In this discussion we are going to look at the best tablet cameras that you can buy right now. Tablets have always been favored as the middle ground between a laptop and a smartphone. Something with a noticeably larger screen, reasonable amount of power and the convenience of a pen or pencil that improves productivity.
Let’s face it people buy tablets for a lot of reasons but photographers buy them specifically to assist them in their work. And that includes working as a mobile digital portfolio, as a retouching tool on the go and in this case a replacement for their smartphone as a handy photography tool. So, it’s not always about the best tablet cameras, but as a complete package.
Needless to say, a discussion of the best tablet cameras cannot be complete without a mention of the latest and greatest Apple iPads. The brand has always enjoyed a favorable response every time they rolled out a new product out of its assembly line.
The iPad Pro does not win the consumers favor just because of the brand name though. It is a sheer powerhouse of productivity and convenience. And yes it also shoot great photos. So, here we are putting the Apple iPad Pro right up as the first preferred choice for those looking for the best tablet cameras.
7MP front & 12MP rear camera, retina display, supports 4k video;
7MP front & 12MP rear camera, retina display, supports 4k video;
7MP front & 8MP back camera, 2,048 x 1,536 pixels resolution (Retina), supports 4k video;
5MP front & 8MP rear camera display, 2,736 x 1,824 pixels resolution, versatile 2-in-1 laptop;
5MP Front & 13 MP rear dual camera, 1,600 x 2,560 pixels display resolution, versatile 2-in-1 laptop;
Five of the Best Tablet Cameras Compared
- Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch with 12 MP camera (Editors’ Pick)
- Apple iPad Pro 11-inch with 12 MP camera
- Apple iPad Mini 7.9-inch with 8 MP camera
- Microsoft Surface Pro 6, 12.3-inch with 8 MP camera
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 6 10.5-inch with 13 MP camera
1. Apple iPad Pro 12.9″ (2020 Model)
7MP Front & 12MP Rear Camera
This latest generation iPad Pro is smaller in physical size, but still has a large screen size. The camera supports 4k video. It’s ideal for taking & editing photos.
The latest series of iPad comes in four different versions and sizes:
- The iPad Pro 12.9-inch (which we discuss right after this),
- the iPad Pro 11-inch and
- the smaller 7.9-inch iPad Mini.
- Plus, there is also the Apple iPad 10.5-inch.
We discuss the first three here as a part of our discussion of the best tablet cameras. But first the Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch.
While all the four iPads mentioned above are great for shooting photos, the iPad Pro 11″ and the iPad Pro 12.9″ stand out because of the processing power that they pack in. Considering that you are not only going to shoot photos, but also edit and retouch them once in a while, so you need the processing power to back up your photography exploits too. And what better way to retouch but the latest iPad?
The iPad Pro 12.9″ is identical to the iPad Pro 11-inch that we will cover below. Except of course the screen size and resolution. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro offers a resolution of 2732 x 2048 pixels which gives it the familiar 264 ppi Retina Display.
The iPad is powered by the same Apple 12Z Bionic SoC (System on Chip) and is paired with the M12 Motion Co-processor. The SoC has the similar 8 Cores divided into 4 performance cores and 4 power efficiency cores. The new SoC is capable of handling 5 Trillion operations per second. Same as in the iPad Pro 11-inch.
Now coming to the all important factor about the camera. The rear (main camera) is a 12 megapixel unit with a fixed aperture lens. Maximum aperture being f/1.8. It has phase detection auto-focusing and comes with a 4 x LED dual tone flash for better skin tones and accurate white balance.
2. Apple iPad Pro 11-inch Wi-Fi 256 GB with 12 Megapixel Rear Camera
Same camera, but smaller screen
The Apple 11″ iPad Pro is easier to carry around than the 12.9″ model. Still, you get same Apple power and apps you need to edit your photos.
The iPad Pro 11″ has the latest Apple 12Z chipset. It is paired with the M12 Motion Co-processor. The advantage of the A12Z Bionic chip is that the system comes with 8 Cores divided into 4 performance cores and 4 power efficiency cores. The Motion Coprocessor chip, the GPU, has a total of 8 cores.
A large tablet screen size means higher changes of packing in more display pixels. The 11″ real estate has 2,388 x 1,668 pixels. That basically means it conforms to the 264 ppi display resolution (Retina Display). The brightness level can be set to a maximum of 600 cd/m².
Camera specifications are identical to the iPad Pro 12.9-inch so you should experience the same quality photos. But of course you will now have a slightly smaller space to review them as well as edit them.
