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Is iPhone 6 a good camera for Europe?

I currently have a Nikon Coolpix that I took to Europe in 2012. I am wondering if I would get good pics with my iPhone 6 or should I cart the Nikon around when we return to Europe this summer? Do I need both, or one or the other?

Posted by
31111 posts

Eileen,

I'd suggest taking both the iPhone 6 as well as the Nikon Camera. I've found that phone cameras have some definite limitations, so I always prefer to have at least one proper camera on trips. If good quality photos of the places you're visiting are important, you'll be more likely to get those from a camera rather than a phone.

You may find it interesting to read this recent Thread on the topic.....

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/tech-tips/camera-vs-cellphone

Posted by
2365 posts

Do you take pictures with the phone at home or on trips in the US? How do you like them? I have a iphone5 and don't love the camera. My husband has a 6 and it is better but still not as good as even a basic camera. So I would take the Nikon. You will probably have your phone anyway, so use it if you can't get the camera out in time or something, but use the nikon for anything special. However, plenty of people like phone cameras - go around, take pictures with it and the nikon in your neighborhood and see if you think you do better with the Nikon.

Coolpix has some pretty tiny pocket cameras - if it's one of those, I wouldn't even hesitate. Bring it! If it's one of the bulkier ones, it may be a lot to lug around, but if you make better photos on it, it is worth it.

One thing with phone cameras - those things are always thrown in bags and whatnot and the lens gets filthy. Clean off the lens regularly, which will improve your photos!

Also, if you do choose to use the phone, there are photo apps that can help. I don't use these much so can't help, but if you ask around I'm sure people will suggest some good ones.

Posted by
31111 posts

"Also, if you do choose to use the phone, there are photo apps that can help. I don't use these much so can't help, but if you ask around I'm sure people will suggest some good ones."

A couple of good photo apps for iPhones (at least IMHO).....

There are lots of photo apps to choose from, but I tend to use Camera+ most of the time. The "Clarity" option really seems to make a dramatic improvement.

Posted by
213 posts

Eileen,
Great question! I got an iPhone 6+ end of last year and have used it almost exclusively for photos. The quality is great and I love the ease of airdropping to my Mac and sharing from the phone. The ONLY problem I am having and it's pretty significant, is outside in bright sunlight it is really hard to see the screen! I was wondering if anyone has experience in dealing with this issue? I would love to take only my iPhone but will take a small point and shoot if I can't fix this problem. I have to say though, it seems hard to see the photos on my camera screen now as it is so much smaller than the 6+ screen (excluding the glare from bright sunlight of course). Would love to hear from any fellow travelers about how they deal (or not) with this issue. If I can get the glare problem figured out, I will not even consider taking my camera; I never use it any more at home.
Happy Travels!

Posted by
31111 posts

Jaye,

Unfortunately, difficulty viewing the screen is a problem that plagues both Smartphones and some P&S Cameras. I tend to use a "proper" camera most of the time and one of the P&S models I use (Panasonic) takes great pictures, but I often have to "guess" where to point it in bright sunlight as I can't see the image. The only solution I've been able to come up with so far is to try and shield it with my hat as much as possible.

I also have an older Canon P&S and even though it doesn't have all the bells & whistles of the newer model, it also takes good pictures and more importantly the screen is easily visible in bright sunlight. Of course, this isn't a problem with DSLR's that are equipped with a viewfinder (a few P&S models also have viewfinders).

Posted by
213 posts

Ken,

Thanks for your reply. Sounds like I will need to find a P&S camera with a viewfinder or just deal with the sunlight issue on my iPhone and hope for the best. This is one area smart phones fall short and not just for taking photos. Hopefully this will change for the better in the future.

:0)

Posted by
31111 posts

Jaye,

I don't see the situation with cameras on Smartphones improving anytime soon as there are some definite technical limitations. While the phone manufacturers can add all kinds of software and hardware magic to make the cameras as good as possible, there are three limitations that are always going to be a problem.....

  • Zoom range - optical zoom is superior to digital zoom, and produces better quality images. While the digital zoom is reasonably good, it will never be as good as optical zoom on a larger camera due to size constraints. I don't see any way they can overcome that. Many of the superzoom cameras have an optical range of 20-30x using Leica and other high quality Lenses. No way a Smartphone can compete with that.
  • Sensor size - while the phones can produce some good images with an 8 MP sensor, they can't produce the detail of cameras with larger sensors (especially full frame models). I've seen the camera sensor on an iPhone and it's not very big.
  • Image stabilization - While the iPhone 6 Plus has some degree of stabilization, the systems on larger cameras are better able to deal with that.

Of course as the old saying goes, the best camera in the world is the one you have with you when you need it, and in many cases these days that's a Smartphone camera.