Travel Photography Gear - Our Recommendations

Ever wondered what kind of travel photography gear we use to make all our creative visions come true?

Peek into our camera bag to see some of our top gear recommendations for travel, portrait, and product photography!

 

table of contents

 

cameras

Nikon D750

Our primary workhorse for photography, the Nikon D750 still remains one of the best full frame DSLRs on the market, even though it was released back in 2014.

The RAW photos coming out of the D750 have lovely dynamic range, aren’t that noisy at high iso/low light, and are full of color depth. The autofocus is also uncannily accurate with the first focus press.

Taken with Nikon D750 at Inle Lake, Myanmar

Taken with Nikon D750 at Inle Lake, Myanmar

Quality built, rugged, and weather sealed - I’ve taken the Nikon D750 with me to all sorts of extreme environments like the dusty desert of Burning Man, humid jungles of Thailand, and the chaotic streets of India.

Taken with Nikon D750 - Jaipur, India

Taken with Nikon D750 - Jaipur, India

Taken with Nikon D750 - Jaipur, India

Taken with Nikon D750 - Jaipur, India

 

Fujifilm X-T30

Fujifilm X-T30 with Fuji 23mm f/2 lens (silver body and silver lens)

Fujifilm X-T30 with Fuji 23mm f/2 lens (silver body and silver lens)

Quickly becoming one of our favorite cameras, the Fujifilm X-T30 is not only stylish, but is a technical beast! Borrowing from the award winning and larger XT-3, the X-T30 has almost all of the features of the higher end XT-3, but in a much lighter and compact package.

The photos coming out of the X-T30 are super sharp, have great dynamic range, and perform well in low light.

Taken with Fujifilm X-T30 - San Francisco, CA

Taken with Fujifilm X-T30 - San Francisco, CA

Taken with Fujifilm X-T30 - Leeds, UK

Taken with Fujifilm X-T30 - Leeds, UK

Since it’s a mirrorless camera, there are way more focus points vs a DSLR - in the tune of a whopping 425 autofocus points! Realtime face and eye detection are a nice bonus, of which Fujifilm is constantly pushing firmware updates to improve over time.

Taken with Fujifilm X-T30 - Khiva, Uzbekistan

Taken with Fujifilm X-T30 - Khiva, Uzbekistan

The X-T30 also gets extra bonus points for its retro silver body and matching silver lenses! We get compliments all the time on it!

 

smartphones

Google Pixel 3

Even though we are dedicated iOS users, we keep our Google Pixel 3 phones on us too!

Why? Well, the camera and computational photography on the Google Pixel 3 is just phenomenal!

Taken with Pixel 3 in Uzbekistan

Taken with Pixel 3 in Uzbekistan

The night sight shots are also outrageously sharp and not as noisy as the iPhone. The more I use the Pixel 3 the more I’m slowly swaying over to the Android side….

Taken with Pixel 3 in Moscow, Russia

Taken with Pixel 3 in Moscow, Russia

 

iPhone 8

I’ve been an avid Apple user since the early 2000’s.. before it was cool to use a Mac. So it’s pretty safe to say that I’m solidly sold (or stuck) inside the Apple ecosystem - which includes iOS and MacOS.

Taken with iPhone 8 at Inle Lake, Myanmar

Taken with iPhone 8 at Inle Lake, Myanmar

While it’s true that some of the newer Android smartphones have better reviewed cameras - the iPhone camera does the job for me and has more of a natural look.

 

main lenses

Sigma 35mm 1.4 ARt (nikon)

One of the most epic 35mm prime lenses of all time, the Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART stays on my Nikon D750 most of the time due to it’s versatility, sharpness, and lovely bokeh butter wide open at 1.4.

I’ve captured portraits, landscape, street, and product shots with this jack-of-all-trade lens and will continue to do so until another lens changes my mind!

 

Tiffen 67mm Circular Polarizer

This amazing filter stays on my Sigma 35mm most of the time. Like most polarizing filters, it reduces glare/reflections and makes blue skies more intense.

 

Sigma 14-24mm 2.8 ART (nikon)

When I need to capture a grand shot in a limited amount of space, I go to the fantastic Sigma 14-24mm 2.8 ART.

It’s tack sharp with quality on par with the much more expensive Nikon 14-24mm.

It is a bit heavy at 2.5 lb (1.13 kg), but that’s to be expected with the 2.8 aperture throughout the whole focal range.

 

Fuji XF 16-55mm f/2.8 (crop equivalent to 24-70mm)

One of the best surprises we’ve had - the Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 delivered some of the sharpest and color rich photos we’ve taken this year.

Did we say that we love how light this lens is? It’s about 30% lighter than comparable Nikon/Canon 24-70mm zoom lenses.

It’s the main lens we use on our Fujifilm X-T30 because it’s so versatile, sharp, and produces excellent colors.

 

Moment Wide 18mm (Pixel 3 / iPhone)

Moment is known for having some of the highest quality smartphone lenses on the market.

If you’ve ever tried one of those cheap $30 ones on eBay, you know what I’m talking about when I say you get what you pay for!

