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Old 02-23-2005, 09:39 AM
philip_coggan philip_coggan is offline
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Default The Ideal Travel Kit

What's your idea of the basic rtavel photographer's kit? And the ideal? (I.e., what's absolutely essential, and what's just nice to have).

My own thoughts:
1. A camera. ANY camera. You can take photos with a Holga or a Diana - or with a Canon Eos D1 Mk II, or even with a Deardorff 10x8. Just so long as it's a black box with a hole at one end. (Ok, let's be practical. Money is a factor here - the Mark II Canon is a bit pricey. So is weight - the Deardorff is a bit ungainly. But neither is totally impossible). We'll take film/CF card as read - it's part of the black box thing.

2. A lens. ANY lens.

Beyond the essentials---
3. A tripod. I've got one, but it's a hassle lugging it round, adn I only use it for special situations. More and more I leave it behind and only take the photo if the light permits.

4. Flash. I don't think I use it enough - but a good flash can be useful in moderation.

5. Remote for the flash - so I can put it somewhere off-camera.

6. Digital wallet - since I use a digital camera - the only practical way to store lots of pix of CF cards.

7. More lenses. Meaning I took a single lens as being essential. Let's say it was a good 50mm. WEhat's next? I'd say a good zoom - covering 20-100mm. Obviously it would replace the single prime in the tool-box - UNLESS that prime were a very good, very fast, etc model. And beyond the essential zoom, what then? Telephoto, wide angle, what?

8. Filters. I have some, and find I rarely use them. But essential filters would be a polarizer, and a grad ND if I did landscapes (which I don't). I have a fancy one called a Galaxy Difractor (I think) - used it a few times to put pretty star-bursts round lights at night, then forgot about my new toy entirely...

That's about all. Any other ideas?
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Old 02-23-2005, 05:06 PM
DrorAngkor DrorAngkor is offline
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Default Re: The Ideal Travel Kit

It all depends pPhilip ...

On how long you're going to be on the trail ...

One thing of the top of my head I would definitely add
is a good cleaning kit ... Cameras and Lenses aren't exactly
buddies with dust and dirt,and water/moisture ... to take good photos
you need to take care of your equipment while on the road ...
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Old 02-23-2005, 05:22 PM
Darren Darren is offline
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Default Re: The Ideal Travel Kit

Interesting question Philip.

More to add:

1. Batteries. Lots of 'em. Would suck to be somewhere and have your power go on you. Chargers of course, but you wouldn't lug those around while out taking photos.
2. Multiple memory cards. Sometimes I just don't want to offload photos when my card fills up. I now carry three gigs of CF cards in addition to my portable HD. With this much memory, my harddrive doesn't go out in the field with me so much anymore.
3. Sunscreen, Chapstick and a red hat. I burn. Red can add a nice splash of color to a photo (you taught me that Philip), so the hat does double duty.
4. Lens cleaning supplies. I use a blower and a lens pen. I also usually have a microfiber cloth in my bag.
5. Cable release. I don't use it much, but at times it is very handy.
6. Sharpie marker. To mark rolls of film I have pushed/pulled.
7. Notepad and pen. I am terrible for remembering where I have been.
8. Small Canadian flag pins. The kids love them. Small candies can be an alternative.
9. Bubble level. I don't carry this yet, but I am tired of my landscape/architecture shots being slightly off kilter.
10. Lots of film. Not everyone is shooting digital Philip ;)
11. Credit card, bank card and cash. Don't leave home without them.
12. Bandana. I sweat, this wipes it off.
13. I carry too many lenses, but dont' want to part with any of them. I carry a 15-30, 50mm, 70-200, 90mm macro, a 16mm fisheye and a 2x teleconverter. I usually leave home with all of them. I also sometimes add a 28mm f/1.8 if I am to be shooting in low light. I also carry two flashes at times, although don't use them that often.
14. I also carry a foldable, two sided reflector. Hardly ever use it, but in the right circumstances, it can make a nice difference.

