Camera and Equipment

When I started gaining an interest in travel photography and videography, I realized that I needed to invest in a quality camera as my iPhone just wasn’t cutting it.

However, that’s not what I did. I ended up buying a small point and shoot camera – the Canon PowerShot SX730 HS for just under £300.

Canon Powershot SX730 HS

The camera was great for what I needed – a small point and shoot, without the commitment to spending a fortune on a DSLR and trying to remember how to use one. To see the type of film it can produce, have a look at my video of Norway from last summer below:

I like the Canon Powershot, don’t get me wrong, but within only a few months of owning it, I was already looking to upgrade to something a little more technical. The Powershot is great for beginners as pretty much everything is automatic, with some exceptions, but that turned out to be the reason I wanted to change to a DSLR. I wanted to play around and be creative and the Powershot just didn’t give me the flexibility to do that.

So come Black Friday, I found a good deal on a Canon EOS 1300D, with a shoulder bag, lens, and an SD card for £289 – around the same price I paid for the point and shoot!

Canon EOS 1300D

Since buying this camera, I’ve only been able to use it one trip before the world went on lockdown, but the quality of the shots are brilliant! Check out my Iceland video using this camera below:

Please note that this video has been colour graded, and some of the shots are taken on a drone, which I’ll come to in a bit.

My videos are edited to about 50% speed (I love this style, it just feels so much more calm, and dreamlike), so it was important for me to get a camera that films in at least 60FPS, which the Canon 1300D does. Anything less and the frames won’t run smoothly, and it may just look like the video is buffering or you have a poor internet connection.

The only thing I would mention as a downside to this camera is that, including the shoulder bag, it’s very bulky, so when you’re flying with just cabin luggage, you may need to make some sacrifices to be able to fit it in. It also draws attention to you of ‘hey look, I have a pricey camera’, whereas the point and shoot would just fit into my side bag or backpack, so I would consider the safety and crime reputation of your destination when packing your equipment.

An accessory for this camera that I brought with me to Iceland was my adjustable tripod. Although the legs slot nicely inside one another making it smaller, this was still a big object to take in my cabin bag – so again, consider if you really need to bring one.

I brought mine to Iceland as we were renting a car, and therefore had the space to carry it with us, also, Iceland has many open spaces with no people in, so it was easy for us to set up and use without disturbing anyone else or worrying about theft.

Using a tripod is great for taking photos without needing someone to hold the camera for you, or resting it on the ground, or, if like me, you don’t have steady hands when filming (another reason I like to slow down my videos, it makes it less obvious!)

With the tripod, I have a wireless remote control for my Canon – I got this off amazon for about £6.

AmazonBasics Wireless Remote Control for Canon Cameras EOS

If you haven’t got space for a tripod or don’t want one, but still want steady shots – a good trick is to always have three points of contact with a camera, similar to what a tripod would have. Two hands is good, but even with two hands my shots come out shaky, so I use the strap on my neck and push the camera away from myself to have that resistance and make it more stable – in other words, you don’t want the strap to be relaxed.

A useful piece of equipment to help you take photos of yourself without having to ask a stranger to (great for solo travelers), is a selfie stick tripod with a detachable bluetooth control. These are really easy to set up, just connect your phone to the control, set up the tripod, pose and *click* – easy peasy.

SYOSIN Extendable Bluetooth Selfie Stick

Another piece of equipment that I take with me when I travel is my drone. I use the DJI Spark, which, although pricey, isn’t their top drone, but still does the job well. I saved up for this a while, and pretty much as soon as I bought it they released the Mavic Mini, which was cheaper and would have been perfect.

I bought mine as the set with the controller and bag – I would definitely recommend getting a bag when purchasing a drone as the propellers are quite delicate.

DJI Spark Fly More combo

I’ve taken this drone to Barcelona, Rome, Sicily, Venice, and Iceland now with no problems from any airlines regarding lithium batteries as the batteries are under 100wph. However, they need to be carried in hand luggage AND disconnected from the drone whilst flying as this can be a fire hazard. Because I worry about absolutely everything, I put mine in a fireproof battery case like this:

I was a bit worried about buying a drone, as I’ve heard many horror stories about them crashing, and they seemed like they would be really difficult to control, but I haven’t found that to be the case.

One thing you need to consider when taking a drone abroad is the drone laws in that country – this may impact your travel if your are going to multiple destinations, so watch out for that. For example, this summer, we were supposed to be flying to Morocco, then going to France, Monaco and Italy before flying home. Drones are allowed (with regulations and restrictions) in France, but are absolutely banned in Morocco, so I could have risked having it confiscated at the airport had I chosen to bring it.

Because I try to be a responsible drone owner, I always look up the laws and regulations before hand – I found that when going to Iceland, I was okay to fly my drone but it had to be labeled with my contact details, this is not required in England, so I made sure that I did that before leaving. I also have a UK drone license that I took a test for, some other countries will accept a UK operator ID in replace of their own countries version. You do have to pay for this, but it’s not expensive.

Finally, the last thing I take with me (and I’ve learnt the hard way on why this is so important) is two 64GB microSD cards. Taking videos with 60FPS takes up A LOT of memory, so if you can, it’s best to take a spare just in case. You also need to format the card between uses, as deleting videos and photos won’t recover all 64GB of memory – you can do this on a laptop, but trust me you do not want to get caught out mid trip with no free space on your memory card!

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