Our Favorite Photography Equipment + Travel Gadgets

Beach | Drone | View from the Sky | Drone Shot

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We get a lot of questions from readers and fellow travelers about our favorite travel photography gear and other helpful tech gadgets. Over the years we’ve gone from using our trusty iPhones to now having a backpack of varying cameras. While we don’t consider ourselves to be professional photographers, we think this equipment is perfect for a wide-range of ability!


CAMERA: Sony A6000

travel photography gear sony a6000

Before our trip to Japan in 2015, we knew we wanted to splurge on a nicer camera (we’ve been using our iPhones for years)! After months of deliberation between the new MILCs and the ever-popular DSLR, we opted for the Sony A6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera. (Note: The A6000 has now be superseded by the A6500) travel photography gear

PROS

  • Weight: Extremely lightweight in comparison to most DSLR
  • Autofocus Abilities
  • Image stabilization comparable to DSLR
  • Video Quality
  • Shutter Speed

CONS

  • Battery Life: after reading a few different articles and camera specifications, we found that the battery life was a little over half of that of comparable DSLR cameras. We solved this problem by purchasing a few extra batteries off Amazon and keeping them charged up.
  • Lenses: Because Mirrorless Digital cameras are a newer style, there aren’t as many lenses to choose from. However, we love the ones we do have and the market continues to grow.
  • Accessories: while there are a lot of accessories available for purchase, there are not as many as what DSLR cameras have to offer. travel photography gear

Cost: Around $598 for the body and 16-50mm lens OR around $750 for the body, 16-50mm lens, and 55-210mm lens (we opted for both lenses).

Click here for current Sony A6000 prices

Must Have Accessories

  • Play Memories Mobile App (Free)
  • Memory Card: The larger MB the better
  • Tripod: We prefer something easily compactable and lightweight, like our travel tripod from Benro.
  • Camera Bag: We love our Crumpler bag because it easily holds our camera, lenses, and other small accessories.
  • Extra Batteries: It always pays off to stay charged up! To cut some corners we decided to purchase an “off-brand” of the name brand Sony battery here. You are able to get two batteries and a charging port for about $27.
  • Filters: UV and Polarizer are the most useful. Also, protects your lens from scratches.
  • Lens Cap Holder: Have you ever lost a lens cap? Do you despise finding a place to put your lens cap when you’re taking a photograph? This is for you!

Useful Accessories

  • Wireless Remote Control: This is especially useful for night photography and when you’re trying to get a photo handsfree.
  • Screen Protector: While this might not be necessary for all if you’re on the go a lot you might want to consider it as it will help protect your LCD screen.

 A FEW SHOTS FROM OUR SONY A6000


CAMERA: GoPro

travel photography gear gopro

After our trip to Jamaica, we decided to take the plunge and purchase a GoPro. Mainly because my Lifeproof case decided it didn’t want to be waterproof and we filmed and photographed our trip to the Blue Hole with his iPhone, a broken Lifeproof, and a ziplock bag! Right after we bought our GoPro we were scouring the web for accessories, tips, and planning adventures in order to go GoPro crazy. We have loved using it for action shots, underwater scenery, videography, and wide angle shots.

PROS

  • Size: GoPro cameras are TINY. They fit right inside your pocket and can easily be thrown in a bag or purse.
  • Durability: This camera was built to go the places that your other cameras can’t go as safely. Dust, storm, sand, and waterproof!
  • Ease of Use: For a first timer, these cameras are really easy to use. You can almost point and shoot at your ideal location and gather great results.
  • Wide Angle: The fish-eye lens on the GoPro is perfect for action shots and capturing larger objects such as a statue, temple, or tall building. travel photography gear

CONS

  • Fixed Lens: This means there is no zoom with a GoPro, what you see on the screen is what you get.
  • Settings: Accessing things like ISO, exposure, etc can be a pain when trying to capture your perfect shot.
  • Battery Life: The best thing to do is have a few backup batteries (we currently have 3 for each camera).

Cost: Hero 5: $399, Hero 4 Silver: $350

Click here for current GoPro prices

Must Have Accessories

Useful Accessories

  • Smart Remote: You can use the mobile app to take pictures, but the smart remote is a faster way to get your favorite shot!
  • Floaty Backdoor: If you’re planning to use your GoPro in deep water this accessory is worth it.
  • GoPole: Perfect for selfies and action shots
  • LCD Touch BacPac: Only necessary for Hero 3 & 3+ models

Check out this post on GoPro accessories that will ROCK your world!

