Smartphones with decent cameras seem to be one of the better ideas to insure that you always have a camera close at hand. Does the same thing apply to cameras on the iPad 2 and other tablets or are they just dumb?
This space has mentioned that smartphones with good cameras make a world of sense, and bring new meaning to the phrase, “The best camera is the one you have with you.” That is to say, if you’re not carrying your good camera when a good photo op crops up, any camera is better than none. This is especially true when the smartphone camera is a good and feature-rich as the one on the iPhone 4. You would think, then, that the rear-facing camera on the iPad 2 would also be a good idea just by simple extension of the concept. That is probably, though, not the case.
If nothing else, the rear-facing camera on the iPad 2 is distinctly awkward to use. The Apple tablet device seems even bigger than the ancient Speed-Graphics that reporters used to aim with two hands. Some observers have said that “awkward” may not be the best description of the look, and that “stupid” might be more accurate. At best, the iPad 2 could be said to have a really large-image viewfinder. At worst, it is certainly more than awkward. We should note here that the resolution of the iPad 2 rear-facing camera is so low that it does not even fill the screen of the iPad itself at full size.
The front-facing camera is great for FaceTime, if you do that, and certainly the iPad is a great size to use for video conferences. But that low-res rear-facing camera just really doesn’t get it. Maybe if they had built in the same resolution as the iPhone 4 camera, it would be worth looking a little stupid for. But with the existing low-res camera, one may as well give the iPad 2 a miss. It probably is not the camera you always have with you, anyway.