When it comes to travel photography there is so much gear on the market it can feel a bit overwhelming when deciding what to buy. In this list, I want to break it down and make it much simpler for those who are looking to build a kit specifically for travel photography. In my personal opinion, the best kits for travel photographers are those that are small and lightweight but are capable of capturing a wide range of photos. Here is my list of the must have gear for travel photographers.
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Must have camera gear for travel photographers
Mirrorless cameras like the Sony Alpha range. There are so many reasons why I would recommend a mirrorless camera, especially the Sony Alpha series but the main two are as follows. First of all, they are arguably the best cameras on the market right now in terms of picture quality and video quality. Secondly, they are much smaller and lighter than even a cheaper entry-level DSLR camera which is what you want when travelling. Having too much weight means you have to carry more stuff and can potentially mean your gear will be too heavy for carry-on luggage. I don’t own a mirrorless camera at the time of writing this, but I am currently saving money to purchase one in the very near future.
When it comes to lenses I am not going to say you should buy a specific brand of a lens because all brands have different products, what I will do instead is tell you some focal lengths and types of lenses. I’m a big believer in having a small kit that can do everything, rather than having a large kit of interchangeable lenses, some of which you will never need to use so they just end up sitting in your bag all the time.
All photographers need an all-purpose lens, these are the lenses you will use more than 80% of the time. These are the lenses that are great for a range of different things. A good example of this is a 24-70mm lens. This is my go-to lens because it can be used for everything from landscapes to portraits. However, 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses from the three biggest camera companies, Nikon, Canon and Sony all come with a hefty price tag. Luckily, there are several other focal lengths that would be good alternatives which are also significantly cheaper, some of them include 18-200mms, 24-120mms, 18-105mms, 18-135mms and 24-240mms.
Another type of lens you should think about purchasing is a wide-angle. A wide-angle is considered to be any lens with a focal length of less than 35mm. These lenses are not necessarily an essential piece of equipment but they definitely come in handy for particular types of photography. A wide-angle lens is perfect for photographing a larger scene or to capture a smaller scene when you have a limited amount of space to work in.
The most common wide-angle zooms are 16-35mms. But like the all-purpose lenses, there are other alternatives available, some examples include the Nikon 14-24mm and the Sony 12-24mm. Other alternatives include an 11-24mm, a 10-22mm and Canon even offers a 10-85mm. I would recommend a wide-angle zoom over a prime such as a 16mm, 24mm or 35mm just for its range in shooting at multiple focal lengths, although a wide-angle prime may be beneficial in terms of size and weight.
The third and final lens you should consider is a telephoto lens. These lenses are also more specialised and mainly used for shooting subjects or objects from a further distance. These lenses are probably the largest and heaviest lenses, so you should definitely take that into consideration. Probably the most popular and the most useful telephoto lens would have to be the 70-200mm, however, if you decide to buy the aforementioned 18-200mm or 24-240mm all-purpose lens this wouldn’t be necessary. I have a Nikon 55-300mm telephoto lens but I have discovered on previous trips that this lens just ends up sitting in my camera bag without being used so I hardly ever take this lens anymore.
What should you pick?
I’m not saying you have to go out and buy all the lenses listed above, in fact, you shouldn’t. If you have to only choose one, then pick a good quality all-purpose lens. Before you purchase any lens you should do your own research because all lenses vary in brand, price, size, weight and aperture.
I think the most important piece of equipment any photographer can have and in particular, those interested in shooting outdoors is a tripod. A tripod is needed for many different things but the most common is for slowing down the shutter speed in low light situations. A stable tripod is very important, I would recommend purchasing a steady, carbon fibre tripod early. Before you go out and spend a lot of money on some of the extra lenses listed above I would buy a tripod first (that’s exactly what I did). I have always been a big fan of carbon fibre tripods made by Manfrotto, they are very popular with a lot of travel and landscape photographers because they are strong and stable, yet lightweight and small enough to fit in most suitcases.
Must Have Gear for Travel Photographers
Thanks for reading our list of the must have gear for travel photographers. There is so much gear out there but most of it you will never need, or ever even use. With this list, I tried to simplify your choices and make it easy to understand. I think the most important thing to remember is that you don’t need a lot of heavy, expensive gear. Keep your kit simple and as small and lightweight as possible and only use gear that is capable of capturing a wide range of photos.
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