We are often get asked by our readers what photography gear we use while on the road. So I thought I would take the time to share the details all of the photography gear that travels with us on a regular basis, and why we choose it.
Sony A7R II – This is the main body in our photography kit. The Sony A7 Series are a great set of cameras that suit just about any photographer. They are lightweight, great for travel, and have a lot of neat features you simply won’t find in Canon or Nikon cameras. Although Sony has just released the Sony A9 which is their top of the line camera (seriously this thing is a beast at 20fps), we are happy with the A7RII and its 42mp sensor.
Sony A7S – We have had this body for a little over a year and we may not keep it for longer. We originally got it for a secondary camera that would give us a bit more of an edge while shooting at night. But we found that we were barely using it because of the lack of stabilisation and the fact that we had the Sony A7R II. We have used it exclusively for all of our scuba diving videos over the last year.
[NEW] Sony RX100 V – I know what your thinking… “A point and shoot, really?”… Simple answer yes! Long answer, its an amazing camera. Sony was able to pack in so much technology into this little thing that it should be illegal and in a category of its own. We will now be travelling with this camera as our secondary body for a few reasons.
- Size – Its the size of a few iPhones stacked together.
- Quality – Shoots 20mp shots in raw at 24fps. Pretty amazing if you think about it, you pretty much can shoot raw video with this setting (albeit for only 7 seconds at a time until the buffer fills up)
- Scuba Diving – We are going to be buying the Meikon diving case with the dome attachment so we can up our underwater shots.
- Video – The camera has the ability to shoot in 1000fps. Yes you heard that right super super slow mo. You can also shoot 1080p in up to 240fps. There is simply no other camera under $4,000 that can do this right now. Plus it also allows us to shoot in 4k which means all of our gear will be 4k compatible.
DJI Mavic Pro Drone – After 2 good years of use, our old Parrot Bebop Drone finally failed in November. We were well overdue for an upgrade so the decision to invest in the newly released DJI Mavic Pro was an easy one. It’s pretty much everything that was in the DJI Phantom 4 Drone, but small enough that it can almost fit in your pocket. We pre-ordered the item on Oct 5th and just got it delivered (Woohoo!). We really look forward to taking our aerial photography to the next level with this awesome new piece of gear. Look out for some upcoming Facebook Live videos streaming from above the skies of beautiful destinations.
Sony A to E Adapter – Before I get into the lenses we use, I wanted to highlight that most of our lenses are not native E-mount. Meaning that they require an adapter to fit onto our Sony A7R II and Sony A7S camera bodies. We decided to buy this used Sony A to E mount adapter (which we scored for an amazing deal of just $200AUD), which allowed us to choose from over 422+ fixed, zoom, and macro lenses across a variety of brands, some dating back to before Sony bought Minolta.
Sony 35mm f2.8 – After upgrading to the Sony A7R II we felt like we needed at least one top notch quality lens to go along with the new body. We decided on the 35mm f2.8 because it has superb IQ and is small enough that you can walk around all day and not even notice it on the camera.
[NEW] Sony 24-240mm – After traveling around with our Sony A7R II and Sony A7S for over a year we decided we wanted something that was a bit better than our kit lens below and our Minolta zoom we were using. We were able to get a real good deal on the great Sony 24-240mm. We bought this lens right before we headed off on our South American adventure and I must say its very convenient. I would say that it was on the Sony A7R II for 80% of the trip. Couple that with the ability to be the camera into APC mode and extend the range to 360mm and we were set for wildlife (although we will be getting a longer zoom for Africa later on this year!). The lens definitely won’t beat a prime or a dedicated zoom lens, but if you are look for one lens to carry around for any occasion this is the one.
[NEW] Irix 15mm f2.4 (Canon Mount) – We also got this lens right before our trip to South America because we felt we just were not getting the quality we wanted with the sigma wide we had before. We didn’t want to spend much and we wanted an ultra wide that wasn’t slow. Irix seemed like the best available option. At only $400 brand new, we were able to get a great quality prime lens that was fast enough to use for astro photography. This is a manual lens, but because its an ultra wide, it is very easy to focus.
Sony 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 – This lens has overlapping reach with our Minolta, but we bought it purely for underwater use. It fits perfectly into our Meikon case (see below) and produces some great underwater footage. When comparing it to the Sony Zeis 24-70 f/4 (which costs over $1000 brand new) the cheaper brother holds its own quite well for the cost.
Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 – This little prime is probably one of our all-time favourite lenses. We bought it used for $250 about a year ago from a film student who had used it once to shoot a movie. We didn’t think much of it at first, but we more we shoot with it, the more we love it! The lens is manual and you need this A to M mount adapter, but the shots it produces are spectacular.
Neewer Macro Extension Tube Set – These cheap extension tubes are a great tool that reduces the minimum focusing distance for any lens. Since we don’t have a macro lens, we use the tubes to get that macro effect from our existing lenses.
Accessories: Filters, Tripods, Flashes, Bags, and More!
To be completely honest, we are torn on filters. A part of us thinks that are just marketing and that if you take the time to use post processing you can get away without using them. But for now, to save time on processing and get a better photo straight out of the camera, we still have a set that we carry with us at all times.
