Art and Photography

Upgrade phone or get a point and shoot camera?

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 10th, 2018 11:13 pm
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 21, 2009
579 posts
74 upvotes
Toronto

Upgrade phone or get a point and shoot camera?

Hey all,

With a newborn we started taking more pictures and are looking at making some print outs of them as well. With a budget of 500$ for the dedicated shooter, would you recommend that or upgrading our phone?

Currently we are using an iPhone 7 plus. If we upgrade the phone it will likely be the newest iPhone.

Thanks !
11 replies
Deal Fanatic
Jan 27, 2006
9295 posts
3356 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
This topic has been discussed and argued here many times and each has their crazed supporters and detractors.

One of the main questions you need to answer is - will you remember to take the camera with you? After all, we all know most of us can't leave without our phones but how about the camera? If you can consistently remember the camera, then you have a choice to make. If you can't (ie always forgetting it at home), then the camera isn't going to do you much good on the road or on trips.
Deal Addict
Nov 30, 2011
2368 posts
924 upvotes
GTA
IMHO the key to your question is the fact that you are intending to make prints. Phone cameras are fine for sharing over social media or emailing (or texting) to friends and family. Once you start printing the results are often disappointing. You have a more than healthy budget. You may want to consider buying a used DSLR or mirrorless camera with a decent lens using only part of your budget. As your child grows and you begin trying to capture more challenging shots (running and playing children, sports etc.) you can add to your equipment if you find the need. If, on the other hand, you don't "get into it", you haven't invested that much and you should be able to sell what you have for very little loss. Just my 2 cents worth...other's will have different suggestions.
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Newbie
Nov 4, 2018
2 posts
1 upvote
Hi,

For printing, I personally would recommend a DSLR or even a mirror less digital camera over smartphone any day. You can't go wrong with either a DSLR or mirrorless, both can produce good images for your needs. For 500 dollars, I would buy a 50 mm F/1.8 lens and a used/refurbished camera body separately.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 27, 2006
9295 posts
3356 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
RyanD57943 wrote:
Nov 5th, 2018 8:05 pm
Hi,

For printing, I personally would recommend a DSLR or even a mirror less digital camera over smartphone any day. You can't go wrong with either a DSLR or mirrorless, both can produce good images for your needs. For 500 dollars, I would buy a 50 mm F/1.8 lens and a used/refurbished camera body separately.
While I agree with you on the DSLR part, I disagree about the 50mm for this situation. The OP is just getting into it and, looks like, they want to get some shots of their child. A medium distance zoom lens like an 18-105mm would be ideal to start off with as they will have imaging stabilization built-in which is great for someone in their situation as they can get closer to the action without drawing too much attention to themselves. They can always get a 50mm later if they get more into the photography.
Member
Oct 14, 2014
380 posts
302 upvotes
Southern Ontario
submarine wrote:
Nov 5th, 2018 12:48 pm
Hey all,

With a newborn we started taking more pictures and are looking at making some print outs of them as well. With a budget of 500$ for the dedicated shooter, would you recommend that or upgrading our phone?

Currently we are using an iPhone 7 plus. If we upgrade the phone it will likely be the newest iPhone.

Thanks !
Don't bother upgrading your phone to a new iPhone. I went from a 6S to and 8 and don't notice much difference. I'm glad I didn't upgrade for the sake of the camera.

I do have a Sony mirrorless camera (a6000) but recently ordered a GoPro Hero 7 Black. I certainly like the image quality that comes out of the Sony, but I just never bring it anywhere -- and the last time I did, I slipped on a rock and broke the lens. The GoPro should fare better out in the wild, and around the kids.

Also, maybe it's just me, but I'm usually valuing video far more than stills. I have two kids (5 and 1) and getting a properly composed and focused still image is tough. Meanwhile, video not only does well with moving objects, it also captures what the child says (laughs, cries, and all).
Member
Jan 18, 2017
352 posts
107 upvotes
I'd probably look for a used mirrorless camera with a hot shoe.

Then grab an external flash like the Godox TT685. An external flash (with tilt and swivel) is way more flexible (can bounce off walls/ceilings), larger, more powerful, off-axis to avoid red-eye and the typical PnS flash ugliness)

As the kid grows up and starts running around, a flash can freeze motion and get crisp images. You can also grab a stand and an umbrella, move it off camera to have a makeshift studio.

This has a much steeper learning curve than simply pointing and shooting but you can do so much with your budget of $500 if you're willing to put in the effort.

Here's an example of direct internal flash vs bouncing an external flash:
Image
Newbie
Nov 5, 2018
8 posts
1 upvote
A used mirrorless camera would be the best bet. iPhone 7 plus is fine too in most cases.
Newbie
Nov 24, 2014
91 posts
46 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Having been in the same situation, make sure whatever you choose has fast autofocus as your kid won't stay still.
Phase detection is much faster than contrast detection.
Also be sure to test focus speed in low light (indoor situations)

ie, I found my iphone (6, 8) captured better outdoor Halloween images (non-flash) than my Sony a5100 with a fast lens.
They were not necessarily better pictures (grainy etc) but at least they were captured, the Sony was too slow to catch impatient kids.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 6, 2003
11537 posts
2354 upvotes
Ottawa
I wouldn't bother with a P&S unless it's a RX100 V or better. I have a mirrorless camera with fast lenses, and it comes out with my fast primes when I know I'm doing lots of available light photos, but everything else is captured with a new iPhone XS. I barely use my RX100 anymore. The newest phones like the XR/XS use a lot of computational photography processing, and often do a good job of getting a usable shot with much less effort (than tinkering with RAWs and lightroom).

One of the best things you can do with a toddler is doing smooth video with a gimbal. Personally, my most treasured files are short clips of my toddler captured by me following my toddler around. Usually I follow them at their level (low to ground) which is not easy to do. A gimbal is one photographic accessory which is actually worth making an effort to carry around.

So personally I think getting the latest phone with a gimbal is the best bang for buck for just general use. If you really intend to print or do a lot of composed shots or very specific shots, then a separate large sensor camera with a faster lens becomes a necessity.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Sep 26, 2007
4029 posts
474 upvotes
$500 can't buy you anything decent that your iP7+ can't already do

increase budget, or upgrade phone, or buy a gimbal
Russell wrote:
Sep 10th, 2011 12:29 pm
We come here looking for deals. We use the savings on the things we buy to justify buying more things, thus filling our homes with tons of unnecessary consumer products. Such is the key to happiness.

Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 4, 2007
1738 posts
201 upvotes
Vancouver
Hi,

Get a higher end P/S or compact with quick turn-on time & quick autofocus. Got to be compact & quick on the draw. An infant isn't going to wait for you to fire up your DSLR. No need for external flash because 99% of you pictures will be in a well lit room & reasonably close to the subject.

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