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Tablets for photographers: Best options for on-the-go workflow

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When you’re in the field, whether shooting on location or just meeting with your next client, gear that’s powerful and portable is a must. This is where tablets come in to make a photographer’s job easier. With high resolution touchscreens for easily sharing portfolios or proofs, the capacity for dozens of dynamic apps that provide photo capture and editing capabilities, typically lightweight construction and built-in cameras that are quickly improving in megapixels and performance, tablets can be an attractive supplement to a photographer’s bag of tricks. Add in larger screens that offer more versatility and control than smartphones and ready access to online resources through a data connection (if you can get it), and you’ve got a device that can supercharge your photography workflow without draining your wallet.

But with all of the tablets out there, it can be difficult to figure out which one to buy. And the criteria is way different for photographers than it is for your average Best Buy shopper. Even though the built-in cameras on these tablets won’t be your first choice when you have your smartphone and DSLR with you, it’s nice to know what they could do when you’re in a pinch.

We field tested five of the most popular consumer tablets currently on the market to determine which ones make the best mobile photo accessories, and which ones are only good for flinging colorful birds at those meddlesome pigs.


Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

 Specs

  • Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • Weight: 21.1 ounces / 598g
  • Screen size and type: 10.1-inch 1280 by 800 LCD screen
  • Cameras (type and megapixels): 5 megapixel rear camera and 1.9 megapixel front-facing camera
  • Battery life: About 8 hours
  • Price: $499 (16 GB model); $549 (32 GB model)

Best Feature for Photographers

The included stylus adds versatility to this tablet. Pressure-sensitive, the stylus makes editing and more robust photo retouching not just possible, but enjoyable. You can even split the screen between several apps, the perfect addition to multi-task out in the field. It won’t work with every app, but it’s a welcome addition when you need to take notes or check out tips online while reviewing your photos. This kind of functionality really sets the Note 10.1 apart from the iPad, instead of making it an Apple clone that runs an Android system.

Camera and Display

The native camera options rival those of paid photography apps we’ve reviewed in the past. From the main camera screen, you can choose to use the rear camera (5 megapixels) or the front camera (1.9 megapixels), but that's not a decision that's likely to take long. Turn the LED flash on or off (or set it to automatic flash), adjust the exposure (from +2 to -2 EV), set a timer (to 2, 5 and 10 seconds), apply a filter or toggle the scene settings, which adjust shooting parameters based on your environment (think nighttime, indoor and landscape, to name a few).

The Note’s native camera offers a variety of pro settings, including a variety of light settings depending on your scene...
...and the ability to adjust exposure between a range of +2 and -2 EV.

Various shooting modes offer further versatility. The “Smile Shot” mode only takes the picture when the subject is smiling (and it works well). More practical and just as impressive is the panorama mode. Hold the tablet up and the onscreen arrows guide you through leveling your shot and making sure each of your eight shots stitch together seamlessly. Other features include photo sharing that recognizes friends who are in your shot and lets you share the picture with them with a few taps of the screen.

Helpful onscreen cues show you exactly how to move and adjust your tablet to line up the perfect set of shots in panorama mode.

While the display isn’t HD like the Nexus 7, the 10.1-inch screen size is generous. Shots look great (helped by that 5 megapixel rear camera and 1280 by 800 resolution) and photo editing is a breeze with this much space.

Usability and Portability

The Note 10.1 is the second heaviest tablet in our roundup, but the weight doesn’t feel cumbersome. A simple, thin design distributes the weight well when you hold it up to shoot. I would have liked to see a rubber-grip back like on the Nexus to make this tablet feel a little more rugged. Instead, you get a smooth, gray back that looks like it would scratch easily on the go.

In camera mode, the menus and options are clear and easy to use. You can even tap and hold onscreen icons to customize what settings appear on the viewfinder screen. With so many features to choose from, that level of customization helps make navigation simple for those using the same settings over and over.

The Note’s multi-tasking functionality lets you compare pictures while surfing the web, or take notes on your most recent creation (while looking at it).

Other Considerations

The Note has one problem that’s big or small, depending on your needs as a photographer: there’s no 3G or 4G support. That means you won’t be able to access the Internet without a wi-fi hotspot nearby. If you’ve got apps and information pre-loaded, working in less wired areas won’t be a problem. But if you want to take advantage of instant photo sharing or multi-tasking between websites and your photos—then you have a problem if shoots take you away from wireless Internet. Your needs will determine how much of a deal-breaker this is for you: if it is, the closest analog to the Note is the iPad 3, which has a wi-fi and cellular 16 GB model that’s $100 pricier.

The 1280 x 800 resolution comes in useful when using one of the many Android image editors such as Camera Zoom FX, pictured here.

