Admit it: Whenever you see someone using their iPad as a camera, you giggle. Maybe even snicker. That two-handed grip and big ol' viewfinder screen, that's just comedy. Especially when something like this happens.
On the other hand, the iPad 3, iPad 4, and iPad Mini all have a respectable 5-megapixel sensor, an IR filter, face detection, and some other solid digital-photography features. All that's missing is a zoom lens. (The iPads do offer digital zoom, of course, but that's to be avoided at all costs. It ruins photos.)
Enter Photojojo, the outfit known for making smartphone and photography accessories. Their new iPad Telephoto Lens adds an optical zoom to your iPad or iPad Mini. If anything, it'll make your camera rig look even goofier. But guess who might be getting the last laugh?
The kit adds a snap-on back cover to your iPad. The lens, thank goodness, is removable, unscrewing from the mount area when you don't need it. The rub, of course, is that the cover probably won't fit over whatever case you might currently be using.
In exchange for that bit of inconvenience, the lens adds a 10X optical zoom to the iPad 3/4 and 12X to the Mini. That's a pretty respectable bump, especially considering that the current optical zoom is 0X.
As always, Photojojo offers a bit of self-deprecating wit in pointing out its products' slight deficiencies: "The iPad telephoto lens has a manual focusing ring to give you added control over its delightfully shallow depth of field. It also adds just a bit of vignetting and a dreamy lo-fi look."
In other words, this ain't no fancy Nikon lens. But it will bring you much closer to the action, vignetting and "dreaminess" notwithstanding, with far better resolution and focus than you could ever achieve with digital zoom.
The iPad and iPad Mini versions of the lens each sell for $25.
What do you think? Is this just the accessory you need to take your iPad-powered photography to the next level, or do you prefer your cameras old-school -- meaning on your phone?