Home » Reviews

Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit

Those who bemoaned the lack of a USB port or an SD-card slot on the Apple iPad will take some comfort in the iPad Camera Connection Kit. These two connectors allow you to instantly upload photos and video to your iPad, entirely circumventing the iPhoto middleman. (One lets you directly connect your camera to the iPad, the other accepts your camera’s SD card; both connectors come in each kit.) Without this kit, to get your photos onto an iPad, you would otherwise have to use your PC or Mac as an intermediary destination,then sync with your iPad.) The iPad’s gorgeous screen is a great way to show off photos. Pair that with the device’s ability to share photos via e-mail or various social-networking sites, and this accessory becomes that much more attractive.

What we tested…

The iPad Camera Connection Kit consists of two adapters, one for connecting your camera via USB, and one that accepts an SD card. To use them, you plug the appropriate adapter into the docking port of your iPad, and plug your camera’s USB cable into the other end, or slide in an SD card. You’re automatically whisked to a page in the iPad’s Photos app that will let you either import all the photos on your device, or click on only the ones you want to import. After importing is complete, you will then be offered the option to delete the photos you uploaded from the camera or SD card. The photos are saved under an Events tab in the Photos app, with each upload session representing an event. You can click on an event to see the photos inside, or view a slide show of all the photos in the event. (It’s easy to add slide-show effects, such as rippling every time the photo changes, or music.) Then, when you sync your iPad to your PC, the photos that you uploaded to the iPad will automatically download to your computer.

That’s it. Like almost everything with the iPad, the process is simple and user-friendly, walking you through each step.

What we liked…

As we mentioned previously, the photo-upload process could not be easier. From the second you plug the device into your iPad, specific instructions appear that outline your next step. This kit also helps the iPad bridge the functionality gap between a smartphone and a true laptop.

It’s also handy for taking on vacation, letting you upload photos and immediately share them. Think about it: At night in your hotel room, you can quickly upload photos to your iPad, share them on Facebook or e-mail them to relatives, and be done with it. No more spending hours sorting through photos after a trip. Because the iPad is a near instant-on device, you’re more likely to do this on the go than with a laptop you need to boot up.

What we didn’t…

Those who heard the word “USB” and got excited that you might be able to upload anything other than photos or video are going to be disappointed. You can’t even transfer photos from a USB drive using this kit; it has to be from a camera. We tried plugging a USB drive loaded with photos into the adapter and were met with the message, “The attached USB device is not supported.” You won’t be able to upload music to your iPad via USB with this kit, either. We found that strange, seeing as the iPad is just as much a music player as it is a photo- and video-sharing device.

Also, we think that after paying the premium price for the accessory-light iPad, this item really should have been included in the box. (Then again, we think Apple should have bundled at least a minimal protective case for the iPad, too.)

So, what’s the verdict?

The Camera Connection Kit makes uploading photos or video on the go a breeze. These two connectors are extremely portable (both about half the size of a standard cigarette lighter), allowing you to easily toss them in a bag as you are heading out the door. We grumble about paying an extra $29 on top of what you paid for your iPad for what seems like basic connectivity, but if iPad photo sharing is important to you, you won’t be disappointed in this kit. Just don’t plan on connecting anything other than a camera or SD card.

Where can I get one?

The iPad Camera Connection Kit is available direct from the Apple Store for $29.