If I transfer a photo file from a Canon DSLR to an iPad2, will it lose any data or exif information? I was told the file will not contain as much information as if I would transfer the file to a computer. I want to use the iPad2 as a storage device on a trip.

New information: I'm using a Canon 7D, and have tried using the dongle and downloading my CF card. I checked the file size on the computer first -then after transferring the file from my iPad back to my computer- the file from the iPad was smaller so I am losing file size. I have not tried a Raw file- I will look into "Mattdm" any other apps that may work ?? thanks – Ronald Stein just now edit

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    Do you know how you're going to transfer the files to the iPad?
    – MikeW
    Feb 20 '12 at 9:41
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    @MikeW — third party products like this one. (Haven't used it; just know they exist.)
    – mattdm
    Feb 20 '12 at 14:33
  • @mattdm Yes, but if he's worried about data loss we need to know exactly what he's using. I imagined this question wasn't "what can I use to..." but "if I use X to transfer I've heard I'll lose info"
    – MikeW
    Feb 20 '12 at 18:40

Short answer: It Works Great

I have regularly used an iPad as storage while on holiday, and it's worked fine.
As far as I have been able to tell, it copies the whole RAW file over.
I plug my 5D mkII into the iPad using the USB dongle.

It also makes a great previewing device.

Of course, I make sure I have 2 copies of everything, so I don't delete the CF cards.

  • How slow it is to actually transfer and manipulate giant 5d mkII raw images? Are you using the iPad as a backup essentially? As well as a fun way to view and do some edits while away from the office?
    – dpollitt
    Feb 20 '12 at 14:22
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    Yes - it's primarily a backup. I don't do any editing on the iPad. Transfer is not instant, but it's OK. Don't quote me, but I'm pretty sure it's less than 5 minutes to transfer 100 images, if I remember correctly.
    – AJ Finch
    Feb 20 '12 at 15:35
  • I'm using a Canon 7D, and have tried using the dongle and downloading my CF card. I checked the file size on the computer first -then after transferring the file from my iPad, the file from the i Pad was smaller so I am losing file size. I have not tried a Raw file- I will look into "Mattdm" any other apps that may work ?? thanks Mar 2 '12 at 12:02

You'd need to use the USB dongle contained in Apple's Camera Connection Kit, in conjunction with a USB CF card reader, but the iPad will support RAW files, so I presume this means the photos will remain unchanged after transfer.

  • I use the dongle from Apple and my files are smaller when transferred back to the computer. The iPad is not a good storage device! Mar 2 '12 at 12:17

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.

  • I am using the Apple dongle- that is not the problem- My CF card loads fine into the iPad- the Problem I have found now, is the files are smaller when I transfer the files back to my computer to be worked on and stored. The iPad is "not" a good storage device... Mar 2 '12 at 12:15
  • I have just tested this myself: I take a RAW+ img, put the memory card into the iPad via the adapter, import the imgs, and finally import the imgs from the iPad to the Mac. Turns out that the files (JPG + PEF in my case) are identical in size to the original ones on the card from the camera. If that's not what you experience, please give more details, because so far I can't confirm what you're seeing. Mar 4 '12 at 14:54

i bought a CF reader for my iPad on EBay a while back, and it works grand for this... I use it for importing only some of my images to take a quick look, but given my iPad has limited internal storage (32Gb) and is a gen 1, I cant do as much as i would like.

Other note: Photo Stream works with RAW images... It takes the files, and starts uploading them to iCloud, and they start showing up iPhoto (and i assume Aperture) soon after...

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