When I got the iPad 2 I have to admit I never thought of it as a camera. The camera in the iPhone makes sense, at least in the sense of the old saying “the best camera is the one you have with you”. It’s no match for an SLR with proper glass attached but it’s a crisp 5MP camera with one of the easiest interfaces I’ve seen on a phone camera. I’m expecting to see touch to focus and expose on dSlRs in future.
The iPad 2 camera, though, feels very like a phone camera from the late 90s. It’s a grainy sub-megapixel feeling camera with a huge digital noise problem. I know they put the camera in there for FaceTime and the front camera being bad at stills makes sense but with the luxury price tag on the hardware could they really not run to a better camera?
It’s a little bit of an unpleasant surprise to snap a photo on the iPad 2 and see the result. It does not mesh with the image Apple have tried so hard and succeeded so well in attaching to the device. It might not be a part of the device’s core functionality but it’s like an off-colour body part replacement on a super car. It’s like a cassette radio deck in the centre console of your BMW M3. It doesn’t fit the image, even if it isn’t what you bought the car for.