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Travel Photography

In order to get the most from your travel photography, you need to make sure you’re equipped with the right gear – discover the essentials in our guide.

Travel photography is one of the most popular subjects. With a world of exciting travel photo opportunities out there, exactly what kind of kit do you need to capture the best shots?

In order to get the most from your travel photography, you need to make sure you’re equipped with the right gear – discover the essentials in our guide.

You can get started with relatively little kit, but you may find that you expand your collection if you’re fortunate enough to spend a lot of time taking travel photos. We’ve divided this post into different sections to give you some travel photography tips and buying advice.

Best camera for travel photography

Lots of different cameras make the ideal travelling companion, but the likelihood is that you will want to travel as light as possible. If you want to go down the DSLR route, look at some of the smaller options available, including the Nikon D5600.

You may think full–frame is out of the question for keeping weight and size to a minimum. But with Sony’s A7 range of cameras, you can think again. The Sony A7 II offers a stunning full–frame sensor in a body which is particularly portable. Other compact system cameras make for the ideal travelling choice too, and there’s a huge range of different options to suit lots of different needs.

If you like the idea of travelling in style, check out the gorgeous Olympus PEN F, or the Fuji X–T20, which are both oozing with retro charm while also having the benefit of being small and portable.

Another great option would be to go down the bridge camera route. With one of the premium options available, it’s like carrying a kit bag around filled with different lenses all in one neat package.

The Panasonic FZ2000 features a large one–inch sensor and a 20x zoom lens – that covers an equivalent focal length of 24–480mm and has an impressive maximum aperture range of f/2.8–f.4.5. Meanwhile, the Sony RX10 III goes even further with a 25x zoom lens (24–600mm, f/2.4–4).

If that’s still not small enough for you, have a think about some of the fantastic compacts which are currently on the market. The Fuji X100F looks beautiful and with its large sensor and fixed 35mm (equivalent) focal length lens, is the ideal camera for capturing candid street photography shots while on your travels. If you’re looking for something a little more flexible, try the Sony RX100 V which is pocket friendly and offers a 24–70mm equivalent focal length lens.

If you need to get close to the action, look for something with a large zoom range. The Canon SX730 has an incredible 40x optical zoom lens – that’s an equivalent of 24 – 960mm. Another alternative is the Panasonic TZ90 which features a 30x optical zoom and also offers 4K Video and Photo, an integrated viewfinder and the ability to shoot in raw format.

Finally, for the adventurous among you, don’t forget about action cameras. The Go Pro Hero 5 is a great choice to help you capture videos (and photos) of your thrilling adventures, with voice control meaning you don’t even need to disturb your action to capture it.

Best lenses for travel photography

If you’ve decided to go for a DSLR or CSC for your travel photography, then you’ll need to pick at least one lens to go with it.

Choosing a zoom lens is a sensible choice for travel photography as it gives you the most flexibility while taking up the least space in your camera bag.

There are a number of superzoom lenses available, which will give you the flexibility to get close to the action, as well as take beautiful, landscape photos, or travel portraits.

For Canon and Nikon DSLRs, a good example is the Tamron AF 18–270mm f/3.5–6.3 Di II VC PZD lens. There’s also a range of proprietary lenses available, such as the Canon EF–S 18–200mm f/3.5–5.6 IS lens, or the Nikon AF–S DX 18–200mm f/3.5–5.6 ED VR II lens.

The benefits of using these lenses for your travel photos means that you don’t have to change lenses all the time, but the drawback is a narrower aperture. It could therefore be a good idea to add a single prime lens to your kit bag too.

A great value option includes the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens, which is also niftily small. For Nikon shooters there’s the Nikon AF–S 50mm f/1.8G lens. Both of these lenses have a wide aperture making them ideal for night–time travel photos, or travel portraits.

Let’s not forget about other systems too, of course! For the Sony full–frame mirrorless system there’s now an exciting range of options. A classic choice is the Sony FE 24–70mm f/4.0 ZA OSS Vario–Tessar T* lens, which works well as a walk–around lens. Alternatively, if you’re using one of Sony’s APS–C mirrorless cameras, such as the excellent Sony A6500, then there are superzoom lenses available to choose from, including the Sony E PZ 18–105mm f/4 G OSS Lens.

One of the benefits of using the smaller Micro Four Thirds system, including cameras like the Olympus PEN F, Panasonic GX80 and more, is that the lenses are also small. That means you can pack more in your kit bag, while also keeping it nice and light.

Some good examples of zoom lenses for Micro Four Thirds users include the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12–100mm f/4.0 IS Pro lens and the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45–200mm f/4.0–5.6 II Power O.I.S lens. Don’t forget, both Olympus and Panasonic share the Micro Four Thirds format, so you can use lenses from either brand.

Best bags for travel photography

There’s a huge range of different bags available, with some being designed to fit your specific camera model. While there’s no right or wrong bag for travel photography per se, there’s a couple of things to think about.

You may want to avoid backpacks, as it’ll mean you have to stop to take the bag off your bag every time you want to grab something, and, it can leave you vulnerable to pickpockets which often prey on tourists. A messenger bag hangs by your side, ready for you to grab a different lens or accessory whenever your travel photos are ready to be captured.

For those tooling around a compact system camera, the Manfrotto Street Mirrorless Shoulder Bag is a good choice.

If you’ve got a DSLR and a couple of lenses, you’ll need a bigger bag, such as the Manfrotto Windsor Reporter Bag.

Best tripods for travel photography

One of the best travel photography tips we can offer is to invest in a light tripod. Something which offers a good amount of stability while also being light enough to not weigh you down is the best option. Consider carbon fibre tripods, like the Manfrotto Befree Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod with Ball Head, if you’re after something which combines lightness with sturdiness.

You may also want to consider a monopod, such as the Vanguard Veo AM-204 Monopod if you don’t want the hassle of a full tripod – a monopod can also double up as a walking aid if your travel photography involves lots of trekking, for example.

Another good option is a super portable, bag-friendly tripod such as a Joby Gorilla Pod. Although not quite the overarching solution that a full tripod offers, you can attach it to all manner of surfaces for different viewpoints without having to lug around something heavy. A Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod is also a handy solution for capturing long exposures from floor (or wall or table) level.

Best accessories for travel photography

There are a few other essentials which you may want to consider for your travel photography kit bag.

Make sure you stock up on memory cards with enough space to capture your whole holiday, especially if you won’t have anything with you to transfer your photos onto. You may want to consider using several smaller capacity memory cards to reduce the risk of losing all of your photos due to memory card failure. All of the cameras we have mentioned in this piece use SD cards, but check the format of your camera before buying as some may use a different format.

Don’t forget about batteries either – it can be a good idea to invest in a second battery for your camera, as there’s nothing quite so frustrating as running out of juice in the middle of your travels without access to a power point.

Wherever your travel photography takes you, we’d love to see your photos. Share your travel photos with us at our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages! Where will you be inspired to take your kit?

You can get started with relatively little kit, but you may find that you expand your collection if you’re fortunate enough to spend a lot of time taking travel photos. We’ve divided this post into different sections to give you some travel photography tips and buying advice.

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