction with a laptop. I download and store photos on my laptop then let friends, family, customers etc view the photos from the tablet. They can then select what they want without me having to give them my laptop so I can continue to work, them having to be in the same room as my laptop or them having access to every photo on my hard disk. When I use my Android tablet to view photos directly, I find I get the same functionality out of my 4" phone, and am better off viewing it on my phone due to battery life. I can plug in an external mini-usb card reader, battery powered so I don't use my phone's batteries, to my phone and away I go, no tablet and no laptop needed.

Value wise, you're far better off with a small portable laptop. Weight wise and portability wise, of course a tablet will win. However, if you choose a tablet with a portable reader/docking station/etc, why wouldn't you consider a laptop? Ultra light laptops will run 2.2 lbs or under a kilo and add a bit for a cord and power adaptor. Standard laptops with a card read inbuilt can weight 3-4 lbs.

Storage wise, cost tends to be prohibitive on many of the tablets, or the selection of hard drive sizes (pretty much everything but Ipad) and choice to expand slots just isn't there (Ipad). Sure you have the ability to add additional space, but how much would you actually require? If you're filling up 16g+ of space, you really should be looking at a laptop. Don't forget that once you transmit the photos from cards to your tablet, you then transmit the tablet photos to your desktop, unless you're keeping the SD/CF cards and backing up your backup. With a laptop, you will have faster exchanges through USB3 or Thunderbolt, as most tablets are still USB2.0.

Tablets that are viewing significant amounts of pictures are not going to have good battery life - though, neither are some laptops. The problem comes with a sacrifice - if you want to view the pictures in beautiful living and vivid colour on a stunning bright screen you will usually have crappy battery life. If you're able to suffice with a mediocre screen, duller colours and generally a less shiny screen, you'll generally have better battery life.