The iPad Camera Connection Kit started to show up in mailboxes yesterday, and ahead of our review, we have a few preliminary details that should be of interest to photographers interested in using the iPad to share their pictures.
* Resolution: If you’re worried that you’ll be capped to sending out low-quality photos from your iPad, there’s some mostly good news to share. Rather than chopping JPEG pictures down to 800×600 as is done with iPhone photos, the iPad defaults at e-mailing images out at roughly 3-Megapixel resolution: 2048×1536 for typical 4:3 point-and-shoot images, or 2048×1364 for 3:2 DSLR images. EXIF data is stripped for re-sized images. If you select an image manually using the Copy button and Paste it into an e-mail, you can send the full-resolution version out instead, complete with EXIF data.
* Videos: The cap on sharing imported videos through e-mails appears to be 5 Megabytes. Photos on the iPad contains the same realtime video trimming capability as the iPhone 3GS, enabling you to chop and resize a video dynamically for e-mailing—the difference is that it can reformat videos that were created by non-Apple cameras. An exported video wound up as a 54-second 5MB 480×360 H.264 file after starting as a 244MB 640×480 file running for 3 minutes and 3 seconds. The file size, length, and resolution will vary based on a number of factors.
* Speeds: We’ll be publishing formal speed test results soon, but the iPad Camera Connection Kit is a hell of a lot faster than the iPod Camera Connector ever was—a good thing because that accessory became next to useless as cameras continued to grow in Megapixel counts. While importing a big batch of pictures will still take a long while, and possibly crash in the process (this happened with a tethered import from a Canon 5D Mark II on photo number 7 of… hundreds), more typical digital cameras will be relatively easier; still, you’ll likely want to select thumbnails for pictures to import rather than doing huge batches at the same time. The iPad also seems to know which pictures it has already imported when it scans a card for the second time.
* iTunes/iPhoto: iTunes doesn’t appear to have any new dialog boxes for handling the import of photos synchronized to the iPad. This is, instead, handled by your camera photo import/organization software, such as iPhoto. iPhoto brings the images in at full resolution with EXIF data, preserving their file names—even though e-mailing the photos using the default sharing button changes the file name and removes that EXIF data while rescaling the image. This isn’t a huge surprise, but it’s good to know—transferring photos to the iPad doesn’t appear to hurt them before they’re transferred back to your computer.
More to come soon.