My Camera Gear

From cameras to tripods, this is the gear I use to shoot photos for this blog and Instagram

If there is one piece of advice I would give to someone who is new to social media or blogging, it’s invest in the best camera gear from day one. And, learn how to use that camera gear to the best of your ability before you get busy.

This site generates income via partnerships with carefully-curated travel and lifestyle brands and/or purchases made through links to them. I’m an affiliate of Amazon and B&H Photo. I’ve linked out to both. Amazon is popular and convenient. If you can wait for your gear, B&H Photo, has excellent guidance and tutorials onsite and is popular with camera enthusiasts and professionals (they also may not charge sales tax depending on where you live).

Either way, here is what I currently use and why.

Sony A7rii (Main Camera)

In the last year, I switched to a mirrorless camera system and I seriously could not be happier. I hurt my back carrying a heavy DSLR and lenses around Delphi and other Greek ruins so decided change was in order.

The A7rii is currently Sony’s top-of-the-line. It’s a beast with 36 megapixels. It is expensive but worth every penny.

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Sony A5100 (Small Camera)

I bought this camera, too, for several reasons. First, it’s even smaller than the A7rii so easy to slip into my purse and take to theme parks. It’s simple enough for my 10-year-old to use (she calls it “her camera”). And, both cameras can use the same lenses. What I did not expect is how good the quality is. This little camera is a fraction of the cost of my former Canon 70D and takes way better pictures. If you’d just like a nice camera for everyday that’s higher quality than a point-and-shoot or looking for the most bang for your buck, I highly recommend this one.

A picture of my dog taken with a Sony A5100 mirrorless camera.

(Sony A5100 with the E-mount 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Retractable Zoom lens)

I used the camera to take the panda photo below and my mind was blown.

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Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens

I find that I shoot mostly in this range when it comes to travel and street photography. This lens is lightweight and easy to use. It is the perfect starter lens.

Make a sparkling water bar for a fun party idea.

(Sony A7rii camera with the  Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS lens)

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Sony FE 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS Lens

I was looking for a good long range zoom lens and was turned off by so many because of their massive size. I switched to mirrorless to avoid weight. So, I rented 4 lenses in total and finally settled on this one both for its compact size and quality.

Bao Bao resting at Dujiangyan Panda Base after being transferred from Washington DC Zoo.

(Sony A5100 camera and FE 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS lens)

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Filters

I’m totally a late adopter to camera lens filters but do have three that I use.

Polarizing Filter

The sun can be brutal in the afternoons in San Diego and I do really enjoy photographing La Jolla sea lions. I love the effects that this polarizing filter has on my photos that are taken in direct sunlight. A polarizing filter does what it suggests…. it polarizes light passing through it which reduces reflections and improves contrast. Things are clearer and frankly more interesting looking when I shoot them. I use a HGX Prime CPL Filer with Repellamax II which the camera shop I frequent (George’s Camera) highly recommended. I’m happy with it but it’s not widely sold. Tiffen and other big names make polarizing filters so you can shop them below.

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Carl Zeiss UV Filter

If I know I’m going to have my camera slung around my body while sightseeing or in crowds, I do put a UV Filter on the lens mostly for protection. It’s clear. I figured though that I might as well go for the best and get a Zeiss UV filter to compliment my Zeiss camera lenses.

AmazonB&H Photo

Hoya 6-Star Filter

I haven’t had a chance to use this filter a ton, being that we’re early birds, but it is REALLY fun to use when the opportunity arises. And, it’s not an expensive gadget. I took this (with unsteady hands after some Ruinart) from the Four Season Hotel Hong Kong Executive Club balcony.

Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong shot with a Hoya 6-star filter

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GoPro Hero5

This is by far my action camera of choice and it was released days after I flooded my Hero4 in Grand Cayman. I flooded the Hero4 because it required a waterproof housing that didn’t latch properly. The reason why the GoPro Hero5 is so incredible is because it doesn’t require a waterproof housing at all. You can simply take the camera into the water with you.

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GoPro 3-Way

If you are going to buy one accessory for your GoPro make it the three-way arm. We use it all the time as a grip, an extended stick and a tripod. It’s awesome and waterproof.

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FloatPro Floating Strap for GoPro

I attach this to the end of the 3-Way in order for it to float with my camera attached. I haven’t had a problem with it and it’s been great in the ocean and in swimming pools. You can very easily attach and detach it.

Amazon

JOBY GorillaPod SLR Zoom

This JOBY GorillaPod flexible tripod with ballhead bundle for DSLR and mirrorless cameras up to 3kg (6.6lbs) is really easy to use. It’s great in a myriad of situations. You can wrap it around polls or simple angle it downward when you need a table shot or use it to shoot video of yourself. Its flexibility comes in way handier than I thought it would.

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Manfrotto 190Go! Carbon Tripod with 3-Way Head

I obsessed about what kind of tripod to buy since I need one for travel in addition to food photography. I eventually settled on the Manfrotto 190Go because of its built-in vertical arm that allows me to point the camera straight down for flat lay photography.

The three way head keeps the camera very stable in those downward shots. I opted to pay a bit more for the carbon build because of its lightweight quality – every pound counts in my suitcase. I’ve taken it to Asia, too. It folds up nice and compact.

This tripod also means that I didn’t have to buy a vertical arm and a tripod separately. Depending on what I’m trying to shoot, it does require flat lays to be shot on the floor versus a table which is fine with me.

AmazonB&H Photo


Learn How to Use Your Gear and Editing Apps – Lynda.com

If you’d like access to as many training videos as possible in regard to how to use your camera equipment and editing software like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop, I would highly recommend a subscription (they offer a free trial, too) to Lynda.com. After the free trail is over, it’s a reasonable flat price that starts at $25/month and allows you to watch as many tutorials as you can.

What do you think is the best camera gear for travel bloggers? Or food bloggers?