Travel photography gear

We all like to immortalize our travels and bring home beautiful pictures and videos that will become our memories forever. Nowadays there are many options of photography gear for travel, but you might wonder what is the best choice for you. That depends on many factors: what type of traveler you are, if you ckeck in luggage or not, your budget, and so on. In this post we will talk about all the options available in terms of cameras, which are appropriate for the type of trip you are going to take, the essential accessories and we will also give you some tips for traveling with photography gear.

The camera

There are many types of cameras for photography and video available on the market and choosing the most suitable one for traveling around the world is not an easy task. You’re gonna have to compare, watch video reviews and evaluate what your needs are and how much you’re willing to spend. The most important thing is to learn how to use your camera, to know all its functions, the potential it has and also its limits. We use three types of cameras for our trips. Here we’ll show you the ones we use and also give you some similar options so you can compare them.

Reflex cameras

Reflex cameras are perfect for any type of photography and these are the ones that professional photographers use. Obviously these are the cameras with the highest image quality, but they are also one of the most expensive options. You can find reflex cameras from €300 to thousands of euros and the most common brands used by photographers are Nikon and Canon. We have been using a Nikon D750 for years, both for our travels as for other projects. It’s a very good camera, with excellent quality and we don’t go anywhere without it. The pros of a reflex camera are the quality of the images and videos and the fact that you can shoot in RAW, which gives you endless editing possibilities without losing quality. The cons would be the price and weight of the camera as they are usually quite heavy. From our experience we say that any effort is worth it because the results are very good.

Mirrorless cameras

Mirrorless cameras are taking a big step into the market for digital cameras. The technology they use is very innovative, but the quality they offer is outstanding. Aside from the image quality, the reduced dimensions and weight are the pros of this type of cameras and makes them perfect for travelers. The downside is that prices are considerably higher than those of reflex cameras with similar characteristics. The most representative brands for mirrorless cameras are Sony, Fuji and Olympus. We believe that mirrorless cameras are a good investment because as travelers we are going to be carrying them every day and in this case weight and dimensions are very important factors. In addition to photography, they have very good video quality, ideal for youtubers and content creators. We are considering replacing our Nikon D750 with a mirrorless from Sony. Here you have our favorite option and a few similar ones.

Compact cameras

Compact cameras are the ones which have always been used for travel. It’s true that the quality they give has nothing to do with a reflex or mirrorless, but there are some pretty good ones. If professional photography is not your thing and you are only looking for a small camera with acceptable quality, a compact camera may be a good choice. We have a Canon Powershot G7X Mark II and the truth is that for being a compact camera it gives very good results, especially for video. We use it to take pictures when we go to places where it is difficult to carry the reflex camera and also to record videos and vlogs that will soon be uploaded to our accounts and YouTube channel. This camera also has the option to shoot in RAW and with a basic editing the pictures look pretty good.

Action cameras

Action cameras have become very popular in the last few years. Due to features such as reduced size and weight, resistance and the ability to submerge make these cameras ideal for adventurous travelers. We have a GoPro Hero 5 and we use it mainly for aquatic pictures and videos. With the GoPro you can take photos and videos anywhere and in any weather conditions. You can use it to film under water, in the snow, in the rain, with mud, anywhere. We love the GoPro, because it’s very small (about half the size of a smatphone) and because we can take it anywhere where other types of cameras can’t be carried. In addition there are a lot of accessories to attach it to your body, to the bike, to a helmet and to any other surface. This way you can take it with you even if you are going to do some sport where both hands are busy. The best brand of action cameras and the best known is the GoPro. The pros of this camera are obviously the size and reduced weight, but also the price as they are usually very affordable. The cons would be the quality of the image as it is not up to the other cameras mentioned above and the little use we give it (mainly for water sports).

Your phones's camera

Nowadays there are smartphones that have impressive quality cameras for how small they are. If you are on a budget, or don’t want to carry cameras while you travel, a good option can be to take pictures and videos with your phone. We use phone cameras mainly for social media, to share some pictures and stories. We both have iPhones: Miruna the XR and Marius the XS MAX and we are very satisfied with the image quality of these mobiles and with the stabilizer they have for the video. The pros of the mobiles are that we always take them everywhere anyway and that there are some very good quality ones. The cons are that no matter how good the quality of a phone’s camera is, it will never be as good as a reflex or mirrorless camera and also that the prices of smartphones with good cameras are usually much higher compared to most phones available on the market. But hey…if you are going to use your phone to take pictures and videos, it is worth investing in a good one.

