Today we took time out to gather some iPad 2 video samples. We felt it was important to see what the iPad 2 is capable of given plenty of bright sunlight and a steady hand. We used our 10 top tips for shooting iPad 2 video to get the very best from the iPad's tiny camera module.
Just as we had imagined, taking steady footage is considerably easier with the iPad 2 than when using an iPhone or iPod touch. The extra bulk practically eliminates small camera shake, and with some careful foot placement even a basic pan is possible without too much wobble.
We are generally pleased with this daylight footage, it's sharp, colourful and shows only a small amount of compression noise. Could it be better? Most certainly. Very dark areas tend to be crushed into solid black, and the massive depth of field, though handy given the iPad 2's lack of auto-focus, creates quite a flat looking image. We are mostly concerned by an area of soft focus in the lower right hand corner. Is this common to all iPad 2 units? Perhaps a kind reader could examine their own iPad 2 footage and let us know in a comment below.
Note to Apple: The iPad 2 camera app needs a serious rethink! We have plenty of suggestions which we will mention in due course, but the placement of the shutter button is a problem and needs addressing immediately. Where it is, sat right in the middle of the screen, is utterly ridiculous given the size and weight of the iPad.
Is the iPad 2 HD video capture good enough? That depends on what you plan to use the footage for. With careful use, giving consideration to the limitations of such a small camera/lens unit, the iPad 2 will capture footage that is equal in quality to a basic dedicated MP4 video camera and better then many smartphones. Footage looks particularly pleasing when viewed on the iPad's own IPS display and we imagine that this is how most footage will be presented.
Note: We edited the footage above using iMovie on the Mac, we then edited the same footage into a similar cut using iMovie for iPad to see how the experience differed. We'll publish our thoughts is a further post, but for now here is the iPad edited version.