A good while back, I made a post about my "Fit Kit." It referred to an ultra-portable, photos-on-the-go-fits-in-a-tiny-bag-goes-anywhere photo kit capable of excellent quality capture and image editing. The kit initially consisted of my Fujifilm X10 camera, Fujifilm X-20 flash, iPhone 5, and an Eye-Fi X2 Pro SDHC/WiFi card.
Since I wrote about the original kit, a couple of things have changed. One, I purchased an iPad Mini, which replaces the iPhone 5 for image editing on-the-go. And two, Apple have updated iOS a couple of times, and have greatly improved synchronization across devices through their new-ish implementation of iCloud and Photostream. With iOS 8, the Photos app has been given powerful image editing tools that even allow fairly sophisticated raw conversion with supported cameras. These upgrades have made it easier than ever to shoot, edit, and upload from anywhere at almost any time.
For instance, I made the image at left this morning in my kitchen. In only a couple of minutes -- total time -- I shot the image with the X10. By the time I set the camera down on the table, the image was ready and waiting for editing on the iPad Mini. I made appropriate adjustments in the iOS 8 Photos app, and clicked done. By the time I turned the camera off and turned to my laptop to write this post (I'm still looking for the ultimate in blog posting apps for iOS), the image was in my Photostream, ready to insert into the post, or upload to my favorite social media or photo sharing sites. If I weren't planning on using the image for a blog post, and just wanted to add it to my Flickr stream, I could have done that directly from Photos.
I see this kind of connected workflow as the future of photography. More and more, camera manufactures are including WiFi functionality built right into cameras at all levels, and the communication and control apps are becoming incredibly sophisticated. This allows photographers to work in a "wireless tethered" mode that facilitates shooting and almost immediately viewing images on a large screen without being encumbered by a USB cable.
While none of my current cameras have WiFi built in, the Eye-Fi X2 (or Eye-Fi Mobi) can add minimal wireless tethering to almost any camera, and they work well with all of the non-WiFi Fujis. They can't add remote control or real-time viewing, but they do allow fairly efficient transfer of images without the need of a time-consuming "import" step. The Eye-Fi cards also play well with Lightroom on a desktop or laptop.
I've had less success with Lightroom Mobile. While Adobe has made a couple of updates to the app, it remains cumbersome and slow. While I was initially excited about the future prospects of the app, I'm not sure I see a future for Adobe's mobile apps in my workflow. Tools like the new Photos, Snapseed, Perfectly Clear, and a couple of others more than meet my mobile editing needs, and I was especially excited to learn that Pixelmator will be coming to the iPad soon. Pixelmator was highlighted at Apple's big event yesterday, and at $4.99, it should be a steal. Here's Pixelmator's sneak peek video:
As you might be able to tell, I'm really excited about the future of iOS devices for working mobile for both photography and music, and even for everyday computing.