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Camera vs. iPhone

I've been thinking a little bit about minimizing the times I pull my iPhone out of my pocket. That would be expensive to replace.

Is there such a thing as a digital camera I could buy that takes pictures as well as an iPhone 6S with WiFi capabilities so I could upload the pictures daily to a web based platform and back them up? For around a couple hundred dollars? I won't be taking a lap top so I couldn't download pictures that way.

If not, I suppose I will take the chance using my phone as I originally planned. Or consider film. My dad has plenty of film cameras and I have plenty of time to practice.

Posted by
8860 posts

I used to travel with my iPhone and a camera. I stopped taking a camera a couple of years ago. One less thing to take, including the charger or extra batteries, etc. I've never had an issue. I don't ask strangers to take a photo for me unless they ask me to take one for them first, or if it is a safe looking family. I try to travel light, including while I am out for the day. Having one less thing to think about is nice.

Posted by
2574 posts

I'm with Andrea. My collection of point and shoot cameras gather dust. I bought one with WiFi to upload to my computer and never was happy with the quality compared to my iPhone 6S.

Posted by
115 posts

I use a sony digital camera. It does all that and is small too. I have the DSC HX 50 but there are newer versions as well. They are in the 300-400.00 range.

Posted by
21846 posts

Just about any P&S camera will take much better pictures than an iphone especially with a zoom feature. Most of the newer ones have wifi capability. The iphone is fine if all you want to do is post pictures to the internet, facebook, etc. Quality does not matter for internet posting. If looking to do more with the photos especially if you want to print some pictures for framing, then you need a better quality camera.

Posted by
12972 posts

I now use the Canon Power Shot point and shoot digital camera, It comes with a battery charger and the battery pack. Just in case an extra battery is on me when I'm out about in Europe. I don't use an iPhone.

Posted by
726 posts

At the last minute, I decided to squeeze my DSLR into my carry on (which took up valuable space). I just knew I would want to use it hiking the Swiss mountains. After the first day, I ditched the camera and used my iPhone 7 plus exclusively. It was liberating and I still got some fantastic pictures. I also purchase a san disk I-expand ($50.00). This way I could back up my pictures every night and not have to worry about taking my laptop and losing pics. It worked out great. I even uploaded (wi-fi) to the Shutterfly app - which stored my pics. I knew I would be making a photobook upon my return. I contemplating buying a smaller point and shoot (Looked at Sony) but Decided to upgrade my iPhone. It really all depends on what you plan on using your photos for upon your return.

Posted by
31516 posts


This discussion seems to recur on a fairly regular basis on the forum, so I'll provide my usual comments......

Yes, there is such a thing as a digital camera with Wi-Fi capabilities that takes better pictures than an iPhone. This is one model - . You could also have a look at this - .

It's important to remember that the small sensors used in smartphone cameras have some definite limitations, with two of the more notable being low light pictures and subjects in motion. Another notable issue with smartphone cameras is that except for the iPhone 7S+, phones typically use only a very limited digital zoom which tends to distort pictures to some extent by manipulating the pixels. The camera listed above has a very capable optical zoom with a Zeiss lens, so will always produce better zoom images.

I should add that my photography gear consists of an iPhone, a P&S Camera and a DSLR, so I have a range of kit available depending on the application and I'm familiar with the type of images they're each capable of. The DSLR is used most of the time as that's the only camera that provides the flexibility and capability to get the shots I want in a variety of conditions. As I only shoot in RAW with the DSLR, that provides tremendous latitude in the end result. Photography is an important aspect of my travels as I may only get to some places once in my life, so I want some good pictures to remember them. While the DSLR is a bit of a "pain" to haul around at times, there's no way I will ever travel without it.

One final comment is that after using digital cameras, I will never go back to film. Experienced film photographers can get good results as they know how to deal with the quirks of film (ie: having to work with one ISO setting for the entire roll). Digital provides so much more flexibility.

Bottom line..... I'd recommend packing along at least a good quality P&S Camera. They're very small and light and not really a huge problem to carry around Europe.

Posted by
118 posts

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to reply. I really appreciate it. I have checked out all the links and I think I will work on getting a camera around Black Friday :)

I've kinda come to the conclusion I'm going to spend a bit more than I thought but I do want to bring a camera.

Posted by
607 posts

I agree with comments that even simple cheap digital camera will be as good if not better than smartphone. As good as an iphone is, a dedicated camera has some advantages, as mentioned above. I find the ergonomics and dedicated control buttons and dials of a camera to be more conducive to better picture taking. A simple thing like the wrist strap on a camera makes a huge difference in avoiding a drop. Get the right tool for the job.

Don't bother with practising with film. The saved cost of film and processing would go a long way towards the purchase of a new digital camera, memory card or extra battery.

Posted by
11435 posts

There is another alternative.....if you have an old smartphone that you don't use, take it along as your camera. You don't have to have cell service. As long as it can connect to wifi, you can back up your photos. And if something should happen to it, at least it's not your main phone.

Posted by
3241 posts

The problem with Frank II's strategy-the newer the iphone the better the camera!

Posted by
3493 posts

The most current cell phones, like the iPhone 7, have massively improved cameras over even the previous version especially in low light and motion capture. I use only my iPhone 7 now as a camera and have been very happy with it. The latest iPhone can even do RAW format photo output if that's your thing. Sure, you can find point n shoot cameras that produce better output than your cell phone, but why drag extra stuff with you when you don't need to. I understand if you a professional photographer or it is you hobby and you want to bring your DSLR set up that is different.

