iPad Camera Connection Kit

Not very useful.

I just received the iPad Camera Connection Kit from Apple:

It includes two adapters which plug into the base socket on the iPad – one for direct connection of a camera, the other to allow download to the iPad of images stored on an SDHC card.

I tried it with a direct connection to the Panasonic G1, noting the following:

  • 20 RAW images took some 10 seconds to download to the Photos app on the iPad – not bad
  • The JPG previews are 1336 x 2000 pixels (2.7mB), which is what you will see when you email yourself the photo, in addition to the underlying 10-12mB RAW file
  • You cannot sync photos downloaded to the iPad to your desktop. Right now iTunes only allows sync from desktop to iPad, not the other way around
  • The only way to get a photo to your desktop is to email it to yourself
  • Try to email more than one RAW image at a time (approx.11mB per image) and the iPad chokes
  • Sending a single image take 4 minutes which is as good as useless
  • Preview on the iPad is fine but that’s as far as it goes as Photos has no processing capability yet
  • Most disappointingly, you cannot use the iPad as a giant Live View preview screen for composing studio pictures, as the G1′s EVF is diabled the moment a camera cable is plugged in. Other Live View cameras may differ.

SDHC connector and camera connector – you supply the cable

Connecting the SDHC card reader and inserting an 8gB SDHC Transcend card saw the same 20 pictures loaded to the iPad in 7 seconds. Not bad at all.

  • All the other limitations, above, apply – not good
  • If you are using a camera which uses CF cards, use a CF->SDHC card adapter in the camera as the Camera Connection Kit does not accept CF cards

    So what’s needed here to make the iPad more than a cursory review device is the following:

    • Software for the iPad with processing controls
    • Two way cable sync between the iPad and a connected computer to allow speedy moving of files from the iPad to the desktop.
    • Panny needs to update its software to allow piping of Live View images to an external device

    However, long time readers of this column will know that Dr. P. is anything but a quitter. Check my earlier piece on iPhone Explorer, written when the only people with iPads were Steve Jobs’s kids and a few guys in Cupertino, CA sworn to secrecy on penalty of death, and you will see that you can look at your iPhone files by simply firing up iPhone Explorer on a Mac to which your iPhone is connected. Well, guess what? It works just fine with the iPad!

    iPad files viewed on a desktop Mac using iPhone Explorer

    In case you are wondering about the two XMP sidecar files shown above, those were generated by the iPad when I emailed the related RAW files to myself. I did not email the third, hence only two XMP files.

    Now you can drag and drop the files onto your connected Mac and transfer is lightning fast. The three RW2 RAW files from the G1 came over in 3 seconds with the iPad connected using the standard USB cable. They open fine in Lightroom which sees them as RAW files:

    RAW files from iPad downloaded to LR using iPhone Explorer

    I had hoped that maybe you could just use LR’s “File->Import Photos from Device” menu option but unfortunately LR 2.6 does not see the iPad as a device. Given the awfully bad blood between Adobe and Apple at this time, I wouldn’t be holding my breath for LR to recognize the iPad any time soon. No matter, someone else will figure it out. Obviously, if iPhone Explorer can see the files, it’s not exactly nuclear physics to make a photo processing Mac application see them.

    Well, it’s a start. At least you can move files quickly to the iPad by sidestepping email but there’s work to be done in Apple HQ.

    Disclosure: No AAPL position.

    Follow-up:

    I have received several comments from readers who assure me I am doing something wrong and that I merely need to load iPhoto on my Mac to transfer photos from the iPad. Clearly, none of these readers have tried that. Talk is cheap. Expertise rare. It will be a cold day in hell before I publish drivel like “You are doing something wrong” with no suggestions as to what ‘right’ is. What possible value are you adding by wasting your time typing that?

    However, I have found out what I was doing wrong, no thanks to these useless Comments. Where do you people come from?

    Here’s the fix.

    I was connecting the iPad to one of the USB outlets on my Dell monitor. These are low power outlets (0.25 watt if memory serves) and clearly do not generate sufficient power to force recognition of the iPad in iPhoto. I twigged this when it occurred to me that you can use these low power outlets for recharging the iPad , if slowly, only when the iPad is asleep. Otherwise, the iPad displays a ‘Not charging’ message. Aaah! More power is needed.

    So I connected the iPad to a motherboard outlet on my Mac and, voila*, the iPad and its picture album popped up in iPhoto and download was speedy and easy.

    Let me repeat. Comments which add value will be published. All others, like this jerk’s, go to spam status.

    * Or ‘viola’ as those asinine commentators would put it.