Please sign in to post.

No more trips with the camera.

I have always enjoyed photography and have spent thousands on SLRs, dSLRs, point and shoots, lenses, flashes, tripods, etc....

Granted, I have taken some wonderful photos with this gear and technology has progressed so much that even my recent point and shoot, a Sony DSC RX100 III, was taking photos comparable to what my full on pro level kit was taking.

Still, the big camera was heavy, bulky and obtrusive in many situations. For this reason, I ditched the dSLR years ago in favor of the point and shoot. Neither my photos nor my enjoyment of taking pictures suffered.

I have always wondered if I would be able to get by with just my IPhone (currently a 7+) but was afraid of missing my point and shoot for certain shots. So, on my last trip, I did a test. I intended to carry both with me at all times and make note of when I reached for the point and shoot over the Iphone.

Over the first week, I noticed a surprising trend. I had days where not a single photo was taken with the point and shoot. I then started to force myself to use the point and shoot. Surprisingly, I found that this action, even as simple as opening the pack and taking the camera out of its case was disruptive and made many moments feel staged rather than spontaneous. For example, I got many surreptitious photos of my wife browsing at a Christmas market in Alba on the Iphone that happened because no one really noticed I was taking a picture.

The quality was similar. Certainly I do not expect a 24 x 36 enlargement, but image quality is more than enough even without shooting in raw. Another benefit for me was no downloading needed. All archived on the phone, organized by date and location automatically.

On one of our final days, a young man we had dinner with had the new Iphone 11 Pro with the triple lens camera. He showed me photos he had taken and I was blown away by the difference between his images and mine. While many complain that Apple uses in camera algorithmic processing to achieve the photo effects that traditional lens do, I was overall very pleased (actually blown away) by the potential of this unit for traveling.

We are going to Tahiti in June and I will be buying an IPhone 11 pro shortly before the trip as my only digital device. Okay, maybe a kindle for reading on the beach. From my first few Europe trips carrying 5 pounds of gear taking up 1/5 of my pack to now carrying a few ounces in my pocket - I am converted.

Posted by
2281 posts

You’ll be pleased. For many rank photographic amateurs (like me) the iPhone 11 Pro features can be difficult to find and use, although you’d get there eventually. I purchased my phone directly from Apple and used the included one hour tutorial (1:1 on the phone and on line) to go over as much of the camera as possible. I’m producing pictures I never imagined possible with a smart phone. I’ll never be dragging my DSLR to Europe.

Posted by
4777 posts

I find after many trips, I take fewer and fewer pictures, maybe now, a dozen or so in week. The camera stopped traveling long ago when I found it just stayed in the room and if a picture opportunity came up, I had my cell phone.

I also spend a great deal of time just wandering places, so not having to lug a bag or have extra things on me, is great.

Posted by
606 posts

I am expecting delivery of a Pixel 3a on Monday. I have had a chance to examine photos taken by my wife's 3a and they are pretty amazing. My dslr has been gathering dust for years. And my venerable Canon S120 point and shoot is about to be retired.

All of the major smartphone companies (iPhone, Google, Huawei) are pumping out fantastic cameras at a rapid rate. Their technology and features leapfrog each other every six to 12 months. Same time next year, you will probably blown away by an iPhone 12.

On the other hand, a high end DSLR, like the Canon EOS 5D model being sold today, is going into its 4th year. The 5D is still using a DIGIC 6+ image processor, while the newer Canons are up to DIGIC 8.

The camera companies do not sell enough DSLRs each year (tens of thousands vs tens of millions of phones) to justify rapid technology changes. The good news is that there is a trickle down of tech innovations so DSLRs will catch up every now and then. The bad news is that DSLR sales seem to be dropping. DSLRs run the risk of becoming a niche product, or in worse case scenario obsolete or bankrupt (Kodak).

Don't get me wrong, a "real" camera still has its special use for some people; and size (of sensor and lenses) really does matter. However, it is like comparing the latest Prius to a four year old Jeep. For most people, the Prius is the better daily driver with latest innovative tech for gas mileage, safety, convenience etc. For rare serious rock crawling, you need the jeep. However, the reality is that the vast majority of jeeps are only used for mall crawling (I know because I own a jeep). Not too many people can afford to own all the different arrays of lenses for a proper camera system let alone a number of vehicles for any special driving conditions.

