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If the iPad 3 has a 5MP iSight camera, and the iPad mini also has a 5MP iSight camera, then why do the two devices render images so differently? Here are side by side photos in a backlit situation.


My friends over at Boinx Software ran a similar test between an iPad mini and an iPad 4.

So, is the hardware different? Or, is it an implementation of the software? We'll try to get to the bottom of this and report back. If you have some information, please post here.

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AirPlay Mirroring with iPad mini

One of the tests I used to gauge the WiFi capability for the iPad mini is how AirPlay performed when streaming video to an Apple TV. I tested the mini with a variety of apps, including the ABC Player, iTunes, NBC and others. In short, video playback was smooth and the audio was crisp.

ipad-mini_airplay.png Enable AirPlay by pressing the Home button twice and sliding the Dock to the right.

What's interesting about using AirPlay with a mini, is that it feels like a fancy remote control that has volume adjustment and programming selection. It's much easier to carry around the living room than the full sized iPad, and definitely easier than a laptop.

On the downside, when I watched ABC Player, NBC, and WatchESPN, the video was not full screen on the HDTV. It's kind of a letterbox look. The good news is that the quality was terrific.

In a sense, the iPad mini feels like a mini DVR. Choose the Apps you want and connect to an Apple TV over WiFi... and enjoy.

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iPad mini Camera is a Valuable Asset

Taking pictures with the iPad mini is more enjoyable and less awkward than with its bigger brother, the full sized iPad. As I suspected when I originally wrote about necessary features for the mini, the built-in camera is important. And thankfully, it works well.

Cactus with iPad mini Uncropped image from iPad mini processed in iPhoto for iOS. Photo by Derrick Story.

Advantages to using the built-in camera include:

  • No accessories required. The pictures go straight to your Camera Roll.
  • Beautiful, large LCD viewfinder for composition. It's like having a digital view camera. Yet, it's not too big like with the full-sized iPad.
  • Choice of camera software. You can use the built-in Camera app that comes with the mini, or choose other popular apps such as Camera Awesome, Camera+, or ProCamera. They all work great.
  • Image editing is easier than on an iPhone. Sharing, however is just as simple.

The sample image I posted has decent specs: 2,592 x 1,936 (5MP), 1.7 MB file size, f/2.4, 1/840th sec, ISO 32, and 3.3mm focal length.

Even though I do carry a Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader for the mini, if I'm after a quick shot that I want to turnaround fast, such as for an Instagram post, then the iPad mini is definitely a fun option.

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3 Best Smartphones for Photographers


Even though there were relatively few camera hardware changes between the Samsung Galaxy S2 and the current S3 model, DP Connect rates the S3 in the top 3 smart phones for photographers (at least in its summation at the end of the review).

The Nokia 808 is on top of the heap (no surprise) and the iPhone 5 is also a strong performer. So among these three devices, you can choose the other features that you want, and still know you have a quality camera with you all the time.

Personally, I'm very much enjoying taking pictures with my iPhone 4S. If you're an Instagram user, take a look at my Instagram page (DerrickStory). It's a great way to share your camera phone work with others.

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The Apple Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader for iPad is available now for $29 and is a necessary accessory for nimble iPad-toting photographers (iPad 4 and mini). And unlike past situations, you can get the reader now so you're ready to go once you receive your new iPad.

But you do have to purchase both the SD card reader or the USB version separately. In the past, the older versions came together for the same price. No more. I went with the SD card reader for now.

In case you're wondering, the reader does not work with the new iPhone 5. You'll get an "incompatible accessory" message.

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For the Sept. 2012 Photo Assignment, TDS shooters worked their backgrounds as much as their subjects. See for yourself in our gallery, Bokeh. And which one will be the SizzlPix Photo Assignment Pick of the Month?

Deborah Eves

"I took this photo to use as an award for excellence in teaching at the university where I work," wrote Deborah Eves. "I wanted the golden apple to shine in the foreground, standing out from the rest. The rest, though not as clearly standing out, shine in their own small way.

