Capture the Journey: The Essential Travel Blogging Camera Gear

Unlock the secrets behind our vibrant photos, dynamic videos, and daily vlogs. Learn about the travel blogging camera gear we rely on to bring our content to life.

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Our Essential Travel Blogging Camera Gear

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on our complete system of essential travel blogging camera gear that fuels our passion for content creation!

It’s not just about having a fancy camera; it’s about the lenses that give life to our photos, the aerial perspectives captured by our drone, the underwater adventures documented by our action camera, and so much more.

Even our smartphones and our accessories play pivotal roles in our content creation process.

As we delve into this detailed guide, we invite you to step behind the scenes, explore our tech ensemble, and perhaps find a spark of inspiration for your own creative process!

So, let’s dive right in and unpack the tools of the trade that make our content creation journey both exciting and seamless!

Canon R6 Mark II: The Heart of Our Photography Arsenal

Canon R6 Mark II with the Canon 14-35mm f4 Lens
Trey’s Main Camera – The Canon R6 Mark II with the Canon 14-35mm f4 Lens

When it comes to capturing the vibrant scenes and intimate moments that fill our travels, the Canon R6 Mark II is our most trusted companion.

The photos gracing this blog and our Instagram account? The lion’s share of them are shot with this remarkable camera, like this one:

Let’s delve deeper into what makes this camera so integral to our storytelling:

  • Lightning-fast autofocus system. Its autofocus is impressively quick, quietly doing its job without making a fuss. And when it comes to capturing scenes that don’t stand still—like a bird taking flight or a bustling market—the camera keeps up, ensuring we don’t miss those fleeting moments that add a dynamic layer to our narrative.
  • Ultra-sharp 4K Video. Video is another avenue where this camera shines, albeit subtly. While the term ‘4K’ gets thrown around a lot these days, what sets the R6 Mark II apart is its approach to rendering video. It initially captures in 6K raw and then downscales it to 4K. This extra step adds a layer of crispness to our video content that would be hard to achieve with standard 4K cameras.
  • Low light capability. We’re often awake capturing scenes when most travelers are still asleep, or we find ourselves chasing the last light after the sun has set. This camera doesn’t flinch in low-light conditions. While no camera can entirely eliminate the challenges of shooting in minimal light, the R6 Mark II allows us to shoot at higher ISO levels without compromising too much on image quality.

Why Lenses Matter: Elevating Our Canon Photography

Canon Lenses (from left to right): EF 24-70 f2.8, RF 35 f1.8, RF 100-400 f5.6-8, RF 50 f1.8, RF 14-35 f4
Our Canon Lenses (from left to right): EF 24-70 f2.8, RF 35 f1.8, RF 100-400 f5.6-8, RF 50 f1.8, RF 14-35 f4

There’s a piece of photographer’s wisdom that you’ve probably heard:

Date your camera body, but marry your lens.

What’s behind this nugget of truth? Camera technology is ever-evolving at breakneck speed, often leaving previous models in the digital dust. In contrast, a quality lens can stand the test of time, delivering stunning results year after year.

The Real Investment: High-Quality Glass Over Glistening Gadgets

The bottom line? Your hard-earned cash is best spent on top-tier lenses rather than a top-tier camera.

Take our Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens as a case in point.

Introduced nearly a decade ago in 2012, this lens continues to be an invaluable asset to our photography kit. It consistently delivers photos that leave us in awe.

And guess what? We have zero plans to retire it anytime soon.

Meanwhile, choose a camera body that fulfills your immediate needs without necessarily being the latest and greatest. Believe us, today’s jaw-dropping camera features will likely trickle down to more affordable models sooner than you think.

With that being said, here are the lenses that we have in our arsenal:

Our Zoom Lenses

Our Prime Lenses

ND Filters: The Secret to Silky Smooth Cinematic Footage

K&F Concept ND Filters
Our K&F Concept ND Filters for our Canon camera lenses

We use K&F Concepts Variable ND Filters for all of our lenses and have found them to work well for us.

