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Over the last ten years we’ve probably gone through more cameras and photography equipment than the average traveler. Aside from being part of our job, we’re always testing out the best equipment to take on the road. From drones and hand held gimbals, to action cams and mirrorless cameras, we’ve tried it all!
In the following post we’ve compiled a list of our favorite and best cameras for travel, blogging and vlogging:
Best Mirrorless Cameras for Travel
The days of heavy, expensive DSLR cameras are gone, as more and more camera companies release their own versions of lighter and cheaper mirrorless cameras. With the same full-frame, interchangeable lens benefits of a DSLR, mirrorless cameras are changing the game for travel photographers. In the past we were big Nikon users, but have slowly been changing that out.
Sony has been a pioneer in the mirrorless camera field over the last 5 years, but Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Fujifilm and Canon have been leading the charge to keep up and surpass them. As more and more camera models come out, each bettering their previous model, it can be hard to know where to start.
We first bought the Sony a7Rii back in early 2016. We’d just finished filming our Travel Channel tv show pilot and had a bit of extra money floating around, so we decided to reinvest it back into our business. It was the first full frame camera we’d ever purchased and we went big! Looking back now it was probably one of the best investments we’ve made for our blog. Spending almost $5000USD for the body and a couple of lens we suddenly took our photography game to a new level.
But it wasn’t just the camera that made us better photographers, it was also the time we spent learning how to use the camera. We went beyond understanding how to shoot on manual and took advantage of the amazing features this camera had to offer. Shooting at a ridiculous 42.4-megapixel, the Sony a7R series is the perfect camera for travel photographers looking to step up their skills. Built in image stabilization, fast auto focus, dynamic range and so much more!
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While the Sony a7Rii might have been released in 2015, it’s still an incredible camera. As it’s an older model, the price to purchase this camera is now really reasonable if you want to improve your photography. Granted, if you’re not already shooting with Sony, you’ll need to update your lens as well, but it’s a worthy investment. The newer Sony a7Riii model offers a few slight improvements, but nothing $1000USD is worth in our opinion.
Sony a6000 / a6300
The Sony a6000 has been a favorite camera of ours for a long time. We’ve loved this camera so much that we purchased three of them, but not all at the same time. Long story short, when they go missing on your travels, it’s always good to have travel insurance to ensure you can replace them! Christine first purchased this camera back in 2014 when we started to switch our gear over to Sony and embrace the benefits of mirrorless cameras.
Three cameras and five years later we’re still recommending this as a fantastic camera to take on your travels. It’s an APS-C crop sensor, so it doesn’t have the same photography capabilities as the Sony a7 / a9 series, but for a quick, sharp and light travel companion it can’y be beat. And at its current price point of $600ish dollars with a lens it’s amazing value for what you get.
Since the Sony a6000 was released there have been some big developments with the a6300 and a6500, but the price starts to climb as you look at each model. For the time being if you’re looking for an easy camera to take on your travels then you can’t go past the a6000 or a6300.
Best Drones for Travel
The last five years have seen a huge shift in the commercial and recreational drone space. Tech giants like DJI have paved the way for all levels and abilities and have well and truly earned their spot at the top. Not only do they make the best products, but they’re pioneering changes and advancements at a rapid rate.
When it comes to buying a drone for travel there are two main factors to consider, size and quality. Like a lot of camera equipment, the bigger it is, usually the more functionality and quality they’re going to have packed into it. So choosing a drone comes down to three choices based off size: the Phantom, the Mavic and the Spark.
DJI Phantom 4
This was the first drone version we bought back in late 2015, a DJI Phantom Pro 3. Since that time the Phantom has seen some incredible developments in picture quality, sensors and battery life. The Phantom is the bulkiest of the three options, but it also has the best stability in the air. Because of its larger propellers, motor size and body design it is less affected by wind and hovers better in the air. The newer Phantoms also have an enhanced camera sensor, which means they take a clearer and more detailed picture.
We traveled all around the world with our DJI Phantom drone and it served us well throughout the US, Mexico, Colombia, around Europe and back in Australia. The only downfall when traveling with a Phantom drone is the size. I had to have a dedicated backpack carry on just for the drone and remote.
