My wife and I took our kids to the San Francisco area for about a week leading up to July 4th. We spent some time south of the city in Monterey, north of the city in Bodega Bay, and some time in the city itself. Using our Nikon D50 SLR camera, we took about 1500 pictures while we were there, but only about a third of them were worth keeping. I frequently take very similar shots two or three in a row using different camera settings with the knowledge that just one will be the one worth keeping, and if you have young kids like I do, you know that it often takes a large number of tries before you get a nice one of them both looking at the camera.
In the past, I've just taken a lot of pictures, using several SD cards, and then gone through them all when I went home. But just before this trip, I purchased the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit when I was in an Apple Store. Using this kit, every night I would take my SD card out of my camera and put it in the device, transferring the pictures to my iPad. This allowed me to take a few minutes every night to look at the pictures on my iPad and delete most of the bad pictures, saving me from having to do that for a huge number of pictures when I got home. It also let me and my wife review some of our pictures on a large, bright screen while we were on the trip, which was great fun and made it easy to share pictures with others. And because I removed the pictures from my SD card every night, I never had to use more than one SD card the entire trip. I really liked using this device and will definitely use it again in the future.
When you purchase the kit, you actually get two devices. One of them has an SD card slot, which is the only one that I used. The other one has a USB slot, which can be connected directly to a camera using the USB cord that comes with virtually every camera.
Using the device could not be easier. Just take your SD card from your camera and put it in the device, and then plug the device into your iPad.
The Photos app will launch and will show you previews of all of the pictures on the SD card. Tap the button at the bottom of the screen to import your pictures, and you can watch the progress, with each picture getting a check mark after it has been loaded to the iPad.
Importing pictures occurs very quickly, even if you have a larger number of photos. I mention this because years ago (pre-iPhone), I used to use an Apple camera connection kit with a hard drive based iPod. The process worked, but it was very slow. The iPad is obviously much more powerful and speedy than an old iPod.
When you are done importing pictures, you have the option of deleting the pictures from the SD card. I chose to do so on this trip, but you could also choose to keep all of your pictures on the SD card which gives you a backup of your pictures — one set on the SD card, one set on your iPad.
Once pictures are transferred to the iPad, you can delete them, use an app to edit them, e-mail them, etc. Later, when you plug your iPad into your computer, you will have the option of importing all of those pictures just as if you had plugged the camera itself into your computer.
If you own both an iPhone and an iPad, you can use the camera connection device with the USB port to connect your iPhone to your iPad, just as if the iPhone was a standard camera. This way, you can view pictures taken with your iPhone on the much larger iPad screen, and you can take advantage of the larger screen when you use an app to edit those pictures. By the way, although this device fits into the bottom of an iPhone and it would seem that it should be possible to transfer pictures to an iPhone just like you can to an iPad, the iPhone 4 using iOS 4.3.3 does not recognize the device. Perhaps support will be added in the future.
Keep in mind that pictures can be large. When you sync photos from your computer to your iPad, your iPad gets a reduced-size file that it optimized for the iPad. On the other hand, when you use the Camera Connection Kit, you get the full size picture on your iPad. By the end of my trip, I was using almost 3GB of space on my iPad to store almost 600 pictures. (Had I not deleted bad pictures along the way, I would have probably had three times as many pictures taking three times as much space.) If you own the 16GB version of the iPad, and if you have a lot of pictures to transfer, you might not have enough space. Before my trip, I loaded up my 32GB iPad 2 with movies for the kids just in case they were needed for the plane ride or at night knowing that I could delete them later if needed, and sure enough, about two-thirds into my trip I deleted the movie Wall-E from my iPad to make space for additional pictures, such as this one that I took of the beautiful Monterey Bay and another one I took of the stunning McWay Waterfall near Big Sur:
If you are taking a trip and bringing both your camera and your iPad with you, or even if you are away from your computer and you want to use your iPad to do some quick editing to a picture, the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit is a very useful accessory.
Click here to get the Apple ipad Camera Connection Kit on Amazon for $34.48.