Variable ND filters have been a game-changer for our videography. They allow us to adjust the light-stopping power with a simple twist, eliminating the need to swap out filters as lighting conditions change.

Our variable ND filter stays on our Canon RF 14-35mm f/4 L IS USM full-time, since that’s the lens we use the most for vlogging and videography.

The ND filters allow us to follow the 180-degree shutter rule for cinematic motion blur, even in bright daylight.

But in bright conditions, even the lowest ISO setting won’t prevent overexposure if we want to keep our aperture open to maintain a blurry, cinematic background. So using an ND filter lets us open up our aperture without overexposing our footage.

Why We Ended Up With Both the Canon R6 Mark II and the Canon R8

Canon R8 with RF 35 f1.8 and Peak Design Slide Lite Strap
Chloe’s main shooter: The Canon R8

Initially, we figured we’d take turns with our Canon R6 Mark II, but let’s be honest—sharing a camera turned out to be a logistical nightmare! Our customized settings differed, and even our lens choices often clashed depending on the scene.

Enter the Canon R8. Chloe has claimed it as her go-to, and although the R6 Mark II might boast superior specs, we have compelling reasons to give the Canon R8 a slight edge, particularly for travel bloggers.

The Sensor Showdown: A Tie in Quality

First off, both R6 Mark II and R8 cameras sport the same sensor, rendering 24MP images that are virtually indistinguishable. There are minor technical disparities, but they’re negligible for most practical purposes.

The Weight Game: Every Ounce Counts

Weighing in at roughly half a pound lighter than the R6 Mark II, the R8 offers significant relief for traveling photographers.

It may not sound like a game-changer, but trust us, those ounces add up when you’re trekking through foreign cities or hiking up mountain trails. Plus, its more compact dimensions make it a breeze to pack.

The Unexpected Vlogging Advantage: No More ‘Warbling’

You might be surprised to hear that the absence of in-body image stabilization (IBIS) in the R8 actually works in its favor for vlogging.

Here’s the deal: Canon’s current IBIS technology can introduce a distracting ‘warbling’ effect around the video’s edges, especially when using wide-angle lenses—a vlogging staple.

While Canon has tried to remedy the warbling through firmware updates, the issue persists to some extent. So, no IBIS in the R8 means no warbling, making your vlog footage cleaner.

DJI Mini 3 Pro: Our Aerial Companion

DJI Mini 3 Pro Drone with Freewell ND Filters

We’re not going to dance around it:

If you’re a travel content creator, the DJI Mini 3 Pro needs to be at the top of your camera wishlist.

Here’s a shot from our DJI Mini 3 Pro drone:

And here’s why it’s earned its place in our camera bag:

Portability Meets Legality

Coming in at under 250 grams, the DJI Mini 3 Pro is our golden ticket to capturing stunning aerial footage without wrestling with large equipment—making it our best friend on international trips.

Its ultra-compact design is so easy to pack, especially when we’re fighting to get everything to fit inside our carry-ons.

The Vertical Camera

The Mini 3 Pro’s camera rotates, allowing us to shoot vertical photos and videos in glorious 4K resolution.

Considering we live in the ‘Scroll Era’ dominated by Instagram and TikTok’s portrait-oriented content, a rotating camera is not just nice to have: It’s an absolute game-changer.

Excessive Battery Life

Although the drone’s standard weight falls under the 250-gram threshold, we opt for a high-capacity battery when local regulations permit.

The high-capacity battery keeps our drone airborne for around 30-40 minutes—a time frame that usually exceeds our needs but ensures we don’t miss that perfect shot.

Recharge On-the-Go

Here’s the cherry on top: the Mini 3 Pro charges via USB-C.

If we’re traveling internationally, having a device that charges via USB-C is a huge deal, because outlet types and voltages vary depending on what country we’re in.

Another advantage of USB-C is that we can forget about hunting for a plug; a simple power bank will do the trick.

We’ve flown the drone, recharged it with our trusty Anker battery en route to our next destination, and been airborne again without missing a beat.

ND Filters: They’re for Drones, Too!

