Travel Photography Gear: What’s In Our Camera Bag?

Want to know what photography gear and accessories we use? Now’s your chance!

When it comes to travel photography gear, personally, I think less is more.

A huge collection of photography gear sounds ideal, but I don’t want to travel with it or carry it around. And I don’t want to leave half my gear at home either, simply because it’s too heavy or difficult to carry.

Travel photography gear should be compact, light and portable, with excellent build quality. Plus rugged enough to be able to stand up to the rigours of travel, and at a decent price point.

Our Travel Photography Gear

We like to keep our photography gear minimal, consisting of a camera, a few lenses, filters, and a handful of required accessories.

After much refinement, our camera bag consists of only the absolutely necessary items, with a quality over quantity approach, all without breaking the bank.

This page will be updated if we make any changes to our travel photography gear, but this is what’s in our camera bag for 2019.

Camera Body

I use the Olympus EM 5 MK II, which is a micro four thirds camera. The reason I use a micro four thirds is because of the smaller sensor size. This allows the camera body and lenses to be very small, compact and light compared to full frame cameras. All while still producing professional grade photos. Which is perfect for travel photography.

The Olympus has one of the most advanced in body 5 axis image stabilisation systems in the camera world. I’ve taken some very long hand held exposures because the stabilisation is that good. Great for taking photos from moving vehicles or boats. I wish I had this during my Thailand island tour.

My other favourite feature on the Olympus is the articulated screen. This swivelling screen is great for shooting at hard to reach angles. Point the lens at your subject and swivelled the screen towards yourself. No more trying to focus in difficult positions.

Or just to swivel it around to take a selfie of yourself. You can even focus and take photos by touching the screen.

The rugged all metal construction and weather sealing make it splash proof, dust proof and freeze proof and tough enough for the rigours of travel. The camera is very light at 460 g but still has that solid reassuring build quality weight when held.

It’s the perfect camera for all environments you might be travelling and photographing.

If price isn’t an option, the new high end EM 1 X might be for you. Followed by the slightly cheaper EM 1 MK II. Then the mid range EM 5 MK II. And for those on a budget, the EM 10 MK III

Medium Zoom Lens

The Olympus 12-40 f/2.8 Pro is my primary lens.

It’s a 24-80 equivalent when fitted on a micro four thirds camera, which covers almost all of my travel photography requirements.

Super fast auto focus and constant f/2.8 makes this lens great for producing outstanding landscape, portrait, astro, street photography even in low light situations. And for a non-macro lens, it produces amazing macro images.

Olympus camera with 12-40 lens attached
12-40 lens

Like the camera body, it’s rugged all metal construction means I’m confident it can take a knock without breaking. And it’s weather sealing makes it splash proof, dust proof and freeze proof.

It’s a small, lightweight, feature packed lens perfect for travel photography. I believe it’s the best all rounder lens for the Olympus.

I highly recommend buying this lens as a package with the EM 5 MK II

Telephoto Zoom Lens

The Olympus 40-150 f/2.8 Pro is my secondary lens.

It’s a 80-300 equivalent when fitted on a micro four thirds camera, perfect for those long distance photos or photographing difficult to approach wildlife.

Like all of the Olympus Pro lens range, it’s all metal construction and weather sealing makes it splash proof, dust proof, freeze proof and tough enough for travel.

Olympus camera with 40-150 lens attached
40-150 lens

The best feature of this lens is its length. Compared to it’s full frame equivalents, it’s tiny! You’ll never need to leave it at home because it’s too damn big and cumbersome to carry!

Teleconverter Lens

The Olympus 1.4X Teleconverter is useful when I need just a tiny bit more distance.

The teleconverter works in conjunction with the Olympus 40-150 f/2.8 Pro lens by increasing the focal length.

Olympus teleconverter attached to camera and lens
Teleconverter attached to camera and 40-150 lens

In basic terms, it changes the 40-150 (80-300 equivalent) to 56-210 (112-420 equivalent). Although it does sacrifice an f stop to do so. Changing the constant f/2.8 to f/4.

Basically it’s like having an extra lens, but at a quarter the size and a quarter the price of a full lens.

Travel Tripod

I didn’t want a tripod sitting at home collecting dust because it was too large and bulky to carry around.

It had to be a proper travel tripod that was light weight, super compact, sturdy and portable while being simple and fast to use.

I use the Vanguard VEO 2 265CB Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod because it meets all these criteria.

Strong carbon fibre construction, lightweight, ultra compact, highly portable and easily collapsed and packed into its carry bag.

No need to leave it behind on you next adventure when you need it most.

Lens Filters

Lens filters are useful for creating certain photographic effects. Personally, I don’t use them often, but I do carry two styles as they are relatively cheap, easy to transport and they do come in handy in certain situations.

I carry a Hoya CIR-PL (Circular Polarising) filter to reduce reflections from shiny surfaces like glass and water, and increasing the colour saturation of a photo.

The other filter I carry is the Hoya Variable ND (Neutral Density). This filter acts like a dial, by turning it, you decreases the degree of light that enters the lens.

This allows you to do long exposure photos even in bright sunlight. A must have filter to produce those silky smooth flowing waterfall images.

