Please sign in to post.

Please, take a camera

I know everyone lives for their phones these days, but those cameras are for selfies and baby shots. Please, if you're going on a real vacation, take a real camera and have one person in your group in charge of taking high quality photos. It's OK to take pix with your phone as well, but you still can't match the quality of a dedicated camera. Trust me, you will be very grateful. It's $100 well spent.

It doesn't have to be a big fancy digital camera, just check out Consumer Reports or Amazon and get a brand name point and shoot with a good amount of features. Then two very important things - take a lot of pictures and then DELETE the bad ones. Just do it, don't waste the storage.

And then, and this applies even if you don't get a camera, learn how to use all the features in your camera. My wife was trying to take pix with her iPhone and just couldn't figure out how to do more than just snap. Learn these features: flash off (and on, take the picture both ways), sport mode for shooting from trains and buses, zoom (always fill the frame), nighttime landscape. Again, shoot like crazy and delete ruthlessly. And figure out beforehand how to charge the battery and do it every night; afterwards you will probably need to reset the date and time.

When you get home, upload the pictures onto your computer and then use an online service to create albums that you share with friends and family.

You're welcome.

Posted by
195 posts

My iPhone took great pictures and it was one less thing to carry. We hung up about 10 framed pictures this weekend. They all look great but to each his own

Posted by
2081 posts

phred,

those that know will have a real camera, but for those that want "just good enough" will get by with their phone.

one thing too. buy a 2nd spare battery and bring extra memory cards. in my opinion, they are inexpensive and dont take up alot of room.

i spend my down time or when im waiting for my food to review my pictures. Many times i do it in transit on a train or waiting for a plane.

happy trails.

Posted by
3747 posts

I don't care what device people are using. We noticed more "shoot like crazy" behavior during our last few trips, especially at museums & in Florence. Yes, you can "delete ruthlessly", but other people are trying to enjoy the same sites. Personally, I'd rather take a moment to capture one or two well-framed photos and not continually experience my vacation through the lens of a camera.

Posted by
693 posts

I dont take photos. I prefer to enjoy a place rather than spending my time looking through a view finder.

Posted by
14267 posts

I go slow enough to both enjoy the experience and take photos. The photos bring back lots of memories, even many years later.

Phred - please, tell me how to be ruthless in deleting. For me, that's the hardest part. The blurry ones, the crooked ones, the badly lighted ones - those are easy. I've even started trying to take fewer shots just so I don't have so many to wade through when I get home.

Posted by
2486 posts

I agree...but not everyone is interested in photographing, and I've seen some excellent phone photos. I have no idea how - I love photography, study it and take classes, and people say I'm very good for an amateur (and I've had a few sales to friends and family), and I can't take a decent iphone photo to save my life. My phone is a 5S so not the newest but not an old one. MAYBE the 6 is that much better, I will need to wait a year until my upgrade to see :)

IF you are interested in photographing your trip, and IF you aren't skilled with a phone camera (most people aren't), then get a basic digital. I carry a canon digital point and shoot (under $100) and a basic Nikon DSLR ($400) with a kit lens. The DSLR is notably better than the point and shoot, but the p&s has done well. I wouldn't recommend the DSLR unless you are truly interested in photography as an art - it is heavy and takes up room, requires a larger daybag, etc. But the point and shoot is an excellent compromise.

Shoot like crazy - I don't. I take several hundred pictures a day and many turn out to be junk. But I don't just shoot willy-nilly. Take the time to look for good angles, play with your settings if you have them and take pictures of unusual things. Another broad view of the altar? Maybe boring. A close up, or a from-the-floor angle up to the ceiling fresco? Maybe interesting. My #1 best photography advice is MOVE. Don't just stand there and shoot. A few feet to the left or right, kneel down, stand on a ledge (when safe and appropriate), whatever - the best angle is often a few feet away in another direction. Move left and that telephone pole and tour group are out of the picture. Sit on the ground, point the camera up, and the tree branches frame the bell tower instead of obscuring it. Etc. Just be creative.

