Camera equipment for basic travel photography

Sometimes, The Frog travels lightly, and sometimes not.  This post is an outgrowth of the Buying a DSLR post, as it was part of that same discussion with a friend.  To me, travel photography means getting good results while traveling without a lot of stuff.  It’s easier these days, as the quality of all-in-one zoom lenses keeps getting better – and you can get great results if you know and work within the limitations of your lens.

My travel camera bag is about 10″x10″x6″, and divides into three “slots”.  It’s not huge – but there are times when convenience rules and I don’t want to be dragging a backpack around.  Since there’s not a lot of room for “stuff”, I have to think carefully about what I take because if it doesn’t fit in the travel camera bag, it doesn’t travel!  Camera equipment for basic travel photography isn’t always the same as the camera equipment I take when I’m on a photographic mission (such as trains or a specific landscape objective) – we’ll talk about that in the future.

Here’s a look at what’s in my “light” travel camera bag – camera equipment for basic travel photography.  This might give you some ideas about what you want, and/or how you might want to pack your camera bag for your travels.

The basics, which cover most travel photography:

(1) A Nikon D5100 body.  Compact, light, great low-light capability, and works well in the “idiot-proof” mode where it does everything or in a manual mode where I do everything.
(2) A Tamron 18-270mm f3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD lens.  A great all-in-one zoom with stabilization, and it goes on sale from time to time!  Also comes with a great warranty.
(3) The camera’s battery charger and an extra battery.
(4) A microfiber cleaning cloth.  (Yes, T-shirts work too, but the cleaning cloth is kinder to your lens.)

The basics and indoor/low light: All of the above plus (5) a Nikon 35mm f1.8 lens.  A fast prime lens can’t be beat, especially if you’re taking pictures at night or in low light.

The basics plus: #’s 1-5 plus (6) a Nikon SB-600 external flash.  This can be used for fill flash during the day or a night/indoor flash, and it does a pretty good job throughout the zoom’s entire range.

The basics and landscape photography: (1), (2), (3), (4) and (7) a Tamron 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 Di II lens.  This lens does not have stabilizing or vibration reduction capability – so our friend the tripod often comes along with his friend the remote cable release.  If I really want to stuff the bag, the 35mm lens (5) makes the trip as well.

Good things can come from small places!


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