Thanks to smartphones equipped with increasingly sophisticated photographic lenses, taking pictures on the go has never been easier. If, however, you intend to aim for a higher quality for your Instagram account, follow the suggestions of Michelangelo Azzariti, photographer and travel blogger with 66 thousand followers to choose and pack the ideal photographic kit.
-Which system to choose
For each adventure there is the perfect configuration. Prepare the bag for the scenarios you are most likely to encounter and pay attention to factors such as the climate, the season, local culture and the duration of your trip. Choose the right camera for your needs and evaluate which functions and controls will be most useful for you on the go, so that you can become familiar with them before departure.
Canon and Nikon DSLRs have long been an obligatory option for serious photographers, but the lighter and more compact alternatives offered by mirrorless cameras are capturing the interest of both professionals and amateurs. Fujifilm’s Z series mirrorless systems or Sony Alpha have the advantage of being extremely compact – about half of a traditional SLR – and many models offer the possibility of mounting more lenses for a decidedly superior quality than that of the machines’ tip and snaps’. An important thing to keep in mind when choosing the camera body is the size of the image sensor (which varies from manufacturer to model) and how it impacts the camera’s field of view. There is a so-called ‘crop factor’ (the value by which to multiply the size of a sensor smaller than a full frame to get the size of the sensor of an analog reflex) so that if you use the same lens on two cameras with sensors of size different, the one with the smaller sensor will show a smaller area – that is, cropped (precisely) – of the scene.
The choice of lenses depends on the nature of the trip and the planned itinerary. In general, choose a wide angle (35mm down) for panoramas and a telephoto lens (70mm up) for distant subjects. Remember to consider the ‘crop factor’ when choosing lenses: those of mirrorless systems are of different sizes which are equivalent to the focal lengths of standard digital SLR cameras. A versatile zoom that offers a range from wide angle to telephoto is suitable for capturing very different images and situations. On the other hand, lenses with a fixed focal length are generally more compact as well as a better choice because they have a larger aperture and faster optics. You won’t have a zoom, but the positive side is that you will be forced to interact more with the environment while you are busy looking for the perfect shot. Choose fixed lenses that cover a basic range: 50mm is a rather popular ‘standard’ because it is very close to the field of view of the human eye; 35mm are a solution that adapts to panoramas, street scenes and architecture; the 85mm are a very good choice for portraits. If you want to dedicate yourself to nature photography, choose fixed lenses between 300mm and 600mm. Since animals move rather quickly, a good telephoto lens covering 70mm to 400mm is an alternative to consider.
Thanks to digital postproduction, it is no longer necessary to use filters on camera lenses to modify the image, but there are still a couple that are useful to have. For example, UV filters reduce haze and protect the optics so that many leave them fixed on their lenses. Polarized filters are ideal for landscapes: they increase color saturation, reduce glare and eliminate reflections on water and glass.
Traveling the world is your photographic studio and it is normal to rely on the light available at the time of shooting. That said, a flash can be useful when there is not enough natural light, especially indoors, or when you are trying to take pictures of fast-moving subjects in the evening. Fortunately, the flashes are small enough to be put in the bag without too much delay. For travel photography choose the Through-The-Lens (TTL) metering unit by measuring light levels through the lens rather than the manual one. Of course, the choice of flash depends on the brand of your camera: check the compatibility with the specific model.