Essential Travel Photography Gear
I often receive questions about what type of camera gear I use, so this list is your answer. I understand what it's like when you're about to spend some serious dollars on camera equipment - you want to get the best value and know your gear will do the job you want.
Realistically, the best camera for your travels will depend on budget, travel style, and purpose of your photos (social media, websites/blogs, stock or print). I've selected a mid-to-high-range DSLR solution which balances budget and performance. I recommend buying the best quality camera you can but also investing in education - learn how to use your camera, take the best shots and make them shine in post-processing. And most of all, have fun!
Use discount coupon "TRAVELWITHBENDER" on the Vanguard online store to receive 20% off every purchase.
(you can enter the coupon at the very last step of the checkout, after payment details are entered)
Canon EOS 70D Digital SLR Camera
This is where the magic happens. The EOS 70D balances features and size quite nicely, which appealed to my travel style. This mid-range DSLR has excellent video recording features such as "dual pixel" autofocus which really shines in videos containing a moving subject. But the stills are just stunning. The APS-C crop sensor is a step down from a full frame camera (like the EOS 5D), but the price point is also very attractive. After upgrading from my previous camera, I decided that when travelling the world I wanted to take the best quality photos possible within my budget, and the EOS 70D was the best match.
Vanguard Sedona 45 Backpack
This is my day-to-day backpack which is large enough for a DSLR body plus 4 lenses. Extra pockets provide space for batteries, memory cards, lights, cables and more. A waist strap make rear access to the camera compartment easy, and most importantly, it is completely rain proof. When I hit the road with serious camera equipment, it's a relief to know I'm protected.
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II SLR Lens
Affordable, versatile and durable. Very sharp with built in image stabilisation and great low-light performance. Often bundled with the EOS 70D body.
Tamron SP 70-200MM F/2.8 DI VC USD Telephoto Zoom Lens
The most recent addition to my lens kit, this fast telephoto zoom lens enables professional quality captures that blow my mind. I even impress myself with some of the shots I've taken using this big baby. And when I say "big" I mean 1470g (51.9 oz)! I'm pretty sure my biceps have grown just carrying this around. Fast focusing, image stabilisation, creamy bokeh, and a 2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range. What else could you want?
I recommend the Lexar 32GB SDHC UHS-II/U3 and similar speed Sandisk Extreme Pro. A fast, reliable memory card is vital for efficient data transfer from camera to storage during a shoot as well as capturing high quality video. The photos you'll capture are priceless and some can never be taken again. The biggest mistake I see new photographers make is underestimate the importance of memory card quality. I always have a second card on hand in case the first fills up.
Kodak SP360 PixPro
The stand-out feature of this action camera is capturing 360-degree panoramas in a single frame. Bundled software allows you to export 360-degree photos and video in several creative formats. The Explorer Accessory pack makes this nifty little camera even more useful.
Vanguard Alta Pro 254CT Tripod
A solid tripod is essential for taking your photos to the next level, and I've found the Alta Pro 254CT the best fit for me. Although the carbon fibre legs are relatively light, it's not the lightest tripod on from Vanguard (they also released a travel-friendly VEO range). But I like the solid, sturdy feel especially on rocky terrain or in windy conditions. It helps me take crisp, tack-sharp photos at night and beautiful long exposures. Being the photographer of the family, it also allows me to get into a few of the shots as well.
Vanguard Quovio 49T
This is my all-round long-haul and storage bag. The built-in tripod carrying straps are cleverly designed and padded internal compartments keeps each item safe and secure. This bag is bursting with features: sturdy zips, laptop compartment, removable inserts, rain cover, plenty of pockets and more. If you carry multiple camera bodies, video equipment or computer gear, you'll love this bag. Best of all the smooth-rolling wheels and strong handle make it easy to roll around an airport.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
Nicknamed the "Nifty Fifty" for good reason. This lightweight prime lens is my go-to for daylight portraits. While the plastic housing isn't as durable as the more expensive alternatives, the image quality is great considering the price.
Rotolight RL48 Ringlight + Roto-Mic
Since I added this accessory to my camera kit, the sound quality in videos has noticeably improved. And the versatile ringlight is a lifesaver for both stills and video. The light and microphone can be used together or separately. Food photos in a dark restaurants have been transformed from drab to fab, with even, smooth lighting. Included gels provide accurate temperature control. I never cease to impress each time I pull this secret weapon out of the bag. Even if you're not planning on shooting video, the ringlight alone is worth it's weight in gold. Fortunately it costs a lot less.
Air Blower & Cleaning Kit
The easiest way to improve the quality of photos from your existing camera is clean the lens. I'm pedantic about this. Removing dust from the lens using the blower is safe and easy, and a microfiber cleaning cloth can help to remove stubborn fingerprints and spots.
GoPro Hero4 Black
I have a GoPro Hero3+ Black, but the newest generation takes quality images and high-resolution video even further. This is our go-to action cam for any unexpected crazy adventures that come our way.
Vanguard BBH-200 Tripod Ball Head
This ball head for the Vanguard tripod allows me to reach any angle quickly and easily. 2 spirit levels ensure I'm always steady and the rapid level system locks the ball's rotation to 1 axis at a flick of a switch - perfect for smooth panning for panoramas or videos. Hot shoe support allows the camera to be attached in just a few seconds. 3 ball heads are available in this range depending on the weight of your camera (BBH-100, BBH-200 and BBH-300).
Vanguard VEO 42 Camera Backpack
Although this backpack is designed with the VEO tripod in mind, it doubles up as a handy day pack as well. The removable padded camera insert is sturdy yet soft and durable zippers can handle anything that's thrown at them. If you have a smaller camera such as a mirrorless system, or 2 lenses for your DSLR, this would be a good fit for you.
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM SLR Lens
I use this lens more than any other. This ultra wide angle produces immersive shots and performs well in low-light situations. This is an essential lens for capturing interiors such as hotels, museums and churches.
Hoya NDX400 Lens Filter
This filter drops a whopping 9-stops of light to enable long exposures even during bright daylight.
Hoya Circular Polarising Lens Filter
This filter helps to eliminate unwanted reflections from surfaces such as water or glass. Colours become clearer with better contrast and blue skies are more vivid without affecting the overall colour balance of the shot.
Hoya Neutral Density Lens Filter
Avoid highlight blowout in bright sunlight, improve contrast and reduce flares with this all-round ND filter.
Hoya UV Lens Filter
This is the first thing you should buy as soon as you get a new camera or new lens. Prevent scratches, dust, moisture and fingerprints on a lens. In addition, this filter reduces haze and improves contrast.
Spare Camera Battery
You can either choose a genuine Canon Battery Pack LP-E6N or 3rd party alternatives which are much cheaper. An extra battery is essential when you’re shooting all day. And especially in cold climates where battery life is diminished.
Upgrading Your Gear
If you already have a camera or lenses, then turn them into cash with KEH. Yep, sell your used camera gear and get either cash or a credit towards new camera bodies, lenses and accessories.
Taking the shot is only half of the journey.
Most of my post-processing is done in Lightroom, the industry standard for photographers. If you're not shooting in RAW, start doing it today - you'll thank me for it. It allows you to pull out more detail from each frame than you ever thought possible. Lightroom is available as an outright purchase, or part of a Creative Cloud subscription (starting at US$9.99/mo) from Amazon or Adobe.
For panorama processing I haven't found anything better than Autopano Giga.
Take a look at our Computer Gear page.