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Author Topic: Does anyone use tablets or phablets in the field?  (Read 6901 times)
NancyP
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« on: January 29, 2014, 12:09:53 PM »
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I am an Old Fart and still use printed portions of USGS quads, and for that matter, a compass. Yes, I know the phone has a compass function (triangulation), but a magnetic needle  compass doesn't need a battery. I see weather-proof tablet cases at REI, and the recent issue of Backpacker magazine had an article on tablets. So, does anyone here use tablets in the field, and what sorts of apps do you use?
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nma
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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2014, 12:42:56 PM »
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Hello Nancy,

There is the well known Photographer's Ephemeris, for calculating the location and time of events such as sunrise, sunset, moon rise, etc.  This app is free on the PC but I believe there is a charge for using it on smartphone or tablet.

My favorite is dslrController, $9 for Canon Eos cameras. I believe there are similar apps for Nikon.  I use this on a Samsung Galaxy Tab II 7 in tablet. It fits in a plastic bag :>). I also have attached a little router to the USB port on the camera and this allows wireless transmission to the tablet. All the controls are available remotely. The image is shown on the tablet screen. You select controls, such as histogram, by finger-tap on the controlling icon.  This app does much more than remote the controls of the camera. For example, I use it for focus bracketing: You select begin and end points for focus bracketing and the app fires off a sequence of shots, each stepping the lens to positions calculated by dslrController. Similar, enhancement of HDR capture is available. You can combine focus bracketing and HDR capture. Focus peaking. Etc.

I also have a little clamp to hold the tablet to the leg of my tripod, giving me the modern equivalent of a view camera, except the image is not inverted. Ha Ha?
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Colorado David
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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2014, 11:07:40 PM »
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I believe that anyone who hikes out of sight of the road should still be carrying a liquid-filled magnetic needle compass and know how to use it to find their way back to the truck.  Whatever else anyone decides to carry is optional, but the old-school magnetic compass is mandatory.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2014, 01:56:29 AM »
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Back in 1983 I was doing some habitat mapping for a black bear research project - essentially running compass lines through the bush and counting/ measuring the habitat as we went.  One day we got into an area where there was a big load of hematite under the ground (or something) and the compass needle all of a sudden turned 90 degrees.  Put my old Silva Ranger back in my pocket and walked my staff out of the woods - we came out 12 feet from the truck.  Use the equipment, but don't become reliant on it!

As to the tablet, I started putting together a presentation today for our photo group and realized I have 16 apps on my phone directly or indirectly related to photography!

Mike.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2014, 03:27:54 AM »
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I believe that anyone who hikes out of sight of the road should still be carrying a liquid-filled magnetic needle compass and know how to use it to find their way back to the truck.  Whatever else anyone decides to carry is optional, but the old-school magnetic compass is mandatory.

Hi,

I carry a GPS for that purpose, although one needs to be moving to get direction in addition to position. Very easy for finding previously visted/scouted locations, or even those determined in advance by a mapping application before ever being there before. Of course, not having to rely on electrical power can be a benefit, and a magnetic compass (or a floating needle) can be useful.

Cheers,
Bart
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2014, 04:36:26 AM »
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.....but remember that a compass is useless unless you know where you are and know where you want to go and know the spatial relationship between the two. (Second-nature to folk of our generation but how many under-30s will every have used one?).

At least with GPS, you can enter waypoints as you go out and follow them in reverse to get back.
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sdwilsonsct
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2014, 08:31:24 AM »
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Spend more time staring at screens instead of the landscape? No thanks!
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NancyP
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2014, 10:37:14 AM »
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I try to work on my map-reading and compass guidance skills.

I was curious if anyone used larger-than-phone screens for maps, eg, USGS quads. An iPhone 4 is laughably small for this sort of thing.

I have a few useful things on my phone:
1. everyone's favorite, The Photographers' Ephemeris .
2. the night sky equivalent of TPE, Sky Safari . This is a great program for learning as well as planning. I have the least expensive version, it gives you all the stars you are likely to need unless you are in the middle of the desert with a 24" Dob  Wink  .
3. a bunch of Notes for:
a. no-parallax ("nodal") points for various lenses and cameras
b. best no-coma, sharp corners f/ stops for various lenses used on full frame camera in astrophotography, plus the faster ok-for-APS-C f/ stops if pertinent, plus declination for pertinent locations (well, one location so far, St. Louis MO)
c. soon to come, the true number of stops reduction of my brand new Big Stopper, and shutter speed conversion table
4. Audubon birds of eastern North America field guide (has songs and calls too)
5. EOS remote utility provided by Canon for its Wifi-enabled cameras (6D in my case). I haven't fiddled with this yet.
6. PhotoPills calculator and ephemeris. I got this recently and haven't fiddled with this much yet either. Hyperfocal tables, exposure equivalents, field of view, etc, plus a feature that gives you simulation of light direction at different times of day on a phone photo.

