Traveling with only a phone camera Locked

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alcelc
alcelc Forum Pro • Posts: 16,540
Re: Traveling with only a phone camera

mxx wrote:

timoteotresgatos wrote:

I also had problems occasionally getting the camera to focus on the exact spot I wanted like a foreground flower in front of a larger background. It can't always lock on to the smaller object and instead locks on to the background.

With most phones these days you can just tap on the screen where you want your focus.

FYI mirrorless can do it. TOUCH AF, or Touch Pad AF if using evf (use LCD similar as a mouse pad, finger tip as mouse), Touch AE, Touch shutter etc are nothing new to mirrorless.

In case of non OSPDAF mirrorless, basically the entire sensor surface can be used to set focus point without the restriction to the numbers and distribution of PDAF sensor points on the sensor of some models.

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KAAMBIC
KAAMBIC Contributing Member • Posts: 957
Re: Traveling with only a phone camera

timoteotresgatos wrote:

I have a new phone with a 12mp camera which takes great pics and it even does HDR well for those high contrast days. It even shoots raw+high.

I also have a nikon D7000 which takes great pics but weighs as much as whale and is incredibly bulky with my zoom lens.

I wondered how it would work out if I traveled with just my phone? The exposure of this point-and-shoot camera is almost always right on.

I have seen stories on this site and others about serious photographers traveling with only a phone to exotic locations and showing great results

Has anyone here traveled with only a mobile phone camera? How did you feel about the results? Did you miss your "big" camera?

In the past i have used my ILC for a lot of casual candid shooting for family outings. Once sever years back i forgot my ILC and had to use my phone. It was horrible. My phones today are a lot better of course, ATM i own the best photo phone you can buy, the S21 Ultra.

I have also owned the D7000 on 3 different occasions. I'd rather have the D7000 with a cheap 50 1.8 than have to use my S21. The exception is WA shooting, modern flagship phones do well enough for me for landscape and scenery shots. But for the rest, i'd still go with a D7000 any day.

But we all have our own standards so in the end, you gotta decide what is good enough quality for you.

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Eddie Rizk Senior Member • Posts: 1,184
Re: Traveling with only a phone camera

KAAMBIC wrote:

I have also owned the D7000 on 3 different occasions. I'd rather have the D7000 with a cheap 50 1.8 than have to use my S21. The exception is WA shooting, modern flagship phones do well enough for me for landscape and scenery shots. But for the rest, i'd still go with a D7000 any day.

Interesting.  I like my phone better for casual snaps of people and want the big camera with the tripod for landscapes.   I’ll have to experiment with the phone more.

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That's my opinion, and it's worth what you paid for it.
Eddie Rizk
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Sebastian Cohen Regular Member • Posts: 163
Re: Traveling with only a phone camera

Redhenry wrote:

timoteotresgatos wrote:

I can't put up with the weight and longer when traveling by foot. I walked all over Rome and other Italian cities with my D7000, a 4" long 24-70 eq. zoom, and camera bag over my shoulder from breakfast until we got back to the hotel after dinner every day for two weeks. I ended up with a stripe across my back from the camera bag and the imbalance of weight of camera and carry-ons caused caused me to slide down and escalator on my back. Never again.

It seems like the vast majority of responses have been, "get a compact camera and re-think the phone only idea".

My phone is a new and takes good pictures so far, can so raw+jpg, and does really good HDR for when I'm shooting in harsh light. I guess I can use a compact camera for travel and use the phone as backup or for special situations when it's needed. I guess the simplicity of a pocketable camera that weighs ounces appeals to me.

With respect to the various responders here, I think the people who said that phone pictures are OK for snaps but nothing else might not be quite up to date. There’s a landscape picture from Robert J 498 of Lake Michigan on the iOS forum taken on an iPhone 11Pro and it’s great. Yes, I know it won’t compare with a billion megapixel full-frame Nikon). The reviews of the new iPhone 13 Pro are very positive. I’ve banged on about it here and there in these forums but Ken Rockwell’s review of the iPhone 12 Pro Max is quite an eye-opener. I have just sold my recently acquired Panasonic FZ300 to MPB - it’s a good camera but, frankly, requires too much work and thought to get decent results. I will be ordering an iPhone 13 Pro next week, so will definitely be using just that for any future holidays.

I am not disagreeing with you, I agree with everything you say here. We're all perhaps talking over each others heads and being a little pedantic.....I know I am.

What I was trying to convey was rather, that any phone camera worth mentioning will always be good at the time around when it was released. I remember I thought the iPhone 6 images were amazing. You also compare any phone to cameras of the same time AND how far the quality has come in phone cameras. You actually evaluate the phone biased, comparing them to how you remember the quality being. In normal cameras, we've been used to pretty great quality for a time now so it's mostly nitpicking.

