updated 07:00 pm EDT, Mon May 16, 2011
Few using it to create shareable photos
Daily upload stats of Apple products used to create photos submitted to popular photo site Flickr reveal, unsurprisingly, that the cameras on the iPad 2 are not particularly popular for photography, particularly when compared to other Apple mobile products. While users upload about 4,400 photos per day taken with an iPhone 4, a mere 22 per day on average upload a photo taken with an iPad. Various factors could be behind the disparity, including the large gap between numbers sold of each model -- but the consensus is that the iPad 2's camera is simply better suited for video than still images.
Some 15,000 photos on Flickr (which is hardly the only photo-sharing site, but a very large community that offers a good representative sample) have been taken on the iPad, according to the site's own statistics, compared to over 52 million images stored on Flickr from other camera-enabled Apple mobile devices. Interestingly, about 8,000 images on Flickr report having been taken with Apple's original line of QuickTake cameras, though now only averaging one or fewer users per day.
The iPhone 3G was the second most popular Apple camera behind the iPhone 4, with 3,300 images per day on average being shared. The iPhone 3GS, despite having a measurably better camera on-board than the 3G, only manages about 2,000 images per day average. Flickr cautions that their ability to detect specific cameraphones and other models automatically is not perfectly accurate -- since it is reliant on existing and relevant EXIF information -- but is representative enough to draw conclusions and establish trends.
The cameras on the iPad 2 have taken a critical drubbing for their lower quality than those on the iPhone 4; the back camera, which can shoot 720p video, still only uses a sub-1-megapixel lens, shooting still images at about 960x720, while video (being widescreen) is shot at 1,280x720. Either way, the resolution of the iPad's back camera is roughly equal to the earliest popular digital cameras of the 1990s.
Although many critics were surprised at the low resolution of the iPad camera (particularly when compared with the rear camera of the iPhone 4, which shoots at 5 megapixels), the larger size of the iPad meant it was never designed to be used as a replacement for a point-and-shoot camera, whereas modern smartphones of all brands clearly have taken the place of all but the best consumer P&S models.
The front camera on the iPad has a resolution of only 640x480, and is again intended for video (through FaceTime) rather than still images. At present, the iPhone 4 is the second most popular camera of any type for uploading photos to Flickr, directly behind the professional-level Nikon D90. It and the iPhone 3G are far and away the most popular cameraphones as well. [Charts courtesy Electricpig.co.uk and Flickr]