The previous blog discussed types of cameras available and their weight considerations. One option not covered was using a smartphone for travel photography. Smartphone photos have improved considerably and there is a debate over smartphone and DSLR travel photography. But while the photos are excellent, the limitations of a smartphone (lack of manual control, fixed lens, battery life, etc.) may not make it the best choice for recording that once-in-a-lifetime trip. But if you carry a smartphone anyway, consider it a useful second camera for quick snaps and anonymous street photography that that is easier to do than with a DSLR. A smartphone certainly wins the light weight and ease of use category and can prove to be a valuable accessory.
If you are using a DSLR or mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses, weight is a primary factor. You may want to leave that super zoom at home. If you own a 600mm monster, think how often you would use it versus the weight it adds. Some photographers prefer a fast prime lens (35 or 50mm) and a medium-range zoom like an 18 to 70mm. Whatever your choice of lenses, consider the weight and keep it light. Of course a bridge camera with a wide range zoom eliminates the lens issue. The image quality may not be quite up to the standard of a DSLR but is still excellent. And the weight saved with the smaller, lighter camera is considerable.
Many photographers would not think of traveling without a tripod. But it is the one accessory that adds the most weight and bulk to your camera bag. It also takes time to set up and break down. And many locations forbid the use of tripods. Many photographers leave the tripod behind in the interest of traveling light. But nothing beats a sturdy tripod for camera stabilization. If you don’t mind lugging a tripod, consider a carbon fiber travel type, the lighter the better. There are many models to choose from and a bit of research will uncover the best cost/weight combination for your needs.
If you prefer not to be burdened with a tripod, you will still need an alternative support for camera stabilization in low light. It should be small, light weight and easy to use. The four-ounce, pocket size HandlePod fills that criteria and more. It provides reliable camera stabilization on any solid object you can press it against by hand. And it attaches firmly to many supports, even large ones, with the elastic cord. If a tripod is not in your kit, be sure to include an alternative camera support for low light, long exposures.
Misc. Photo Accessories
A flash with batteries adds a lot of unnecessary weight. Unless you are seriously into flash photography, leave it behind. Many places forbid the use of flash. And all cameras now include a built-in flash. It does not provide the best light and using it consistently is not recommended. But it can provide some fill when needed and it beats carrying a separate flash unit.
Filters are not often needed but you might consider a graded neutral density to balance sky and foreground. A polarizing filter can also be useful. Square filters in a Cokin type holder are more versatile and easy to use with different lenses. Other photo accessories like lens extenders are a personal choice. Just be sure to evaluate what you will actually use and how often. If you decide it will rarely come out of the camera bag, leave it at home.