The Verdict

If you’re an Android fan and looking to augment your photography kit, this is the tablet for you. The price is competitive: $499 for a 16 gigabyte model (the same as the 3rd generation, wi-fi-only iPad), and while the display may not be as gorgeous as Apple’s, the features, apps and ease-of-use make the Note worth the money. Buyer beware: if you need ready access to the Internet on location, go with the iPad.

Rating:


Google Nexus 7

Specs

  • Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • Weight: 12 ounces / 340g
  • Screen size and type: 7-inch 1280 by 800 HD display
  • Cameras (type and megapixels): 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera
  • Battery life: About 10 hours
  • Price: $199 (8 GB model); $249 (16 GB model)

Best Feature for Photographers

Picking up the Google Nexus 7 tablet and looking at the crystal clear display, I thought: this is what a tablet should be: lightweight, sleek and sporting a beautiful HD screen. While a 10-inch tablet like the Note might give you more space to edit, the visual clarity of the Nexus 7 makes this an editing contender in the 7-inch category, and an ideal tool for showing off your work. Photos are crisp, and apps run without any noticeable slowdown.

Camera and Display

The Nexus’s camera is where it’s lacking.

For one, it took some time to find it, namely because there’s no native camera app. Yes, you have to download a third-party application to launch the camera. It’s an annoying extra step right out of the box. I used Camera Launcher, a free app that includes some nice features like white balance settings that adjust the picture for daylight, incandescent lighting and fluorescent lighting. It also gives you exposure settings and a basic zoom function.

Pity you won’t be using them much. The Nexus only has one camera: a front-facing one. Unless you’re a connoisseur of self-portraits, chances are you’re going to look elsewhere for a tablet camera.

That’s a shame, because even with just 1.2 megapixels, the shots look fine and you can simply swipe your finger to look through your photo album, then swipe back to the camera without leaving the app.

Usability and Portability

The lack of a viable camera might not be enough to turn off photographers looking for a fast, slick tablet to use for all other purposes at an unbeatable price. 

But I’d recommend getting a good stylus if you’re editing on the device. Without it, the 7-inch screen is just too small to do more intricate work. But with a stylus, you can do everything you want on a bigger Android tablet for about half the price. While the screen dimensions impact editing, the small size can also be a big asset. The Nexus 7 is the lightest of the tablets we reviewed, but it doesn’t feel cheap or delicate. Its rubber, ribbed back provides a great grip and makes it feel that much more rugged. You could easily slip it into a large jacket pocket. 

The Nexus 7 has a gorgeous screen that displays crisp images, even though it’s a 7-inch tablet. That could come in handy if you think you can edit photos on a smaller tablet.

Because of the $199 price point, the Nexus 7 could offer real value as a way for photographers in the field to preview photos and share them with others online, while using apps to take care of business functions like signing digital release forms and contracts. You might not spring for a 10-inch tablet for those functions. But the Nexus 7 is a surprisingly good middle ground option.

Menus and screens look crisp, and the purpose of menu buttons is usually apparent. I would have liked to see a physical button that returns you to the home screen (a la the iPad), but its omission is understandable given the small size of the Nexus. The end result? A tablet that you won’t be taking photos with, but could offer convenience at a low price for photographers who need to support their shoots with apps and sharing functions.

Other Considerations

Transferring any photos you do take to your computer is dead simple. Connect the USB, enable the camera connection function in the setting menu and drag the photos to your desktop.

Unfortunately, you won’t connect using anything other than wi-fi with the Nexus. That shouldn’t be a problem, since if you’re looking for a photographer’s tablet, you really should be looking elsewhere.

The Verdict

The Nexus 7 is light, portable and stylish, but ultimately worthless as a camera. However, as an accessory that might have some useful capabilities on location in terms of apps and photo sharing, if wi-fi is available or connectivity doesn’t matter, the price is right: the 8 gigabyte Nexus 7 that I reviewed costs $199. The 16 gigabyte model is $249. 

Rating:


BlackBerry PlayBook

Specs

  • PlayBook OS 2.1
  • Weight: 14.9 ounces / 422g
  • Screen size and type: 7-inch 1024 by 600 LCD screen
  • Cameras (type and megapixels): 5 megapixel rear camera and a 3 megapixel front-facing camera
  • Battery life: About 10 hours
  • Price: $199 (16 GB), $249 (32 GB), $299 (64 GB)

Best Feature for Photographers

The PlayBook isn’t the lightest tablet out there, but it’s over a third lighter than something like the iPad 3 (8.4oz, to be precise). The device never feels cheap or breakable, though. It’s easy to slide the PlayBook in a purse, backpack or even a large jacket pocket, making this one of the more portable tablets reviewed.

Camera and Display

The BlackBerry PlayBook sports a 5 megapixel rear camera, as well as a 3 megapixel forward-facing camera. The camera screen features a zoom function and a button to switch between front-and rear-facing cameras. With no magnification, the quality of photos seems serviceable, but nothing to write home about—especially with a 1024 by 600 resolution screen, lower than other tablets reviewed. However, it’s worrying that things appear to become grainy the further in you zoom. The same goes for the tablet’s general display: it’s mostly crisp, but the 7-inch LCD screen is nothing that excites at 1024 by 600 resolution.

