One big question that pops up from time to time: what camera do we use? It is a big misunderstanding that beautiful pictures can only be made with a fancy, expensive camera. It is not so much about the camera as to how you use it technically, how you take picture visually and, most importantly, how you edit them after shooting. Our recommendation is to start with a camera you’re comfortable with. If we would’ve started shooting our current Canon 5D at the start, it would’ve been a waste! Let’s dive into our photography travel gear and let’s dig deeper than a camera!
You do NOT have to get a digital SLR to get the amazing pictures. There are so many amazing point & shoot cameras (the cheapest option) out there, but mirrorless cameras are the new DSLRs. Mirrorless cameras, like the Sony Alpha series, are so popular even professional photographers change their heavy Canon for a Sony, the new Sony a7R II in specific. These cameras are lighter and compacter than a DSLR and the expensive ones have (arguably) similar/better quality than a full frame DSLR (the expensive ones).
So, what’s our camera journey? I originally started with an equivalent of the Canon EOS 1300D, a beginners DSLR. I invested in a Canon EOS 70D, and then a newer version came out: Canon EOS 80D. This camera is especially popular amongst vloggers, and we loved shooting photos and videos with it, and to really dive into the technical side of the camera. Right before our world trip I wanted to invest in a full frame camera (a “professional” DSLR) and got an old Canon Mark II, second hand, from the Dutch eBay.
Then, on the road, we bought more stuff! We actually got a GoPro Hero 5 Black for our underwater photography. Our GoPro actually turned out amazing for other photography as well, and some of our most popular Instagram photos are shot with the GoPro – its wide angle makes for great pics! Good to know: both GoPro Hero 5 and its new version Hero 6 shoot RAW and have a screen to see what you’re photographing!
Ultimately, it’s up to your budget and to your usage what kind of camera suits you. Whatever you do: make sure it shoots RAW. If you’re a lucky owner of an iPhone 7/7 Plus, iPhone 6S/6S Plus, iPhone SE, Pixel/Pixel XL, or the Galaxy S7/S7 Edge you can even take RAW pictures on your phone through the Lightroom Mobile app!
We’ll dive deeper into the RAW format and manual camera setting in an upcoming blog about photography!
More than a camera body, camera lenses give a certain “look” to your photo. There are four “important” types of lenses: zoom lens (so you can zoom), prime lens (fixed focal length = more quality), wide angle lens (like GoPro look = wide field of view) and telephoto lens (long focal length = for wildlife, sports or portraits).
We decided to invest in an expensive zoom lens, the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L which is really convenient and versatile for travelling and perfect for almost every occasion (for us). We also brought our first lens, a budget prime lens Canon 50 mm f/1.8 STM lens, which makes for great depth of field (and in general: the pics are awesome). Please note that these lenses are made for full frame cameras of Canon, so on a cropped sensor camera (like the Canon EOS series), they have a different effected.
When you’re choosing lenses, don’t go for a cheap zoom lens (it simply hasn’t quality), but rather go with a budget prime lens or invest in a high-end zoom lens!
Tripod & Stabilizer
If you’re a solo traveller or a couple like us and you want to take pictures together: a tripod is a must. We got a more expensive tripod similar to this Manfrotto, but when we accidentally left it somewhere we bought a cheap Zomei tripod, which we find even more convenient! UPDATE: we’ve upgraded to a Velbon tripod – a lot more robust and taller. Set up the camera & tripod, set the timer – or even better: connect your phone to your camera’s wifi and use it as remote – and happy shooting! No more weird framing by strangers (cutting your head off or only taking pictures of you, not you AND the waterfall). UPDATE: we’ve bought a wireless remote control for our camera and it’s amazing, just click away whenever you’re in the moment! It has so many options for time lapses too: it’s perfect.
For our GoPro we invested in a Zhiyun Smooth-Q stabilizer & GoPro adapter to shoot smooth videos – you can also use it with your phone. It’s definitely a great upgrade and we love it a lot. And yes we will upload more videos soon!!
Before our world trip, this was a huge deal: what camera bag to bring? With our camera upgrade we realised we couldn’t casually walk around with that monstrous thing hanging around the neck (basically screaming: hello, steal me!). So we went searching… and found an AMAZING bag! We got a Lowepro Flipside 200 (and kind of regret not getting the bigger Flipside 300): it closes on the back (no one is stealing our baby), we can attach our tripod on the front, and it fits all our gear (including extra memory card, batteries, chargers, and our flash that we never actually use). It’s the BEST for real!
Please think about backing up your photos. And backing up the backup. Just three years ago I lost ALL my photos (which was like 10 years of photos) because my external hard disk broke. I thought I was smart by putting everything on that thing because laptops can crash, but boy was I wrong. Ever since that big mistake, I back everything up twice, and preferably three times. We drag along multiple external hard disks and got a 2TB iCloud subscription for $9.99 a month, and use Google Photos to backup all of our mobile photos. Also be smart to bring more memory cards with you when travelling, it’s a pain when you’re shooting and memory is full!
Always bring extra batteries for your camera & other gear, and make sure you have a proper power bank! Power banks are perfect for everything with a USB-cable, especially when you’re in remote places where electricity is nowhere to be found.
For our GoPro we got a dome to make those cool above/below pictures in the water, a Super Suit water case + red filters for diving and an accessories kit for some extras. For your camera lenses be sure to get a UV-filter because you will cry A LOT when your lens gets a scratch (another expensive lesson we learnt). If you’re really smart, you bring a cleaning kit for your lenses with you (I cannot believe nobody told me that before!), because you can photoshop a lot, but dirty lenses ruin everything. We also got a small clip-on microphone to have semi-decent audio with our videos and got a 3.5 mm to USB-C adapter to use it on our GoPro. For our Canon, we also got a cover for it and a new – nice looking – shoulder strap so it doesn’t scream “I’M EXPENSIVE”, but we won’t bore you with more details!
Did we miss anything? Let us know!
What does your photography gear-list look like? Is there anything we missed? Love to hear from you!
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