Posted by
1503 posts

I too, was blown away by iphone 11 and just recently puchased. It will be the only camera I am taking on our next trip.

Posted by
6018 posts

To each their own. I don't have a fancy smart phone with a good camera and will continue to use my wonderful point and shoot, which is no more bulky or disruptive to my sightseeing than a phone.

Posted by
3946 posts

It depends what you are photographing. Phone cameras vs point and shoot are now pretty comparable, as phone cameras have improved significantly.

My husband has ditched his huge Canon kit with his many lenses and 2 bodies (travel weight of around 15 kgs in hand luggage) for a mirror less Panasonic camera with just a few, lighter lenses, coming in at about half the weight. He photographs wildlife and birds, which you can’t do with a phone or a point and shoot.

Posted by
5017 posts

To each their own. I too have a fancy smart phone with a good camera and will continue to use it, as well as my wonderful compact (more than just point-and-shoot) camera, and my even more wonderful mirror-less DSLR with multiple lenses. All of which is definitely a lot more bulky (and heavy) than a phone, but each has its place, its advantages and disadvantages. In some cases the phone takes great pictures. In other cases, only the big camera with a big lens allows me to get great pictures...there are absolutely many cases when my fancy cell phone (which sure is small, light and easy), would only capture a blurry, flat, dot.

Yes, the phone works well for a lot. But not for all. On every trip I do, I come home with some memorable, wonderful shots that would be impossible with a phone.

The difference is really obvious, because my wife is often right next to me, shooting the exact same stuff, on her iPhone, so we can do side-by-side comparisions. Many things look about as good (sometimes even better) in her phone shots. But then there are the dramatic "wow" photos I get from my big camera that are nothing like what she gets from her phone. That flamingo we saw in Sardinia, on the far side of a lagoon at dusk: in her shot, all you see is a tiny pink dot. In mine, you see the whole bird in crisp, bright, stunning detail - down to each individual feather, vibrant colors, even the bird's pupil(!). There's that shot of a Puffin in the Faroe Islands from last summer: shot on a gray, rainy day, through fog in dim light...her phone shot looks like it was taken from far away, underwater, no detail, everything just soft and gray - is that a puffin in there? Mine shows that puffin in clear, crisp detail with bright colors, you can easily see each of the 9 minnows the puffin had in its mouth, you can see the bird looking at the camera, individual raindrops beading up on its feathers, heck, you can see the details on the faces of the 9 dead fish in it's mouth...

Every trip we take, I come home with at least a few photos like that - shots that are unforgettable, "trip signature shots" that almost define the trip for us, and become a treasured memory in the coming years. Sometimes it's just a few of those shots, sometimes it's more than a few. For me, it's worth it to lug all the photo gear, even though it's super-heavy, fragile and expensive and I worry about it getting bumped or pilfered every time it goes through an airport security check. Yes, it's a hassle. Yes, I could get most of our photos from a phone and those would usually be good enough, often surprisingly good. But I would miss out on the best photos that way. For most folks, a phone will do. But I'm willing to make the sacrifice and schlepp the heavy gear, because the photos I bring back are worth it to me. I just pack less underwear and fewer clothes. ;) Vive la difference.

Posted by
30893 posts

As others have mentioned earlier, each to their own. I do have an iPhone 11 Pro and while it produces very good pictures in some circumstances, it does have noticeable limitations. For example, I was at an indoor, night concert last week and found that it doesn't do well in limited lighting when the performers are moving, even using "night mode". The zoom range is also not sufficient for me to frame the shots the way I want. However I should add that the video results were impressive, especially the sound quality. Unfortunately the files were so big that I had trouble getting them from the phone to other platforms.

I've shot night concerts in the past with a DSLR, and the results were far better. The DSLR provides more flexibility in terms of the right lens for the situation, shutter speed, ISO and other factors that a smartphone camera can't. There have been many times during my trips to Europe where I was able to get shots very quickly due to the speed and capabilities of the DSLR. If I'd had to get my phone out, enter the access code and get it pointing towards the subject, the opportunity would have been lost. The same is true of the P&S cameras I've used to some extent..... after pressing the "power" button, they take some time to wake up, extend the lens and so on. As I always shoot only in RAW, this also allows the ability to modify and "fine tune" the pictures.

If I were buying a new camera today, I'd probably consider one of the mirrorless interchangeable lens models. However I have a considerable investment in my present gear and since I'm on a pension I can no longer afford to upgrade my existing kit every few years with a newer and more compact kit of lenses, filters, flash and all the other stuff that goes with it.

