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travel photography


  • most travellers just need a mirrorless camera systems with a couple of decent lenses - a zoom for daytime outdoors use, and a low light lens for indoors without flash, or for portraits.
  • carrying a big, heavy dSLR is overkill for most people as it not only attracts undue attention, is heavy to carry, but it can cause significant issues with carry-on cabin luggage on flights.
  • professional photographers often carry a very different kit to what I describe, I just don't know how they get it on the flights, for example, Steve Davey wrote an article here and describes how he takes 2 Nikon cameras, Nikon pro-zooms: 14-24mm, 17-35mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm, 10.5mm fisheye, 50mm f/1.8, 60mm macro, 300mm f/4, 1.4x and 2x teleconverters, Lastolite reflector, flash, laptop, etc and stuffs much of it in a Domke photographers vest which he wears at check-in to try to avoid scrutiny for excess carry-on luggage weight. I am sure most of us do not want that hastle, and transporting it in stowed luggage runs a big risk of theft or loss.

sometimes even the battery chargers become a nuisance - check out the size of the Canon 1DMIII charger compared with the Olympus one  

Which camera & lenses to buy:

  • my general requirements for a good travel outfit are:
    • 16-24mpixel moderately large sensor (2x crop sensor such as Micro Four Thirds system would be my smallest sensor]]
    • relatively light & compact
    • focal length coverage:
      • a main lens with at least 24-120mm focal length in 35mm terms
      • an optional telephoto zoom to extend this to 200 or 300mm eq.
        • for bushwalking, when ability to capture an image quickly may be more important than image quality, consider a 10x optical zoom.
      • an optional super wide angle lenses lens, preferably one which will take filters but if main lens is 24mm then not so necessary.
      • an optional portrait lenses
      • an optional 30-40mm eq. prime lens for street photography
      • a wide aperture lens for low light, indoors use
    • image stabiliser - either sensor IS or optical IS in the main lens and the telephoto - most people will not carry a tripod.
    • preferably weathersealed
    • preferably able to fit in a jacket pocket discretely when walking the streets at night or going to bars

my preferred international travel kit

Camera/laptop bag for air travel:

  • check your airline limits for carry-on cabin baggage:
  • assuming you can get a bag which is small enough to carry on board and fit your gear, let's look first at the weight issue:
  • general requirements of a bag to consider:
    • Big enough for all your essential photo gear - any gear that you would take on a 3 week trip to a photogenic spot.
    • Enough extra space for the non-photography extras that you need on a long flight.
    1. Pack should not be immediately identifiable as containing camera equipment - no Nikon or Canon logos please!
    2. Compact enough to carry down the aisle of a crowded train in Europe.
    3. Qualifies as carry-on luggage at an airport - worst case - it will actually fit under the seat in front of me.
    4. Will protect your gear 
    5. Is not too difficult to get into and allows quick access to gear.
    6. Easy to carry for hours at a time - like on a photo hike in the mountains.
  • let's have a look at a few bags which will take your 12“ laptop and photo gear:
        • 1kg, small bag up to 12” laptop + 1 dSLR with 200mm lens and 2 wide angle lenses (ie. smaller lenses) 
        • 1.05kg, small bag up to 12“ laptop + 1 dSLR with 200mm lens and 2 wide angle lenses (ie. smaller lenses) 
        • draws attention with its sleek styling
        • 1.5kg, medium bag up to 12” laptop + 1 dSLR and several lenses
        • 1.8kg, dSLR + 80-200mm lens attached + other lenses but no laptop?
      • consider the optional all weather cover for these bags in rain (see
      • rain covers at B&H Photo
        • 1.9kg, 33x28x51cm (a bit deep for planes) = 112cm, Canon 1D with 5” lens, 2 other lenses, 17“ laptop, jacket, lunch, etc.
        • photo gear on front, bottom; laptop in rear via side zip;
        • a 70-200mm f4 fits nicely with hood but not attached to camera - a f/2.8 may fit snugly but perhaps without the hood.
        • if you are not carrying too much camera gear this looks like a great compromise bag for travel and hiking with its versatility of section for jackets, etc.
        • BUT it still worries me a little regarding security of camera equipment in the front section - maybe you need to attach padlocks to the zippers (if you can) when walking in crowded tourist parts.
        • possible problem: the velcro which is attached to the inside top which the cameras LCD is stored against while in the bag - could it scratch the LCD screen? You could attach a padded velcro to cover this I guess.
        • No rain cover available as this bag is not compatible with Tamrac's M.A.S. modular system.
        • It is possible to carry a tripod underneath the bottom as straps can be threaded through some holes in the plastic.
          • Two lash tabs on the bottom allow a tripod to be carried (requires accessory straps, Model S-113, sold separately).
        • also consider LowePro's CompuRover AW bag which has a bigger jacket/lunch compartment.
        • 2.6kg, 34x26x43cm, 2xSLRs, 700200mm f/2.8, other lenses, 15” laptop, front accessory pocket.
        • laptop in rear via top zip; no facility for lunch, jacket.
        • 2.4kg, 33x24x41cm, similar to 5256.
    • Lowepro:
        • 32×18.5x32cm top + 29.5×17.5x21cm camera compartment + 29.5×4.8×47.5cm notebook compartment;
        • All weather cover; detachable waist belt; ~$A250;
    • Naneu:
      • K3:
        • 2.4kg; 36x30x48cm = 114cm;
photo/travel.txt · Last modified: 2019/06/11 23:35 by gary1

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