Use iPhone 5 as camera on vacation?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Fontane, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. Fontane macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2011
    Hey all, I'm leaving to travel around Europe for a few months and want to know if you guys think I can use my iPhone 5 as my primary camera.

    I'm not big into photography but will be taking pictures along the way. My current camera is a sony cybershot 14.1mp. Check it out here.

    I've had the camera for two years and probably used it twice -- which goes to show how much I actually take pictures.

    So, will the iPhone 5 camera/video quality suffice or should I bring along my sony?
  2. MadGoat macrumors 65816


    Jul 30, 2007
    The best camera is the one that you will have with you... Also the one that doesn't feel like a burden when you're traveling.

    The iPhone camera is great and I used it for traveling to NY last year. It served me well and I use it daily. I've rarely taken my cybershot with me, haven't used it in over a year.
  3. El3ctronics macrumors 65816

    Mar 30, 2011
    Any extra item you're holding on vacation would feel like a burden so using that logic, your phone would always be the best camera. I don't agree with this. It depends on the vacation and if image quality is important for the pictures you'll be taking.
  4. willmtaylor, Oct 10, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012

    willmtaylor macrumors G3


    Oct 31, 2009
    A Natural State
    Based on your comments and your current point-and-shoot. Yes, the iPhone 5 will adequately serve as a camera for good quality vacation pics.

    EDIT: I will say that the lack of optical zoom is the biggest drawback.
  5. MadGoat macrumors 65816


    Jul 30, 2007
    When I'm traveling, I like to be light. Carrying a camera on top of a phone is a pain in the arse to me. I did however have the spare camera in my luggage that could be fished out if the phone completely died.
  6. DodgeV83 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2012
    That depends on what type of photos you plan on taking. If you need the ability to zoom in to distant objects (nature shots, mountains...etc) then bring a dedicated camera. Digital zoom leaves much to be desired.

    Of course it all depends on your standards, I refuse to buy any DSLR lens that doesn't have at least a 2.8 aperture throughout, but many people are just fine with those super zooms that go from 3.5-6.3 aperture.

    Long story short, you already have a dedicated camera, and it's a small point and shoot. Just bring it. Worst case scenario you find your iPhone to be good enough and never use it.

    Have fun on your trip!
  7. SwisströM macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2012
    I have a DSLR Nikon that I sometimes bring on vacation... but I always end having 200 photos on my iPhone and 20 or so on my Nikon.

    iPhone as a camera rocks! I would have never said so 5 years ago... when camera phone where still awful, but now they provide me the image quality I need.
  8. SlyMac macrumors 6502


    Jun 16, 2008
    Your point-n-shoot has optical zoom, larger sensor, better ISO, larger flash, and better effects/menu options. I'd take that and use your phone as a back up. The cybershot is compact and wouldnt be a burden like a dSLR would be.

    I've forgotten my camera on trips and had to rely on my 4s last time I was in colorado. It just wasnt as great as i thought itd be as a primary camera on a trip.
  9. i-sidd macrumors 6502a

    Apr 27, 2006
    I am also planning on using the IP as my camera, I wanetd to know what tripod (portable) do you guys suggest. Is gorrillapod the best option. Is there cheaper alternative?

    Will I be able to use it with case on and teh gorillapod?

    Do i need to buy anything except the gorilapod for me to be able to use it. What I mean si do I need to buy extra clips or whatever ist called to hold the camera to teh gorillapod.
  10. Fontane thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2011
    Thanks everyone for the great replies.

    I think I will bring my camera. As some of you mentioned, it's so small, and although I need to be extra-light, the camera won't put me over the edge.
  11. redman042 macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    The iPhone is a great vacation camera. For me personally, I also bring a DSLR with several lenses because for some shots I'm looking to take a photo I can frame, the lighting conditions are challenging, or I need to zoom or go wide angle. But I take the majority of my day-to-day vacation shots with my phone and am quite happy with them. Heck, on my last trip to Hawaii, I took both photos and videos underwater while snorkeling with my iPhone. It was in a waterpoof bag that I bought on Amazon. Worked great!
  12. BVStudioCity macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2008
    Do not use the iPhone 5 as your vacation phone.

    Based on some bad forum advice I got suggesting the iphone 5 is a brilliant vacation camera, I've a thousand horrible pictures from what was otherwise the vacation of a lifetime. Before breaking down my arguments let me just say I cannot express how much I regret using the iphone 5 as opposed to a point and shoot for this trip!

    1) The iphone battery will fight you each day every day. An iPhone will barely get you through a regular non vacation day, now imagine all of the added workload for a vacation. Lots more navigation, language translation, searches to find highly rated restaurants and attractions, as mechanism to buy reduced price bar-code tickets, and then as a camera too. The result every day was my battery would be running on empty by 2pm and I would be dead in the water unable to take pictures, or look-up a train table to get back to my hotel.

    2) The screen on the iphone cannot be seen in the summer sun. So when you are trying to photograph a beautiful sight on a nice day with the sun at your back illuminating your subject, you simply cannot see the screen! You can somewhat see something if you turn the brightness to max, but that dramatically accelerates the battery burn!

    3) Motion Blur. I got more motion blur issues with the iphone than any point and shoot I've every used. Nearly a third of my images had to be trashed for this reason. I really wish I had a image stabilized point and shoot.