Freewell ND and CPL Polarizing Filters for DJI Mini 3 Pro
We use the Freewell Bright Day filters for our DJI Mini 3 Pro Drone and they work beautifully!

Let’s shift gears for a moment. You might recall us raving about ND filters as the unsung heroes of cinematic footage from our camera.

👉 Get ready for a plot twist: ND filters are just as important, if not more important for drones, especially on our DJI Mini 3 Pro.

We’ve kitted out our Mini 3 Pro with Freewell Bright Day filters, and it’s like gifting your drone a pair of designer sunglasses. These filters are the Swiss Army knife of shading, effective from glaring midday to the subtle lighting of dawn.

Polarization: The Magic Wand for Drone Photography

What makes these ND filters indispensable is their polarizing feature. Let’s face it; drone shots are typically wide-angle, cramming loads of scenery into each frame.

The last thing you want is for glaring reflections to steal the show, particularly when capturing bodies of water or other reflective surfaces.

While using our Freewell Bright Day filters, the glare becomes a non-issue. Our photos are not only free from distractions but also burst with vibrant colors and nuanced shading.

GoPro Hero 8 Black: Our Go-To for Aquatic Adventures

GoPro Hero 8 Black with Underwater Case

Think the GoPro Hero 8 Black is old news? Think again. Our trusty companion may be dated, but it’s far from OUTdated, still delivering crisp 4K60 videos like a champ.

When we go below the surface, we’ve found a secret sauce to avoid that dreaded “washed-out” look:

👉 How to get the best underwater GoPro Footage: We use the “Flat” color profile on the GoPro and do a bit of color grading during editing to give our underwater footage the color and clarity that’s usually missing from automatic settings.

Here’s one of our underwater shots using our GoPro Hero 8 Black:

And here’s another shot with the GoPro 8 that I posted on my personal Instagram:

Vlogging: Small Device, Big Impact

GoPro Hero 8 with Media Mod and Insta360 Invisible Selfie Stick

We’re currently road-testing the GoPro as part of our vlogging arsenal. Its wide-angle lens is great for those moments when we want to capture both ourselves and our surroundings.

What sold us on the GoPro, especially for vlogging, is its portability. This little camera easily fits into our pockets, selfie stick and all. When we’re living out of suitcases, every inch of space matters and the GoPro delivers on that front.

Plus, the GoPro’s unobtrusive design means we can record without drawing unwanted attention—always a win when we’re traveling in unfamiliar places.

Sound Matters

We all know that GoPro’s internal microphones aren’t exactly award-winning. That’s why we pair it with the media mod attachment, providing an input for an external microphone. The result? Crystal-clear audio that pairs perfectly with our high-quality visuals.

Insta360 X3: Our Ultimate Tool for Immersive Content

Insta360 X3 and Insta360 Extended Edition Selfie Stick

The Insta360 X3 gives us the kind of shots we didn’t even know we needed.

It’s the newest member of our camera arsenal and we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what it can do, but this device has already proven it’s not just another camera—it’s an experience.

Here’s a quick shot that Chloe took using our Insta360 X3:

The Insta360 X3 isn’t just versatile; it’s practically an acrobat. With its 3-meter-long extended edition selfie stick, this camera defies our expectations.

Looking for an overhead panorama of a bustling market? Done.

Want to capture the nerve-wracking drop at the edge of a cliff? Consider it recorded without even getting close.

Ever wonder what the world looks like from the top branches of an ancient tree? Let’s find out.

The No-Drone Zone Solution

Here’s where the Insta360 truly shines: Imagine capturing aerial views in places where your drone would either get you a fine or tangled in foliage.

With the Insta360, we can sneak in that elusive “drone view” in the most impractical of places, be it navigating through a labyrinth of vines or within tight alleyways.

The iPhone 12 Pro: Our Pocket-Sized Studio for Daily Vlogging

You’ve heard it before: The best camera is the one you have with you.

And let’s be honest, who doesn’t have their smartphone glued to their hand these days? We’re no exception.

