The Best Equipment For Travel Photography

It’s a great feeling to show off amazing photos you’ve taken, especially when it’s from a recent vacation. And while your cell phone is a great tool for travel photography, you may find yourself wanting something that will produce higher quality. Whether photography is your hobby or your profession, taking beautiful travel photos is definitely within your reach!

I am often asked what is the best equipment for travel photography, so I thought I’d put together this post with some of my recommendations!

travel photography, photography tips, camera gear
Background image from camdicecca on Unsplash
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Travel Photography Basics

Before you even begin to search online for the right gear, I recommend answering one important question. As with any shoot you plan to do, it’s always a good idea to begin with the end result in mind. So in terms of your travel photography, the million dollar question is—What are you planning to shoot mostly? For example, will it be street photography? Landscapes? Portraits of you and your loved ones out on the town? Food? Animals?

There will be key differences in what you need depending on where you are going. Traveling to Africa where you might go on a Safari will require different gear then going to a city like New York. So, it’s important to think first about what you plan to shoot mostly.

Next, you definitely want to focus on lightweight portable gear! Sure, there are plenty of DSLR cameras out there that will produce a spectacular image, but they are also bulky and will probably need a special bag just to lug around. It’s also wise to consolidate the amount of equipment you take as much as you possibly can. You don’t need to get 2-3 lenses if you can get away with one.

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Specific Gear Recommendations For Travel Photography

I have broken down my gear recommendations based on Compact Cameras, DSLRs and their respective lenses.

Compact Cameras

Compact cameras are an excellent choice for travel photography. They are by far the most user friendly and easiest to pick as they come with a lens already attached. Here are some of my compact camera recommendations for travel photography:

Canon Powershot G7X Mark II

Sensor: 20.1 megapixel | Lens: 24-100mm f/1.8 t-2.8 | Monitor: 3” tilting touch screen | Video: 1080p

Fujifilm X100F

Sensor: 24.3 megapixel | Lens: 23mm f/2.0 | Monitor: 3” LCD screen | Video: 1080p

Sony DSC-RX100 VI

Sensor: 20.1 megapixel | Lens: 24-100mm f/2.8-4.5 | Monitor: 3” tilting touchscreen | Video: 4K

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III

Sensor: 24.2 megapixel | Lens: 24-72mm f/2.8-5.6 | Monitor: 3” articulating touchscreen | Video: 1080p

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100

Sensor: 12.8 megapixel | Lens: 24-75mm f/1.7-2.8 | Monitor: 3” LCD | Video:  4K

DSLR Cameras

If more versatility is what you’re after, then look no further than DSLR cameras. These cameras are always first in mind for pretty much any type of photography you want to do, travel photography included of course.

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There is a lot to choose from in this category, but for the purposes of this post we want to focus on more lightweight/portable options. The good news is, many brands are developing and releasing smaller cameras! Here are some of my DSLR camera recommendations for travel photography:

Fujifilm X-T3

Sensor: 26.1 megapixel | Monitor: 3” tilting touchscreen LCD | Video: 4K

Fujifilm X-Pro2

Sensor: 24.3 megapixel | Monitor: 3” LCD Screen | Video: 4K

Sony Alpha a6500

Sensor: 24.2 megapixel | Monitor: 3” tilting touchscreen LCD | Video: 4K

Sony Alpha A7 III

Sensor: 24 megapixel | Monitor: 3” tilting touchscreen LCD | Video: 4K

Canon EOS R

Sensor: 30.3 megapixel | Monitor: 3.15” articulating touchscreeen LCD | Video: 4K

Nikon Z7

Sensor: 45.7 megapixel | Monitor: 3.2” tilting touchscreen LCD | Video: 4K  

Panasonic GH5

Sensor: 20.3 megapixel | Monitor: 3.2” articulating touchscreen LCD| Video: 4K  

DSLR Lenses

The world opens up to you in terms of lenses when you are working with DSLRs! I have broken down my recommendations based on use, but please note that some lenses will add bulkiness and weight to your set up.

