Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Using the Nexus 7 as an on-the-go photo editing device

On the Greece Trip, I decided to be radical and leave the laptop at home. Part of it was just that traveling with a child mean you had too much to carry anyway. Part of it was just to see if it could be done. I'm very pleased to say that the Nexus 7 came through with flying colors as far as casual photo-editing and posting is concerned.

To begin with, you need a 32-GB Nexus 7, which would have the required storage to off-load photos (in the form of 20MB raw files) from the Sony RX-100. If you're traveling in Europe where data SIMs are cheap, you might want to consider the HSPA version of the Nexus 7.

In addition, you'll need the following pieces of hardware and software:

I'm assuming of course, that you're using a high end camera like the RX-100 or the S100 and shooting in RAW. If you're not, you can skip the last 2 pieces of software and just use any of the free photo-editing applications out there. Though if you're shooting JPG why not just shoot with your phone and by pass the need for all this?

Overall, I've been very impressed with the results. Imports are relatively fast, even for hundreds of RAW 20MB shots. PhotoMate does a great job with RAW, and has a built in JPG converter that lets you post to your favorite social network (Facebook, etc) using the built-in Gallery App after the JPG conversion. (For whatever reason, PhotoMate's direct sharing feature is broken and doesn't work)

Adjusting the exposure, cropping, tweaking the white balance are all easy and usable on the Nexus 7 with its quad-core processor. My biggest complaint is that displaying the results of your adjustments is slow, but these are on RX-100 raw files. With a lesser camera you shouldn't have any problems. The only major feature that's available in Lightroom but not PhotoMate is ND grad filters. I basically relegated features that needed such work to the desktop with Lightroom for when I got home after the trip.

The availability of these apps and these features have turned the Nexus 7 from an unnecessary luxury on trips to an absolute necessity. Not only is the Nexus 7 now a suitable posting tool for my non-wifi enabled cameras, the Nexus 7 is also a reasonable backup for the photos in case the camera got stolen or something bad happens to SD Card! Add in the ability to run a data SIM and the Nexus 7 would be even more useful.

I never thought I'd say this, but for my next Europe trip I can see myself ditching the Kindle and just bringing a HSPA+ enabled Nexus 7 along with the above kit. Needless to say, that means I'll look forward to the next iteration of the Nexus 7.

Highly recommended.
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