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iPhone Camera vs Canon Camera for Taking Tour Photos

Hi Everyone,

Rick states that a camera is the most common item to be lost , broken, or stolen. With this in mind, I wanted to ask if you just use your iPhone or bring a dedicated camera when you go on tour. I, personally, have an iPhone XR and a Canon EOS.

Thank you.


Posted by
8667 posts

That sounds like old advice from pre-cell phone days. One of many things that could be updated. I just use my phone, and sparingly at that. But fear of losing a camera is not my reason - ease of use and not looking for more than a few snapshots is my reason.

Posted by
1600 posts

Depends on how serious a photographer you are. Myself, I carry a small Canon interchangeable lens mirrorless camera with only 2 lenses. I have given up carrying the heavy DSLRs

Posted by
7473 posts

We stopped bringing a camera several years ago and just use our iPhones. And photos are my trip souvenir.

For this year’s trip, I purchased a Loopy for my phone. My daughter has used one for her phone, and I wanted something more secure like it. It worked very well and was especially handy when using Apple Pay or walking on the wood plank walkways of Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia.

Posted by
2925 posts

I always took a “real” camera until June’s trip when I only used my phone for pictures. I saved 1 1/2 lbs carrying weight which was my goal. Photo quality was good but not as good as the Nikon camera. No one except me really looks at the pictures, about 900 of them, so it really doesn’t matter. What I really liked was the ability to edit and caption pictures as soon as I took then, reminding me what I saw. I’ll save the weight and only use my phone from now on.
So I don’t drop or leave the phone, I tether it to my purse or wear the lanyard around my neck.

Posted by
877 posts

There are a variety of snap-on lenses for iPhones (they snap into the lens maker's special iPhone case that looks just like any other one, but which has a receiver slot for the lenses). I have been very satisfied with my single add-on telephoto lens in addition the the usual iPhone lens. Just a little personalization. But as already mentioned, the thousands of photos I have taken over a number of decades using the best technology I could afford rarely get accessed, so fewer, quicker, nicer, more easily stored and manipulated photos are the way I go now.

Posted by
66 posts

As Bob notes, it comes down to how serious a photographer you are. Phones have reasonable quality for simple snaps and portraits, walking the alleyways of Venice, etc. Memories saved. If all you want are Instagram (et al) sharing and watching on a tablet, it’s all good. Telephoto, sharpness in the corners, working the exposure, capturing action via fast fps, etc. not so much.

I couldn’t imagine traveling without my camera (Nikon Z5 w/ 14-30S and 24-200 or lighter kit Z50 w/ 12-28, 16-50 and 18-140 pending trip needs) but then I enjoy the hobby of photography. I also use my iPhone 13pro for evenings to keep it lighter and when it’s not about “photography”.

Never felt insecure about my kit, but then it’s not crazy expensive, I don’t flaunt it and I don’t advertise with branded straps, etc. I can’t imagine simple pickpocketed cash or cards isn’t the most stolen property. Breaking or “losing” my camera? Not likely.

Canon EOS is a nice kit. If you enjoy the art of photography, you’ll be glad it’s with you. You can always leave it in the hotel safe if you want a day footloose. But I think you will find times you wish you had it if you don’t.

Posted by
2259 posts

I agree, it depends on how serious of a photographer you are and if you don't mind hauling the Cannon along. We use our iPhones about 95% of the time and have not been disappointed. I did have the lenses that you could attach when I had the XR, but I have the 13 pro now and don't need those. On a few past trips I have taken my dads old professional Canon (SLR, long before digitals) and have had some great shots with that. I decided to take it along on our trip this summer and am anxious to get the photos back (tomorrow of course). It is heavy, so I did not take it on the 10-12 mile long hikes, but it was nice to have for short spurts.

Posted by
3267 posts

I love my cameras. That being said I have reduced the size/weight for recent trips. I now carry a compact(?) dslr: Canon g1x. I love playing with camera functions even though I am not a great photographer… As far as I am concerned it takes almost the photos I want. LOL For my Camino the gear weighed 2 1/2 lbs and fit in a 1 1/2 liter waist pack. No one wants my camera these days and I never felt it was at risk.

My iPhone, on the other hand, takes the photos it wants to take…outside I can’t even see the potential photo in the screen, but rather have to hope… There is no fun in that. Plus my phone is valuable to me for many reasons and it would be the worst hardship to lose or break or have stolen of anything I have on a trip. That is the piece of equipment I most worry about…not passport or credit card, etc. Those are replaceable.

On my Camino there was one day I didn’t use my camera and barely used my phone, but it was a day I wanted to see if I could maintain the pace of the fastest in my Camino family. I did, but photos are more fun than keeping up, I learned. LOL

But if I were traveling on a trip by car or landscape beauty, and not walking for miles each day, I would take my EOS. It can always stay in the room. There is nothing like the feel of a solid camera in my hand.

Posted by
5067 posts

After several decades as a serious photographer (including free lance for several publications) using Nikon, Olympus, and Pentax equipment, I opted for a small Cannon PowerShot SD 1200 IS for travel when the camera world went digital. It has a great deal of flexibility, so one can operate it manually and not just point and shoot.
The results are amazing for a camera that can literally fit in one's shirt pocket. Anyone who has used good quality "do it yourself" cameras in the past should be able to achieve very good results with such small cameras.
Composition, lighting, shadows, exposures, and such are still the same regardless of the equipment. Not sure what today's Cannon equivelent is, but I'm sure there is one. Our experience with phone cameras hasn't been that good. They just don't have the same flexibility as a real camera. And we've never had one lost, broken, or stolen in many trips to Europe.

