Tablet PC for Photography?

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Mar 12, 2019
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Hi all,

Been doing somewhat mobile photography for a while, and I'm fairly happy with the workflow, but looking to improve it a bit. Right now, I shoot photos, connect the camera directly to my phone, and upload to Lightroom CC for simple edits, and posting online.

I'd like to have a bit more post-processing available than what the mobile version of Lightroom allows.

So what I'm considering is perhaps something like a Tablet PC. An actual Windows PC running the full Adobe apps. I want to keep light. Ideally something I can put in my camera bag.

Has anyone done this -- is it feasible, or are they too low power for photo editing?

Thanks,

Dion
 
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That is an eminently fair question. I guess in terms of size and weight, I'm looking on the smaller and lighter end - 10" 1 pound-ish?

The best thing about MFT (even with the heavy pro lenses) is great quality, smaller, and lighter. I'm thinking something powerful enough to run the denoise filter, maybe stitch some smaller panos. Not intended as a replacement to my Mac, but fast enough to make it worth it :)

That's kind of the same thing about the cost - not a critical factor, but I have a laptop. So definitely interested in "good enough" cost.

Mostly just curious how people do light >smartphone post-processing on the road :)
 
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I use an HP Spectre X360 for all my photos.
It can be used as a tablet and with a stylus.
I would replace mine with an updated when this croaks.
Works extremely well IMO
I only run Photoshop Elements 2021 and Denoise as my main image processing.
Faststone also.
 

John King

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We use a couple of Lenovo Yoga 3 tablets. 10 inch IPS and a huge battery. Add a 128GB micro-SD card, and you are good to go. Snapseed is my editor of choice. Fast and capable.

Don't forget a really cheap OTG cable and card reader if any of your cameras don't have WiFi (my E-PM2 doesn't) .
 
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Awesome everyone, thanks for your input!

I run lightroom 6.14 on my MS Surface Pro 7. It's plenty fast enough for editing vacation photos.
- So the funny thing is, my daughter has one of these, and I don't think she really uses it. I think it's a 7 - might be an earlier one. In any case, do you have the i5 or i7 model?

I use an HP Spectre X360 for all my photos.
It can be used as a tablet and with a stylus.
I would replace mine with an updated when this croaks.
Works extremely well IMO
I only run Photoshop Elements 2021 and Denoise as my main image processing.
Faststone also.
- Pretty much the same question - I see these are mostly i7s with a few i5s. Trying to see if i7s are pretty much required (it seems like it based on what I've seen on the web). Seems like both these and the Surface start at 13" too...

We use a couple of Lenovo Yoga 3 tablets. 10 inch IPS and a huge battery. Add a 128GB micro-SD card, and you are good to go. Snapseed is my editor of choice. Fast and capable.

Don't forget a really cheap OTG cable and card reader if any of your cameras don't have WiFi (my E-PM2 doesn't) .
- And for this one, these are Android tablets, right? They won't run the Denoise filter, but I'm curious how well they work in that role. If I can get some useful functionality by buying a more modern tablet, that might be an OK alternative...

Thanks everyone!

Dion
 
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Awesome everyone, thanks for your input!

- So the funny thing is, my daughter has one of these, and I don't think she really uses it. I think it's a 7 - might be an earlier one. In any case, do you have the i5 or i7 model?

Mine is a Surface Pro 7 (the current model), with the i5 processor and 8GB of RAM. Previously I had a Surface Pro 5, also with the i5 processor. The SP7 is only slightly faster then the SP5, both from benchmarks and in use.

I have the 'type cover' keyboard, which IMO is pretty much essential for anything beyond casual browsing.

Surface Pro detractors are fond of pointing out that that the touch experience is not as good as a dedicated tablet, and the laptop experience is not as good as the best laptops. Both statements are probably true, but the convenience of a single device that does a reasonable job in both modes is worth it for me. And having the same OS environment at home and when traveling is nice as well.

Peter
 
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Mine is a Surface Pro 7 (the current model), with the i5 processor and 8GB of RAM. Previously I had a Surface Pro 5, also with the i5 processor. The SP7 is only slightly faster then the SP5, both from benchmarks and in use.

I have the 'type cover' keyboard, which IMO is pretty much essential for anything beyond casual browsing.

