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Monday, October 17, 2016

Cameras on Tour

On this year's tour of the Alps, we had several cameras in use:
  • My 2013 Sony RX100
  • My Moto G3
  • Arturo's Moto X Pure Edition
  • Pengtoh's iPhone 5s
  • Pengtoh's Galaxy S6
OK. The RX100 is in a class of it's own. The only drawbacks it has is that sharing is a pain --- I have to pull the SDcard, plug it into an SD card reader, plug that into my phone, and then run Nexus Media Importer and Photo Mate R3 to get a pictures. It takes time (which we had, since we had nothing else to do at night anyway), and while the photos are exporting, my phone is essentially useless for 15-20 minutes since photo processing chews up all the CPU. The other drawback is the lack of GPS. It's disappointing that in 2016, I still cannot find a high end large sensor compact camera that gives me RAW and GPS location.

The Moto G3 is pretty useless as a camera. I only used it when raining or as a last resort. It's better than no camera, but barely so. There's no doubt that if it shot RAW I could salvage more from the pictures, but let's face it, the phone is so cheap that was never going to happen.

The Moto X Pure is better, but suffered from hardware issues when exposed to water.

Pengtoh's iPhone 5S is very strange. When he used it to take pictures, the images as shown on the phone looked very impressive. But it also has a smaller screen (and lower resolution) than both the Moto X and the Galaxy S6. So when he uploaded the photos to Google Photos and I looked at all the pictures from both phones at once, it was obvious that whenever I saw a picture that looked good, it almost always came from the Samsung Galaxy S6. So while the iPhone seemed to produce better photos during the trip, when it comes to actually good photos, the Samsung phone did a much better job.

Ultimately, I have only a few requirements for camera equipment on a bike tour:
  • I must be able to operate it one-handed and without having to look through a viewfinder or at a screen. I used to think this is impossible for a phone, but Pengtoh and my own experience with the Moto G has proven this wrong.
  • It should be weather resistant if at all possible. Obviously, of the list above, only the Moto G3 would have fit this bill.
  • It should produce as high a quality image as possible.
I think the best camera you can bring on a tour of the Alps is something like the Sony RX100 or the Canon G7X Mark 2. But if you have to be like Arturo and Pengtoh and rely on your phone for everything, it's very clear that the Galaxy S7 is what you want.

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