Travel photography gear
We all like to immortalize our trips and take home beautiful photos and videos that will become our memories forever.
Today there are many options for travel photography equipment, but you may ask yourself which one is the best for me? That will depend on many factors: what kind of traveler you are, if you check in luggage or not, your budget, and so on.
In this article we are going to talk about all the available options in terms of photo and video cameras, which are the right ones according to the kind of trip you are going to do and the must-have accessories. We will also give you some useful tips at the end on how to travel with your photography equipment.
There are so many types of photo and video cameras available on the market and choosing which one is the most suitable to carry around the world is not an easy task. You’ll have to compare, watch review videos and figure out exactly what you want to achieve and how much you’re willing to spend.
The most important thing is to learn how to use your camera, to know all the features it has, the possibilities it offers and also to know its limits. We use three types of cameras on our trips, depending on the type of trip and the destination.
Here we are going to tell you a little bit about each one, we will leave you with some options similar to what we use and also some more economical ones in case you can’t afford to spend a lot of money.
Reflex cameras are ideal for any type of photography and are the ones used by professional photographers. Obviously they are the ones that offer more image quality, but they are also one of the most expensive options. You can find reflex cameras from 300 euros to thousands of euros and the most used brands by photographers are Nikon and Canon.
We have used for years a Nikon D750, both in our travels and for other projects we have. It is a very good camera, with an excellent quality and we took it with us in all our trips.
The pros of a reflex camera are the quality of the photos and videos and the fact that you can shoot in RAW, which gives you infinite editing possibilities without losing any quality.
The cons would be the price and weight of the camera as they are usually quite heavy. From our experience we think that any effort is worth it because the results are very good.
Mirrorless cameras are pushing hard into the digital camera market. The technology they use is very new, but the quality they offer is exceptional.
Apart from the good image quality, the reduced dimensions and weight are the pros of this type of camera and make them ideal for travelers.
The downside is that the prices are considerably higher than those of reflex cameras with similar characteristics. The most representative brands for mirrorless cameras are Sony, Fuji and Panasonic.
We believe that the mirrorless are a good investment because as travelers we will be carrying them every day and in this case the weight and dimensions are important factors. Apart from photography, they have very good video quality, ideal for youtubers and content creators.
We changed our Nikon D750 for a mirrorless Sony a7III. We decided to make the change because of the weight, dimensions and quality of the photos and videos. These factors have pushed us to take this step when looking for a camera that gives us good image quality while allowing us to move constantly and carry it every day.
Here are some other similar options.
Compact cameras are the ones that have always been used for travel. It is true that the quality they give has nothing to do with an SLR or mirrorless, but there are some pretty good ones. If you are not a professional photographer and you are only looking for a small camera with acceptable quality, a compact camera can be a good option.
We have a Canon Powershot G7X Mark II and the truth is that being a compact camera gives very good results, especially in video. We use it for photos when we go to places where it is complicated to go with the reflex and also to record videos and vlogs that soon we will upload to our accounts and to the YouTube channel.
This camera also has the option to shoot in RAW and with a basic edition the photos look great.
Action cameras have become very popular in recent years. Due to features such as reduced size and weight, and the ability to dive deep make these cameras ideal for adventurous travelers.
We have a GoPro Hero 5 and we use it mostly for water photos and videos. With the GoPro you can take pictures and videos anywhere and in any weather conditions. You can use it to record underwater, in snow, in rain, in mud, anywhere.
We love the GoPro, because it is very small (about half of a mobile phone) and because we can take it anywhere where other types of cameras cannot be taken.
There are also plenty of accessories to attach it to your body, to your bike, to a helmet and to any surface. This way you can take it with you even if you are going to do some sport where you have both hands occupied. The best and most famous action camera brand is the GoPro.
The pros of this camera are obviously the reduced size and weight, but also the price as they are usually very cheap.
The cons would be the quality of the image since it is not at the level of the other cameras that we have mentioned and the little use that we give it (mainly for water sports).
Here are some options of action cameras.
Your phone's camera
Nowadays there are mobile phones that have cameras of an impressive quality for how small they are. If you are on a tight budget, or don’t want to carry cameras around with you, a good option may be to take pictures and videos with your mobile.
We use mobile cameras mainly for social networks, to share some pictures and stories. We both have iPhones: Miruna the XR and Marius the XS MAX and we are very happy with the image quality of these mobiles and with the stabilizer they have for video.
The pros of the mobiles are that we always carry them around anyway and that there are some very good quality ones.
The cons are that no matter how good the camera of a mobile phone is, it will never reach the level of a reflex or mirrorless camera and also that the prices of mobiles with good cameras are usually much higher compared to most of the mobiles available in the market.
But hey, if you are going to use your mobile to take pictures and videos, it is worth investing in a good one.
Here are some examples of mobile phones that have a good camera for both photos and videos.
Some of the cameras we mentioned earlier, such as the reflex and mirrorless cameras have interchangeable lenses. This is an excellent feature, since we can get different results using different lenses.
The lenses can be changed depending on what we want to shoot or record. The lenses can be prime (or fixed) and zoom (or zoomed). We are not going to get too deep in this topic or talk about each one of them since there is a lot of information on photography websites.
Between these two types of lenses we can’t say which is better since each one is used for different purposes, but we think it’s good to have at least one of each.
For the Nikon D750 we had a 50mm prime lens and a 24-70mm zoom. The 50mm fixed is ideal for shooting details and portraits and the 24-70mm for landscapes and everything else.
