iPad -worth the price or not?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by natureslight, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. Hi All - I've been debating the value of investing in an iPad and wonder what others - hopefully those who use them - will share their experiences. I am, primarily, a nature and travel writer and photographer. I own a good laptop as well as my office desktop. I’ve been told that iPads are not much for writing, but, at least in the case of the soon to be released iPad 3 – they are good for showing clients images and for very minor image editing. Of-course, they may also be used for all the standard aps such as books, music and accessing the Internet. However at $500 (if the 3 sells at the same price point at the 2) I really want to know if you find the iPad worth the price. How do you use it most and does it fulfill your expectations? Anything else you want to add will be gratefully received. Thanks!
  2. Irene - we have a lowly iPad 1, and have heavily used it for the past two years. It is wonderful for the things you mention above. It has a very nice display for photos - better than any laptop I've had. It is great for handling basic tasks like email and web-browsing (as long as the site doesn't use flash). We have all of our music on it, so I've pretty much stopped carrying my iPod as I can plug the iPad into a rental car sound system, and can watch pre-downloaded movies on it on the airplane. And, our grandchildren love playing games on it so my wife has loaded dozens of free games to amuse them. There are a lot of great apps - as an example I have several auto-racing apps that allow me to keep track of scoring and timing at NASCAR and F1 races while I'm at the track, and to listen to race broadcasts over the 3G network.
    However, it has a limited capacity for photography - 64GB is not enough to store a week's shooting (or even a weekend, really); it is slow to download from the camera (you need the custom Apple dongle thingy to do that); it does not handle robust photo editing tasks; and it definitely is no business-use to me because it doesn't allow proper editing of Word, Excel or Powerpoint documents. I can view them, but that's about it.
    It's WAY better than a toy, but not as good as a laptop - I carry a light laptop as well if the trip involves heavy photography requirements, or I need to focus on some robust work tasks. But I can leave that back in the hotel room and use the laptop during the day.
  3. I use my iPad 2 to surf the web while watching TV, access my email accounts, check the weather and schedule programs
    I want to record on my DVR. I'm very pleased with it, and feel it gives me more than my money's worth.

    As to viewing photos, the 132 p.p.i. screen is lovely. The only issue I've had is that I have to tweak the color, as the
    images don't look quite the same color-wise on the iPad 2 screen as on my other screens.
  4. Oh, also, the iPad 2 is a joy to read books on. I download books on a Kindle reader app.

    Then too, I keep a calendar in an iCloud, which is available on my regular computer, iPad 2 and iPhone. The iCloud is
  5. There's no real way to predict what an iPad 3 will be or when it will be released. So, commenting on an iPad 2: Yes, it's worth it. It's a great device for showing pictures on, and there are several ways to do that - by loading images and looking at them as slideshows in photo viewer or by doing page layouts and making PDFs or by using the free iBook authoring software for Mac and making full-blown eBooks with them. The camera adapter is best used with JPEG files, so if you have a camera with 2 card slots set it up so one SD card gets JPG medium size files.
    The 3G access is worthwhile. I have the 1GB for $20 plan and have never overrun it but it's useful to have on the road, and you can write and post blog articles with it. Get the normal size Apple bluetooth keyboard for it. I've written documents with double-digit page numbers in Pages for iPad with the external keyboard.
  6. SInce the iPad 3 will be announced March 7th with higher rez screen and faster processor, I would wait till then and decide.

    Having had an iPad for 2 years, I can say that if you're a serious photographer shooting a lot of RAWs, a MacBook Air
    might suit you better. I just does more, and more effortlessly. More storage, faster, and runs Lightroom - an essential
    piece of photo software.

    I used to carry my iPad in my bag for showing portfolios to people I engage on the street for portraits. I recently switched
    over to a Kindle Fire and being smaller with no sacrifice in display quality, it works much better for my photo-showing

    If you do get an iPad and anticipate writing a lot with it, also get the Apple Bluetooth keyboard (the one without the built-
    in dock). It improves the writing experience dramatically, is a joy to use, and it's small size is great.
  7. stp


