I’ve often found that picking out camera gear can be daunting. There are so many options out there for cameras, lenses, and photo accessories. Jacob and I are always trying to find ways to simplify the set up we’re using and make our camera bags lighter.
While we own and use a variety of camera gear for different scenarios — this post breaks down more of our travel photography gear — lately we’ve been downsizing and taking less camera gear with us on trips. What’s funny is that we’ve never owned more cameras and lenses than we do now! The main reason we’ve acquired so much is because Jacob loves to test new equipment. However, through lots of trial and error we’ve narrowed in on what we find works best for us. This camera gear post includes an updated list of items we’ve been using most frequently for our travels.
This camera is small, lightweight, and discreet. After lusting over it for years, Jacob finally surprised me with it last Christmas. That version, the Leica Q, is the only camera I took with me on my trip to Vietnam and my visit to Sweden and Norway in fall. Over the past year, I’ve started to use it more than my DSLR, so we just upgraded to the newly released Leica Q2. The new version has a larger image resolution for photo and video, and a longer battery life.
What I love about it: Leica is known for impressive photo quality. Leica photos tend to have a more ‘film-like’ quality than most cameras, which I love. I’ve found the color to be beautiful right out of the camera, which also means less editing time and color correction. The size is also unmatched. I can actually keep my Leica Q2 in my purse when I travel, which means I rarely walk out the door without it. It also performs better than my Canon in low light situations, which made shooting after sunset on our recent Christmas Market trip incredibly easy. Overall, it feels more like a hobby camera but takes such beautiful photos that I’m able to use it for 90% of photos I take.
What I’d change: The high price point. The Leica Q2 is a fixed lens camera, meaning I can’t swap out the lens. I also noticed that when I take a lot of photos back to back, it struggles with loading images for me to review. This can be frustrating when I need it in a situation where I’m shooting lots of photos at once, for instance if the subject is moving.
Canon 5D Mark IV + 16-35mm Canon Lens
We invested in the Canon 5D Mark IV earlier this year after spending the last couple years shooting with our Sony A7RIII. The main reason I wanted switch back to Canon (Jacob and I previously used Canon years ago) is for the color produced in their images. We kept our Sony for video shoots, but our Canon has become my go-to with a 16-35mm lens. I’ve found I really prefer the look of Canon for soft, blurry backgrounds and rich colors. The majority of photos in my Lofoten, Norway travel guide are taken with our Canon 5D Mark IV and 16-35mm lens.
We keep our 16-35mm lens on our Canon 90% of the time. It’s a great all around lens, and works well shooting a variety of situations, from landscapes to portraits to wide angle shots of cities.
What I love about it: for the most versatile of situations, it’s hard to beat. I love how fast it is and I find the color and the way it treats light to be unmatched. Canon has a reputation for being the best for a reason!
What I’d change: This camera is bulky and heavy, even more so than our Sony. It also doesn’t have an electronic viewfinder, meaning I can’t review images as easily as with my Leica and Sony cameras. This becomes a problem mainly if we’re taking photos in bright sunlight, since it’s harder to view them on a digital display.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone
We’ve used the Mavic series for over three years now and we’re hooked. The newest version has all the perks of the first version (it’s compact, easy to travel with, and has a decent flight time), with an improved camera. Overall, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro shoots photos in a higher resolution with better color and an improved lens. We use it both for our own photos and professional shoots. Some of my favorite drone footage we ever took was during our trip to Svalbard — the video at the bottom of the post is shot completely with our DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone.
What I love about it: how compact it is. We keep it in our backpack while traveling and it’s lighter and smaller than our Canon camera! It’s crazy to be able to capture such a unique perspective with such a small device. We discover landscapes and destinations in a completely new way when we take it with us.
What I’d change: the RAW photo files could be improved. When coloring photos, it has limits to how much you can manipulate them. This is really only noticeable if you’re going the extra length and using these photos professionally.
iPhone 11 Pro
Smartphones have only gotten better and better, and I find myself using my iPhone 11 Pro to take photos more than I ever expected. If you’re not sure what camera to invest in or are finding that you’re overwhelmed with camera options, investing in the new iPhone is a great way to go. I frequently edit on my iPhone now, using the free Lightroom app and our presets to edit on-the-go. If you use the camera frequently on your iPhone, opting for the Pro version will give you a telephoto lens, which I find myself using frequently to capture city views.
What I love about it: convenience-wise, it can’t be beat. It’s a series of cameras that can literally fit in your pocket. The lens built into the camera is pretty versatile, and I’ve been using the wide angle more frequently than I expected. Paired with an editing app like Lightroom, it’s the most cost-effective and convenient solution on the market.
What I’d change: image size. While the photos from my iPhone work great when posting on Instagram, I notice I can’t really get away with sharing them on here. The portrait mode could also be improved.
Samsung SSD Hard Drives
I recently wrote about our Samsung SSD hard drives in my post about how we organize travel photos. If you’re taking lots of photos or want to free up space on your computer, I can’t recommend them enough. I really do use them daily to store my RAW photos both at home and while traveling. They’re essential if you’re taking photos constantly with a nice camera and even more so if you’re editing using Lightroom.
What I love about them: they’re compact, lightweight, and discreet. We’ve used them for years and have yet to have an issue with them.
What I’d change: I honestly can’t think of anything! They keep improving the storage capacity and the physical drives stay the same size, so I only wish I had bought more of the 2TB version to begin with since I use them so much now.
When you purchase any of the products linked above I receive an affiliate commission, which makes a huge difference to us (and helps fund all our future photography and travel posts)! You can read more here, but the best part is: it doesn’t cost you anything! We use Amazon for the majority of our gear purchases, both for convenience and their flexible return policy — which is why I recommend them.
If you’re not using Adobe Lightroom yet, you can sign up for their Photography plan (what we use for photo editing) here. Or, use our affiliate link for 15% off the entire Adobe suite of products here! I cannot recommend Adobe Lightroom enough for editing photos, it’s how we’ve created and maintained our individual editing style.
Photos in this post: Svalbard, Norway and Amsterdam, Netherlands
Presets used in this post: Greek Islands Collection, Winter Collection (coming soon).