Posts tagged nikon
Travel Camera Gear Guide

I recently read "Rock Your Travel Photography: Camera Gear Guide" from Ashlea of A Globe Well Travelled and it got me thinking about what my ideal travel photo camera gear setup is. Ashlea has some great tips for getting started with cameras for travel and this list is meant to build off that. And if you haven't checked out A Globe Well Travelled do so. Lots of great tips, tricks and reviews for the avid traveller. Easily one of my favorite travel blogs and some great video blogs too.

A 3.5" Digital Beginning


The first digital camera that I ever used was a Sony Mavica that stored all of its imaging data on a 3.5" floppy disk. It was about as big as a sandwich box and looked nothing like what a camera was supposed to look like. I mainly lugged it around on field trips, to basketball games and making would be selfies at my house. At the time, the 0.3 megapixel images were stunning and oddly large in size when compared with the RAW image files I shoot today. It was the beginning of a love affair and pretty much replaced my collection of disposable cameras.

Since then I've tried all types of digital cameras big and small. Here's what I recommend for the budding travel photographer.

Travel Camera Gear Guide

In this guide I'll cover options for DSLR, mirrorless and smartphone cameras. I don't have a lot of experience with action cams like the GoPro Hero 5, which I'm told is the best, so if you're looking for one, that's probably the best choice.


When it comes to DSLR's I've been a pretty loyal Nikon guy for years now. I started with a Nikon D3200 that was excellent for travel photo and video. That's now been replaced with the Nikon D3400, a compact entry DSLR that boasts a 24.2MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor. The trade off between the D3400 and my favored Nikon D750 is all in the size of sensor. The D3400 uses a cropped sensor that basically zooms in from what you actually see. So if you're using a 24mm lens, you get the equivalent of a 36mm lens view due to the 1.5 crop factor. For most people, this won't make a difference at all. The pictures are still crisp, clear and beautiful, just exposed on a slightly smaller image sensor.

Taken with my Nikon D3200.

Taken with my Nikon D3200.

The 18-55mm kit lens that comes with the D3400 will work well for most travel photography and covers the major basics for video as well. Speaking of video, the D3400 captures 1080p HD video at up to 60 frames per second for excellent slow-mo video. Some of the best video shots I've taken have come from entry-level DSLR's, meaning you don't have to have all the bells and whistles to get good footage.

Early last year I upgraded to the aforementioned Nikon D750 and I absolutely love it. The full frame FX image sensor allows for much better low light photography, especially when paired with a super fast prime lens like the 50mm 1.4G. Basically, the larger image sensor allows  more light in to expose the frame so even when shooting at night I can get sharp, beautifully lit images. One thing that I've really enjoyed is the expanded options for videography that the D750 allows for. With a HDMI out, mic in and headphone port I can record better audio in camera or from an external video recorder like the Atomos Ninja 2.

Taken with my Nikon D750 in downtown Houston.

Taken with my Nikon D750 in downtown Houston.

For an in between choice, the Nikon D500 offers all the options of the D750 with added support for 4k video and the best autofocus system I've yet to use in a camera. The price is steep for a DX style camera, but it should future proof you from having to upgrade as quickly. Another great thing about the D500 and it's DX sensor is that lenses for DX cameras tend to be cheaper and easier to find used.

Mirrorless Cameras

If I had to do it all over again, I'd probably have started with buying a mirrorless camera for travel. The ultra compact size and ability to handle low light make it almost unbeatable when looking to build a small, portable kit. Since they don't have an angled mirror in body, mirrorless cameras fit into a smaller form factor, sending light directly from lens to sensor. My favorite mirrorless camera is the Sony A7SII as I've talked about before. It's ability to record beautiful images and video make it a travelers dream.

If you're looking to spend a little less money and don't mind the smaller image sensor, the Sony a6300 with a 16-50mm lens is a great choice. With internal 4K recording and a 24.2 megapixel sensor, it should be able to cover everything needed on even the most demanding of trips.

I purchased the newly released Fujifilm X-T20 mirrorless camera recently and it's everything I hoped it would be. The retro stylings and the ability to apply film simulation in frame to achieve a super stylized look really make it a great option. The internal 4K and versatile autofocus settings more than make up for its smaller sensor size. At $1,200 with an 18-55mm 2.8-4.0 lens it makes for an ideal travel camera.

fuji x-t20
fuji x-t20

One thing I really had to get used to on the X-T20 was the electronic viewfinder. Coming from a traditional Nikon setup, the EVF on the Fuji threw me off a little bit. The digital blur definitely takes a bit of getting used to but I love how the touchscreen shuts off every time I bring the camera up to my eye. I've been really impressed with the quality of color and depth that I've gotten out of this little sensor. Using the Provia, Acros and Neg. Hi. film simulation settings, I'm able to get some really cool images with very little post processing.

