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Cameras and smartphones for the frugal

notion900

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
>
A nice tech question for those that enjoy such conundrums...

I am a well informed but stingy consumer of technology. e.g. for ages I hung onto a non-smartphone, by also using an iPod Touch (that I was given free ;)) with WIFI.

Now I have a Samsung Galaxy Core Prime phone (bottom of the whole Samsung range). This was bought for £80 SIM free and uses a SIM card on a spectacularly old plan (I think circa 2008!) which is only £8 a month (yes you read that right). I manage this just fine by using WIFI a lot, and buying the odd £3 for 2 days data package when I am in a city in Spain and I need the maps.

This phone is adequate for my everyday life for now, but it has a low onboard memory, so is used with an SD card, but I still have to not go crazy with apps, and remove ones I am not using. The camera is also poor, producing miserable looking photos unless in brilliant sunshine.

So for 2 years I have been eking out the freebie iPod Touch as my camera on my travels. I loved it as it was so slim and pocket sized and I could also use it for sound recordings. This last camino I noticed the photos it took were getting pretty rubbish, and finally last week it bit the dust (screen crumbled and parts of it came off!). I didn't lose any photos but I really need to get my act together now.

Should I buy a compact camera or upgrade my phone? What models would any of you recommend? I really value small and thin. I am tempted by something compact and water resistant, as that further justifies getting a camera over and above a phone, and if I upgrade my phone in future, it would still have a point.

[BTW I have a Fujifilm X10 as well, which I love, but would never expose to the rigours and danger of theft on a camino.]

Any ideas, tech and camera lovers?
Many thanks
 
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evanlow

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Frances06
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On the Camino, best to have one device. For that I will recommend the phone. Things have greatly improved since your Galaxy core prime phone.

I believe you should able to get a phone with a decent shooter for around 150 pounds. If you don't mind the Chinese brands like Huawei or Xiaomi even more features for less. Many even comes with dual SIM slot in case you want cheaper data with local Spanish SIM card while still retaining your UK SIM. A screen size of 5.5 inch would be still be smaller than the iPad mini but adequate for virtually task require phone and small tablet.
 

Lurch

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
looking at 2018-2019
I tend towards the opposite view. While phone cameras are much better, and you can send pictures to the cloud easily; a camera offers better optics, usually, and optical zoom rather than digital. While I have a smart phone, an older Samsung Galaxy with the larger screen, I still tend to take a camera on my travels. Mine is a, again older, Canon Powershot. It has 12 power optical zoom and the viewfinder swivels nicely for those over-the head shots. It does, however, weigh 19 ounces. When I walk the Camino next year I plan on upgrading to a newer model which should be lighter and have more features. My prejudice may be showing as I have been an avid amateur photographer for 50 years and used a camera in my work as well.

I know it means lugging two devices around but for me at least the picture quality makes a difference. Safety is also a concern. My phone, with all the information about me and the various apps is securely in my pack. If someone were to try and grab a device I would rather it be the camera than phone. Still, each person has to make their own decisions. I would look at both phones and cameras and get a feel for what is best for you.
 
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CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
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(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I would just upgrade the phone. I enjoy taking video on Camino probably more than photos but a phone does both fairly well.

OK the semi pro photographers here will disagree, but for the majority of pilgrims a phone camera does just fine. (I have a mini green screen studio in my office to make business blog videos, but when walking, a phone camera is just fine)

The phone camera wins hands down for size, weight and convenience.

All the photos on my Blog and the mini blog movie I made in 2015 were shot on a phone. (link below) Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Some pics / footage are not great but that is not the fault of the camera, that's me :oops: Bit too much camera shake at times....and wind noise.

Next year I'll just take an upgraded phone I think, though tempting to take a 'real' camera. They just don't make one small enough yet with the specs that I'm looking for. Though I will take a tiny mini tripod and external mic this time to cut out wind noise on the video.

Bottom line. Go with a phone. But not some 5 year old second hand one with a poor camera...... OK, a second hand Galaxy Note 3 would be OK, because they have great cameras ;)

Hmmm. Just realised I shot some quite good video and stills in Cambodia years ago on an iPhone 4...... But you get the idea. A decent phone....will have a decent camera.

BIAS Warning........ I should add, that I would never buy a Camera that cannot take an external Mic. As I use them for video. So that limits my options to smart phones or more expensive compact cameras. Just for stills, there are probably loads of decent inexpensive compact cameras. Then you are carrying 2 devices though.
 
