Our photos and videos have caught your eye and you too would like to capture beautiful images while traveling – without being loaded like a moving van? Julien takes the hand on this post to detail his choices and the particularities of his equipment, in order to help you be fully equipped… but in a light and optimized way!
First of all, you should know that the choice of camera remains very personal: there is no one model or type better than another, everything depends on you!
- If photography is not part of your hobbies, but you want to keep good memories: a good smartphone should do the trick! In terms of lightness, we don’t do any better.
- If you want to get beautiful shots but in a simple way, without changing lenses: a good compact camera (Sony RX type) or a bridge camera could be the solution! On the market, these devices have a very good quality/size/zoom/purpose ratio.
- If you like photography (and video!) and that navigating between modes, changing lenses for zoom, macro, night photography with a tripod doesn’t scare you… it’s a HYBRID camera you need, for a good versatility/size ratio!
As part of this last category of enthusiasts, I opted for a Sony Alpha 6XXX hybrid model (A6000, A6300, A6500) for my trip.
Unlike a SLR or even “full-format” hybrids, it can be carried around the neck for a whole day or on a hike without any problem, and remains of a semi-professional quality!
In the Sony A6xxx range, two models stand out for making better quality videos: A6300 and A6500 cameras. For photo only, A6000 model remains a very good compromise with a rather modest cost (considering the quality), and still makes beautiful videos.
On a personal level, we traveled with a A6000 camera during the first year of our trip, then we acquired a second hand A6500 model.
You already understood it, I like to be polyvalent. I need to be able to photograph and film landscapes (with a wide angle), animals or details (with a zoom), portraits or night scenes (with a large aperture) and small objects or insects (via the macro).
So I took several lenses with me:
- A 16-50mm wide-angle F3.5-5.6 lens perfect for capturing a landscape – and very compact!
- A 35mm F1.8 lens for low-light and portraits (note: I invested in a much more polyvalent Zeiss 24mm F1.8 lens along the way)
- A 55-210mm F4.5 6.3 lens to zoom in,
- And a MACRO Hoya +4 windscreen, to be screwed directly onto the zoom! The advantage of the windscreen is that it can be used for real macro occasionally, without having to worry about a fourth lens!
NOTE: If you also opt for the MACRO windscreen, avoid taking a first price one, in order to maintain a certain quality. With my windscreen, I was able to realize, among other things this background picture.
To obtain more “professional” effects, you will need a tripod. As for me, I opted for a “Manfrotte Element petit” tripod, very polyvalent, compact (32cm folded) and lightweight (about 1kg).
Here is what it allows me to do:
Photo: stable shots with long exposures, usually at night, without any loss of quality (without increasing ISO). I can also have fun taking more “artistic” photos: bright trails, “cotton” effect on rough water during the day (examples: Venise, Padova, Kosovo…). Be careful though: a long exposure means more light in your sensor, so you will have to close the shutter accordingly. In bright light conditions, closing will not be sufficient and an ND filter will be required (see section 4. Accessories)
Vidéo: amazing timelapses (from 1min45) and hyperlapses, at all times!
To make your equipment last, it’s essential to maintain and protect it properly:
- A rigid case for my camera and neoprene covers for each lens. I don’t carry a bag especially for my photo equipment: each object is already well protected in its cover, and I always keep everything on me, in my small 20L backpack!
- Protective filters for lenses (I use UV filters). Do not hesitate to invest in brands, otherwise the quality of your images will suffer…
- Utensils for my equipment maintenance: a blower bulb to remove dust from the sensor, micro-fibre towels and a cleaning pen to remove dust and grease from my camera and lenses… I also have a carbon pen to clean the dust stuck to the sensor (to be used with great care, if you are not sure do not hesitate to call a professional!)
- A lens cap always attached to the camera
You can also add other accessories for even more photographic possibilities:
- A CPL filter which allows you to photograph the bottom of a water body by eliminating the reflection (see photo in the background), or to improve the saturation of the sky;
- an ND filter (darkening filter) that allows you to take long exposures, during the day, with high brightness (see section 3. Tripod). For daytime photos, a classic filter such as ND8, ND200 or other is perfectly suitable. In daytime video, you can use kinematic effects of background blur by opening your lens as much as possible (1.8 with the 35mm lens) and keeping a kinematic recording speed of about 1/50 (you will need an ND2-400 dimmer filter for example, but this is not very useful for travel video).
- a MACRO windscreen: details in section 2. Lenses.
- Extra batteries
All my accessories are stored in a filter storage bag (22cm x 12cm).
Another alternative to get quality videos without being heavily loaded: the sport camera!
The latest generations are very efficient both in terms of image quality, slowness, stabilization and waterproofing (no need for a diving waterproof case!)
This is only useful if you plan to spend a lot of time at sea. Personally, we don’t use it any anymore: we used it so few times, that it was not convenient to carry it…
If you want to process your photos (from a .RAW format) or edit your videos, I advise you to carry a powerful laptop (if it’s just for Internet and some movies, a good smartphone can do the trick!).
We have opted for a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (intermediate version with an i5 processor) and are very satisfied with it. I put it directly into my small 20L backpack protected in its neoprene cover. Its advantages? Very compact and lightweight (750gr!), and powerful enough to edit videos in full HD! But if you are ready to invest and want a very fluid experience with videos edited in 4k, I recommend the higher version i7!
NOTE: just like our camera, and with our ecological and economic commitments, we have purchased this lapotop as a second-hand item!
* Post written according to our personal experience *