Beyond Selfies: The Return to a "Real" Camera

Beyond Selfies: The Return to a "Real" Camera

Janel Laban
Sep 24, 2014
(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

After a stretch of relying on my camera phone for tons of photos, I recently bought a standalone DSLR camera...again. I had completely bought into the "the best camera is the one you always have with you" mindset - and it is amazing to have a good, reliable way to grab shots on hand no matter what - but I feel like it's come full circle for me. I just missed the quality and control. How about you?

The cameras in smart phones have gotten better and better, and continue to do so, but, I guess when it comes down to it, it's just not all about convenience or accessibility. I still missed the standalone camera experience. Here are a few reasons I made the switch back to a DSLR.

1. Good quality, more light control, higher-res images: Clearly, this is important for the images I use for my work on Apartment Therapy, but, in the end, I also really want the best quality, most easily printable photos of my family, vacations and own home, too.

2. Ability to easily use a tripod: I believe that using a tripod is one of the main shortcuts/secrets to consistently getting a good photo, so why NOT use one whenever you can, especially in your own home? That photo of the big birthday cake or newly repainted living room will look even BETTER on your blog and facebook page as well as when you want to enter our next contest or list your home for sale.

3. Memory cards: Even with the max amount of memory on my phone I was still burning through it like wild. I take lots of photos and I like to be able to edit them down later, something that just feels easier and more efficient (for me, anyway) to do when the images are on a memory card instead of on my phone. I don't like to have all those multiples in my "camera roll" and deleting them after the fact is a drag. I like to use my phone for pics that for the most part, will stay on my phone; kind of like a photo diary/record of my life, so not having to delete a ton of duplicate photos that I took to get the "best" shot is a bonus.

4. Battery packs: Don't even get me started on how fast my phone's battery would die at a trade show, family event or when on vacation. I ended up relying on external battery backups (Mophies have saved my life a few times) but they are heavy and big. I love being able to throw a smaller/lighter camera battery in my bag and know that I'll be set...and still have the power available throughout the whole day to use my phone for the OTHER gazillion things I need it for.

5. Lenses: The ability to change lenses for different types of shots is right up there with the tripod in terms of making your most important, treasured photos look their very best. I forgot what a big difference the "right" lens can make to getting the shot I want.

In the end, it's about the mix. I would NEVER give up my smartphone and love that I can record the moments of my family's life, the things I see in the world that inspire me, and share them whenever I'd like, including immediately, through the use of my phone and social media. But, there are special occasions, work assignments, big projects, and, most importantly, the beauty of day to day life at home, that sometimes just deserves a little more care and quality, and for those times, a stand alone camera just does the trick.

So, in my case, a new camera was in the cards (and I'm really happy with it) but you may have one around you can dust off and put back into service. Or, maybe you were one of the true camera-lovers who just kept on using your "real" camera even after getting a decent one on your phone.

Either way, I'm curious - when it comes to anything other than a selfie or a truly on the go moment - do you still use a "real" camera?

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