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Wednesday, 04 April 2012


How long did I look at Figure 4 wondering, "What part of the parrot is that?"?

I'm going to bed...

Dear Ed,

Bird fanciers refer to it as the "plushie."

helpfully yours,


Something like

meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, minimum-scale=1.0, maximum-scale=1.0, user-scalable=no"

ought to prevent the up sampling

( there ought to be gt and lt symbols, but Wordpress won't let me use them)
My problem , which that should fix, is that even 2000x2000 images look like mush when blown up to 8000x8000

"I'll be taking the brute force approach; e.g., leave the image tag heighth and width attributes alone (e.g., 170x135 px) but upload double-resolution (340x270 px) JPEGs and just let the receiving device cope."

Ctein, what do you think the average file size increase is going to be for your thumbs and for your "full-size" images?

I'm sure Ctein knows this, but since he didn't say it explicitly: it's misleading to think of the camera in the iPad (or any tablet) as a "camera" in the traditional sense.

The form factor of a camera works against the traditional uses of a camera, and so it's likely to always be less good than the cameras in phones from the same generation for the things we used 35mm cameras for.

What I see people use it for is video conferencing and for casual document capture, for which the ergonomics matter far less. That said, I'm surprised by how good Ctein's iPad 3 photos look, compared to photos I took only 3 years ago with a then top-of-the-line smartphone.

The camera in the iPad 2 is perfectly usable as a recording device, to snap a copy of a namecard or a page that you want to read later. For this type of use, which is perfectly honorable use of a camera, I would not want 10 megapixels. Just takes up memory for no benefit. So if the camera has 5Mp, I would like an easy way to adjust it well down to take this record shots. And video quality is of course much better than that. So on a scale of 1-10 the iPad 2 was maybe 2. Simple and easy to use but not really capable at all. In video I would give it a 4. So how does the iPad3 compare? Still -273?

Dear Hugh,

That should work so long as you really want to preserve the image size dimensions in pixels. Problem is that while that looks great on a small screen, like an iPod touch or and iPhone, you end up with these Lilliputian graphics, relative to the layout, on the iPad (and future larger screens). My brute force approach ends up being more or less device independent.

The sophisticated thing to do is to write the scripts to poll what client device is viewing the site and have it call up the sets of content tailored to that device. Yeah, sure, I'm going to do all of that.


Dear Paddy,

I'm not sure. The JPEGs of my test thumbnails didn't get any bigger at all when I doubled the dimensions in pixels. I don't know what to make of that. On the other hand, I've long had this distinct suspicion that Photoshop was producing really bloated JPEG's for the thumbnails; the file sizes that result seem far too big. It may be that 80% of what's in those files is some kind of metadata. I don't know.

Haven't had a chance to try it on the full-screen images yet. I suspect I'll be looking at a 30% increase in file size, but I'm just guessing.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

Dear Rick,

I don't think it's misleading. I told you at the start I was going to write a review about what I care about. I care about a camera for making photographs. I don't care about it for videoconferencing or visual notetaking or some such. So I reviewed it as a camera. And as such, the image quality is okay but the ergonomics suck.


Dear Ilkka,

And none of that has anything to do with ergonomics. So it wouldn't change my rating.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

You can also use the volume up button to take pictures, makes the IPad camera more like a -270 that way.

"So if the camera has 5Mp, I would like an easy way to adjust it well down to take this record shots."

There are third party camera apps that will save smaller file versions, although it would be nice if you could choose the output size using the native camera app.

What I am waiting for is a tablet with the PureView technology.

Apart from that, there is an extremely interesting article on why Nokia is trouncing the competition on screen technology without too fancy a resolution:


Although the links in the article are not propperly working, the explanation of the circular polarizer does make sense.

Well Ctein,

So these new high res retina displays will need you to change the resolution of all your photo's, well let me give you a hand in doing so:

Download Gimp (www.gimp.org).

The download (from the plugin directory) David's Batch Processor plugin. Brilliant idea David whereever you are!

Then drop all your photo's in a nice directory.

Scale them all (factor scaling) using the resize command.

Use Filezilla (or any different FTP program to upload) to the directory where you ISP and you store youre pictures.

And job done! Since you keep the original aspect ratio's of all your shots this should work. At least that would work for me.

Greetings, Ed

Ed Kirkpatrick: "what part of the parrot is that" Hilarious and very relatable,nearly spat my beer out laughing.

What I don't understand, and what I hoped Ctein would explain, is what an iPad is FOR; other than just being a vaguely desirable gadget and fun toy.

"What I don't understand, and what I hoped Ctein would explain, is what an iPad is FOR; other than just being a vaguely desirable gadget and fun toy."

I have the same question. I have one, but I haven't used it much. Don't really know what to use it for. All I've done is connect to the Internet while traveling, but I hardly ever travel.


Dear Sam, the volume adjust switch is right next to the lens. Same gripping problem. Maybe worse.


