Compare Camera to Smartphone

When preparing for an exciting travel adventure, you are bound to compare camera to smartphone when confronted with the question of what gadget to bring for taking great travel photos. This has been a perennial question for travellers as we are in an era when people are continuously glued to their smartphones.

Several years back, pictures that were taken using smartphones used to be hazy and of sub-standard grades. Today, advanced smartphones have digital cameras that can take photographs of reasonably good quality.

Yet, while smartphones may have managed to take the place of cameras for several things, actual digital cameras still enjoy an edge for people who wish to take vivid travel photos.

Compare Camera to Smartphone - Picture through Phone

We discuss below some of the top reasons why we believe it is so much better to use actual digital cameras for travel photos rather than rely on smartphones and their built-in cameras:

You Can Enjoy Superior Zoom Quality

Many of you must be aware that the quality of the pictures diminishes the more you zoom in with your smartphone cameras. If you zoom your smartphone camera to its maximum capacity, the portraits can become grainy.

On the other hand, image quality and balancing zoom are not a big issue when you use an actual camera. Most of the cameras feature an optical zoom functionality enabling you to click clear shots even while trying to zoom in on an object placed at a distance.

You Can Expect More Vivid Images

A photograph’s beauty lies in its capability to capture that precious moment you experienced. The idea is to revisit those moments whenever you desire. However, smartphones are not frequently equipped to capture a scene’s vibrancy the way you wish to do it.

Meanwhile, travel photos taken through an actual camera can reproduce superior colours as compared to the pictures taken from a smartphone. Thus, travel photos taken using a camera are more vivid than that of smartphone cameras.

Compare Camera to Smartphone - Vivid Photos

You Can Take Sharper Pictures

We cannot deny the fact that smartphones can do take crisp pictures. However, they still have a limit concerning picture quality as compared to actual cameras. Such a parameter does not restrict cameras, and many of them can grab snapshots of excellent levels of resolution.

A decent quality digital camera is sufficient to capture clear and sharp images, which are more than enough to show off when there is a family get together annually.

More Artistic Photos of Fast-moving Objects

Taking photos of fast-moving objects is relatively tricky for most smartphones, particularly if it requires utilization of the depth of field. Typically, one needs to blur the background or foreground of such photos to achieve a much better or artistic effect.

Compare Camera to Smartphone - Fast Moving Object

When you use a camera, you can easily toggle so that the lens focuses on a single point, a capability not typically possible in the case of cameras of smartphones. If you wish to portray an important message through your pictures, an actual camera is a preferred choice over a smartphone camera.

Take Better Pictures of Animals

It can be tricky photographing animals when you are on vacation. The reason is that animals tend to move extremely fast and are agile. They will disregard your commands or requests to stay still to allow you to photograph them well.

Also, in case you are already aware of how difficult it is to take photographs of your pet dog with a smartphone, you would appreciate and understand how tough it is to take pictures of wild animals.

Actual cameras have a much superior zoom feature, in addition to advanced settings, to capture fast-moving animals well. Thus, whenever you are on a wildlife sanctuary or perhaps anxiously waiting from a distance for a perfect shot of a whale when it surfaces for split seconds, it makes perfect sense to use a good camera instead of relying on a smartphone.

Compare Camera to Smartphone - Waiting for a Best Shot

Your Photos of Fast-Moving Animals Have Greater Clarity

It is not so simple to capture pictures of fast-moving animals with your smartphone. On the majority of occasions, such images end up blurred. It is particularly so when the animal is moving very fast.

On the flip side, cameras come with different modes to capture moving objects or settings. You can toggle from one to another to create the desired effect. Make sure that you carry your camera along while capturing shots of fast-moving objects.

More Explicit Pictures of the Night Sky

Pictures of the night sky with an actual camera are usually more explicit as compared to the ones taken with smartphones. Your smartphone can only yield good photos of the night sky if you have installed some useful third-party apps to get the desired effect.

Shots that one takes at night using a smartphone reflect masses of light, or you will find faces and objects appearing awful and pale. It can also be a challenging task to take some good pictures of the moon with a smartphone. On the other hand, such issues are absent while shooting the same portraits with your actual camera.

In contrast, an actual digital camera is extremely versatile in capturing objects at night without even using a flash. One only needs to use the auto mode or adjust the appropriate settings to get their desired pictures.

Compare Camera to Smartphone - The Night Sky

It is time to bid farewell to horrible night pictures. Use a digital camera instead of making do with smartphones. Rest assured, the photographs of your campfire will appear much better this way.

To Recap

As mentioned in an earlier post, travelling allows you to explore the world and have great memories of your experience, which may be once-in-a-lifetime.  Being in the moment during your travels is always recommended. However, you would also want to capture those moments through your travel photos. Back home, these travel photos help you tell your stories to family and friends and reminisce about the great time that you had.

