I used my smartphone’s camera on holiday.
Now I know Danny will disagree with most of what I am going to say below, so I warn you Danny. Read at your own peril.
Earlier this year we went to Cuba on a family holiday. It was a very pleasurable holiday and I can’t recommend the country enough. However there were a few reasons I decided to use my smartphone’s camera.
Anyway, I made a critical mistake. I deliberately didn’t bring my DSLR. Now that was a problem because I don’t own a (good) point and shoot camera. I own about 4 older point and shoot cameras but my best point and shoot (a 12Mp canon SR one) failed with an inexplicable lens error about a year ago and it still hasn’t resolved itself.
Now Cuba is still a socialist country, and I was a little unsure about bringing a pretty large DSLR camera and more importantly a bunch of lenses into a country with such “strict” border controls. Perhaps I was worried about a negative experience I had traveling with my DSLR before.
Anyway I made the decision to take and use only my Nexus 5, which would have been fine for most people, but I really regretted the decision from about day one, and I had quite a few problems.
- The new Google Camera app proved to be incredibly unreliable, and I had no internet connection to see if updates had been released for it.
- The colour reproduction looked dreadful at first but proved to be slightly better than I expected.
- I really missed having an actual proper lens with manual focus and optical zoom. The lack of both features really upset me.
- I missed the beautiful depth of field I can pull from a prime lens at a fast aperture .
- Low light on smartphones is really bad
There were however some positives.
- OIS proved remarkably useful
- Manual Exposure saved the day several times
- Lens Blur allowed for more artful shots
- The 1080p video from the camera impressed me.
- It’s tiny! Taking photos and videos from ‘hidden’ vantage points proved very easy especially when taking photos of people in Havana
- Panorama mode was used several times for capturing scenes that would have just been too wide for even my widest lens.
I guess you could say that I brought this whole issue on myself. If I had bothered to fix my old point and shoot, buy a new one or just grow some balls, the whole thing would have been a non issue. And perhaps if I wasn’t so critically demanding and pernickety of my photographs, I wouldn’t be having this rant. I just have one piece of advice though. Travel with a proper camera. Please. Don’t rely on your smartphone’s camera.
PS : Stay tuned for a proper review of the FDR-AX100 and a demo reel.