Travel photography gear guide

What camera equipment do I carry while on the road? As you can see from my Instagram and blog, I shoot mostly landscapes, architecture, street, and food in natural light. I hope to do more underwater shoots and astrophotography, so this guide is for those that want to get similar shots as seen on my feeds thus far. This post will focus on my gear, software and workflow for photographs.

Cameras:

Sony Alpha A6300 - I recently switched from a Nikon DSLR setup to this body. I am a big proponent of traveling light, even if my trips can be 2-4 weeks at a time or longer. I've been watching mirrorless systems for awhile, and the image quality has really improved in the past few years. I always go by the wisdom that the best camera on you is the one on you. Due to bulk and weight, I usually opted to not take my DSLR with me wherever I go. With a 30mm prime lens, the Sony setup is half the weight and size of my previous setup. On top of that, I can take video with the same camera. Now I just take the camera wherever I go, and the results speak for themselves. 

GoPro Hero 4 (mostly for outdoor adventure and water activities) - I bought a GoPro for situations like diving and surfing where bringing expensive (and not waterproof) camera gear is not the greatest idea. I was initially skeptical. After seeing the footage, I was quite happy with the results. It serves as a great vlogging tool too with its easy-to-navigate interface, image stabilization and decent audio. GoPro just released their latest, and it's definitely worth the upgrade.

Lenses:

In my experience, I found lenses to be the most critical part of any photography setup. As much as I wanted to switch to a mirrorless camera setup, I was too attached to my DSLR lens collection. Convenience and weight are now more important due to my nomadic lifestyle. The lens collection for Sony's e-mount system has expanded quite a bit, and I've been happy with my choices below. Like any camera with a cropped sensor, remember to convert your lens' focal length accordingly.

Street Photography: Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN ART - Honestly, I didn't really have a high opinion on most Sigma lenses I've used. This one has been a pleasant surprise. Although autofocusing is only limited in the center of the frame, it is very sharp with limited chromatic abberration and distortion. With the body, the camera easily fits into my purse. This lens is the other workhorse for me. As of this post, the street price is $169, so it is easy on the wallet as well.

Landscapes: ZEISS Touit 12mm f/2.8 - As I primarily shoot landscapes and architecture, this ultra-wide lens has been on my camera about 50% of the time. On cropped sensors, it is equivalent to 18mm. Overall, the lens produce sharp images with good color and contrast. Because it's so wide, I do have to be more mindful of my composition, as the image tends to get distorted on the sides. 

Portrait: Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA - This is my most recent purchase. It is incredibly sharp and fast with a bokeh to die for. Although this lens was designed for full-frame cameras, it actually fits my cropped sensor camera fairly well. The only negative is that it lacks optical stabilization, so it can be a problem in low light situations. Lucky for me, I rarely shoot portraits in the dark. 

Miscellaneous:

Tripod: MeFOTO Aluminum Roadtrip Travel Tripod/Monopod Kit - This can hold the weight of my current mirrorless camera and my previous DSLR setup, and the base is very stable. It packs pretty small for such a sturdy tripod, and there is a monopod attached to it. This is a must-have for all the time-lapse video shoots for sunrise and sunset.

Memory Cards: Sandisk Extreme Pro or Lexar Professional - I use both cards. Sandisk is known to be most reliable, but I haven't had problems with either brand thus far. I do find the Sandisk tends to perform better with video and long bursts of photos, but both do a great job shooting stills.

Backup Storage: Seagate Backup Plus Portable Drive 1 TB - I shoot RAW and JPG for all my photos. This portable hard drive fits into the palm of my hand, so it's really easy to travel with. My only regret is not opting for the 2 TB. 

 

Software: Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom, Enlight on iOS - Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are at the top of the food chain. I've saved countless "terrible" photos with a few Lightroom tweaks. I am only using Photoshop and Lightroom 6, but I'm seriously considering upgrading to Creative Cloud. Enlight is a great photo editing app on the iOS App Store.  

Laptop: 15" Macbook Pro - I was on team 13" for a long time. Unfortunately, even the top of the line 13" Macbook Pro had trouble rendering and converting video files. I picked up an old 2015 15" Macbook Pro, and it's been smooth sailing since.