What Happens To My Camera’s Photos When I Transfer Them To My iPad? [CoM Q&A]

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Cult of Mac reader Christian Kos wrote to ask a couple of questions about shooting photos on a camera and importing them to the iPad using the camera connection kit. Specifically, he wanted to know

  1. If there was any difference between slurping the pictures into the iPad using the SD card adapter in the camera connection kit, or connecting the camera direct via USB cable and
  2. Whether the iPad actually gets the full-res pictures from the camera (in Christian’s case, a Fujifilm X100S (great choice BTW!)

Long answers below. Short answers: No and yes.

  1. Using the camera connection kit with the SD card is the same as using it with a cable and connecting it to the camera. You get the exact same pictures transferred to the iPad. The only difference is that if you connect the camera you have to switch the camera on and use its battery.
  2. The full-res pictures are transferred to the iPad. If you shoot JPG-only then the iPad uses these JPGS for editing and viewing. RAW photos are somewhat different. If you transfer RAW pictures to the iPad, the full-sized, original RAW images are saved, but the iPad will only display (and edit) the JPG preview that the camera makes to show the photos on its own screen. So if you edit a RAW photo on your iPad, you’re actually editing a low-res JPG preview generated by the camera.

If you have to shoot RAW, then you might shoot RAW+JPG so the iPad gets a better-quality JPG. This does of course take up more space.

When you get home and connect the iPad to a computer, all the original, untouched RAW files will be transferred. With the X100S specifically, you should probably be grabbing JPGs whether or not you shoot RAW, becasue the JPGs out of that camera are plain awesome.

When I travel, I shoot JPG only, and I keep all the photos on my SD cards after I transfer them to the iPad. This gives me a backup, and I only need to carry a few 8GB cards as the JPGs are so small. I also try to connect to Wi-Fi often so the images can be backed up to either iCloud Photo Stream or Flickr. You’ll need to check to see just which pictures are uploaded to your service of choice (Flickr ignores your Imported album, for example).

More questions? Ask me in Twitter or via (sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address). Maybe if I get enough we can start a regular CoM Q&A section.

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About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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