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Photography

Choosing Which Camera Kit to Take on Holiday

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:ShortLanguages:
This post is part of a series called Travel Photography.
Flying Incognito With Your Camera Gear
Tips for Traveling with Non-Photographers

When you travel, you’ll most likely want your kit with you to capture your journey. How much and what exactly to take can get confusing. In this quick tip I’ll help you decide what to pack and what to leave behind.

It sounds simple but in the excitement of going away, we can think we want everything. Ask yourself: am I going primarily to take landscapes, architecture, people, or a bit of everything? The more lenses you take, the more weight you’ll have to carry around with you, and the less you'll want to lug your camera along.

1. Landscapes and Architecture

Take a wide lens. I’d avoid a fisheye and stick with something that doesn’t distort too much whilst still giving you a wide field of view. A 12-24mm lens is my staple but be aware with a really wide lens, you have to get really close to the thing you want to photograph.

Glen Coe
This picture of Glen Coe in Scotland was taken with a Sigma 12-24mm wide angle lens [photo: Marie Gardiner]

2. The Wild Life

If you’re visiting a zoo or going somewhere abundant in wildlife and birds, include a zoom. 70-200 or 70-300 for example.

Puffins
Puffins on Inner Farne, captured with a 70-300mm zoom lens [photo: Marie Gardiner]

3. People and Portraits

For really nice posed and close up portraits you’re going to want to take along a prime lens but for discreet street stuff, you may want a longer zoom instead, so consider the type of portrait you’re likely to shoot.

Fisherman
This fisherman was taken with a zoom lens as it was from considerable distance [photo: Marie Gardiner]

 4. Choose Your Kit to Suit Your Destination

Are you able to survive the loss of your camera?

Think carefully about how secure the area you’re visiting is. Read up about it on the internet. Is there a lot of petty crime?  Is your camera likely to be a flashing beacon to thieves? If so, you certainly should be insured but you might want to think about a compromise.

I’ve just come back from Tunisia: I didn’t take my big bulky Nikon D800 and lenses because I didn’t want to carry it around in the heat, but also I was concerned about security. In the end I chose a bridge camera instead - a small mirrorless model - which cost a couple of hundred pounds and could do everything I wanted (even shoot in RAW). It could do a lot more than a compact pocket camera but didn't take up much more room.

 Conclusion

 Points to consider:

  • What photographs you will mostly want to take
  • How secure is the place you’re visiting
  • Will carrying heavy kit be a burden if you're walking a lot or in a hot country

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