I've achieved some good results with photos from the iPhone cameras, but they don't match the quality of those from the DSLR. Although it's heavy and bulky, I'll continue to haul my DSLR on trips to Europe as it's the only platform that allows me to get the pictures I want. Since I may only get to some places once in my lifetime, I want the best quality photos of those places, and don't want to struggle to get good results.

Posted by
78 posts

It’s funny how my travel style has changed and this is the big driver of my migration to smaller, lighter but somewhat less capable. I rarely take any tele shots and my go to travel lens was 28-70.

I also rarely shoot fast objects in low light. Interior Iphone shots in St. Chapelle really surprised me.

My brother is still an avid hobby photographer whose vacation dream is walking around with his great dSLR kit. My vacation dream has morphed into sitting at an outside cafe after a long hike and watching the world go by. Dang, I am getting lazy!!!

Posted by
589 posts

I like the ease of a point and shoot with a great zoom capability and a wrist strap. I find the phone camera to be very useful when I just want to record something like food or a quick closeup shot, but I find it a little awkward to hold and maneuver and I am always concerned people will bump into me and BAM, there goes my phone crashing to the pavement or down a mountainside. I also like the fact the camera bag (size of the camera) holds an extra battery and I never need to worry about charging when I'm out and clips to a belt loop for easy access. I agree the phone takes a great picture now, but point and shoots are more versatile and cheaper to replace.

Posted by
1159 posts

I find the phone camera to be very useful when I just want to record something like food or a quick closeup shot, but I find it a little awkward to hold and maneuver and I am always concerned people will bump into me and BAM, there goes my phone crashing to the pavement or down a mountainside.

Wrist tethers. I’ve used them for years while hiking in jungles, mountains, river trips.

https://www.amazon.com/Camera-Tethers-GoPro-Cameras-Accessory/dp/B00JCTBSZQ/ref=mpsa14

Posted by
1159 posts

I started using my iPhone 6s for photography back in 2015. I’m not going back ever. It is superior to a point and shoot because it is smaller, lighter, and more available. You can edit the photos using the Apple photo editing apps. In addition, there are other apps that expand the ability and editing of the phone. In fact, I blogged my way through a 5-1/2 week South America trip using only the phone.

I strongly recommend the iPhone Photography School blog as a starting point for iPhone familiarization. The free tutorials, videos, and blog posts highlight capabilities that I never knew about! The author also teaches a fee based photography school if you want to take it to the next level.

Here are some examples from a 6s

Posted by
12084 posts

I took lots of slides with my 35mm Konica C35 in the 1970s to the 1990s. Then I changed to prints.

With a digital now, the Canon Sureshot, still a pretty simple digital relative to others, I take even more pictures since the obvious, those blatantly unsatisfactory (blurred, bleached, too dark, etc) pictures are deleted. It is not usual than on a given day out and about, I took take anywhere from 20 to 100 pictures with the digital, no flash, of course, if shot in a museum.

Posted by
4684 posts

To each their own. I don't have a fancy smart phone with a good camera and will continue to use my wonderful point and shoot, which is no more bulky or disruptive to my sightseeing than a phone.

Me too!! I also take pictures with both my phone (an Android Moto X) and my Lumix DMC-FZ1000, a "bridge" camera that replaced my DSLR for travel. The Moto X is no iPhone 11, but I still hate taking pictures with it. It's not that the photo quality is so awful - I just find it awkward to take pictures with a phone. I've now been taking snapshots a smart phone for years, but I still haven't gotten comfortable with one. I need a viewfinder to compose well. The photos I shoot with the Lumix are much better than with my phone.

Sure, there are definitely cases where my phone is easier. I generally use it for snapshots where I really don't care about the quality that much. But I do care about the quality of my travel pictures most of the time. If I took the trouble to travel to Venice I want to take some nice pictures while I'm there. I've got a beautiful framed 24"x36" print on my wall at home (Venice Grand Canal at sunset, exposure of about 1 second) - really had to imagine I could have gotten a picture of this same quality with a phone.

Posted by
433 posts

I made my living as a photographer for 40 years. Retired now and I only use my phone these days. I am taking far fewer photos and they are less carefully composed or created. I’m enjoying this tremendously.

