As you can probably see, we LOVE taking photos. This is why I want to share with you our best camera for travel photography, and may as well throw in all the other travel photography gear too! I used to think I could just use my iPhone, but I promise you a camera makes such a difference. I also get asked a lot which camera I use but my other tip is that it is pretty much all in the lens! You can get some really great photos even with a fairly budget camera as long as you have a great lens. I’ll be telling you about all the lenses we use and why! Then what drones we use, what we use for underwater photography and a few very handy photography accessories that maybe you didn’t think of before. Head to our drone photography tips post too for some inspo!
Please note that this post may contain affiliate links and any sales made through these links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost for you.
What camera do we use?
We actually have one extra budget photo camera that we use as a spare, and one larger DSLR. For me it is the best camera for travel photography but I can only speak for myself!
Best mirrorless camera for beginners – Canon M50
- 4k Video
- $500 Body
- With a speed booster – converts f2.8 to f1.4 (example)
- Perfect for blogging due to flip screen and eye tracking
- Shoots 1080p in 50fps for slow motion videos
- Body only 387g – super light weight
The Canon M50 is great for travel photography due to its small and light body. We already travel with two other cameras, so this one needed to be small. This was the cheapest mirrorless camera and closest to a full frame camera we could find. We already use canon cameras and this was a good back up. The M50 shoots video in 4k resolution, so is a back up for the ZCam S6 we use to video usually. Make sure you use full frame lenses with the M50 or you will see a vignette.
Why use a speed booster?
With the speed booster, the Canon M50 has a crop factor of 1.1, whereas a lot of mirrorless cameras under 1000 Euro have a crop factor of 1.5 or 1.2. The body is around $500, making it on the more affordable end of travel cameras. Our favourite lens to use with the M50 is the Canon 24 -105mm f4. The lens is actually heavier than the camera itself, making it a bit hard to hold the small body with such a heavy lens but it is well worth it. With the speed booster, the lens becomes an f2.8. This is perfect as the f2.8 lens is much more expensive!
The auto focus is rapid and has face recognition. It is the perfect camera for vlogging. It has a flip screen and eye tracking. The M50 shoots in 4k, and also 1080p resolution in 50fps, to create incredible slow motion videos. The only two downsides are; no IBIS (In body image stabilisation) and also no silent mode. However, the Canon 24-105mm has image stabilisation, so they work great together. One of the best mirrorless cameras under $1000! In a lot of ways it is the best camera for travel photography!
Mid range photo camera – Canon 77D
- Body only 540g
- 24.2 Megapixels
- Bluetooth and WiFi (easily connect to your phone)
- 45 Auto focus points
My first ever DSLR was the Canon 1300D, I think I paid around £350 for the camera and two lenses and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I went on holiday and used my friends Canon 77D and fell in love. The screen is touch screen which makes things all a lot faster, and the screen also flips out. The controls are all super easy to use, even if you are still learning. I have been using this camera for the past few years and I can honestly recommend it highly. Best camera for travel photography for me!
The battery life is really good, and I actually only have one battery that is how long it lasts! The camera itself doesn’t feel too heavy but of course get s bit chunky with a big lens, but still manageable. I can manage to fit the camera with my biggest lens and my drone in a small backpack still! The Canon 77D can also shoot video but only at 1080p and 60fps. I wouldn’t recommend it for video but I’ll be telling you about what video camera we use a bit later on!
Our favourite camera lenses
I started off with regular kit lenses back in the day but I have always LOVED the ‘bokeh’ blurry background photos. For this you will need a lens with an f stop of 2.8 or less ideally. This means your subject of your image will be sharp and the background gets more blurry the lower the f stop.
1. Canon 50mm f1.8
The Canon 50mm f1.8 a great option for portraits. It is fairly zoomed in, so you won’t get much background in if you are close to your subject. However, the background will be beautifully blurred. This will really make your subject stand out and create a stunning effect. This lens is nicknamed the ‘Nifty Fifty’ as it is super light and VERY SMALL! It is such an easy lens to travel with and creates stunning photos. It is also super AFFORDABLE! I think I paid around £100 for mine.
