iPad Air 2 review

Apple took the perfect tablet and somehow made it even better

iPad Air review
Thin, bold and still incredibly powerful

iPad Air 2 review

Tablet photography is never an ideal experience, but the iPad 2 is more than tolerable

I wish I could somehow type the long sigh I emit whenever I begin to talk about the camera on any tablet - and Apple's only gone and made the camera better here, which makes things worse for people like me trying to hold off the barbarians.

Like the selfie phenomenon, the idea of bringing a tablet as main camera to important events suddenly seems to be acceptable. I've seen people taking pictures of a bride walking down the aisle with an iPad mini, and missed a big goal at a football match because someone thought it the right time to try and take a picture of themselves on a tablet.

The problem is, companies like Apple are extolling the virtues of using the large screen as a more ample viewfinder.

No. Use a phone screen if you must, or even get a proper camera. But don't use a tablet. While you'll get acceptable shots with the iPad Air 2, and the resolution gives a clearer picture, it's still not a great experience - and you break a basic law of civilization in the process.

But if you must use the camera, at least Apple has imbued the iPad Air 2 with some of the higher-power tricks. Slow motion video is included this time around (although only to 120 frames per second (fps), not the super smooth 240 fps that comes with both the new iPhones).

iPad Air 2 review

The iPad Air 2's camera offer high powered tricks

There's time lapse mode, burst mode (front and back cameras) and a larger panorama mode making it easy to take wider pictures of over 40MP using the tablet screen.

I don't mind the idea of using this for time lapse, as the larger screen and longer battery are actually pretty handy for setting up a shot - but why you'd have a tablet at a beautiful landscape which might require a panorama is beyond me. Group shots, maybe.

The other win here is the built in editing suite in the Photos app - it's good on the iPhone, but with the larger screen it's great for touching up photos.

The new iCloud shared photo stream is also a really handy way of sharing photos between an iPhone and an iPad - simply have both devices logged into the same iCloud account, favorite something on one and it will instantly appear on the other.

The overall camera prowess of the iPad Air 2 isn't that bad, but it's nothing special. In side by side comparisons with the iPad Air, the photos have very little difference bar sharpness, and the low light capabilities are nothing to write home about, and certainly not in the iPhone 6's league.

Camera samples

iPad Air 2 review

The original iPad Air

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iPad Air 2 review

The iPad Air 2

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iPad Air 2 review

The original iPad Air - close up macro

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iPad Air 2 review

The new iPad Air 2 - close up macro

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iPad Air 2 review

The original iPad Air - HDR mode

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iPad Air 2 review

The new IPad Air - HDR mode

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