Camera lens

Some of the cameras mentioned above, such as the reflex and mirrorless have interchangeable lenses. This is an excellent feature, because with different lenses you can get different results. Lenses can be changed depending on what you want to photograph. The lenses can be prime or zoom. We’re not going to get into his topic a lot and we’re not going to talk about each one of them since there’s a lot of information on photography websites. Between these two types of lenses we can not say which is better and which is worse because each one serves different purposes, but we think it is good to have at least one of each. We have for the Nikon D750 a prime 50mm lens and another 24-70mm zoom. The 50mm prime lens is perfect for details and portraits and the 24-70mm for landscapes and everything else. There is a wide variety of lenses, with very different focal lengths and choosing just one or two is not an easy task. We recommend you to compare the different types of lenses and to be very clear about exactly about what you are going to use them for before you buy them. Here you have the ones we use and also some from different focal lengths.

Tripods

Tripods are useful accessories for taking full body pictures of yourself and for long exposure shots. If you travel alone or in a couple, it’ s better to carry a tripod than to ask people to take pictures of you. We have been looking quite a bit before finding the ideal tripod for our needs. We have a Manfrotto Befree Advanced and we are very happy with it. When searching for a tripod for travel, the first thing you have to look at are dimensions and weight as you are going to carry it everywhere and it also has to fit in your suitcase or backpack. That’s what we liked most about this tripod: it’s small and weighs little but at the same time it’s very resistant. The bad thing about this type of tripods is that they are usually quite expensive. A cheaper option and smaller dimensions are the Gorillapods, but you have to pay attention to the maximum weight they can hold because for a reflex camera they are not very useful. We have a Joby Gorillapod and we use it with the compact camera, but for the reflex it doesn’t work because of the reflex’s weight.

Memory cards

Memory cards are very important for storing your pictures and videos. Always make sure to carry several empty cards. You better have plenty of them than no empty card left. We always carry at least four cards: two of 32GB and two 64GB. You don’t wanna be in a beautiful place and have to take pictures with your smartphone because you’ve run out of space on the card. You have to be careful when choosing a memory cards because that’s where you’ll keep your memories and you have to make sure they are long-lasting and fast so you can visualize the content immediately in the camera and also to not waste too much time when copying the content.

Extra batteries

Just as we recommend carrying several extra cards, it’s also a good idea to carry at least one spare battery for each device. We carry an extra battery for each camera and also the chargers to charge everything overnight.

External hard drives

Carrying a hard drive with you when you go on a longer trip may be a good idea as you will have a lot of content from your cameras and you will need to copy it somewhere and do a backup. Just like memory cards, hard drives have to be of good quality. If not they can’t fail and ruin your memories.

Laptop

Having a laptop is essential for trips longer than a week. If we only travel for a few days, we don’t bring it because we don’t think it’s worth it carrying so much weight just for a couple of days. If you are going to travel longer, you will need to copy your photos and videos on the hard drive, so you will need the laptop. You’ll also need your laptop to edit pictures or videos on the go. We recommend choosing a good laptop, fast and long-lasting, but also with a reduced weight because in the luggage or backpack everything adds up and you will end up carrying a lot of weight.

Other accesories

When carrying several cameras, a laptop and smartphones it’s absolutely necessary to carry a multiple socket base. In most accommodations you will only have one or two sockets and carrying a multiple base will allow you to charge all devices at once. If you’re traveling outside Europe, you’ll also need to carry a universal travel adapter to charge your devices anywhere in the world.

Backpack

Now that you know what devices and accessories we recommend you bring, the best thing you can do is find a good backpack to protect it. We recommend you to find one that has room for all your devices and also for the laptop in case you want to bring it. Another recommendation would be to check if it is waterproof or if it comes with a rain cover. This is essential as you will carry a lot of value in your backpack and you don’t want things to get wet. Here are some examples of backpacks for photography gear:

Tips for traveling with your photo gear:

  • Photography gear is quite an investment as everything adds up and you will spend a lot of money to put together everything you need to take your pictures and travel videos. For this reason we recommend you to book an insurance that covers the damages your equipment can suffer during the trips and also the theft. You never know what might happen and it’s better to avoid the damage.
  • When traveling by plane, your backpack with photography gear will be your hand luggage. Sometimes airlines try to force you to check in your handbag for free due to lack of space. No way! Your backpack contains priceless items and you will let the airline know that.
  • Practice a lot and get to know your new equipment before you leave on your trip. When you’re traveling, you don’t want to waste time or stress because you don’t have the functions under control. Keep in mind that in the end it doesn’t matter what camera you have but capturing the moments and that can be done with any camera if you know it well.

These is the photography gear we use and recommend. We hope you will find our recommendations useful when choosing your equipment and remember: what you carry in your backpack will depend on the type of trip you are going on and the results you want to have. If you have any questions regarding photographic equipment, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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