Do You Still Need a Camera for Travel Photos?
Short version – yes.
Longer version. I have a decent “super-zoom” camera – the Canon 20IS (the 50IS is the latest model). I’ve had it for several years and am not planning on replacing it. But I know more and more travellers are ditching their point and shoot cameras and just using iPads or phones to take their images.
So Let’s Go Experiment!
So before our upcoming trip, and taking advantage of some extraordinary good weather I took my camera and iPad mini for a walk around Wellington’s waterfront.
The quality of a “normal” scene in good light is not bad:
At first glance the same photo taken from the same position with the Canon looks like a similar quality:
But look at the left of the picture – see how there are several more buildings visible – that’s why wide-angle is cool for travel photography!
Using the zoom though shows up the poorer quality of the iPad:
Compare that with the approximately similar zoom from the Camera, taken from the same place.
And just to show off just what detail a zoom will give you – remember this is an optical zoom – not a digital zoom – which is just software being smart -with consequent loss of clarity.
Some other things were also apparent:
Being able to see is very useful when taking photos!
I’m a fair weather traveller – and I couldn’t see much in the tablet’s screen in the full sun! The Canon has a view finder and this exercise reminded me why having the option of a viewfinder is a “must have” when I’m looking at cameras.
The iPad is awkward to get out to take a picture.
You can’t just walk around with an iPad in your hand, not even a mini, it’s a bit awkard, and too easy to drop. The camera hangs around my neck just fine. Plus the camer a is designed to be held securely – the zoomed photo above was done with no camera shake just my pressing my elbows to my sides and holding my breath. Trying to do the same thing with the iPad is a helluva lot harder – as you have to one-handedly zoom on screen while trying to hold the tablet still with the other hand.
The iPad is Useful
I’m not saying leave the tablet at home – in fact I’m happy to leave my phone at home and just travel with the iPad – it’s very useful and being WIFI only can NEVER cost me a fortune in international roaming charges! If I need to take a quick picture of something pragmatic: the condition of a rental car on pickup, the number of my room in a large hotel, the prices and exact name of somewhere I want to write about. All very useful.
But it’s not a camera substitute.
Disclaimer – all images taken on an exceptionally sunny day in April in Wellington. This weather is not typical. If you arrive and it’s raining and a cold southerly- it’s not my fault!