Surface Pro detractors are fond of pointing out that that the touch experience is not as good as a dedicated tablet, and the laptop experience is not as good as the best laptops. Both statements are probably true, but the convenience of a single device that does a reasonable job in both modes is worth it for me. And having the same OS environment at home and when traveling is nice as well.

Peter

Oh awesome, that's good to know that i5 is good enough. I'm actually a former Microsoft employee so I get a substantial discount on Microsoft products. The i5 Surface Pro's are quite reasonable. Think I'll try running Lightroom on my daughter's just to test... I'm definitely looking for good enough for my "keep in my camera bag" system...
 

Hypilein

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I use LR mobile, which apart from some of the more detailed masking modes and Panorama/HDR stacking seems to do most of the stuff the Desktop version can do, while syncing all edits.
If I need to do something that it can't do (cloning stuff mostly) I go to Affinity Photo, which is pretty much a complete Photoshop Replacement. I think between those two apps for most people editing skills will be the limit, not the potential of the software.
 
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Awesome everyone, thanks for your input!


- So the funny thing is, my daughter has one of these, and I don't think she really uses it. I think it's a 7 - might be an earlier one. In any case, do you have the i5 or i7 model?


- Pretty much the same question - I see these are mostly i7s with a few i5s. Trying to see if i7s are pretty much required (it seems like it based on what I've seen on the web). Seems like both these and the Surface start at 13" too...


- And for this one, these are Android tablets, right? They won't run the Denoise filter, but I'm curious how well they work in that role. If I can get some useful functionality by buying a more modern tablet, that might be an OK alternative...

Thanks everyone!

Dion
My X360 is i7, 8gb ram, 512gb SSD, Win 10 Pro.
13",own graphics card, not sure what.
They're not cheap though. Probably marketed as a fashion accessory :)
 
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I use LR mobile, which apart from some of the more detailed masking modes and Panorama/HDR stacking seems to do most of the stuff the Desktop version can do, while syncing all edits.
If I need to do something that it can't do (cloning stuff mostly) I go to Affinity Photo, which is pretty much a complete Photoshop Replacement. I think between those two apps for most people editing skills will be the limit, not the potential of the software.

LR mobile on my phone is my go-to when I'm on the road, and you're right -- it is quite capable. I tend to go pano heavy on travel - even when I can capture a scene decently in a single frame, it's nice to get quite a bit more detail with multiple shots. That and being able to use the Topaz filters is my primary use case.

Is Affinity Photo on Android? I have it on the Mac. Actually have had it for years. I'm mostly in the Adobe ecosystem for Lightroom CC - the web based workflow works exceedingly well for me. I've been meaning to learn more about Affinity, though. I heard it really utilizes the neural part of the M1.

My X360 is i7, 8gb ram, 512gb SSD, Win 10 Pro.
13",own graphics card, not sure what.
They're not cheap though. Probably marketed as a fashion accessory :)

Yeah, it sure is a good looking machine :) Just don't want to have the conversation "you spent THAT much on _another_ laptop when you already have a good MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, new phone, and a tablet?" :) Maybe I can find one used...

Thanks again everyone -- I really appreciate this forum...
 

John M Flores

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I have a nice Dell XPS13 (10th Gen i7, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD) but it weighs ~3lbs. I'm looking for a lighter tablet for mobile photo/video backup/editing while I'm on a bicycle. I was leaning towards the iPads because they seem so powerful, refined, and purpose-built, particularly the rumored iPad Mini. The MS Surface looks interesting too, but once you add a Type Cover you approach the weight of my Dell.

An upgraded Surface Duo with more screen/less bezel might be cool too. The clamshell design protects the screen by default

Thanks for starting this discussion.
 
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I have a nice Dell XPS13 (10th Gen i7, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD) but it weighs ~3lbs. I'm looking for a lighter tablet for mobile photo/video backup/editing while I'm on a bicycle. I was leaning towards the iPads because they seem so powerful, refined, and purpose-built, particularly the rumored iPad Mini. The MS Surface looks interesting too, but once you add a Type Cover you approach the weight of my Dell.

An upgraded Surface Duo with more screen/less bezel might be cool too. The clamshell design protects the screen by default

Thanks for starting this discussion.

I'm really hoping now that M1 Macs are basically running the same guts as the iPads that they produce something like a MacPad - small, portable, touch screen, but able to run Mac apps. Hopefully the feature disparity between the mobile and desktop apps diminishes over time. I'm not sure how proprietary the iPads are though. My E-M1.2 plugs directly into my phone which is pretty awesome.