Ruthless in deleting - I'm not. Every night I upload a lot of that days photos on to my ipad (leaving out the blurry ones, the duplicates, the ones where someones head popped into the frame at the last second...those are deleted all together), then go through and keep the 20-30 best from that day on my ipad, and upload them to dropbox. The rest are deleted from the ipad but live on the memory card When I get home everything but the junk goes on the computer. However, the 20 per day chosen on the road are usually the best and the ones I work with through editing to show to people, some get framed and hung in the house, etc. This gives me all my photos available somewhere, but narrows down the editing and selection to a more manageable number. 20 per day is 200 for my average 10 day trip on the ground. I usually take maybe 2000 pictures in that time. Plus if I loose the memory card, I have the ipad copies. If I loose the ipad, those best of pictures are online (dropbox or somewhere) so I've saved the essentials no matter what.

Posted by
1767 posts

I don't care if you want to use your iPhone or other phone. But if you can afford an iPad you can afford a camera and you need to go buy one. The rest of us do NOT want our view blocked by your giant tablet! Put that thing DOWN! You aren't "smart" you are "rude" LOL!

(Or suffer the consequences. I was at one sight and the woman happily using her ipad somehow dropped it. Then she cried when her several hundred dollar toy was broken!)

Posted by
1064 posts

Phone cams don't shoot people; people do. People who take bad pictures -- bad to the point of being three stages below amateur-level, not naughty, well maybe that, too -- with a phone or iPad will do so with a camera, as well.

Posted by
2349 posts

Since digital images are so easy to edit and correct, we often don't take the time to compose our shots properly. This can be great-we don't have to zoom in or stand on a ledge to get the people out of a picture. We can just do that on the computer like magic. But I've found that I often end with pics that would have been so much better if I'd just been at a slightly different angle.

Good photography is so much more than knowing the bells and whistles on your camera. (Although that helps.) Learning the basics of composition will help immensely. Take a photography or art class.

My mother-in-law is short, and always has to look up at people. She always stepped back and pointed the camera up. Every photo is from too far back, and everyone's face is in the bottom third of the picture, with a whole lot of ceiling or sky above.

Posted by
552 posts

I know I'm repeating what others already have said (Chani, try having your travel partner be the deletion editor at the end of each day) but I do want to say...

I enjoy a place more when looking at through a viewfinder. It makes me appreciate a place with an artists eye! I spend much more time lingering at the beauty spots and town squares--being content 'in the moment'--than those that are rushing off to do more shopping 'n such.

So you go Phred. Evangelize away and get those people who need it to a basic photography class!

Posted by
2525 posts

On a recent international trip, I noticed "sticks" being used with a camera or smartphone attached. These devices allow shots over the crowds, etc. However, many operators seemed clueless as to managing such around others. Reminded me of folks with umbrellas on narrow boardwalks and my required defense of using a raised forearm near my face to prevent being blinded.

Posted by
1352 posts

We upgraded from iPhone 4S to iPhone 6 so that we could get by without a camera. We've taken lots of pics with iPhone and believe me the pics I take with my iPhone are just as good if not better than with my camera. I'm really excited to get by without bringing a "bag of electronics". All we are carrying are our phones and chargers for the phones. I do agree it's good to spend time getting to know the features of the camera - be it a real camera or the iPhone:)

Posted by
11613 posts

I get very good photos on my iPad. I am downsizing to a mini soon, and I downsized from a DSLR to a P&S. But I have to say I miss the quality of photos I got with my Nikon manual and a bunch of different lenses. But, I don't have the patience or desire to haul that much stuff around anymore. P&S and iPad mini. That's it.

Posted by
359 posts

my Google Nexus phone takes better photos than any point and shoot camera I have ever bought. If I don't want to lug around our DSLR camera, I'd rather just use my phone.

Posted by
693 posts

Chani. You make an invalid assumption about the way I travel.