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Charlotte Helbig

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés Sept. 2017
Camino Portugués May-June 2019
While phones do take excellent pictures, I always opt for a real camera for the reasons stated in the above post. I got this one. It is very, and I do mean, very light. It is a Sony DSC-W830 20.1 megapixel camera. It has a rechargable battery w/USB cable. Here in the US it is $120...so that's less than 100 pounds??
 

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notion900

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
>
I was just looking at Motorola phones, the mid range ones around £150 have a 13 megapixel camera. Does anyone have any experience of their photo quality?
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I was just looking at Motorola phones, the mid range ones around £150 have a 13 megapixel camera. Does anyone have any experience of their photo quality?

Haven't seen those. I always look for tech reviews online. Particularly ones that do comparisons with other models. Generally a detailed and unbiased opinion rather than just 'I liked it' ;)
 

Lurch

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
looking at 2018-2019
To me the megapixel count is not that important. Unless you are blowing it up to poster size or need to examine the print with a loupe for some reason 8 MP are fine. Plus, depending on the camera, the refresh rate is slower for a higher MP number. Another reason I like my old Canon. At 8MP the refresh rate is very quick and I can take another pic in the time it takes me to locate another subject. My wife uses a nifty Pentax with about 16 MP resolution and the higher you set the MP the slooooower it goes. Higher MPs are nice to have and if you are in no hurry go ahead and use it but if you think there maybe more than one picture you want to take quickly, use a lower resolution. Just my take on the subject matter.
 

Neoscan

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (Sept 2016)
Phone only- lighter, no extra cables, don't have to worry about recharging an extra device, easier to upload to Internet/email etc but lower quality images (if you want to print them).

Camera- better quality images.

Think about what you want to do with the images. If printing isn't high priority I would just take a decent phone cam.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I never print them but I do view on a laptop.

Then I think you should be OK with a phone Camera.

Excuse the file size, it might be slow to load (4MB). No point in showing a reduced file size for this purpose. But this was taken on my phone. Forget the photograher and composition! But I think the image quality is perfectly OK for most uses.

Hmmm. Even though uploaded at full size I think the forum software has reduced them.... They are a lot sharper on my PC.



Here's a link to this one on the Forum Gallery in case that is better.

The one below is near Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, before anyone asks....


Ml0fKT.jpg
[/URL][/IMG]
 
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Rick M

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April ('16,'18, '19, 21)
I was just looking at Motorola phones, the mid range ones around £150 have a 13 megapixel camera. Does anyone have any experience of their photo quality?

Yes! The older Moto E and G models I used had terrible cameras. I just got a G4 which was not expensive but now has a camera nearly as good as the iPhone. Good enough that my wife no longer uses her compact camera or the fancy Pentax SLR any more, and now she needs larger SD cards.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)

Wow. Great post. I think I'll definitely be just taking a phone next year. Just trying to decide on the new Galaxy Note (just released) or the new iPhone Plus (due in Sep 17).

One of my reasons for getting a compact camera, was the ability to use shallow depth of field. But it looks like these apps will allow me to do that. :)

The 'spec' I was seeking for a new compact camera just doesn't exit. Compact body, articulating screen, external mic input, wifi, zoom lens, image stabilisation.......... and then whilst walking the other day, the penny 'dropped'. Just upgrade my phone..... The new ones probably do all that.

But of course if a suitable compact comes onto the market........I'm sure I can find a use for it at work ;)
 
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notion900

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
>
Just looking at Google Play Store. There are loads of camera apps, hard to pick on one. Adobe Lightroom is there as a smartphone app, but full RAW only one a few top end phones.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Let us know what you decide. I'm starting to consider these, too.

It's a tough call. And bear in mind, that I mainly shoot video.

I was always an iPhone user, until I got the Galaxy Note 3 a few years back, to use as a phone / camera on my first Camino.
I'm totally sold on Galaxy phone cameras. Amazing quality. My old Galaxy Note 3 still takes much better pics and videos that my wife's iPhone 6. Much better. The pics are almost like they are photo shopped in the phone!

The other major plus for the Galaxy, was the ability to pull off the back and swap out SD cards and battery. A major plus. Certainly to swap batteries. I did that on about 50% of days.

But now those features are gone. Supposedly because battery life and file capacity is better.......

So there is no longer any reason for me to stick with the Samsung Galaxy. As I have used iPhones in the past and use an iPad for work, it might make sense to go back to an iPhone again. Easier syncing my music etc.

