As a professional photographer I often get asked what photography equipment is necessary to pack for travel. In my opinion these are the top five essentials.
A good camera bag is a good start. Choose something that is big enough for your camera and a few accessories but not too large to be a burden. Look for something that will last a while and provide protection for the camera gear.
I can recommend the nylon Case Logic model DCB66RD. It is flexible and durable and costs about twenty dollars.
Some of the features are:
Flexible interior divider
No-scratch nylex interior
Detachable, adjustable shoulder strap and carrying handle
A tripod is essential for night shooting and helps greatly in many other situations. The newer models are both strong and lightweight and made of carbon fiber. A good basic carbon fiber tripod is the Pro 624P from Sunpak. It is ultra-light and full size, weighs only 4.7 pounds and can supports weights up to 11 pounds, so can also be used for a camcorder. The cost is about $240.
Lightweight carbon fiber
Limited lifetime warranty
Built in bubble level
Versatile Zoom Lens
While separate lenses of different focal lengths can provide the highest quality, the travel photographer needs one lens with the greatest flexibility. There are many new “super zoom” lenses that can cover almost any shooting condition.
Here I would recommend the Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5 – 5.6 IS Auto Focus. This lens goes from a very wide setting for landscapes and street scenes to a major zoom setting. This lens can be purchased for about $600.
Some of the features:
Optical Image Stabilizer
Aspherical lens element to correct aberration
A circular polarizer will improve almost all travel photography daytime shots. It darkens skies and saturates colors. Make sure to choose one that will not vignette or cause edge darkening when shooting at wider focal length settings. I can recommend the Tiffen model 77WIDCP. It will run about $130.
Some of the feature:
Rotates for more or less effect
Thin profile to prevent vignetting
Reduces glare and saturates colors
A portable flash is also indispensable for the best in travel photography. You can light a foreground object within a landscape scene, or provide a better balance between shadows and light areas in a street scene. Also it can be very effective in night shooting. My recommendation is the Canon model 550EX. It costs about $350.
Some of the features:
Guide number 55/180 for adequate power
Integrates with Canon EOS systems
Well those are my five essential recommendations for the travel photographer’s equipment. They should help you prepare for many years of great photo memories. Here’s my only other non equipment recommendation. Have fun!
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