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Choosing the Right Gear When You Travel

Choosing the Right Gear When You Travel

If curiosity has gotten the better of you and you'd like to check out more from When trying to decide what gear to bring with you on your next trip, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What kinds of things do you plan to photograph? Unobtrusive portraits or scenic landscapes? Bring only what you need for what you plan to shoot. For example, it makes more sense to bring a big telephoto lens on a Kenyan safari than to tote it along for an architecture tour in Rome.
  • What focal lengths do you tend to use often? Could you get away with bringing just your favorite lens and challenging yourself to make the most of it?
  • How many megapixels do you really need for the images you plan to take? Could you bring a compact camera instead of your dSLR?
  • Think back to your last trip. How much time did you spend actually using the gear you brought, versus the amount of time it spent in a bag in the hotel room because you were tired of dragging it around with you?

Ultimately, you have to ask yourself what's more important—having all your gear on hand for every conceivable photo opportunity, no matter how farfetched or imaginative, or the ability to travel lightly and enjoy yourself without having to worry about your back or neck hurting from toting too much gear through the streets of (insert your favorite tourist destination here).

Don't forget! If you can't fit it all in your backpack or daypack, you'll also need to plan for a camera bag of some sort.

I was thrilled with my decision to go with the S95 because, in addition to full manual control and 10.1 megapixels, it has plenty of focal-length range (equivalent to 28mm–105mm), a maximum aperture of f/2, and a delicious 3-inch LCD screen. Plus, it weighs only 6 oz. and fits in my pocket! Truth be told, if it had some wider focal-length capabilities (16mm or 24mm), I wouldn't complain, but I happily traded a few millimeters of focal length in exchange for not having to lug around a separate camera bag, and I think my photos—and certainly my trip—were better for it.

Regardless of which specific camera model you take with you on your travels, it would be tough to leave home without several accessories:

  • Spare camera battery for those times when you're especially shutter-happy and don't have time (or opportunity) for a recharge.
  • Battery charger (duh!).
  • Ample memory cards and something in which to store them. My favorite solution, whether traveling or at home, is a Pixel Pocket Rocket. It clips to your bag, belt loop, etc., so you don't have to worry that it will fall out of your backpack when you forget to close the zipper. (You know you forget sometimes!)
  • Possibly a mini-tripod, such as the gorillapod I mentioned previously. The gorillapods come in both a point-and-shoot variety and something more substantial for a larger-bodied camera—very cool!
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