We rely on our iPhone 12 Pros for the lion’s share of footage that fills our daily vlogs and Instagram stories like this one:

Whether we’re navigating cobblestone streets in Taxco or off-roading on the Koko Crater Arch Trail, the footage from our iPhone always turns out as smooth as silk. This liberates us from the ever-present concern of shaky video, letting us focus more on capturing the moment.

While our trusty iPhone 12 Pros have served us well, we’ve got our eyes set on the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro. But until then, the 12 Pro continues to be an indispensable part of our on-the-fly storytelling.

Our Camera and Tech Accessories

In the world of content creation, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of camera models, drones, and lenses.

However, the accessories we use often play an equally vital role in helping us produce top-notch content.

From powering our gear to enhancing our storage capabilities, these unsung heroes streamline our creative process, offering both reliability and versatility.

Below, we dive into the accessories that have proven indispensable in our content-creating arsenal:

Our Mobile Power Source: Anker PowerCore III Elite 26K

Anker PowerCore III Elite 26K Power bank

Traveling constantly is glamorous, but let’s be real, keeping all our high-tech devices juiced up can be a logistical nightmare.

Enter our trusty Anker PowerCore III Elite 26K—the backstage power station of our camera setup.

We took this bad boy with us on a camping trip, and let’s just say, it’s like carrying a miniature power plant in your backpack.

Picture this: It recharged both our iPhone 12 Pros twice, gave our DJI Mini 3 Pro drone two full charges and even had enough juice to revitalize our GoPro battery three times. And guess what? It still had a charge left over!

Our favorite part about the Anker battery is that it’s designed to function as a laptop charger, too. That means it pumps out a high current, so even our power-guzzling MacBook Pros stay alive while on the road.

Our Extra Cameraman: DJI OM 5 Smartphone Gimbal

DJI OM 5 Smartphone Gimbal with Smatree Tripod

You might wonder, with smartphone cameras practically performing cartwheels in the stabilization department, why invest in a gimbal like the DJI OM 5?

Well, it’s not just about steady shots; it’s about elevating our content game.

By pairing the DJI OM 5 with DJI’s Mimo app, we’re provided with advanced object tracking and motion lapses. So much so that we’ve dubbed our DJI OM 5 as our “freelance cameraman.”

If we need a shot that trails us as we hike down a rocky ridgeline then the gimbal’s auto-tracking has us covered, freeing us from the need for an extra set of hands.

Live Streaming Like a Pro

Unfortunately, the camera stabilization on our iPhones doesn’t carry over when we’re using third-party apps. So if we’re live-streaming our adventures on Instagram or Twitch, we need another stabilization solution.

That’s where the DJI OM 5 comes in.

It fills in for the missing stabilization, ensuring that our live content doesn’t give our viewers a shaky experience.

Video Storage & Backup: SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSDs
Our collection of SanDisk’s Extreme Portable SSDs. Can you guess which one is Chloe’s?

Ah, storage—a content creator’s silent nemesis.

Imagine shooting hours of glorious 4K footage, only to find that your laptop can’t bear the load anymore. Well, we’ve been there, and trust us, we wouldn’t wish that on our worst enemy.

We’ve opted for SanDisk’s Extreme Portable SSDs as our loyal sidekicks in the storage battle. Last time we checked, we had three of these SSDs (and we’re probably going to need another one soon with all the videos we’ve been shooting lately).

These SSDs have enough speed and 2TB of space to meet all our video storage and backup needs (but they come in 500GB, 1TB, and 4TB sizes, too). Plus, they’re rugged enough to take a bit of rough handling, which is always good while we’re living out of suitcases.

Velcro: The Unsung Hero in Our Storage Setup

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD attached with velcro on Macbook Pro
Our solution for non-stop video editing: Velcro the SSD right to our laptop!

👉 Here’s a life hack: For easier video editing, we Velcroed our Sandisk SSDs to the back of our laptops! No more dangling drives!

Sounds simple, but this small act of Velcro makes all the difference.

