Reader Participation Day: Has Your Cell Phone Replaced Your "Real Camera" For Taking Photos?

The phone's camera was handy when we stopped along Nova Scotia's Cabot Trail for a quick look at the surf crashing on the rocky shoreline. Jim Burnett photo.

The equipment we use to capture photos of our park visits has changed dramatically over the years, and although they aren't likely to replace a "real camera" for serious photographers, the ability of cell phones to capture quality images has made them increasingly popular with many people.

I've enjoyed photography as a hobby for many years, so I'll plead guilty to some occasional silent scoffing when I've spotted someone stop, aim his cell phone briefly in the direction of a scenic view, and "snap" a quick photo or two. How great can that shot be, I'd wonder?

As is often the case, experience leads to humility, prompted in this case by our household's purchase of our first "smart phone" earlier this summer. I'll admit to a healthy dose of skepticism about the on-board camera, but figured I'd give it a try on a recent three-week trip to several parks.

I'll admit that the results often surprised me, even though I used the Samsung Galaxy S4 strictly as a "point and shoot" camera, and haven't yet experimented with the various optional photo settings available on the phone. If I wanted to tinker with more advanced techniques, I'd still drag out the considerably bulkier SLR, but as our trip progressed, the smart phone's 13MP camera tended to become my first choice for many shots...and it also shoots some fine video.

How about you? Has your the camera on your cell phone (smart or otherwise) replaced other equipment for your photos on park trips?

Comments

In a word, no. I have the Samsung S3, which has a really nice camera, but my I still use my real camera. Of course, my "real" camera isn't even an SLR. I have a Nikon Coolpix P510 (my wife carries a P520). The superzooms like those and the Canon Powershot SX series have become wuite popular with birders. The 42X (or higher) zoom allows for some good documentation shots from great distance. They aren't print quality, of course, but more than fine for documentation or even identification of a bird/mammal/insect/plant/etc. And the camera is worlds lighter than a SLR with a bag of assorted glass. Anyway, the phone can't zoom like that. Also, I find I can track moving things much better with my eye to a viewfinder than on a screen.

The one thing I do use the phone for is digiscoping - taking a photo through my spotting scope. It's much easier to hold the phone up to the eyepiece than try to use the camera.

It has for me. Oh, I still will bring the Canon DSLR out on trips, but 95% of the photos I take now are with my iphone. I can edit, process and upload the photos using the phone as well. It is easier to pass off to someone else as well and they aren't as intimidated using my phone.

I use the ProCamera app to take the pictures and will process using Snapseed or VSCOcam.

A number of very good photographers who specialize in landscapes and nature photos are doing this as well. Those interested might want to follow the instagram accounts of @chrisburkard (experimenting today with his iphone in the Grand Canyon today) and @kevinruss (also see Kevin's tumbler feed http://kevinruss.tumblr.com/)

Thanks!

No. I'm strongly drawn to the awesome (optical) zoom lenses. Among other considerations.

I use both. I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 that I use for updating my most recent pics to friends/family and facebook while travelling but for the "real" pictures I have a Sony Alpha77. The latter are the ones I'll photoshop and print once I'm back home.

My real camera isn't even an SLR. I have a Nikon Coolpix P510. The superzooms like those and the Canon Powershot SX series have become wuite popular with birders. The 42X zoom allows for some good documentation shots from great distance. They aren't print quality, of course, but more than fine for documentation or even identification of a bird/mammal/insect/plant/etc.Want to buy Olympus Pen Camera Check online.