In this post I talk about my camera equipment! However, if you’re hoping for super duper technical stuff and benchmarks and reviews, then I’m afraid I’m going to have to disappoint you. I just love taking pictures and hate technical jargon! I’ll show you here what photo equipment I usually have with me when I travel and what equipment I prefer to work with. The tips are aimed more at travel bloggers and frequent travelers, but also for “normal” ambitious photographers should be one or the other useful tip!
- Buying a camera: which brand is the right one? Canon, Sony, Nikon or…?
- The camera body (plus replacement)
- The lenses
- Accessories: What else must be in the camera bag!
Buying a camera: which brand is the right one? Canon, Sony, Nikon or…?
Except for a sorry episode with a Sony A7II* last year, I’ve been shooting with Canon since my first digital SLR. And I’m happy to do so, even though my back would tell me otherwise – lugging several kilos of camera equipment around the country is not everyone’s cup of tea. I just didn’t warm up to the Sony camera, a full-frame mirrorless camera. The choice of brand is really a personal matter, it’s best to look at cameras from different brands at your trusted dealer, or borrow a model there for a few days to test. Each brand has its own user experience and peculiarities.
This is what my current equipment looks like, which I adjust and reduce a bit depending on the destination or occasion.
Welcome to my travel blog!
Hey, I’m Tatiana, a German-Brazilian living in Berlin & the author behind The Happy Jetlagger. I’ve been writing about my travels since 2014. In addition to my job as a flight attendant, this blog is my passion project!
The camera body (plus replacement)
Since this year I photograph with a Canon 5D Mark IV*- and who asks himself now: isn’t that pretty oversized in size, weight and price?, I can only answer: YES! But what the heck – with this camera you can just do aaaalles, and I’m sure it will give me as a total workhorse provide good service for many years to come. And I just enjoy taking pictures with exactly this camera. I simply get along best with Canon, and after a 350D*, with which I really discovered digital photography over 10 years ago, and a 70D*, which was good, but just not bomb, the 5D IV is just perfect. As a replacement, I still have my 70D up my sleeve, but it never really gets used, and I’m thinking of giving it away. (Anyone interested?)
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EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
In the meantime, my absolute favorite lens. Wide angle is the most practical on the go. The EF 16-35mm f/4 IS USM* makes it easy to photograph buildings and landscapes well. The distortion is also very limited, and it’s worth every penny! Currently considering switching to the faster EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM* model – but there’s still a bit of saving to do.
EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM
The EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM* was actually my always-on lens, because of its wide range. In the meantime, however, I realize that I would prefer to exchange it for a faster lens like the 24-70 2.8. I rarely end up needing quite that much zoom. And it would be a little more manageable.
EF 40mm f/2.8 STM
My favorite lens when I want to be inconspicuous! In addition, also very light! Such a black behemoth with a zoom lens screwed onto it is anything but discreet – and it’s a bit like with dogs: If you’re looking for contact on the street, either get a dog – or hang an expensive SLR with zoom lens around your neck and you’ll be approached sooner than you think.
The EF 40mm f2.8 STM* is nice and fast. The focal length is ideal for street photography and videos: The human eye has a field of view comparable to 35mm focal length, so the 40mm comes close and provides an authentic angle of view. And besides, it’s affordable: around 200€.
EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
A classic – the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM* is probably owned by everyone who shoots with Canon. Because it’s simply unbeatable in price and takes really good pictures. Costs a little over 100€. I rarely use mine on the 5D, for portraits I prefer the 85mm for example. Most of the time it’s plugged into my analog Canon EOS 300 by default.
EF 85mm f1.8 USM
I bought the EF 85mm f1.8 USM* for portraits, and admittedly, I haven’t really used it much. But it should change!
In general: fixed focal length or zoom?
Zoom lenses are really handy for traveling. However, with many zoom lenses you also have a lot of distortion, and I’m skeptical about zoom lenses that supposedly can do everything anyway. I also realized that I don’t necessarily need long focal lengths – unless I’m going on a safari or something. So I’m thinking of going even more with fixed focal lengths, they’re often much cheaper and easier to carry around.
Accessories: What else must be in the camera bag!
The very best camera strap
One really great accessory that I wouldn’t want to be without is my Sun Sniper camera strap*! Since I got this, I wonder how I could always torture myself with this standard camera strap on my neck all the time! If the weight of a DSLR is an issue relevant to your purchase, try this camera strap. It’s amazing how much more comfortable it makes wearing it! In addition, the camera is always at hand, and if you just wear it around your neck, it looks inconspicuous like a cross-body bag – you no longer look like the stupid tourist with giant camera in front of your belly! And it’s such a relief for the neck and back.
The right tripod: the best compromise
Finding a suitable tripod for a DSLR that you can easily take on a trip is not that easy. On the one hand, it should be light and mobile, but on the other hand, it must also be able to reliably hold several kilos of camera and lens without tipping over in a light gust of wind. In general, a rickety tripod is of little use: Then you might as well save yourself the trouble of lugging it around and shoot handheld. I chose the Manfrotto Element Traveller* made of carbon– it’s quite a good compromise between stable and easy to carry. Also comes in a padded pouch for easy storage in your suitcase/backpack.
Gorillapod 3K – the tripod for in between
For longer days in cities or when I want to carry less, I take my Gorillapod* instead of the big tripod. with. I opted for the 3K (for cameras up to 3 kilos), holds well, even if you wrap the Gorillapod around railings or the like. And the setup is not as huge as with the Manfrotto. However, I do not use it all the time, for vlogs or the like with the 5D I would probably rather opt for the larger Gorillapod 5K decide.
Memory card: size and format
The Canon 5D has two memory card slots: one for a CF card and one for an SD card. I have actually only ever had one CF card from Sandisk with 128 GB* in it, which is fast, and is also enough for a few 4K videos (which unfortunately quickly become huge with the 5D).
Batteries: No-name or original?
Extra batteries are never wrong. On the road I sometimes do not get to charge, so it is always advisable to have a few charged with me. The batteries for the 5D last a relatively long time, even with videos. (This was quite different with the Sony A7II, also a reason why I was not particularly enthusiastic). I also use 2 no-name batteries * in addition to the original battery of the 5D and the original battery of the 70D (which is compatible). The included charger takes up less space than Canon’s original charger, which is very convenient when traveling. The battery performance is of course lower than the original battery, but you can accept that for the price.
As a filter, I recently bought this ND filter* and a set of polarizing and UV set of filters*. In 77mm, which then fit both the 16-35mm and 24-105mm added. The polarizing filter wasn’t really convincing because it leaves a weird color cast on the image. Unfortunately, good filters in the size are not exactly cheap.
One of my favorite acquisitions: The Canon RC-6* remote control is a great way to take selfies, group photos, or night shots. You can also use Canon’s mobile app, but it can eat up a lot of battery life. A remote control is much more practical. And is super cheap to boot.
Camera bag for women
I’m really still looking – finding the perfect camera bag is not easy, especially as a woman. Backpacks I find practical, but I had the impression during testing that they are basically made for long men’s backs – I have yet to find a model that was really comfortable. I am currently toying with the Lowepro ProTactic 350* When traveling, I sometimes use a Lowepro Passport Sling III* which just about fits everything in when I pack neatly. On location, however, I usually just take out the included foam insert or a microfiber towel, just wrap the camera in it and pack everything in a black Longchamp Le Pliage* with long handles. Not particularly professional, but practical and less conspicuous. Has always proven itself so far.
From New York I have brought me a pocket insert from Ape Case, but is also quite unwieldy in this size and relatively heavy.