If you wish to capture quality and vivid shots of your experience, why settle for a smartphone? There may be situations when you can leverage your smartphones. But for the most part, it is always better to use a good quality camera.

Why not get one now?


We hope the above article convinces you on the benefits of investing in a good camera for your travel photos and much more.

If you have questions or insights on the topic or would like to share any view you may have, please feel free to leave your comments below.

Comments (12)
June 20, 2022

I found your article very informative, and I notice most people are using their smartphones as cameras today more than ever before. Being a former professional photographer my love is still for cameras over smartphones, and today with the digital cameras you can take even more amazing photographs than in my day of the film cameras


    June 21, 2022

    Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for your comments and for sharing your experience. Indeed, the advent of digital cameras has really transformed photography. And new technologies (such as mirrorless digital cameras) have further levelled up the game.

June 20, 2022

As of this date phone cameras are not really a replacement for the SLRs. But according to me the best camera is the one in your hand. Some high end phone cameras are pretty much equal to the point and shoot cameras these days, especially during the bright day, but if you need to go that extra mile then you will need a SLR. Having said that for touristy kind of vacation, I shoot on my phone and edit pics in snapseed. If I want to go for the extra mile then I take SLR and plan every frame 🙂

    June 20, 2022

    Hi Prav,

    Great insight. Fully agree that phone cameras can do the job for a number of situations. But we think they cannot do justice to those special memories during your vacation that you want to capture and reminisce. Indeed, an SLR will provide you with the capability to take that extra mile.

June 15, 2022

Fascinating post and more relevant than ever in this day and age. I work in the tv and film industry, and we often have to argue with clients over why one should use a professional video camera instead of their latest iPhone or whatever. The phone industry has done a fantastic job in fooling consumers in believing “the more pixels, the better.” Well, it doesn’t matter if you have millions of pixels if the quality of the pixels are s**t!
I always say: Focus on really good codecs, sensors, and optics. That is what matters!
Do you agree or do you think I’ve missed something?

    June 16, 2022

    Hi Michel,

    Great to have your feedback and comments as you have a real-world perspective on the topic, as you are working in both the TV and film industry. Fully agree. You hit it right on the head, i.e. focus on things that do matter with respect to picture quality.

    Thank you for your insights.

June 15, 2022

What a great article, giving various reasons why a camera is still better than a smartphone for many photography situations. As someone who owns both a smartphone and a digital camera, I was very happy to read your information, and the pictures in your article are great too.

I hope your business is not going to be affected too badly by the current travel restrictions, as I am sure a lot of people are still planning future trips for when the Coronavirus situation improves.

    June 16, 2022

    Hi Bryce,

    Thank you for your contextual comments based on your experience, particularly that you own both a smartphone and a digital camera.

    Yes, the coronavirus situation has significantly affected the travel industry. Hopefully, this passes soon. In the meantime, we all need to have an abundance of caution. There are surely only aspects of travel that we can continue to leverage, notwithstanding actual travel is down. Fingers crossed.

June 15, 2022

Hi guys,
What a great post about the benefits of using a camera rather than a smart phone for great quality travel pictures. I have also relied on smart phones for pictures during my travels and this made me buy every single iPhone whenever they were released because I was always looking for a better quality picture. I must admit the iPhone 11’s camera is absolutely fantastic. However, in December, I received a DSLR camera with different lens for Christmas and that has changed the game for me.
The DSLR camera makes more quality pictures even when zoomed. I am now considering investing in a mirrorless camera.
Thanks for sharing a link to the mirrorless camera, I am so tempted to get one now.

    June 16, 2022

    Hi Bolupe,

    You bring up another good point – reliance on a smartphone for taking travel pictures pushes you to always keep pace with the latest model with a better/best camera. Having a good digital and perhaps a mirrorless camera will enable you to avoid such need and the attendant cost. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. We hope you decide to get a mirrorless camera when the time comes.

    All the best.

June 15, 2022

I have been wondering whether my smartphone camera would be enough to capture shots whilst travelling, but after reading your article I am definitely going to invest in a dedicated digital camera. My travel plans may be on hold for the moment due to the corona-virus but at least I can plan (and look at cameras now!).
Thanks for a great article.

    June 16, 2022

    Hi Justin,

    We are glad that our article helped you decide on investing in a digital camera. We are sure you will not regret the decision. Yes, our travel plans may be on hold for the time being, providing abundance of caution against the threat of the corona virus. On the other hand, it may be a blessing in disguise as it will allow you the time to study the features of your new camera. It will come in very handy when you resume your travel plans.

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