Taking a picture, whatever you are using to do it, requires retrieving the camera from wherever it is stored, activating it, pointing it at your subject, composing the shot, and snapping the shutter. Anything that delays or otherwise inhibits any of those actions diminishes the spontaneity and fun of taking pictures.

I keep my phone in a zippered security pocket on my right thigh when traveling so I need eight to fifteen seconds to shoot something. Keeping the phone out and exposed bugs me. It can get wet, misplaced, or dropped. I’ve seen folks drop phones from trains, bridges, and tall buildings. Is shooting with one’s pocket computer a good idea? Lots of irreplaceable and private information on that thing and yet here I am, swinging it around like it’s just a camera.

I’ll be on the BOE21 tour in October 2020. I’m planning on keeping my phone on a neck lanyard so it’s easier and quicker to shoot but still secure. Still working on that idea.

Posted by
1159 posts

Is shooting with one’s pocket computer a good idea? Lots of irreplaceable and private information on that thing and yet here I am, swinging it around like it’s just a camera.

There is encrypted cloud backup for your phone.

There are USB stick backups for your phone.

I use both. I also use a tether.

Phones should never be single point of failure. Always have a back up. Today that is easier than ever. My phone automatically backs up every night via WiFi. I would say my phone has more redundancy than any camera or card I’ve ever used.

And yes, I’ve managed to totally fold a phone in half while on travel (caught in the hinges of a hide-a-bed). I had backups in the cloud and retrieved everything that way.

Posted by
3319 posts

I had a nice manual Nikon in college and enjoyed b&w and color darkroom developing for the next ten years. But now I always travel with just my iPhone for my camera. I can be much more spontaneous and less intrusive to people around me. I feel like I can still be creative with my photos and obtain some extraordinary shots. My main purpose is to print an online photo book afterwards, plus enlarge a few photos to canvas wall prints that remind me of wonderful memories.

Posted by
2575 posts

It depends on my travel, but I am not prepared to lose the option of zoom. But then it partly acts as binoculars or opera glasses to see ceiling details or capture that bird on a wire that I can load on my desktop to confirm a species from. So I'll continue to carry my Canon x30 P&S when warranted.

Posted by
6018 posts

Unless you're carrying your phone in your hand at all times I don't see how a small point and shoot camera would be any more cumbersome to use. And if you carry your camera tethered to your wrist as some carry their phones, then it's just as spontaneous and easy to use as a phone.

Just as an aside, if you do a search you'll see that this subject (phone vs camera) has many threads on this forum and they all come to pretty much the same conclusion - some prefer phone and some prefer camera, neither is right or wrong, neither is better than the other, and you're unlikely to convert anyone by posting on here.

Posted by
5017 posts

you're unlikely to convert anyone by posting on here

Though it seems many will try! :)

Posted by
1159 posts

Unless you're carrying your phone in your hand at all times I don't see how a small point and shoot camera would be any more cumbersome to use.

I can keep my phone in my pocket. That’s a lot harder to do with a point and shoot. I’ll argue the smaller phone size makes them more easily accessible.

you're unlikely to convert anyone by posting on here.

It’s not a static subject though. The phones are getting better and better. The backups are getting better and better. Since the technology is morphing this subject will (rightly) continue to come up.

That which is possible is expanding.

Posted by
6018 posts

I can keep my phone in my pocket. That’s a lot harder to do with a point and shoot

I guess if you're talking about a P&S that is chunky with a high power zoom then maybe. My point and shoot fits very nicely in my pocket. When it's not in a jacket or shirt pocket or in a side pocket on my cross body bag, it's in a small case that has a wrist strap. It's not even a camera case, it's actually a coin purse that I use as a camera case. In fact the newer I-phones wouldn't fit in this little case that my P&S fits in.

And don't get me wrong, if you're talking about preferring a phone to a DSLR with multiple lenses and other bulky equipment, then yes I would prefer the phone.

Posted by
1378 posts

For me it depends so much on what I want to do. Just some half panoramic shots of urban or nature landscape is OK for a phone - and evn for this a budget phone is enough in the meantime. Same for portrait or simple arts photography.

If it comes to photography which needs high zoom, difficult light and / or high speed the usage fields of smartphones end very quickly.

Posted by
2388 posts

For me it depends so much on what I want to do.