Funny you should say the Surface Duo. I was a Windows Phone user for a VERY long time (and before that PocketPCs -- during my Microsoft days). They were extraordinarily good phones - just lacking app support. I was eagerly awaiting Project ANDROMEDA, but it kept getting delayed. For my new phone, it came down to the OnePlus 8T or the Surface Duo. The latter was very tempting, but the older chipset, and therefore no Wifi6 or 5G was what clinched it for me. Not to mention too many times getting burnt by Microsoft dropping support for phones.

I love the form factor though... That would be an easy call for me if it could stitch panos or run Topaz Labs filters :)
 
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You know, I was very surprised to learn that Affinity Photo on the iPad stitches panos. That seriously puts an iPad in contention. I can quite a bit more easily justify a new Tablet since my current one was an el cheapola when I bought it a couple years ago.

I'll trying stitching something on the Mac version first though. And see how easy it is to connect stuff to an iPad...

Edit: So the first test was with a pano that didn't come out well in Lightroom from our recent trip to Cefalu. First picture is Affinity, second Lightroom. Neither is perfect, but I think the Affinity one is not bad at all! Assuming the iPad can have similar results, I think for the pano piece, I could work with an iPad. Denoising is a different story, but I haven't tried Affinity for that yet...

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I have a 10.5” 2015 Microsoft Surface 3 (NON Pro), sporting Win10, an Intel Atom 1.6GHz, 4GB RAM, passive cooling, Intel integrated graphics, and slow solid state memory.

It works fine for occasional on-the-go/holiday photo editing. It has Lightroom 4, DXO PL4 Elite and Affinity Photo on it. I tried using the latest PL Deep prime noise reduction and it took 19 minutes to do a single 16MP image, and used up 10% of battery charge. So not really practical for that. But generally it is just fine for photo editing, light, good battery life, screen is just about big enough (but very sharp and very good colours).

I also have a 10” iPad pro, and neither tablet is clearly better than the other for OTG photo editing (to me), they both have strengths and weaknesses. So I usually take them both on holiday...
 

mfturner

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I think there are tablets with enough processing power to be viable, and which OS you choose affects SW availability more than anything else. Screen size is the classic tradeoff of portability vs usability. There aren't many 8 inch tablets with a lot of processing power, so I now have an iPad mini for traveling and have been happy with it, although the SW ecosystem has taken some learning.
 
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Thanks, both. At the moment I'm leaning towards getting a 10" iPad. The features of the iPad Pro look nice, but it's on the expensive side (hard not to justify just getting a Surface at that price) and a bit bigger than I was looking for. I really would like something that will fit in my camera bag. Also, I'd really like to replace my current tablet.

I'll reply to this thread if (when) I end up going this route - I'm particularly interested in how well affinity works for stitched panos.

Thanks for all the help!

Dion
 

mfturner

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To elaborate in case it helps, we have a small van sized RV, and for example we would like to do one of the Camino de Santiago treks post covid (originally planned for our 25th anniversary last year). Things like that demand small size as a priority. Also, my lifelong nearsightedness has turned out to be useful as I age, as I approach 60, my unaided vision about 8 inches from my face is still great, as if I'm looking through a 4.75 diopter close up lens/ reading glasses. So an 8 inch screen seemed good enough for culling and minor edits, in fact once your face is that close there isn't much benefit to a large screen, but is too small for most people. And once you look at tablets larger than 8", you have a lot more options than just ipad, fire and kindle.

IpadOS, or whatever they call it now, has many great apps for AV editing including still photo editing, but actually I've been fine with the native iPhoto and Snapseed for culling, along with OIshare for transferring photos. Slidebox is actually kind of cool for a quick initial cull, and I might throw them a few dollars to remove the advertisements. I don't do a huge amount of pp if I can help it, but it's dawned on me that I don't have a good panorama stitcher so I'm looking for that now.
 
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Thanks, I'm not in a dissimilar boat -- a bit younger, but still nearsighted. Guess I didn't think about that aspect for iPad size. Certainly, the 8" model will fit nicer in a camera bag. My current tablet is about 10".

You got me thinking, though... I just assumed affinity photo (only on iOS) was the app for stitching, but Android has them too! I paid a couple bucks for Bimostitch, and it seems quite capable. I stitched on my phone, and shared to Lightroom with no problem. I might be overthinking my problem...
 
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