iPad not a good fit for vacationing with a dSLR

iPad not a good fit for vacationing with a dSLR

Summary: I was hoping that I'd be able leave my MacBook Air at home for my vacation, but unfortunately the iPad just doesn't cut it, here's why...


iPad not a good fit for vacationing with a dSLR - Jason O'GradyI'm going on vacation next week (David Morgenstern will be holding down the fort here at TAC) and I was hoping to leave my MacBook Air at home. I wanted to bring only my iPad 3 for photo syncing and occasional Web surfing -- but I don't think that the iPad will cut it.

The main problem is my big dSLR. I plan on taking a lot of photos with a Nikon D4 on vacation and although Apple sells an iPad Camera Connection Kit ($29, Apple Store) I'm not sure if the Sony XQD Card Reader (which comes with the Nikon D4) will work with it.

The Sony XQD reader requires an operating current of 900mA and the iPad only puts out (an estimated) 80-200mA via the CCK.

Some people use a CF to SD card adapter in the D4's second card slot, then you could conceivably import the photos from the SD card to iPad 3 via the CCK, but this seems like too much of a kludge to me. I also considered connecting my D4 to the CCK (via a standard USB cable) to download my photos but I couldn't find anyone that had successfully done this.

The other option would be to use the Nikon WT-5 wireless transmitter to upload photos to an FTP server, but it costs $900 and is overkill for my needs. Plus I'd need a solid Wi-Fi connection to do the uploading, which isn't always available on the road.

The other problem is that even a 64GB iPad would be pretty easy to fill with 50MB RAW files from the D4, so I'd have to either pick and choose what photos to sync to the iPad or shoot to several different memory cards and do a mass import to Aperture when I get home.

While there's no doubt that the iPad definitely has a place in a professional photography workflow (it's amazing to remotely control the D4 with an iPad) it's not a good fit as a primary "post PC" if you're vacationing with a dSLR camera.

Topic: iPad

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  • You really haven't researched this topic, have you Jason?

    One suggestion. Use the Seagate GoFlex Satellite external mobile and wireless HD storage solution. It has it's own built-in WiFi transmitter to wireless transmit and synch digital media to an iPad (it has it's own app for that, of course). It's 500 GB of storage should handle any "non-reasonable" vacation storage requirements that you will encounter. (I'm sure you could store quite a few movies, songs and digital photos during your vacation and still use only a fraction of the 500 GB capacity.)

    The iPad camera connection kit also includes the option to transfer photos from a DSLR to the iPad using a USB cable connector (in addition to the other option of using an SD card reader - which may or may not work in your case - however, the USB cable method should work.)

    However, bringing along a MBA along with an iPad does have advantages. You could always use the iPad as a secondary display screen while working on your digital photos on the MBA via AirDisplay. (As you are so very well aware of.)

    BTW, as you might have guessed, I own and use the GoFlex Satellite HD and it is a wonderful, small iPad accessory to have along.
    • Questions

      How do I get the photos from camera to the HDD?
      I understand the wireless HDD > iPad part, but the photos have to get on the HDD in the first place. http://www.seagate.com/external-hard-drives/portable-hard-drives/wireless/goflex-satellite/
      Jason D. O'Grady
      • Answers. Grin!

        BTW, before I begin, I downloaded the Nikon D4 pdf manual. (I envy you. It is a very nice DSLR. I have a trusty Olympus E-510 which I have used in the past to perform the digital transfer operations I'm about to describe.)

        I would not need to transfer the digital photo files from the D4's digital storage cards first to the HDD and then to the iPad. I would reverse that procedure.

        I would first transfer those digital pics first to the iPad from the D4 using the Apple USB Camera Connection dongle and the supplied Nikon D4 USB cable (UC-E15).

        Once the picture files are imported, I could use any number of iOS photo editing apps to process the pics.

        After processing those pics, I could then copy those files wirelessly to the Seagate GoFlex Satellite using either it's iPad app or by a mobile Safari transfer procedure. (I also use the very nice iOS app called Photo Transfer App (naturally, grin!) using the GoFlex WiFi signal.) BTW, that WiFi signal also can connect the iPad to a HDTV via the Apple TV product using AirPlay. I have tried that out and AirPlay does indeed work using that technique)

        Oh .. BTW .. I have also commented in the past on ZDNet about the option of using both a MBA and an iPad on trips together. After reading the recent Mobile Gadgeteer blog by Joel Evans about the MacBook Air Smart Case, that type of hardware synergy could be transported safely in style. Nothing like editing digital photos using the full desktop Photoshop app on a portable dual monitor display system using the GoFlex Satellite's WiFi transmitter and the AirDisplay app.
        • After processing those pics, I could then copy those files wirelessly to th

          Please, share with us and explain how to copy files wirelessly from your Ipad to a Goflex Sattellite using the app, I am presently looking the Goflex media app and dont't see how, and I jus looked from Seageate Web site few minutes ago, and they wrote that it is not possible for the moment
          Thank you
      • Answers (maybe) - part two.

        I think my thick head has finally comprehended what you asked for, Jason. That is, can the original RAW files be imported and stored to the GoFlex Satellite mobile HD.

        Hmm. That is a good question.

        Although the GoFlex HDD has the ability to directly connect to a computer using USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and FireWire 800 cables in order to transfer files from the computer to the HDD unit, I'm not sure that RAW file transfers are supported. (A quick call to Seagate's Product support staff might be in order). I suspect that if the Seagate HDD unit can support direct connection file transfers from a computer, than it would support direct file transfers from a camera using that supplied Nikon USB cable. (But that is pure speculation on my part until confirmed.)