The PlayBook’s photo capabilities are basic, but work for off-the-cuff shots.
Unfortunately, once you zoom in, the PlayBook’s photo quality suffers dramatically.

Usability and Portability

The PlayBook was meant to be held horizontally or vertically with two hands—and that’s it. The zoom function is controlled by a slider on the left side of the screen, while the shutter button sits on the right. To its credit, the zoom slider is perfectly calibrated: it’s easy to fine-tune it to your desired settings, which is a feature some other tablets and apps have trouble with. Once adjusted, simply move your right thumb over the shutter button and snap a photo. Easy enough, right?

Not if you’re using a stand or a mount with the tablet to stabilize a shot. With the tablet propped up, I found the zoom slider unwieldy and, frankly, a little illogical. Many tablets use the screen gestures popularized by Apple: pinch the corners of the screen with your index finger and thumb to zoom out, slide them apart to zoom in. That works reasonably well; this functionality doesn’t.

It’s a strange choice, considering all the PlayBook’s menus and navigation are controlled exclusively by screen gestures (there’s no physical Home button to return you to the main screen). Those come in handy: simply slide your finger from the bottom of the screen up and the PlayBook minimizes the camera and takes you to a dashboard with your recent apps and menus (including, in this case, the device’s photo album). That makes it easier to navigate between the camera and the photo album than on other devices that require you to close the camera down, and then open the photo album.

The physical buttons the PlayBook does have are a problem: the volume buttons don’t feel responsive, and the power button (which puts the device to sleep) requires quite a bit of pressure to work. That button gets used a lot, which makes this failing more noticeable than simply having to punch the volume button a few times.

Downloading apps and using online resources on the go isn’t simple: currently, PlayBooks are wi-fi only. A wi-fi and cellular network version is in the works, but until then, you’ll need to be near a hotspot.

The PlayBook might be a viable option because of its size: it’s not big enough or high-res enough for photo editing, but it’s cheap enough that it could be worth it for the ability to share photos or access the Internet. Unfortunately, the PlayBook doesn’t do those things any better than the Nexus 7. In fact, the Nexus 7 has a screen advantage over the PlayBook: it looks much more crisp and sports higher resolutions. If you’re really in the market for a 7-inch tablet, look elsewhere.

Other Considerations

Whatever other failings of the PlayBook, it suffers most from the relatively tiny BlackBerry App World store. At last count, Apple’s App Store had around 650,000 apps and Google’s Android store features half a million. In comparison, App World has just under 100,000. Less choice certainly isn’t a nail in the coffin, but the booming popularity and (relative) profitability for developers lies in iOS and Android. That means fewer high-quality apps.

The Verdict

The PlayBook is a solid tablet if you’re a BlackBerry nut—but it’s not a solid tablet for photography. The portability is there: the visual quality, versatility and usability of some other offerings on the market aren’t. Granted, at a sub-$200 price point for the 16 GB model and the reasonable $299 for the 64 GB model, it could have been worth adding to your kit for the size and portability alone—if it offered equal or better features than the Nexus 7, which it doesn’t. 

Rating:

Comments

Total comments: 145
12
panoviews

What about the Samsung Tab 7.7 GT-P6800 with AMOLED Display and 3G?

3 upvotes
kff

I thing that we have to choose which kind of device we need:
1) an universal tablet/smartphone
2) a graphical tablet/smartphone:
mainly about resolution of display included touch parametres, but about apps, too
3) a camera tablet/smartphone:
there we would be expected evolution/revolution by modular systems with plug-in camera modules such as phone modul into Padfone etc.

0 upvotes
andy amos

Unfortunate title, maybe it would have been better the other way round, "Photography for tablet users" !? At least we (camera owners) would forgive the selection based on the narrow band of best selling units and understand the obvious shortcomings.

2 upvotes
Deleted pending purge

So far, I can see a tablet replacing a laptop to a degree, in the sense of better portability and high quality image rendering. However, its shooting capabilities are insofar just not adequate.
Maybe some manufacturer might try to exploit the advantages of Origami optical system to better the performance.
Add-on memory slot and standard contact(s), like USB 2 and 3 will have to be there too, before it becomes interesting in a way the laptops are...

0 upvotes
larsbc

"Add-on memory slot and standard contact(s), like USB 2 and 3 will have to be there too, before it becomes interesting in a way the laptops are"
That's what annoys me about this article. USB 2.0 Host mode is supported on some Android devices so you can attach a keyboard, mouse, HD, USB stick, card reader, etc. to them. This would increase their utility for handling some photo tasks (image backup or uploading being an obvious one). But the author never mentioned that at all. BTW, some Android tablets also support memory card slots.