2. Sigma 17-50mm f2.8
This is my ABSOLUTE fave lens – the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8! Unfortunately it doesn’t fit on the Canon M50 but it is perfect on the Canon 77D. It is just a great all rounder for travel, I always have it on my camera and when I’m shooting in London for example, I often don’t take any other lenses with me! The f2.8 creates a beautiful subtle blurry background ‘bokeh’ effect and when you bring the subject closer, it can really create a beautiful bokeh effect. The range is great for travel photography and it isn’t too heavy to carry around.
3. Canon 24-105mm f4
As I said above, with the speed booster on the Canon M50, the Canon 24-105mm f4 can also be an f2.8! The f2.8 of this lens is very pricey, so you’re better off buying this and the $100 speed booster for the M50! However, on my Canon 77D this lens also has a great range and takes lovely photos even with the f4. It is quite a heavy lens so bear that in mind if you want it as your main travel lens. Otherwise I can’t fault it.
4. Sigma 70-200mm f2.8
I AM IN LOVE. The Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 has changed my life. This is the perfect lens for incredible landscapes, and creates the most stunning bokeh with the f2.8. I love it for closer up shots but also to show the scale of vast landscapes. One of my favourite shots I took with this lens was at Kelingking Beach in Bali.
Everyone actually thought it was a drone shot as the 200mm zoom is so powerful you could literally see people on the beach, where they were only a dot from up above. The quality is incredible and well worth the investment. If you’re thinking about it, just do it! I promise you won’t regret it.
What camera accessories do we use?
The best lens cap!
We love these soft lens caps. Most people use the one that click on and off and come with the lens. However, we have found these are much better for when you are on the go. They fall off less and are less likely to get damaged due to being soft and bendable. They really are very durable and a great piece of equipment. Just make sure you get the right size!
I LOVE my camera strap. I actually got this from @hiptipico, but here are a few similar ones. There are some great ones on Amazon with an Aztec pattern that are very similar to mine and much cheaper. The woven camera straps are super comfy and very durable. Mine actually came with clips that don’t work well with the canon attachment, so these ones I found on Amazon look perfect!
Ps thanks if you’ve used my Affiliate links for anything you guys are the best!
Backpack camera release clip
This is something I had never seen before and once Boyan started using backpack clips for the camera it was a game changer! When we are busy working all day, both on photos and videos, it is perfect to have the cameras ready. A camera strap is great, but then the cameras flap about. With the clip, they are sturdy in place if you are moving around. This means you don’t have to stop and open your bag either. I would highly recommend buying one of these, will make your life so much easier!
I use a Manfrotto Tripod and I can definitely recommend it! I actually mainly use it at home, as otherwise I have Boyan to take my photos and we never have photos together. But if you are going to get any tripod I would definitely recommend one of these. It is worth spending a bit more on a tripod as this will still be cheaper than trying to replace a broken camera if it falls due to a dodgy tripod!
What camera gear do we use?
Beginner video camera – Panasonic GH5
- 4k 60fps
- 20.3 MP 4/3 sensor
- Works in temps as low as 14F/-10c
Boyan used this camera for a quite a while and it did a great job! If you have any other questions about the Panasonic GH5 at all feel free to shoot him a DM @boyanoo! The Sigma 18-35mm + a speedbooster XL is the best option for the GH5.
More advanced video camera – ZCam E2-S6 (6K)
- In body ProRes codec as well as ZRAW
We have now upgraded to the ZCam E2-S6 and we have had so many messages asking if we shoot on a RED camera it is that good! It shoots in 6k at 60fps or 4K at 100fps. It has a Super 35mm CMOS sensor. Head over to @epicpixel.nl to see detailed photos of the whole set up!
What video camera accessories do we use?
The DJI Ronin-S is the perfect DSLR/Mirrorless camera gimbal. There is also the Ronin-SC, smaller and lighter and only £325. Boyan used the Tilita Nucleus Nano focus with this to create a smoother image.