    Irene, I DON'T have an iPad, but I've been considering one for about a year. My son works in IT and has an iPad and a laptop, and he's been a good source of information. I do all of my computing on a 17" MacBook Pro (with a separate Apple monitor). After considering what I can do with respect to my photography with an iPad and what I can't do with an iPad, I've concluded that the iPad would be entirely redundant with my laptop, and the laptop is a lot more versatile. I'm going to spend my money elsewhere and not get an iPad. I have a Kindle, but after using it for a number of months I've concluded that I much prefer the real thing. There are lots of personal preferences in this kind of decision.
  8. I am a travel photographer and I do outdoor art shows in the summer. I have just bought the iPad 3G as it suits me under multiple
    -I can put a portfolio selection on it, I can only have so many pics in the booth and there are only so many that I want to print. When I get
    that person in who says do you have lighthouses, I can show them what I have and ship. When someone likes that picture but do you
    have any similiar but with xyz I can show them . Not only that but it's easy to find the pic you are looking for and they look beautiful
    -I can carry my inventory list with me, I can figure out while I am coming home from a show what I need to print
    -I can download books to read while I'm out of town at a show, I can download travel books when I take my overseas trip, I'm having
    serious overweight luggage issues with books to read plus the Frommers/lonely planet book for each country
    -I can get the 3G for 30 days at a time when needed. Then at shows I can pull up my website if needed to show clients, I can email
    thumbnail images of pics they like with all my contact info so that it will remind them to order it
    -with 3G I can get a swipe attachment for credit cards with an app to take payment, this isn't an issue now but with the security issues in
    today's world who knows how long i'll ne able to use the knuckle buster
    -I have a 13"laptop but have you ever tried to balance one while standing up hoping the screen is at the optimal viewing angle so the
    client is seeing it properly and then manipulate from one pic to another
    -Plus.....the other booths aren't using this tool so who is more likely to get the sale

    I love it and I can't wait to start my year because I think this is a game changer. Like any tool I have it for a specific use, I'll still take my
    laptop to download my pictures to on a trip, but I won't take it to shows any more
  9. I have had a 64GB iPad MkI for a while, I also have a 17" MacBook Pro and a Mac Mini server. I travel a fair amount and I really find the iPad very useful.
    I use Lightroom on my computers and have Photosmith on the iPad, I can download all my RAW images to the iPad while in the field via the CCK, I can then do minor editing, key wording, grouping etc all while still away, when I get home I just plug it in and it all syncs with Lightroom, wonderful app. I also have a WiFi card, I can wirelessly send images to the iPad, even when there is no WiFi network as it can set up its own network, another very cool app. I often use it on shoots so others can see what I am doing, models love it as they get instant feedback. Other tools I use, levels, sunrise calculator, it just goes on and on.
    Apart from that, having all my manuals loaded on it has saved my butt a few times, but books, music, movies, email etc on a small form factor just works for me.
    One word of advice, if you get one, even if you don't intend to get a 3G card, get one that can take a phone card. That model has a GPS in it, the non 3G doesn't, this gives you more accurate location info even if you are not card activated.
  10. I've been considering the same thing, and I've come to the conclusion that it's not worth it for me. I have an iPhone, a laptop, and a desktop. I don't travel often, and when I do, I take my laptop. I don't mind the minor amount of extra bulk. When I'm on the go, the phone meets the majority of my needs, or I wait until I get home and can use the laptop.
    Not being a pro makes a difference, I'm sure, but for the handful of times where an iPad would have come in handy for me, I can't justify the expense.
  11. Thanks all of you! I'm still on the fence regarding the iPad (in any version) and now I'm considering the idea of Mac Book. I have a Dell Inspiron 1720 at the moment and it more than meets my needs, but the idea of having something smaller and lighter is appealing. A friend has the iPad 2 and has offered to loan it to me for a week, so I'll have some first hand experience that, hopefully, will help me determine if this is the direction I want to head. Thanks again.
  12. See the recent pair of articles on tablets at the Luminous Landscape.

    There are better tablets for photographic purposes. However, an iPad is by far the best general-purpose tablet.

    (Typed on my iPad while enjoying breakfast. My computers are all downstairs. Table is uncluttered.)
  13. I use the Pages app for writing. It's very nice.

    I don't do any photo processing on the iPad.

    The iPad is not a PC. It's a convenient, lightweight device that enables me to interface with the Internet on the go. The
    iPad doesn't replace my computer any more that my iPhone can replace my camera.

