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The New iPad establishes iPad-ness for generations to come. Now with two MEGA new features and two MINUS new features.


First, the bad news: It has put on weight. 0.1 lb. A whopping 1.6 ounces (45 g). Now, every time you lift it 20,000 vertical feet, you will expend 1.0 foot-tons more effort.


Second, it is a tad thicker. 0.6 mm. Enough so the most precise hard shell cases may have an “issue” with the fit.


We tried ours with a Makayama Movie Mount and found that the mount didn’t
—quite— take the extra thickness in stride. Time for a little sandpaper. It’s not exactly insecure, just a tad more vulnerable to having a corner release easier.


That said, nearly all other plastic hard shells and virtually all soft-shell cases fit just fine.


Now to the goodies:


  1. 1.Of course, that display you’ve heard so much about. 2048 x 1536 pixels. And not just 400% of the pixel count of the first two iPads, better colored ones. The color gamut, contrast and pixel count of the New iPad is a better match to human vision than the last. And is possibly the best monitor ever produced, in colorimetry and tonality and detail.


The screen is so good that many Apps are being updated to take advantage of the greater real estate, resolution and processing behavior. All of Apple’s own Apps have been revised, and most bring new and/or better functionality to the iPad 2.

  1. 2.The camera is now MUCH better. Because it is 50% more detail in each HD measurement over the iPad2 in its new 1080p. It shows the dramatically improved performance of the iPhone 4S’s HD camera so tonality, color, white balance, focus, and exposure are all far better in performance. You will begin to see New iPad footage in newscasts, documentaries, television shows and, likely, major motion pictures, right away. The image is exceptionally good, even by the standards of professional 1080p gear.

    Stills are 5 MP, not 8-MP as on the iPhone 4S. But their 2560 x 1944 images are quite good, and all the colorimetry, tonality, exposure latitude and white balance attributes are inherited from the iP4S. NEXT year the Newer iPad will have an 8 or 10 MP camera. Gotta leave them wanting more, eh?

Sadly, Apple did not take our advice and provide a “hyperfocal” setting that would lock the camera at the optimum focus distance for the greatest depth of field. But here’s a work-around: Point the camera at a subject 8 feet away that also represents a good exposure-lock. Touch the image there and hold for two seconds. An animation will do a quick box/zoom effect, and focus and exposure will be locked at the spot you touched. Now everything from infinity to about 3 feet will be supremely sharp. But when you go close—it does have 3 inch closeup ability— the background has good bokeh. F/2.4, 1080p30, built-in stabilization. All just like the iP4S.


  1. 3.The internal computer chip is Apple’s own 4-core A5X with gamer-level graphics processing. The game companies are targeting the New iPad with a vengeance. Which seems to be the plot for games, anyhow.

  2. 4.The lens lines up eggzactly where the lens was in the iPad 2. Not important, you say? Maybe not to you, but that Makayama movie mount has the ability to flip a converter lens over the iPad’s lens in a twinkling, or not (your choice du moment), and the New iPad has its lens in the optical center, just like the 2’s.


    We anticipate getting a lot more video out of the New iPad, now that the camera is so good and the Makayama Movie Mount lets us fit the iPad to tripods and Steadicams. Definitely a video device with a future.

Things that are missing: Slot for external memory? Nope. 3D? Nope. Stereo speakers? Nope. USB slot? Nope. Anti-reflection screen coating? Nope. Dang. That particular feature works so well on the MacBook Air. 3D interface through face-tracking the viewer? Too exotic. Ice maker? Not yet.


Speed / Color / Tonality / Pixel Count / HD Camera Quality / User Experience / Intuitive Design: It’s beginning to become obvious that no other manufacturers are able to keep pace with iPads in tablet computing. It seems that only Apple is willing or able to throw billions at developing a package like this. We think that the best other pad-makers will be able to achieve is the odd feature or two that they can point to in ads, while Apple will maintain the lead for the foreseeable future.


Adding an anti-reflection layer to the glass, a card-slot memory and a user’s face-tracking dimensional interface display—wait for the fourth-generation iPad. All are doable.


iPad 3HDX Super

About that name, “the New iPad”: They’re trying to make it run parallel to their nomenclature of things like the iBook, the Mac Pro and the iPod Nano. Further distinctions like “third generation,” “late 2008” and “with 1080p” are tacked on to those only when needed. Otherwise, the name of the thing is the Thing.



