Don’t Rely on Smartphones As Your ONLY Camera
on Cruises & Tours
By Steve Frankel
I love my Apple iPhone X. Smartphones now include amazing cameras. Sending photos to others via email is easy, and backing up your images in the Cloud prevents stupid mistakes. Most importantly – you are shooting with a camera that you already know.
Despite all these things, I would never go a cruise or tour with it as my only camera. Smartphones and tablets have certain problems that limit their use as travel cameras:
The glare from their screens limits their use in bright sunlight. You often have “spray & pray” by taking several photos, and hoping one will be a “keeper.”
Smartphones and tablets don’t have optical zoom lenses. While you can enlarge the subject by spreading your fingers apart, this often results in low-quality images.
A sensor in a smartphone is a fraction of the size of even the most compact camera. This can get in the way of making high-quality enlargements and shooting in dim light
Most smartphones and tablets are not weather-proof or shock resistant. Using them in a tender with waves coming into the boat, or dropping them into boiling mud of a geyser, can put a real damper on your vacation.
Thus smartphones and tablets aren’t the best choices as your only cruise or tour camera. Look for cameras that will extend your smartphones’ capabilities, and help ensure that you always return with wonderful photos.
A superzoom camera with an eye-level viewfinder (EVF) and at least a 28-300mm f2.8 zoom lens. These are the Swiss Army knives of the camera world since they give you a tremendous choice of focal lengths. and permit you to shoot in low light, without having to change lenses.
An adventure camera that you can take diving down to 50 feet, drop on the pavement, or can survive being accidentally submerged in sand or mud. These cameras are nearly indestructible and you can even permit your preschoolers to use them.
A pocketable camera that’s at home in your dress slacks or evening purse. To add capabilities that your smartphone doesn’t have, these cameras should have an eye-level optical viewfinder (EVF), and a large sensor (Micro Four-Thirds or One-Inch) that can make enlargements up to about 16×20”.
A fixed- lens camera that weighs less than a pound, lets you shoot unnoticed, and can make 20×30-inch enlargements that your can display on a wall. These cameras tend to be treasured by their owners, despite the fact that don’t have interchangeable or zoom lenses. They are light, fast-handling, unnoticeable, and can yield studio-quality prints.
An interchangeable-lens camera with several lenses. These are highly versatile but tend to be heavy when equipped with telephoto lenses. The best ones for those addicted to travel photography are mirrorless models made by Olympus, Fujifilm, Panasonic or Sony. Look for a weatherproof camera that can survive being dropped, and anti-shake stabilization.
This only gives you a taste of the possibilities that open to you when you go beyond shooting with just a smartphone. For a more detailed view get the $0.99 cents Kindle edition of my new Amazon book, Choosing Great Cameras For Cruises & Tours by Steve Frankel. It’s an expanded version of what you’ve been reading with specific camera recommendations, linked detailed reviews, and suggestions of how to acquire gear at minimal cost. There’s also a $14.99 paperback edition if you prefer reading the old-fashioned way.