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Go Pro vs. Travel Camera vs. iPhone

I am trying to decide between a Go Pro, Travel Camera and my iPhone camera. I’m uncertain If I will take my iPhone 5 to Italy and Greece (don’t want my contacts, photos, etc. hacked). I used my iPhone under water on a previous trip and it did not capture the underwater beauty (colors were off) of sea life. The waterproof holder I had it in made the phone difficult to use. I missed a shot of a turtle swimming by. Ideally I would like a camera that can take photos in and out of the water. If you recommend a go pro or knock off, which model? What accessories? Don’t want to spend more than $400 (cause I could buy a newer iPhone...LOL).
Thanks in advance!

Posted by
286 posts

For $400 you can get an Olympus “tough” TG5. This is a “go anywhere” camera that is waterproof and dust proof. The lens is F2.0 so it is pretty good in low light. It has excellent features for action shots and macro photography. It also has 4K and slow motion video. I would check it out. I use mine for my for my on stream photography when fly fishing. I fell in this week and the camera was unscathed!

Sony and Panasonic have a number of “super zoom (30X)“ pocket cameras for less than $400. These are not tough but are nice cameras.

Posted by
15993 posts

I would take smallest/lightest option with minimal accessories. You made mention earlier of expecting to be hauling around a 50-lb bag, and got lots and lots of encouragement (!) to try and halve that size/weight for much easier getting-about in Italy. I do travel with a camera (Canon G15) but also travel much lighter than you're expecting to.

If you're not worried about your phone being hacked at home, then don't worry about it being hacked abroad.

Posted by
2768 posts

Seriously, bring the phone for your day-to-day photos and use.

There is no need to worry about hacking any more than at home. And an iPhone is an amazing travel tool for purposes other than photography (calls, obviously, but also maps, directions, language translation, guidebooks, web reviews, tickets and document storage, the list goes on).

If you value underwater photography enough to buy a separate camera for it, do so. There are some good suggestions here, and you can certainly bring this camera out with you. But some days you won’t want to carry it, or are just running to a store and see the perfect scene. Having a phone camera would be great.

Posted by
23431 posts

First, a go pro is just very wide angle video camera and not very suitable for good prints. If you want a flexible camera then you need a decent point and shoot camera. An iphone5 is very marginal when it comes to functioning as a camera.

Posted by
32244 posts


I don't think either of the choices you listed will be ideal for travel photos. The GoPro is primarily a video camera, so not as good for snapshots. iPhone cameras are quite limited in capability, especially in low light situations or with moving subjects. I suspect that underwater photos will be minimal, so I wouldn't choose on that basis. Keep in mind that you're spending thousands of dollars to get to Europe, so coming home with some good pictures is important.

You might instead look at a compact P&S travel camera with a long range optical zoom. Have you got a good camera store in your area? The staff there should be able to recommend a good travel camera.

Posted by
4574 posts

I like to use a zoom camera for closeups of flowers and architectural details so I have a Canon Powershot 30X zoom that I got on eBay. Very happy with it as a travel camera.
I also have a Panasonic underwater camera that I could use as a day to day, but never been as happy with the results and the zoom isn't enough. Results really vary depending on water clarity, light levels, etc. So unless you have a professional set up, you might not be happy despite best intentions when purchasing.

Posted by
635 posts

A newer GoPro can actually be a very nice supplemental (not primary) travel camera. Still photo resolution on the new Hero 7 Black is 4000 x 3000, RAW or jpeg, and the lens is excellent, so it doesn't give up anything to a larger very-wide-angle camera-lens combo. There is now a "linear" mode which mitigates the familiar fish-eye effect. It works well for both interior scenes and outdoor panoramas. Even without these improvements in the later models, some of my favorite images from past trips were made with a simple GoPro Hero 2.

My travel camera ensemble now is a Sony RX100 point-and-shoot, the GoPro Hero 7, and of course the iPhone ... plus that old Samsung WB150F point & shoot stuffed in the bottom of the bag as a backup to the backup. :)

Posted by
53 posts

Smartphone cameras are getting so good now that I've ditched my DSLR as my "walk around" camera while traveling. I do use a GoPro every now and then for wide angle stuff, but 95% of my travel pics are taken with my iPhone 6S.

Only when I want to nail a very special or important shot do I use my DSLR. I still love that thing and it certainly has a purpose, but it's simply too much to lug around everywhere.