DJI Mavic Pro 2
The next generation of drones from DJI really changed the game. Introduce the Mavic, a drone that had foldable arms and took up less than half the size of the Phantom. Plus the remote was also half the size, making the DJI Mavic every travelers ultimate companion. Over the last couple of years the Mavic has seen huge improvements to its design and capabilities, but not its size.
The latest Mavic 2 Pro has a whopping 20-megapixel one inch CMOS sensor, as well as an adjustable aperture and the ability to shoot 10-bit HDR video. Ok, that all sounds a little bit technical, but just know this, it’s a darn good camera strapped to this tiny foldable drone.
After lugging our Phantom around for a couple of years we decided to upgrade to the Mavic Pro at the end of 2017. We’ve since taken it all over the United States, Australia, Guyana, Mexico and Southeast Asia. In the same drone bag that used to be dedicated to carrying just the Phantom and remote, now fits the Mavic Pro, remote and all our DSLR camera equipment. We’ve essentially quartered the amount of space that the DJI Phantom took up.
Quality wise the Mavic has been great. In very windy days, or when you’re really making it work, the Mavic doesn’t quite hold up as well as the Phantom, but at the expense of its compatibility it can not be beaten as the best drone to travel with.
The newest addition to the DJI drone family is the tiny DJI Spark. This drone, with it’s much cheaper price point and ease of use, is definitely marketed at entry level drone users and photography enthusiasts. It has all the signature DJI technologies, but in a much smaller version. So small you could even fit it into your jacket pocket, but with that extreme reduction in size comes some loss in functionality.
While you may benefit from being able to literally carry the DJI Spark around in your pocket, you do get some limitations compared to the more powerful models in the Phantom and Mavic. The DJI Spark has a much shorter battery life and transmission range, as well as a limited gimbal and image quality. That being said, the DJI Spark is a great, easy to learn drone to take on your travels.
From all reports the DJI Spark is a great addition to any travelers looking to buy a compatible travel drone, but, if you were looking for anything serious in regards to quality, it’s probably not the best choice. Because of the lightweight design the DJI Spark doesn’t have as good stability and is tougher to maneuver in the wind.
Best Drone for Traveling: Verdict
For us the DJI Mavic wins this race! If Goldie Locks was deciding between drones, this one would be ‘just right!’ It’s the perfect combination of quality image, stabilization, size and price. If you’re looking to travel with a drone, the DJI Mavic is the best choice.
Best Action Cameras for Travel
Enter into the world of high paced, adrenaline junkie status with an action camera for travel. Take your shots to the highest highs and deepest depths with a durable camera that was meant to be a little rough around the edges.
While not completely necessary for everyone, traveling with an action camera gives you a lot more versatility when it comes to quick, on the go shots that involve water or heights. Strap a GoPro to your motorbike as you zoom around the Philippines or when you’re diving under waterfalls in Lombok, Indonesia.
GoPro is a tried and tested, well known household brand in the action camera department. While they’ve had their crack at other aspects (R.I.P Karma drone), action cameras are where they really shine. And so they should, they’re the original creator of a rugged camera that could really push the boundaries.
We’ve been using GoPro cameras since 2013 when we had our first GoPro HERO2. We also had a HERO4, HERO5 Black and now have the HERO7 Black. Each new release has proved itself a worthy upgrade, as the GoPro cameras have improved their waterproof housing, camera quality, high-definition recording and image stabilization.
With the new HyperSmooth, this makes the HERO7 GoPro’s best camera yet! The image stabilization is unbelievable! I took this camera on my trips adventuring around Guyana, from ATVs and 4x4s to kayaking and horse riding, and the smooth video recording without a gimbal was incredible!
- 4K at 60fps + 1080p at 240fps
- 12MP photo
- HyperSmooth stabilization
- HDR SuperPhoto
- 33ft (10m) waterproof
- Voice control option
- Live streaming to Facebook + YouTube
DJI Osmo Action
Move over GoPro, there’s another contender in town. Mid-2019 DJI announced to the world that that is was entering into the action camera arena and it did so with a bang! The DJI Osmo Action might look pretty similar to the GoPro HERO range, and that’s because it is. It’s got a watertight body, it’s own ‘RockSteady’ image stabilization system and shoots 4K at 60fps.
