My family used a 3 megapixel digital camera on our first international trip to Europe in 2006.
While that camera did the job, the quality of digital cameras has improved a phenomenal amount since then. I’ve been steadily collecting camera equipment (the only tech gear I splurge on regularly) and have tried and tested many different types of cameras.
I honestly think that there isn’t one camera that is best for travel. Every camera has its pros and cons, and each is made to be used in different situations.
Lately, I’ve been interested in upgrading my equipment so that I can improve the quality of our travel videos and update some of my travel photography camera gear.
I’ve done loads of research on which camera equipment is the best for travel, and have decided to share all my current knowledge of photography gear so that you might get an idea of which equipment is best for your needs! Here’s what we’ll go over:
- DSLRs + lenses
- Mirrorless cameras
- Point-and-shoot cameras
- Action cams
General W.K. Wilson Jr. Bridge, Alabama – Taken with my DSLR
I’ve been an advocate of DSLRs ever since I bought one in 2012. These cameras can be both heavy and bulky, but they are going to give you the best quality photos.
For something a bit fancier, the Canon 80D is what a lot of pro bloggers and YouTubers use as their primary camera. This camera has a great quality sensor, and the autofocus is apparently much better than previous DSLR models.
Although I’ve always used a Canon, Nikon DSLRs are pretty great, too. I’ve played with a few, and honestly there’s barely a difference in image quality between Canon and Nikon. Some popular models of Nikon DSLRs are the D3200, D3300, D5200 or D5300.
Lenses: A kit lens (a lens that comes with the camera body when you buy it) will usually be fine for beginners. I used my kit lens for at least a year or two before upgrading to a 15-85mm zoom lens, which I now use as a general travel lens as it can take photos wide angle or zoomed in. I also have a 50mm lens that I use mostly for portraits.
My passport – Taken with my Canon M5 mirrorless
Mirrorless cameras are fairly recent addition to the camera market, but they are definitely becoming a popular choice for travel photography. When I wrote this post I was veeeeery tempted to get the brand new Canon M5, and last weekend I actually went out and purchased it so that we can take it to Australia next month!
Mirrorless cameras are smaller, lighter, and sometimes cheaper than DSLRs, and the image quality is pretty damn close. They also keep the option for interchangeable lenses, which is a huge bonus in my opinion. As they are fairly new, many mirrorless cameras will also include the latest tech features such as touch screens and 4K video.
I’ve only had a few opportunities to play with my new mirrorless, but so far I’m loving it – the touch screen focus is absolutely awesome, and Robert says that this camera is way more intuitive to use than my old DSLR. I even did a video test of the camera in low light, and it performed superbly.
Aside from the Canon M5, there are a few other mirrorless cameras that are pretty great for both photography and video:
Statue of Liberty, NYC – Taken with my Nexus 5X
Modern smartphones have come a long way as far as photo and video quality goes. I’ve posted some smartphone photography tips, which details why I think smartphones are actually pretty great for travel photography.
POINT AND SHOOT CAMERAS
I may be biased, but I really don’t want to recommend point-and-shoot cameras because I honestly think that every other option is better. If you really must, then apparently the Canon S120 is supposed to be pretty good for photos and video.
Miami, Florida – Taken with my GoPro Hero5 Black
Action cams are all the rage right now. I’d been wanting to buy one for literally ever (ok maybe like, a year) so in last year’s Black Friday sales, Rob and I finally went out and bought the new GoPro Hero5 Black.
These tiny cameras are light and easy to carry around, and are best used for capturing videos of yourself doing adventure activities such as skateboarding, skiing, surfing, or ziplining. The photo quality isn’t as great as other cameras due to the lack of photo controls, but I managed to take a few decent pics on our southern US road trip.
In the few months since we bought the GoPro, we’ve had a lot of fun making videos and posting them on our YouTube channel (which you should definitely subscribe to!). The quality of the video is great, and the image stabilisation is better than I expected. The only thing that could be improved (and this is a problem with most video cameras) is the audio quality.
I also did a little research on other action cams, but I honestly didn’t find anything that stood out. GoPro has really made a name for themselves as the superior brand as they’re supplying a good product for a decent price. The Hero5 Black and Hero5 Session really are the best action cams on the market.
Accessories: GoPro offers a huge range of accessories that will come in super useful depending on what kind of videos you’re taking. A tripod, suction cup mount, surf mount, chest harness, or floating handle would probably be the most useful.
Tripod: If you often shoot photos or videos in low light situations (indoors or at night), then you might need a tripod. I have the Joby GorillaPod which easily fits in my backpack and the bendy legs can be adjusted to suit almost any situation. There are also smaller versions of the GorillaPod for smartphones or point and shoots.
External Flash: The flash on most cameras is okay, but it often shoots out an extremely bright light that results in harsh shadows. If you’re planning on doing some low light photography with people in it, then an external flash with a light diffuser will make your photos come out great. I have a Canon Speedlite Flash that fits both my DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
External microphone: As I’m getting more into vlogging, I’m looking into an external mic to improve the audio quality on our videos. I’m looking at the Canon DM E1 microphone or maybe the Rode VideoMic Go for my new mirrorless camera.
Phew, that’s quite a lengthy list of travel photography camera gear for you to go through! What camera gear do you use, or what are you hoping to get? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
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