- Battery Life 12 hours
- Quick release plate for camera
- Easy control focus wheel
- From £459/$559
- 18 Hour Battery Life
- Quick control Dial
- Modular Handle
- Bigger payload/set up – perfect for cinema cameras
- Focus/ Zoom motors
What drones do we use for travel photography?
DJI Mavic Pro (Hanna)
This is my favourite drone for photography due to the easy to use portrait mode! This means you don’t have to crop your images after you shoot. The Mavic 1 is perfect if you take a lot of photos for Instagram as they are almost perfectly 4×5 in Portrait mode. It can withstand some good amounts of wind and the images are great quality. You can also adjust the shutter speed and ISO, but not the aperture.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro (Boyan)
The main difference with the Mavic 2 Pro is that you can adjust the aperture. This makes it much better for video. If you want to see some examples then head to our YouTube channel to see the Mavic 2 at work. Boyan uses it for everything and I use the Mavic 1 for now as I only take photos with mine. The Mavic 1 is also a bit lighter, so easier to carry with all the other photography gear.
Other very useful travel photography gear!
Extra Drone Batteries
Make sure you have at least one spare drone battery! The average flying time is around 30 minutes on these drones, so if you are shooting more than one location in a day then you will most likely need a spare battery. I have two batteries and I think Boyan has about 4!
Drone Car charger
I would definitely recommend a car charger for your drone! For our Western Australia road trip this was ideal, as we would drive for ages between places are were able to charge all our batteries on the drive. This was also great in the Faroe Islands where it was super windy and the battery didn’t last as long as the drone had to battle the wind.
ND Filters for your drone photos!
#1 GET ND FILTERS! In any sunny conditions, I would recommend at least ND 4. These filters mean your photos won’t be overexposed and will be much better quality. Then for shots of water, make sure to get some ND/PL filters. These are polarised filters that will reduce glare in photos. It will also mean that you can see ‘through’ the water. So if you want to see the sharks below the surface, an ND/PL filter will allow you to have better clarity.
Also FYI they are different shapes for the Mavic 1 or the Mavic 2.
Top drone accessories
When using an ND/PL filter, make sure to check it is on correctly. There is a specific way it needs to go on to make sure it reduced glare. To do this, hold it to your eye and look at the water. As you turn it around, the water will have less glare and reflections. Make sure you put the filter on the camera in exactly this position.
What do we use for underwater photography?
Underwater shots are always fun! We don’t have the newest GoPro as we don’t take many underwater shots but it is a great travel photography accessory.
We use a dome for 50/50 underwater/overwater shots.
Other great/ essential photography gear!
We have the DJI OSMO mobile. This is great for time lapses for stories on your phone and any stories really. It makes them super smooth and look much more professional! It is super lightweight and also comes with a small tripod.
External Hard Drive
The #1 travel photography accessory! Remember, back up your photos daily, or even after every single shoot if you can! We use all Lacie hard drives, these are super durable and best for travel. Get at least 2TB – you always need more storage!
I try and format my SD cards daily, but if you forget or don’t have time to back up make sure you have a spare SD card. We use SanDisk SD cards. I would say get at least 32MB. You can never under estimate how many photos you might take in a day! I used to think 300 photos were a lot, but when you shoot in RAW, the SD won’t be able to fit as many photos either.
Best camera backpack
I use a Kapten and Son backpack. It is great as it is big enough for everything but each time I want to take my drone out I have to unpack the entire bag first. Get a backpack that opens at the back and where you can access all your equipment easily! I’ll include one plain black one and another one below!
Best Backpacking Backpack
My Osprey Backpack was 66L and has taken me all around Asia! It was super comfy to wear, had a good hip strap. It was also very affordable and I love the colour too! I can only find a smaller Osprey Kyte but this is the style!
Thanks so much for reading this post!! If you have any questions AT ALL please let me know in the comments or just DM me @solarpoweredblonde. Whether you are starting out in photography or already have some gear, I hope you find some handy accessories. We love our cameras and lenses, and I mean it when I say the 70-200mm is a great investment! For travel photography, this gear all adds up in weight, so make sure you get a sturdy backpack for all of it. Most of all, have fun!! And I can’t wait to see some of your shots.