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Anne Elk
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PostSun Aug 09, 2020 1:41 pm 
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I'm going to bite, first time...I think. (I'm very attached to my flip phone).  I have to do a long road trip, and am very disenchanted with my 2009 Nikon DSLR.  I love some of the pix that show up in NWH TRs from smartphones - puts my Nikon to shame.  If you were going to buy a smartphone solely for the quality of the camera, which would you get? 

I've read the iPhone 11 review thread here. Very helpful but still many questions.  I care most about realistic rendering (not too oversaturated), lens focal length options.  I like zoom, don't care much about pano; video characteristics. Memory.  Pics will eventually be downloaded to my Mac for some processing (Photoshop) and external drive storage.  I  have zero interest at this point in other smartphone tech and apps, but I don't suppose you can get a phone without a phone/data account.  I'm so smart-phone dumb I don't even know if the pictures you take live in your phone, or automatically go to "the cloud" somewhere.   shakehead.gif  embarassedlaugh.gif

Lastly, can smartphones take pics giving a file size that enables decent prints? (I'm gonna guess no, if you want to go to 11x14 or maybe larger.)    Thanks for any/all opinions.

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"There are yahoos out there.  Itís why we canít have nice things."  - Tom Mahood
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neek
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PostSun Aug 09, 2020 3:09 pm 
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My only advice: don't get suckered into the latest and greatest.  My Pixel 2 is a dinosaur but still fine.  It was $300, 2 years ago (with a 2-year "it's not a contract" contract).  More than $500 for a cell phone is too much.  Then you feel compelled to buy insurance (rip-off) when a case and screen protector would be fine.  (Just don't drop it - I'm still trying to work up the nerve to replace my barely-working charging port.)  Most of the features you mentioned are done in software, so the phone doesn't matter too much.  Zoom is the one thing you need hardware for.  Look for one with at least 2 rear cameras.  iPhone 11 has 2, but the second is wide-angle, not zoom.  You need the 11 Pro for that.  iPhone 12 ($$) and Pixel 5 (not available yet) have 3 rear cameras (normal, wide, zoom).  Since you have a Mac, maybe re-think the need for zoom and look at the iPhone SE, which is a quite good phone for a reasonable price (for an Apple product).
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Anne Elk
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PostSun Aug 09, 2020 3:24 pm 
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Thanks, Neek - these are all handy tips. And for those great night sky shots - you need what?  A smart-phone tripod?  I'm going to be in a super-duper "dark sky" area for at least one night.

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"There are yahoos out there.  Itís why we canít have nice things."  - Tom Mahood
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neek
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PostSun Aug 09, 2020 3:54 pm 
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I hate to say it but...there's an app for that.  For low-light static scenes (an hour before sunrise/after sunset), just turn on Google Night Sight or Apple Night Mode (not available on the SE, looks like).  These modes stitch together a rapid series of shots and produce OK results even with a shaky hand, although IME colors are not realistic.  But for pitch black skies you probably want a tripod and a specialized app or two.  Nothing I've ever messed around with so can't give a specific recommendation.  My experiments with night photography this summer, even with sorta-real cameras, were pretty much failures.  It's a different game than daytime photography where you have many orders of magnitude more photons at your disposal.  From what I've seen, the best night images are "fake" in a sense that the land and sky were shot at different times, and both are generally many frames stacked on top of each other to reduce noise.  If you just want to shoot star trails or a timelapse though there are probably a number of apps.  Probably worth playing around with if you enjoy the process, but maybe not if you want to get print-worthy results.
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Anne Elk
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PostSun Aug 09, 2020 4:06 pm 
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Apps, eh?  This is what I get for having ignored digital for so long, after having been well trained in film. I read the thread you started on ISO - a different world from Kodak ISO.  wink.gif  I'll likely be in the dark sky area during the peak Perseid night, so I was thinking, hmmm, maybe try to capture that.

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Tom
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PostSun Aug 09, 2020 4:24 pm 
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I think the Pixel 3 may be the better bang for the buck paying ~$50 more renewed ($200 for the Pixel 2 vs. just over $250 for the Pixel 3).  Pixel 3 is waterproof, has an excellent screen, and supports wireless charging.  I love mine.

https://www.amazon.com/Google-Pixel-Clearly-Unlocked-Renewed/dp/B07L36VF1C

The Pixel 4a just was announced and may have a better camera and processor.  It isn't waterproof, no wireless charging, but price is very attractive at $350 new.

As far as astro photography.  You can do it but I don't think you'll be that happy with the results.  It's more of a marketing gimmick I think.
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Randito
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PostSun Aug 09, 2020 7:06 pm 
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Google Pixel 4A has an amazing camera and isn't ridiculously expensive.

https://newatlas.com/mobile-technology/mid-range-phone-comparison-pixel-4a-iphone-se-2020-galaxy-a51/

https://www.androidpolice.com/2020/08/09/google-pixel-4a-review-all-the-phone-you-need-none-of-what-you-dont/

Too bad it isn't waterproof
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Anne Elk
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PostSun Aug 09, 2020 8:00 pm 
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Good articles, Randito.  The first link (New Atlas) makes the Galaxy A51 sound even more attractive.

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Tom
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PostSun Aug 09, 2020 8:18 pm 
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Depends on lighting.  Pixel will take superior pictures in low light.
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Anne Elk
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PostSun Aug 09, 2020 8:39 pm 
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Well, one thing seems clear - - too many choices!

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Tom
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PostSun Aug 09, 2020 8:58 pm 
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I think if you want more than one focal length and the best all around camera phone get the pricey iphone with 3 rear lenses.  If you want more of a budget pick that takes just as good pictures at 28mm effective focal length go for one of the Pixels.
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Anne Elk
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PostSun Aug 09, 2020 9:22 pm 
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I care least about pano's, optical zoom rather than digital zoom might be nice. Not sure but I think only the iphone has optical.  Good closeup capability (for les fleurs & bugs) is always nice.

Thanks Tom, and everyone, for the links and suggestions.

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"There are yahoos out there.  Itís why we canít have nice things."  - Tom Mahood
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Randito
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PostSun Aug 09, 2020 9:29 pm 
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FWIW:  I have a Samsung Galaxy S8+ (3yo) and it works well as a GPS and a camera.  However on recent trips I've switched to using small waterproof camera for taking photos.  Why?  It takes several seconds longer to retrieve the phone and take a shot.  It's even faster to take a video with the camera than to open the photo app on the phone and switch to video mode and the start shooting.

And the camera has higher waterproof and impact resistance ratings than my phone.
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Tom
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PostSun Aug 09, 2020 9:45 pm 
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On my pixel 3 all I have to do to take a picture is double click the power button and camera is ready to shoot, then click either volume button to take a shot.  I'm sure other camera phones have similar shortcuts.  If I have to do something extra like switch to video mode, turn on the flash, etc. it might take another second.  I bought a fancy camera last year but never take it with me any more on hikes.  The phone is just so convenient and pictures are good enough.
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Cyclopath
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PostTue Aug 11, 2020 1:32 pm 
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Anne Elk wrote:
Lastly, can smartphones take pics giving a file size that enables decent prints? (I'm gonna guess no, if you want to go to 11x14 or maybe larger.)† † Thanks for any/all opinions.

I've had two photos in the nwhikers calendars from phone cameras.  One of them an S6 which is 5+ years old now.

There are stores that sell used phones.  After 2 years the hardware has lost 2/3 its value.  If you're going t to use it as a trail cam, don't spend too much on it.

A used several year old phone has a drastically better screen, faster processor, and better interface than the newest best $700 Garmin GPS.  It can also identify stars, constellations, and local flora.
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