3. Apple 7.9″ iPad Mini with 8 Megapixel Rear Camera
Our Budget Pick
7MP front & 8MP back camera
If you don’t mind 4MP less on the back camera and prefer a small size tablet, then the iPad Mini is the right pick for you.
What is cute, almost as powerful as the iPad Pro 12.9-inch and perfect for everyday browsing? Well the iPad 7.9″ Mini of course! And the fact that the iPad Mini comes with an 8 megapixel rear camera means it is reasonably powerful when it comes to shooting stills as well.
Notice that I said “reasonably powerful”. This is because when you compare the iPad Pro 12.9″ with the iPad 7.9″ Mini, there is some difference in the camera resolution, maximum aperture and of course the processing power. The maximum aperture of the lens is f/2.4, which is roughly a stop slower than the rear lens of the iPad Pro 12.9″. Still when it comes to display resolution, off-the-box color accuracy and ease of use the iPad Mini 7.9″ is way ahead of its competition.
Powering the iPad 7.9-inch is the Apple A12 Bionic chip. This is the “older” SoC which powers some of Apple’s best iPhones till date. This one has a Hexa core architecture. 2 of these are performance cores and 4 are efficiency cores. While it is not as fast as the 12X Bionic SoC, it is faster than the outgoing A11 SoC. Apple states it is 15% more efficient than the A11’s CPU performance. Additionally, it consumes 50% less power compared to the older chip.
Regarding display resolution it is pertinent to mention that the smaller display size translates to a smaller real estate. But even then the screen packs in more pixels. 2,048 x 1,536 pixels to be precise. Which translates into a Apple 7.9″ iPad Mini with 8 Megapixel . Incidentally, it is higher than the two other iPads we have listed here. Even higher than the 10.5″ iPad. All the other three having a display pixel density of 264 ppi.
4. Microsoft 12.3″ Multi-Touch Surface Pro 7
5MP Front & 8MP Rear Camera
If you are a Microsoft user and are looking for a laptop replacement but also want to take photos, then the Surface Pro is the right choice.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 12.3-inch (Surface Pro 6) as it is also known as is probably more suitable for photo editing thanks to the powerful Quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor. The system is paired with a 16 GB LPPDR3 RAM for faster performance.
The large 12.3-inch screen real estate offers a display resolution of 2,736 x 1,824px. That translates into a pixel density of 267 ppi. Which is slightly larger than both the iPad Pro 11″ and the iPad Pro 12.9″ that we discussed above. But in reality the difference is academic.
The best thing about the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is the Microsoft Pen. But let’s not talk about that. Let’s talk about the camera. The rear or main camera offers a resolution of 8 megapixel. While that is more than enough for the casual snapshot, there is no reason to compare its performance with a proper camera.
5. Samsung Galaxy Tab 6 10.5-inch with 13 Megapixel Rear Camera
Great Value for Money
The traditional PC experience
This tablet has 2 rear cameras (dual wide and ultra-wide ) and one front-facing 8MP camera. Like the Surface Pro, it can be used as a powerful laptop too.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 6 is a brand new tablet. The screen size of the tab is 10.5″ and provides ample real estate to make and edit your photos. The display resolution of the AMOLED screen of the Galaxy Tab S6 is 1,600 x 2,560px. That translates into a pixel density of 287 ppi.
Powering the Galaxy Tab S6 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8150 chipset. The chipset is a 1 GHz Kryo 485 Octa-core unit. Paired with it is an Adreno 640 GPU.
Now about the all-important camera unit because we are really looking for the best tablet cameras and not merely the best tablets. Okay, so there are two rear main cameras on the Samsung Galaxy S6 10.5″, not one. It is the only tablet to do so on this list. One of which has 13 megapixel resolution and an aperture of f/2.2 while the other has 5 megapixel resolution with an aperture of f/2.
All the tablets have a front facing camera including the Apple iPads listed above. But we have restricted ourselves to focus only on the rear main camera which is the only serious camera when it comes to photography. The front camera is only good for selfies.
While the iPad Pro 12.9″ and the iPad Pro 11″ have the brighter rear cameras of the lot, the advantage is not much. Both these tablets come with an f/1.8 aperture lens.
The second best is the latest Samsung Galaxy Tab 6 10.5″ with a maximum aperture f/2.2. But when it comes to sheer resolution the Samsung Galaxy Tab 6 has the higher resolution.
But we pick the iPad Pro 12.9-inch with the 12 megapixel rear camera as our choice from among the best tablet cameras available right now because of the overall package that it offers.
Rajib is an avid travel photographer and an overall shutterbug. He loves to test and review new photography gear. He has been writing about cameras and lenses for over 10 years now. You can consider him as your “master guide” here at PhotoWorkout.
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