A guide to all the tech I use for travel photography, plus what I consider the best camera for travel.
As someone makes their living producing travel content, I’m very interested and invested in my travel photography. And it would appear that many of my followers, even if they don’t work in the travel industry, feel the same way! At least once a day I get one of the following questions the tech I use for my travel photography:
Which camera do you use for travel/ What’s the best travel camera?
Which phone do you use to take your pictures?
Which apps do you use to edit your travel photos?
I want to get serious about travel photography. What other equipment do you suggest?
So in this post, I’m finally going to share my complete travel camera and accessory set up. While I’m no pro, I’ve figured out what works for me and am happy with the results. Let’s hop right in!
(Please note that this post includes affiliate links, though none of the products are sponsored in any way. I bought all of them with my own hard-earned cash, so you can trust these reviews include my unbiased opinions!)
The best camera for travel: the Sony Alpha mirrorless camera series
In my opinion, the Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras are HANDS DOWN the best travel cameras on the market right now!
However, before I made the leap to mirrorless, I took the majority of my travel photos with a DSLR, and many of the travel photos in my earlier posts were taken on it. Thus, my first semi-professional camera was a Canon Rebel T3i, which is an entry level DSLR. I purchased it back in 2012, and used three Canon lenses with it:
the 18-55mm lens, which came with the camera;
the 10-22mm lens which is a wide angle lens;
and the 50mm prime lens which is great for portraits and/or low light conditions.
However, while I was super happy with the image quality when it came to photos, the video quality was only average– the lack of autofocus was a real disadvantage for me.
So, after doing loads of research and test shoots, I finally settled on two cameras that I use when I travel.
The first is what I consider one of the best travel cameras out right now: the Sony A7Rii. This is a full-frame, professional grade camera and I love what it can do. With a whopping 42 megapixels, the quality of the images I can produce with this piece of equipment is incredible! The images are crisp, clear, and colourful, even when shooting in auto!
The second camera I use is the Sony Alpha a6300. I purchased it two years ago and have been extremely happy with it, though its size and sensor mean that it’s not a powerful as my more expensive, full-frame camera. With that said, the video capabilities on this camera are extraordinary– the autofocus is so fast and accurate!
The ability to send the pictures from my Sony cameras to my phone wirelessly has also been a game-changer. Using the Sony’s wifi connection and Play Memories app, I am able to upload pictures to my phone within seconds.
I love these camersa and truly think they are the best mirrorless cameras for travel.
The best lenses for the Sony A7Rii and the Sony Alpha a6300: what I’ve got
As the cameras in the Sony Alpha series are interchangeable lens cameras, I spent a lot of time researching the best lenses for the Sony A7Rii and the Sony Alpha a6300. As a traveller who packs light, I didn’t want to bog myself down with many, or heavy, lenses– weight is one of the reasons I downsized to a mirrorless camera system in the first place (mirrorless systems are generally lighter and more compact than DSLR systems).
However, I didn’t want to compromise image quality or my ability to zoom in or out on the subjects of my photos. Basically, I wanted one great walk-around lens I would be able to use in all situations on my travels.
After A LOT of research, I ended up settling on two lenses: the Sony G Master 24-70 f 2.8 lens (for the A7Rii) and the Sony Zeiss 16-70mm f 4 lens (for the a6300). And omg y’all, I LOVE the images these lens produce! The images are razor sharp!
Other lenses for the Sony Alpha a6300 I own
While I was very happy with my Zeiss lens, I also wanted a couple of lenses for my travel camera that would perform extremely well in low light. I thus ended up getting two additional lenses for the Sony Alpha a6300:
The Sony 20mm f 2.8 . This is a prime lens (which means it doesn’t zoom) and produces stellar images in low light situations. It also gives a pretty decent level of bokeh (blurry background effect).
The Sony 35mm f 1.8 . This is also a prime lens but since it has a wider aperture (f 1.8) it performs even better in the dark than my 20mm 2.8 lens! The bokeh on this one if you stop down to f 1.8 is insane!
The best tripods for travel cameras: what I own
Because I often travel alone, using a tripod to capture photos and videos of myself is a must! I thus own two travel tripods:
My Joby GorillaPod is a short, flexible portable tripod whose wrappable legs can be used to secure it to basically any surface.
My Sony VCT-R100 compact tripod is a “traditional” tripod, but optimized for travel. It’s lightweight, but has a maximum height of about 40 inches, so it’s pretty versatile.
I also own a third tripod, a 60-inch tripod from AmazonBasics that I use to film my videos (along with this lighting kit) when I’m at home. However, while I think it’s great, it’s simply not practical for travelling.
The best hand-held gimbal stabilizer for travel cameras
Speaking of video, I purchased a handheld gimbal stabilizer earlier on this year. Gimbals reduce camera vibration and shake so that the resulting footage is very professional looking and smooth; it my opinion it can take a travel video from a 7 to a 10!
So when the German National Tourism Office hired me this past spring to shoot, produce, and host a series of videos about Germany, I purchased the Zhiyun Crane 3-Axis handheld gimbal stabilizer after a ton of research. In the video below you can see how the gimbal aids in producing really steady footage.
Interested in travel vlogging? Here are the microphones I use
This past year I have gotten more into producing travel videos for clients. While the in-camera mic on my camera is decent, I realized I needed to step up my game if I wanted to have high quality audio. After a lot of research, I purchased what I consider to be the two best external microphones for travel cameras:
the Rode VideoMic pro, which I use on the road to record audio for my travel vlogs;
and the Blue Yeti USB microphone, which I plug into my computer and use to record voiceovers for my videos.
The smartphone I use for my travel photos
While the vast majority of my photos are taken on my mirrorless camera, I do sometimes rely solely on my Samsung Galaxy 6 smartphone for photos. Case in point, last year I spent two weeks in Europe and took all of my pictures on my smartphone since I left my mirrorless camera at home!
While many people say the Samsung Galaxy is the best smartphone camera for travel, the latest version of the Google Pixel smartphone has definitely caught my eye. I’m seriously thinking of treating myself to one next year!
Photo editing apps
I must say that I’m a bit lazy when it comes to photo editing– my tendency is to quickly bump up the contrast and saturation of my photos before throwing them online. My current editing programs of choice are Snapseed, a free app found on Google Play, and iPhoto, which came free with both of my laptops. Most of the photos on my Instagram feed have been edited on Snapseed!
So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to all the gear I use for my travel photography and videography! As you can see, I have invested thousands of dollars in my equipment. However, I’d say it’s worth it, as friends, family, followers, clients, and sponsors frequently comment on the high quality of my photos and videos.
With all of that said, while equipment helps immensely when it comes to producing great images, learning the craft of photography (composition, aperture and shutter speed settings, exposure, etc.) is even more important. There, you must take the time to truly learn how to work your equipment and remember that practice makes perfect! State of the art cameras and accessories can only do so much.
At any rate, I hope you’ve found this post useful in your search for the best camera for travel!
Which travel camera(s) and accessories do you currently use to capture images when you travel? And if you’re a camera nerd like me, what do you think is the best camera for travel on the market right now?