Just about everyone carries a cell phone today, and pretty much every phone has a camera. But don’t let the convenience of that wide angle, fixed focal length camera built into a communications device lull you into the mistaken idea that you don’t need to carry a real camera.
All but the most inexpensive compact digital point and shoots have a zoom lens, better resolution, and better color than your phone, along with the ability to autofocus. And if you step up to an SLR with interchangeable lenses, your options expand even more. While a camera may mean a bit of extra weight, it also generally allows for much better photos. A good zoom will let you capture expansive vistas, and then get up close to wildlife, or isolate a single subject from the foreground and background. Being able to choose a wide or small aperture to control depth of field, or set a shutter speed somewhere between freezing action and blurring to show motion (think long exposures of running water) are other benefits you will not get from your phone. And high resolution lets you print your favorite images, rather than just emailing them or posting them to social networks.
It doesn’t matter what brand you choose, but taking along a dedicated camera will usually let you bring home better images, and more of them too. Think of all the times you took a shot with your phone, only to find that the image lacked the detail you were hoping for. This summer, we suggest that you take your water, sunscreen, and snacks, but also a better camera, so you can bring home more than a sunburn and bug bites. We’ve covered some photo gear in the past, and hope to share some more before the year is out. Look for tips and techniques, along with some gear suggestions coming soon.