Who’s using the iPad 2 Camera?

Do you use the camera in your iPad 2? No? Well, guess what? It turns out that no one else does either. Toted as one of the great new features of the iPad 2, the camera has turned out to be lackluster and hard to use. The photo above reveals Flickr’s uploading statistics from Apple devices.

When I first got my iPad 2, I certainly tried using it to take pictures. But it was bulky, hard to maneuver, and the picture quality was terrible, which is unsurprising with only a .7 megapixel camera back there. The camera is in fact so rudimentary that Apple may have been better off sticking a roll of film back there. I gave up entirely on the iPad 2 camera, and stuck my iPad in a case that covers up the camera hole. Now I stick to my encumbering DSLR or my iPhone, which, unlike the iPad 2, manages to take some spectacular shots.

Flickr, one of the most popular uploading sites, has a section where you can see what cameras were used to upload photos, using photo metadata. According to these stats, a mere 22 people use an iPad 2 on a daily basis, compared to the approximately 9,600 who use various iPhones to upload pictures. That’s right. Just 22 people out of the 40 million Flickr users have uploaded photos from their iPad 2s this month. The iPhone 4, though, is one of the most popular cameras in use on Flickr.

There are, of course, more iPhones out there than iPad 2s, but Apple has still sold millions of the iPad 2. 22 iPad 2 photographers on one of the most popular photo sites is certainly very low for the millions of people who own an iPad 2. One more staggering number comparison: Overall iPad 2 pictures taken on Flickr – 12,570. Overall iPhone 4 pictures taken – 7,026,293.

One can only hope that they’ll give up the camera for a more useful feature in the iPad 3, or improve it so it’s on par with the iPhone. It’ll still be bulky and and irritating to use, but at least the pictures will turn out better. In the meantime, you may want to stick to carrying around that camera or picture phone if you want decent snapshots.

Do you use your iPad 2 camera? Have you found it to be useful? We’d love to hear about it.

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  • http://twitter.com/interealtime Chris/interealtime

    Interesting! I wrote ‘Camera Boost’ for iPad2, to try and make the camera a bit more useful (you can see padgadget’s review in the related posts). Quite possibly my app is distorting the figures here! I neglected to include the camera metadata with the image, so any photos taken with Camera Boost will not be included in these figures.

    Unfortunately I can’t see how many people are using it on flickr, but facebook tells me there were 42 active users in the last month, nearly as many as the flickr users using the built-in camera. Only a very small percentage of people who bought it are posting to facebook, and I can’t tell how many use facebook compared to flickr. I guess more people will have a facebook account, but people who are into photography will use flickr for photos rather than facebook, so who knows? 

  • http://twitter.com/interealtime Chris/interealtime

    Interesting! I wrote ‘Camera Boost’ for iPad2, to try and make the camera a bit more useful (you can see padgadget’s review in the related posts). Quite possibly my app is distorting the figures here! I neglected to include the camera metadata with the image, so any photos taken with Camera Boost will not be included in these figures.

    Unfortunately I can’t see how many people are using it on flickr, but facebook tells me there were 42 active users in the last month, nearly as many as the flickr users using the built-in camera. Only a very small percentage of people who bought it are posting to facebook, and I can’t tell how many use facebook compared to flickr. I guess more people will have a facebook account, but people who are into photography will use flickr for photos rather than facebook, so who knows? 

  • Tringha

    True, the iPad 2 camera is quite low quakity, but don’t forget that the tablet form factor makes it a poor camera. Who wants to hold a big ass slab of glass to take a picture. Besides, it’s easy to drop the tablet/iPad this way. Bad idea, anyhow.

  • Tringha

    True, the iPad 2 camera is quite low quakity, but don’t forget that the tablet form factor makes it a poor camera. Who wants to hold a big ass slab of glass to take a picture. Besides, it’s easy to drop the tablet/iPad this way. Bad idea, anyhow.

  • Patrick Poepping

    The only disappointing thing on the iPad 2 is the camera, what a shame! We are architects/engineers and could use it on our projects if it only took decent pictures/flash. A lot of the apps use a photo as the base for drawings the iPad’s are terrible.

  • Patrick Poepping

    The only disappointing thing on the iPad 2 is the camera, what a shame! We are architects/engineers and could use it on our projects if it only took decent pictures/flash. A lot of the apps use a photo as the base for drawings the iPad’s are terrible.

  • deafies

     Did you look at the Deaf Community? They are using them alot! You are just another typical hearing people with dismissive attitude.. 

  • deafies

     Did you look at the Deaf Community? They are using them alot! You are just another typical hearing people with dismissive attitude.. 