My last point n shoot did not have WiFi, but I found a memory card that did. You had to have a computer of some sort with WiFi to pull the pictures off the memory card as it did not have an interface to allow you to push the images from the card. It worked, but the cell phone is much easier.

Forget film. Not only do you have a (possibly) bulky camera to drag around, you have the film too. I remember taking a gallon zip bag of film cans with me. And then there was the expense of developing film when I got home and ending up throwing away over half the pictures I took because they were simply no good. You can't just delete a bad image from a roll of film! Not fun. And you have to worry about the x-ray machines at airports being a little too thorough and impacting the film so your pictures look fuzzy. Since almost no one carries film any more, the security guys at the airport probably won't know how to inspect it without possibly ruining it.

Posted by
31516 posts

"The latest iPhone can even do RAW format photo output if that's your thing."

Yes, but there's still the limitation of the small sensor.

Of course, if you can wait until Nov. 3rd and can afford the new iPhone X, you should be able to get reasonably good quality photos, as it has a dual camera system with some degree of optical zoom - . Given the cost it would be a major problem if it was ever stolen or damaged though.

Posted by
17 posts

I know that there snapachat glasses which take a picture. Maybe there are non snapchat glasses which can still take a picture. I will try to find more info

Posted by
5750 posts

Agree 100% with Ken's comments above - and I take the same gear (plus a bit more) because getting good photos is important to me, and one of the reasons I travel.

The newer iPhones can take good pictures. And there's an old axiom, "the best camera is the one you have with you when you want to take a picture." But when the going gets tough, phones are no match for a good camera (as noted previously, it's a limitation of the sensor). When conditions are right iPhones can take surprisingly good pictures. But under other conditions, they stink. Nevertheless, my wife loves her iPhone 7+ and I have to grudgingly admit it is light, small and often takes great photos.

As an example, we just got back from a trip to Sardinia. There are flamingoes there. My wife is crazy for flamingoes, and wanted nice photos of them. We saw some a couple of days, just before sunset. On my wife's iPhone, her photos were grainy, with little pink dots - those were the flamingoes she wanted so badly. With my DSLR and the 400mm zoom lens I had brought along just for that contingency: I got full-frame close-ups of these stunning and freaky-looking birds that looked incredible. When I showed her, she finally said she was glad I spent all that money on that expensive gear.

Now, I'll admit the camera (and especially that zoom lens) are heavy, on some days I got tired of lugging them around and questioned my sanity. The gear is expensive (quality stuff is). But when I needed it, it delivered.

It all depends on your priorities. I was glad I brought 3 cameras (DSLR, point-and-shoot, and iPad) plus extra zoom lens - each worked in different circumstances, and none of the three would have been able to get all the photos. Your priorities may be/probably are different, but for some of us, the weight, bulk, expense and hassles are well worth it.

Posted by
1068 posts

The important things about phone vs camera have been stated and I will not reiterate. Wanted to add I too am in the take the right camera for the right job camp. Just got back from Sicily, Malta, Belgium and the Netherlands. Took full frame camera, walk around camera and cell. Once or twice, having a quick meal for example, the cell came in handy. At the other times, a city tour in several instances, the walk around camera came in handy (it has a larger sensor than most PS cameras, Zeiss lens and shoots RAW), and for major sites I liked the full frame. It all depends on you, your priorities and what you want to do with your pics. As mentioned above, it also includes where/what you are shooting. Going to Africa with a cell is not necessarily a great idea (if you are there to get pics of animals.)

Posted by
17 posts

I will be taking pictures in low light. So after research, I will be "renting" a Canon Powershot G7 Mark II. I won't use the camera after I get back so didn't want to spend the $$$ on purchasing a new one and this was a good option. Since I'll be gone for three weeks, I rented it for 30 days -- a few days before my trip and a few days after my trip. I also am renting extra batteries since I'll be out and about for 8-10 hours a day. That way I have plenty of battery. The Canon has Wi-Fi access and you can upload to several sites.

Posted by
15 posts

As I like to say when I see people taking pictures with a phone: that's not a camera, that's a phone.

If you want to get good pictures, get a good camera with a good zoom lens. You'll have to spend money, but it's worth it. Visit a local camera store to get the best advice on which camera.

Posted by
154 posts

I think a lot of this boils down to picture quality. I'm not a professional photographer, so I don't have the level of discernment of someone who is, but add me to the "digital cameras gathering dust" crowd. My iPhone 7 Plus takes as good or better pictures than any of my P&S cameras. The dual lens system on that model was a game changer in my opinion, and once you get comfortable with it, there's no reason (for me, anyway) to carry a separate camera. (Other than the security aspect, as mentioned before--I'd be uncomfortable asking strangers to take pics of me with the iPhone.)

I'm not crazy about the ridiculous prices Apple charges for iCloud storage over the free 5GB you get with the phone, so I use Google Photos on automatic upload when connected to wifi and turn off the automatic iCloud upload on the phone. It's free and has unlimited storage. You can get the same deal with Microsoft's OneDrive if you have an Office 365 subscription. And of course, there are the other services like Dropbox.

I usually take my iPad Pro with me on trips, so I can edit or delete photos at the hotel or when I get home. There are a lot of free photo editing apps that get the job done.

It probably just comes down to personal preference, kind of like the old "vinyl versus CD/digital" debate among audiophiles.