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May 6th 2014 4:17 pm

Taking photos with a tablet

Back when the original iPad came out, there was a small segment of people who lamented the fact that the device didn't have a rear facing camera. But there was a larger group of people that were annoyed at the suggestion that a tablet should even have a camera -- myself included.

Apple ultimately released the iPad 2 with a camera and since then, nearly every tablet that's been released has included a rear facing camera.

And this is something that's seemingly changed the face of casual photography. Not a day goes by where I don't see someone using the iPad to awkwardly take a photo. I may still cringe, but at this point, it seems like it's become an acceptable social norm.

I do find myself using my iPad to take photos of a white board or using Skype / FaceTime with far away relatives to show them our pets, backyard, etc.

Anyway, have you moved to the dark side and found yourself taking more photos with a tablet?

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10 replies

The irony of the situation is that the person taking a picture/video with their tablet typically has a smartphone in their pocket with a much better camera. It would also be a smaller screen that's a lot less distracting for other people.

Think about it this way: If you went to starbucks and saw someone writing in a notebook with a pen, you wouldn't flinch. If they were writing with a pencil, that would be fine, too. But, if they were writing away with a Crayola crayon, you'd probably question their motives. Same thing here.

That said, I don't care what people take pictures with.
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I definitely think it looks ridiculous. But the look of it is not the worst part. I wouldn't really care if it were just the aesthetic of it.

No, the problem is that it's obnoxious to the people around the iPad photographer. If you're behind that person, instead of a digital camera partially blocking your view, you have a gigantic slab in your way. I can't stand that.

I suppose another part of me is annoyed that iPad photographers are using something as heavy as a camera and less ergonomic than a camera, but not nearly as good as a real camera. For example, before these sort of mobile cameras became popular, I felt like we had come so close to educating people about how bad digital zoom is. But now I see people zooming in on their phone or tablet all the time to take a picture. The photos look terrible!

But in the end, that's the thing. It's not about quality, it's about communication. People want to take a "good enough" photo on the device that's already with them**, and then easily share it out to the world. They also like using an iPad because they're taking the photo at the size that they would probably view it on their own computer. Lots of people have trouble extrapolating the tiny image on their digital viewfinder into the final result of a photo filling the browser window on a Facebook album.

So I'm starting to be OK with it, but I don't want to do it myself, and I still think it looks really silly.

** the thought of lugging a full iPad around on a vacation sounds awful to me.
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I always hear people complain about people "not taking pictures the right way", but never understood who decided that this was somehow bad? Just those hipsters in the valley? ;-)

Seriously, I haven't done it, because it's too big for me, but why are we looking down upon people that do? The iPad has a far more capable camera than my first digital camera (A Kodak thing ).
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Summary of my post: As long as they aren't holding it up and blocking my view, I don't care what they use, but the iPad is not a good tool for the job, and people make it worse by doing stuff like zooming with it. My first digital camera was in 2001 and used freaking floppy discs, but it still had an optical zoom on it.
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I don't care what other people take pictures with, but if you are using your iPad you and I are never going out for a beer together. And keep that big thing out of my way, please. In that regard I don't think it is an acceptable social norm - if I can't see my kid's play because you are holding up your tablet, I'm going to tap you on the back and ask you to be less rude.

As others have said, smartphones have better cameras, and anyway I carry a much more capable real camera anyway when I am deliberately out to shoot. Thumbs down on tablet cameras, but grandma gets a pass.
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I think the only use case that hasn't been mentioned here is the fact that in some cases, the massive screen is essential to the user taking the picture.

I know a fair number of 'aging' people that legitimately would need bifocals to see the screen on their digital camera or phone. As optical viewfinders now tend to be a rarity except in the DSLR segment (which is also arguably bulky if it isn't a device you already have on you)

So then, can the large screen on the tablet make it easier for some people to see what they are taking a picture of? Probably.
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hey the damn thing costs so much and you cant plug in a SD card or HD cable or other method for transferring photos from a camera or smart phone you HAVE to take pictures with it just to get your moneys worth and most folks shouldnt be taking vertical videos or photos for that matter at all but any fool with too much money can buy an iPad now back to my Samsung Galaxy NOTE 10.1 which I dont take photos with or do photo editing
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I refuse to acknowledge the existence of the rear-facing camera on the iPad. I hated that people suggested the iPad should have one when I had the original iPad. Then it was released and I still see it being as retarded as I always thought it would be.

As for the front-facing camera, I was dreaming of one on my original iPad because it just made sense to Skype on an iPad. I'm very happy they ended up adding that. :D
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Well pictures are pictures, does not matter how you take them or with what device.
say you see something interesting and all you have in your hand is a IPAD, which does have a camera. So you've got all you need, a photographer in you, a device that can do click-click, and a moment waiting to be captured.

Don't think you would go running around looking for a SLR just to ensure that the picture is taken from a proper device.

It's just those moments of happiness, sorrow or any other moment that matter, not the device.

P.S. I still would not recommend trying to be a photographer or conduct a photo-shoot with the ipad.
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Not exactly, despite my intentions.. You see, I have a 3D tablet (Inferno), with a "glasses free" 3D screen. I have on occasion used it to take some pictures, but I find it a little big and clunky for that (it weighs in at 4 lbs)...Instead, I tend to use my HTC 0ne (M8) cell phone for that.. However, if that tablet had had an actual 3D camera to go along with the 3D screen, I would have used the camera a lot more. Instead, I used my Sony 3D Bloggie for 3D photography and videography. However, I found its battery life rather limited, the screen kind of small and the features of the camera limited. So...I went bought another phone..The HTC EVO 3D. I have NO intention of using it as a phone. It is my 3D camera/Camcorder. Its much better and more flexible than the 3D Bloggie.
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