I recently bought a tablet for working on photos while traveling when it just isn’t practical to take a bulky laptop along. I went with the recently released Asus Transformer Prime, and it does everything I wanted it to do and so much more. When I was researching which tablet to buy, I had a bit of trouble finding reviews relevant to photographers, so hopefully this post can help some others out.
Why does a photographer need a tablet? A tablet gives you all the tools you need to backup, review, and rate photos, and even do some preliminary editing while away from your primary computer. It’s much better than your cameras LCD for judging photo quality. Best of all, it fits much more nicely into an overstuffed camera bag than a laptop does. In addition to that, it can store your reading material, notes, field guides, and whatever other digital content you may need. Finally, it’s a great way to show off some of your photos to people you meet along the way.
Photographers need a tablet with good storage capacity, connection options, e.g. USB and card readers, apps, and great screen quality. As I said, I opted for the Asus Transformer Prime, which has some very photographer friendly specs and checks all the necessary boxes. First off, its 64 gb hard drive is much more generous than most other tablets (there’s also a slightly cheaper, 32 gb version). But, for long, serious photography trips, you’re likely to need even more space, which is where the detachable keyboard dock shines. It allows you to plug in an external hard drive via USB. It also has an SD card reader…pretty convenient. For CF cards, you’ll either have to use a card reader or your camera’s USB cord. The battery life, especially if you use the keyboard dock, is phenomenal.
The Transformer Prime uses the Android operating system, and there are lots of photographer friendly apps that come in very handy. There are free apps available for download to let you view RAW files, and some (e.g. Android Photo Review Lite) even let you rate images to later import into Adobe Lightroom (my RAW editing program of choice). That saves some time later during editing.
The tablet does many other tricks that come in handy in day to day life. So far, my favorite by far is the free Kindle App which allows access to tons of free books and the latest new releases from Amazon much more cheaply, and more travel friendly, than hard copy. I also use the Zinio app to get access to my favorite magazines.
The only problem I’ve had so far is finding an app that can view full-size RAW files from Leica ….but perhaps it’s out there or on the way.