In the landscape photography equipment, a travel tripod can be useful

Travel preparations

The right camera and equipment for successful holiday photos

A bunch of photo equipment is not always required to take a nice photo. In the daily life of a photographer, a variety of lenses, different cameras, flashes and filters are usually used to obtain the best result in every situation. However, this becomes a challenge when a longer trip is imminent. As soon as the suitcases are packed for the holidays, the question arises: What do I have to take with me for my trip to return home with amazing pictures?

To make the right choice of camera equipment for your trip, you should first answer the following questions for yourself: Where will I travel and what do I mainly want to photograph there?

Based on the answers to these two questions, the range of possible photo equipment you need is already narrowed down. Here is an overview of the most important decision options:

Which camera is suitable for my trip?

The choice of the right camera for your trip depends largely on the nature of your holiday and what motives you want to capture. Do you intend to take a city trip and photograph the sights or have you planned trekking holidays and intend to shoot landscape photos? In addition, you should think about what weather conditions could prevail. In the following list we have summarized for you the advantages and disadvantages of the different camera types with regard to their suitability for traveling:

The Digital Single-Lens Reflex camera (DSLR):

The DSLR is a real all-rounder when traveling. With its many adjustment options and the optical zoom you can shoot great travel photos in almost all situations. The biggest disadvantage of this camera, however, is its size and weight. Therefore, it is less suitable for outdoor activities.

The single-lens reflex camera is a true but heavy companion on trips

Advantages:

  • The many different setting options of the DLSR make it possible to photograph in many different situations and lighting conditions.
  • The lenses can be changed at any time. Thus, the camera can be adapted to any situation.
  • The optical zoom of a DSLR can be used well for high-quality enlargements.
  • The partial/full auto mode helps you shoot a photo quickly if you do not have the time to think about settings. Therefore, this camera type is also very suitable for beginners.
  • Thanks to the built-in mirror, the image sensor is protected against external weather conditions when changing lenses.

Disadvantages:

  • The DSLR is very large compared to other cameras and accordingly requires a lot of space in the luggage.
  • Also in terms of weight, the DSLR has a clear disadvantage. Especially in the case of action holidays, the DSLR can quickly become a burden.

The Digital System camera (DSLM):

The system camera is not inferior to the single-lens reflex camera in terms of quality. Due to its small and light format, it is well suited as a travel photography camera. However, the selection of lenses is smaller and weather conditions can affect the image sensor significantly, which can be an obstacle in outdoor photography.

Advantages:

  • Due to its compactness and low weight, the DSLM is a good companion on activity trips.
  • In contrast to the DSLR, the DSLM has no mirror. This makes continuous shooting faster and better.
  • It is also possible to change the lenses, which are often more compact than DSLR lenses

Disadvantages:

  • The selection of lenses for DSLM cameras is smaller than that of DSLR cameras.
  • The electronic viewfinder consumes a lot of battery power. Replacement batteries are therefore a must-have on your trip.
  • Since the DSLM lacks the mirror behind the lens, the image sensor is not protected against external weather conditions when changing lenses.
System cameras and action cameras are good alternatives on your trip

The action camera:

The action camera is the go-to travel camera when it comes to adventure holidays. Due to its small size and the built-in lens, it is very robust and withstands even a fall without problems. However, due to the small size, you also have to expect a low battery life and fewer shooting options.

Advantages:

  • As the name suggests, action cameras have been developed for outdoor activities. They are therefore very robust and resistant.
  • Its small size and lightness makes it perfect for traveling.
  • Many action cameras are also suitable for underwater shooting.

Disadvantages:

  • The lenses are not changeable.
  • Due to the small, fixed lens, only a limited zoom can be achieved.
  • Battery life is very low in action cameras, since only small batteries can be used in its compact case. Bringing along replacement batteries is therefore recommended.
  • The photo quality is usually lower than that of a DSLR or DSLM.

Which camera accessories should I pack?

Because space is limited in the suitcase and your camera bag, you should in the first place pay attention to efficiency and weight when packing. For your trip, take only the photo equipment which you are guaranteed to use, and set specific goals which you want to achieve in your travel photography. Much can be changed and improved later in image editing.

Essential on the packing list are replacement batteries and further memory cards because without electricity and storage space, you will no longer be able to take pictures of your vacation moments. In addition, you should of course pack the charger of your camera.

Tip

If the main focus of your holiday is on travel photography, a battery handle is also recommended. This will make it possible to connect a second battery so the camera will be powered twice as long.

When choosing the right travel photography lenses, first think about what you want to photograph on your trip to keep your luggage light and functional. For landscape shots, of course, wide-angle lenses are recommended due to their image width, and for detail shots macro lenses are recommended. For sunny holiday destinations, do not forget the lens hood. Further useful tips for choosing the right lens and tips for your travel photography can be found here.

Tip

Take a microfibre cloth to clean your lenses and your camera. This will clean the lenses without scratching them.

Filters can also be useful for your vacation photos. Due to their low weight they are not a burden in the photo bag. We recommend a polarization filter that suppresses reflections and is therefore particularly suitable for photographing water or for taking pictures of sights. A high-quality gray graduated filter can also be a good companion in landscape photography because it can compensate for the exposure differences between sky and land. Especially for panoramic shots you should consider taking a small, compact tripod so photos with a long exposure time will have a better success.

The photo equipment should be compact and lightweight

How do I transport my camera and accessories properly?

The safe transport of your camera is important so that nothing breaks. In crowds or on rough terrain, the camera should always be securely attached to the body. This can be achieved by attaching the wrist strap and/or the shoulder strap to the camera.

If you do not need the camera at a certain time, it can be stored in a camera bag or photo backpack. If you have chosen spacious ones, even the selected lenses can still find room in them. Otherwise, extra lens pockets are available or even lens belts that allow quick access to the interchangeable lenses. When traveling near water, neoprene covers are practical for lenses.

On air travel, it is advisable to carry the sensitive parts of the photo equipment, such as the camera body and the lenses, in your hand luggage. Neoprene cloths can be used to cover lenses and the camera and to store them in the carry-on baggage. Some airlines also allow the carrying of an extra camera bag on the plane. Therefore, ask your provider if this is an option for you.

A photo backpack offers protection and storage space for lenses

The smartphone as a travel companion

It is always there and quickly at hand when a moment is to be captured. The smartphone has become an integral part of our everyday lives and can also be used for travel photography. Photo accessories, which used to be produced only for ordinary cameras, are now also available for the smartphone. For example, there are a number of different external lenses which can be attached to the smartphone camera and so can easily achieve macro and wide angle effects.

What’s more, the best shots are possible with the smartphone if there is sufficient daylight. Certainly, you can also equip the smartphone camera with an extra flash when the night falls. A selfie stick can provide for special perspectives and of course it is the first choice for group shots. Since the use of the camera burdens the smartphone battery to a great extent, please also remember to pack a power bank.

Conclusion

It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a single-lens reflex camera, action camera or smartphone: With every camera, you can take beautiful holiday photos. For all the various options, choose a reduced range of accessories and lenses and consider how to organize a safe transport of them. Then nothing will stand in the way of your great holiday photos.

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