Screenalicious

If you pick up an iPad and aren’t completely sure which one it is, the screen should make you unambiguously aware. It’s sharp. Real sharp. Hyper sharp. Game-changing sharp. You will use it as  your media portfolio. You will show your HD videos, still images, graphic designs, plans for the future, memories from the past and kid’s art on it. It is of such great quality that it will become an output monitor for HD edit suites.


In casual use, I realized that with a high-quality HD feed, I tend to cover more of my retina with the new iPad than I do with my Sony Bravia across the room. At a nice, comfortable 14~15-inch viewing distance (35~38 cm), the image quality is BETTER than the most expensive 60-inch HDTV eight feet away (1.5 m @ 2.5 m).


Some of that is due to the 2048 pixel-width of the new iPad (HD is “only” 1920 pixels wide), but most of it is due to the internal processing and scaling that Apple has developed over the years. They invented QuickTime. Their video player utilities have the deepest provenance in computerdom, and it shows.


  1. To see this for yourself, load in the free App, ABC Player, from ABC Digital. It puts you in touch with most of ABC’s programs for free and, starting March 15, the feeds are in 1080p, showing off the screen with impeccable clarity. ABC and Apple have a long history together, but the rumor that ABC stands for Apple Broadcasting Corporation is only partly true. In time, the other network and news distributions will catch up to the new iPad’s potential.


Supercam

Camera quality in the new iPad is high. The lens covers about 37° horizontally in HD mode and it’s sharp, corner to corner. The fixed aperture is f/2.4 and you can lock focus and exposure together with the built-in Camera App. Better yet: Get FiLMiC Pro ($3.99). One day before the new iPad’s release they updated it with all the latest interface and technical goodies to version 2.5.2. You can use that program to shoot in 720p, to save data space, or 1080p for the full Monty.


Apple seems bent on informing you that their camera has an IR filter. It’s a technical Big Deal, but nearly ALL small cameras have that, so why the crowing? I guess they feel compelled to say something. But its color and field of view, clarity and sharpness—all are exactly the same as the results from the iPhone 4S. In other words: amazingly good.


WiFi+4G

If you get the cell-connected variation and have 4G LTE in your area of the world, you can beam your shots back to your office before leaving the set. You can even turn your iPad into a local hot spot, allowing other WiFi-fed devices to see the internet through you. I hope your data plan has unlimited access...


Bluetooth 4.0 On Board

The new Bluetooth 4.0 spec claims ultimate transfer of data as fast as 30,000 kbps—way above the needs for several coincidental HD channels at once. Meaning that future products could include using the iPad as a remote viewfinder for your live HD camera via Bluetooth dongle, etc.


One More Thing...

At the same roll-out, Apple announced the new Apple TV—the hockey puck that now plays 1080p files—but did they call it the Apple TV 2? Not a chance. It’s just “the Apple TV” which is still rather confusing since it isn’t a TV at all, just an intermediate gizmo that can route Internet or personal image/movie sources to your existing TV set. A WiFi cable box of sorts. Still $99. Be careful if you’re buying a used one. The name doesn’t shout out the details.



The iPad2 is better than most people think. —As far as its 720p30 HD camera is concerned.


You hear a number of grumbles about how the camera is an under-performer. True, it is only 720p30 at best, and it won’t focus closer than its hyperfocal distance, but it is in focus from about 7 inches (175mm) to infinity at all times. How much of your family is closer than 7 inches? Just asking.


Working with it makes me wish Apple had put a switch in the iPhone 4S’s camera which locked it into hyperfocus on demand, reducing all those moments of mid-video disruptive focus wander.


Overall, and re-focus issues aside, the 720p camera on the iPad2 is a bit better than the 720p camera on the iPhone 4. Contrast, tonality and color all seem a shade ...better. It also works cleaner in low light than the iPhone 4.


Enter FiLMiC Pro 2.2.+. This is THE program for shooting with iPhones and iPads.


Do not hesitate to get a copy right this instant for any iPhone or the iPad2. FiLMiC Pro has earned our respect and treasure. It does all those things you wish the Apple Camera program did, and does them better. And at a cost of just two or three bucks (look for sales), it takes just a whiff of treasure.


