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Old Oct 22, 2012, 03:31 PM   #1
designs216
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4S or Good Pocket Camera?

The iPhone 3GS is a decent phone but the photos aren't so good. I'm thinking of upgrading to the 4S to get a better camera that I'll always have with me, my logic being by the time I've paid for a decent compact camera, I could have paid a third more and get and better camera and a better phone and not have another device to tote.

If the camera is not that much better than that found in the 3GS, what pocket camera would you recommend?
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Old Oct 22, 2012, 04:15 PM   #2
Jeepman88
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The 4s camera is lightyears better than the 3GS camera. That's the upgrade I did, 3GS-->4s. I use my camera all the time now and was NEVER a camera user. Gets used for still photos and a lot of videos...

You know what's better than the 4s though?? The 5... just sayin'
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Old Oct 22, 2012, 04:26 PM   #3
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I did the same upgrade as Jeepman and fully support what he said. Camera-wise, if you're looking for good point and shoot quality, definitely go for the 4s. Plus, you can have all kinds of fun with the ton of free photography apps out there, which is something a separate camera won't offer.

I personally do DSLR photography too, but the iPhone works perfectly for random pictures of your everyday endeavors.
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Old Oct 22, 2012, 09:47 PM   #4
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The 4S camera is amazing for a phone. I'd definitely pick up NightCap and Camera+.
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 08:28 AM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback folks. I have a DSLR but the wife complains that it's cumbersome and it's honestly gotten a little cranky with age.

I've heard reviewers say that the camera in the iPhone 5 is only marginally better than the iPhone 4. Aside from that, the 5 is too expensive to justify that cost. Since she wants a camera anyway, I'm thinking the 4S at around $450 is do-able, especially if I can sell the 3GS to subsidize.

Last edited by designs216; Oct 23, 2012 at 07:09 PM.
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 10:28 AM   #6
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I just went from a 3GS to a 4S, the 4S camera is miles ahead. My recollection is that the 4S is significantly better than the iPhone 4 camera as well.

I would say the convenience of the 4S outweighs the better image quality of a small budget point-n-shoot, and the video quality is great too.

Now if you're talking something like a Sony RX100, the RX100 will be much better. But that's $600 just for the camera.

4S plus a DSLR when you need it, is a great combo.
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 12:25 PM   #7
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I would go with the 4S or 5 since you'll benefit from many of the other phone upgrade features anyway.

Keep the DSLR for the big days, of course. The iPhone camera will be handy for those impromptu shots.

You might also consider a really nice compact camera like the Canon Powershot S100 to take along for those days you know you want to take nice pictures but don't want to bring the DSLR (going to a theme park to ride rollercoasters, for example). The S100 (and other cameras in its class) is very pocketable.
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 02:02 PM   #8
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The 4S camera (video and stills) is amazing. The ability to instantly edit and share is a huge bonus too.

But just to play devil's advocate, there are some good arguments for having an inexpensive but decent-quality point and shoot, especially on vacation, or if you shoot a lot:

- even a fairly modest point and shoot has a larger aperture lens and optical zoom, both things the tiny iPhone camera lacks, and which can get you better pictures than the iPhone. Step up to one of the better ones, and you will get much better quality than even the iPhone 5, especially in low light, where that tiny lens just can't pull in enough light.

- You spare your phone's battery while shooting, and can even add an extra battery to your camera bag. If you're out all day, this will save you a lot of lost shots.

- It's very easy and cheap to add large capacity memory cards. The iPhone lacks any removable storage, so if you want to "unload" it to make more room, you will need your computer or you'll have to wait (probably a long time) while your photos and videos upload somewhere. Popping a new memory card into your camera takes seconds.

- It's a relatively small financial loss if you lose or break your point and shoot (very good ones with as good or better image quality. A much bigger and more inconvenient loss if you've also lost your phone.
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 02:51 PM   #9
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I really appreciate the thought provoking alternate view in favor of the pocket camera. The price of a decent point-and-shoot approaches the cost of the 4S however, making it a less attractive prospect.

The convenience of having a single device, faster processor and other features seem to be overwhelming arguments in favor of the 4S.
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 03:24 PM   #10
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When I got my 4S, I went out for a day at Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire. I compared shots taken with my 4S against a nearly new Micro 4/3 camera, which cost the same as the unlocked 4S.

Possibly due to my low skill level, the iPhone pictures actually looked better - the way you can touch the screen to automatically set the focus and white balance gave much better photos than the blurry poorly exposed photos I took with the expensive awkward camera.

When I used a tripod and really tried hard, I got pictures that had ever so slightly more detail, but weren't 600 better, and took a lot more effort. The 4S has a superb camera, so good I compare it to a retina display - technically it can get better, but the human eye (mine anyway) isn't good enough to distinguish.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 01:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by designs216 View Post
I really appreciate the thought provoking alternate view in favor of the pocket camera. The price of a decent point-and-shoot approaches the cost of the 4S however, making it a less attractive prospect.

The convenience of having a single device, faster processor and other features seem to be overwhelming arguments in favor of the 4S.
Yes, I would get the 4S, enjoy it as a phone upgrade and use its camera for those impromptu situations (and, if you're into that sort of thing, for apps like Instagram). This, plus your DSLR, will probably cover most if not all of your shooting situations.

The S100 (or other pocket compact camera) is a nice-to-have, but not as essential if you've already got the iPhone.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 04:55 PM   #12
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iphone 4S is great, especially with the iOS 6 Panorama. Not so great for zooming though. If you want the power of a DSLR in a compact package with 14x - 20x zoom, look at Canon SX 230 or SX 260.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 08:19 AM   #13
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I guess the best deal on an unlocked 4S is going to be Apple.com ($549) if I don't want to deal with Craigslist and eBay. Does anyone know of a place to get a better deal? Apple offers neither an EDU discount nor refurb pricing. Similarly, AT&T stores will not sell the handset w/o a contract.
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 07:29 AM   #14
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Though I was leery of Craigslist, the potential savings were too tempting. I saved $200 from the Apple price at $550 for the 4S. eBay wasn't an option, as I didn't want to have to return a lemon/stolen phone.

I ended up meeting the seller at an Apple store where the Genius Bar checked over the phone (for free) to be sure it was completely functional and had a clean ESN.
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 02:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by designs216 View Post
The iPhone 3GS is a decent phone but the photos aren't so good. I'm thinking of upgrading to the 4S to get a better camera that I'll always have with me, my logic being by the time I've paid for a decent compact camera, I could have paid a third more and get and better camera and a better phone and not have another device to tote.

If the camera is not that much better than that found in the 3GS, what pocket camera would you recommend?
If it's time for you to upgrade your phone, then definitely get the 4S because not much will change as far as monthly cost and you get to take awesome photos.

I am still pleasantly surprised with the quality of my photos every time I come back from my kids' soccer practices/games.
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