MY ESSENTIAL TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR

Choosing good, reliable photography gear that suits your need as a traveler, photographer, or blogger, is not an easy task. There are millions of options out there, with dramatic price differences, a lot of technical talks, and as many opinions as there are options.

If you are a traveler and a photography enthusiast like me, with some decent knowledge of manual shooting (or at least the intention to learn), and a mid-range budget, I think this selection of essential travel photography gear below should suit you as well as it suits me.

I have used all the below photography gear during my travels, so if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop me a message in the comment box below, and I will be happy to help.

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR:
MY FAVORITE CAMERA

After nearly 8 years using my trusted DSLR Canon EOS 550D (My longest relationship ever, I loved every minute of it!), I decided it was time to treat myself to a new camera. I had no idea what model to buy, but one thing I knew for sure what that I wanted a smaller, lighter camera. Trust me it is really tiring to carry a 530g camera for a full day of exploration!

Smaller, lighter, with a good range of interchangeable lenses, the mirrorless cameras just seemed to make sense for travel photography. After hesitating for a few months, while reading about a million reviews online, I finally found my perfect travel camera!

The raving reviews and the beautiful vintage look of the FUJIFILM XT20 convinced me to switch to mirrorless. This was 3 years ago, and I never looked back. I am not gonna enter into technical details because I am definitely not a pro, but here are a few things that I really like about it.

  • The 16-50 kit lens is very versatile, with a wide-angle for landscape photography and a decent zoom.
  • The vintage design is beautiful but also feels strong, solid, and resistant (but it is not weather-sealed, so beware of rain, snow, and excessive dust).
  • You can use your phone as a remote control thanks to the Fujifilm app. I think that is pretty standard nowadays but still, quite useful. 
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A couple of things that I think could be improved are the autofocus, which is slower than my former DSLR, and the LCD screen that doesn’t rotate vertically. But both are minor points for me and do not affect my photography.


TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR:
MY FAVORITE LENSES

One of the great things about Fujifilm is the extensive range of lenses compatible with their X mount mirrorless cameras. There is really a good option for everyone, although the price of these lenses goes up very quickly. If you are on a mid-range budget, here are 3 great lenses that won’t break the bank.

FUJINON XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS

The FUJINON XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS is a great alternative to the kit lens mentioned above. With an f2.8 aperture, this lens gives better results in low light conditions and more depth of field. Overall it is a very versatile lens, that can easily stay on the camera body 90% of the time, ideal for a travel blogger and photographer. This lens is a little more pricey than the 16-50mm, but it is a great option. Retrospectively I think I should have taken that lense as a kit, instead of favoring the wider angle.

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Morocco itinerary - Travel photography gear

FUJINON XF23mm F1.4 R 

A compact prime lens is always a good idea for extra sharp images! With its relatively wide-angle, the FUJINON XF23mm F1.4 R  is perfect for both landscape and street photography. The super-fast aperture of f1.4 is handy for low light/night photography and gives a beautiful shallow depth of field to portraits or details shooting. It can be a little frustrating at times not to be able to zoom, but once you get used to it, the FUJINON XF23mm F1.4 R  is an awesome lens.

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Luberon Provence Saint Saturnin sur Apt Travel photography gear

FUJINON XC50-230mmF4.5-6.7 OIS II

This is a great telephoto lens at a very affordable price.  I purchased the FUJINON XC50-230mmF4.5-6.7 OIS II for my 10 days safari in Tanzania and it was perfect to capture the wildlife. I found the lens a little heavy and quite long compared to the body of my camera, so it can get a little tiring and unstable to use. This lens is a must for a safari but I only use it very occasionally for other trips. At full zoom, it gives quite a nice bokeh so I also use this lens for portraits and product photography (as long as I have space to go far back!!)

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Travel photography gear - Lion Tanzania

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR:
THE PERFECT LIGHTWEIGHT TRIPOD

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MANFROTTO COMPACT ACTION ALUMINIUM TRIPOD

A tripod is essential to shoot in low light conditions and a great addition to your travel photography gear. There are many options out there, but I would really recommend something light and compact enough, so you can carry it around easily and it doesn’t take up too much of precious suitcase space!

I use the Manfrotto Compact Action. Made of aluminum it is light (1.2kg) but steady. With different size adjustment locks, this tripod goes from 45 cm fully closed to 155 mm at maximum height. This is the perfect tripod to hold a mirrorless camera or a DSLR with a medium lens. It also comes with a convenient carry bag. so when I don’t have space in my suitcase I just throw it over my shoulder.

At a very reasonable price, this is the perfect tripod for beginners and intermediate photographers.


TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR:
MY BEGINNER DRONE

A couple of years ago I was looking for a drone delivering good quality pictures and video at a mid-range price (I was not ready to fully commit yet.)

We bought the DJI Sparks, and it was perfect to practice flying, taking pictures, and videos. Although not as compact as other drones in the DJI family (the arms don’t fold), the DJI Sparks is lightweight and easy to carry around. It traveled with us to Tanzania, Morocco, France, and Sri Lanka, and we always have a lot of fun with it (a lot of stress to lose it too!). The battery life is short (15min), but once you get good control of it, it is enough to take some beautiful pictures and videos.  One mistake we made was to not get the remote controller right away. We used our phone to control the drone, but having our fingers all over the screen is not great to see what is going on, and the distance you can send your drone too is quite limited. I bought the remote just before the lockdown, so we haven’t used it yet, but I am sure it will be a game-changer.

If you are looking for a more advanced option, you should consider the Mavic Pro or the Mavic 2 Pro.

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Here you go, this is my essential travel photography gear. One more thing I need to complete that kit is definitely a feminine and stylish camera bag! I am still working on that and will update this post once I find something I like.

Love, Emma

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