A FEW SHOTS FROM OUR GOPRO


DRONE: DJI Mavic Pro

travel photography gear dji mavic pro

After much deliberation, we recently purchased the DJI Mavic Pro. While the world of drones is a fairly new market, they give you a thrilling and different perspective from the sky. travel photography gear

PROS

  • Perspective: You’re able to capture some pretty neat images from above that you wouldn’t be able to see otherwise.
  • Easy to Fly:  You’d be surprised how easy it is to fly and land a drone.
  • Size: Unlike other models and brands, the Mavic folds up to a size that could easily fit in one hand.
  • Settings: Easily change the settings via your mobile device or remote control while the drone is in flight.
  • Video & Photo Quality

CONS

  • Rules: There are many areas that are “No Fly Zones.” The DJI app is usually quick to tell you where you can fly and where you cannot but you need to read up on the area you’re in before attempting the flight. You also will need to register your camera with the FAA before flying.
  • Price: All drones are expensive, the Mavic is no different. After purchasing the drone + accessories it can run you well over $1,000.
  • Weather Conditions: As of now, drones aren’t water and weather proof. If you have a rainy or windy day, flying your drone won’t be an option.
  • Battery Life: Typically you will only be able to fly your drone for approximately 20 minutes before needing to change out your battery.

Cost: $959 (base)

Click here to see current prices for the DJI Mavic Pro

Must Have Accessories

  • Extra BatteriesWith a battery life of 20 minutes, you will need at least three to keep you going.
  • Micro SD Card We recommend one that is 64 GB or larger.
  • Camera Case: You spent a fortune on the camera, so protect it with a case!
  • Extra PropellersShould one of yours break, you’ll be ready.
  • Added Insurance: This varies for everyone but we were able to purchase a policy through our insurance company for minimal cost.
  • DJI Go App

Helpful Accessories

A FEW SHOTS FROM OUR DJI MAVIC PRO


INSTANT CAMERA: Fujifilm Instax Mini 8

travel photography gear instax mini

Recently, instant Polaroid shots have become exceedingly popular once again. This is one of the cameras that Kallsy uses for unique and fun instant photos. travel photography gear

PROS

  • One of a Kind: The photos you’ll capture from the Instax are definitely unique.
  • Instant Prints: No need to wait to edit and upload, the photo you take will be printed in a matter of seconds
  • Variety of Colors + Accessories: If you are purchasing an Instax, chances are you are looking for a unique way to express your photos and personality. You can definitely do so by customizing your camera by color, straps, cases, photo skins, etc. travel photography gear

CONS

  • Batteries: This camera requires 2 AA batteries so it can be a pain to carry around extras
  • No Internal Memory: This camera allows you to print photos instantly with the click of a finger which means you have to keep track of the printed photo after taking it. My suggestion? Think of a way to creatively store or display your photos such as one of the ways we have displayed our travel memorabilia.
  • No Take Backs: Once you press that button your camera will be working on delivering a photo. Since the film is expensive it can be pretty heartbreaking when a photo is overexposed or taken at the wrong time.

Cost: The cost of this camera can be seen as a pro and con. The camera itself runs around $65 now, but the film alone can set you back a pretty penny. Kallsy typically purchases the film from Amazon where you can buy 50 prints for around $33.

Click here to see the current price of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8

Must Have Accessories travel photography gear

  • Camera Bag: Since the Instax is plastic, it’s a good idea to have a case to keep it protected.
  • Extra Batteries: While the batteries tend to last awhile, it’s good to have back-ups just in case.
  • Film: You can’t use the camera without film! travel photography gear

Useful Accessories

  • Close-up Lens with Self-Portrait Mirror: Perfect for taking selfies with the Instax
  • Photo Album We don’t personally use one of these, instead we’ve found some creative ways to display our Instax photos. But this is an alternative option for those who would prefer them to be all in one place.
  • Neck Strap: Your Instax will come with a wristlet strap but this neck strap is great for being hands-free.

A FEW PHOTOS FROM OUR FUJIFILM INSTAX MINI 8


CELLPHONE: iPhone 6

travel photography gadgets

As I mentioned previously before we ever bought any photography equipment we both used our iPhones when traveling and honestly, they don’t do a bad job for a quick snap. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what photos were taken with a phone vs a camera nowadays. Currently, Kallsy and I both have an iPhone 6.

PROS

  • Easy to Use: It’s as easy as opening the camera app, pointing, and capturing the shot.
  • Size: Most everyone carries their cell phone in their pocket, purse, or another bag.
  • Obtainability: You probably already have it!
  • Uploading to Media:  Since you took the photo right on your phone it’s easy to upload immediately to social media.

CONS

  • Image Quality: Photos taken via your iPhone or other cellular device have a limited range of editing due to their size components.
  • Settings: You aren’t able to adjust many settings that allow a precise depth of field, lighting, etc.
  • Candid Shots: Not the best for continuous shooting.
  • Battery Life:  Taking photos and video + uploading to social media can drain your battery very quickly.