    Is it worth it? Only you can answer that. I have used my iPad every day since the day that I bought it. For me it's indispensable because I spend a lot of time on the go. If I were home more, I would use my computer more and the iPad less.
  14. I've had mine for a few months, and it's great! I keep all my notes for work on it, do minor editing on the road to upload to Facebook and soon Wordpress, read, surf the web, play games and recently I am looking into making a bit of music on it. Well worth the money. I went with the 32GB version, and the only issue will be backing up files on the road from the cameras if it's a heavy shooting time. Haven't filled my cards yet, but next summer I might on a trip, so I'll have to come up with something...
  15. The iPad has a great screen. That said, and what others have posted, it has severe limitations in terms of being able to easily edit or store image files. My wife loves her iPad for email, games, reading, surfing. My personal solution was to buy a Kindle Fire. It surfs, checks email, the same as an iPad and I can download movies/TV shows or stream video. The screen, while smaller than an iPad, is a true 16:9 and looks just as good as an iPad and the Fire feels a lot lighter than an iPad after holding it in your hand for awhile. And, if you buy on Amazon to any degree, as I do, the instant access to Amazon and one touch ordering is extremely convenient.
    To complement the Fire I take a serious laptop that has a 14" screen, some horsepower and almost a TB of storage. I can edit files or video in the field to a far greater extent and much easier than on any tablet. Tablets are generally for consuming, not creating.
  16. What are these severe limitations?
    I can, and do, upload jpeg and RAW files to my iPad from my camera either wired, or wirelessly effortlessly. I can edit them in mobile Photoshop(or any number of editing programs), certainly as much as I would want to on a small screen, I can adjust them and upload to almost any site, I can email them, I can keyword, rate, catagorise and sync with Lightroom, as well as any number of other things with it. Now there are even battery powered WiFi hard drives that enable almost unlimited storage options.
    People who talk about "severely limited" are not trying!
  17. Good points, Scott. As tablet technology advances and apps spread to larger user bases, the differences between
    tablets and PCs will continue to merge. You can do a lot more in an iPad today than you could when I bought mine in
  18. An iPad is less limited than a Kindle Fire. But sure, it's not a laptop, and not supposed to be. If they had to add enough to it to make it as full-featured as a laptop, it would be... a Macbook Air. I don't expect an iPad to be as capable as a computer running Aperture and Photoshop, and I have one of those, but for a lot of tasks I'd want to do on the go an iPad is nearly perfect, and that goes well beyond photography. The PDF app I have, a professional app I use, and the Micosoft OneNote client alone make it work it for me personally.
  19. However at $500 (if the 3 sells at the same price point at the 2) I really want to know if you find the iPad worth the price.​
    I gather the used market price on the 2 will drop substantially once the release is available. Given the described use and the priority shown here about price, its an option to consider that route for the 2 unless the 3 is so magnificent that you gotta have it.
  20. I've had an iPad 2 since Christmas and have hardly put it down. It's great for e-mail on the go, web browsing, etc. as everyone else has described. I have started using it as my portable portfolio to show off my work to clients and potential clients on a much more viewable screen than I used to do with my iPhone. That to me is its single biggest business justification to a photographer. But it is not a substitute for your laptop or a portable storage device and you still need a cell phone. If you need to copy files off memory cards and burn backup discs, you still need an actual laptop to do that, and also to do any serious image editing. Also keep in mind that the $500 model may not do the trick. Regardless of what you're using it for you want to max out on gibabites if only to store more movies to watch on the plane. (My wife recalls when her first PC had a 150MB hard drive and the salesman told her she would never fill it up!) And if you want to use it away from a wi-fi connection you need the 3G version. Mine cost $800 and change.
  21. "I have a Dell Inspiron 1720 at the moment and it more than meets my needs, but the idea of having something smaller and lighter is appealing."
    Irene, since you're not currently captive to Apple products, you might consider tablets running Android (which is just about every non-Apple tablet). The advantage is lower cost of entry (~$200) and 1/2 million apps to choose from.
    As others have mentioned, it all hinges on whether you "need" it, or how badly you want it and how much you're willing to pay for it.
  22. If the iPad had come out earlier I would have traded my wife and kids for one -- knowing what I know now. I'm a bit of an Apple geek. I have every Apple product except the Air -- including an Xserve. The last device I would give up -- pry it out of my cold dead hands -- is my iPad.
  23. Thank you, everyone, for your advice, ideas and feedback. I will definitely check out the resources you suggested. As I said above, a friend has offered to loan me his iPad for a few days so that I can find out first hand if it will be right for me. I dream of switching from a PC to Apple everything, but the cost is currently prohibitive. Just visiting the Apple store is enough to make me droll!
  24. Irene, I have operated several businesses and learned a bit about the cost of Apple equipment. In my previous business we were a Dell dealer to the federal government, but finally converted to Apple for our own use because of the money it saved us. Apple has a longer lifecycle before needed replacement -- that means the purchase cost gets amortized over a longer time and the cost of ownership per year drops. In addition, the cost of maintenance was greatly reduced. We were able to cut our IT staff from 3 to 1 because the Apple devices needed far less care and feeding than the Windows devices did. No real need for patch management and configuration management over the network. I don't know if this helps you, but the original purchase price is only part of the real cost of ownership. We are now a totally Apple shop and our overall IT costs are about 65% of what they were as a Windows shop -- even with our ability to buy Dells at dealer cost.
  25. >>> I will definitely check out the resources you suggested. As I said above, a friend has offered to
    loan me his iPad for a few days so that I can find out first hand if it will be right for me.

    That's an excellent idea!

    If you take relatively few photos that are jpeg and not large in pixel dimensions, you might be fine. If
    however, you shoot a lot of large dimension RAWs, use Lightroom for organizing your photos and
    maintaining non-destructive edits, and depend on a navigable file system, I believe you'll find it to be a
    very frustrating experience. I like my iPad for so many *other* things using one for two years now.