I hadn't planned to shoot this photo when I did, but was just playing around with the placement of the objects, all of which were found in the cubicles of my office mates. I used a desk lamp for overhead lighting. When I decided to shoot the 'official' version of the award, using an LED light and planning everything much more carefully, I was disappointed with the results. I ended up using my original shot." See all of the great images from this month's assignment by visiting the Bokeh gallery page.

Participate in This Month's Assignment

The November 2012 assignment is "Flash." Details can be found on the Member Participation page. Deadline is Nov. 30, 2012.

Please follow the instructions carefully for labeling the subject line of the email for your submission. It's easy to lose these in the pile of mail if not labeled correctly. For example, the subject line for this month's assignment should be: "Photo Assignment: Nov 2012." Also, if you can, please don't strip out the metadata. And feel free to add any IPTC data you wish (These fields in particular: Caption, Credit, Copyright, Byline), I use that for the caption info.

Gallery posting is one month behind the deadline. So I'm posting Sept. 2012 at the end of Oct., the Oct. gallery will be posted at the end of Nov., and on and on.

Good luck with your Nov. assignment, and congratulations to all of the fine contributors for Sept.

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Now Available! The Digital Photography Companion. The official guide for The Digital Story Virtual Camera Club.

  • 25 handy and informative tables for quick reference.
  • Metadata listings for every photo in the book
  • Dedicated chapter on making printing easy.
  • Photo management software guide.
  • Many, many inside tips gleaned from years of experience.
  • Comprehensive (214 pages), yet fits easily in camera bag.

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Windows 8 for Photographers


Clearly Windows 8 has much to offer for touchscreen devices and those wanting a refreshed interface. But I've spent some time looking into the benefits for photographers who have laptops and desktop machines.

I'm not finding a lot of information about Windows 8 for photographers. So I thought that collectively we could compile what we know here. And to put even a finer point on it, let's take a specific example. (Although I want this discussion to cover all types of laptops and desktop machines. This example is just one I'm familiar with.)

I have an Acer Aspire One netbook running Windows 7 (64 bit) with 4 GBs of RAM, AMD C series processor, and 1366 x 768 resolution. The trackpad is decent. Windows 7 runs great on this machine, as does Lightroom 4.2 and Corel AfterShot Pro. As a photographer, what advantages, if any, would I get upgrading to Windows 8?

I think an important piece of information is that I won't be taking advantage of Microsoft Cloud services. My primary platform is Mac and iOS, so iCloud is my default.

Why should we even think about this now? Well, Microsoft is offering a pretty sweet upgrade offer that's good for a couple months. So it seems if one were to upgrade, 2012 would be the time.

So... photographers... let's tackle Windows 8 from our perspective. Please comment so we can compile a few data points here.

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Great Night for a Haunted House

Want to hear something go bump in the night? Then you might want to find your nearest Haunted House and get in the Halloween spirit.


In my neighborhood (Santa Rosa, CA, USA), we have the Blind Scream Haunted House where I took this photo.

Halloween is a great opportunity for extreme night photography. Find something scary around you...

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More on iOS 6 Panoramas

When I originally reported on the new panorama feature in iOS 6, I was impressed by how good they looked right out of the camera. Then, as I dug deeper, I discovered the integration with iPhoto, Aperture, and iPhoto for iOS. In my latest Macworld article, Get the big picture with iOS 6 panoramas, I explain how that integration can help you produce some dynamic presentations.

oracle_arena_pano.jpg iPhone panorama at Oracle Arena before a game in Oakland, CA.

My biggest discovery was how the slideshow tools in the Apple apps recognize and present the panoramas. There are different implementations. My favorite is the elegant Ken Burns sweep of your image.

Great stuff. You might want to take a look.

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Halloween is the perfect excuse to experiment with extreme low light technique. In this podcast, I take a look at ISO, glass, file format, and a few tricks (and treats) that you can stash in your goodie bag. I've also come to a decision about the iPad mini, and report on that small, but significant quest. All of this, and more, on this week's TDS podcast.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (24 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Panorama is the Oct. 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Oct. 31, 2012. Note: We're making an exception this month for image size. Submit your panorama at the size you feel appropriate.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography. Special this month, order one SizzlPix and get the second one for 50%. Put "TDS" in the comments field of your order.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.

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