RELATED: DSLR Lens Abbreviations Explained | Canon, Nikon, Sigma and More

Understanding DSLR Lenses | Focal Length, Aperture, Full Frame vs Crop

All Purpose

I don’t know about you, but I love versatile gear. Nothing beats being able to use one lens for the majority of your needs. If that’s what you’re looking for then you’ll want to go for one of these:

Fujifilm 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS

Mount: X-Mount | Aperture range: f/2.8-22 | Best Used For: All purpose

Fujifilm 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS

Mount: X-Mount | Aperture rage: f.3.5-22 | Best Used For: All purpose

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM

Mount: E-Mount | Aperture range: f/2.8-22 | Best Used For: All purpose

Sony 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS

Mount: E-Mount | Aperture range: f/3.5-22| Best Used For: All purpose

Canon RF 24-105 f/4 USM

Mount: RF-Mount | Aperture range: f/4-22 | Best Used For: All purpose

Canon RF 28-70 f/2L USM

Mount: RF-Mount | Aperture range: f/2-22 | Best Used For: All purpose

Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Lens

Mount: Z-Mount | Aperture range: f/2.8-22 | Best Used For: All purpose

Panasonic 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS

Mount: Micro Four Thirds | Aperture range: f.3.5-22 | Best Used For: All purpose

Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 II

Mount: Micro Four Thirds | Aperture: f/4-22 | Best Used For: All purpose

Landscapes

If you’re looking to take beautiful landscape photos, then you’ll want a lens that is a little wider in focal length, I would consider one of these:

Fujifilm 16-55mm f/2.8 XF R LM WR

Mount: X-Mount | Aperture range: f/2.8-22 | Best Used For: Landscape

Fujifilm 18mm f/2.0 XF R

Mount: X-Mount Aperture: f/2-16 | Best Used For: Landscape

Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM Lens

Mount: E-Mount | Aperture range: f/2.8-22 | Best Used For: Landscape

Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM

Mount: E-Mount | Aperture range: f/1.4-16 | Best Used For: Landscape

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III

Mount: EF-Mount | Aperture range: f/2.8-22 | Best Used For: Landscape

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM

Mount: EF-Mount Aperture range: f/1.4-22 | Best Used For: Landscape

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S

Mount: F-Mount | Aperture range: f/2.8-22 | Best Used For: Landscape

Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 S Lens

Mount: Z-Mount | Aperture range: f/1.8-16 | Best Used For: Landscape

Panasonic Leica 8-18mm f/2.8-4 ASPH

Mount: Micro Four Thirds | Aperture range: f.2.8-22 | Best Used For: Landscape

Panasonic 25mm f/1.7 ASPH

Mount: Micro Four Thirds | Aperture range: f/1.7-22 | Best Used For: Landscape

Long Distance / Fast moving objects

If you’re going to be on Safari or taking photos of birds, where your subjects are far away and possibly moving. Then you’ll want to go for a lens with a larger zoom range that is designed to capture moving objects, we call those telephoto lenses:

Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS

Mount: X-Mount | Aperture range: f/4.5-22 | Best Used For: Long distance. For example, Safari, Birds

Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS

Mount: E-Mount | Aperture range: f/2.8-22 | Best Used For: Long distance. For example, Safari, Birds

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM

Mount: EF-Mount | Aperture range: f/2.8-32 | Best Used For: Long distance. For example, Safari, Birds

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR AF-S

Mount: F-Mount | Aperture range: f/2.8-22 | Best Used For: Long distance. For example, Safari, Birds

Panasonic 45-200mm f/4-5.6 II OIS

Mount: Micro Four Thirds | Aperture range: f/4.5-22 | Best Used For: Long distance. For example, Safari, Birds

The Best Equipment For Travel Photography

I hope this list gives you an idea of the best cameras and lenses for travel photography.  So what are you thinking you’ll use on your next trip? Let me know in the comments below! And as always, if you have any questions i’m here to help!

Olivia J

Olivia J is a video producer, writer, and director specializing in corporate video, events, documentaries and film. To see some of her work visit oliviaj.me