You can lock exposure and white balance before rolling to record. The image is 16:9 when it appears (Apple’s isn’t). On the iPhone 4/4S, you can lock focus exposure and white balance—each separately.


If you wish, you can add color bars, electronic shot slate, count-down animation and overlay guide grids. And about thirty other useful features.




Makayama Movie Mount for iPad 2. 11-26-11


The MMiP2 is a plastic shell with a bunch of attach points for movie accessories. It is made by Makayama Media B.V. in the Netherlands.


It only works with the iPad2. If the iPad3 is the same exterior and camera-placement physics (the way iPhones 4 and 4S were), then perhaps the design will carry forward.


It performs three major physical functions:


1. It has a standard 1/4-inch tripod screw socket in the base, so it can be used with any tripod, table-pod, gorilla pod, beanbag pod table-top dolly, slider track or camera boom. Instead of hand-held iPad shots, you get perfect stability.


2. It has two hot-shoe attach points for movie lights, microphones, script page clamps, stopwatches, bubble levels, optical viewfinders, accessory arms —whatever fits. BTW, I don’t know of any hot-shoe page clamps, but maybe somebody makes one.


3. It has an accessory lens holder. For wide, fisheye or telephoto conversion optics, filters, close-up lenses or Cokin filters. Anything you can adapt to a 37mm screw thread. But that’s not the whole story.


Not only can you mount optics here, you can slide them out of the way in a second. The mounting threads are on a sliding carrier that whisks the optic off and back on, instantly, snapping into position repeatedly.


The MMiP2’s geometry allows it to stand or lay down at a 9° angle off vertical or horizontal. That means when vertical, it’s also pointing the camera downward 9°. Meaning: Get a table-top tripod. Or the beanbag Pod™. Or think of it this way: It stands up to be your review monitor on a level surface.


Note: Some wide converters are made only for cameras that can focus extra macro close. Those won’t work because the iPad2 doesn’t focus macro-close. The ones that you can hold up to your eye and see a focused, clear image are candidates for use.


Note: Converter lenses generally introduce barrel and pincushion distortion and some blur the corners of the image, but some are quite sharp and clear. Don’t buy
any that you can’t conveniently return if they don’t work well. If you can find the small Kenko 0.5X KGW05 from the 1990’s (pictured here on the MMiP2), that’s an exceptionally good one.


The MMiP2 accommodates the Apple Smart Cover and gives you access to volume and lock buttons along the top. The charging port is accessible along with the built-in mic and the headphone jack. The bumps on the back make hand-holding the iPad2 more secure and the iPad Speaker is not covered over in plastic.


Tip: From the screen side, the MMiP2 covers access to the master iPad OFF switch. Slide the converter mount out of the way and poke your finger onto the switch from the back.


Tip: If you use a shotgun or external mic, you may wish to have a splitter for the earphone/mic jack. Look for ones made for the iPhone. Here’s one.


But that ain’t all:


A number of months back, we realized that our iPad2 video camera was being under-utilized. It’s THE video camera with the Biggest Viewfinder on Earth.


This Means Something.


We cobbled together a proof-of-concept iPad2 holder for our Steadicam Merlin, and this video shows how that went back in June:




Our prototype was not at all ready for prime time but the crowd at this event was largely comprised of Hollywood cognoscenti. It’s the “Classic Car Night” gathering in Toluca Lake, CA, a block from Hollywood’s biggest studios. They went nuts over it. A bunch of people wanted to shoot pictures of it, even though the Disney Cars II event was the main attraction that night.


We made plans to create an improved version. But then the much more advanced Makayama MMiP2 was announced. Wholey Cow! This was far-and-away a better device. So we ordered one on the spot. $70 US. 50€.


Now it is in hand and we give it four thumbs up. Counting our big toes.


On the Steadicam Merlin, the iPad2 plus conversion lens weighs in at almost exactly 2 pounds (0.9kg). The Merlin handles 5 pound cameras routinely, so this is a modest load. Once balanced, the Merlin shots made with the MMiP2 are smooth and gentle. The mass of the camera and Merlin produces an extra-smooth point of view.


This is an example of one of those rare products: The Must-Have.


If you’re seriously into iPad2 video—or want to be—then you simply must have one of these!


makayama.com/moviemount.html


Videos coming soon.




Review by Peter iNova.



 
iPad2 Accessory Review   Latest additions 3/16/12
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