If you’re curious about what photo gear I use when traveling then you’ve come to the right place. I’ve been a photographer for nearly 23 years and have used all kinds of cameras and all the brands. I started with a Nikon F100, which was a film camera, back in 2001. Soon after that, digital cameras became a big deal. Technology got good enough that professional photographers everywhere were switching over from film to digital.
I remember in photography forums reading posts from the brave ones who made the leap first and sharing their excitement and wisdom with all of us. I held off making the jump to digital for a few more years. My Nikon F100 was brand new and it wasn’t cheap. Suddenly new and better digital cameras were coming out like every other month it seemed. I finally jumped into the digital camera pool in 2004, sticking with Nikon. Life changing.
Since then I’ve used all the major brands: Nikon, Fuji, Canon, & Sony. I, like all professionals, upgraded my equipment every 1 – 2 years. Technology just kept getting better and better. Once I was no longer photographing people and hotels for a living, I stopped upgrading every few years. It wasn’t necessary anymore. Although I do still peruse reviews of cameras all the time and I definitely have a list of gear I want to purchase. One day.
In 2014, after a LOT of research I abandoned all of my old digital cameras and lenses and purchased Sony’s first full frame mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera: the Sony a7r. It was so much lighter than any camera I had used and I was excited to travel with a camera that wasn’t going to kill my back or my neck.
It’s now 2023 and I still have and use that same camera. It’s honestly so good and I haven’t felt the need to upgrade. I mean, I want to upgrade and I hope to soon but for now, this one still works and is producing great photos.
Photo gear I use When Traveling today
Like I said above, I’m still using the Sony A7r. I’ve had it for 9 years now and I have had zero issues with it. For that reason alone, I’ll be sticking with Sony. Maybe I’ve just been lucky but this thing has been around the world with me several times over and all it’s needed is a cleaning. The Sony cameras capture great photos!
You can’t purchase a brand new Sony A7r but you can still buy the Sony A7rii for just under $1000. That’s a great deal! There are much newer versions for more money as well.
I have purchased several lenses for this camera but I always seem to stick with the same few everywhere I go so I got rid of most of them. The lens I LOVE and is always part of the photo gear I use when traveling is the Sony 18-105mm. This is the one that stays on my camera all the time. I love that it’s a good wide angle and telephoto lens in one. It’s rare that I want to zoom in any further than 105mm. And this one has a constant f4 aperature so it’s sharp. This one is only $650 so it’s a great price for this lens.
The Sony 14mm lens is the other lens that’s part of the photo gear I use when traveling. This is an ultra-wide lens with an F1.8 aperture and the photos that come from this lens are beautiful! It only weighs about 1lb so it’s not too bad. It’s the perfect wide angle lens for traveling. You wouldn’t think that going from an 18mm down to a 14mm would make a huge difference but it does. It’s great for traveling to countries with narrow alleys and streets like in Morocco.
I cannot stress enough how gorgeous the photos from it are! It’s a bit pricey at about $1600 but in my opinion, so worth it. Also, if you’ve ever been interested in Astrophotography, this lens is great for that too.
I currently carry an iPhone 12 Pro for my phone. It takes great photos and video. So much so I tend to not want to take out the Sony as often. I do have 256GB on it because I take a LOT of photos and video. I usually upgrade my phone right before a new one comes out because the older versions tend to go on sale or they buy my old phone back on a trade in.
I’ve been through a lot of tripods, most of them heavy. But this tripod is really light and versatile. It weighs just under 3 pounds and folds up to right under 15 inches. This tripod can hold a weight of up to 26 pounds so heavy cameras and lenses won’t be too much for this one. It even goes low enough to shoot a little less than 8 inches off the ground. The tripod runs about $80 but goes on sale often.
I don’t always take my bigger tripod out with me so I have this flexible tripod so we can still take photos of ourselves and not have to rely on others. The legs can be wrapped around things like a pole or tree branch. It comes with a wireless remote that can be controlled from 30 feet away.
Having a stabilizer for a phone is great for capturing videos. It’s almost a necessity if you want to create professional looking videos. It holds your smartphone either horizontally or vertically. Having smooth videos makes having one worth it.
Photo gear I use when traveling: Miscellaneous Items
There are brands that you just stick with once you buy them. I own 2 of these SanDisk 128GB Ultra memory cards. It also comes with an adapter. I also own 2 SanDisk 64GB cards. None of my cards have failed me so that’s probably why I stick with SanDisk.
I don’t travel anywhere without 2 of these Power Banks. It’s really slim and will last for days without having to be charged again. I use them to charge my phone, which dies really quickly since I use google maps on it when we travel. Plus I take a ton of photos. I also use it to plug in my battery charger for the Sony A7r camera as well as using it to charge my phone at night. It seriously lasts forever on just one charge.
To take all the photo gear I use when traveling requires a good travel backpack. I cannot tell you how many camera bags I have gone through over the years. I have a love-hate relationship with them. Every now and then I’ll order 3-4 bags to see if any of them will work for me and I end up sending them all back. I’ve have never found a bag that I truly love.
That said, I’ve been using the Vanguard Havana 41 for about 7 years now. Although it’s not perfect, I do like it and it works for me. It’s no longer available for purchase but they do have a bag that’s a little bit bigger. If anyone has a bag they love please let me know!
This is all the main photo gear I use when traveling but I do take other things such as extra batteries, my battery charger, and all the cords that go with all the equipment. I do have a small underwater camera but I don’t love it and plan on getting something new soon. This is basically it though. If you want to learn about how you can take better photos, my Photography Rules article is a great place to start.
Thanks for reading!