        Also, as I pointed out to Peter Perry below, an iOS app called PhotoRaw for iOS can support D4 RAW files for viewing and editing purposes. Once those RAW files are imported into that app, those files can then be exported in JPEG format directly to Photoshop network servers or to that Seagate HDD unit already mentioned.

        But to export those files in the original RAW format - well - that is an answer that I don't have at the moment. Sorry.
      • More cards?

        I have found during the years that carrying more flash cards beats any other method. The D3/D4 also have dual card slots and the ability tho write the same data to both for backup. I am paranoid about losing my photos, however stupid they may be.. So I envy those models owners for this feature but personally prefer the more compact Dxxx series.

        I also find Photo Stream an possible option. Good article on details

        Anyway, since I have pretty much the same setup and the Go Wireless drive this is an interesting area to experiment with..
    • Goflex

      Just need to know that I can transfer photos from my sd card to iPad using camera connection kit and hen onto goflex WITHOUT USE OF ANY COMPUTER right. This would be the best solution I am looking for before I step out with my Dslr on a journey. Please confirm and I will go and get goflex.

  • Hold on a second

    You have a Nikon D4 and you think an iPad would have been ideal for the trip!

    Go get some type of image tank that supports RAW format and just plug the card into it.


    No need to even bring a computer. :-)
    • It's all about building an ecosystem, Peter.

      I looked up your product suggestion. It's a fine storage solution but it's a bit over-priced. The source you cited wanted a little over 400 dollars for this product that "only" has 250 GB of storage capacity.

      The GoFlex Satellite has 500 GB of storage, is more versatile (with a built-in WiFi transmitter) and is cheaper. Numerous sources (eBay, ex cetera) list it for around 150 dollars.

      I'm sure you (or someone else) could find a similar product to the one you pointed out that has a far better cost-to-performance ratio but Jason has an Apple ecosystem in place. IMO, the Seagate product I cited would complement his ecosystem better than the one you cited.
      • the product i suggested

        Is designed for photography, allows viewing the raw image thumbnails and has a slot for the SD Card, no wireless transmitter or laptop needed on the vacation.

        As for the camera, that is an awful lot of camera for the average Joe. I don't know the ops skills so that is not a shot at him but I have seen many an amateur buy too much body and not enough lens. The body loses value, a good lens does not.
      • I think it's a lot of camera to be taking on a vacation.

        @Peter Perry:

        [i]As for the camera, that is an awful lot of camera for the average Joe. I don't know the ops skills so that is not a shot at him but I have seen many an amateur buy too much body and not enough lens. The body loses value, a good lens does not. [/i]

        I have a dSLR with some expensive lenses and the last thing I want to do is be lugging them around and babysitting them while on vacation. I guess it depends on where he's going and what he's planning to do. Unless this is a vacation to go shoot the pyramids of egypt or something along those lines my recommendation is to buy a smaller camera and use it. If a dSLR is really needed then think about additional memory cards (64 GB cards are much less expensive than an iPad) or just shoot using JPEG (is RAW really required for vacation photos?)
  • Translation

    I don't know if the iPad will work and I'm too lazy to find out, so I'll just go ahead and write a headline that says it won't, then write about how I don't know if it will or not and ramble about a bit, and call it done.
    • Hmm

      Doubt there's even a RAW Converter for this body on iOS yet.
      • There is an iOS app called PhotoRaw that supports D4 RAW files

        Although I have not used this app personally (and I usually make a practice on not commenting on unused products), reading about this ten dollar iPad app seems to imply that it can view and edit D4 RAW files up to 78 MB in size on an iPad. (This app is also, apparently, optimized for the new iPad's Retina display)

        Also, apparently, this app can export to Photoshop servers directly.

        It's funny, however. The literature states that this app only works with RAW files (from various camera sources) yet seems to only export JPEG images from those RAW files. But I could be wrong on that point.
      • Hmm

      • umm


        Raw converters have to be updated for newer bodies. This body is fairly new so I would not be surprised if the apps were not yet updated as even Photoshop lags in this area.
      • RE: Ummm

        @Peter Perry

        I take snaps, not photos, so I don't do RAW.

        It's my understanding that using the camera connection kit allows you to upload the RAW photos, but only the associated JPEG is displayed. Transferring from the iPad to the computer will then transfer the RAW data.

        Does conversion need to happen, or is this just a straight data transfer?
      • yeah


        I read that and it appears it is updated for the D4.

        The thumbnail is a small Tiff and the display image is a good sized JPEG so it is likely converting it. The system can be calibrated using a Spyder 3 but most other tools are very average at best. I would not even use the Photoshop Touch for tablet editing so.

        As for RAW though,, this camera begs for it, it will get a lot right on its own but, you don't spend $6k on a body and settle for JPEGs.
      • @Peter Perry

        While I'm sure the JPEGs that come out of this camera are magnificent, I agree: You don't spend this kind of money on a camera to look at compressed images.

        I thought the camera produced the JPEG; no conversion required on the part of the computer. I know my EOS does that. (rarely use it anymore. I take a point and shoot on vacation now.).
    • EOS550D

      I went on holiday for 2 weeks. I took my laptop with me and had over 50GB of images to sort through by the end of the holiday.

      If I had had an iPad, I'd have needed the 64GB version and you can forget about filling it up with music, video and books for the holiday, you'd need the space for the images...

      It is a bit like saying "I'm moving house and I can't fit all my furniture in my Smart four2"... Tablets are useful for some tasks, but they aren't designed for heavy lifting or intensive work.