  • Rod11

    I use my camera almost everyday but mainly on skype keeping in contact with my parents in another state. We have a 6 mos old so it helps to let them watch her grow also. The neatest aspect is my mom loves to sing her grand children to sleep and this is easier to hold next to the crib instead of lugging the computer over.

  • Rod11

    I use my camera almost everyday but mainly on skype keeping in contact with my parents in another state. We have a 6 mos old so it helps to let them watch her grow also. The neatest aspect is my mom loves to sing her grand children to sleep and this is easier to hold next to the crib instead of lugging the computer over.

  • Rod11

    I use my camera almost everyday but mainly on skype keeping in contact with my parents in another state. We have a 6 mos old so it helps to let them watch her grow also. The neatest aspect is my mom loves to sing her grand children to sleep and this is easier to hold next to the crib instead of lugging the computer over.

  • Pdiddy

    Hey dumbasses, the camera is for video chat. If you you FaceTime its so you can turn the camera to what’s behind the iPad. Tell me how many people use the camera for what it’s for…I bet millions. Write about something useful.

  • Pdiddy

    Hey dumbasses, the camera is for video chat. If you you FaceTime its so you can turn the camera to what’s behind the iPad. Tell me how many people use the camera for what it’s for…I bet millions. Write about something useful.

  • Pdiddy

    Hey dumbasses, the camera is for video chat. If you you FaceTime its so you can turn the camera to what’s behind the iPad. Tell me how many people use the camera for what it’s for…I bet millions. Write about something useful.

  • CS3000

    Apple were heavily criticised when the iPad was launched due to its lack of cameras…

    Steve Jobs himself said that in reality it would not be a feature that anyone would use… I think his comments about using it for facetime were something along the lines of “the natural position yo use the ipad is on your lap and from there a camera would look straight up your nose”

    They were right. 

    Besides…. you always have your phone with you anyway.

  • CS3000

    Apple were heavily criticised when the iPad was launched due to its lack of cameras…

    Steve Jobs himself said that in reality it would not be a feature that anyone would use… I think his comments about using it for facetime were something along the lines of “the natural position yo use the ipad is on your lap and from there a camera would look straight up your nose”

    They were right. 

    Besides…. you always have your phone with you anyway.

  • CS3000

    Apple were heavily criticised when the iPad was launched due to its lack of cameras…

    Steve Jobs himself said that in reality it would not be a feature that anyone would use… I think his comments about using it for facetime were something along the lines of “the natural position yo use the ipad is on your lap and from there a camera would look straight up your nose”

    They were right. 

    Besides…. you always have your phone with you anyway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thi-Halpern/100000387237355 Thi Halpern

     Excuse me, but the form factor of the iPad 2 and any tablet does not make it a kind of “camera” that you’d want to take with you to go around town/country and go take pictures. The slab of glass and plastic is relatively heavy, compared to a camera, and also cumbersome for the form of a camera. Therefore, it makes no sense to ask who is using the iPad 2 camera when you are not comparing it with other tablets. I suspect that like most other non-iPad 2 tablets, most people are not using their tablets as a camera, at least not frequently. I think not using the iPad 2 as a camera has much less to do with its poor megapixel camera and more to do with the form factor.

    • http://twitter.com/interealtime Chris/interealtime

      I kind of agree with that, but: it has a 10″ screen, and I think a screen this big on a camera is a major advantage (or perhaps, will be). For now though, the size is a definite problem, the quality of the cameras is too. 

      In the future? I think with a better camera, it could get very interesting. A screen so big makes a lot of interesting things possible. It’s like holding a good-sized print of the photo in your hand, that you can interact with while taking the photos. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thi-Halpern/100000387237355 Thi Halpern

         Actually the 10″ screen does not make it a better form factor for a camera. Good pictures are not made by having a big display screen. And, the creation of good pictures is not aided by a bigger screen. There comes a point when bigger is not necessarily better and not necessarily helpful.

        A photograher’s eye first really comes in the perspective s/he trained to have, not from the screen size of the LCD the image is displayed on.

        Jobs was right that using an iPad for a camera (or any tablet form) is silly. However, it is still useful to have camera lens for the iPad because of Facetime and video chatting. Having front and back camera is helpful for video chatting. Ultimately though, the camera of the iPad 2 or any tablet is not going to be used like regular still cameras.