0 upvotes
Biowizard

What on earth has happened to the concept of "HD"? This acronym defines the NUMBER of pixels on a display, NOT their SIZE! The Note 10.1 and Nexus 7 have EXACTLY the same number of pixels, and yet you describe one as not HD, and the other, as HD.

Full HD (1080i and 1080p) means 1920*1080 pixels, with a lesser HD (720p) being specified as 1280*720. Clearly both tablets come under the latter category.

And to argue that a smaller screen makes it "look" like higher/more definition, would throw a massive spanner into the works if you tried reviewing fifty-inch plasma or LCD HD TVs! What would you call them? "Ultra-Low-Definition" because they are even bigger than the Note 10.1?

Common guys, this is a tech review site: learn to use your tech terms correctly!

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
Fred Briggs

I'm not a pro, but do occasional assignments - the latest shooting my nephew's wedding. From my perspective, and I would think, any pro photog, the primary function of a computing device will be to make immediate backups, while still on site, of all the shots taken.

This means copying all files onto the device and then using the device to make a second copy onto an external hard drive. I had three 16GB cards worth of photos this weekend and a tablet would just not fulfill either of these functions.

The second most important function to me is allowing me to review and possibly edit shots while still on the road, so the ability to open and view RAW files from a camera such as my D800 (45-70MB files) is essential. LightRoom on an Ultrabook style laptop is the minimum requirement as far as I'm concerned, and again a tablet is a non-starter. YMMV

Fred

2 upvotes
wildwilly

Well, I have an ASUS Transformer Infinity with 64G of storage plus a 32G card in the card slot. It seems like that would easily take your three 16Gig cards. It can also write onto additional cards (SD, CF, micro SD, etc) using a card reader or a mobile hard drive if desired.

It works for me when traveling. I shot about 30 Gig last week wich I stored on the tablet and copied onto USB drives in the field.

2 upvotes
drrjv

Agree! I use my iPad 3 with ShutterSnitch, which works great in this regard.

http://www.shuttersnitch.com

0 upvotes
joshnl

As wildwilly mentioned, the Infinity can deal with copying of files from a memory card onto an external HD, no problem.

As for reviewing RAW images, there are a handful of RAW viewers available for Android (Photo Mate is the one I use the most). Their editing capabilities are limited (they only allow editing of the embedded JPGs), but they can at least give a rough idea of what the final image will look like. I've also found Photoshop Touch to be an amazing tool for doing quick edits of pictures while on the road.

But having said all this, it's true that a tablet is not a replacement for a laptop. If you need to review hundres of RAW images or do any serious post-processing on the road, then you'll probably struggle with a tablet.

To me, the lack of colour calibration on Android tablets is an issue, but hopefully there will be an app for that sooner than later (one is already available on iOS).

0 upvotes
Fred Briggs

I have read a lot of reviews of the Asus Transformer devices and they look good. However with the form factor and price you are not far from a laptop.

I used to use a Macbook Air 11" running Win 7 which I loved, but I wanted more internal storage as I was having to put everything on external drives. I've now settled on a Samsung 13" Ultrabook which is not much bigger than the Air or Transformer but has 500Gb internal, augmented by 16GB SSD and 6GB RAM, with i5 CPU. This runs LightRoom almost as well as my desktop and meets all my requirements.

Fred

0 upvotes
WiredUp

I have been using an ASUS Transformer for the past year and generally it has been a good experience. The only problem is that transfer rates are slow - about half the speed of my old Samsung netbook but the display makes the difference.

2 upvotes
benfeldt

Galaxy Note 10.1:
"there’s no 3G or 4G support"
Huh? Where did that come from? Mine has 3G.

3 upvotes
bigfatron

Another vote for Android devices. I own a Galaxy Nexus handset and a Nexus 7. With a cheap OTG cable, a bog standard CF reader and about £10 worth of apps (DSLR Controller, RAWDroid, Nexus Media Importer and CR2 Thumbnailer) I can remote control a Canon 7D and view and download RAW files from either the camera directly or from the CF card on either device. About my only criticism of it all is the lack of SD card support as a backup option.

1 upvote
dvdgd

Useless article but I own the Asus Transformer and use it bearly everytime I go out with my Canon DSLR because of the Android App DSLR Controller. I find this app for Canon slr really usefull especially when doing macro.

3 upvotes
drrjv

Agree. I do the same with my iPad, along with ShutterSnitch and DSLR Camera Remote

http://www.shuttersnitch.com

http://www.ononesoftware.com/products/dslr-camera-remote/

0 upvotes
AdamT

Pretty useless review as others have said - we need Card slot, good screen, plenty of storage and some editing first for the thing to be of use to the working photographer - the last thing that`s needed is an onboard cam which at best is still worse than an Ixus compact of 10 years ago . the iPad`s lack of SD slot is a deal killer for me .