IF it is something special, say a hike, holiday or event that doesn't come by very often. It is always worth the extra quality, cost and weight, IF it is feasible. Those images are the ones you will want to use 10 years down the line. That 2 day hike you had so many of, perhaps not as important. The reason is the extra flexibility you have with those images. But also the medium you will use to display those images. Those iPhone 6 images looked great on a 13" laptop and my 24" 1080p monitor. They DON'T look as good on my 27" 4K. The pocket camera and the DSLR I had at the time, though not top of the line, looks so much better today. Sometimes, it makes me sad (but I will persevere hehe).

So far in history, the quality of an image captured is static. The tech used to capture and reproduce always evolve. Eventually, you will look at those iPhone 6 images with something that makes it look worse than you remember.

We will PERHAPS (most likely) get upscaling 8K picture-frames like we did with Bluray doing DVD's....but we might not.

All I am saying is even if mobile phones have become amazing, until we get closer to some sort of equilibrium, is it not advisable to take some precautions for the future? Look at it like a form of insurance.

Smaug01
MOD Smaug01 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,039
I can't do it

When I travel these days, it is always a special occasion that is worth documenting with a real camera, and often, a film camera. (I like having physical originals for family stuff) I want a fast lens, a big sensor and optical telephoto.

My compromise to make it travel-friendly lately has been to bring my Micro Four Thirds camera and a couple lenses. Yes, you will sometimes notice it is not as good as full frame, but you will also notice that if you need to crop into an image (which will happen a lot more often with a phone photo that doesn't have an optical telephoto) the result is a LOT better.

Here is an example of a very compact, yet capable kit:

  • Olympus E-M10.3 body
  • Panasonic 12-60 f/3.5-5.6 lens (24-120 eq.)
  • Olympus 9 mm f/8 body cap fisheye lens (18 mm eq.)
  • Extra battery
  • Small Case Logic holster bag from Target
  • (If I'm feeling wild) Olympus 17/1.8 for low light. (34 mm eq.)

The phone manufacturers know that the camera and its software are important to the customers. It was one thing that set a smart phone apart from a dumb phone, back in the day... They know what most people like in a photo: sharpening, over-saturation, HDR, etc. They also know how to make these photos look great on phone screens. They know the images don't have to hold up that well to scrutiny when viewed large.

Bottom Line - Try it on a low-stakes local trip that you can redo if you need to. See if you miss anything. Look at your photos as critically later as you would if you'd shot them with a camera.

Please bookmark this thread and come back and bump this thread to let us know how it panned out!

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Smaug01
MOD Smaug01 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,039
One thing to note on phone cameras

Whenever this discussion, or one similar to it comes up, the OP is talking about a state-of-the-art smartphone, but many respondents are thinking of and referring to phones that are not state-of-the-art. 2-3 years makes a big difference!

I had an LG G6 android phone last time. It was state-of-the-art when it was new. It was one of the first to add an ultrawide lens. It was amazing to me at the time. Images from it with the standard processing looked better to me than ones from my dedicated camera, at least on the small screen and without zooming. I actually shot the photos with that ultrawide lens that sold my last house with it; the realtor was amazed. I DID miss having a telephoto, at times, though.

A few months ago, I upgraded to an iPhone 12 Pro. It has the standard ~28 mm wide angle, an ultrawide (shows a lot of distortion though) and a ~50 mm "telephoto" lens. Additionally, the software's computational processing is just awesome. Most of the time, it knows exactly what I'm trying to do. For example, this morning I took a pic of a shelf of cameras. It's "flash" (LED) was set to Auto. I thought sure it would come on. It didn't. I forced it on and shot it again. When I looked back, the one I shot with the flash on Auto was just as good, and without glare. (it didn't fill in the shadows like the LED did) It had used about a 1.5 sec shutter speed, implemented some kind of software anti-shake algorithm, along with probably a bit of HDR as well. It KNEW that what I was shooting was stationary, and a long shutter speed + IS would be OK. The ~50 mm lens means that I can get close-ups of small things now without the wide angle perspective distortion that was common when I only had a ~28mm and wider.

My point is that some folks here who put down smartphone cameras should try the state-of-the-art phone cameras now and then, to keep their perspective up-to-date. Try to be open-minded.

To me, in short, phones and their software are getting better at an alarming rate. Money is (almost) no object when developing them. I don't think images from them will ever satisfy all of us connoisseurs, just like point & shoot cameras never fully satisfied photographers back in the film days, even though they were getting better and better over time.

