My Travel Photography Gear (Perfect for Beginners)
May 24, 2020
Are you new to travel photography and currently looking to buy your first camera? I was once in your position. There are many considerations to take into account when buying a camera, and we all know that it is not going to be cheap.
When I first started exploring travel photography, I knew there were some things I wanted for in my first camera. Firstly, I wanted to be able to shoot in manual mode, hence point-and-shoot cameras were out of the question. Secondly, I was not looking to get a camera that costs over $1000. This is because I did not know how committed I would be to this hobby and I was afraid my full-time job might make it hard to keep it up. Lastly, as I wanted to use the camera mainly for travel, it had to be light-weight yet able to take quality pictures.
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My First Camera for Travel Photography
After months of research, I decided to get the SONY A6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera. This mirrorless camera is suitable for beginners who are just starting out in photography. It also takes pictures at 24.3 megapixels and has an autofocus that is comparable to a DSLR. The camera also comes together with the SONY E Mount 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Power Zoom Lens.
SONY A6000 Key Features
• 24.3 megapixel APS-C-size CMOS sensor • Built-in flash + Multi-Interface Shoe • 11 fps continuous shooting with subject-tracking • 3-inch, 640 x 480 LCD, tilts back 90 degrees • HD video recording at 1080/60p and 24p • Shoot images in RAW + JPEG • WI-Fi capability and mobile applications • ISO Range: 100-25,600, photo; 100-12,800, video • Dimensions of body: 4.75 x 2.88 x 1.87 inches
The SONY A6000 was actually launched back in 2012. Since then, SONY has released 5 newer models of its series – A6100, A6300, A6400, A6500, and A6600. As a result of the newer models being released, the price point of the SONY A6000 has been reduced to a whopping $500. This makes it perfect for amateur photographers and is still one of the best mirrorless cameras till date.
The Best Action Camera – GoPro
I knew I could not bring my SONY A6000 everywhere I went during my trips. In travel photography, you’re bound to meet with splashes of water or muddy terrains. Hence, I knew I also had to get something to capture underwater footages.
My GoPro Hero 7 (black) is an essential device in travel photography for me. I have never failed to bring it along with me on any of my trips. I actually won my GoPro through a giveaway online last year so I was lucky enough to get it for free. It has been a trusty travel companion for me ever since then.
The GoPro Hero 7 comes with the new ‘Hypersmooth’ electronic image stabilisation, enabling you to take amazing footages. This new feature will be enough for many users to throw out their old GoPro Hero 6 to get their hands on this upgraded version. It is also what GoPro’s Founder, Nick Woodman, called to be “the best in-camera video stabilisation in any camera ever”.
GoPro Hero 7 Key Features
• Up to 4K/60fps video recording • HyperSmooth Video Stabilisation • 12MP Still Photos with Selectable HDR • Voice Commands • Live Streaming • Hyper-lapse & Time-wrap Mode
Even with the release of the GoPro 8, the GoPro 7 still remains highly popular till date. There are some differences between the new and older version but they are not really a big deal either. You can read up on some of their key differences in this article here.
My GoPro Accessories
GoPro Dome – The GoPro Dome creates a wide angle surface for your videos/photos. This is especially useful for underwater travel photography. Taking half-water-half-land photos are never easy in choppy sea waters and this is best utilised in lakes or calm waters. We did manage to capture some shots in the ocean during our recent trip to Hawaii but it took us numerous attempts to get the shot.
Photography tip: Sometimes if the water is too choppy, you may want to use capture a video and screenshot the frame you like to make it into a photo. However, this does compromise on photo quality.
Other than the dome, the only other accessories I bring along are the GoPro waterproof casing (for scuba diving) and the typical GoPro selfie stick. In addition, if you are interested in creating epic action videos with your GoPro, considering purchasing a GoPro Gimbal Stabiliser. This way, you won’t have to worry constantly about steadying your hands to get the shot.
Travel photography would sometimes mean that you will need a stranger to help you take your photos. This unfortunately, puts you at a risk of having a series of badly taken photos. Hence, I love bringing along my tripod on all of my trips. Although it is a hassle, and it can barely fit into my carry-on luggage bag, it is still an essential gear for me.
The tripod I bought was at a super good deal from Qoo100 called the Samurai Pro 666 at SGD 30. Here is the link if you are interested in getting one. I have been using my Tripod for over a year now. The quality is fantastic, it’s easy to use and very sturdy.
Smartphone Travel Photography
If you’re not a big fan of carrying a camera and all its gear around while you travel, test out smartphone photography. Our smartphone technology has revolutionised so rapidly over the years that phone cameras have begun to exceed even point-and-shoot cameras (though not comparable to a DSLR yet).
In order to get the best shots out of your smartphone, you will have to invest in external lenses. My favorite smartphone lenses are the ones from Xenvo. The Xenvo Pro Lens Kit comes with a lifetime warranty and a 0.45x Wide Angle Lens. If you’re looking to travel light, this is your best option.
After you’ve captured your photos, you would want to edit them. I’ve written an article on the 10 Best Free Photo Editing Appsyou can download to beautify your images.
“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” — Karl Lagerfeld