Pack right, pack light.
Deciding what camera equipment you should take when traveling can be tricky. You want to have what you need—there’s nothing worse than being unable to get the shot that you want because you left a lens at home—but you also want to travel light.
So, before packing, give it some thought and try to tailor what you bring along to both your destination and the types of images you are hoping to capture.
Here’s a list to get you thinking:
The first decision you will need to make is whether to bring a full size DSLR or something smaller. There are obvious pros and cons with each. A smaller, compact camera is easier to carry around but it also limits your shooting choices.
Ultimately, the decision should rest on which type camera you are more likely to carry around with you. If you suspect that you’ll find the weight and bulkiness of a DSLR cumbersome, then you’re better off bringing a smaller camera.
If you are driving to your destination and packing isn’t as much of an issue, you may want to consider leaving your options open and bringing both. It can be very handy to have a point and shoot camera available for those times—think active daytrips and wet excursions—when it may be inconvenient or impractical to carry along a DSLR.
If your vacation destination includes water, you may want to invest in a waterproof camera so that you can take your photography adventures with you wherever without concern for ruining your equipment.
By the way, if you’re traveling by plane, be sure to keep your camera and equipment safe by taking it as carry-on luggage.
If you are bringing an SLR, you will need to decide what lenses to bring along. When choosing these lenses, aim for flexibility in terms of focal length so that you can shoot using everything from wide angle to long telephoto.
There are two options here.
You can opt to bring along a single lens (sometimes called an All-in-One or Superzoom) that covers a wide range of focal lengths. For example, the Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD lens is available for Nikon, Canon, Sony and Pentax brand cameras with cropped sensors, and has an approximate 28- 419mm (35mm equivalent) focal range.
The advantage of the single lens approach is convenience and flexibility. The disadvantage is that these All-in-One lenses tend to be large and bulky, some may show distortion at the extreme ends of their focal length range and they frequently feature relatively large maximum apertures, making them a bit slow and not well–suited to shooting in low-light conditions.
The other option is to take two lenses that collectively cover a large focal range. So you could bring a mid-range zoom such as the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM AutoFocus Zoom Lens (approx. 38-112mm 35mm equivalent) along with a telephoto zoom like the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 DI LD (IF) Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens (approx. 105-300mm 35mm equivalent)
The two lens approach means carrying more equipment but, since the lenses both are wide aperture zoom lenses, it also means added flexibility in terms of lens speed and low-light shooting.
Another consideration is macro. Personally, I love shooting macro. So, if room isn’t an issue, I highly recommend bringing along a dedicated macro lens, especially if you are looking to capture up close and personal images of flowers, fauna and insects. But, really, macro lenses are about so much more than bugs eyes and raindrops on a leaf. Many subjects have tiny details that are screaming to be photographed close-up. And macro lenses make for great portrait lenses too, because they are able to capture distinguishing features—eyes, mouth, dimples, etc.—in wonderfully sharp focus.
So bring a macro lens along if you can. But if room is at a premium, consider one of the more portable macro options: