How to Improve the iPad's Camera


The iPad can be a fantastic way to snap photographs.  The huge screen makes it much easier to frame the shot, ensuring you get the perfect photo.  But the camera in most iPad models lags behind the camera found in the iPhone or in most digital cameras.  So how do you take advantage of that big screen without sacrificing quality?  There a number of ways you can improve your camera and the photos you take.  

Buy a Third-Party Lens

Photojojo sells a variety of camera lenses that can enhance your iPad's camera.  Many of these work by attaching a circular magnet that fits around your iPad's camera lens, allowing you to attach the third-party lens whenever you need that improved shot.  These lenses allow you to get wide-angle shots, fisheye shots, telephoto shots and simply improved zoom shots.   Photojojo also sells a powerful telephoto lens that can add over ten times the zoom power to your iPad's camera.

If you want to boost your camera without spending quite as much money, CamKix sells a universal lens kit that will work with most smartphones and tablets including the iPad.   The universal kit will give you a fisheye, wide-angle and macro lens for about the same cost as a single lens from Photojojo.  The lens clips on to your iPad, so you only need it attached when you are taking the shot.  

Improve Your Photo Through Settings

You don't have to attach a third-party lens to improve your photo.  There are a number of tricks you can do with the Camera app that will help you take better pictures.  The easiest is to simply turn on HDR photos.  This tells the iPad to snap multiple photos and merge them to create a high dynamic range (HDR) photograph.

You can also tell the iPad's camera where the focus should be by tapping the screen where you want to focus.  By default, the iPad will attempt to recognize faces and put the focus on people in the image.  When you tap on the screen, you will notice a vertical line with a lightbulb next to the focus square.  If you keep your finger on the screen and move it up or down you can change the brightness, which is great for those photos that look too dark on the display.

Also, don't forget that you can zoom in if your target is too far away.  This won't give you the same zoom capability as that telephoto lens, but for 2x or 4x zoom, it's perfect.  Simply use the same pinch-to-zoom gesture you would use to zoom into a photo in the Photos app.

The Magic Wand

The last hint on taking great photos happens after you take the shot.  The iPad has a lot of great features for editing photos, but perhaps the most powerful is the magic wand.   You can use the magic wand by launching the Photos app, navigating to the photo you want to improve, tapping the edit link in the upper-right corner of the display and then tapping the Magic Wand button.  This button will either be on the left side of the screen if holding the iPad in landscape mode or the bottom of the screen if holding the iPad in portrait mode.  The magic wand will analyze the photo and modify it to bring out the color in it.   This process may not exactly be magical, but it works quite well most of the time.