I think this covers most of the "essentials" and then some. Then again, maybe I should just do what Steve McCurry does. Two cameras around my neck, film in my pockets and not a lot more. Then again, I am no Steve McCurry.
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Old 02-27-2005, 02:24 AM
philip_coggan philip_coggan is offline
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Default Re: The Ideal Travel Kit

Thanks Dror and Darren. I'd hoped for more responses on this, but thanks to you two anyways :).
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Old 02-27-2005, 04:09 AM
AdrianW AdrianW is offline
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Default Re: The Ideal Travel Kit

It really depends on your style, you're a people photographer so a 50mm prime makes sense - I'm a landscape guy, and that really makes wideangle much more useful. Personally I like the flexibility of an ultrawide zoom - like my 17-40. 50mm is too long IMO.

Something I think is invaluable is a pocket torch/flashlight - if you're mounting lenses in the dark, or just need to check something that isn't illuminated. I used to carry a little Maglite with me everywhere, but these days I tend to just use a little LED torch keychain :)

What do I take with me when travelling these days? The full set:

EOS10D (2x batteries + charger)

17-40 f4/L
28-135 IS USM
100 f2.8 Macro
200 f2.8 L/II
1.4x APO teleconverter
Extension tubes

Dual macro flash (MT-24EX)
Single powerful flash (550EX) + diffuser
Off shoe-cord


Ultraportable laptop (PCG C1F like this one, although mine has a 40Gb drive)

ND grad

Lens cloth/cleaning fluid

Pocket torch/flashlight
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Old 02-27-2005, 04:41 AM
philip_coggan philip_coggan is offline
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Default Re: The Ideal Travel Kit

Thanks Adrian. I'm gathering this info for an article on kit for travel photographers. I'll ad your list in a box, as it's a representative kit suitable for the general-interest photographer. (I'm trying to wean people away from the idea that they need a super-zoom - for wildlife and sports yes, but I've seen too many tourists with bazookas taking people photos from a distance under the impression that they won't be noticed: the subjects often find this intrusive and stressful, even tho they're too far away to tell the photographer, plus it precludes the intimacy that good people photogrpahy needs). I'll also put a reference to your website, and to TE.
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Old 02-27-2005, 10:11 AM
Miks Miks is offline
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Default Re: The Ideal Travel Kit

Good issue to bring up Phil. May I suggest two niceties, but hardly necessities:

1: Underwater housing. An UW case does not only permit one to take UW pics. During transport it protects cam's better than anything else. more importantly, it allows one to take pics in rainy, snowy and dusty conditions.

2: A model. A lot of images requires a figure in them. Who haven't tried to capture that panorama and lacked a figure to make the scale vivid etc. As for the model; I prefer cute ones of the opposite sex...

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Old 02-27-2005, 11:29 AM
danbachmann danbachmann is offline
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Default Re: The Ideal Travel Kit

I have something to add about laptops, hard drive backups and battery chargers, for budget or camping travelers.

I tend to stay in hostels or other budget places and sometimes even sleep outside. This is part of the experience for me. Sometime's I'll stay at someone's house. I also travel mostly using public transport and sometimes by foot. (although I must note that when traveling with my wife, things are upgraded to fine places with fine bathrooms, etc)

In these cases, I feel akward having to leave my charger plugged in under someone else's bed or in a shared space. When camping or some really remote places, recharging isn't available and I start to worry when I'll run out of juice!

Which brings me to hard drives... these need power and are more fragile and I would worry about them disappearing if left behind at a site.

I don't have an ideal solution yet, but have decided to keep buying more memory cards AND bringing my film SLR which lets me go for months (actually, since I got my digital, a year) on one battery.

Oddly enough, it seems I am almost alone in this style of travel and power/storage concerns here, though I do know of at least one professional photographer who has the same sort of travel style and the same concerns. He shoots 100% film to avoid the issue.
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Old 02-27-2005, 03:00 PM
sohrab sohrab is offline
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Default Re: The Ideal Travel Kit

1. nikon fm10/nikon f 80 camera body and a lens attached to it , maybe a 28-105mm

2. lots of kodak tri-x films
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Old 02-28-2005, 03:09 AM
AdrianW AdrianW is offline
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Default Re: The Ideal Travel Kit

Thanks Philip!

There's only one thing I forgot to mention, a remote release. I do agree with you about the long zoom for portraits, although some of us don't feel comfortable getting as close to people as you do ;)
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