I’m loving my iPad Air in many ways, but when it comes to RAW editing and file handling, it’s an unexplainably immature device
A little while ago I wrote my first impressions on the iPad Air. This is what I wrote about photo editing:
I’m using this adapter to load photos and videos from my Canon 600D and edit them on my iPad. The best app to edit RAW photos is PhotoGene. The fact that I’m able to load and watch videos shot with my DSLR really surprised me, since I read that there wasn’t any compatibility. Maybe it’s because I installed MagicLantern on the camera, I don’t really know but it’s great.
Well, I’m not sure about that great anymore. The thing is, RAW compatibility on iOS is weird and inconsistent. Watch the picture below to get an idea:
Why are the results so different? I don’t know. Another problem is with the files handling. If you import RAW+JPGs, apps usually see them as single files, but is some let you work on the RAW version, others load the JPG version by default. When you want to transfer the files, in some cases you might end up losing the RAW in the process (for instance, I tryed to transfer some RAW+JPGs on my Mac via Documents by Readdle, but the app didn’t see the RAWs, unless I took the photos in RAW only).
I successfully edited some RAW photos (see the shot above), but sometimes there was an unexplainable quality loss in the output, and some other times the colors were oversaturated and I had to edit the JPEG instead.
Another little issue: what if I want to just resize/convert images I got in my Camera Roll? I’m sure there’s an app for that, yeah, but it’s kind of lame that by default the iPad doesn’t even tell me the format or resolution of the images, right? Is this thing supposed to be “pro” in some way?
To conclude, the more I use iOS, the more I think that on the file/photos side it’s a complete mess. You need to copy things over and over because every app needs its own copy to make edits, and then you need workarounds for basic tasks, and other stuff like RAW compatibility is inconsistent. One of the few things I wished iOS 7 would address was the file handling, but Apple seemed to be busy fixing other things (while messing up with others). I guess I’ll keep dreaming.
A post scriptum: User Experience designers will want to kill me, but I’m going to say it: I still think a Finder app would be a huge improvement. It would allow us to move files from app to app, iCloud, local storage, connected USB drives and also OS X Shared Folders over Wifi (can you imaging a Mac without these capabilities?). A tech-unsavvy user wouldn’t care about that app, and probably wouldn’t mess with the files. Think about it, what could go wrong? Example: an app doesn’t support a filetype? You can’t drag files of that kind in the app storage. An app is using a file? You can’t drag that file off of it. Call me a cynic, but I’m pretty sure that User Experience isn’t the main reason a Finder app doesn’t exist; maybe the reason is that Apple would sell less 32 and 64 GB overpriced iPads. But that’s just me being a jerk, I’m sure I’m wrong and Apple has the best reasons to limit its users with this nonsense. Or hasn’t it?