Travel photography is fun, but it does require careful consideration of the amount of camera gear you want to carry. First, let’s assume you are not a professional photographer. Second, let’s also assume that you want pictures to share and look back on, but your main priority on the trip is not just photography.
But, that still leaves a lot of room to consider when thinking about camera gear. It will be wise to consider a few factors before shelling out hundreds or even thousands of dollars on photography gear.
Some Basic Questions To Ask Yourself Before Travelling:
- What is your comfort level with photography and cameras? If you have never picked up a DSLR or Mirrorless camera before, and never taken a photography class, stick with your Apple or Android phone. The pictures coming from phones today are excellent. On the other hand, if you have been using a DSLR for while, well, isn’t this the perfect time to get it out and not only capture some excellent pictures, but to increase your skills? Now is the time to try out your skills with different exposures, ISO settings and Aperture settings.
- What will you be doing on your trip? If you will be in an area with beautiful scenery, and long range vistas you will definitely want the gear to get the most out of it. On the other hand, if you will be mostly in a crowded urban area, will want to keep it light for two reasons. First, you won’t want to be on a crowded subway with lots of people and banging an expensive lens around. Second, you don’t want to be a target for a pickpocket.
- Will you be shooting a lot of action video? Consider a GoPro.
- What will you be doing with the pictures after the trip? For social media, or even a Shutterfly book, pictures from your phone are fine. For high resolution pictures, get a DSLR or Mirrorless camera.
Basic Camera Gear
First of all, don’t just take my word for what you need to take. Just Google “Camera Gear for Travel”, and you will get some excellent advice.
What I personally carry, and what I recommend are the following:
My main camera is a Nikon D7200 DSLR. This specific model is currently out of production, but it has some pretty cool features. It allows for a huge range of ISO settings, aperture settings, and multi-focal settings, just to name a few of its features. It can also generate its own WIFI signal and allow me to send images wirelessly to my tablet.
Backup Camera Body. Things can break. I carry a second, cheaper Nikon camera body just in case. It doesn’t have all of the capabilities of the main camera, but it still can work well.
Lenses. I carry at least three – a zoom lens, a wide-angle lens and a base (kit) lens. I would love to have a telephoto lens, but these can be extremely expensive, and, unless you are trying to photograph wildlife at a long distance, or at a sporting event, these are not as necessary.
Backup batteries and chargers. I carry at least one spare battery for both camera bodies, and a charger for each. A lot of people will recommend that you carry a car charger as well.
Extra SD cards. I carry at least 4. You re actually better off carrying smaller (32 or 64 mb cards) instead of carrying a fewer number of larger cards. That way, if one fails (and they can), you don’t lose as many pictures. And, my main camera has two card slots, so I set them up to duplicate images.
Polarizing filter. At least one for each lens. They not only cut the glare, but they also protect your lens.
Tripod. Get a good one that will collapse down to less than 18 inches. There are some that will collapse down to 6 inches, and expand to 60. You want one that is sturdy, but also does not make you feel like you are carrying a stepladder around.
Lightweight tablet or laptop, with adapter patch cords and card readers. I know I said that my camera has wi-fi capability, but downloading that way is not always reliable or fast.
Camera bags. I have one that is a backpack, that can carry all of my gear, a laptop and 2 days of clothing. I have a second small bag that can carry enough gear for a day of photography. Depending on where I am going, I will take one or the other, and sometimes both.
Cleaning equipment. This will include lens paper and/or cloth, and an air blower.
Here are links to three other posts I reviewed to prepare this article: