A Smartphone Isn't Enough for Your Next Cruise

1 min read

Smartphone photos have appeared on the covers of magazines , but they can't cut it as the only camera guests carry on cruises. 

Smartphones Don't HaveTelephoto Lenses

Despite the advertising claims, smartphones don't have  telephoto lenses. The longest lens on an Apple iPhone or Samsung Gallaxy is about 60mm. Real telephoto lenses are at least 90 mm; and travel photographers don't feel comforable on cruises with less than a 200mm lens. These penguins were captured from about 40' away using a small Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 camera with a 24-360mm zoom lens. With a smartphone, the penguins would have been tiny specks in the distance.

Smartphone Photos Can't Be Displayed on Walls

Smartphones done have sufficiently-large sensors to make 20"-30" prints to display on a wall. Now that several digital labs often price canvas prints this size at $20 or less, who can resist displaying your best travel photos in your home or office?

Smartphones have sensors that are the size of your fingernail. You need a camera with a much larger sensor. These used to weight several pounds when equipped with a 200mm telephoto lens, but now you can buy compact ultra-zoom cameras such as the pcoket-size Sony RX100 for about the same price as your iPhone 11.  It has a 24-200mm zoom lens and a one-inch sensor, but it fits in your front pocket. It produces a great 30"x40" print if your image is properly exposed and fills up the entire frame. 

The latest model of the camera I used to shoot the penguins is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200. It costs only $400, and while it no longer fits in your pocket and has a slightly-smaller sensor than the Sony, it has a f2.8 28-600mm lens while weighing about a pound-and-a-half. 

Cruise with Two Cameras & Spare Parts

You should always have your smartphone available for photos, but if you hope to be a travel photographer, you should always take a more versatile camera on a cruise. Or, at least be sure your partner is carrying one.

Also, always bring extra batteries and a spare charger on your cruise. Ohterwise, Murphy's Law dictates that  you will spend time in interesting cities searching for a camera store. Ditto for cameras. If you travel with ony one, it will invariably break when you're two days from port. 

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