Travel Tips: Phone Cameras

Yucatan Aerial from Flight

Cell Phone Camera Settings and What is 60p?

Author: Michael

Hello Sojourners. How important is that camera on your phone? Very! My phone is one of the most important travel item that I use. Here’s why.

Camera-Phone-Back Travel Tips: Phone Cameras

Phones are getting more and more powerful everyday. But, with a little know how, your phone can be a very powerful tool. Yes, of course, you can check your Social media accounts, check email, and play games. But the best aspect of your phone is your tiny little camera on the back and the front.  If you want to snap photos of your kids or capture some video of grandma playing with her grandchildren, then please read on.

Think about that… you have a $600’ish computer in your pocket which is also a $600 camera and video capturing system. You could buy a decent camera for that amount. But YOU DON’T NEED TO. This one bit of knowledge can save you from buying a separate camera to lug around while traveling or in everyday life.

Camera-Phone-Back Travel Tips: Phone Cameras


What are some things you should look for in a phone with a camera? First, make sure that your phone can use a memory card or some kind. These days, they are called “Micro SD” cards. This is just a title given to the actual size of the card. These are tiny memory cards inserted in to phones that usually double or triple your phone’s ability to store movies, photos, videos, even digital books. Some phones have internal memory, which is usually not enough if you take videos. An additional memory card lets you store more.

Second, and we all hate this part, is to double check the battery life of phone. This can be a tough thing to figure out. It seems one phone has a weak battery, and the next generation it’s awesome again. Try to get a phone with a long battery life. Also, a “quick” charger is also good, especially for traveling or an almost dead phone. If you can get a quick charger, as you take it out of the box, MARK IT with something, tape, a white marker, fingernail polish, etch your initials in to it, something. Once you put the charger down, it will get lost in all of your other family’s chargers. Quick chargers are gold when it comes to traveling. Many times, you may only have an hour before the next flight or taxi ride and you need to charge your phone as quick as possible.

Camera-Phone-Back Travel Tips: Phone Cameras


Ok, so the important stuff… your phone’s camera. Before buying, check with your phone carrier and find out the camera and video settings. You at least want a camera that can capture 1920×1080 video, otherwise known as “Full HD” video or FHD. This level of video can be viewed on an HD TV without any quality loss. The other setting you should know about is the video’s ratio. These numbers are shown as 4:3, or 16:9. The 4:3 setting is what most of us grew up with on our old TVs. Rectangular, but not square. The 16:9 setting is know as “Panorama” or “Wide Screen”, which most movies today are filmed in.

Next, the FULL HD should be 30p, or 30 frames a second. This is standard in the world of video settings. Most aerial drones and most GoPros capture at 30 frames a second. If you can get a FULL HD with 60p, or 60 frames a second, even better. This is the setting I currently capture video at. 60P will give you smoother video and better quality. The 30 vs 60 frames only comes in to play if you are trying to capture fast action. If you are interviewing yourself or have the camera in a set position for a birthday, then no worries, 30p is fine.

A small bit of info on 4K video settings, or “3840×2160”. The newest phones and video cameras come with very high video quality settings. Having this level of video is overkill for 98% of us. If you have a 4K TV, a really powerful computer, a full studio of editing software, and the time to edit all of it, then use this setting. You will fill up your storage 10x faster on your phone and your regular HD TV will not be able to show that much quality. For now, lower your video settings to FULL HD, 1920×1080.

And lastly, the actual camera part of your phone. Phones are built to take pictures and videos without any zoom. Sure, your phone has a zoom feature, but the quality will drop rapidly as you try to do so. Regular SLR cameras (Nikons, Canons, etc.), use an “optical” zoom lens to enlarge the image BEFORE it is captured inside your camera. Phone cameras, and some actual video cameras, use a “Digital” zoom, which enlarges the image after being captured in your phone. What your phone is doing is enlarging the existing image, which leads to poor quality and much shakier videos. Similar to what a copier would do if you copied and enlarged a color photo. Not the same quality right?

For more great posts on travel and other topics, Please Subscribe to our blog, down below, to be updated when future stories are published. Sojourner’s Chronicles will be discussing this topic much more in the future. We hope this explains a few aspects of phone cameras and quality issues.

We would LOVE to hear from you. Comment below with your thoughts or questions. Thanks for your time.

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  1. Mary Worthey says:

    With thanks! Valuable information!

  2. With thanks! Valuable information!

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