As an avid traveler, being able to capture once-in-a-lifetime moments while on the road is very important to me while photography allows me to share these moments to inspire readers through my travel blogs. Deciding on what camera gears to buy can be a difficult process but getting first-hand advice from an actual user can make it a lot easier.
There are a lot of factors to consider when buying camera equipment, which may vary greatly depending on how the photos are going to be used, personal preferences, and especially budget if it’s a major factor. Portability, photo quality, creative flexibility, and affordability are my biggest criteria when choosing the right camera gears for travel blogging. It should be lightweight and compact enough that it doesn’t limit me to bring it wherever I go while providing the highest photo quality possible. The perfect camera for me is one that I will love using whether it’s on a long mountain trek, a fun day out on the beach, a walking tour around the city or even a night out with friends.
Cameras and Lenses
For many years, I had been using a Nikon DSLR exclusively to capture high-quality photos from my travels. Later on, I began bringing a Samsung premium compact point-and-shoot camera after the weight became a bit of a burden for everyday use. I kept a keen eye on mirrorless (also called “hybrid”) cameras for a while already but waited until good cameras and lenses came out on the market that came close to capturing DSLR-like quality. I started with a Panasonic Lumix mirrorless body and lenses, and an Olympus ultra wide angle lens, which has now become my primary travel camera. You may notice that most of my cameras have fully articulating (flip out) LCD screens. It’s simply a lot of fun to use for creative shots and self-portraits.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 — I was planning on getting a newer and higher-end model at the time I was price shopping, but could not resist buying after discovering a shop in Singapore that offered it for a very generous discount with a dual lens package (14-42mm and 45-150mm Panasonic Lumix G lenses) included to boot. The image quality may not match DSLR’s but it comes pretty close to it and is more than fit for my travel blogging needs. Most of my photos at Detourista are taken by this camera.
Newer model: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm f/4-5.6 — I love taking landscapes and indoor photos. This ultra wide angle lens is perfect for taking sweeping panoramic views and even selfies that includes a wide view of the background. Its widest focal range (9mm) is equivalent to 18mm on 35mm full frame cameras or around 12mm on APS-C cameras (most entry-level DSLRs). I’ve been using this lens on around 75% of my recent photos.
Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm f/4-5.6 — A good zoom is important when traveling because you can’t go close to your subject all the time. This lens zooms in pretty far at an equivalent of up to 300mm focal range on 35mm full frame cameras or around 200mm on APS-C cameras. This lens came bundled when I bought my Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5.
Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 — A kit lens that came bundled when I bought my Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5. I don’t use often because I rarely take photos in this zoom range.
Nikon D5000 — I replaced my Nikon D40 with this camera body as soon as it came out because of the fully articulating (flip-out) LCD. There are now newer models in the Nikon D5xxx series that are better designed and takes higher quality photos. If you are starting out and you want to buy a camera that takes great quality photos and provides creative flexibility at an affordable price range, this camera series is an excellent choice. Most of my best photos at Ambot-ah are taken by this camera.
Newer model: Nikon D5300
Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED — I absolutely loved this ultra wide angle lens. Too bad it’s now broken after I dropped it while traveling in India. This lens takes the highest quality photos out of all lenses that I own and is responsible for capturing many awesome moments on my adventures.
Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 — This super-zoom was the primary walk around travel lens for my Nikon DSLR. Photo quality was noticeably generally lower than Nikkor lenses, but I ended up buying the Sigma for its much cheaper price and decent quality. If you can afford its Nikkor counterpart, go for it!
Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5 — I’ve never owned the Nikon 18-55mm kit lens and I advise to stay away from it because the zoom range is quite limited. If budget is an issue, go for a cheaper body and invest in a walk around lens with a longer zoom like this one or even the Nikon 18-140mm, Nikon 18-200mm or Nikon 18-300mm.
Compact Point and Shoot
Samsung TL500/EX1 — This compact premium camera used to be my backup walk around camera when I was still using my DSLR often. I have since replaced it with my mirrorless camera, which is similarly lightweight. I loved using this camera because it could shoot raw photos, has full manual controls, a bright F1.8 aperture, and decently compact.
Action and Specialty Cameras
Sony HDR-AS20 Action Cam — Photo and video quality is far below DSLR or mirrorless cameras but decent enough to match the best smartphone cameras. It’s a very compact, lightweight, and fun camera to bring along for any adventure. I use this waterproof and dustproof camera mainly for underwater photos and videos.
Tripods and Monopods
Benro Travel Angel II — Very versatile, relatively light, and could fit in my day pack. I use it a lot when taking self-portraits and long exposure photos.
Nikon SB-600 — I don’t usually bring this while traveling, but I like to use it when I’m based at home.
Newer model: Nikon SB-700
Adobe Lightroom — I use it for 99% of my post-processing needs since I can edit my photos in batches, which is much faster than using photoshop. Adobe Lightroom is essential because I use it to catalog my photo and video library. I can add keywords, titles, captions, and other metadata fairly easily and retrieve specific photos that I want to use quickly by search or by using collections.
FastStone Photo Resizer (free) — For batch watermarking of photos.
Jpeg Mini — The best jpeg optimization tool that I’ve tried so far.
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