[NBA] Compact Camera vs iPhone X/Note8 (Travelling Use)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by afnanmir, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. afnanmir macrumors newbie


    Dec 5, 2018
    • I have absolutely no technical knowledge of DSLRs, compact cameras and even the technical specifications of mobile cameras.
    • The purpose of buying a new (compact camera) is solely for travelling. I would like things to be light, carrying a DSLR is a hassle and nor do I know how to use one to its full capacity. This will be my first standalone camera after around 12 years.
    • I currently own a Note 8, and have seen iPhone X's camera. I want something which will be a reasonable upgrade over the two. I like taking portraits and at times landscapes, depending on where I am travelling to.
    • I could upgrade to a Note 9 or an iPhone X but it will only be for the camera upgrade. I was wondering if I could actually buy a way better point and shoot camera in around 200 pounds?
    • Should I go for a compact camera, which one? Do you recommend getting a used one as long as it is in a decent condition?
    • Will it be helpful in taking reasonably better pictures than a iPhone X/Note9 if I am getting something in this budget? Please recommend some models; in used condition as well.
    Sorry for long post, tried explaining my best.
  2. kenoh macrumors demi-god


    Jul 18, 2008
    Glasgow, UK

    Firstly, welcome....

    Unless you are wanting to learn how to get the best from your camera photographically, I would stick with a phone camera.

    For £200 you wont really get anything that will give measurable benefit over your phone.

    The key is whether you want to learn to take better pictures or whether you just want a decent camera for travelling that you can take snaps on.

    If you just want to document your travels through snaps, then an iPhone or indeed any semi recent camera phone will see you fine. If however you want to go down this rabbit hole of photography, then you need to get some more budget before you buy a camera because you wont really get enough bang for the buck over the phone.

    Caveat: This is only my opinion and I am a bit of a camera nerd, my wants and desires are different to yours.

  3. afnanmir thread starter macrumors newbie


    Dec 5, 2018
    Thank you for quick reply. Do you believe I cannot get a reasonable upgrade even if I go for a used compact camera? I would like to learn the basics. As of now I take pictures on the automatic mode of my phone. Although, by basics I mean a minute or two of setting up the camera before taking the shot. Right now, all I do is just open the app and click lol.
  4. kenoh macrumors demi-god


    Jul 18, 2008
    Glasgow, UK
    You could maybe look at a Canon PowerShot S100 or S200 but they have a sensor not much bigger than your phone so low light (interiors of restaurants and bars for example) photos will be very grainy. Ideally you would want a camera with at least a 1 inch sensor otherwise you wouldnt really get the full benefit.

    You could go for something like a Nikon J1 refurb or maybe if you can get a good condition Sony RX100 MK 1 or 2 then yes, these will be an improvement over a phone camera with the caveat of once you know what you are doing. Again, if you go full auto, then just stick with your phone and save on carrying weight, another device, chargers, cable etc.

    Having said that, the software magic that Apple and the other high end phone manufacturers add mean that for your portraits, then they are easier to get a good result from than a camera where you have to make the magic yourself.

    A counter point would be that if you are travelling to places off the beaten track for example, where safety is a little less guaranteed shall we say, then maybe pulling out the latest iPhone is not a good idea. Also, from an emergency perspective, running the battery down on a camera not your phone is better than your phone packing in half way through the day and you not being able to communicate should you need to in a hurry.

    We can debate this one forever. I recommend reading this thread:

  5. mpfuchs, Dec 5, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018

    mpfuchs macrumors 6502


    Sep 19, 2014
    If you're unsure about photography, just get something cheap to find out how it works for you and if you really like photography. I would think you've already moved past this step with your phone camera and know you want something better.

    If you're serious enough about photography to spend some money on dedicated photography equipment, I'd recommend getting a MILC (mirrorless interchangeable lens camera). Decide on a brand, get a decent camera, and one lens.
    Over time, as your style of photography and possible subjects change, you can buy other lenses to cover that area.

    Before too long, you'll have a basic set of camera gear, and learned how to use each piece accordingly along the way.