Posted by
304 posts

As much as I love the camera on my iPhone, I would not want to take a major trip without an additional camera (or two). Of course, that's just my personal preference.

In general, fancier cameras allow you take take pictures under more challenging conditions. Under ideal conditions --- if your subject is close, your subject isn't moving too fast, the light is good, and the weather is good --- one would be hard pressed to tell the difference between an iPhone and a dSLR or better. (I am reminded of an absolutely hysterical video I once saw on fstoppers.com where they took two pictures, one with an iPhone and the other with a Hasselblad, under perfect studio lighting conditions. They made 16x20 prints from the two cameras, and then went out on the street and asked people which photograph they preferred. Nobody could tell the difference.) The problem is that there are a lot of shooting situations that are far from ideal. You might not be able to get close enough to get a good picture of some detail on the facade of a cathedral, or you may really want to freeze a key moment in a soccer game from 100 feet away, or you may want to take a picture in incredibly low light, or you may want to take a picture in a downpour or a dust storm, or you may have to deal with some impossible lighting condition that you will have to fix in post.

There is a tradeoff between what how much you want/need to shoot in sub-optimal conditions and how much money/weight you are willing to deal with. Different folks will come down on different places in the tradeoff.

Posted by
1730 posts

To Bruce's point, yes Paris was full of tourists (mostly Asian women I noticed) holding cameras or phones at the end of sticks. I have since learned these are called "selfie sticks." It's not enough to get that picture of Notre Dame, you have to make sure you're in all of them as well! For all I know they were even live blogging.

Glad I could get everybody riled up about picture taking!

Posted by
31271 posts

phred,

I agree with many of the comments on this Thread. A few thoughts.....

@Mira,

"My phone is a 5S so not the newest but not an old one. MAYBE the 6 is that much better"

Actually there have been some problems reported with the Cameras on the iPhone 6 and 6+, mostly involving poor colour rendition and white balance issues. This is one report.....

http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/iphone-6-problems/7/#camera

Here's a good comparison of the camera results with all the iPhone versions......

http://snapsnapsnap.photos/how-does-the-iphone-6-camera-compare-to-previous-iphone-cameras/

I agree with many of the points you made, and it sounds like our photography styles are somewhat similar. I always prefer to travel with a DLSR and a P&S, as it's important for me to have a record of the places I've visited. I try to strike a balance between getting photos and actually seeing the places I visit, so I'm not looking through the viewfinder all the time. I've taken some reasonably good photos with my iPhone, but find that the Smartphone camera has very definite limitations, especially in low light situations or with moving subjects. Regular cameras (especially DSLR's) also offer much more flexibility in settings for these more challenging conditions. In terms of quality, there's no way the small sensor on a Smartphone camera can produce the same quality as a DSLR with a larger APS or full frame sensor, or even a good quality P&S. The differences may not be apparent in small photos, but will show up as the photos are enlarged.

@Carol,

"The rest of us do NOT want our view blocked by your giant tablet!"

I definitely agree! The problem with people using full size tablets as their primary camera seems to be increasing, and I also find it very annoying to have my view blocked. In some cases, it's not possible to move past or in front of the offending party, so I just have to tolerate until they leave (sometimes after they've had time to take numerous selfies with everyone in their party).

While the DSLR is somewhat of an effort to haul around, I'll continue travelling with it as it allows me to get the results that I want, but I realize that others may prefer different methods.

Posted by
1068 posts

This discussion reminds me of music. People listened to analog records on large speakers, then for the sake of convenience cut off some of the acoustics and listened to CDs. After some more time, people got rid of even more acoustics and started listening to MP3s, which often included ditching speakers for tiny ear buds. Many musicians will tell you that if you hear their stuff on MP3s with ear buds, you haven't heard their music. But lots of people are used to it, like it and probably are not sophisticated enough to know the difference. To bring it back to photos, it isn't always easy to see what makes a good photo..... most people just react to the subject matter. The people into photography react to a whole lot more. Also, as stated, a camera will give you a range of times, places and light where you can still take a good photo and a phone won't give you that. However, the question is why are you taking photos, how interested are you in taking photos and what are you going to do with your photos? If a phone works.... great, if it doesn't.... great. It is just a matter of personal preference.