It will all come down to Camera quality. I have tried the new Galaxy and it seemed good. Though I dislike the wrap around the edges screen.. (seen lots of broken screens)

If the iPhone camera can perform as well as the Galaxy, I'll go iPhone I think. But I somehow doubt the camera will beat the Galaxy. We'll have to wait and see....... (September release I think)
 

Walk with Ernie

Just call me Ernie
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPdP to Santiago Sept 2017 & 2022, Portugues 2021
I have been traveling with a smartphone for many years now. Just in the last 2 years, my provider has offered great packages. I unlocked the phone to use a local sim card on the Camino. I forgot to buy the sim card for a few days but used the phone about 10 times. Each time I figured it to be part of my 45 euro per day budget. I was in Burgos when I got into my account to check on the actual damages of using my own sim card. I found that I had only raised my bill by $15 U.S. I never did buy a sim card while in Spain. My provider is in Europe now. I have an extremely good calling plan. Before you buy a sim card in Spain, check your carrier's plans. I used internet calling whenever I could. I texted a lot. Free unlimited texting and free unlimited 2G internet is part of my carrier's plans it cost me $5 per month. Again I highly suggest checking with your carrier's plan. I have a 2-year-old LG L90 D415 phone. The pictures are excellent. I used it as my main camera and forgot about my GoPro camera bought specifically for my Camino.
Buen Camino.
 

Carlos Santiago

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I use a Galaxy S7 (215 grams; normal flat screen, dual sim) for all of the above functions - indoors, outdoors, motorcycle trips, etc. - still camera, music player, video player, sound recorder, internet, dictionary/translator, gps, and a host of other specific functions supported by apps. It is water proof and shock proof up to certain degrees such as tropical downpours, snorkeling dips and table drops. It makes and receives text messages and phone calls too.

Wish list:
1. A waterproof Galaxy note for all of the above functions plus a handwritten notebook/diary like my Note 3.
2. A good quality clip-on mobile telephoto lens ( < 100 grams) to be used as a telescope and telephoto lens.
 
M

Mike Trebert

Guest
A nice tech question for those that enjoy such conundrums...

I am a well informed but stingy consumer of technology. e.g. for ages I hung onto a non-smartphone, by also using an iPod Touch (that I was given free ;)) with WIFI.

Now I have a Samsung Galaxy Core Prime phone (bottom of the whole Samsung range). This was bought for £80 SIM free and uses a SIM card on a spectacularly old plan (I think circa 2008!) which is only £8 a month (yes you read that right). I manage this just fine by using WIFI a lot, and buying the odd £3 for 2 days data package when I am in a city in Spain and I need the maps.

This phone is adequate for my everyday life for now, but it has a low onboard memory, so is used with an SD card, but I still have to not go crazy with apps, and remove ones I am not using. The camera is also poor, producing miserable looking photos unless in brilliant sunshine.

So for 2 years I have been eking out the freebie iPod Touch as my camera on my travels. I loved it as it was so slim and pocket sized and I could also use it for sound recordings. This last camino I noticed the photos it took were getting pretty rubbish, and finally last week it bit the dust (screen crumbled and parts of it came off!). I didn't lose any photos but I really need to get my act together now.

Should I buy a compact camera or upgrade my phone? What models would any of you recommend? I really value small and thin. I am tempted by something compact and water resistant, as that further justifies getting a camera over and above a phone, and if I upgrade my phone in future, it would still have a point.

[BTW I have a Fujifilm X10 as well, which I love, but would never expose to the rigours and danger of theft on a camino.]

Any ideas, tech and camera lovers?
Many thanks
I use a good camera while walking. I also carry a good but not the most recent smart phone - iPhone 6S - which has a decent camera. I use the phone camera for panoramas and have it as a backup if my larger camera plays up. I suggest you have a look at an app called ProCamera - it's $4.99. There are some pretty serious limitations to phone cameras IMHO but this app adds a lot of extra functionality to the phone camera. It would take a bit of practice but it's not difficult to get used to. Phone camera software is designed to take decent pictures in average conditions, work best indoors, it seems to me. Worst results when shooting outdoors in bright full sun - skies are usually overexposed and shadow areas uniformly dark with much subtle detail lost in shadows. Settings in ProCamera can compensate for these shortcomings. I've posted comments like these before, ended up arguing with some people. Phone cameras get better all the time but my opinion hasn't changed.
 
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Fletchonides

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPdP - Pamplona (2014)
Pamplona - Burgos (2016)
Burgos - Leon (June 2017)
Leon - SdC (June 2018)
I was just looking at Motorola phones, the mid range ones around £150 have a 13 megapixel camera. Does anyone have any experience of their photo quality?

