Gear

My Travel Photography Gear

The following list makes up the majority of the gear that I have for shooting travel photography. Depending on the type of trip, I will pick and choose different pieces.

Cameras

Canon 5d Mark III

By far my favorite camera that I have ever owned. I use it for the large majority of my still photography along with the more cinematic film making.  It is expensive but tough as nails. For me, the most important part of a camera is knowing that when you need to take the shot, you can. The 5D ticks these boxes.

Canon G7X

This “Little Canon” is part of my everyday carry. It is small enough to fit in your pocket and the video quality is exceptional. I use it as a vlogging camera but the stills that I take out of it are are fantastic too. However, not close to that of the 5D.

DJI Phantom 3 Advanced

One of the best ways to take a great photograph is to look at your surroundings from a different perspective. Drones have recently allowed anyone to look at life from a bird’s eye perspective. The P3 Advanced (while not the most expensive) shoots fantastic raw images and 2.7K video. I have never found myself wanting more out of a drone.

Leica M6 TTL

My favourite street photography camera, hands down. I don’t know why but with this camera I feel invincible. Shooting film is a liberating experience these days and is going through a renaissance at present. Kodak have started to make film again! If you are looking to shoot street, with film then look no further than the M6. You can see the first roll of film I shot with the Leica here.

Nikon FM2

The Nikon is simply my non-street photography film camera. I was going through a phase of shooting a lot of film. The Nikon gave me the ability to experiment with a number of different lenses at a fairly reasonable price. It is very sturdy, the honeycomb shutter is one of the best in class. You can see some sample shots and a bit of a review here.


Lenses

24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens

If you want to buy one lens for your camera then stop here. Forget the rest. This lens is an absolute beast. It is as sharp as primes all the way through the zoom range. The colours and bokeh are absolutely spectacular. I have never used a lens that is as useful and as sharp as this one.

24-105mm f/4 – IS Lens

The 24-105 was paired with the 5D mark III as a “kit lens”. For me it has always been my film making lens. As it has Image stabilisation built in I find it much more useful when making handheld video than the 24-70. The only issue I have with this lens is that the 5D struggles to focus as the light drops with the maximum f4 aperture.

16-35mm f/2.8L II Lens

The 16-35 lens should be the first lens you buy if you have the money and are shooting with a crop sensor camera (APS-C). It is sharp, bright and wide. I use it for astro-photography, architectural photography and anything where I need a wide field of view. This lens has now been superseeded by the Mark III lens which is slightly sharper. But, you won’t be disappointed if you pick this lens up.

70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

If you are going down the recommended route of purchasing lenses then after the 24-70 you should pick up this lens. Together those two lenses are about all you will ever need. The 70-200 is the perfect telephoto lens. Sharp all the way through, terrific bokeh and fantastic image stabilisation built in. This allows your shutter speed to drop below 1/200 at 200mm and you still retain beautiful sharp images. A true must have lens!


Accessories

Three Legged Thing Tripod

Three legged thing are a relatively unknown tripod brand when compared to your big boys (Manfrotto, Gitzo etc.). However what they did was release a full range of very high spec tripods at a fraction of a cost of the competition. My requirements for a tripod were: low weight, compact, sturdy and not overly expensive. The three legged thing ticked all of those boxes. It is a premium carbon fibre, ballhead tripod that can easily fit inside a standard backpack.

Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT Flash

The 430EX III was the first flash I ever purchased and I have had it ever since. It is slightly more compact than it’s big brother and a lot less expensive. You can bounce the flash at different angles with the swivel head and even trigger it remotely using the on board flash on your compact camera. I use it with an extension cable or even the remote flash triggers on my Leica film camera. A great first flash and perfect addition to your kit.

Yongnuo YN 560 III Speedlight

If you want a full featured flash (roughly) equivalent to the Canon 600EX then this is your flash. They operate at a similar strength and are less than 1/6 the cost. It is not as good as the cannon flash however as a second flash under an umbrella it is reliable and very cost effective.

