Which photo and video equipment do we need to take for a long trip abroad? Very important question as you want to bring back beautiful memories, either in video or photo and be able to share them with your friends or during public events. Images need to be done to reflect a specific point of view, the one you want to convey in order to give meaning, emotions and messages to your photos or videos. You want to be able to capture a unique atmosphere or intense feelings you had while visitng a certain place. So, what are the products for which prices? And how is it possible to get together high technological performance with light weight, very important when you go on a long trip, for several months as well?
The drone is definitely the fashion device to get nowadays, and it is totally normal. They are more and more accessible to beginners and you can make amazing aerial imagery with them, Indeed, no need to be a professional to know how to use them and you can easily watch tutos on youtube, or join group of passionate people on facebook. The drone revolution for travelers happened beginning of 2017 when Dji, the Chinese leader of the market, launched the Dji Mavic Pro.
The drone, for spectacular aerial imagery
This one is very convenient to travel as it can fit into a backpack when it is folded. You can take it in your hand and with an autonomy of 25 minutes flight and filming 4K, it seems to combine the best aspects for every traveler who want to take high quality videos during his trip. It replace its predecessors the Dji Phantoms 3 and 4 and has the big advantage of price and portability over the state of the art Dji Inspire Pro.
You can film in 4K at 30fps, take photos in RAW mode and is totally stable. Not too heavy (750g), it is actually the best drone on the market for every traveller, who will need to have a smartphone to use it as the Dji remote control interacts whith one through the Dji app (Iphone and Samsung Galaxy are fine). It costs around €1,200 at the moment, and you can find it easily on Amazon or dedicated retail shops. Other drones I don’t use but seems fine are the Karma of Gopro, as you can plug on Gopro on it and update with a new Gopro camera when a new one is released, or the drone from the French company Parrot. Lastly, Phantom 4 is good quality and less expensive.
Personally I choose not to bring too heavy camera but a one with good quality pictures, 24 megapixels and filming 4K videos to do this world trip. Very new for me, the Sony Alpha A6500 is sold with or without kit lens. and it seems to be an excellent compromise between high technological performance and relatively small size and light, ideal for a world trip.
Hybride cameras, replacing reflex now?
One of my passion is video, more than taking pictures actually so I chose a hybrid camera, the Sony A6500. As you may aware now, hybrid cameras are now in dominant position on the market, facing reflex cameras which are now criticized for their size and their weight, not the perfect buddy while you go travelling.
I have been hesitated with the Panasonic GH5 (€2,000 body only at this time, a bit too expensive for me) and the Panasonic GH4 (also making good quality 4K videos but a bit outdated now, released in 2014), I found out the A6500 with an excellent deal and a great compromise to travel. It is replacing the A6300, more stable and touch-sensitive. My advice is also to buy good SD memory cards with space and quick to transfer to a laptop. Best speed is around 150MB/sec or 95MB/sec. Finally you can add other lenses such as the 10-18 mm Sony lens. But you can have several ones to be used depending on the circumstances (wide angle, tele, low-light, portrait…)
The action camera
Of course I take my GoPro anywhere with me! They are available everywhere and I still use my good old GoPro Hero 4 Silver, the first one coming a touch-sensitive screen at the back. You can film instantaneously and without any technical knowledge or manual settings, as during our trip to Japan. Very convenient and water-resistant (if you have the case for Hero 4 as Hero 5 is already water-resistant, no need of cases).
You can take the Gopro anywhere you want, so small!
I recommend the GoPro Hero 5 for those who haven’t one yet, as it is the most recent version and a very powerful camera filming in 4K. You can also add other accessories like a gimbal (very useful as the videos “move” too much otherwise), or to fix your camera on your chest or forehead when riding a bike for example. So get informed but bear also in mind that many of them are there for a marketing reason for Gopro…
So a small GoPro taking a limited space in your backpack and with a good autonomy is very convenient. It can be used anywhere, and can replace your traditional camera in many circumstances. Take spare batteries with you.
Some other accessories…
- If you film documentaries with interviews, sound is very important and is often limited on hybrid cameras. In this case, my advice to you to get small and reliable tie-mic. the Rode (quality brand) for smartphone is good as well. There are also Voice Recorder apps available.
- Going with a smartphone is compulsory as well, notably is you have your drone with you as explained above. Iphone and Samsung Galaxy are fine. You can also receive text messages on them if you need to approve some payments as some banks require text messages confirmation for some purchases. Buy a local chip if needed and think about unlocking it before you leave!
- An e-book is also very important according to us, as your bring a whole library on your trip for cheap price and a few grams! Two competitors, the Kindle from Amazon or the Kobo. They both have their own library, their pros and cons. The Kindle only accept the products from Amazon, but quite a big range anyway. Also, try to download the books before leaving because as strange as it can be, it seems it is sometimes complicated to buy e-books abroad, when your account is registered in a specific country (of if you want to buy French-language book outside EU for example).
- Others: Tripod, some are very good and cheap. Compare the quality and price and as every traveler, check its weight. This tripod at 24 euros seems ok for example. Also, Gorilla pod, kind of tripod with flexible feet is a good compromise, quite small. The selfie stick can be useful if you are alone and want to bring memories of you in a special place. They can be easily plugged in cameras or smartphones. External hard drives to save you pictures…then you can bring a whole set of different electronic devices…But respect your budget and be resistant to some marketing offers..And don’t forget to have a good insurance with you in case of any problems (can be lost or stolen) during your trip. And for your information, warranty is usually 1 year from the date of purchase in case of faulty device, up to you if you want to extend it…As a conclusion, as a traveller, always check the weight and the size of them, the goal is also to stay discreet and not attract everyone’s attention in streets of South America for example…