After publishing my post “How to Take Better Travel Photos“, I’ve had a few people ask me, “What camera do you use?”, so I created this post share what cameras and gear I use and why.
While I don’t consider myself a professional photographer by any means, I have been using a camera long enough to get me out of the auto mode and hopefully you will find this post useful if you are ready to start taking photos of your travels.
First off, you don’t need the latest and greatest camera to take good travel photos. If you just want to share your photos on Instagram or Facebook even a newer cell phone will do fine.
If you do want to have a bit more control of your camera however, and take better pictures of the sunrises, sunsets or in low light when you travel you’ll want to step up to a Mirrorless or DSLR camera which will allow you to use different lenses for different situations.
I have chosen to use the Sony mirrorless camera system for my gear choice but you can find comparable priced cameras from Nikon, Canon etc. The reason I use Sony is because the first interchangeable lens camera I bought was the a6000 (which I still use) and have kept with the Sony brand because the lenses and batteries I have work with my full frame Sony a7ii.
Listed below is the camera gear I typically take on vacation. The link beside each item will take you to Amazon which will show current pricing.
Sony a6000 APS-C Camera
Sony a6000 Mirrorless Camera – http://geni.us/ilTB6F3
The Sony a6000 was the first interchangeable camera I bought. I got it just before going on a trip to Tahiti last January. While the camera was first released over 5 years ago now it still is a great camera which has a smaller body form factor than a traditional DSLR making it great for taking on vacation.
The price is currently $729.00 for the camera body and kit lens, but you can sometimes find it on sale online.
I mainly use this camera now to take time lapses during my trips for my Youtube channel. The video below was taken using the Sony a6000’s time lapse app on my recent trip to Cabo San Lucas.
The Sony a6000 is also pretty good for low light photography and when I want to take night photography photos I use it with a Sigma wide angle lens. See below for more on lenses.
Sony a7ii Full Frame Camera
Sony a7ii Full Frame Mirrorless Camera – http://geni.us/Twv2
This is the main camera I use for travel photos and while it is over 4 years old and doesn’t have all the newest features as the latest and greatest Sony camera on the market it is still more than adequate for what I need it for.
The main difference between this camera and the Sony a6000 above is the size of the image sensor. A full–frame camera uses a sensor that’s the same size as a single frame of traditional 35mm film, measuring 36 x 24mm. The APS–C sensor size measures 22 x 15mm. This means a full–frame sensor has more than 2.5 times the surface area of an APS–C sensor.
This is where the benefits of an interchangeable lens camera really comes in handy when taking travel pictures. While a cell phone camera can take good wide angle photos any time you need to zoom in on something the pictures look terrible.
These are the main lenses I travel with:
Sigma 16mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary – http://geni.us/DcGWuiO
This lens has a really wide aperture (which means it can let a lot of light in for night photography) and came in really handy taking photos of the Aurora Borealis in Yellowknife, NWT.
Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens – http://geni.us/sIkLr
This lens came as a kit lens with the Sony a7ii. If you are picking up your first mirrorless or DSLR interchangeable lens camera make sure you get it with a lens included in the package. It’s cheaper than buying them both separately. Kit lenses aren’t the greatest qualify lenses available but they are decent and will get you through until you are ready to buy a new lens.
Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS – http://geni.us/O2t4
This lens is overkill if you are just starting out but I wanted to include it since I don’t travel without it! This lens is a telephoto zoom lens which allows you to zoom in on subjects that are far away and can really come in handy when you are traveling.
Here’s a time lapse I took using this lens while in Cabo from the balcony of the hotel.
A telephoto lens also lets you play around with compression when taking photos and get some interesting results with your travel photos.
Extra Batteries – Always carry an extra battery (or two) when traveling. When you head back to the hotel at night also make sure you charge them all back up for the next day.
Memory Cards – You can new have too many of these in your bag. Always carry extra memory cards with you. If you are traveling you might not always have your computer to back everything up so take some extra with you and back them up when you get home.
Tripod – The tripod I use is the Manfrotto BeFree Compact Lightweight Tripod – https://geni.us/7aDpbHG. It folds up nice and small and will fit in your carry on luggage.
Editing Apps – While on vacation check out these Top 4 Smartphone Photography Apps which will allow you to edit your vacation photos on your mobile phone while you are away.
What camera gear do you travel with? Let me know in the comments below and if you are looking to up your travel photo game check out this post on How to Take Better Travel Photos.