Should You Use Your Smartphone as Your Travel Camera?

By Lisa Brock

 IMAGE:  Jordan McQueen  via  Unsplash

Traveling is a passion shared by many. As a traveler, you get to visit so many places, and every time you make a plan, the obvious question is "which camera shall I use to capture my memories?"

When traveling, carrying a DSLR can be cumbersome. Imagine a scenario where you are carrying a DSLR. When carrying one, you need to be mindful of the carry bag, battery case and also the expensive lenses that come with it. It does capture great photos but it would be so much more efficient if you could have all of that without compromising the quality of the picture. A good smartphone serves multiple purposes including an Internet device, camera, music player and more.

Why Smartphone Cameras Are Better for Travel

Smartphones today have become more powerful than ever before. Exceptional and feature-packed cameras like Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Pixel 2 are giving serious competition to budget DSLRs with options for low light photography, RAW shooting and manual controls. You can even check the camera quality of a smartphone via its DxO score, which you can use to compare smartphones with DSLRs.

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In addition to excellent imaging technology, smartphones are great for travel due to their...

  1. Portability: Smartphones are very portable. For the weight and size of a normal DSLR, you can actually get at least three smartphones. You can easily carry them and they snug easily in your pocket. On an average, a smartphone weighs less than half a pound, compared to a DSLR which can weigh over a pound and a half — which doesn't sound like much until you have to carry it all day.
  2. Battery Life: A smartphone’s battery lasts for a day or so depending on usage and internet connection. DSLR batteries may last longer but they’re bigger and often require a dedicated charging unit, which takes up more space in your bag. Many would rather plug in at the local coffee shop than lug all that extra gear around.
  3. Lens: When it comes to the lens, most advanced smartphones come with premium lenses in addition to a rear dual lens.
  4. Pixel Density: The photos captured by today's smartphones are rich in pixel density and don’t breakdown under forced zoom. Unlike a few years back, smartphone pictures give tough competition in comparison to those taken by DSLRs.
  5. Storage: When it comes to file size of pictures you take with your smartphone, a DSLR picture is around 10-12 megabytes. But when compared to a picture taken on a smartphone, the file size is normally around 6 MBs. You can also usually upload phone pictures to social media or cloud storage easily.

When it comes to traveling, it all boils down to your plans and how ambitious you are with your photography. If you’re headed to a place that's mostly sunny, almost every smartphone camera will work great. However if you think you might be taking lots of low light photos or pictures rich in detail, consider high end options such as the Samsung Galaxy Note series, the Galaxy S8 and the iPhone models from 6 upwards.


This article was originally written by Lisa Brock for Gone Travelling and was reposted with permission. Check them out today.