take your camera out of its bag

A Camera Is Safe In Its Bag, But That’s Not What Cameras Are Built For

Have you ever heard the quote “A ship in a harbour is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for”? It’s a quote that is often used to inspire people to set out and achieve something. I first came across the quote when it was used by an inspirational woman I follow called Sophie Radcliffe (challengesophie.com). But, what if I were to switch ship for camera?

A ship in harbor is safe β€” but that is not what ships are built for

The conventional camera is dead

Camera phones – everyone has one, well, almost everyone it seems. Gone are the days when you might have a day out at the zoo and see people with a point-and-shoot camera or even a disposable film camera in their hand pointing at the exhibits. No, nowadays it’s a mobile phone; be that an iPhone, a Samsung or one of the plethora of other brands.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the conventional camera is dead. Why would anyone use one of those nowadays? Why bother carrying a camera AND a mobile phone?

I’ve written before about using your camera phone to make better photos, but I am still a very firm believer in using a proper, dedicated camera to achieve the best results.

smart camera phone

Practice what I preach

But, I have a problem. For the past year, maybe longer, 95% of the photos I’ve taken (and I take A LOT of photos) have been on my phone. Yes, I am a hypocrite! How can I write a post that’s about to tell people to use a proper camera more when I am not doing it? Well, continue reading and you shall see!


My problem has become efficiency. As our primary camera is a DSLR (a Canon EOD 50D to be precise) we have to download the photos to our computer from the camera before we can think about posting them anywhere or even print them. But, because we shoot RAW we also process them in Adobe Lightroom too.

Life is busy. That means that when you can shoot with a camera phone, edit in Lightroom CC on the same phone and post the photo to every platform known to man – why would I slow that process down?

But with this efficiency comes a trade-off – quality.

Better quality photos

Once upon a time, we were professional photographers. We took immense pride in our work and, of course, when publishing our work we wanted to show our best. Of course, we were using professional cameras and editing software. I loved doing it, it was a passion and I enjoyed the process of capturing the photos and editing them. I am somewhat the same when I post photos to Facebook and Instagram – I want to show my best work.

The fact is, a photograph made on a smartphone will NEVER have the quality of one taken on a proper camera. A point-and-shoot or a DSLR has a much larger photographic sensor than a smartphone thus captures more light. Light is the lifeblood of photography and the more you can get on that sensor the better.

To highlight my point, watch the following video by Joran Matter. In this YouTube video, he does one of his “10-minute photo challenges” using an iPhone 8 rather than his Nikon professional DSLR with quality lenses. But at the end, he then recreates some of the shots using his Nikon to compare the difference in quality. There is no doubt that with the iPhone 8 he created some fantastic images. But the quality difference with the Nikon is laid bare.

Get the camera out of its bag

You may be wondering where this blog post is going. Frankly, so am I!

I’ll arc back to the original quote that I modified: A camera is safe in its bag, but that’s not what cameras are built for.

I look after my tech. That means that I put my camera away in its bag after use, the same with laptop etc. But what that has, in turn, meant, with my increased use of my phone for photography, is that the camera has become out of sight, out of mind.

That’s a shame. My beautiful Canon 50D doesn’t deserve to fester in a bag. I bought it to use it, and to create photographs.

I’ll admit that lugging a weighty DSLR around, plus lenses, has often put me off taking it out with us. Even on more planned expeditions, we’ve left it behind. Often, when looking at the photos on my phone at the end of a day, I regret that I didn’t take the DSLR.

I am aiming to change that.

The purchase of the Canon EOS M50 has ignited my passion again. I’m raring to go and create beautiful images of my family and our picturesque surroundings here in North Yorkshire. I’m also shooting my niece’s wedding as a gift soon on the Greek island of Kos. So getting my creative juices flowing is more important to me than ever.

Thanks for reading.



2 thoughts on “A Camera Is Safe In Its Bag, But That’s Not What Cameras Are Built For”

  1. I was bought a camera for blogging at Christmas, not a DSLR one as we wanted to make sure I used it enough before we invested in a “proper professional” camera. I must admit, the photos I take on that a so much better than photos from my phone. It’s a no brainer for me, but the camera on the phones are so convenient!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back tomorrow.

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