Lens Cleaning

Initially I was sceptical about LensPens, but after many failed attempts at cleaning a dirty lens with an equally dirty microfibre cloth I soon changed my mind.

The beauty of the LensPen is that you’re never touching the cleaning surface with your dirty, oily skin, like you are when you pick up and use a microfibre cloth. So it stays clean!

LensPen kit and LensPen Hurricane Blower
LensPen kit and LensPen Hurricane Blower

Each LensPen comes with a soft retractable brush so you can brush off any solid particles that might scratch your lens before using the dry carbon cleaning tips.

I use the LensPen Elite Pro Cleaning Kit, which has three different sized LensPen. Perfect for cleaning lenses, sensors, filters, viewfinders and touchscreens. The Pro Kit comes with a microfibre carrying pouch, which doubles as a cleaning cloth if required.

They excel at removing fingerprints, grease and dust. They’re cheap to buy and compact enough to throw in your pocket or camera bag.

Air Blower

I stuck with LensPen again when it came to purchasing an air blower.

The LensPen Hurricane Blower is perfect for cleaning dust off your camera and lens while out in the field, but also useful during routine maintenance such as cleaning your camera sensor.

Camera Strap

Throw your original camera strap away and grab a Peak Design Slide straight away!

The Peak Design Slide allows you to wear your camera is a few different configurations. Wear it around your neck like a standard camera strap. Hang it off your shoulder. Or across your chest in a sling configuration like I prefer.

Camera with Peak Design Leash unclipped
Peak Design camera strap clipped and unclipped

The quick adjustable clips make changing the straps length and configurations lightning fast and simple, and the anchor system allows quick release of the camera if required.

I often use the quick release anchor system for close up macro photos without an annoying strap getting in the way.

I use the Peak Design Slide Lite, which is for lighter mirrorless cameras. But if you have a heavier camera such as a DSLR, you can use the Peak Design Slide, which is a little more heavy duty.

They’re infinitely more comfortable than a standard camera strap.

Action Camera

The GoPro Hero Black 7 is my action camera of choice. Small, rugged, waterproof and with minimal bounce thanks to the HyperSmooth image stabilisation.

The GoPro is great for capturing action video and photos in conditions a normal camera cannot.

Action Camera Accessories

There are literally hundreds of GoPro accessories, and I own exactly one of them!

The GoPro Three Way Pole has so far been all I require. It’s a GoPro grip, extension pole and tripod all in one.

GoPro Hero 7 Black with GoPro Three Way Pole
GoPro Hero 7 Black with GoPro Three Way Pole

Use it for hand held filming, or getting into those hard to reach places, or converted to a tripod for time lapses.

It’s simple, tough, with no electronic components. Use it underwater or in bad weather without worry.

Spare Batteries

I never want to worry about running out of power or missing a once in a lifetime shot with a battery malfunction.

For this reason I carry three genuine Olympus batteries and two genuine GoPro batteries with me at all times.

Genuine batteries tend to last longer and hold a charge longer. And the piece of mind knowing I’ve always got a fully charged battery with me at all times is reassuring.

I use the standard Olympus charger for my camera batteries, and a dual charger for the GoPro batteries.

Memory Cards

A good memory card is essential travel photography gear.

I’ve always got four Lexar Professional 1000x 32GB memory cards in my camera bag.

My preference is to use multiple smaller memory cards over a single larger memory cards for redundancy reasons. And I generally swap cards for each new location I’m photographing.

Card speed is important when shooting in RAW and filming in 4K, and these cards handle the load with ease.

Memory Card Wallet

I use the Lowepro Memory Card Wallet to not only protect my SD and micro SD cards, but to keep them organised.

The wallet holds twenty cards in secure pouches, and protects them with a nicely padded cover.

I keep mine securely attached to the inside of my camera bag with a carabiner for easy access.

Camera Bag

I don’t actually use a dedicated camera bag. I’ve tried a few variations, but so far I’ve not found exactly what I’d like.

This may change in the future if I find something that fits what I’m looking for, but for now I prefer using my Osprey Daylite Plus backpack with a padded camera insert.

The Daylite Plus backpack is small and easy to carry, and fits all of my camera gear.

Image Editing

While this isn’t necessarily classified as travel photography gear. Good editing software can dramatically improve your travel photos.

For editing I use Adobe Lightroom. While other image editing software perform similar editing functions, the main benefit of Lightroom is its photo organisation.

With the right use of folders and hierarchical keywords, cataloguing and finding your photos is quick and simple.

I use the Photography Plan, which gives you Lightroom and Photoshop for a monthly subscription fee.

The benefit of the monthly plan is you automatically get all updates, instead of having to purchase the software every time updates are released.

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4 thoughts on “Travel Photography Gear: What’s In Our Camera Bag?”

  1. I have been using Nikon all through but I see Olympus has awesome gear. Love the camera, read it’s review and it’s quite impressive.

    • Glad you enjoyed it David. I love the Olympus gear. So small, compact and the stabilisation is amazing. I do have a separate camera review in the works, so hopefully that will be out soon.

  2. You’re producing some great images with minimal gear. I reckon I’ve got 2 lenses that individually weigh more than your whole kit!
    Thanks for posting, I found it very interesting.

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