The most asked question on our Instagram is: what is our travel camera equipment? So we decided to update our travel photography gear guide and tell you exactly what’s in our camera bag; our complete photography gear list!
One thing we’d like to make sure from the start: it’s not the gear that makes a photo a good photo. You can be a pro and shoot on a phone and you can be an amateur and shoot on the most expensive DSLR. 90% of a good photo is made up of a photographer’s vision. Certain gear will help make that vision reality, but a camera is not the thing that makes a photo great. It’s the photographer. It’s your vision that makes a photo great. And to be honest, editing plays a big part too. Check out our photo filters!
IN THIS ARTICLE
MY CAMERA EQUIPMENT JOURNEY
In 2012, I got my very first beginner’s Canon DSLR camera. Before that, I had already taken hundreds of photos with a simple point-and-shoot camera (borrowed from my mum) and my crappy phone (not a smartphone yet) camera. This is my way of explaining: you don’t have to have the gear to be a photographer. I believe being a photographer is a way of seeing things first, and you simply capture your vision!
In 2015, I upgraded to a semi-professional camera and in late 2016, I decided to upgrade to a full-frame professional camera. Full-frame means the sensor is the same size as a single frame of a traditional 35mm film.
It was only since 2015 that I looked into different lenses (I used the standard kit lenses before). In the meantime, I also experimented with analog photography, with my vintage Minolta film camera.
It’s NOT NECESSARY to start out with the current photography kit we are carrying with us around the world. But we would love to help you in your photography journey. So besides listing our current professional setup, we list some travel photography gear for beginners too!
BEST TRAVEL CAMERA (BODY)
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
NEWEST VERSION: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Since my first camera was a Canon, I’ve stuck with Canon! I love the Canon colors (versus Nikon or Sony) and I doubt I will ever change to another big brand. Maybe I’ll try Sony one day because their mirrorless alpha series is amazing for video.
But Canon will always be my first choice DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera). In 2016 I invested in my first full-frame (professional) Canon camera, to capture our world trip in the best possible way. It was already an old body and I got it second-hand through the Dutch eBay, but it is still a great camera! The full-frame sensor makes a big difference, especially in low-light conditions. But again – you do not have to start with a full-frame body!
LENSES (FOR FULL FRAME BODY)
In the end, lenses will make the look of your photos, not the body! The camera body is ‘only’ the part that captures the image. There are two kinds of lenses: zoom and prime. A zoom lens clearly zooms – making it easier to get closer to your subject without moving. A prime lens has a fixed focal length, with typically a maximum aperture from f/2.8 to f/1.2 – making for those incredible blurry backgrounds! Prime lenses are less versatile but are usually sharper, lighter in weight and smaller in size.
We’ll discuss the best lenses for travel photography, including landscape-, city-, wildlife-, and portrait photography.
NOTE: we shoot with a Canon camera, but that doesn’t mean you can only use Canon lenses. Tamron, Samyang, and Sigma make beautiful lenses for Canon too!
BEST TRAVEL LENS: WIDE-TO-TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS
This is our number one go-to lens. It was the only lens we used for the first 15 months of our world trip. It is incredibly versatile (which you need for travel photography!) and sharp. It’s a high-quality lens (therefore it is quite pricey). It’s a lens from Canon’s professional L-line, which refers to the better build quality and performance compared to other Canon lenses. If you only invest in one lens ever, make it this one – or an equivalent for your camera brand.
TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS
This semi-professional lens is our latest addition. For our trip to South Africa – which included safaris – our 24-105mm lens wasn’t going to be enough. After a lot of research, I decided to get this lens. There is a cheaper option but I read the performance is not great, and there is a more expensive option, but I wasn’t sure how much I would use this lens in the future. So I settled for the semi-professional option to try it out! The quality amazed me. The lens is really great for wildlife photography, my safari photos look AMAZING!
This budget prime lens is usually the first prime lens a photographer gets. It’s easy to use and the focal length makes for a “normal” view just as the human eye sees it. It’s ideal for every niche! The aperture of f/1.8 makes for those nice blurry backgrounds, something that is harder with the maximum aperture of f/4 on our zoom lenses.
