A single cable that replaces a MacBook Pro with an iPhone. Isn’t that just a preposterous thought?
Strangely enough, with iOS 9.2 and the new Lightning to SD Card adapter, I can leave my MacBook Pro at home for many assignments. Let me explain: my 2012 MBP with retina screen is my mobile workhorse, but most of the time I capture my pictures on my Mac Pro at home. But every once in a while, a client asks me for the ability to send some pictures out to the press during the event itself. Which would require me to carry a notebook with an SD card reader, a charger, backup drive, in probably another heavy bag. But no more!
The new software update enables my iPhone to capture RAW images straight from the SD card, edit them in software like Snapseed, Pixelmator and VSCO, before sending them out with WeTransfer over an LTE connection.
So, how exactly does it work? Well, in Apple’s truest fashion: “it just works”. You plug in your SD card in one end, and the Lightning port in your phone. If everything works as expected, the photos app opens, with a new import window showing. If you’re using the iPad Pro, you get USB 3 speeds, on the phone reading the thumbnails can take a bit, but importing them works like a breeze and is quite fast. It recognises previously imported images, and you can important all, or selected images.
Also good news, applications like Snapsneed will keep the NEF also intact if you export them through Dropbox Camera Upload, but your RAW edits will still show up in iOS, which is quite impressive. However, not every editing app is equal, so thread with caution if you like to keep your NEF files! However, edits will stay at their original resolution, which is great news.
One of the only moments where it doesn’t work is when you import a RAW image in software that doesn’t support RAW yet, like VSCO or Pixelmator. In that case, it just imports the 160×120 JPG preview. Booh! However, if you edit them in Snapseed first, it will create a workable JPG preview at full resolution, so it works with the very impressive Pixelmator. However, If you import that image through other applications, depending on the application it might overwrite your photo. So threat with caution.
All by all, if you are a photographer who uses an iPhone, you need this cable in your camera bag. Or even better, next to your phone in your coat, next to the battery pack you probably need because of all that instagramming.