iPad Camera Connection Kit

My iPad Camera Connection Kit, like the other peripherals I ordered, arrived before my . Having received my last Friday I’ve been able to spend a few brief moments getting to know it. This evening I decided to try the Camera Connection Kit.

I had wanted this kit as my thought had been that perhaps I’d be able to dispense with carrying around my Epson P-5000 Multimedia Storage Viewer. Although the P-5000 is no longer available new from Epson, later models in the line are. Like many pros, I find the storage viewer essential for making on-location backups of my memory cards – to reduce the risk of image loss through card loss or corruption before I can copy the image files over to my office storage system and make multiple backups there.

The camera I use most often is a Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR. The RAW image resolution is 21.1 megapixels which makes for a nominal 24 MB image file size. I usually record onto 8 GB CF Sandisk cards so usually get around 250 images per card, give or take. I also shoot with a Canon G10, which records 14 megapixel images onto an SD card.

The iPad Camera Connection Kit comes with two adapters that plug into the dock connector port. One adapter is for an SD card, the other has a USB connector into which the manual tells you to connect a USB cord from your camera.

Importing images from the SD card is straight forward. Plug the SD adapter into the dock connector, insert the SD card into the SD adapter and the iPad finds and displays thumbnails of the images on the card. You can select images to upload to the iPad and can choose to erase the card or not once the files have uploaded.

Reading from a CF card is a little more involved. Not wanting to plug my camera directly into the iPad, I hunted around for a CF card reader. I found two older Sandisk card readers in one of my drawers of miscellaneous computer stuff. While the iPad recognized both, when I inserted the CF card the iPad reported that the accessory needed too much power and would not render the images on the screen. Another brief scavenger hunt located an earlier, unpowered, CF card reader. Plugging this into the USB adapter from the iPad Camera Connection Kit was successful and the image thumbnails rendered onto the iPad screen.

So far, so good, but what about importing the images? I touched the import button on the iPad screen and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Uploading the files was very slow. I timed the upload of 10 RAW images at about 5 minutes, or 30 seconds per image. The card I was using had 7.6 GB of image data comprising 312 images. So, running out that calculation, it would take 156 minutes, or two hours and thirty six minutes to copy all the files over. If the ten hour battery life of the iPad holds up, this would use around 25% of the battery charge in the iPad. I canceled the upload.

Taking the file over to my Epson P-5000, I put a stopwatch on that image load. All 312 files loaded in 18 minutes and 36 seconds – about eight times faster than the iPad load, or about 3.6 seconds per image.

Based on this brief test yes, at a pinch I can use the iPad as a Multimedia Storage Viewer but I’m going to continue using my Epson p-5000 owing to the speed advantage. Further, without multitasking, you can’t use the iPad for anything else while it’s uploading images.

I’ll certainly be taking the iPad and Camera Connection Kit along on those journeys where I don’t need a laptop to process images on the road. I can download selected images and include them in blog posts written on the iPad without taking the weight and bulk of the laptop with me. But I’ll also still be taking my Epson P-5000 as my field backup device of choice for the foreseeable future.

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