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Bob A L Veteran Member • Posts: 3,509
Re: One thing to note on phone cameras

Now that's getting a little closer to how I view the latest phones.  No they do not completely replace my dslr's, but in the past I have owned many small point and shoots that never actually fit in my pocket that have been pretty well replaced by my latest smartphone. Plus the phone is sufficient for much of the things I used by dslr's for in the past.  That makes the big stuff still be a great plaything that I love to use and that has some abilities unattainable in my phone. My hope is though, that enough of these folks starting out with their phone and beginning to enjoy photography in general will maybe become future customers for the dedicated camera manufacturers to bolster up their sales to a point that they continue to exist and develop newer and better equipment. There are certainly many more folks out there today taking and sharing photos on a daily basis than at anytime in my life. Smartphones are reviving photography in general, that's a good thing no matter how much you hate them.

dmartin92
dmartin92 Senior Member • Posts: 2,368
Re: Traveling with only a phone camera

When I am traveling I am more worried about stuff getting stolen.

Last August, swimming in the Mediterranean, it's nice to know if all my stuff on the beach, while I am in the water, were stolen, they would only get a 3 year old iPhone 8.

But yet, it takes fine pictures. 
But even beyond that special case, train stations, they are more risky than being in the local parc.

Having said that, I would add that other times I bring my good camera.

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arbeterfroyen Contributing Member • Posts: 602
Re: Traveling with only a phone camera

When I traveled to PR to visit family, my cameras were in drydock and I kind of just went with just my LG V10 (one of the best phone cams at the time, actually, and why I picked the phone). I still have photos I go back to.

They are not going to get blown up to wall size. The depth of field isn't the best. They're a little algorithn-overcrisped. But they're still, like, good and I get some good responses by people I don't know personally.

Basically, the photos would have been better on a proper camera/I would have preferred them, but it was also very capable and I'm glad I had it. Phone cams are even better now, so, woo woo.

Good option, not best, sometimes that's just fine! I'd probably try to get a cheap small m43 as an in between but also, like, no shade.

PhotonTrapper Regular Member • Posts: 203
Re: Traveling with only a phone camera

alcelc wrote:

DO as what works put for you. Nothing right nor nothing wrong.

timoteotresgatos wrote:

I have a new phone with a 12mp camera which takes great pics and it even does HDR well for those high contrast days. It even shoots raw+high.

It depends on a few factors:

  • IQ on the image in a size you will usually look at them, says on a smaller screen, and you don't mind the artifacts etc hidden inside;
  • the limitation of lenses of a phone (it won't matter if you are a one lens guy);
  • degree of control and easy of operation (won't matter if you are P&S and under full auto).

Because of the above, I prefer a proper camera rather than return home with a shot to my satisfaction.

I also have a nikon D7000 which takes great pics but weighs as much as whale and is incredibly bulky with my zoom lens.

Thus is a reason, and only reason to use M43 system. A Panasonic GX85, a 12~35 f/2.8 standard walking around lens (eq to 24~70 of FF), a 7~14 f/4 ultrawide (eq to 14~28), a 45~150 f/4~5.6 tele lens (eq to 90~300) plus a 15 f/1.7 prime lens (eq to 30) for low lighting, has a combined weight of <1.3Kg, while only +/-700g always on my hand... I could reduce >200g if replace the f/2.8 zoom by a f/3.5 kit lens.

My setup won't weight me down, but still allows me to enjoy photographing with a nearly full range of focal length of lenses for most usual need. The cost is merely <1 stop of noisier on highee ISO from APSC or 2 stops from FF. I am happy with ISO3200 without NR in PP of my camera. Would it work for you?

I had recently looked at the FF Panasonic S5, which has a body not much bigger than my M43 G85. However while I looked at the L-mount FF lenses, no thanks. I have no confidence to carry lenses of similar coverage as my current M43 setup to walk for hours under all sort of weather condition.

Manageable size and weight, acceptable IQ, good enough lens support at affordable cost is my criteria on choosing a system.

You don't really address the weight AND bulkiness complaint of the OP.

Your N43 system still weighs 426g + 305g + 300g + 200g + 115g + 275g(bag) = 1.6 kg

So, ~10 times heavier than a typical 150 g smart phone.

And easily 100 times more bulky.

It's a matter of opinion to find that "manageable", especially while travelling (the OP context), but it definitely does not compare to a smart phone.

Moreover, while travelling, it's usually better not to attract thieves with pricey stuff flamboyantly hanging from one's shoulder.

PS: I don't use a smart phone for photography while on the move. I only use a small rugged PS (Olymp. TG5)

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