Shot with my Fuji X-T20 in downtown Houston.

Shot with my Fuji X-T20 in downtown Houston.

My favorite part about the X-T20 is the physical aperture ring around the 18-55mm lens. It feels like I'm actually manipulating something with my hands, even though it's all electronic. The buttons and dials make it feel like you're recreating that film shooting experience and it makes me think about my shots more before I take them.

Shot with my Fuji X-T20 in downtown Houston.

Shot with my Fuji X-T20 in downtown Houston.


I've always said the best camera is the one that you have with you. You never know when a moment is going to happen so having a smartphone with a good camera can be key to capturing those moments. I currently use an iPhone 6 with the Filmic Pro app for video and the VSCO app for images. Filmic Pro allows for more customization when filming and can really enhance your travel videography.

A smartphone camera is better than a point and shoot because it has basically the same functions and you're more likely to carry it with you. So instead of getting a point and shoot, just invest in a better phone like the new iPhone 7 (I'm dying to try out the new Portrait Mode) and you'll be happier and your bag lighter.

Find What Works For You

Having a good camera setup really depends on what you prefer and the type of use. I like to shoot a lot of video so I emphasize that in my gear. If you're more of a still shooter, then I'd say invest in some really good zoom lenses for whatever camera you use. I tend to work more with prime lenses (50mm, 85mm) because of the swirly bokeh and ease of use in video but a good 16-80mm can really make life a lot easier when traveling, covering all your bases. I used my Nikon D750 and a single 50mm lens in Paris & Amsterdam and loved the experience of not having so much gear with me.

Remember, travel photography is about having fun and capturing moments. Build a camera kit around what feels good and how you plan to shoot, because when you're happy you see the world differently. The camera is simply there to catch that happiness in frame.

Nikon D750

Every photographer has their favorite. I have good friends that swear by their Fujifilm mirrorless setups (of which I now own this little beauty) and some that are loyal only to a single brand, which usually makes buying lenses a lot easier. For me, as soon as I picked up the Nikon D750, I was at home. The body fit perfectly into my hand and even though I was just delving into hardcore photography, I felt like I knew how to work most everything on it. I already owned some Nikon lenses so it was natural that I didn't have to start from scratch, although some serious upgrading was necessary.  

Nikon D750

Landing right in the middle of Nikon's full-frame format cameras, the D750 was the perfect mixture of style and substance for me. I shoot a lot of video at work and the ability of the D750 to handle aperture changes in live-view mode made it an easy choice over the D610 but at a lower price point than the D810. Coupled with an aftermarket battery grip, I can shoot photo and video for hours. The tilting view screen makes it easy to shoot via a tripod at higher or lower angles while still being able to see what is on screen.

Nikkor 24-120mm VR Lens

With the step up to the full-frame sensor, a new lens was necessary to get the full range of the D750. In stepped the Nikkor 24-120mm VR lens. It's not the fastest of lenses and is quite heavy, but when shooting at an event, the extra zoom is really helpful and it's crystal clear images never disappoint. When shooting video during the day (once again, not the fastest) the 24-120mm has pulled down some seriously crisp footage that rivals anything I've seen from a prime lens. A little heavy for a travel setup, the 24-120mm is ideally situated for short photo outings when you know you won't be able to get super close to your subject. At f/4 you can still get some nice bokeh, which is helpful.

Nikkor 50mm 1.8g Lens

The Nikkor 50mm 1.8g lens is the workhorse of my photo and video setup. Still not the fastest 50mm in the Nikon lineup, the 50mm 1.8g is consistently my go to lens for pretty much everything; video, photo, portrait, travel, you name it. On my recent trip to Paris and Amsterdam it was the only lens that I packed due to its versatility and small footprint. You can check out some of the images I shot on that trip here. The cheapest lens in my setup and yet the one that I use the most. If you have a Nikon camera and don't have one of these, go get one right now.

Peak Design Strap Pack

I have an unhealthy fear of dropping my camera in a large crowd while everyone laughs, so my first purchase after buying a new camera was to invest in a low profile strap that was suited to quick changes. Peak Design's strap pack that includes their leash and cuff was exactly what i needed. Featuring theirAnchor Link Quick-Connection System, the leash and cuff are perfect for any working photographer that has to change to tripod or monopod mounted video quickly without having a strap hanging down and making noise. I've even got an anchor attached to the bottom of my battery grip so that the D750 can hang sideways on my waist without the screen scratching up against my belt.

There's plenty of other gear that I'd love, like my newly acquired Nikkor 85mm 1.8D (or a 1.4g if anyone wants to gift it) and an Atomos Ninja-2 video recorder, but for now the smaller the setup the better. After all, my Tenba DNA 15 can only hold so much at one time.

