THE Porta Viewer


By Peter iNova

Major grumble about eBooks: You can't take it to the loo. Meaning to the place you wanted to read it. But you can't interact with the images in a printed book, so there were people who recognized that both had their limits.

What the world needed was a full color Kindle that glowed in the dark and could be read in the light. Something that allowed interactivity, hyperlinks, topical navigation, embedded changeable images, animated explanations and instant HD movies without fuss or muss.

Enter the iPad.

The iPad works right out of the box. It's a 9.7-inch flat screen display device that reads videos, ibooks, the Internet, music, movies, podcasts, and many image file formats. If you were to view this site on it, nearly everything here would look just as it does on your desktop or laptop computer.

But the iPad is purposely thin, bright and long lasting, so you can view things on it almost anywhere you go. It's not unusual to get 10 to 12 hours of video playback out of a single charge, and that's from movie files that have to unpack every frame. Book reading on the iPad can run longer.

It's not a laptop replacement. It's not an iPhone substitute. It's a viewing device with a number of extra features. With the right accessories, it can inhale the output of your camera, storing and viewing images on the go. An accessory SD card reader and a USB input plug allow you to download images from your digital camera.

As a storage device, it can inhale data from your camera.

  • If the assignment is a birthday party--no problem.
  • If the assignment is a vacation--minor problems.
  • If the assignment is a traveling journalistic trek across the Himalayas--big problem.

The largest current model has 64 GB of flash memory and costs $700. It has room for a ton of images in JPEG form, but data space will quickly disappear if you shoot primarily in RAW format. That's only 7 downloads of an 8GB card, plus programs and documents along for the ride. You would be cautioned to edit images in the field.

Thankfully, you can do just that. Viewing images on the go with the iPad is generally better than viewing on a laptop computer, so you can easily weed out the dud images and keep the good ones until you get home where deep storage awaits.

A Good Read

At its roll-out, the iPad is most adept at showing book material in the Epub format. Our eBooks exist in .PDF form. The current titles don't display completely on iPad, but that's going to change.

Right now an iPad App, GoodReader ($0.99), will let you load existing eBooks, and all the text, single-layer images and non-interactive graphics will display just fine.

Rollover images and embedded movies, however, are an "issue" with the current version of GoodReader.

They disappear completely.

So, right now, the eBook format of our prior titles is not fully compatible with the iPad, but where there's a vacuum, there is opportunity. Adobe is aware of the iPad. Can a version of Adobe Reader for iPad be far behind?

In the coming months, PDF readers for the iPad are going to appear that give eBook owners access to all the eBook features we put into them in the first place.

In the mean time, we are working on a series of HDSLR-related eBook titles that will use all of the available features of the current technologies.

Portable Resources

When protective iPad cases fit into camera kit bags, you will be able to take them with you to any location. You (and I) can do this right now with minimum preparation as long as we use a camera bag with a back-plane pocket. Cases often have such pockets to hold paperwork like model releases, maps, etc., and my most-often used Lowepro Nova 5 ($70 ish) has the perfect pocket for an iPad, plus room enough to carry the Canon 7D HDSLR, several lenses and even my Steadicam Merlin.

The bag has padding between gear and iPad, but no padding for the back of the iPad. Apple's own iPad Case ($40 US) is perhaps the best thought-out accessory for the gizmo, and its native thinness makes it a good choice for road trips and location shoots.

The only downside: it adds 1.5 lbs (0.8 kg) to the kit.

...more, later...

Latest eBook

HDSLR cameras are the hot topic in DSLRs these days, so we are creating a new form of eBook about them. The coming available "HDSLR" is trying to be was born before Christmas '09. It includes hundreds of items that will help you shoot better, edit more gracefully and end up with on-screen results you can be proud of.

Our two in-house HDSLRs have been pressed into extra innings bringing you a wide range of camera-born examples and computer based tricks, techniques and work-arounds. In the eBook, images spring right off the e-page as you read through it.

Unlike previous titles, this one is not camera-specific, so the focus is on the HDSLR genre, specifically the movie mode, not the cameras themselves, but oh, boy, is it packed.



© 2010 Peter iNova. All rights reserved. Do not reprint. Simply add a link to this page.