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My travel tech: The best camera, phone, and accessories for travel | Travel Photography

the best camera for travel sony a6300

A guide to all the tech I use for travel photography, plus what I consider the best camera for travel.

As someone makes their living producing travel content, I’m very interested and invested in my travel photography.  And it would appear that many of my followers, even if they don’t work in the travel industry, feel the same way!  At least once a day I get one of the following questions the tech I use for my travel photography:

Which camera do you use for travel/ What’s the best travel camera?

Which phone do you use to take your pictures?

Which apps do you use to edit your travel photos?

I want to get serious about travel photography. What other equipment do you suggest?

So in this post, I’m finally going to share my complete travel camera and accessory set up.  While I’m no pro, I’ve figured out what works for me and am happy with the results.  Let’s hop right in!

(Please note that this post includes affiliate links, though none of the products are sponsored in any way. I bought all of them with my own hard-earned cash, so you can trust these reviews include my unbiased opinions!)

The best camera for travel:  the Sony Alpha mirrorless camera series

In my opinion, the Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras are HANDS DOWN the best travel cameras on the market right now!

However, before I made the leap to mirrorless, I took the majority of my travel photos with a DSLR, and many of the travel photos in my earlier posts were taken on it. Thus, my first semi-professional camera was a Canon Rebel T3i, which is an entry level DSLR.  I purchased it back in 2012, and used three Canon lenses with it:

the 18-55mm lens, which came with the camera;

the 10-22mm lens which is a wide angle lens;

and the 50mm prime lens which is great for portraits and/or low light conditions.

The perfect metaphor for why standing out in a crowd isn't necessarily a bad thing. State Historical Museum, Moscow, Russia.

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"With the exception of the equator, everything begins somewhere". –Mitad del Mundo Monument, Quito, Ecuador

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However, while I was super happy with the image quality when it came to photos, the video quality was only average– the lack of autofocus was a real disadvantage for me.

So, after doing loads of research and test shoots, I finally settled on what I consider one of the best travel cameras out right now:  the Sony Alpha a6300.  I purchased it last year and have been extremely happy ever since.  The images are crisp, clear, and colourful, even when shooting in auto! The video capabilities are also extraordinary– the autofocus is so fast and accurate!

The ability to send the pictures from my camera to my phone wirelessly has also been a game-changer.  Using the Sony’s wifi connection and Play Memories app, I am able to upload pictures to my phone within seconds.

I love this camera and truly think it’s the best mirrorless camera for travel.

The best lenses for the Sony Alpha a6300: what I’ve got

As the cameras in the Sony Alpha series are interchangeable lens cameras, I spent a lot of time researching the best lenses for the Sony Alpha a6300.  As a traveller who packs light, I didn’t want to bog myself down with many, or heavy, lenses– weight is one of the reasons I downsized to a mirrorless camera system in the first place (mirrorless systems are generally lighter and more compact than DSLR systems).

"It's not how big the steps are, but the direction in which the steps are going."

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However, I didn’t want to compromise image quality or my ability to zoom in or out on the subjects of my photos.  Basically, I wanted one great walk-around lens I would be able to use in all situations on my travels.

After A LOT of research, I ended up settling on the Sony Zeiss 16-70mm f 4 lens.  And omg y’all, I LOVE the images this lens produces!  This is the lens I use for the vast majority of my travel photos these days. The images are razor sharp!

Swinging into Friday like…😂😂 Greetings from Bali, Indonesia! I've been here for the last week relaxing, eating great food, and spending quality time with my dear friend @tameikag, who is graciously hosting me! It's my second time in Bali and I'm loving it just as much as the first time I came five years ago. As much as I love solo travel and exploring new countries, it's a great feeling to revisit a place you've enjoyed in the company of someone you care about. My boo Tameika and I have been having the BEST time hanging out. Dancing the night away with strangers in beach bars, buzzing around town on her scooter in the rain, and getting hilarious "couples" massages are but a few of the many memories from this week that I'll treasure for years to come. Another thing I'll never forget? Our visit to Bali Swing, an attraction outside of Ubud that is sure to impress! It's an outdoor complex with five swings that give sweeping views of a canyon and a waterfall. Y'all. Despite having done multiple ziplines, a skydive, and even a bungee jump over the Zambezi River, I am TERRIFIED of heights. But life is all about facing your fears head on, right?! While I shook, stammered, and dang near lost my lunch, I'm proud to say I managed to do 3 of the 5 swings! Which country or countries would you like to revisit? And would you ever try the Bali Swings? 📸: @tameikag

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Other lenses for the Sony Alpha a6300 I own

While I was very happy with my Zeiss lens, I also wanted a couple of lenses for my travel camera that would perform extremely well in low light.  I thus ended up getting two additional lenses for the Sony Alpha a6300:

The Sony 20mm f 2.8 . This is a prime lens (which means it doesn’t zoom) and produces stellar images in low light situations. It also gives a pretty decent level of bokeh (blurry background effect).

The Sony 35mm f 1.8 . This is also a prime lens but since it has a wider aperture (f 1.8) it performs even better in the dark than my 20mm 2.8 lens! The bokeh on this one if you stop down to f 1.8 is insane!

The best tripods for travel cameras: what I own

Because I often travel alone, using a tripod to capture photos and videos of myself is a must! I thus own two travel tripods:

My Joby GorillaPod is a short, flexible portable tripod whose wrappable legs can be used to secure it to basically any surface.

My Sony VCT-R100 compact tripod is a “traditional” tripod, but optimized for travel.  It’s lightweight, but has a maximum height of about 40 inches, so it’s pretty versatile.

