The Best Cameras & Gear for Travel Photography

Q: What’s the best camera for travel photography?

A: Whatever camera you’re using at that moment.

. . .

Some of my all-time favorite photos were taken with a point and shoot; while some of my biggest disappointments came from a dSLR.

In reality, YOU are the most important part of your photography – not the camera.

  • You have to be in the right place at the right time.
  • You have to do the research beforehand.
  • You have to take a moment to think before pressing the shutter.

 

That said, you still need a camera

Camera Gear Smile - 2013-01-11 19-15-30Here’s a summary of what’s I use – including my dSLR, point and shoot and camera bag.

Plus, I’ve also included suggestions for other great travel cameras and gear.

Disclaimer: clicking on any orange text shows you to the item on Amazon.com. If you buy anything, I get a small commission.

 


dSLR – Nikon D810

 

nikond800

With 36.3 megapixels and a full frame sensor, this top-of-the-line camera produces photos with amazing clarity, sharpness and detail that can be printed at any size.

I love it with all my heart – especially when I use these lenses:

. . .

14-24mm f/2.8 Wide Angle – Nikon

This lens is my baby and the reason I chose Nikon over Canon. It’s the widest zoom lens available and has minimal distortion at the corners. A dream for landscapes and cityscapes.

. . .

18-300mm f/3.5-5.6 Telephoto – Nikon

The best all-around travel lens you can find. At 18mm, you can get everything in. Then, with a simple flick of the wrist, you can zoom into the smallest details a few hundred feet away. If I only used one lens, this would be it.

. . .

50mm f/1.8 Prime Lens – Nikon

Me photographing in YosemiteThe “Nifty Fifty” is my fun lens. It’s my “let me get back that creative spark” lens.

I can’t count how many times it has broken me out of a funk and inspired me to discover a new photographic technique. At $130, it’s a must in every camera bag.

. . .

15mm f/2.8 Fisheye – Sigma

For those times when you want to fit absolutely everything into your shot, the fisheye is an amazing tool. I frequently use to document hotel rooms and other interiors – as well as to have fun with the natural distortion of the lens.

. . .

Other Recommendations

As much as I love my Nikon D810 and lenses, they are big and heavy – and sometimes I wish I didn’t have to carry it all on my back.

That’s why I also recommend these travel photography dSLR cameras:

 

Entry Level

Mid-Range


Point & Shoot – Canon Powershot SX600

powershot

 

Over the years, I have used a wide variety of Canon Powershot cameras. The SX600 is just the latest one to grace my pocket while I travel.

With a strong zoom and manual options, you can’t go wrong with this line of point and shoot camera.

Or, if you don’t mind something a little bigger, the Canon SX530 has an amazing 50x optical zoom.


Mirrorless – Sony Alpha a711K

 

alpha

OK, this one isn’t in my bag… but it should be.

Mirrorless cameras are pretty amazing. They use interchangeable lenses – just like a dSLR – but are lightweight and portable.

Based on everything I’ve read about the Sony Alpha, it’s the camera I would buy: if I were in the market for mirrorless.

That, or the Samsung NX1.


Camera Bag – fStop Kenti

 

Chacaltaya---La-Paz,-BoliviaAfter experimenting with countless camera bags over the years, I finally discovered the F-Stop Kenti.

This perfect bag has space for my camera, lenses, accessories, laptop, tripod, water bottle, snacks, change of clothes and whatever else I might need on a day out.

It also is small enough to fit under a seat or into the small rack above my head on a local bus.

I’ll never buy another camera bag again!

 


Assorted Camera Gear

 

Here are some other essential camera items that you will want to travel with:

  • Memory Card – I have a collection of SanDisk 32gb SD cards. They make bigger cards; but, using this one ensures that if it fails, you don’t lose everything.
  • cameragearMemory Card Holder – Store your precious SD or CF cards in this waterproof protective case.
  • Air Blower – Clean the inside of your camera and get rid of dust spots. A must for dSLR users
  • Filters – You should always travel with a collection of polarizing and ND filters. There are so many to choose from depending on your lens size.
  • Extra Batteries, Lens Caps and Chargers – Just in case.

So, which camera is best for you?

 

In the end, it all comes down to your budget and what you plan to do with the photos.

If their primary destination is online or an 8×10″ print, there’s no need to shell out big bucks.

However, if you want to make large prints for your wall or for an exhibition, it’s worth investing in a top-of-the-line camera kit.

Just be sure to do your research – and have fun with whatever you buy.

Oh, and don’t be surprised if you still take the most photos with a phone… I know I do :)

 

Sukhothai - Thailand - 2013-12-05 16-18-11A


What camera do you use?

How do you like it?

  • That’s a nice list.

    I will like to drop another link here for the same if you din’t mind.

    http://www.camerasfor.net/cameras-to-buy-for-travel-photography/

  • Greg,

    Thanks for sharing this! Super informative article. I just bought a Canon Rebel T5 and have been loving it so far. I’m really looking forward to getting outdoors more and using it.

    Where has been your favorite place to photograph?

    Cheers!

    • Thanks Austin. The T5 is a great camera. What have you been having fun photographing with it?

      As for me, my favorite place to photograph is either Bagan in Myanmar … or Angkor in Cambodia. I love ruins, and they are two of the best.

      • I’ve been to Malibu a bit for some long exposure stuff, and then just the occasional hike around LA. I’m trying to start a blog/portfolio of sorts at http://www.thesetravelingtunes.com because I’ve found that when I start a project I’m more motivated to go out and shoot!

        Seems like you’ve gone to some pretty incredible places!