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Camera Phones

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Camera Phones

Postby maverick » Fri Aug 21, 2015 7:41 pm

Who uses a camera-phone while backpacking? Have you tried several, which ones do you like the best, and why?
Here are a couple of reviews, do you see your choice in these reviews, can you back any of the reviews up, or did you have a negative experience with any of these camera-phones? Some people do not want to carry a camera, so any input you may have, may help a fellow member in making an informed decision and purchase. :) Thanks.

http://www.techradar.com/us/news/phone- ... d-904250/1
http://thedigitalcamera.net/best-camera ... mparative/

Post some of your better Sierra camera-phone shots here, so those interested in purchasing, can base there decision on what information you have to share and on a beautiful photo. ;)
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Camera Phones

Postby rayfound » Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:55 pm

For What it is worth - Most all of the flagship devices will do great on the typical backpacking type photos - scenic landscapes, good natural lighting, etc... the big differences between them and their software is really apparent indoors, low light, motion, etc...
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Re: Camera Phones

Postby sparky » Sat Aug 22, 2015 3:32 pm


HTC phone, not sure of model. Very bad in low light.
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Re: Camera Phones

Postby The Other Tom » Sat Aug 22, 2015 5:19 pm

I typically take an iPhone when I go backpacking. I picked the iPhone over an Android device because I thought the operating system is more secure and performs better (doesn't crash). Others may disagree with me. The quality of the camera on the iPhone was not a consideration in my purchase.

Depending on what I want to photograph, I will also take an SLR. I put the phone on airplane mode to conserve battery life and use it solely as a camera. I've found the camera phone to be ok for me but the pictures aren't what I would call professional quality. Some of the photos you and SSS Dave (and others) post just blow me away. I know it takes a lot of effort and extra gear to take photos of that quality and in general I'm not willing to commit to that. I take the phone as opposed to the SLR for weight and packability.
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Re: Camera Phones

Postby Scouter9 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:02 pm

I've used the camera on my Android phone(s) in the high country for several years, but this is the first year I carried only the phone and made it my camera for the entire trek(s). I'm currently using a Samsung Galaxy 6 and find the photos and capabilities to be on-par with the pocket-sized digitals I'd otherwise carry. Of course, it's not my Nikon SLR but I don't want to carry that one for backpacking, anymore.
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Re: Camera Phones

Postby sdhiker » Mon Aug 24, 2015 2:41 pm

I like my iPhone. The quality of pictures that you take and the ease of using your phone has gotten better and better over the years. I still bring a camera for most of my shots but every once in a while its just easier to whip out my phone and do a panorama or get a quick photo. Treat the photos just like any other, try using Lightroom for a little post production work and you can get some pretty great photos out of it.

This was 3 panoramas overlapping and stitched together in Photoshop.
ImageHalf Dome from the John Muir Trail by Brad Spiess, on Flickr

For some reason my phone just worked better for this panorama then the pictures I took in my camera.
ImageAcross the Bridge by Brad Spiess, on Flickr

Sometimes its just easier to get that phone out quick and get a great shot.
Imagetruck sunrise by Brad Spiess, on Flickr

My phone will never replace a great camera, at least not yet, but its a great item to have anyways, one more tool you can take advantage off.
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Re: Camera Phones

Postby Brien » Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:19 pm

For me it kinda depends on the trip. Sometimes I'll take my GoPro and other times I'll just rely on my iPhone.

Here's a timelapse panorama I shot with my iPhone 6 on a egg-timer. Makes for a cool effect. Unfortunately, it got a little windy so it's a little jolty towards the end.

Last edited by Brien on Wed Aug 26, 2015 7:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Camera Phones

Postby oleander » Tue Aug 25, 2015 9:28 pm

I tried taking my phone into the backcountry as a camera replacement once. (To save weight.) I didn't care for the experience. I found that my phone was both easier to drop (awkward to hold; no wrist strap), and more fragile than my camera when it did drop. I got a ding on the screen on my very first day out.

Most phones are not "tuff enuf" for the backcountry!

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Re: Camera Phones

Postby Hobbes » Wed Aug 26, 2015 7:10 am

I used to take a small Cannon point-and-shoot until my son told me my Galaxy S5 had a better camera. I did a little research, including reading this article from a few years ago, before I realized he was right:

http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/09/0 ... -the-dslr/

So, the decision process is really quite simple: take a DSLR is you're into photography, otherwise a good smartphone will take fine photos. Since I take photos on the fly with more of a travelogue orientation - which is reflected in my TRs - I simply swapped out my point-and-shoot for my phone.

As Oleander mentioned, they can be dropped, so I got an Otterbox Defender ($30 on Amazon) which has worked fine. Even with the case, I still keep the camera (in airplane mode) in my pocket so that I can shoot on the fly.
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Re: Camera Phones

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:10 am

I take my phone only because I don't leave it in the car. It gets stuffed somewhere in the pack where it will be cushioned from an impact. Sometimes at camp I might turn it on to snap a few shots.

My boyfriend had a rock shoot out from under his feet - he hit the ground, rolled, landed, got up filthy and scraped, but ok. His iPhone 6+ shot out of the pocket he usually carries it in and took a header into rocks. Fortunately the resulting damage was to the tempered glass screen protector. He stopped carrying it in his pocket. It's too big for pack pockets. Hard to carry securely and be easily accessed.

A friend who kayaks keeps investing in waterproof, bombproof Lifeproof, Otterbox mega-maximum protection type phone covers. She has successfully drowned three phones in spite of this since it's her camera. She gets phone insurance.

I'd insure the phone if I intended to use it as a camera replacement. I've gone through five point and shoot cameras - needless to say, it's not my plan to get an expensive setup any time soon.
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