Yongnuo Transmitter and Wireless Flash Controllers

I was experimenting with portrait photography and very quickly ran into the fact that I was unable to remotely trigger anything. The flash basically had to be attached to my camera. After a number of days researching I came across these triggers made by Yongnuo. After purchasing the flash I was blown away with the quality to price ratio that this company had. So I gave them a shot and have never looked back. They have full TTL pass through so work well with any brand of camera.

Tiffen Polarising Filter

If you are looking at just getting one filter then I highly recommend this one from Tiffen. The Polarising filter is the only one that you actually need. There is no way to remove glare using software alone. This filter has a very minimal colour cast (if any) and there is no noticeable degradation of the image.

Tiffen Variable ND Filter

For film making you absolutely need a Variable ND filter. The shutter speed is usually fixed around 1/50 or 1/60 for film making to ensure the footage looks “natural”. When you lower the ISO down to 100 and are in bright sunlight you will find that the minimum aperture is always around f11 -f16. Therefore you are unable to blur any backgrounds. That is where the Variable ND filter comes in. You can fix your Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed then dial in the exposure with the Variable ND. This filter has a slightly warm colour cast but you can correct by setting the White Balance with a piece of paper prior to shooting.

Hoya 10 Stop Filter

The infamous 10 stop filter. I think that pretty much all landscape photographers do this day is find an acceptable composition then slap a 10 stop filter on it, bump up the contrast and saturation then boom you’re a landscape photographer. You can be one too with this filter. In all seriousness this filter allows you to take long exposures during the day. It essentially like putting welding glass over your camera. Remember to focus your image first, switch to manual focus then put the filter on. Otherwise your camera will be searching for a focus point for a while.

Joby Gorilla Pod

This has been one of the handiest accessories I have picked up. It is the perfect addition to the G7X for vlogging as you can quickly put the camera anywhere and record nice timelapses while you continue to work with your primary camera. At a pinch I have even put my 5D with a 24-70 on it to take asrtro photography. It worked fine, was at it’s limits but in a pinch… It’s not a full tripod like the tThree

Lexar CF Cards

Lexar are the only brand of card that I use for now. I had a couple of corruptions with other brands of card that were met with no response online. However, the one time I had an issue with a Lexar card, they asked me to send it to them for data recovery. They then proceeded to recover all the data off the corrupt card and ship me all the photos and footage on a CD. Absolutely top notch customer service, something that is lacking in a lot of companies these days.

Lexar SD Cards

See the above reasoning. These are the only cards I will shoot with.


Recommended Starter Kit

I started with a Canon 600D and the kit lenses that came with it. If I could do it again, I would never have got those kit lenses. The camera was great though!

The one takeaway I have from the early days is that you will always upgrade the bodies. But buying glass for the future is the best way to go. Don’t spend any money on a lens that will only work on a cropped sensor, you will go full frame one day and when you do you’ll regret it!

This is the kit that I would recommend anyone getting into photography. It’s the perfect mix of price and features. Remember to look for used lenses on Ebay also.

Canon EOS 80D Digital SLR

Canon’s mid-top tier crop sensored camera. The 80D is a tough camera with fantaastic image quality for both stills and video. With this camera (and all Canon crop sensors) you need to multiply the focal length of all lenses by 1.6x. So a 50mm prime (used on a crop sensor) becomes an 80mm lens. When people tell you they are buying a “standard” lens for their crop sensor they are in fact buying a slight telephoto lens. So I recommend getting the 35mm lens first! You will get much more use out of it and in future you can upgrade to full frame and keep using it.

Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Wide-Angle

The first prime lens you should buy. I had one for years before selling to get the 24-70 f2.8. But that lens is about 4x the cost of this little lens. It is sharp, the bokeh is amazing and it is not too expensive. There is built in Image Stabilisation which means you can handhold shots at much lower shutter speeds. Plus you’ll find you will carry your camera around a lot more with this little lens on it, than a big one.

24-105mm f/4 – IS Lens

Or…if you need a zoom lens. Then pick up this lens as your starter lens. With this the effective focal range is 38mm – 168mm which is a great range of focal lengths. Not as useful as the wide angle 24mm on a full frame but you will get a lot of value from it. It is one of the cheaper “L” series lenses but the image quality is supurb.