Posted by
3894 posts

What Bill said. I saw this article once about people not enjoying places because they are living thru the photos on their phone. I guess maybe a phone vs camera is different. I take a lot of photos and have actually sold a few dozen in my etsy shop. I find when I'm taking photos now I look more at details, try to notice the little things, get up early for the best light and fewer people, linger longer and look around more to get that good angle.

I've taken some great pics with a $100 Fuji point and shoot - I then upgraded to a Fuji superzoom and this year upgraded to a Canon EOS M and have three lenses for it. But if I wasn't trying to sell photos, I'd prob just use a point and shoot - there are great ones out there! (That being said, I only have a flip phone that never gets used, I have been know to take videos with my iPod...)

But the constant 'selfie' taking is beyond me (can you tell I'm not under 30...lol). I don't want to see your big face in front of some lovely landmark - I want to see the landmark! I think of about 1200 pics I took on the last trip, maybe 2 dozen had me or hubby or mom in them.

Posted by
1068 posts

For my two cents, I agree with you. I enjoy taking pics and often find more focus more when I am taking them (no pun intended.) Because I am creating memories for myself, I look for pics that sum up my feelings and tell a story. There are pics of building details, food, people, etc. etc. and find they certainly helps to relive the trip years later.

Posted by
3894 posts

Lol phred - I just noticed your mentioned the selfie sticks. They were being hawked everywhere in Rome by the street sellers - constantly sticking them in your face...I actually wanted to buy one so I could break it over my knee...

Posted by
4700 posts

If you take better pictures with your phone than with your camera, either you don't know how to use the camera...or it's just a crappy camera.

Yes, you can take decent phone shots and and even print some of them, but a phone camera is extremely limited in part by the physics. The tiny glass lens in your phone simply can't produce the same quality of image as can a good-quality lens. Sure, in good light, you can probably take some decent photos - and for people simply taking vacation snapshots to share on Facebook, they are probably good enough.

There's no way I'd ever consider replacing my cameras with a phone, however - I'm a serious photographer. I make big enlargements of my European pictures and hang them in my home and even sell them. I have a 12"x36" canvas print of Florence at sunset - a 2 second exposure, taken with a tripod. It's a beautiful picture if I may say so myself. I can't imagine what the phone version would look like, but there's little chance it would compare at all to mine.

If you are not a serious photographer, and you are happy with your phone pictures, keep using it. But try to understand why those of us who still use those big DSLR cameras with their heavy lenses still do so.

By the way: I'm so glad I've got thousands of past pictures (a few hundred good ones, anyway) from my past European trips - they help keep the trips alive for me. To each his or her own, I guess.

Posted by
1790 posts

I agree with Phred and carry a good compact camera (Canon S120) but.... phone cameras now are better than mid-priced cameras were five years ago.

Posted by
1785 posts

I can't help but wonder if these ipad photographers don't know of any other way to get their photos ON their ipad, so that is why they use it? It seems so big, clumsy, heavy, etc. why not just use a small camera and use the adapter to download onto the ipad? I have talked to a couple people that didn't know there was an adapter, so that is the only way they knew how to get their photos on the ipad and the only reason they use it as a camera. I personally can't think of any other reason to use it as a camera.

Posted by
31271 posts

@Susan & Monte,

"I personally can't think of any other reason to use it as a camera."

I know from speaking with several people during my travels in Europe, that the iPad is sometimes the only camera they take. They know about the camera adaptor, but they're not particularly concerned about quality. Just getting a few snaps suits them fine. People have asked me on many occasions to take pictures of them in front of famous landmarks using their iPads, and I find that to be a terribly awkward contraption to use for that function. I'll stick my my more conventional dSLR and P&S cameras!