Shooting Film in a Digital Age

By Daniel Wood

Let me first start by saying I don’t want this to be a film is better or digital is better discussion. It’s useless as they both have their reasons for using. And luckily for both camps, advances in technology have made it easier to use both and incorporate them into each other’s realm.

A while back, even a mere 5 years ago, nobody dreamed of artistically viewing photos on a computer screen or especially a cell phone screen, but, because they have become so ubiquitous and with such high-resolution displays, people do view digitally more than they look at printed photos. Still, there is nothing I love seeing more than a well-printed photograph or an incredibly curated photo book.

Despite what Instagram might suggest, filters are not meant to make photos look like film. They’re meant to make photos look like OLD faded photographs. Like what you find in your grandparents box of photos tucked inside their closet. Film itself is actually incredibly well detailed and with lifelike colors and sharpness. Each brand (mostly Fuji, Kodak and Ilford these days) have their own look to the film and offer different types (film stocks) for different occasions. Film even has a much higher dynamic range, and before anybody talks about HDR techniques, they are available to film shooters too and it requires a static subject. I shoot film because of this realism that it creates.


One of the most important aspects of photographing to me is the experience I have while shooting. I want to be inspired when I photograph. Each and every camera, whether film or digital, offers its own unique style. The way the camera handles, the controls, the way you see through the viewfinder, the feeling you get when you click the shutter. It all adds up to inspire you.

When I feel like walking around shooting whatever pops in front of me and I need compact camera that is discreet, I strap my Leica over my shoulder and shoot nearly invisibly due to its whisper quite shutter. However, when I need something a bit larger and have an idea of what I will be photographing I will bust out the Hasselblad and peer down through the most amazing viewfinder in the world. I feel like I’m in another dimension with that camera. Plus, the big square image I get afterwards and the huge CLUNK when you press the shutter is immensely satisfying. And when I have a project that is set in stone and I want to get the best image I can, I mount my 4x5 monorail camera on its tripod and take all the time in the world. That is a camera of patience and imagination since you must set up your photo, look through the ground glass screen and then insert the film which blocks your view and finally you can activate the shutter. But the detail of that image is unparalleled!

For someone who wants to get into film photography, whether already well-versed in digital or getting into photography for the first time, there is a camera for you. I tend to shoot cameras that are purely mechanical without automatic functions but that is only because they work for what I shoot and fit my workflow. There are film cameras still being made with just as much automation of exposure and focus as any digital camera will give.

For someone who wants to learn all the basics I’d stick with a manual camera like my trusty Pentax K1000 that can be picked up with a great lens for $50-$100 on a regular basis. For someone who wants a bit more dedicated functions the Canon AE-1 is a great camera around the same price. And if you want something like the experience and handling of shooting a modern digital camera, the Nikon F6 is still being made for around $2000 new. If you already have a digital and want to use your current lineup of lenses, there are plenty of great used film cameras that will most likely accept those same lenses, especially from Nikon, Canon and Pentax.

Once you find that perfect camera for you, choosing what you do with the images is up to you. First you must get them developed either at your local photo lab or there are plenty available online in which you mail your film to the lab and they return within a week or two. You can also choose to have them scan the film for you to edit on your computer and upload to your portfolio site, send to friends, or post on Instagram. If you are adventurous, it’s rather easy to develop black and white negatives at home using a few simple chemicals and a bathroom.


If you choose to print your photos, labs will typically do very good inkjet prints for you at a size you choose, or if you are lucky enough, there will be a darkroom lab in your community you can go to and print your photos yourself. That’s where the real magic happens! Many colleges also have at least a black and white darkroom that can be used if you enroll in a class. Color printing is a bit more difficult and requires specialized chemicals and equipment, but well worth it if you have access.

Lastly, for those who aren’t ready to dive into film but want to explore some of the looks of different films, companies like VSCO sell different “film stocks” that can be used as plug-ins in Photoshop and Lightroom or whatever other photo editor you use. Some of them are intended to replicate actual films both current and vintage but also offer effects like expired film or light leaks and faded photographs.

All that really matters, though, is that you find something that works for you. Maybe it’s one camera that does it all or several different cameras that offer their own experience. Go out and explore, experiment and be inspired.

Daniel Wood is a writer, photographer and musician who currently resides in Seattle, WA. He is a lover of music and art and is consistently working on blending different mediums together to create unique pieces that tend to focus on introspection through the outward examination of others. His works include “Self-Portraits” a hand-bound letter-pressed photo/story book featuring 4x5 fabric contact prints and “Untitled Dreams I, II and III” which are massive 35’ long prints. His ongoing project “The Streets” is merely a collection of photographs which document the surroundings in which he immerses himself in.