Now with the Sony a7III we have a single lens: a 24-105mm F4 zoom. This lens is ideal for the quality and versatility it offers for big travels. As we move around a lot and can’t afford to carry around several lenses, we decided to choose a lens that will fit everything. This way we can photograph and record both portraits and details as well as landscapes because of the range of focal lengths it offers.
There is a huge variety of lenses, with very different focal lengths, and choosing just one or two is not easy. We recommend you to compare the different types of lenses, make sure of the mount and type (FX or DX) of your camera. Trust us, you don’t need any additional problems. Make sure you have a clear idea of what exactly you are going to use them for before you buy one.
Here are the lenses we use or have used and also some of different focal lengths.
Tripods are very useful accessories for taking full-body photos on your own, and for long exposure shots. If you are travelling alone or in a couple, it is much better to carry a tripod than to ask people to take pictures of you.
We were looking carefully before finding the ideal tripod for our needs. We have a Manfrotto Befree Advanced and are very happy with it.
When looking for a tripod for traveling, the first thing you have to look at is the size and weight as you will be carrying it everywhere and it also has to fit in your suitcase or backpack.
That’s what we liked most about this tripod: it is small and weighs little but at the same time it is very resistant. The bad thing about this type of tripod is that they are usually quite expensive. A cheaper option with smaller dimensions are the Gorillapods, but you have to take a good look at the maximum weight they can hold, since they are not usually very useful for SLRs.
We have used a Joby Gorillapod for a long time for the compact camera, but for the SLR it is not useful because of its weight.
It is important to know the characteristics of each tripod and the use you are going to give it before deciding for one or the other. But without a doubt it is an essential accessory if you want to have good quality photos and videos.
Memory cards are extremely important for saving your photos or videos. Always make sure you have several empty cards with you. Better to have them left over than missing.
We always carry at least four cards, two 32GB and two 64GB. You don’t want to be in a beautiful place and have to take pictures with your phone because you’ve run out of space on the card.
You have to pay attention when choosing memory cards because that’s where you’ll keep your memories and you have to make sure that they are durable and fast so that you can view the content immediately in the camera and also not waste a lot of time copying the content.
Here are several options that we recommend for their speed and reliability.
Just as we recommend carrying several extra cards, it’s also a good idea to carry at least one additional battery for each device. We carry an extra battery for each camera and also the chargers so you can charge everything at night.
External storage drives
Carrying an external storage device with you when you go on a longer trip can be a good idea as you will be accumulating many gigs of content and will have to copy it somewhere and make a backup.
Like memory cards, these devices need to be of the highest possible quality. We don’t want them to fail and run out of all the memories.
There are two types of storage devices: SSD (solid-state drive) and HDD (hard disk drive).
SSDs do not have rotating platters, moving read/write heads or any other moving parts common to traditional mechanical hard disks (HDDs). Instead, data is stored on integrated circuits.
We can say that SSDs are safer and more reliable because of their solid state design, but also more expensive. Having an SSD means you don’t have to worry about data loss due to platter crashes or mechanical failures. The data recovery process is much safer and easier.
The decision to choose one or the other is yours, but if the photos and videos you record on your travels are important to you, we advise you to choose an SSD.
In our case, we had a 4TB hard disk crash and lost important files for us and our projects. Luckily, we had a backup of most of those files. Since then we decided to switch to SSD: Samsung T5 Portable 2TB USB 3.1 External SSD.
The laptop is a must for trips of more than a week. If you are only going to travel for a few days, you don’t need to carry it around.
If you are going to travel for a longer period of time, you will have to copy your photos and videos to a storage device, so you will need the laptop to do this. You will also need the laptop to edit some photos or videos on the fly.
We recommend you to choose a good laptop, which is fast and durable, but also has a reduced weight because in the suitcase or backpack everything adds up and you will end up carrying a lot of weight.
Here are some options in case you don’t know what to choose.
When carrying several cameras, a computer and mobile phones, it is essential to have a multi-socket base. In most accommodations you will only have one or two power outlets and carrying a multiple power outlet will allow you to charge all devices at once.
If you are travelling outside of Europe, you will also need to carry a universal travel adaptor with which you can charge your devices anywhere in the world.
Here are some options if you need any.
Now that you know which devices and accessories we recommend to carry, the best thing you can do is to look for a good backpack to protect it.
We recommend that you find one that has room for all your devices and also for your laptop in case you want to take it with you. Another recommendation would be to check if it is waterproof or if it comes with a rain cover. This is essential as you will be carrying a lot of value in your backpack and you don’t want to get things wet.
Here are some examples of backpacks for photo gear.
Tips to travel with your photo gear:
- Photography gear is a great investment since it all adds up and you will spend quite a bit of money in putting together everything you need to make your pictures and videos for your trip. For this reason, we recommend you to purchase an insurance policy that covers the damages your equipment may suffer during the trips and also the robbery. You never know what might happen and it is better to prevent it than to cure it.
- When traveling by plane, your backpack with the equipment will be your hand luggage. Sometimes the airlines try to force us to check our hand luggage for free because of lack of space. NO WAY! Your backpack contains very valuable items and make sure you let the airline know.
- Practice a lot and get to know your new gear before you go on your trip. When you’re travelling you don’t want to waste time or stress out by not controlling the functions it has. Keep in mind that at the end of the day it doesn’t matter which camera you carry, but to capture the moments, and that can be done with any camera if you know it well.
This is the equipment we use and recommend to use. We hope that our recommendations will help you to choose your equipment and remember: what you carry in your backpack will depend on the type of trip you are going to make and the results you want to achieve.
If you have any doubt related to the photography gear, do not hesitate to contact us.
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