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Which tablet takes the best photos?

We test the iPad Air, Tesco Hudl, Nexus 7 and more to find out which tablet is best for photos.

It’s now commonplace for phones to be sold on the strength of their camera, but what about tablets? We’ve received more and more reports of Which? members using their iPad for holiday snaps. But can your tablet really replace your camera or even your smartphone? We put five of the UK’s most popular tablets through their photographic paces to find out.

Best Buy tablets – our top performing test lab performers

Close up photos

To find out how much detail our tablets could capture, we took this close up shot of a bunch of daffodils. Despite the cloudy conditions above, Apple’s iPad Air proved the best tablet for capturing different shades of yellow. With other tablets, the flowers either appeared washed out or uniformly luminous.

Landscape photos

As you can see, we took this landscape shot on an overcast day, meaning there wasn’t a great amount of light available for tablets to capture. Interestingly, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1’s 8-megapixel camera performed well when capturing ground level grass and foliage. Further up the shot, buildings seemingly meld into the sky.

Indoor photos

In the easiest of our four tests, taken in our very own Which? video studio, and most cameras performed at least adequately. The iPad and Surface 2 (above) managed to show up the full spectrum of colour available with reasonable clarity. That said, Tesco’s Hudl couldn’t handle our green screen producing several shades of green from just one – not ideal.

Low light photos

We expected most tablets to perform badly in this test. They simply don’t have the sensor size to capture a good photo in low light. Despite this, we weren’t expecting the Hudl to produce the photo above. How did that green tint permeate the photo? Answers on the back of a postcard please.

Tablet photography – our verdict

Having seen our recent phones vs compact cameras test, we weren’t holding out much hope for these tablet contenders.Apple’s iPad Air and its 5-megapixel sensor held up rather well. Not brilliantly but certainly good enough for the odd spur of the moment snap. Things go down hill from there. While the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, Nexus 7 and Microsoft Surface 2 produced a couple of decent pictures, in general quality was poor. For most occasions, we’d still recommend a compact camera.

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