No more dangling drives or accidental disconnects; our SSDs are as much a part of our laptops as the keyboard (well, not quite, but you get the point).

It’s a game-changer for us when we’re editing videos, ensuring that our extensive libraries of footage are always a click away.

Memory Cards: SanDisk Extreme PRO V30

Everyone has an opinion on the best memory cards for their cameras, but we’ve used the SanDisk Extreme PRO V30 SD card and SanDisk Extreme PRO V30 microSD cards exclusively.

For all of our devices—whether it’s our cameras, drone, GoPro, or the Insta360—we use SanDisk Extreme PRO V30 SD cards. So far, they haven’t given us a single reason to regret it.

Selfie Sticks: Insta360 Invisible Selfie Stick and Extended Edition Selfie Stick

We’ve tried TONS of selfie sticks during our Twitch livestreaming career, and we can say with confidence: not all selfie sticks are created equal.

Selfie sticks might seem like simple gadgets, but finding the right one is a total game-changer, especially when live-streaming or capturing dynamic shots.

Insta360 Invisible Selfie Stick

When we brought the Insta360 into our camera toolkit, it came with the option to add an Invisible Selfie Stick—and we’re so glad we did.

This selfie stick is an all-around winner: lightweight yet sturdy, it extends and retracts with just the right amount of force (if you’ve selfie sticks before, you’ll know what I’m talking about).

However, it does come with a minor hiccup: it’s essentially just the “stick” part. So, if you plan to use it with your smartphone or GoPro, you’ll need an additional attachment.

And for those who require a stand, you’ll want to invest in a tripod base.

Insta360 Extended Edition Selfie Stick

When it comes to our Insta360 X3, we rely exclusively on the Insta360 Extended Selfie Stick.

Its 3-meter length gives us huge reach, allowing us to simulate drone shots and access hard-to-reach angles.

Plus, we’ve found that attaching a phone clamp to the end gives us the flexibility to capture phone videos from unique perspectives!

Our Vlogging Microphone: Edutige ETM-001

GoPro Hero 8 with media mod and Edutige ETM-001 Microphone

Let’s be honest, most built-in camera microphones leave a lot to be desired when it comes to audio quality. So we decided to up our audio game with the Edutige ETM-001 microphone, specifically for our GoPro.

This compact microphone is omnidirectional, which means it captures sound from all directions. The benefit? We don’t have to stress about the orientation of our camera to get quality audio.

Whether we’re capturing the chatter of a bustling marketplace or the ambient sounds of nature, this microphone gives us a clear audio experience that complements our visuals.

👉 Here’s a tip: If you end up using the Edutige ETM-001 microphone, pick up these wind muffs to put over the microphone. They help muffle out wind noise so you won’t get that rumbling sound if you’re recording outside.

Our Wireless Microphones: Rode Wireless Go II

Canon R6 Mark II with Rode Wireless Go II Microphones

When we’re recording video that places us a bit away from the camera, the Rode Wireless Go II microphones are our preferred choice.

Comprising of a receiver that hooks up to our camera and a transmitter that captures our voices, this microphone system is designed for flexibility and clarity.

Our favorite feature of these microphones is their built-in windmuff feature, which is critical for recording outdoors.

These microphones also easily connect to our computers via USB, transforming our laptops into recording devices for voiceovers. The audio quality far surpasses that of our laptop’s built-in microphone, and it eliminates the cumbersome step of recording audio separately and then importing it into our editing software.

👉 Here’s a tip: Rode recently released the Wireless ME Microphone System, which in our opinion is much better for content creators. One of its standout features is that its receiver also has a microphone built into it, so if you’re close to your camera you can just use one device as your microphone instead of needing two.

Questions? Comments?

And there you have it! We’ve tried to cover all the bases, but we might have missed a thing or two.

Got any burning questions about our gear or curious about how we pull off certain shots? Don’t be shy! Drop a comment below and let’s get the conversation rolling.

Trey Lewis is an outdoor enthusiast. Whether its hiking knife-edge ridges or just fishing by the river, Trey isn't afraid to get dirty in search of the next adventure.

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