Taken w/ Moment Wide Lens and iPhone

Taken w/ Moment Wide Lens and iPhone

Taken w/ Moment Wide Lens and iPhone

Taken w/ Moment Wide Lens and iPhone

The Moment Wide 18mm literally increases your smartphone field of view by 200% and gives you sharp images without that fisheye distortion.

 

Moment Superfish Lens (pixel 3 / iphone 8)

If the Moment Wide just isn’t enough for you - the Moment Superfish has an incredible 170 degree field of view so you can literally capture everything around you.

 

Supplemental Lenses

Sigma 85mm 1.4 ART (nikon)

One of my favorite portrait lenses - the Sigma 85mm 1.4 ART has some of the best buttery bokeh and sharpness I’ve ever seen. In fact, it beat out all the other top lenses in it’s category and sits atop the DxOMark scores with the highest score of all lenses.

Like most 85mm 1.4 lenses, it is a bit heavy and large though - so I’ll usually take it with me only if I know I’m going to be taking portrait shots or need some close up brand shots.

 

Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 DG OS HSM S (nikon)

This beast of a lens, coming in at around 4 lbs, is not for the faint of heart. But, if you’re looking to capture some photos at a distance or need some beautiful focal compression - the Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 S is one of the sharpest and reliable lenses out there. On top of it, it has a 2.8 aperture throughout the whole focal length - giving you the option to get some super buttery bokeh shots!

Due to the size and weight of this lens - I’ll usually only bring it out with me if I know I have access to a car or storage area so I’m not lugging it around with me all day.

 

Nikon 24-70mm 2.8

A classic zoom lens - the Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 VR is the default lens for many professional Nikon photographers. It’s sharp, reliable, and has that ever useful 2.8 aperture throughout the focal length. The Vibration Reduction (VR) also helps with keeping images sharp.

If I feel like I’m going to need the whole focal range during a shoot, I’ll definitely bring this lens in case I don’t feel like switching out my prime lenses all the time.

 

Fujifilm 23mm 2

The equivalent to a 35mm full frame lens, this outrageously lightweight and compact lens delivers some gorgeous shots paired with the Fujifilm XT30. There are definitely times when I use this combo when I don’t feel like carrying around my heavier Nikon setup.

It’s really hard to beat the quality of the photos coming out of the XT30 / 23mm f/2 combo, especially considering how lightweight it is compared to my Nikon setup. For those wondering, it’s about half the weight!

 

Fujifilm 16mm 2.8

Equivalent to a 24mm - this prime wide angle lens is a good, lightweight option for us when we know we want some grand shots that are sharp and without much distortion. This lens is also incredibly lightweight (0.3 lbs) and compact compared to my Sigma 14-24mm (2.47 lbs) lens.

 

Microfiber Lens Cloth

If you hate fingerprints and random grime on your lenses/eyeglasses as much as I do - having a stash of microfiber lens cloth is paramount to not going insane.

 

Drone

DJI Mavic Air

Taken with DJI Mavic Air - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Taken with DJI Mavic Air - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Taken with DJI Mavic Pro - Dominican Republic

Taken with DJI Mavic Pro - Dominican Republic

The perfect combination of size, portability, and image/video quality - the DJI Mavic Air is a great starter drone that is able to handle most creative projects.

For comparison the Air is half the size and half the weight of it’s big brother DJI Mavic Pro 2. The Pro 2 does take higher quality photos/videos and is a bit more rugged than the Air though. In the end though, the Mavic Air won us over with it’s portability and good enough photo/video.

 

tripod

MeFOTO Classic Carbon Fiber Roadtrip Travel Tripod

A nice blend of functionality, portability, and quality - MeFOTO is a favorite amongst the photographer community. We chose the carbon fiber version of the Roadtrip line to shave some weight off our backs. Overall - it’s been rock solid for us, which is very important when you have thousands of dollars of gear mounted on top of it!

Image shot on the MeFOTO GlobeTrotter Tripod

Image shot on the MeFOTO GlobeTrotter Tripod

 

storage

External Hard Drives

Reliable storage - something every photographer needs!

For some time now, I’ve been happily using Seagate Backup Portable Hard Drives.

They’re lightweight, fast, and so far (fingers crossed) haven’t crashed on me yet. I’ve got about 3-4 of them (a mixture of 2TB and 4TB drives) and they’re all backed up via Backblaze. You’re backed up to the cloud right? If you aren’t, make sure you are…

 

SD Card

I’ve rely on SanDisk SD Cards to reliably store all my photography and video.

They are super fast, affordably priced, and reliable. The ones I use are the SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro SDXC UHS-I since I really value the high data speeds going both ways. They also are rated U3 / V30 which means they can sustain uninterrupted video at up to 30 MB/s.

Some other brands like Samsung frequently give the dreaded ‘ERR’ code during my photo shoots… no bueno!

 

SanDisk Extreme PRO SD Card Reader (USB-C)

If you have a laptop with only USB-C ports (like a recent MacBook Pro) and don’t want to deal with a USB-C dongle - the Sandisk Extreme Pro SD Card Reader is small, fast (up to UHS-II speeds), and has a nice indicator light when transferring data.

 

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