Most of us know that the iPad is a powerful photographic and filmmaking tool. Whether you are using it for post-processing, image sharing, camera control, storage, live view monitoring, or just for taking photos, the iPad is finding a home in the camera bags of many photographers.
If it has one shortcoming, however, it may be the fixed-focal-length lens that only features digital zoom. But, if you consider the built-in iPad camera just a part of a larger lens system, you can accessorize your iPad with numerous lenses to open many more photographic possibilities.
The 37mm Lens World
More familiar to moviemakers than photographers is the family of screw-mount 37mm lenses. The size of the 37mm-type lens lends itself well to attachment to a smartphone or tablet, and there are several companies making mounts and lenses for the iPad.
Makayama manufactures a series of iPad cases that are equipped with not only a 37mm-type lens socket, but cold-shoe mounts for accessories. The cases also allow the iPad to stand on its own, ideal for providing a steady shooting setup. Several of the Makayama mounts come with included lenses.
The iOgrapher Filmmaking Case is available for the iPad Pro 9.7" and 2017/2018 iPad, iPad 2/3/4, and iPad mini 1/2/3 and it features a 37mm-type lens mount, cold-shoes for attachments, and side handles for getting a steady grip as the iPad itself is horrible when comes to picture-making ergonomics.
iOgrapher also has its own 37mm-type lenses for use in its Filmmaking Case, and other compatible mounts.
Your iPad’s camera also makes a formidable tool for microscopy with the right conversion lenses. Some macro lenses get you close, but when you want to get closer, the Bodelin Technologies ProScope Micro Mobile Digital Microscope Kit features a mounting sleeve, a lens capable of 20-80x magnification, and built-in 6-LED lighting to wash your subject in bright light. It is available for the iPad 2/3/4 and iPad Mini.
Of course, all of the accessories mentioned above can be used for motion picture recording, not just still photography. For those leaning more toward capturing video, the Padcaster line of mounts and accessories features several comprehensive setups for recording your next home movie or blockbuster film on your iPad or iPad Air. Some Padcaster kits come with included lenses.
There is an assortment of supplemental lighting available for iPad photography. Some lights are powered by the iPad itself, while others are stand-alone units. Popular and versatile, the Lume Cube 1500 lumen light is beyond bright, but if you need creative options and multiple color capability, the Luxli Viola 5" Multi-Color On-Camera LED light can stand alone, or slide into a cold shoe on an iPad accessory. Its big brother, the Cello 10" RGBAW LED has even more features and flexibility.
Shoot the iPad
Already capable, adding lenses to your iPad, iPad Air, or iPad mini is a great way to expand its photographic abilities and help you get the most out of the system, so slap on some glass and go out and make great images!
What’s your favorite subject to shoot with an iPad? Please share your recommendations and tips in the Comments section, below.