7 upvotes
drrjv

The iPad Camera Connection Kit works fine in this regard:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC531ZM/A/apple-ipad-camera-connection-kit

0 upvotes
ezradja

iOS and Android apps simply couldn't (right now, at least) catch up with the capabilities that Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop provided, so just wait for Windows 8 tablet then. Let see, if Nokia, the maker of Pureview handsets will making Pureview tablet with WIndows 8 (not RT version) that could use Lightroom, and any native Windows program, then ....

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Stig Nygaard

Don't care must about build-in cameras. More important that you can import from your camera or card-readers usb-port. Wi-fi only? Use your phone as a wi-fi hotspot, so don't see a big drawback there. Now I'll admit that I haven't read all the tablets reviews in this article, but looks like you primary look at the resolution when judging screens. I like to know how well the screen looks with colors, brightness and contrast. Though I don't imagine doing serious editing on a tablet, something that's not to far away from my calibrated screen at home is definitely still preferable.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
mas54

The first most important function is ingest from card; the second is storage. The third would be at least minor editing. Little was said about these things.
Is there a photo mechanic app for these tablets?
Are there ports, i.e. firewire, thunderbolt, usb?

2 upvotes
larsbc

What about the ability to use USB host mode to copy files from an SD or CF card and write it to a hard disk when travelling? A great way to back up images. As far as I know, this can be done with some Android devices.

1 upvote
drrjv

The iPad supports this as well as wireless:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC531ZM/A/apple-ipad-camera-connection-kit

0 upvotes
larsbc

Unfortunately it doesnt. It'll let me copy files from an SD to the iPad's internal storage, but it won't let me copy files from the internal storage to an external HD.

0 upvotes
Jimbob Productions

Um, so I guess if you want to completely change your workflow to accommodate a tablet then fine. But I'm currently using a Samsung Slate 7 PC. Tablet form-factor, with full windows (runs Windows 7 natively but I've updated mine to run WIndows 8). This is the tabley that was the test platform for Windows 8. Surprised that I don't see it in your review.

Anyhow, here's the workflow advantage.

I run full Lightroom, with Nik software's complete package. Could also run Full Photoshop if I wanted.
So, no need to change my workflow. I get a stylus to handle fine details and it has a Wacom digitizer surface built in. So not only can you show your photos to a client, you can edit them in the field and connect to your mobile via WiFi to send them wherever you want.

Microsoft's surface Pro will do much the same - but I can do it all now.

0 upvotes
jwg63

What kind of battery life do you get from it? Do you find it an issue in practice? This is my biggest concern about an x86 tablet right now; I almost want to wait for next year's Haswell processors, which should be a big improvement.

0 upvotes
xdfortier

Did you calibrate the tablet then? I'm assuming with full win functionality it's feasible.

0 upvotes
Jimbob Productions

@xdfortier - I haven't calibratd it yet - but you can do it exactly the same way you would a standard laptop - the Samsung Slate has a fully functional USB 2 slot.
@jwg63 - I get around 6 hours of use when using the optimised setting - but not for heavy workload. I get around 3 hours under heavy use such as editing photos. More than enough for me - but may limit some.

0 upvotes
amateurphotographer

If you are using PC desktop and want to transfer photos to your ipad, even using Itunes, my experience indicates the photo order will be scrambled, i.e. not in chronological order. Have tried free and paid apps, none seem to work. Also we all know ipad cannot view flash sites. For tablet, would stick to android. Am now thinking of the MS Surface (Pro), hopefully can tether shoot with LR installed, but then has the flexibility of a tablet to show client photos (IN CHRONO ORDER), and light enough for overseas travel.

0 upvotes
jj74e

I'm confused as to why the Blackberry Playbook is included in this article if it is rated so low compared to the other offerings. That in addition to the lack of some kind of order (e.g. best to worst) makes this article feel a bit unorganized, like a random list rather than a helpful tool.

That's not to say it isn't helpful; it's just a bit odd.

2 upvotes
remstar25

i use the nexus 7 currently and i agree doing editing on the smaller screen only really works with a stylus but thats not a big issue for me.

Also not sure i would use my tablet as a camera ever which is one big reason i didnt care for a back camera. plus with photomate and photoshop touch for android along with an otg cable ive been happy using my nexus for photo work.

the biggest plus is being able to stick it in my pocket and walk away compared to my brothers ipad... and yes he`s been very envious of my little gem.

0 upvotes
drrjv

iPad Mini is coming out soon.

0 upvotes
oscarvdvelde

They should make a Nexus 7 bracket for DSLRs. Then with a Canon EOS 6D with built-in wifi we will have that swivel screen after all!

0 upvotes
SeanU

I tried to use an iPad for basic image editing. While I'm sure there are more and better apps since I did my test run, in the end I went with a low end MacBook air. It weighed only slightly more than the iPad + portfolio case. It ran all of my desktop software, and in the end was just more productive. I do think Microsoft is going to shake up the tablet market with the Surface Pro... Microsoft One Note will be the killer app.