WIDE ANGLE PRIME LENS
Our first (and so far only) lens with an aperture as wide as f/1.4! It’s our favorite lens for low light conditions. It’s a wide-angle, wider than our 50mm, which is great for travel photography – you can shoot beautiful portraits and showcase the destination in one shot! Yet, it’s not too wide – we have an ultra-wide-angle lens too, which makes for a bit of that funny fisheye look.
FISHEYE / ULTRA WIDE ANGLE LENS
With an angle of 115.7°, this lens has some serious visual distortion. This is a bit like the wide GoPro photos. You don’t really want this to be your primary lens, but we felt that our other lenses sometimes couldn’t get everything in. Especially in cities like New York, this lens can be amazing to capture the tall buildings. And it’s perfect for landscape photography too! This lens is the budget option – it only has manual focus, so if you’re looking to quickly snap away, consider buying one of the alternatives with autofocus!
Travel blogger tip: if you’re smart and place the camera low to the ground, the lens distortion will make your legs ENDLESS!
FULL FRAME LENSES ON CROP SENSOR BODY?
All the lenses discussed above fit on a body with a cropped sensor (like the Canon EOS 90D or Canon Rebel T7) BUT you have to keep the crop factor in mind. Because the sensor is smaller on a Canon 90D, photos with full frame lenses look more ‘zoomed in’. On a Canon 90D, the crop factor is 1.6x, so a 50mm looks like a 50 x 1.6 = 80mm focal length on the Canon 90D. Below we share an explanatory image.
Watch this video if you’re still confused!
BEST TRAVEL VIDEO CAMERA (BODY)
Canon EOS 80D
NEWEST VERSION: Canon EOS 90D
Our full-frame camera is truly amazing but it is HEAVY. It also doesn’t have a flip screen, nor does it have any options for slow-motion video (because it’s old). So we decided to invest in an extra vlog and video camera. It’s actually the same camera as my second Canon photography camera; it’s just an updated version. It has a cropped APC-C sensor (so it’s NOT full frame), but it is amazing for video. Our full-frame Canon lenses fit on this body too, which was the biggest reason for us to go for another Canon body (and not a mirrorless Sony).
BUDGET / STARTER CAMERA: Canon Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D
WIDE ANGLE VLOGGING LENS
We invested in one specific wide-angle lens for our video camera, as our full-frame lenses will always look more ‘zoomed in’ on this camera. This lens does NOT fit on our big Canon 5D Mark II. This lens is great for vlogging, we can hold the camera in our hand and you will still see a lot of our surroundings – the perfect camera for travel vlogging!
If you’re thinking about vlogging – or if you’re vlogging already – make sure to invest in a microphone. Cameras record audio, sure, but it’s not great audio. RØDE makes amazing microphones for every budget!
BEST SMALL TRAVEL VIDEO CAMERA
This little camera has changed our lives! We were very skeptical of this pocket-sized camera. How can something so small possibly create beautiful footage? It’s a tiny camera and gimbal in one, so the video is automatically stabilized. The video quality is 4K and there are slow-motion options. And you can shoot photos in RAW too! This camera is perfect if you’re looking to include smooth, cinematic shots in your travel videos.
For travel photography and videography, a drone is such a simple way to take your content to the next level! We were not sure if we should buy a drone – it’s so extra! You can absolutely shoot amazing things without a drone and there are drone laws in every country – it can be tricky for sure. But the unique perspective you get to capture is totally worth it. Drones were never as affordable as they are nowadays. And our DJI Mavic Pro folds up so it’s easy to travel with. The video quality is insane (4K and slow-motion!) and you can shoot photos in RAW-format (JPG is a compressed version, RAW is the original image that the sensor captures).
TIP: get low-noise propellers!
GoPro HERO 5 Black
NEWEST VERSION: GoPro HERO 7 Black
If you’re traveling, the odds are you will visit a tropical island and want to capture the underwater world! If you’re diving, snorkeling or just swimming near the beach: a GoPro is definitely a must-have. We highly recommend looking into the best protune settings to make your footage more cinematic and professional. Don’t forget to shoot your images in RAW!
