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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
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 (Note: The A6000 has now be superseded by the A6500) travel photography gear
- Weight: Extremely lightweight in comparison to most DSLR
- Autofocus Abilities
- Image stabilization comparable to DSLR
- Video Quality
- Shutter Speed
- 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).
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!
- 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
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.
- 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
- 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
Must Have Accessories
- Micro SD Card: We typically say the more memory the better.
- Extra Batteries
- Dual Battery Charger: Super handy for charging up your batteries on the go.
- Camera Case
- Gooseneck + Flex Clamp: Super handy for attaching your GoPro to a variety of places, the gooseneck also acts as a handheld pole.
- Suction Cup: This is perfect for attaching to vehicles, boats and so much more.
- 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
A FEW SHOTS FROM OUR GOPRO
DRONE: 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
- 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
- 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)
Must Have Accessories
- Extra Batteries: With 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 Propellers: Should 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
- Car Charger: If you need to charge up the batteries or remote on the go, this is super handy to have.
- 4 in 1 Rapid Battery Charger: Set up your batteries and remote to charge quickly so you can fly again in no time.
- Mavic Lens Sun Shade: Helpful when shooting in extremely sunny conditions
- Remote Joystick Protector: Helps protect them from moving around in the case and causing damage.
A FEW SHOTS FROM OUR DJI MAVIC PRO
INSTANT CAMERA: Fujifilm Instax Mini 8
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
- 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
- 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.
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
- 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
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.
- 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.
- 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
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 Pack: So you can charge your phone on the go.
- Extra Lightning Cables: We have many back-ups just in case we lose or break one.
- 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
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/Backpack: I 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!