        This however does not mean the iPad shouldn’t have a higher quality camera. It should, for the purposes of video conferencing and also for OCR/scanning image purposes. I have an app here that makes use of the camera to do OCR of Chinese text and then it translates the meaning of that text. This app works much better on the iPhone because the camera has autofocus and also is high resolution. It works less well on the iPad 2 mainly because it doesn’t have autofocus and secondarily because of the lower resolution.

        However, all of these reasons are not reasons why the iPad 2 camera is not being used as much for taking photographs. Those reasons are besides the point for that.

        • http://twitter.com/interealtime Chris/interealtime

          For regular photography, I completely agree (and I take most of my photos on fully-manual mode, without any LCD). 

          Let’s try a “what if” though, with your 27″ imac. What if you’re a studio photographer, using a DSLR, with your imac right next to you, running photoshop. What if you had live view running on the camera – except it’s not on the camera, it’s feeding the live image directly into photoshop, where you can fix it up and add overlays/filters/whatever to the live view, while you’re shooting. Now you don’t just have a big preview, it becomes very useful, because you’re actually using that screenspace. Downside: you’d probably need 2 people to work it!

          Put photoshop on the camera, give it a big screen, and it gets a lot more usable. A 7″ screen is not all that much bigger than a medium format camera too. 10″ I think is OK for studio work, and if you happen to have the ipad with you anyway you might as well use the camera (this is where I see it getting used now, the camera is too poor for any real use). Somebody else gave the example of architects carrying their ipads around on site, and needing to take photos – I bet they’d like to quickly set up lighting and colour effects to get a really great shot and then email it straight out too.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thi-Halpern/100000387237355 Thi Halpern

         Actually the 10″ screen does not make it a better form factor for a camera. Good pictures are not made by having a big display screen. And, the creation of good pictures is not aided by a bigger screen. There comes a point when bigger is not necessarily better and not necessarily helpful.

        A photograher’s eye first really comes in the perspective s/he trained to have, not from the screen size of the LCD the image is displayed on.

        Jobs was right that using an iPad for a camera (or any tablet form) is silly. However, it is still useful to have camera lens for the iPad because of Facetime and video chatting. Having front and back camera is helpful for video chatting. Ultimately though, the camera of the iPad 2 or any tablet is not going to be used like regular still cameras.

        This however does not mean the iPad shouldn’t have a higher quality camera. It should, for the purposes of video conferencing and also for OCR/scanning image purposes. I have an app here that makes use of the camera to do OCR of Chinese text and then it translates the meaning of that text. This app works much better on the iPhone because the camera has autofocus and also is high resolution. It works less well on the iPad 2 mainly because it doesn’t have autofocus and secondarily because of the lower resolution.

        However, all of these reasons are not reasons why the iPad 2 camera is not being used as much for taking photographs. Those reasons are besides the point for that.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thi-Halpern/100000387237355 Thi Halpern

         Actually the 10″ screen does not make it a better form factor for a camera. Good pictures are not made by having a big display screen. And, the creation of good pictures is not aided by a bigger screen. There comes a point when bigger is not necessarily better and not necessarily helpful.

        A photograher’s eye first really comes in the perspective s/he trained to have, not from the screen size of the LCD the image is displayed on.

        Jobs was right that using an iPad for a camera (or any tablet form) is silly. However, it is still useful to have camera lens for the iPad because of Facetime and video chatting. Having front and back camera is helpful for video chatting. Ultimately though, the camera of the iPad 2 or any tablet is not going to be used like regular still cameras.

        This however does not mean the iPad shouldn’t have a higher quality camera. It should, for the purposes of video conferencing and also for OCR/scanning image purposes. I have an app here that makes use of the camera to do OCR of Chinese text and then it translates the meaning of that text. This app works much better on the iPhone because the camera has autofocus and also is high resolution. It works less well on the iPad 2 mainly because it doesn’t have autofocus and secondarily because of the lower resolution.

        However, all of these reasons are not reasons why the iPad 2 camera is not being used as much for taking photographs. Those reasons are besides the point for that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thi-Halpern/100000387237355 Thi Halpern

     I think the iPad 2 camera is useful but it is not suitable for taking still photos and it shouldn’t be designed for that purpose. No one is going to lug around a tablet size camera with a big screen to take everyday shots. It’s cumbersome, easy to drop, and heavy. It’s better to use a dedicated camera or an iPhone or iPod touch camera for that.

    Tablet forms are NOT suitable for still photography much of the time. An exaggerated example would be taking the iMac 27″ computer and lugging it around to use as a camera (imagining that its iSight camera is 10megapixel or higher). That would be stupid. The form does not make it useable for that purpose. It’s akin to insisting on wearing high heels and going hiking on muddy trails. The form DOES NOT render that usage possible!