    4) Lighting issues. While the iphone does well with a well lit subject it really does horrible with low or indirect lighting conditions. Most point and shoots just seem to handle these situations better returning a serviceable picture, the iphone returns horribly grainy images or crazy lens flares in these cases.

    5) White levels and color. So many of my iphone images came back with washed out colors, and just generally too white or too dark. So disappointing when the pictures were taken in bright colorful summer lighting.

    6) Lack of physical switches/buttons for settings. Since all options are set via the touch screen, WHICH YOU CANT SEE if out in the sun, its difficult to tell what settings are in place. Often you will find you are shooting a video or a panrama when you thought you were in picture mode. HDR or flash will be mis-set, and the results are not clear till you are looking at full size photos after the trip is over. With a point and shoot you just turn a dial to get a mode and can "feel" your settings. With the iphone you have to find a shady spot to see the screen and then touch and swipe things to try and find the settings you want. The bottom line is its just never ready to shoot, and its a pain to get settings in place.

    7) Fingers in photos. Where the lens is located its easy to literally fat finger a shot or video.

    8) Dirty lens issues. Most point and shoots have little doors that protect the lens. With the iphone sitting in your pocket there is often fingerprints oon the lens which leads to blurry photos.

    The bottom line is the iphone is great for taking a few occasional photos and the occasional selfie in your day to day life. But on vacation its absurdly painful to use as a camera due to poor battery, and a screen that is unenviable out in the summer sun where you will be taking photos.

    Don't make my mistake. Take a real camera if your vacation photos mean anything to you.
  13. dazed macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2007
    Never rely on a camera phone, especially for important trips. The iPhone is good but not even close to a real camera.

    You will end up draining it and then you'll be without a camera and a phone. The phone may be important, especially in foreign countries where you may need a google map or 2.

    My advice would be to bring a real camera. You may find for some excursions where you don't want the added bulk of a camera you can fallback on the phone, but I think you'll regret if the phone is your only camera.
  14. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    If it was a "vacation of a lifetime" and all you had was you phone to take pictures...... Well that was a poor choice.

    The iPhone does ok on everyday snaps but I AWAYS keep a G1X Mk2 in the glove box. It all comes down to what you are happy with.
  15. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA

    The problem I always had with point and shoots is that they're inconvenient, and that's why when I got the iPhone I stopped using and buying them.

    The first thing was that the charger on my Sonys were bigger than the camera itself, and because I was shooting most of the day, I had to charge it everyday and have it in its own bag. My recent p-o-s Nikon luckily takes batteries, but it's like four of those Sonys in size, and of course those things eat batteries for lunch so you still have to carry along rechargeable ones.

    I think where you failed is deciding to use the iPhone for a really special vacation. If you're going somewhere meaningful, you take a proper camera. A lot of people will tell you that, because these are usually the pictures you print out the moment you come home and put in the family album.

    You also need to be comfortable with the camera. For someone that only used their camera twice, it really isn't a good idea to go out and use it again right when you're leaving for a trip, the moment you're going to be taking pictures isn't the moment for learning how to.

    Going back to my Nikon - It doesn't have the modes on its dial, nor does it have a viewfinder. So watch out when you suggest that to someone.

    Depending on the camera, you can have a lot of similar problems too, and it's a lot harder when it's guessing what the focal point is and you have very little control over it. The screens on these things are just as bad.

    I've never had an issue with a dirty lens, and even if I did, fogging it up, and a quick light run with a cotton swab or cleaning cloth will do the trick.

    As for fat fingers, it happens just as often.
  16. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012

    The Sony will in the end provide better images for you to enjoy in the future. Its just comes down to weight vs mobility. While you'll be able to enjoy better pictures in the future you don't want your vacation to be hindered by carrying around something that is awkward for you.

    I do a lot of backpacking and weight is a major concern but I still bring a point and shoot camera. Plus it saves my iPhones battery.
  17. sunking101 macrumors 604


    Sep 19, 2013
    Taking scenery and distance shots is where a proper camera trumps a mobile phone. If all you'll be doing is taking the odd photo of your partner standing in front of this and that, then the iPhone will suffice. Some people take way too many photos! Who cares to look at a ton of snaps they took years ago?
  18. Gathomblipoob macrumors 601


    Mar 18, 2009
    You must be fun at parties. :D
  19. sunking101 macrumors 604


    Sep 19, 2013
    Why? I live in the here & now. Photos have never really interested me. I take some, but am very selective. I can take 20 photos over the course of a two week vacation...
  20. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Oct 17, 2011
    Wow just plain horrible photos? And thousands of them too? I've taken my phone on a number of vacations and ended up with pictures that are completely fine.
  21. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    What is fine to you might be junk to others. :rolleyes:
  22. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'd personally take a better performing camera while on vacation. the iPhone 5 camera is good in many circumstances but its not great in low light or when you when you need fast shutter speeds.

    Just my $.02 but I think there are better options out there :)
  23. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Oct 17, 2011
    Sure, that's fine, but it can also be just fine for most while some of the posts make it sound like it's just a horrible thing and no one should ever do it.
  24. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Sorry but if it is a vacation of a lifetime a camera phone is not going to cut it except for those who do not know better. For those, it really does not matter.
  25. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Oct 17, 2011
    If it was a vacation of a lifetime then perhaps different standards should have been applied thinking and planning it out. But even then I'd argue that "thousands of horrible pictures" would be on the hyperbole side of things.

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