I got a Moto G4 (32GB) late last year and I am loving it. I did have a Sony phone, which had 16GB and was continually running out of space for apps., hence I got the 32GB version (which you can only get from Motorola). I have been considering the question of whether I would just bring this phone or my camera as well. My camera is a Canon G12, which is a Bridge camera (bigger than a compact, but small enough to fit on my belt), and I like it a lot. It's got a 5x optical zoom, and 10x digital zoom, but I will always try and stick with the optical zoom, and 5x feels small to me now.

so my Moto G4 takes great photos, mostly. Its got a 13MP camera, better than the G12. Zoom is 4x, and I'm pretty sure its all digital zoom. here are two photos, the first is with no zoom, of Glendalough in wicklow, Ireland, admittedly on a spectacularly clear day. The second of the sheep is using the zoom, and while its ok, i feel the lambs detail is washed out (but could also be the strong April sun) . Its still pretty good, and if you want one device, the Moto G4 phone is probably the best you can get in that price range. i think I will still take my camera as well though.
IMG_20170408_170600038.jpg IMG_20170408_glendalough.jpg
 
N

nathanael

Guest
On the Camino, best to have one device. For that I will recommend the phone. Things have greatly improved since your Galaxy core prime phone.

I believe you should able to get a phone with a decent shooter for around 150 pounds. If you don't mind the Chinese brands like Huawei or Xiaomi even more features for less. Many even comes with dual SIM slot in case you want cheaper data with local Spanish SIM card while still retaining your UK SIM. A screen size of 5.5 inch would be still be smaller than the iPad mini but adequate for virtually task require phone and small tablet.
I have a better solution do the Camino cell free and enjoy the results of a tech free Camino. Have done it for my 10th. Camino.
 

Rick of Rick and Peg

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I would go with both a camera and a smartphone for pictures but @notion900 from your posts on this thread I haven't gotten the feeling that, while you have a nice camera, you really don't have the photography bug. I think that anyone who doesn't would be happy enough with just the smartphone.
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
>
I have a better solution do the Camino cell free and enjoy the results of a tech free Camino. Have done it for my 10th. Camino.
I did the Camino Frances in 2007 with no phone. I did take a pocket camera though.
I also once took a 3 week trip to Kerala with no camera of any kind, because I had broken up with a boyfriend. I wore brightly coloured Shalwar Kameez the whole time and then gave them away at the end. Like hiding the evidence. There are no pictures from that wonderful trip. I can't remember the train of my logic now, but it seemed to make sense then!
 
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patgreen

Member
I was just looking at Motorola phones, the mid range ones around £150 have a 13 megapixel camera. Does anyone have any experience of their photo quality?
I use a Motorola G3 that I bought for about £150 18 months ago. It's supposed to be waterproof and I'm happy with the photos although that is of course rather subjective.
 

O Peracha

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago (2014)
Annapurna Base, Nepal (2014)
GR 5 - Holland to Pompey, France (2015)
Lisbon to Finesterre (2016)
I use a good camera while walking. I

If you don't mind sharing, what kind of camera do you walk with?

I've been mulling over this also - just rely on my smartphone or take a good camera, also? In the past I've taken only a smartphone but I've been thinking of taking along a separate camera for the next trip. I'd like better pictures. However, I may look at some of the apps mentioned in this thread.
 
M

Mike Trebert

Guest
If you don't mind sharing, what kind of camera do you walk with?

I've been mulling over this also - just rely on my smartphone or take a good camera, also? In the past I've taken only a smartphone but I've been thinking of taking along a separate camera for the next trip. I'd like better pictures. However, I may look at some of the apps mentioned in this thread.
Hi @O Peracha,

I have an Olympus OM-D EM-1 mirrorless camera. Very compact. I have two Olympus Pro f2.8 zoom lenses. The camera and lenses are well sealed, I have shot in the rain, it's also dustproof. I had an expensive full-frame Nikon D800E and some very expensive lenses but have started selling that system because I mostly shoot travel pics and the Nikon is very bulky/heavy. I have a Peak Design clip which attaches the camera to my pack strap so no fumbling delays when I want to respond quickly. You could have a look at some Camino pics (and others) on my website - see link below. Camino and Europe sections all shot Olympus, Blue Mountains section shot on Nikon.
 
