True Confessions: The Phone Zone

At the parks without an SLR web

Image adapted from The Teen Parent Zone by Forever Joy Designs at It comes with a digital kit, journaling cards, and printable journaling/pocket cards. It would be perfect for documenting Twilight Zone Tower of Terror photos and videos!

It's time for a true confession here. My last TWO vacations (one at Disney World and one non-Disney), I hardly used my SLR! Once, I even left it home! I KNOW! It's shocking!

When Aaron posted this a while back, I thought it was bold and brave, and I was proud of him. But, I didn't think I could actually do it. I wrote a post about my system and how well it worked for me. But then, last year, I bought this lens to use with my phone (I bought mine at Amazon, they seem to be back ordered there now):

Sony QX100


I had wanted it for a looooong time! If you aren't familiar with it, it is a lens that can attach to any smartphone or standalone and still use the phone as the viewfinder.

Tanya recommended that I buy this tripod for the lens, which I did:

Gorilla magnetic pod


I had read so many mixed reviews on the lens, that I had put off buying it for a long time. Many photographers that I respect hated the lens after trying it and others LOVED it! Tanya, on our team, really loved hers and I really loved the photos I saw her getting with it!  I finally just decided to go for it.

Last December, when we went to Disney World, I had my SLR there and I even used it a day or two, but I was so happy with the photos from the QX100, that I ended up leaving it in the room most of rest of the trip. Someone on Instagram asked what my set up looked like (as I was IGing from the parks), and here is what I posted:

QX100 with tripod set up

Before I get angry comments, let me say,


Who it's NOT for:

  • people that don't mind the size and weight of their SLR
  • people that really know how to use their SLR in manual mode (I can use my SLR in manual mode, and that is how I shoot, but I don't know how to use it REALLY well in manual mode).
  • people that don't mind taking a tripod to the parks
  • people who enjoy setting up an SLR on a tripod and getting the settings right for the perfect shot

Who it IS for:

  • people that are shooting primarily in auto mode on an SLR
  • people that hate lugging an SLR in the parks
  • people that are shooting mostly or only on a phone
  • people that are not completely happy with their SLR shots AND/OR are not completely happy with their phone shots (especially in low light)

On our most recent vacation (not a Disney vacation), I didn't even take my SLR at all and I am actually thinking of selling it. Let me show you some of my photos I took with the QX100, so you can see for yourself (all of these were taken with me, holding the tripod which was attached to the lens, and are straight out of camera, not edited):

with qx100 and without on iphone6





Be Our Guest at night:

Be Our Guest at night with QX100 copy



Mine Train at night:

Mine Train at Night


I loved this angle at Tokyo Dining (at night) and it would have been really difficult to get with the iPhone only, not to mention the less than optimal lighting. The best part, is that with the QX100 lens, she didn't even know I was taking this:

Tokyo great angle QX100

This one, (Germany in the World Showcase after fireworks) I put the tripod on the ground for, stood up behind it, then used my phone as a lens. We had to wait for a group to clear out and my kids ended up pretending that I was taking their photo, so the group would leave.

World Showcase Germany Sony QX100

For me, the Sony QX100 really shines in low light situations and difficult angles. Angles that would be hard with a phone OR an SLR. I love this photo of me working on my phone with my kids blurred in the background, while we were waiting for Fantasmic:

Tough Angle at WDW with Sony QX100

These are all photos that I wouldn't have been able to get with my SLR (because I don't take a tripod into the parks with me and I'm not THAT good with it). I wouldn't have been able to get them with just my phone either, because as good as it is, it's not THAT good.

At this point in time, I'm actually thinking of selling my SLR and investing in a Sony QX1 that will let me use any of the Sony E-mount lenses with my phone (I really, really want a wide angle lens, so I can get the whole family in a selfie…groupie…whatever).

I really love only having this little lens in my purse and my phone to carry. I actually have room in my bag for a snack or two. For me, right now, when I travel with my family, this is a really, really good option.

Have you changed what camera equipment you are taking to the parks?