There is one key thing that sets it apart from the GoPro HERO, and that’s the frontward facing camera. Gone are the days of wondering whether you’re in the GoPro shot when taking a selfie, now the DJI Osmo Action offers a small screen at the front, so you can watch yourself in selfie mode. It sounds like a minor change, but it’s a game changer for action cameras!
Aside from that it levels up against the GoPro HERO7 pretty evenly in other technical specifications, but is also around $50USD cheaper depending on the marketplace you purchase it from. It’s a solid purchase and it’ll be an interesting battle to watch GoPro and DJI battle it out over the next couple of years.
AKASO V50 Elite
Hold onto your hats, because the action camera space just got a new competitor! And here’s the first amazing thing to say about the AKASO V50 Elite, it’s less than half the price point of a GoPro or Osmo and just as good! Whether you’re a professional content creator, a hobby photographer or just someone who wants to document their trip, the AKASO V50 Elite jumps onto the scene with a bang. Containing all the same great features as the more well known brands, the AKASO V50 Elite offers 4K recording at 30fps and 60fps, quality image stabilization, touch screen, voice control and a super wide field of view.
The only difference between this device and the almost three times as expensive competitors is that it doesn’t have an in-body waterproof housing. So if you’re going to take it underwater you need the waterproof casing, which comes included. This means you lose the ability to use the touch screen under water and have to use the buttons, but it’s a small price to pay for the huge saving you get on this action camera.
In regards to quality the AKASO V50 Elite is just as competitive as the other cameras, especially for the unbelievable price! The 4K offers sharp quality video and with a bit of editing comes up sharp and professional. For anyone looking for great action camera on a budget, this is the one to pick!
Best Camera Tripods for Travel (Photo and Vlogging)
Whether you’re capturing epic long exposures our capturing a quick self on the go, a handy tripod is a must for any traveling photography enthusiast. From handheld and bendable tripods like a GorillaPod to more traditional, fixed tripods, here is the list for the best camera tripods for travel.
JOBY GorillaPod Mobile Rig
JOBY are the best in the business when it comes to tripods; providing easy to use and durable tools that make it simple to enter into the vlogging world. The GorillaPod Mobile Rig is a real game changer for phone or action camera recording, giving you access to multiple arms and mounts to rig up lights, camera and action!
With the trademark JOBY three prong, flexible wrapping legs you can set up the Mobile Rig just about anywhere. Set it up on the table, hang it from a tree or simply hold it in your hand. Or as JOBY like to say, Grip It, Wrap It, Stand It. The multiple mounts means you can have your phone set up (in landscape or portrait), as well as a secondary camera in the GoPro or lights. The GripTight camera mount has a secure locking mode that makes it easy to switch between viewing modes. The multiple mounts give you freedom and flexibility to add extra elements to your video, like lighting, a secondary camera and enhance audio. Whether we’re shooting from the road, or setting up an Instagram Live at home, this is our go to vlogging tripod!
- Secure any smartphone in the GripTight mount
- 180-degree adjustable tilt for portrait and landscape mode
- Attach up to three additional devices
- Mounts for GoPro and Cold Shoe
JOBY GorillaPod 3K
While the GorillaPod Mobile Rig is the perfect on the go tripod for a phone and action camera, when we need a little more lift we use our trusty GorillaPod 3K. As the name states, this blogging tripod can hold up to 3kg (6.6lgs) of weight, which makes it perfect for our heavier Sony camera.
With its trademark JOBY wrapping legs the GorrilaPod 3K is flexible and adaptable to any setting. It’s lightweight, sturdy and really easy to set up. We particular like the quick release attachment that makes it easy to set the camera up on the tripod or release it quick for handheld action. The GorillaPod 3K also makes it easy to vlog with when cruising around the streets.
MeFoto Globetrotter Classic
This compact travel tripod is for those more stable shots when you want to control the height of your tripod and do longer exposures. The GorrilaPod tripods are great for on the go, but if you’re doing any kind of still work with a low aperture, then you’re going to need a really study tripod. We love our MeFOTO GlobeTrotter because its compact, lightweight and perfect for holding up our heavy DSLR and lens. It also comes in a range of colors to suit your style and environment.
Are we missing anything from our list? Drop a comment or shoot us a message over Instagram so we can connect!