Photography is, of course, a huge part of travel. Whether you’re an amateur, like us, or a professional, you want to create memories beyond what you can remember in your head. And what would a travel blog be without pictures? Not much. Words on a page are great for a novel where you’re forced to use your imagination, but if I want to encourage you to travel to Indonesia to go diving, then you’ll probably want to see pictures, right! That means we have to carry a good bit of photography equipment with us.
Here’s the camera equipment we take when we’re on the road:
Above ground photography equipment
I still like a digital SLR, so I usually carry my Canon EOS 60D 18 MP SLR. For that camera, I generally take two lenses with me, a Tamron 17-50MM F2.8 and a Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6. This is my “walking around camera.” Mostly, I use the Tamron lens to shoot. But I attach the Sigma lens when I really need that wide shot. I also have a Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro lens, but I don’t generally carry it. It’s a fantastic lens though for those who want to get super close! Lenses are sometimes more expensive than the body itself, so I recommend looking for used camera lenses,
Canon G1XFor some of the video we do, we also use a Canon PowerShot G1X. This used to be my underwater camera and it was pretty good for that until I learned that I should be shooting manual in that environment. I just couldn’t find an underwater housing that would allow me to access all the manual controls. So now we just use it above ground. When he’s not just using his iPhone, Halef will use this one.
DJI Osmo+We recently hooked ourselves up with the DJI Osmo+. We haven’t used it much, but we love what it can do so far. I used it to take video in Washington, DC, and it was great at virtually eliminating the movement you so often see when you’re walking with a regular camera. The three-axis gimbal is really cool. Once you get used to it, it’s really simple to use and the video (ad photos) are crystal clear.
Way above ground photography equipment
DJI Mavic Pro
Although we don’t get to use this one very often, we really love playing around with the DJI Mavic Pro. We went ahead and bought the whole starter bundle with extra batteries and accessories. You basically get all the photography supplies you need for a couple hundred extra dollars. It would cost you far more to buy it separately. Right now, we can’t fly it when we’re in Atlanta because of the regulations. And we’re not experienced enough to fly it in the wind (so I don’t fly it much when we’re out on liveaboard boats). But I’m confident it’s going to come in handy.
I’ve also been looking at the DJI Spark, as it’s even smaller and more portable. But we only have so much money to spend on camera gear!
Underwater photography equipment
GoPro Hero 4
We haven’t yet splurged on the Hero 5, as there doesn’t seem to be much point to that when the GoPro Hero4 works just fine. So that’s where we’re staying at the moment. The Hero cameras do quite well at adding to your videos underwater. Personally, I think for photos, they’re terrible. One thing you’ll want to have if you’re going to use the GoPro for good videos is a video light. I don’t have a great one, so I am not going to recommend it. But if you want your reds in the video, you need a good light.
Sony RX100MIV with FantaSea Housing
When I was on the Raja Ampat Aggressor, I took an underwater photography course. I loved it. More than the course though, I loved the camera the instructor was using. I loved the housing. The Sony RX100 IV was so much better than the Canon G1X I was trying to take pictures with. So when I got home, I bought it. All the underwater photography you see on this site is currently taken with this camera. It’s a little pricey for a point and shoot, but it’s worth every penny if you buy it and learn how to use it.
The Fantasea Line FRX100 IV Underwater Housing is very easy to use and very well-made. You have access to all the controls, so shooting in manual is not an issue. But before you shoot with it, learn it. Don’t do what I did and just take it into the water. My first couple dives with it were a waste of time because there was a bit of time between when I did my course and when I began using the camera again. Mistake!
We’d be lying to you if we didn’t admit that, like everyone else, we’re sometimes more prone to pulling out the old standby – our iPhones. We each have one and they take great pictures. A lot of the photos you see on this site are “phone pics” – and why not? These days, smartphone cameras rival many highly-priced SLRs!
And that’s it. It seems like a lot to carry around. And the truth is, we don’t always carry it all. If we’re not diving and can’t use the drone where we’re going, we don’t take that stuff. What about you? What’s in our kit?
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