    I do realize this won't happen for $200, but if you're serious about it, you'll find yourself spending more money before too long anyways, so it might make sense to just skip that first point and shoot camera.
    Same thing as they say about the first 3 tripods you buy...

    In the US, you could buy systems from Kodak, Canon, Sony, Olympus, Fujifilm and Panasonic for under $500. That's for a camera and one "kit" lens.
  6. swifty168 macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2011
    What you mainly miss out on with most smartphone cameras are varying focal lengths and larger sensor image quality (IQ). But what you gain are convenience and image processing algorithms that are largely superior to many dedicated cameras and this will only get better.
    With most cheap P&S cameras you gain the zooming abilities, you likely won't gain much if anything in terms of IQ, and you loose out on convenience.
    So for dedicated cameras to be worth the extra inconvenience many of us will want at least a discernible improvement in IQ. This level will differ from one person to another but many consider 1" sensors to be the start so look for models with at least a 1" sensor.
    In the imaging system, it's not just the sensor and the lens plays an equally, if not more important role so a good sensor needs to be matched with a good lens to produce higher quality images. This just opens a massive can of worms and far too large a scope for this discussion.
    I think you need to narrow it down to a few models and go from there. Consider buying second hand too if you're budget constrained.
    But lastly, if you're not that keen on learning at least some basic aspects of photography I think buying a dedicated camera won't make much sense.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California

    I usually give this advice to people wanting to upgrade their camera....

    • The first step is to list all the things your current camera can't do.
    • Then go through your photo library and try to think abt who some existing shots would be better if only you had used a better camera
    • Finally, think of what shots you never took because your current camera just could not get the shot.
    If you really do need to upgrade the above will generate a quite long list. If you don't need to upgrade you will be hard pressed to answer either of the questions.

    The biggest advantage if your cell phone is that you have it with you. Any other camera will need to go in a backpack or some other bag.

    If the iPhone is not up to the task there are 3rd party apps that will really help a lot. Look at Adobe Lightroom. It's free. There are others.

    For landscape work, nothing will improve your work more than a tripod and this goes triple for video. The tripod wil give you a better result them any camera upgrade.

    One thing about upgrades is they REALLY need to be upgrads. Small incremental upgrades don't do much. To get much improvement over a new iPhone you will need to buy something like an SLR or a mirrorless camera. Even a 10 or 15 year old dSLR that sells for $200 is a huge upgrade. But a "point and shoot" is no better then the iPhone. Why? The dSLR has most of the controls moved from the menu system out to physical knobs and dials where you can make inputs very quickly. This means you can make setting in a faction of a second and not mess shots where the action is happing fast. A phone camera a point and clicks are so slow to handle that we only used them for set-up posed shots.

    So a 10 year old SLR is an upgrade because of improved handling, an older point and shoot is a downgrade from a current iPhone. Those old digital cameras are old while offering nothing over the phone.

    The other reason for the larger camera is the larger sensor. This gives you two things (1) much improved low light ability and (2) more options for controlling the depth of field.
  8. tizeye macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2013
    Orlando, FL
    I would definitely say both, however would also add get a battery backup/multi-recharge for your phone. If using it as both a camera and a phone, you will definitely drain it fast...even when not in use. During a 3hr layover at Gatwick, used my phone to surf the web and when boarded Easy Jet, discovered they don't have a USB port in the seats like most airlines - even discount airlines - to charge the phone. When got to Geneva, had less than 5% charge and didn't purchase a train ticket on the SBB (Swiss rail) app and had to take a number, stand in line and purchase a paper ticket, barely making the train. Later when taking a boat to France, barely used the phone with it off most of the time, had 2% remaining when showed the ship's Purser my return ticket. 100% of my photos were taken with a real camera. Keep you phone free for travel apps, maps of city, etc! and the occasional photo when perhaps the camera is not available. I think when the phone is turned on, it continually searches for a cellular which isn't there. But I have to keep it on as T-Mobile provides free wifi and text through the local provider - charge for voice though - which means don't have to find a restaurant/store with free wifi.

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7 December 5, 2018