Been to a concert lately? How about a high school or college graduation? Maybe a national park?
If so, you've probably encountered a disturbing new trend: people wandering around with iPads and Galaxy Tabs held up in front of their faces, vainly trying to snap photos in among the crowd. And if you're anything like me, your reaction was probably one of sudden, inchoate rage.
I know, for instance, that it took every bit of my self-control and composure to keep from losing it at the lady who I saw trying to take an iPad selfie with a buffalo in Yellowstone. The buffalo didn't look too thrilled about it, either.
To make matters worse, Apple keeps improving the iPad's camera. With the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the company had the audacity to add a camera flash and 12-megapixel sensor to the tablet.
All I can do now is implore you to, please, stop taking photos with your iPad. With just one caveat, there's no good reason to shoot with a tablet instead of a smartphone or (heaven forbid) a real camera. And there are plenty of reasons not to.
How obvious is it? Let us count the ways...
1. You look ridiculous.
Sure, this is superficial (and completely subjective), but you look like a total goon when you hold a giant glass rectangle up in front of your face in public. Don't believe us? Just have a look:
2. You're blocking everyone's view.
The most popular tablets today are big tablets (10-plus inches), and when an entire crowd of people starts holding them up, no one can see anything. There's a reason why more and more music venues and bands are banning them from shows.
3. Your smartphone camera is better.
Tablet cameras are almost always inherited directly from a given company's smartphones, and often from a phone at least a couple generations old.
That means the camera in your iPad, Galaxy Tab, or Nexus tablet is probably inferior to—or in the best case equivalent to—the one in your pocket. (It just so happens that the new iPad Pro's camera is identical to that of the iPhone 6S.) Given the above issues with tablet shooting, why not just use the far less ridiculous smartphone camera?
4. You're killing your battery life.
Tablet screens are huge, and huge screens are power-hungry. Keeping a huge screen active as a viewfinder is pretty much the most power-intensive way to use it. If you want to be able to use your tablet for, y'know, tablet stuff—like playing games, reading, or browsing the web—just stop taking photos.
5. Did we mention you look ridiculous?
There was once a great site called iPad is Not a Camera that provided an outlet for any well-informed vigilante to bust goons in the act of ruining dance recitals and trips to Disney World. Sadly, the site seems to have been taken down.
We've highlighted some of the best photos from the site below.
What's that caveat you mentioned?
Setting aside the fact that it brutalizes your battery and makes you look like a real jabroni, that giant screen actually makes for a pretty excellent viewfinder. When trying to carefully compose creative shots, it can be a real lifesaver—especially in places with poor lighting.
(Of course, poor lighting also means you're going to get pretty crappy photos, no matter how well-composed. See #3.)
So let's take a stand against tablet camera use. Buy yourself a good standalone camera, or at the very least, use the smartphone you've already got in your pocket. Otherwise, we could very well end up in a dystopian future where lenses are obsolete and the tablets just keep getting bigger and bigger, until they block out the sun and every living thing on earth perishes.
Okay, maybe not. But they will just keep on getting bigger.