PRO: underwater housing for your DSLR
BUDGET: Yi 4K Action Cam
GO PRO ACCESSORIES
Our best tip: buy only what you use. You can buy the big accessories packages, but it’s inconvenient to carry all the extra straps and stickers. And you will probably not use them. Our favorite accessories:
- Dome (for half/half above/below shots)
- Super suit (for diving) + filters
- Selfie stick (for fun shots!)
- Harness (if you’re riding a moped in Asia, this is amazing!)
Always bring extra batteries for your camera, drone, GoPro, and other cameras or accessories.
Invest in extra (micro) SD-/or CF-cards; we love SanDisk’s Extreme line.
Depending on your computer or laptop, you might want to invest in a card reader!
Dirty lenses ruin your photos! Invest in a cleaning kit; bring a microfiber cloth and an air puffer blower with you – ALWAYS! I also have our camera sensors professionally cleaned every once in a while because dust will find it’s way into your camera, especially while traveling.
LENS FILTERS: ND FILTER & POLARIZING FILTERS
When you’re traveling, you can’t always be everywhere with the best lighting. Especially for video, you might want to invest in ND filters to make your footage look a lot better light-wise. Polarizing filters are great if you’re chasing waterfalls and the sun is reflecting too much!
If your camera has Wi-Fi, you can use your phone as a remote control. If that’s not the case, it’s wise to get a remote control. We have one by the brand Pixel.
A tripod is a traveler’s best friend. You will have to get used to carrying extra weight, but it will make for much better images! We love our Manfrotto Element.
We cannot tell you enough times how important it is to backup your photos and videos. And not just once, make sure to double backup. Laptops and hard disks can crash – I have lost 10 years of photographs because I was so stupid and only had my photos on one hard disk.
External SSD or HDD?
There are two types of external storage devices you can choose from. You’re probably familiar with an HDD – a normal hard disk. This device has a spinning disk, like a CD or DVD, and it reads and writes data on the disk. An SSD is a solid-state drive uses flash memory – no disk – and it a lot faster, safer (doesn’t get so hot and there is no disk that can break), yet more expensive. We use HDDs for backups and we both use an SSD each as a ‘working device’ for our video projects.
It’s not a bad idea to make your second backup an online backup. There are many cloud storage services, such as iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Drive. For our mobile photos, we love to use Google Photos (unlimited storage for ‘optimized’ photos)!
ADOBE PHOTOSHOP / LIGHTROOM / PREMIERE PRO
If you’re serious about your photography and videography, you have to invest in an Adobe membership. There are many options available.
PRESETS / PHOTO FILTERS
Especially when you start out with photo editing, programs like Adobe Lightroom might seem a little scary. It’s not a bad idea to buy a few presets and figure out your style first. A preset is a photo filter that you can easily apply with one click. From there, you can make further adjustments! Check out our presets or watch our tutorial of how to create one yourself.
Looking for a different look? Check out the preset collections by DoYouYravel x Gypsea_Lust and get 10% OFF with coupon code ONCEUPONAJRNY!
WORLD TRAVEL ADAPTER / POWER STRIP
Of course, you need to charge all your gear while traveling, so do not forget to bring world travel adapters. Our travel hack: we bring one adapter and a power strip, so we don’t need an adapter for every device.
Many devices can also be charged with a power bank, which is even handier on the road!
BEST CAMERA BAG
One of the most difficult things to figure out: what is the best camera bag? We absolutely love the Lowepro Flipside series because it is incredibly safe. The zipper is located on the back of the backpack, so pickpockets don’t stand a chance! There are multiple sizes (depending on how big your photography kit is) so there’s an option for everyone!
EXTRA: WATERPROOF DRY BAG
In case you’re island hopping, it’s wise to invest in a waterproof dry bag to keep your travel camera equipment protected.
PFEW that was a lot of gear! Hopefully, our complete photography gear list has helped you with your journey. We’d love to hear what your travel camera equipment looks like, reach out to us in the comments, via email or on Instagram!
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