This is it in a nutshell for me. I still think my DSLR takes the best photographs and is the most fun, which is why I use it. I have, begrudgingly at first but now more welcoming, also purchased a compact DSLR which has the same size sensor as my DSLR (not full frame) due to the weight issue for everyday use. The camera that you have with you is the best camera. It fits easily in a small purse (and my husband's fuji fits in his pants pocket) so I don't find them cumbersome to use. On many trips we will/do take both to allow the day to dictate which cameras to bring; ie, location, purpose (snapshots vs photographs).

As far as a smartphone, I usually don't bother with a phone in Europe. I will take an iPad with Sim card, but it is often not with me. To me a smart phone, iPad, etc. is my computer and I don't want to be taking my computer in and out because it is more apt to be broken or lost by me, and more rarely, I'd hate it to be stolen. So a camera is it for me as it would be less of a loss, IMO. I also navigate with my brain, not my phone. I spent many years navigating to places I'd never been before for work, so my brain has been trained and just grabs the map in my memory and I'm usually good to go. This way I can look at the scenery, learn the city, etc. vs the map, etc. so I don't need my computer for that.

However, this topic is just like packing light vs medium vs heavy, backpack vs wheels, and so forth. There is no correct answer. To each their own...

Posted by
245 posts

I've seen some wonderful photos from iPhones (see Pete Souza's latest), and I agree that any point-and-shoot camera is not any better than a new-ish smartphone camera, and just not worth it. I have to say, though, that I'm surprised that your point and shoot requires 5 lb of gear!.....I have a mirrorless Sony with an 18-135 lens, and it weighs less than 1.5 lb. Add in a few extra batteries and a recharger, and it's barely 2 pounds in my luggage.

I get more flexible control, and I get to make enlargements of some of my favourites to put up around my home (which I do), but I do agree an iPhone can take some great shots (especially in low light without flash).

Posted by
78 posts

5 lbs gear was with a Canon SLR, two lenses, and a small tripod.

My P & S was really light and compact but still found myself leaving it in the room when going out for a walk around the neighborhood.

Y’all know the saying, The best camera is the one you have with you!

Posted by
114 posts

Interesting discussion. I'm in David's camp. Nearly half my luggage is camera equipment! I'm headed to Death Valley in a couple of weeks, where I will set up a tripod and get sand dune pictures during the sunrise. Photography is a big part of (most) of my traveling, and I love seeing what I can create.

Of course, everyone has their own approach. And I will admit I feel somewhat "free" on days I don't lug around my camera. However, for me, the added weight and planning is worth it :)

Beth

Posted by
606 posts

Got my new Pixel 3a phone on Monday. Shiny and very very slippery. I am going to keep using my old Nexus 5 for calls and my old Canon S120 for photos until I get a grippy case and add a wrist strap for the new phone.

The Pixel 3a is boringly excellent. For the most part you just select a mode and press the shutter and let the phone do its magic. If I tap the subject on the display before the shutter, the exposure compensation comes on and I can adjust the exposure. The image quality is so good even in near non-existent light. The processor prevents highlights from blowing out and keeps the details in the shadows. HDR+ is the default setting. One push of the shutter and it takes multiple photos in a fraction of a second and combines them into one great image. My S120 has HDR, but you can hear the delay when the (only) 3 shots are taken and combined; if your camera is not still the final image can be a blur. In the Pixel3a up to 15 shots are taken in night sight to combine into one image. You do have to hold the phone still, but the image stabilization is very excellent, and apparently the processor lines up and matches all the multiple shots so that the final processed image is sharp. It takes almost no work to get a good result. On my S120, I usually have to take many shots to compare the details and highlights, erasing and re-shooting to get the best IQ. Now it seems the IQ seems perfect. I just have to concentrate on composition e.g. keep the damn background horizon level.

I still need to figure out is how to take a self group or scenic shot without buying a little tripod. My S120 has lots of wear and scratches on the bottom from balancing it on rocks, walls etc to take timed group or scenic shots.

Posted by
4684 posts

I hope your S120 keeps going strong. I had two S110's and both of them failed within three years. One simply stopped powering on. The other developed the infamous "stuck lens error." (Google it - plagued many Canon users over the years with many Powershot cameras.) After a lot of issues with my Canon DSLRs, I think I've pretty much given up on Canon cameras for good.

Posted by
606 posts

The ol' S120 is pushing 5 years. I recently dropped it. The flash no longer works, but the rest still works. I am not a big flash user, but it was an excuse to buy the new Pixel 3a during the Black Friday sale.