My Journal

Fascinating insights into the worlds of photography and website design.

20 Aug '12

category: Nexus 7
written by: Matt
comments: 3 comments

Turning a nexus 7 android tablet into a very useful
photography tool

As a tech enthusiast, I ordered a Google Nexus 7 the instant it came on the market for pre-order.  I already own an iPad and an Android smartphone but with this sitting somewhere in the middle - a 7" screen - and the fact it was kinda cheap at £160, I just ... bought it.

So, a few days after receiving this little beauty I started to wonder whether it could be used as a tool for reviewing my images on-site when out with my camera.  And having looked into the possibility I soon discovered that no, out of the box, it couldn't do this.


But wait.  Hang on.  Why not?  The tools are there,, the hardware is ample, there's a perfect little mini-USB socket which I definitely have half a dozen different cables that'll fit...

So,a bit of Googling and a bit of assuming later, I found a solution.  It was a tad tricky so I thought I'd post a little 'how to' guide on here in case someone else wanted to have a go.

1. Rooting.  For those that don't know, Rooting your Android device is basically unlocking the core functions and opening the hood. You are, essentially, turning off 'idiot-proofing'.  There are a few guides ut there for rooting the device so there's little point in me rewriting it all.  The best guide around is here, and it's very easy to follow.

2. Once your device is Rooted, you have unlocked the mini-USB port's ability to work as a *real* USB port.  For this to be most useful, you want a mini-USB to, er, 'Normal' USB adapter.  I used this one from Amazon.  At £2.50 it's a bargain.

3. Once you have your cable, you can attach pretty much anything.  I haven't tried connecting the camera directly to the Nexus 7, and I don't think you should either. So what you need is a small card-reader.  As I use Compact Flash cards, my card reader is fairly bulky, but if your camera uses SD cards you can find some really tiny little USB readers that'll plug right into that cable and remain fairly tidy.

4. Finally, you want an image viewer.  If you shoot in JPEG format, you have all the tools now to use the Nexus 7 as an image viewer.  However, if like me you shoot RAW - or NEF, in Nikon cameras, you will want an app like RawDroid which is available on Google Play for free, currently.  I've tried a few of the RAW viewers and this one's the best, in my opinion.  It's got all the features you'd want and it's simple to use.  It even allows you to rate the images on the card so that when you import them to, for instance, Adobe Lightroom, your images are imported with the rating already.  Awesome.

So, in summary... With a small amount of faffing, this was in fact a very easy process.  It's really Google's fault for locking the USB functionality of the mini-USB port, meaning you have to root the thing.  After that it's plain sailing.  I now use my Nexus 7 on every photography excursion and it's very easy to review my images on the fly to make sure I got the shot I wanted.


23 July '12

category: Photography
written by: Matt
comments: 0 comments

Dorking in pictures

I was finally 40 years old this week, and despite my age I managed to get out to do some photos around Dorking for the Visit Dorking website today. It's all been a bit last-minute as I wasn't sure I had the time to take part but I managed to find a couple of hours between panics jobs today to get some shots.  A quick tour around Ranmore, Gomshall, Shere, and Silent Pool  and I had a decent dozen images to submit, so it was an afternoon well spent.  I've included a couple above but you can see the rest on the Recent Projects page.

I'm not really allowed to do Black & White, or any retouching, as the main idea is to have simple, 'honest', photography of Dorking for the tourism website.

I will have to submit a good few more over the next 2 months so watch this space for more!