First: No, I'm pretty sure you won't lose any meta data if you are using the Apple Camera adapter for CF cards.
If you use the other adapter for USB, and if the camera is in "PC" mode, acting like a mass storage device, it'll be the same result.
What I am not sure about is if the camera is in PTP mode (used for remote control, live img trf etc.) - it could be that the iPad supports that mode as well, and maybe that won't transfer all metadata, although it'd be quite unlikely as camera makers are quite aware of the need to preserve the metadata.
In any case - whatever adapter you use, because it's just a piece of hardware while the importer software is always the same by Apple - as long as the iPad doesn't crash or hand or show other error msgs during import, all your data has been properly and safely transferred and you can delete the data on the card. I've done this several times in the past.
(As a side note, I just found out that the Eye-Fi software DOES delete some of my metadata if it adds Wifi-based geolocation data to my downloaded files.)
So far, nothing new if you've read AJ Finch's reply. I have some extra info on speed, though, through my own testing:
If you shoot JPG only, speed is fair and simple, but if you're using RAW, there's a few parameters to be aware of:
- An iPad2 is significantly faster than an iPad in this case. About 50% faster at least, IIRC.
- If you shoot RAW+ (i.e. RAW plus JPG) instead of plain RAW, import is also much faster, despite more data needing to be transferred, at least with the RAW (DNG, PEF) my Pentax generates. That's because when the iPad imports a RAW, it needs to create a preview images from the RAW file which is very CPU intensive. But if you include a full-sized JPG (from a RAW+ shoot), the iPad importer is smart enough to use that JPG, thereby avoiding the conversion effort.
Still, importing imgs can be pretty time intensive, several times slower than importing to a PC/Mac. I've counted 1 to 3 seconds per image on my APS-C Pentax (16 Mpix) depending on the options I've chosen.
I'd make a test for your right now, but I haven't got the Camera adapter at hand.
Also, the iPad is smart enough to only show you one item even for a RAW+JPG duo. Sadly, iPhoto doesn't, so if you import your imgs from your iPad to your Mac later on, iPhoto will show you twice as many imgs. I've written an AppleScript that'll deal with this by tagging all those pairs of imgs so that you can then use the Find command to sort them out as you like.