Image Source: Pixabay
I was raised in a family of travelers. Thus, wanderlust has been ingrained in me for as long as I can remember. Still, it was only four years ago when I started taking pictures to document my adventures, and it was during this time that my love for travel photography was developed. At first I started out with my smartphone, but eventually I started investing in the best gear I could afford, switching cameras every now and then as my needs changed.
I’m feeling a bit nostalgic and sentimental, so allow me to talk about the three cameras that accompanied me on my travel photography journey.
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3
I got this model due to its compact size and lightweight body. I planned to travel cross-country after college, and I didn’t want to add more weight to my already heavy backpack. Hence, this camera was perfect.
It has large and easy-to-use controls, which made the learning curve shorter for a beginner like me. The navigation on the camera is also quick and customizable. Pressing the dedicated Q.Menu/fn button on the back of the camera body allows you to quickly pull up the menu, which can be customized to your liking—you can choose 10 menu options and combine them into a single interface for fast and convenient access. This was very helpful to me, especially during times when I needed to immediately snap a picture of a particular scene.
The GF3 is a mirrorless camera, so it also enabled me to use interchangeable lenses. This not only allowed me to learn and develop my photography skills, but also helped me take better photos.
It also has an ergonomically designed body, which made it comfortable enough to hold even when I’m on the move, and prevented the camera from slipping from my hands.
Despite its limitations, this little gem has served me well. It’s been with me all over the country and all throughout the first few years of my travel photography journey, and it still works perfectly to this day. Nowadays, my main instrument of choice is a DSLR camera. But I still reach for this from time to time, particularly when I want to scale down and simplify.
- Nikon D750
Image Source: Adorama
Once I felt more confident about my photography skills, I decided to purchase the full-frame Nikon D750 to take my practice up a notch. Many photographers, as well as some travel bloggers I had become friends with online, suggested this camera to me, citing that it was perfect for taking travel pictures.
And naturally, I took their advice.
As I expected, the Nikon D750 did not disappoint. With its 24.3MP FX-format CMOS image sensor and EXPEED 4 image processor, this camera helped me take excellent quality photos of just about anything I wanted to capture—even in very poor lighting. Autofocus performance was also superb, and as every travel photographer knows, fast and responsive autofocus is important when you want to capture fleeting, once-in-a-lifetime moments.
Taking action-packed surf and ski clips during my travels was also easy with this DSLR’s video capabilities. It also has an awesome time-lapse function that allows you to take photos in succession (up to 9,999 photos) and render it into a video, which has been particularly useful for capturing scenes from my travels that I wanted to fully document.
Another useful feature that I loved about this camera was that it also has built-in Wi-Fi, so I could quickly upload photos to my social media accounts without having to use a laptop or computer.
Surprisingly, the NIkon D750 is also considerably lightweight compared to other DSLRs so that made toting it around with me hassle-free.
Apart from being a really stellar camera for taking travel photos, the D750 is one of my favorites because it helped shape me as a photographer and as a traveler. My Panasonic mirrorless camera was great, of course, but the Nikon took me to fantastic new heights in my travel photography journey.
I’ve always believed that having a great camera forces you to be a great photographer, and my experience with the Nikon D750 further cemented that belief.
- Olympus PEN-F
Image Source: Adorama
Once, during a trip to China, I tried to take pictures of some locals on a busy street with my D750. I guess I wasn’t too stealthy, because one woman didn’t like it and started berating me. I then learned (the hard way) that it’s good to have a smaller camera on-hand for places and situations wherein bringing a DSLR camera (and its gigantic lenses) might be unwelcome—or even unsafe.
So, I scouted around for a camera that would be good for this purpose, and I found the Olympus PEN-F. Being another mirrorless camera, this takes DSLR quality photos without the added bulk. It was a bit pricier than what I had initially hoped to spend on a “backup camera,” but after shooting with this on a recent trip to Thailand, I can honestly say that I have no complaints.
In terms of technical specifications, it definitely meets and exceeds expectations. The photos I’ve produced with it are razor-sharp, plus it has an in-body 5-Axis Image Stabilization System to combat camera shake. It’s also great for taking photos on the sly, as it is small, lightweight, and mostly unobtrusive.
But aside from all of its amazing specs, the thing that I love most about this camera is that it helped me come out of my shell. I’m usually a solo traveler, and I’m generally not a very sociable person. However, with this camera, I found myself talking to people more and more.
It was the weirdest thing. I think it’s because the PEN-F is such a cool, retro-looking camera, so people often came up to me to ask me about it, and sometimes they would ask me to take their pictures. After years of solo traveling and doing travel photography, I found myself making friends with my subjects. I also took the best selfies with all the people I meet on the road. I’m not a huge fan of using artificial photo filters, but I get a kick out of playing with the PEN-F’s 28 art filters every once in awhile, and my newfound travel friends loved it too.
For many, these cameras may just merely be gadgets, but to me they are the tools that shaped my travel photography journey. And without any of these three, I wouldn’t be where I am now in the exciting and breathtaking world of travel photography. I’m no expert, but having these reliable cameras at my disposal made the entire learning process more engaging and, ultimately, more memorable.