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O Peracha

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago (2014)
Annapurna Base, Nepal (2014)
GR 5 - Holland to Pompey, France (2015)
Lisbon to Finesterre (2016)
Thanks. Wow, your pics are great. You also guessed my next question which is how you carried your camera. Thanks, again and I'll check out the camera. Too late for my next trip (leaving next week) but maybe then next one.
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
>
I originally asked about Frugal options. Olympus OM-D EM-1 is £1800, and iPhone 6 is about £400, so can we confine discussions on this thread to options around or under £150? I appreciate the info about the software improving phone functionality. Many thanks.
 
M

Mike Trebert

Guest
The camera type was an answer to a specific question late in the thread. My original answer was about an app which sells for$4.99. I mentioned my iPhone in passing. The app will work on cheaper phones, I think. The idea was to suggest that some folks can get more out of a variety of phones using a very cheap app. Presumably everyone wants to get the best pics even in limited circumstances. The O.P. asked about phone upgrades but I didn't suggest buying an expensive phone. I'll be so careful answering in future that I might not bother at all.
 

Fletchonides

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPdP - Pamplona (2014)
Pamplona - Burgos (2016)
Burgos - Leon (June 2017)
Leon - SdC (June 2018)
You can see the camera case on my belt in the attached photo.
 

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tomnorth

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015)
A nice tech question for those that enjoy such conundrums...

I am a well informed but stingy consumer of technology. e.g. for ages I hung onto a non-smartphone, by also using an iPod Touch (that I was given free ;)) with WIFI.

Now I have a Samsung Galaxy Core Prime phone (bottom of the whole Samsung range). This was bought for £80 SIM free and uses a SIM card on a spectacularly old plan (I think circa 2008!) which is only £8 a month (yes you read that right). I manage this just fine by using WIFI a lot, and buying the odd £3 for 2 days data package when I am in a city in Spain and I need the maps.

This phone is adequate for my everyday life for now, but it has a low onboard memory, so is used with an SD card, but I still have to not go crazy with apps, and remove ones I am not using. The camera is also poor, producing miserable looking photos unless in brilliant sunshine.

So for 2 years I have been eking out the freebie iPod Touch as my camera on my travels. I loved it as it was so slim and pocket sized and I could also use it for sound recordings. This last camino I noticed the photos it took were getting pretty rubbish, and finally last week it bit the dust (screen crumbled and parts of it came off!). I didn't lose any photos but I really need to get my act together now.

Should I buy a compact camera or upgrade my phone? What models would any of you recommend? I really value small and thin. I am tempted by something compact and water resistant, as that further justifies getting a camera over and above a phone, and if I upgrade my phone in future, it would still have a point.

[BTW I have a Fujifilm X10 as well, which I love, but would never expose to the rigours and danger of theft on a camino.]

Any ideas, tech and camera lovers?
Many thanks
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS30 is on sale for a low price of $138 in the states. I am a fan of the Lumix cameras. This is a tough camera.
 
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notion900

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
>
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS30 is on sale for a low price of $138 in the states. I am a fan of the Lumix cameras. This is a tough camera.
That was exactly the camera I was looking at when I first posted, and mentioned water resistant. Although there are reviews where it failed spectacularly while scuba diving. But I am sure it would be rainproof. I have always liked Lumix, we have one at work which I use every day.
 

Bikeguy

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to SJPP via velo, June 2010
I was just looking at Motorola phones, the mid range ones around £150 have a 13 megapixel camera. Does anyone have any experience of their photo quality?
I have a Moto G4 Plus. Amazing phone at reasonable price. I am very pro camera but I have to say this Moto phone camera is really good. This coming camino may be the last I take a camera along...
 

Lurch

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
looking at 2018-2019
I think you will be happier with a point and shoot as well as the smartphone. Optical vs digital zoom, more 'convenient' controls and, to me, faster to get into action. I have thought of taking my Yashica 110 SLR as I bought numerous rolls of film when they were being dropped by the box stores. Still attached to film cameras I guess:eek:.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I think you will be happier with a point and shoot as well as the smartphone. Optical vs digital zoom, more 'convenient' controls and, to me, faster to get into action. I have thought of taking my Yashica 110 SLR as I bought numerous rolls of film when they were being dropped by the box stores. Still attached to film cameras I guess:eek:.
I have a similar attachment, but where I live, the costs of developing film have reached the point where I won't be able to justify it much longer. I envy you having 110 film stock left. My Yashica 11o was a favourite go-to camera in its day when I didn't want the bulk of a 35mm SLR.
 
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