Tiffen 58mm UV Protection Filter – We aren’t too fussed with our UV filters and usually pick up whatever is cheap and well rated on amazon. These days we are working with a set of Tiffen thin bezel filters.
ND 1000 Neutral Density Filter – We bought this filter before our RTW trip last year and I can definitely say that its worth the $30. We use it to take long exposures at midday or against a setting sun. We have noticed occasional colour casting, but nothing that can’t be handled in post processing.
AmazonBasics Polarizing filters – We have just purchased a new set of Amazon Basics polarizing filters for our lenses. They are multi-coated and come well rated by the Amazon community.
Dolica TX570B150SL Tripod – This is the second travel tripod that we have had to purchase. Our first one was a cheap Chinese brand that only lasted for a few weeks. After a year of use, this Dolica Tripod has proven to be significantly better. It was decently priced and offered great portability and it still travels everywhere with us.
Miggo Splat Mini Tripod – We use this tripod on those occasions when we don’t want to carry around our bulky Dolica Tripod. We have used it a few times for the Sony cameras, but it has primarily become a tripod for our GoPro, a perfect accessory to stabilize the camera for time lapses or strap it to a branch or pole.
Godox TT685s TTL – This is a great flash for anyone using the Sony mirrorless system. We have been using the Neewer flash below for over a year now, and although good and portable, we were not getting the power output we wanted out of it so decided we needed to upgrade to a more powerful TTL flash.
Neewer NW320 TTL Flash for Sony – This is now our backup flash. We don’t use it often, but it’s a good budget aftermarket flash.
[NEW] DJI Osmo Mobile – These days we are putting more and more focus on video, so we decided to invest in a gimbal to help us stabilize our footage. When looking at gimbals we were torn between buying one for our camera or for our iPhone SE (shoots 4k). We opted for the DJI Osmo Mobile because of the great software features that come with it, and because it was half the size of anything half decent that we could have got for the big cameras we carry.
Watershot Pro Underwater Case – We lost our GoPro at the baths in Budapest recently, and rather then replace it, we decided to start using our iPhone SE as our portable action cam. We found this great case on amazon and it has worked like a charm on a few dives so far.
Selfie Stick – Over the years, we’ve gone through our fair share of selfie sticks. They all seem to break under the stress of salt water and sand (we often use these for underwater footage or on the beach). This one is fairly new as we have only been using it since Christmas, but unlike many others we’ve tried in the past it’s holding up well.
Floating Wrist Strap For Watershot Case – Another great accessory for underwater photography/videography.
CamDive® Underwater Case for Sony A7 – We got this underwater case shortly after we bought our Sony A7 as we knew that we would continue to shoot underwater while scuba diving. The case is plastic and definitely inferior quality to what the pro’s use, but at only $250, it’s actually exactly what we need. It doesn’t leak and it keeps the camera safe as deep as 40m underwater. We’ve used the case on more than 20 dives without any issues.
Bags & Straps
Lowepro Flipside Sport 20L Camera Daypack – With only 20L capacity, this camera bag may appear pretty small, but don’t let that deceive you, it can hold a lot. On the road, this bag holds all of our camera equipment: 7 lenses, both bodies, GoPro with selfie stick, drone, flash, my Macbook 12”, a 2L water pack, tripods, filters, extra batteries, and memory cards. When filled the bag gets heavy, often approaching check in weight limits, but it still looks small enough on my back to pass as a free personal item.
Peak Design Slide Camera Shoulder Strap – I have never liked the straps that come with the cameras, and the Sony was no different. It wasn’t long before I did some research and found a cool shoulder strap from Peak design. It offers a better shoulder grip and a quick-connection system that makes it easy to take off and put back on the camera.
Seagate Backup Plus 4TB Portable External Hard Drive – We shoot around 5-8k photos a month and store all of them in RAW, so it’s no wonder we’ve filled up several hard drives with backups of our photos and videos from travel over the last 2 years. We currently have two of these Seagate drives that we use for backing up while we are on the road. We keep a copy of all of our photos on each drive and keep the drives in separate bags, so if one gets lost/damaged/stolen, we won’t lose all of our work.
Amazon Cloud Storage – Keeping our work on hard drives while we are on the road is a temporary solution, so as soon as we have a small break from traveling and good internet, we upload all of our photos to the Amazon Cloud Storage, which acts as our long term storage solution. We invested in a Premium Amazon Cloud Drive account that allows us to upload an unlimited amount of photos, videos, and documents to the cloud for just $59.99/year.
Our Advice for the Best Travel Camera
As you can see we have quite a lot of gear that travels with us anywhere we go, but all the items listed above have their uses on every trip. And while we are generally happy with our photography kit as it is (pending a few upgrades), we wouldn’t recommend a lot of our lenses and accessories to someone who is just starting out in the world of travel photography. Our kit is complex and is best suited for an intermediate skill level.
If you are fairly new to photography and looking for advice on the best travel camera, we recommend that you invest in Sony A6000 with 1-2 basic lenses and start your photo journey from there. Note: The Sony a6500 recently got released with rave reviews, we are contemplating going back to a crop body as our backup and if we do this is the camera we would be switching back to instead of the a7S. )
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