When packing for a holiday, a compact camera used to be one of the first items I’d throw into my suitcase. Now it sits on a shelf at home while I enjoy myself in the sun.
It’s much simpler to take portraits and landscape shots with my phone and share them instantly with friends and family via social media.
I find that the phone gives me a similar photo quality to that of a digital camera and without the hassle of the extra bulk in my pocket.
So when is it worth taking a compact camera?
If you don’t own a phone with a good camera, there’s still good reason to travel with a compact camera. Cheap phone cameras struggle when there’s not a lot of sunlight about, whereas ‘proper’ cameras take good photos in virtually all situations.
Anyone who has strained to use their phone to properly capture a famous landmark that is too far away will know that it isn’t up to the task. A smartphone’s digital zoom has no moving parts, and the image is cropped and digitally enlarged, reducing the overall quality.
Compact cameras, on the other hand, come with the added benefits of a more powerful flash and optical zoom – this physically moves the lens within the camera, maintaining image sharpness and resolution.
What about a DSLR?
More serious photography enthusiasts might invest in a DSLR. It’s perfect for handling more challenging shots – I enjoy experimenting with different lenses for difficult lighting conditions.
And when I’m shooting in direct sunlight, a viewfinder ensures I don’t have to rely on a reflective display to compose a picture.
But basic DSLRs costing upwards of £300 – pretty hefty – so some may prefer sticking with a great-value compact or their phone.
If you own a phone that did well in our test lab, take the time to learn the shortcuts to fire up its camera from the lock screen, and make sure you back up your photos to online storage (via wi-fi) or to your PC. Nothing is more frustrating than missing that crucial shot or losing your holiday photos.
What do you use to take your holiday photos – smartphone, compact camera or DSLR?