Entering the DSLR world after a long period of compact camera cradling is an eye opening yet rewarding experience. For the keen amateur travel photographer, it’s a whole new field to learn and be challenged within. However, even I can attest that the inspiration gained is well worth the effort.
Getting comfortable with a weightier camera, understanding composition and technique, experimenting with settings; combined with the passion for travel, a sense of adventure, and the knowledge that a little patience goes a long way exponentially increases one’s list of photographic equipment ‘wants’. Without a doubt.
As part of my MatadorU course, I was asked to compile a list of equipment ‘haves and wishes’. I still classify myself a Learner in the world of DSLR and welcome feedback, comments, and suggestions based on the list below.
The aim is to invest in quality pieces at the best price; I realize that second hand could be an option and would be interested in some expert opinions on this. I am all about minimalism – the less I need to carry, the better.
CAMERA BODY: I own a Nikon D5000.
I have read time and time again that the lens selection is of greater importance than that of the camera body. Having looked at a number of lens options, price alone determines this to be a truth. Case in point: Nikon 6mm F/2.8 Fisheye hits eBay for $34,000 | Popular Photography.
I currently own a kit lens, 18-55mm, f/3.5-5.6, which is great for street photography though I have found it challenging in the following situations-
Architectural and landscape shots: I am warming to the wide angle Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 lens which looks to be a good choice and a lot less expensive than the Nikkor version.
Food photography and night shots: I am trying to figure out the pros and cons of two fixed lenses, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D or Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G. Suggestions?
As much as I would hope either of the aforementioned lenses would fulfil my nighttime pursuits, I understand the importance of a tripod, especially when experimenting with movement. Given the tripod would be used mainly for landscape and architectural shots, the 190 Carbon Fiber Tripod With Q90 – 4 Section 190CXPRO4 – 190 Series | Manfrotto seems the most versatile as well as the lightest for traveling – it weighs in at 2.95lb.
I don’t own any filters and am considering-
Polarizing: to reduce glare from landscape shots, especially given off by water and foliage during the harsher afternoon hours.
UV: for lens protection, and to increase image quality and sharpness.
I don’t feel the need for a Neutral Density nor a Warming/Cooling Filter as I would rather use the camera’s settings for these shots. Thoughts?
Memory Cards: In addition to 8GB and 4GB memory cards, I’d like to invest in a couple more 4GB cards, in the case of a long trip when there isn’t time to upload photos to the laptop. This would allow a good distribution of images so that in the case of misplacement, not all photos will be lost.
Laptop: I have an ASUS laptop and transfer all photos to the D drive after a day of photographing, if I have time. I have found that carrying DVDs and USBs for file transfer helps when space is an issue on the road. I am considering investing in an external hard drive; as time goes on, it would be good to minimize the to- and fro- transfer of folders/files.
Does anyone have any tips for a hard drive that is ideal for traveling?
Cable Release or Wireless Remote: sounds like a neat idea when using the tripod, to up the chances of getting that perfect shot. Any thoughts on this?
Battery: I have an extra that has proven its worth many times over. I don’t think I need a third but that depends on the trip. It may be a worthwhile purchase especially as the non-branded versions are so inexpensive.
Camera Bag: I don’t need to invest in a bag as I love my Lowepro | Passport Sling™ Shoulder Bag. This is a pretty important accessory as it is one that needs to be comfortable on your body during those photography trips. I am not a fan of backpacks as I think someone might open the bag without my knowing, or seeing it.
This bag has an adjustable strap and its carrying capacity can extend by 30%. The bag is not too bulky, and I like how it rests at my side for quick access. The Passport Sling fits my DSLR with attached lens; there’s room for 1 extra lens; extra memory card and battery. There are pockets on the outside and inside to place other accessories and personal items – such as wallet, mobile phone, and notebook.
As for the laptop – that would be put into my carry-on luggage when traveling by air.
Camera Cleaning Kit: I own a kit by Precision that includes lens tissue paper, cleaning fluid, soft cloth, brush, cotton swabs. Very handy.
That’s a wrap. Or is it? Let me know your thoughts.