So the rumored "One More Thing...iSight in the iPad" turned out to be another case of wishful thinking by us fanboys...it happens. I can't say I'm disappointed in my iPad, quite the opposite actually, I love the darn thing, but not having a camera is a little depressing. Fortunately though, the dev community has come to the rescue where Apple has fallen short by giving us apps that add camera functionality, assuming you have an iPhone, that is.
This amazing feat is done by streaming an iPhone's camera feed directly to the iPad via wifi or Bluetooth and using the iPad as a remote to take and store photos. As of now the 2 apps I've found using this concept, Camera for iPad or Camera A, are limited to taking stills but it's certainly better than nothing. While both apps ultimately perform the same function, there are some key differences between them, grab more details after the break.
Let's start with Camera A by VanishLab. First let me clarify that there are actually two separate apps needed for this suite to work, Camera A ($.99) is for the iPad and Camera B (Free) is its sister app for the iPhone 3GS. It's important to note that this app will only run on the 3GS because it takes advantage of the camera's auto focus feature. Thanks to this, the photos taken with Camera A have a slightly crisper look to them then its competitor. Unfortunetly though the user is not given control over the focal point meaning that the object in the middle of the shot is always going to be the center of attention. The coolest feature of Camera A is that it gives you the ability to digitally zoom in up to 6x for taking the photos. Saving a photo is almost instant and you're also given the option of which device you would prefer the photo be saved on.
Camera for iPad ($.99) on the other hand only allows you to save photos to the remote device and has a significantly slower transfer rate. However, notice I said remote device not iPad, that's because this app actually allows you to use any iPhone OS device as the remote and it also allows pictures to be taken from any iPhone model. Adding this support has resulted in the loss of autofocus and is the reason though why Camera A's photos come out nicer. The interface on Camera for iPad is much sleeker and more professional and gives you the ability to change photo/preview quality settings for faster frame rates and smoother streaming. One other additional feature this app has over Camera A is the ability to rotate picture orientation which can save a lot of accelerometer based frustration later.
I should stress though that using the iPhone's camera on the iPad's big screen shows just how low quality that camera actually is and has helped me understand why Apple probably didn't end up including it with the iPad in the first place. For only a buck though it's worth the buy, especially if features like a self timer and focal point control ever get added.