one of the original reasons i wanted the tf201+dock was for digital camera management while traveling. the dock's SD card slot is really what makes this practical. if i'm traveling and shooting 500-1000 photos then having the ability to manage these files out-of-camera becomes very useful. in various cases i would like to:
- review and discard photos
- copy or move photos from the original SD card to internal memory, or a microSD card, or a USB key
- run a slideshow on screen, or hdmi out
- share via email/etc
- upload videos to youtube
if you own a typical point-and-shoot digicam then android is more or less ready to handle all these tasks out of the box. in my case i am shooting with a canon DSLR, the 550D more specifically, in RAW format - as is the case for most 550D/600D/7D/5MD2/1D* owners along with equivalent nikons/etc. each of my RAW files are 25MB and that generally only increases as the cameras get better. RAW files are also raw, meaning the raw CMOS sensor data has not yet been processed and rendered into an image file. this is why working with RAW files is a pain in the ass on every platform - it pushes the limits of both CPU and I/O.
i just spent a chunk of time evaluating what works and doesn't in trying to do all these things with the current state of software. figured i'd share the results in case other RAW shooters come out of the woodwork.
working with RAW photos
RAW files come in various manufacturer- and even model-specific formats which means that android out of the box has no idea what to do with them. nothing in the entire android stack currently recognizes or handles RAW files, at least as of 4.0.3. so you need apps if you hope to do anything other than move the photos around.
at current time in the android market it looks like only 3 apps really try and provide a somewhat complete environment for viewing and handling RAW files. my experience with each of them was as follows:
- Photo Mate - supports viewing, rotating/mirroring, resizing and converting to JPG, backing up, slideshow, ratings, and sharing - all useful features, but amazingly there is no multi-select, meaning you can't do most of these things in bulk. this is a real limiting factor. in a few cases you have the option to do a task on an entire directory, but for most DSLRs this will mean every photo on the card and is unlikely to be what you want. speed of raw thumbnail rendering is fast, rendering of full images a couple seconds so not the best for just flipping through quickly. however the renders are full-res and the processor looks good which means it is excellent for zooming into the 1:1 pixel-level and scrutinizing sharpness and clarity.
- cr2-Thumbnailer / nef-Thumbnailer - has fewer features than Photo Mate but is faster for casual browsing and does more things in bulk. thumbnails render very fast, full-screen images renders quite fast, sub-second. the price is that these are not full-res renders, meaning when you try and zoom you won't find the full resolution to scrutinize.
- RawPal Gallery - couldn't find any way to set the read location to /Removable/SD. even tried editing the shared_prefs.xml via terminal and putting it in myself; app borked on it and reset the field. so, DOA, at least for now.
none of these have any basic developing features like crop or brightness/contrast/color/sharpness adjustments, so they make it to the point of "handler and converter" and then stop. once converted to jpg, if you need to crop something down then the built-in gallery actually does a fine job of this. it's an extra step, so things can start to drag out, but it's definitely usable at least for the one-offs.
working with HD video
videos on some of the more recent DSLRs are encoded in gigantor full 1080p and can chew up 300MB per minute, even more on some models with 60Hz rate. but increasingly codecs are starting to converge on a few and players are getting better compatibility for it. so the issues related to working with DSLR HD video files are about the same as playback of a variety of downloaded content.
in my case, both MX Video Player and BS Player Lite were able to play my 550D's videos correctly (HW accelerated as well). the built-in video player did also play but couldn't select the right audio track so it was silent (and with zero configuration operations, therefore DOA).
uploading to youtube also worked fine through the youtube app.
i was almost surprised to see copying and moving files around between various partitions and physical devices all worked as i would have hoped/expected. the built-in file manager app can be used to pretty easily copy and delete files around the fs. other similar apps like ES file explorer and root explorer also fine of course. operations done via shell in terminal app, also fine. all as expected. the relevant locations that you will be working with are:
/Removable/SD - dock's SD card slot
/Removable/USBdisk1 - USB memory stick via dock's USB port
/Removable/MicroSD - tablet's micro-SD card slot
/sdcard - tablet's internal storage (27GB volume on the 32GB models)
in my testing, copying files across all combinations of these devices worked as expected.
of course, handling files in standard file managers and in shell means no thumbnails which means having to go off perfect memory of file numbers... which is annoying. this is why i'm hoping apps like photo mate will eventually get more multi-select functionality.