Posted by
847 posts

I am a serious photographer. I never laugh or even smile when taking pictures with my phone. Nor do I want too cheerful of a subject.

Posted by
32273 posts

I always travel with my venerable Canon dSLR (usually with a medium range zoom and a wide angle lens), a P&S and my iPhone, and I've never had problems with that approach. I use the dSLR as my primary camera because it has the settings and flexibility to get the results I want. I use the P&S and iPhone for "less artistic" subjects and as a backup if necessary.

Posted by
819 posts

I love my DSLR anf my old Canon A-1 before that. and in truth you cant ever beat good glass. And sizes does matter for both lenses and sensors.
And my little canon pocket camera still takes a better photo in general and has a true physical zoom lens. And thus is better then my Iphone 13 or even the top of the line cellphone camera from any other manufacturer.
So if you are looking for the absolute best photos there you go.
That being said I am going to leave my beloved camera and lenses home this year.
This trip is over busy and a lot of it is places i have been before or that you cant take photos so this seamed like the ideal trip to try to minimize my cameras. So i will take mt pocket camera and my phone and see what happens.

I used mostly my phone on a trip to New Mexico last year and it did a good enough job. I am not trying to sell these photos nor blow them up to cover a wall. So i can live with a bit reduced quality.
But in truth everyone will have yo make that choice for themselves.

Posted by
2745 posts

I took a point and shoot up to about three years ago. Since then, I’ve relied on my iPhone and never looked back. It is so much easier in every way. My old iPhone (10x) took good pictures that were roughly as good as my point and shoot. Last fall I get a new iPhone (14 pro max) and it takes better pictures than my point and shoot by far, especially in low light. Of course my photos are not as good as a good camera (except maybe in bright sunlight), but that’s fine with me. My iPhone is much lighter and I have it with me anyway. It’s amazing to me how good the pictures from a new iPhone are.

Posted by
32273 posts

One other point to consider. If you're planning to use your iPhone as your only camera, it would be a good idea to equip it with a lanyard or other attachment in case it falls or is knocked out of your hand and ends up in a river (or whatever). Mobile phones are also a target of thieves, so that's another possible problem. If you lose your phone during a trip, you've not only lost your camera but also your means of communicating and a bunch of other things. I always make sure I have a backup, and prefer to primarily use a regular camera and use my iPhone sparingly for photos.

Posted by
819 posts

That is a good point. I added a case with lanyard to my phone for this upcoming trip and I am bring my pocket camera in part for situations I would rather not trust the fate of my expensive phone to my grasp.

Posted by
1319 posts

Of late, ritzy iPhone as main ‘camera’ with ye olde Panasonic (Lumix) pocket compact with extra SD card and batteries as back up. It’s survived (the compact) my best attempt to drown it, so I guess a) it’s pretty rugged and b) I owe it one!


P.S. When out and about iPhone is in either (maybe sometimes both) a sealable waterproof/dust proof case with lanyard or dry bag.

Posted by
8667 posts

When I traveled with a camera, I'd put some duct tape on it in a few places to make it look like a less desirable broken relic. Cant tell if it worked or not but I felt better about it.

Posted by
1268 posts

I like the challenge of trying to take a "serious" photograph with a phone.

Posted by
32273 posts

"I like the challenge of trying to take a "serious" photograph with a phone."

I also don't mind a challenge once-in-a-while, but not if it means missing the shot. The newer smart phones are certainly more capable of taking good photos as are P&S cameras in some situations, but they still lack the flexibility and capabilities of a DSLR. If I need to take a shot quickly, I can frame the photo, auto focus and press the shutter within a few seconds.

Posted by
2147 posts

I like taking photos and always take a camera (currently a Canon G7) on my trips. I also take my iPhone but don’t really rely on it for pictures. If I find someone willing to take our photo, I just give them the phone as it seems everyone can use a phone but few are comfortable using another person’s camera. I am careful with my stuff but don’t worry about people trying to steal anything. I would like to take a “better” camera but I don’t want to haul it around and worry about breaking it.

Posted by
11 posts

I used to use a heavier DSLR and moved to a smaller mirrorless which I find pretty easy to lug around. There are just some shots where a phone can't quite do justice to the scene - that said, we end up using a combination of the mirrrorless camera and the phone and end up with a good mix. Tip if you are using both is to make sure the clock on your camera is set to where you are visitng and matches your phone so you all your pictures are chronological when you load them back onto your mac or PC when you get home.

Posted by
206 posts

I used to bring my Canon PowerShot but now just bring my iPhone because it has an excellent camera (except for night shots). By now I’m used to it. I always have it on me, but I didn’t always have my PowerShot on me.

With my PowerShot, it was cumbersome to download the photos from the SD card to my ipad for storage and emailing. But, having that system was like backing them up. On h other hand now I have iCloud…and I have a very good camera in my iPhone model(good enough for my needs).

If I was a professional photog, I woild probably. bring my SLR and extra lenses.

Now I just want to simplify what I bring and be responsible for less stuff.

I made myself a good neck tether for my phone so if I drop it, I’m covered. My phone fits into several interior pockets of jackets and vests, and also in some zippered pants pockets when I’m not using the tether.

On the metro or other crowd situations I would be mindful of pickpockets. I wouldn’t leave my phone on a cafe table but that is common sense. Wouldn’t leave my PowerShot on a cafe table either.

I wonder what you will decide to do?