Dear David,

Try looking at the first two columns I wrote about the iPad, in which that is all explained. That's the wonderful thing about the Internet; I don't have to repeat myself.


Dear Ed,

I have an action that will do that for me in Photoshop, for those files for which I have higher resolution images. The problem is that I custom-created all those on-screen images from the original negatives. In the case of full screen images, I don't have higher resolution versions that I saved for the majority of which were created years and years ago. In the case of thumbnails, I can extract "high" resolution versions from full screen images; It's not a big deal.

Well, that will teach me not to plan decades ahead. [Smile]

pax / Ctein

(Dictated on my iPad)

Dear David,

Here is the URL for the first one:

Why I Needed an iPad (and You Might Not)

pax / Ctein

Slightly Off Topic, but I wanted to mention that TOP looks really good on my iPad 2. It displays beautifully in portrait orientation with the text and photos filling the viewing area without the ads up and down the sides. Clickable links work just like they're supposed to and the same as on my desktop. Love having it available anywhere there's a Wi-Fi connection, and that's almost everywhere these days. I've only had mine a couple of weeks but wish I'd bought one a year ago!

Rod Graham

Dear Ctein

Thanks for the link which I did use to refresh my memory of your earlier essay.

I hear what you are saying, but as someone who relishes travel as time spent entirely away from computers and mobile devices in general, I remain somewhat unconvinced!
David Paterson

This is a bit off topic, but since it came up.

The iPad is for:

1. reading e-books.

2. reading comic books (seriously, retina comics are awesome)

3. Internet surfing in bed or anywhere else you don't want to set up a laptop.

4. Looking at photographs (the screen is better than most laptops and many desktops).

5. Video games.

6. Reading "news" via electronic sources. I like Flipboard.

7. Watching movies on airplanes.

8. Letting the kid watch movies in the car/on airplanes.

9. I've heard people use it to take notes and stuff. I don't do this.

10. I've heard people use it for task management/calendar things. I'm not a big calendar guy.

I like Snapseed for simple photo editing. Have not tried the new iPhoto yet.

People will argue, with merit, that all of these things are also what laptops are for. And this is true to some extent. But there are ways in which the iPad is better. There are also ways in which it's worse. It's a bit case by case. I use my iPad and my Macbook Air about 50/50. But, all tasks involving reading text are much more pleasant on the new iPad, because the text rendering is so much better.

Oh. Facetime is pretty sweet too. Especially on trips.

Among numerous other things, I use my iPad to read TOP while relaxing in the den in my favorite chair, instead of all alone in my basement office.

"What I don't understand, and what I hoped Ctein would explain, is what an iPad is FOR; other than just being a vaguely desirable gadget and fun toy."

Mine spends roughly equal time in my hand as an ebook reader for fiction, on a stand showing reference books while working, and being grabbed for Internet surfing. Well worth the money; it has mostly replaced my personal laptop.


I load PDFs for a meeting on my iPad. Walk into town with just the iPad instead of a laptop or a pile of papers. Email during the meeting. Type notes in lectures at conferences and tuck it under my arm while having coffee with my colleagues. Email those typed notes same day to the guy back home who is covering me. Download restricted view scientific papers to 'Papers' on my iPad in that same meeting. Synced with my other computers I can call up those notes six months later to answer a client's question at my desktop. RFF and TOP work well on the iPad and such browsing much less likely to be vetoed by my wife than if I had my 15" MBP with me on the couch. What is an iPad for? Are you kidding?

Ah, that is a pesky problem. Personally I do not specifically scan for the web. So that would make my task much, much easier. Allas for you that option is no longer viable.

Large hard drives were expensive in the old days and 92 dpi sort of was the limit of everything, so indeed why bother.

BTW Ctein, now I use 1000 pixels as a limit to reduce the "usability" of my files, as a lot of photographers do these days, when the retina wave up's the ante (<- eh, correctly spelled?) to lets say 2000 pixels that means I'm giving away 1/4 as opposed to 1/16 of my original resolution. And I HATE watermarks and that kind of you know what. Any ideas from the crowd?

Greetings, Ed

Dear David,

Then, in all seriousness, I ask why are you bothering to read and comment on this particular column?

I am not trying to convince you or anyone else to buy an iPad. If you aren't interested, you aren't interested. Why does this matter to any reader here besides you?

Seems to me this is looking for an argument where none exists... or is even possible.

pax / Ctein

Dear Ed,

Well, how often do you get ripped off now (Tineye can help you figure that out)? I doubt the rate is going to much increase for the Increase the resolution, from 1/6 to 1/4 scale.

Tim O'Reilly had a great observation about this (which I'll misquote because I am not taking the time to look it up):

"Artists have more to fear from obscurity than from piracy."

While some artists are lucky (?) enough to be so popular as to be exceptional cases to this, it is far more the general rule than the exception.

pax / Ctein

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