Cost: Approximately $300

Click here for current iPhone 6 prices

Must Have Accessories

  • Protective Case: For most people, their phone is their lifeline. Without a protective case, your phone is at risk for a cracked screen etc.
  • Battery Charging PackSo you can charge your phone on the go.
  • Extra Lightning Cables: We have many back-ups just in case we lose or break one.

Useful Accessories

  • Waterproof Dry Bag: Perfect if you’re planning to take your phone to the beach, pool, amusement park, etc.
  • Ring Grip/Stand: I don’t personally use one of these but Kallsy has one on her phone case and loves it. It adds an extra blanket of security when you’re taking a photo and also acts as a stand.

A FEW PHOTOS TAKEN WITH OUR IPHONES


OTHER FAVORITE GADGETS + TIPS

Apple iPad (128GB) & MacBook Air (13″): Having both used a PC for many years we gradually made the switch over to Apple products. We also enjoy using our iPads whenever on the go.

Lumsing Powerbank: We use two of these Lumsing power banks to keep our phones charged and to charge our camera batteries on the go.

Lumsing Quick Charge 5 Port Charger: Any time we’re traveling we always seem to run into the same problem, there is never enough outlets to charge all of our devices. With this Lumsing charger, we are able to charge up to five devices quickly and only use one outlet.

Editing Software: For our camera, drone, and GoPro photos we love using Adobe Lightroom ($10/month) to edit on our MacBooks. We also use Snapseed (FREE – Mobile App) to edit our GoPro photos and iPhone shots.

Daypack/BackpackI am actually able to fit all of this gear inside my 28 L backpack. Super handy to have it all in one place for when we’re on the go. When we’re hiking or on more extensive trips that include a lot of walking Kallsy will usually carry half of our gear in her own backpack to lighten the load.


Do you have any favorite photography equipment? We’d love to hear your tips!

 

 

 

Looking into purchasing some new camera equipment? This list of travel photography gear is perfect for those starting out in photography or a seasoned pro. www.pagesoftravel

Looking into purchasing some new camera equipment? This list of travel photography gear is perfect for those starting out in photography or a seasoned pro. www.pagesoftravel.org

  • Julz
    June 28, 2017 at 10:30 AM

    Oooh love all these – your camera is so pretty!! Love you pictures! I also need to upgrade my go pro as well

  • Erika
    June 28, 2017 at 11:57 AM

    Thank you so much – this was so helpful! This is an informative and well-organized post. I don’t presently have the budget for a new camera but I’m overdue and it’s a by-end-of-year goal. I bookmarked your post!

  • OurSweetAdventures
    June 28, 2017 at 2:50 PM

    This was so awesome I want to drop $5000 on tech gear now haha. We are going to get a GoPro for sure before our trip to Africa. You are also making me more tempted to get a drone before Africa too, but Adam is not on board with the idea. At least not until I make him read this post! Thanks for sharing all your pros and cons it was nice to see both sides.

    Question: do you know anything about the GoPro Drone? They were recalled, but now seem to be okay? I think.

  • CJ Haughey
    June 28, 2017 at 6:24 PM

    Some awesome gear here
    WiFi remotes, drones and several cameras, you guys are serious about your photography!

  • Shannan Swindler
    June 29, 2017 at 3:56 AM

    Thanks for a great post for every stage of photographer. Knowing what is good (or not so good) about what I have and where to find something new or better makes this a great, useful post. Thanks for pulling it all together for me.

  • Chiera
    June 30, 2017 at 9:28 AM

    The A6000 is the camera I have been saving up for! I was concerned about the battery life aswell and never thought to buy extra! Thanks!

  • Eve Kay
    June 30, 2017 at 11:14 AM

    I’ve seen some people using drones and I’d be interested in checking out the one you mentioned I just bought a new camera a month ago though so I’m gonna have to wait on that one!

  • Mike Lee
    July 4, 2017 at 7:45 AM

    I think exactly like you and Japan is the place to buy technology. The Sony mirrorless are the best in the market right now and their output is simply amazing, plus a lot smaller in size than the conventional DSLR. Already have the GoPro, but drones i’m wary off till the time I can land them without crashing. A really lovely list.

  • Kenny
    July 12, 2017 at 3:00 PM

    This is a great post! We are coming over from the photography side and have a ton of money invested in lenses for the DSLR’s. I’m looking to make the switch to a smaller camera and keep the same image quality that I’m used to, so this article was very insightful. We use VSCO for the phone photos but Snapseed is also a great one. Now if I can just talk the wife into a drone. 😂 On a side note, your blog is also inspiring and set up very well! Good luck in med school!

  • Logan Page
    July 18, 2017 at 9:21 PM

    Thank you so much! Haha yeah buying the accessories for Gopro is where I get in trouble!

  • Logan Page
    July 18, 2017 at 9:24 PM

    Glad you enjoyed it! Camera equipment can get very expensive without some prior planning, setting a budget will just give you time to research what camera will best suit your needs!