0 upvotes
yslee1

While I really don't like the iPad due to inability to support USB OTG, until Snapseed comes to Android, the iPad has this one.

0 upvotes
Chembro

What about local connectivity. You need a USB connection for inward and outward transmission of data and images, and a storage capability e.g. a high capacity (say 32 gb) microSD card. Your review makes no mention of these facilities. I use an Android (Ice Cream Sandwich) Ainol Novo 7 inch tablet with both these capabilities - a snip at £120 diect from the Chinese factory. More detail assessment please. Cheers Chembro.

0 upvotes
A Schamber

What about the Acer Iconia A700??? That's actually the best contender for the iPad.
And I was forgetting the new Fire HD, or Asus Infinity...
But.... why the hell are we talking about taking photos with these tablets??? It's the dumbest thing to do. Ever. I have the Nexus 7, and I actually don't miss the camera. If I need something like that, I take out my phone.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
karlviehe

Just yeterday I shot a four minute video of a string quartet at a reception in the lobby bar of a Moscow, Russia hotel using the I-pad 3. Given the low light ... and hand-held, I was quite impressed at the image stabilization and the overall quality of the video.

1 upvote
sodacan

For Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 you state that "While the display isn’t HD like the Nexus 7..."; what is your definition for HD? Both displays have the same amount of pixels(which is the most common definition) so it's either pixel density or that the manufacturer markets it with HD-title.

6 upvotes
A Schamber

Both have same resolution, but if you actually take into account dpi... then the Samsung lags.
Still... why isn't there the Acer Iconia A700, that is 16:10 full HD?

0 upvotes
EssexAsh

Microsft Surface Pro for me IF it does what i hope it can do. ive an iPad 3 at the moment and just find it annoying to use. It would be a lot smoother if the wifi cards worked reliably in my D800 but they dont which means tethering. The camera connection kit falls out pretty easily, bit of cable movement and its off. None of the apps i have (iPhoto, and the built in Photo app) import automatically so you still have to select the images and import. There is no select all option! So yes its an incredible screen!

i couldnt care less about the built in camera and i dont want to edit anything, its just a tool to show the models a preview and to check lighting. Post processing will be done at home on the PC

For me, the OS just gets in the way and the hardware (apart from the screen) let it down So its back to a 17" laptop and Lightroom / Capture One Pro until Surface arrives.

Anyway, is this site sponsored by apple now? how many iArticles are on the front page?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
1 upvote
jwg63

I'm giving serious consideration to buying a Microsoft Surface Pro, which is supposed to be available in January. This tablet will have the full capabilities of a PC, as well as a digitizer pen, so it can run programs like Photoshop and Lightroom directly. The downside of that power is that I expect it to have shorter battery life than the tablets in this round-up, but it's also reported to have a removable battery, so it should be possible to carry more than one battery on a shoot. It'll come down to whether that extra bit of hassle will be worth not having to have a separate laptop.

1 upvote
KevinTalbot

I think you have some bad info on this. The MS Surface computers will NOT run native windows versions of PC apps. The use an ARM based processor that will not run Intel based apps and the amount of RAM is very limited. Unless Adobe makes Surface-specific apps, you are not going to be able to run them. And even if Adobe makes Surface versions of PS and LR, they are certain to be severely de-featured compared to the desktop app. Look at iPhoto on the iPad vs. iPhoto on a Mac - very different products. Maybe I'm wrong, but I would not count on being able to run PS or LR on a Surface.

0 upvotes
Peksu

Surface has an ARM cpu as you described, Surface Pro has x86-64 Intel cpu and should run all native Windows software just fine.

2 upvotes
Chekr

Surface tablets come in two versions, RT and Pro. RT runs on ARM, Pro on x64.

Win8 on the x86 Surface will happily run anything that a desktop or laptop can, apparently it will ship with an i5 processor which is the same as in my lenovo laptop.

This means you can run Lightroom, RawTherapee, DXO Optics etc.

0 upvotes
le_alain

You know you can convert any android phone in WIFI hot spot ?
so no problem to connect this tablet in 3G:

have a 3G phone set on Wifi hotpost and use the tablet wifi

no need of another SIM .....

2 upvotes
Joe Ogiba

The Verizon 4G LTE iPad could be used as high-speed 4G LTE WIFI hotspot.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlL4GGwCQWw

Comment edited 45 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
drrjv

This is very easily done with the iPhone and iPad. Here's how:

http://www.gottabemobile.com/2012/09/19/how-to-use-personal-hotspot-on-ios-6-and-the-iphone-5/

0 upvotes
Mark Rosher

Interesting round-up, but fails to address one of the major benefits of an on-shoot tablet. No-one here, I imagine, cares what the quality of the on-board camera is - the best is going to be no better than a cheap compact. But connect a tablet to the camera, wirelessly or via a cable, and it becomes a touch screen large electronic viewfinder.