I also have a "Spot" emergency beacon that uses a satellite, pertinent in more remote areas without cell coverage (lots of the hilly Ozarks).
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2014, 12:23:25 PM »
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Having spent 35 years as a computer professional, I am enjoying my retirement as a Luddite. I am of the camera and map persuasion, and I even still have a slide rule (ask your grandkids if they have the foggiest idea what that is).

That being said, I saw a terrific slide show the other day from a very experienced backpacker who recently did a two-week excursion in the northern part of Denali National Park in Alaska, some 300 miles from the nearest road. He mentioned that one day, when they were very near their northern-most point, he and one of his companions compared their compass readings only to find that the two pointed in exactly opposite directions.
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2014, 03:52:10 PM »
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 I even still have a slide rule (ask your grandkids if they have the foggiest idea what that is).




Wasn't there a line in a Sam Cook song, "Don't know what a slide rule is for...."?
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sdwilsonsct
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2014, 04:09:30 PM »
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Having spent 35 years as a computer professional, I am enjoying my retirement as a Luddite.

Yup. When I stargaze I like a paper atlas and a red LED.
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NancyP
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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2014, 06:48:23 PM »
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I still have my wood K&E slide ruler and its instruction book. Let's all be Luddites together. Shall we all head over to the LF forum or APUG? There is something good about those paper star atlases, namely, not having to contend with unlocking screens that are too bright.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2014, 07:11:14 PM »
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I still have my wood K&E slide ruler and its instruction book.

Yay!  Me, too.  I love mine.  I had a Kurta once, too.  But it's long gone, unfortunately.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2014, 10:43:24 PM »
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My one remaining slide rule is a Pocket Picket. But I also have a couple of Abaci.

I don't generally take any of them with me in the field, however.  Wink
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nma
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« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2014, 11:59:31 PM »
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Don't you think this thread has decompensated into an extreme preference for the old fashioned and obsolete over the new and more useful. Most of us do not get so far off the trail that a truly analog compass is essential gear. Most of us don't use an abacus to balance a checkbook. Slide rules are for baseball.  Can't bear to look at a "screen" in the outdoors. Aw shucks, this thread sounds like an audition for the curmudgeons club.
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Riaan van Wyk
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« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2014, 12:04:10 AM »
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Nope, I carry camera, tripod and one lens and usually know what I want to shoot- so no need to research anything while in field. My laminated tide chart tells me what the tides are, my diary tells me about sunrise times, don't need much else.
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luxborealis
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« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2014, 12:47:38 PM »
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Don't you think this thread has decompensated into an extreme preference for the old fashioned and obsolete over the new and more useful. Most of us do not get so far off the trail that a truly analog compass is essential gear. Most of us don't use an abacus to balance a checkbook. Slide rules are for baseball.  Can't bear to look at a "screen" in the outdoors. Aw shucks, this thread sounds like an audition for the curmudgeons club.

Hear, hear. I love analogue, but with what I'm reading on this thread, there must be a lot of you who are still shooting with glass plates or even Daguerrotypes!

With eyesight that is not what I used to be, I'm looking forward to the day I can plug my D800 into my iPad and blend the experience of using a 4x5 I so enjoyed with the efficiency of digitography.
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NancyP
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« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2014, 05:53:17 PM »
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All this started as a query about using tablets to contain maps. My insistence on using a magnetic compass and maps, rather than relying solely on GPS, is due to my desire to keep up analog skills for those situations when one runs out of battery. Not all trails are well marked, and a lot of forest trails are criss-crossed by deer trails. I have managed to lose myself in the fall, when the leaves are covering a poorly marked or unmarked trail that has very little usage. A 5$ keychain compass and a trail area topo map gets me back on track if I follow the deer trail too far. There are some bushwhack opportunities in scenic areas of the local National Forests.
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Walt Roycraft
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« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2014, 06:10:28 AM »
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With eyesight that is not what I used to be, I'm looking forward to the day I can plug my D800 into my iPad and blend the experience of using a 4x5 I so enjoyed with the efficiency of digitography.

EXACTLY!!!
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NancyP
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« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2014, 02:09:34 PM »
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Are you going to flip your iPad upside down?  Grin
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