    For portability and processing power, a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro (if you don't mind the extra
    weight) with more processing power, memory, and robust backup options is a far far better choice for photo editing and organization on the road. That's what I use. I also use mine for book and journal design/editing while away from home.
  26. Brad, are you using Photosmith? I shoot 21mp RAW files, it integrates with Lightroom effortlessly, version 2 is due out shortly and promises vastly increased functionality. Very very productive app.
  27. Scott, no. Without being able to edit my RAWs on the road, it's of no use to me. This is where a laptop
    shines, running Lightroom and editing non-destructively. And for so many other uses that support my photography.
  28. I use my iPad (18 months) for portfolios, books (B&N's Nook app), maps (USGS topos as PDF's) and map apps (NG's, etc), documents (upwards of 50 scanned historic and recent publications), spreadsheets, and demonstrating my Website. It's just a great travelling resource depository along with a few other apps but no e-mail and only a little music. I use it more than my iPhone. One consideration if you can afford it, get the 3G with the wifi since the latter isn't always available or only with a signup or subscription. The 3G gives you the independence from wifi.
  29. The new IPAD 3 is supposed to have high resolution screen and if it going to be sell for about the same price as the IPAD 2 I will get one for my wife.
    I use my Panasonic toughbook. I don't need the IPAD. Although I do have the idea of using the ipad for machine operator panel. For less than a grand it's cheap.
  30. One thing I don't think has been discussed, I love the iPad 2's instant startup. My laptop with a Vista 64-bit OS takes the better part of a minute startup- over a minute if I then need to get into email. With the iPad 2, in less than two seconds the desktop is up, and in another two seconds, I'm showing someone my photos, checking one of my email accounts, the weather, etc. The touch-and-finger-flick screen makes it easy to bring up and show photos, and it's just nice when I don't want to power up my laptop.
  31. Hey guys – after using the iPad for just a day, I’m still very undecided. Certainly, there are many neat things about the thing, but would I actually get much practical use from it…the jury has yet to reach a verdict. John – I completely understand your point. I spend inordinate amounts of time dealing with tech issues (I have no IT person –it’s just me) and the thought of not having to deal with all of that is very appealing. I’m far outside the loop on Apple systems and really need to get much more information before even considering making the move. Brad – I shoot 100% RAW so I already know the iPad won’t be of help in that regard. However, I do many presentations and perhaps the iPad would help in that area.
  32. Irene,
    It will take more than a week to scratch the surface of the capabilities and functionality you would get from an iPad, getting comfortable with it if you are not Apple familiar will take time, downloading and getting used to apps that will work for you even longer.
    I shoot RAW only with a 21MP camera, I find the iPad very useful for image storage, key wording, syncing etc. What is this RAW format nervousness everybody seems to have? RAW works on iPads.
  33. >>> What is this RAW format nervousness everybody seems to have?

    Scott, you're not understanding... Photosmith will indeed display RAW files. And offer capability of
    culling, keywording, categorizing, rating, syncing, etc. But it will not allow you to edit/process your RAW
    files, let alone in a non-destructive manner that's compatible with Lightroom.

    For many, that's very important.
  34. No I get it, what I don't get is why people would ever dream of thinking they could do that on a limited interface small screened tablet. Even if (when) you could do it on an iPad I wouldn't want to. If that is a base requirement then the iPad is of no value, but then I wouldn't edit RAW files on my 17" MacBook Pro screen either. You can convert jpegs from RAW files, do whatever you want to them and upload them, if you absolutely need to update edited images to Facebook, twitter et al. All with non distractive edits to your Raw files. Is the iPad a laptop? No, obviously, but if you are interested in exploring the possibilities for your specific needs it turns out to be a very capable tool. It is horses for courses, I don't have a smart phone, the screen is of no interest to me, so I find the iPad functionality invaluable, I thought I wanted a MacBook Air, but was given the iPad for a present from my coworkers, because I had it I gradually explored it and found I no longer thought of the Air, but they are very different.
  35. >>> Even if (when) you could do it on an iPad I wouldn't want to. If that is a base requirement then the iPad is of no
    value, but then I wouldn't edit RAW files on my 17" MacBook Pro screen either.

    That's fine. But you need to understand there are many people who do that routinely, including myself. It works great,
    there's plenty of storage, and provides a very snappy user experience. When/if Lightroom comes to iPad and offers
    syncing to my home desktop computers with non-destructive edits, I'll reconsider.

    >>> what I don't get is why people would ever dream of thinking they could do that on a limited interface small
    screened tablet.

    It's human nature to dream and bring dreams to fruition. Those that do, gain. My wife is a painter and has done
    amazing works, first on her iPod Touch and then using an iPad. There are thousands out there now that are doing the
    same thing. But that's getting off-topic...

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