I use my Android ICE Acer Iconia A500 tablet (a bit old now) with my Canon 7D and it makes distant shooting - for example for bird shoots - so much easier. Sat a USB cable length away from the camera on the tripod, I can select focus and other characteristics, and shoot remotely.

Of course, not all tablets can connect via USB...

5 upvotes
Green_Thark

Yes, they did rather miss the Android app for controlling Canon dslr's Use it with both my phone and tablet

2 upvotes
richsfusa

Exactly. Who cares about the camera? Why even rate the cameras on these tablets? It doesn't matter. The camera is not important because it is not better than a point and shoot.

1 upvote
jmaster

Couldn’t agree more. They totally ignored tethering!

My Toshiba Thrive ($200 as a refurb), sucks for most uses. But with real USB and HDMI connections, it’s phenomenal as a controller/monitor for my 5D3!

0 upvotes
drrjv

Why bother with a USB cable when you can use WiFi?

Check out this article:
http://alex-klim.com/2012/08/18/remotely-control-your-canon-nikon-dslr-via-iphone-ipad/

0 upvotes
larsbc

@ drrjv
Did you read that article you're linking to?? They require that the camera be connected to a computer, and the iPad talks to the computer to control the camera. Plus you'd need the camera to have a wi-fi radio. So, a usb cable vs. a computer + wifi module for camera, I'd go for a simple usb cable.

0 upvotes
drrjv

AirPlay and the unparalled range of Apps on the iPad trumps all the others. ShutterSnitch, which uses EyeFi Sd cards, is reason enough to go iPad.

0 upvotes
NikonGuy1234

There are Android apps for Airplay and every other format you can think of. Apple has been at this longer than Android, but Android is RAPIDLY catching up in this respect.

The Android architecture is WAY more open than IOS. Android has only just begun. Its going to explode in the near future, especially in the tablet market. I'm writing some Android software myself right now. The tools are very good.

0 upvotes
drrjv

I think the 'open' thing with Android is a bit overblown and not really an advantage as it leaves the device susceptible to malware and other security issues.

0 upvotes
larsbc

@ drrjv
The "open thing," despite opening the device to malware, is still an advantage. Many current Android devices allow USB host mode which gives them access to many accessories including external hard disks. The user-accessible file system also makes them very easy for moving all manner of files onto and off of the device while travelling (no need to connect to an iTunes-like application). Malware is a danger, yes, but smart users can avoid them (I work in IT and notice that it's always certain users who always get hit).

0 upvotes
larsbc

There may be unparalled apps for iOS compared to Android, but the hardware connectivity is very limited with iOS. Since I prefer to use my desktop to edit/process images, it's more important that I have a way to back up my files while travelling. In that regard, Android has a significant advantage.

0 upvotes
David Hart

I'd like to see a review of the ASUS TF700 Infinity. I feel that it is a better Android competitor to the iPad 3 than the others reviewed due to the similar high definition IPS screen. I'd be interested in how well these perform for color gamut reproduction.

8 upvotes
M Lammerse

A family member of me has a TF700 and it's a wonderful device. I can make a good comparison between them. For work I use the IPAd3. I can say the screen of the ipad3 is unbeatable when it comes to displaying your images at it's best. it's the ppi which makes the difference. And that difference is easy to see in images and also in text. There is an other important aspect, that is the battery, the ipad battery is exceptional. When my son is on his TF700 it runs at maximum 6 hours. I can do a couple of day with the Ipad 3. Although I do not use it for games, I do use it heavily for displaying images and movie clips.

Point is favor of the 700. The TF700 form factor is much better. The connection options are much better, It has standard GPS (really ridiculous that it is optional on a more expensive model op the ipad3) it has the open Android environment.

Although the screen of the ipad3 is better, the one in the TF700 is absolutely very good too.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
NikonGuy1234

I bought a TF700 last week. Its now running JB.

The screen is fantastic. Its the only tablet that has a daylight viewable screen and looks good in bright environments. 600 nits, claimed, IPS, with a special IPS daylight mode. And it goes dark enough to be usable at night. I've waited for a device with a screen like that for a long time.

Its a fast tablet.

Android JB sucks. Lots of bugs, but then it was just released last week. I'm hoping for an upgrade soon. I think I liked ICS better.

The camera on it is mediocre at best. My wife's iPhone 4 takes better pictures and video.

I'll stop there.

0 upvotes
Dan Tong

The Specs fail to include connectivity (hdmi, usb, plugin storage upgrade type and max capacity). These things need to be spelled out clearly including for example if hdmi port is standard or micro etc.

