I'm not sure yet, but here's what I've figured out so far.
- First of all, if you cannot rearrange, move, copy or delete photos on the iPad without tethering it to another machine, it won't work for photo management/editing. So -- now that it's a one-click easy procedure to jailbreak, managing your photos is possible. I went to jailbreakme.com and did the deed, then purchased for $7 a program called Photoalbums+ which integrates the ability to move/copy/delete photos in the native iPad photo app. Awesome! I would prefer not to jailbreak my iPad, but Apple's paradigm of making me tether my iPad to iTunes every time I want to blow my nose just doesn't work for me.
- Next, I bought the Apple camera kit. Since I use Compact Flash cards in my D300 I would have to use the USB dongle. I tried it with 3 different USB card readers and it just gets an error - "not enough power for device" on each of them, so that was a "no go".
I then plugged in my camera direct with the USB cable and it immediately woke up and showed me thumbnails for the 96 RAW images on the card. I clicked "import" and it took 3 minutes and 8 seconds to upload all 96 photos -- just a touch over 2 seconds per photo. Not bad at all!
The native photo app can see the RAW images and it can view and email them, but of course has no modification capabilities. The free Adobe Photoshop app has a few nice features, but it cannot read RAW.
So far, I have tried two other editing apps, one called FilterStorm Pro($15) and one called Nik's Snapseed($5). Both of them read RAW.
- Filterstorm Pro has a ton of features; will do almost anything you can do in Lightroom. It has curves, noise filters, white balance (sortof; really just temperature), cropping, sharpening and a ton of other features. The Interface is pretty clunky though and you can't work on a photo until you "import" it into a Filterstorm "collection" first which is a pretty slow process. I'll play with it a bit more, but it is just not real easy to get what you want quickly. Maybe I'm just not giving it enough of a chance; I'll try it again on another night. My biggest complaint with Filterstorm is the interface is not responsive. I felt like I had to tap on some of the controls multiple times to get things to "go".
- Nik's Snapseed is actually a joy to use and really leverages the touch and drag architecture of the iPad. It's biggest downside is it doesn't have enough features yet. It does have crop/brightness/contrast/saturation plus some cool special effect modes. But it doesn't have sharpening and there are no noise reduction features which of course is one of Nik's strongest pieces of software for the OSX/Windows world. I'll bet successive versions are spectacular.
The thing I like the best about Nik's interface is how after you learn one tool, they all work the same way; drag finger up-and-down to select tool, then drag finger from side-to-side to use tool. Pinch gestures work totally intuitively for cropping photos. It saves the result as a JPEG.
Hats off to Nik for a great iPad app! Spectacular deal for $5. I could do 90% of what I want in this tool and then just do the final sharpening in Adobe Photoshop Lite after saving as a jpeg. The app's performance is very snappy and I can select, edit and save a photo in a short amount of time.
There's another editing app which gets good reviews from the photog world called PiRAWhna, so I'll try that one on another evening It better be pretty damn good to be a better value than Nik's Snapseed.
--- Okay, so at this point, I feel pretty optimistic about how useful my iPad 2 will be for manipulating and displaying photos on a dive trip. Last year I took a Dell Mini 10 netbook to Galapagos as my sole viewing/editing device and was actually pretty disappointed. The only thing it did well was to be small. This was obviously before the Macbook Air had been updated, I'm sure it's a much better travel laptop.
But I can safely say with the programs listed above (plus jailbreaking so you can actually manage your photos), the iPad 2 will smoke most netbooks and it's so light and easy to carry it's just a joy to use.
More to come after I test a few more editing apps. Frankly, I am really excited to see how these devices evolve over the next five years.
Edited by johnspierce, 13 July 2011 - 06:43 PM.