I also own a third tripod, a 60-inch tripod from AmazonBasics that I use to film my videos (along with this lighting kit) when I’m at home.   However, while I think it’s great, it’s simply not practical for travelling.

The best hand-held gimbal stabilizer for travel cameras

Speaking of video, I purchased a handheld gimbal stabilizer earlier on this year.  Gimbals reduce camera vibration and shake so that the resulting footage is very professional looking and smooth; it my opinion it can take a travel video from a 7 to a 10!

So when the German National Tourism Office hired me this past spring to shoot, produce, and host a series of videos about Germany, I purchased the Zhiyun Crane 3-Axis handheld gimbal stabilizer after a ton of research.  In the video below you can see how the gimbal aids in producing really steady footage.

Interested in travel vlogging?  Here are the microphones I use

This past year I have gotten more into producing travel videos for clients.  While the in-camera mic on my camera is decent, I realized I needed to step up my game if I wanted to have high quality audio.  After a lot of research, I purchased what I consider to be the two best external microphones for travel cameras:

the Rode VideoMic pro, which I use on the road to record audio for my travel vlogs;

and the Blue Yeti USB microphone, which I plug into my computer and use to record voiceovers for my videos.

The smartphone I use for my travel photos

While the vast majority of my photos are taken on my mirrorless camera, I do sometimes rely solely on my Samsung Galaxy 6 smartphone for photos.  Case in point, last year I spent two weeks in Europe and took all of my pictures on my smartphone since I left my mirrorless camera at home!

While many people say the Samsung Galaxy is the best smartphone camera for travel, the latest version of the Google Pixel smartphone has definitely caught my eye.  I’m seriously thinking of treating myself to one next year!

Photo editing apps

I must say that I’m a bit lazy when it comes to photo editing– my tendency is to quickly bump up the contrast and saturation of my photos before throwing them online.  My current editing programs of choice are Snapseed, a free app found on Google Play, and iPhoto, which came free with both of my laptops.  Most of the photos on my Instagram feed have been edited on Snapseed!

"Come!" He beckoned to me from across the market; his smile impish and his eyes playful. His swept his hand in front of the mystery fruit at his stall in a "ta-da" motion, the gesture so emphatic that it moved the air. I shook my head: I didn't want or need anything. Still, I curiously approached the stall, to his great pleasure. "What are they?" I asked, but his reply, in Arabic, brought me no closer to finding out. "Come!" he repeated, as he grabbed one of the fruits and offered it to me. He smiled from ear to ear as I took it from him and popped it into my mouth without inspecting it. It was meaty and sweet in a way I wasn't expecting and didn't particularly like. Still, I made a big show of closing my eyes in ecstasy. He was so kind, I didn't want to hurt his feelings. "Mmmmm!" I cried enthusiastically. He beamed. "So good!" I continued. "May I take a picture?" He nodded exaggeratedly, posed, and gave me a smize worthy of America's Next Top Model. I laughed and so did he. "Where you from?" he asked haltingly, rolling and stretching out the 'r' in 'from'. When I told him, he clapped his hands in glee. "Oh, Canada! Very good!" He laughed yet again, from deep in his diaphragm, his shoulders moving up and down from the effort. He extended his hand, I shook it. "Welcome!" he exclaimed, his eyes bright. I said thank you, but truthfully he needn't have said a word. For I felt his welcome as soon as he waved me over to his stall: it was in the warmth of his gaze, the mirth in his body, and his unnecessary generosity. (Souk Al Mubarkiya, Kuwait City, Kuwait)

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And in case you’re wondering, I have a 13-inch Macbook Pro Retina and an 11-inch Macbook Air.

***

So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to all the gear I use for my travel photography and videography!  As you can see, I have invested thousands of dollars in my equipment.  However, I’d say it’s worth it, as friends, family, followers, clients, and sponsors frequently comment on the high quality of my photos and videos.

Ten years from now, make sure you can say that you chose your life, you didn't settle for it. -Mandy Hale (Jacmel, Haiti)

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With all of that said, while equipment helps immensely when it comes to producing great images, learning the craft of photography (composition, aperture and shutter speed settings, exposure, etc.) is even more important. There, you must take the time to truly learn how to work your equipment and remember that practice makes perfect!  State of the art cameras and accessories can only do so much.

At any rate, I hope you’ve found this post useful in your search for the best camera for travel!

Which travel camera(s) and accessories do you currently use to capture images when you travel?  And if you’re a camera nerd like me, what do you think is the best camera for travel on the market right now?

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Gahmya
    November 26, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    This is awesome!! Thanks for sharing! I would love info on how you’ve been using your cellphone to trigger your camera. Is there a particular app that you recommend? Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    TetesLorraine
    November 26, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Great info. Thanks for sharing. I have 1 cameras which I never take on trips….My trusty Samsung Galaxy J for now….LOL.

  • Reply
    Carrie, Two Small Potatoes
    November 26, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    Interesting that I came across this today. We’re travel bloggers in Germany and we’re shopping for a new camera. We’ve narrowed it down to a couple of Sony mirrorless cameras, including the A6000. I’m glad to hear you love it! Gotta take advantage of these Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jen
    November 26, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    Thank you! I’ve been considering a mirrorless camera after reading about them in tech reviews. I appreciate a review from an informed user.

  • Reply
    Theresa
    November 27, 2017 at 12:48 am

    Thanks so much for this info sweetie! Much appreciated! My son and daughter-in-law bought me an early Christmas gift…looks like we’re going to Tokyo in April! So excited! Thanks again baby girl!

  • Reply
    Eric L. Bolden
    December 3, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    I have heard many good things about the Sony Mirrorless cameras. I find it very impressive that you still use the Galaxy S6. I struggle with the S8. This shows me that I need to improve my photo taking skills.

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