It is not difficult to collect this information -although in rare cases, sometimes manufacturers web sites, may to some extent hide this information. However, any reviewer who actually has hands on access simply needs to look at the product. Is the reader supposed to run around and waste time to collect this information?

I'm afraid this is the kind of inexcusable oversight that you see in the typical advertisements or specs on "know very little" print and web ads and catalogue pages.

Anyone who would like to upgrade storage, or would like to connect an dSLR or some other camera needs to know this information.

I would therefore downgrade these reviews, regardless of the rest of the review quality and thoroughness.

Dan

7 upvotes
John W  Hall

..."if hdmi port is standard or micro etc."

& if it does have an HDMI port - is that output, input or both. I just spent an hour trying to view my camcorder videos on a TF101 (for a more detailed review in the field). The reviews say that it has a HDMI port, so does the ASUS site, but none say it's Out only, which appears to be the case.

Of course nobody would expect a Tablet to act as a monitor (except me). Perhaps I can do that via USB.

0 upvotes
increments

I know this is a first effort so can't expect everything to be perfect, but there's a couple of points that are important here.

1) The review discusses transferring files from a camera to tablet in a few cases, but not all.

So far as these work from a photographer's point of view, the one thing that should be the main selling point is as a device for image review and back-up. (Much more so than actually using the tablet to take photos.)

2) Can we please have prices for other regions than the US added? (The internet is a global beast.)

1 upvote
Reg Natarajan

Typo in the Nexus 7 specs: Android 7.1 (Jelly Bean) should be 4.1.

3 upvotes
jquagga

I'd be interested in hearing / seeing how good the screens are in terms of color reproduction and if the OS can profile the screen. My iPad 2 and iPhone4's screen are pretty bad. The 5 has a much prettier screen but I still don't think there's color profiling available.

I don't take photos on my tablet, but I do manipulate them in the field and post them to various places.

1 upvote
NikonGuy1234

I don't think these tablets are up to processing images. First of all, they aren't powerful enough to run much. And they don't have enough memory and storage. They are web surfing devices and photo viewers.

Case in point, I have a Dell Duo running Fedora 17 and a Asus Infintity TF700. The Dell is slow compared to a laptop, especially my XPS17 with an i7 and 16GB RAM. However, the Duo absolutely kills the Infinity in terms of actually doing work. As soon as I need to actually work, I want the Duo and if its serious work, I want my XPS 17.

The XPS 17 deserves a mention because brightness aside, it has a fantastic screen. I drive a Dell U3011 with my XPS. Its an IPS display and it looks great too, though its matte, not glossy.

If you are looking for a device to do photo work on, you can't go wrong with the XPS 17. As far as using a table for that stuff, forget it, as far as I am concerned.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
TCJohnston

Review is good as far as it goes. What about apps. Want to know about using the tablet to view, edit, display photos from my main camera. Find the iPad photo kit a pain. Limited memory in the iPad along with the requirement to move a pic from the card to the pad in order to see it full screen is frustrating.
Waiting on a direct to DSLR connection kit so I can control the camera from the tablet. Review photos quickly, etc.

What about model release apps, sunrise/sunset tracking apps, etc. Other stuff that a photographer will need.

As far as not having 3/4G internally, I just setup my phone as a hotspot when I want to access the internet from my tablet.

2 upvotes
cesaregal

I agree.
"Waiting on a direct to DSLR connection kit so I can control the camera from the tablet. Review photos quickly, etc.".
Then tablet will be very useful for photographers.

0 upvotes
Gerdy

I note the Blackberry 64Gb model is quoted as $299.
In the UK we can now pick these up for £129 ...and i did .. last week. Kinda puts a whole different perspective on things.
Very pleased with the unit and that 64Gb of storage should holds quite a few pics. Fantasic OS. Apps are very poor so in some respects I've got quite an expensive photo frame :)

2 upvotes
increments

How's the process for getting files from your SD card to the BB, and then to your computer?

0 upvotes
SINGINGD

I would agree. I purchased the 64gb model. The price point being the key factor. Re: Apps in 100% agreement, they're all but none existent, cest la vie. The device has potential but it's just complicated when it comes to photographic usage. Not impossible but you would need a BB Phone to take advantage of ... Me thinks

0 upvotes
M Lammerse

I do like the last Asus...700 it' called here. And I do like it by means of options, features and freedom of usage (Androids open environment)

As an ipad 3 user (we have to) and as a non Appleholic myself I have to say by means of screen and battery life nothings beats the ipad 3, for all others (including connectivity options, apps, functionality) look further

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Guy Swarbrick

The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity is rather good as a photographer's tablet - let down mostly by Adobe's bizarre resolution restrictions for Photoshop Touch. Although, you can at least run it - unlike on 7" tablets...

"Core to the iPad's photographic potential is the Apple Camera Connection Kit" Mmm. Better to have an SD card reader built in, I'd say - with a full USB port to allow a CF card reader to be attached.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
Total comments: 145
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