Travel Photography: What Should You Pack?

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How do you choose which camera gear to bring with you when you travel? Photographer David Hobby packed light on his vacation to Hong Kong.  Here he discusses exactly what he carries in his traveling camera pack:

Tips for Traveling Photographers

  • Pack Light. Hobby suggests only taking the most necessary items for taking photos while on vacation.
  • Go Compact. Opt for a tripod with several adjustable joints on the legs. This allows you to carry around a small piece of equipment that can quickly expand without the bulk of a full-sized tripod.
  • Eliminate Unnecessary Extras. Take extra memory cards and camera batteries, but leave heavier extras (like an extra flash) at home.
  • Take a Single Lens. Hobby opts for a simple 35mm lens for his travels but you may prefer a lens that offers multiple focal lengths, such as an 18-200mm, if you plan on shooting a variety of subjects at different ranges. Carrying multiple lenses will weigh you down, and constant lens swaps will cost you valuable vacation time.
  • Use a Shade and UV Filter. One of Hobby’s tricks is to use a cheap lens shade paired with a high-quality UV filter to avoid constantly removing and replacing his lens cap. Hobby says a high-quality UV filter is key, because in addition to protecting your lens, it will not alter your image quality too much and it’s easy to wipe clean with your shirt. This also ensures your camera is ready to go at all times, so you can capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments.
photographer gear

Hobby’s vacation photography gear only takes up a small spot on the lunch table.

When asked what camera he would like to have if he were ever stranded on a deserted island, Hobby says his go-to camera is the Fuji X100S. He says the compact size, the quick auto-focus, and the high-quality images produced by the X100S are his top reasons for choosing this camera. These reasons also make a camera like this ideal for travel photography.

“Enjoy the trip and slip into photographer mode every now and then. But you’re having experiences and this little black box is recording them. And that’s it. It’s as simple as that.”

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2 Comments

  1. Dennis says:

    Just a couple friendly observations from my own travels:

    I’ve traveled a fair amount with photography gear also. My last 30-day trip to Europe just a few month ago I did with only a carry-on but still managed easily to take along my 5DIII with 3 lenses. Swapping by no means “cost me valuable vacation time.” I mostly used my 16-35mm f/2.8 but sometimes switched to the 24-105mm f/4.0 for extra reach or the 40mm f/2.8 to have a super lightweight combo. The Crumpler strap always made everything a breeze to carry. Certainly there are pros to taking only a single lens, and I have done so, but multiple lenses are easily doable and convenient even with just a carry-on.

    Filters seem awfully silly as a front element “protector.” Front elements a very tough and not much more to replace than the cost of a single high quality filter. On numerous trips I have left my lens caps off for the entire day or even days at a time. I don’t baby them at all yet none have even coating scratches. Expensive filters, IMO, are a waste of money and offer no significant protection anyway, as a broken filter can be the very thing that scratches a front element.

    Generally some fine observations by the venerable Mr. Hobby though.

  2. Wanda says:

    Which tripod is that on the table

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