Camera Gear + Photography Equipment I Use
One thing I always wish is that I had a Mary Poppins Camera Bag, anyone else on the same page? A bag that fits endless amount of gear, is super light to carry no matter what you have inside and you can just throw it all in without a worry in the world about airline carry-on limits. Ah, wouldn’t that be just perfection!
Well, it unfortunately doesn’t exist (although my bag comes pretty close!) and is the reason why I get so many questions about what’s in my bag when photographing on the road. I have found a few solutions that I use, so hope the below information will help you on your next adventure!
We’ve all been there before, you arrive at the check-in desk thinking you’ve totally got it sorted this time, your luggage will meet all the requirements and your camera gear is nice and snug, safe for the journey ahead. Then they weigh it and it’s been eating a little too much cake. You have to either pay for extra luggage allowance or shuffle the gear around in front of everyone wrapping lenses into your underpants to ensure they are safely packed now they can’t travel with you on board.
Fast forward a little and in 2017 I made the switch to mirrorless and let’s just say, all of my problems were solved. Less weight, durable gear and no longer need to take a lot of excess gear with me on a trip! I took my first trip to Iceland in March 2017 with the Olympus gear listed below and was so amazed at what a difference lighter equipment makes. Not only did I not have one back ache the entire trip (usually something that happens without fail after an hour of taking photos), but it all fits in my bag and I can take every lens with me for a hike! It’s been the same since that first trip…now into 2022 with further restrictions on luggage limits, a smaller, lightweight kit is essential!
When travelling overseas for a week or two, I like to plan ahead and think of what I’ll be doing during the trip to decide upon which gear I take with me. More often than not for a city trip or if you’re planning to document something cultural with monuments and people I’ll pack my 12-40mm or 25mm (50mm eqv) lens. I find for exploring cities this is the perfect amount of gear. For landscape shots I like to have my wide angle lens along with a zoom in my bag, especially if I’m doing a hike or visiting scenery for the specific purpose of shooting large vistas.
Getting back to packing for a flight, I’ve had a snazzy little Lowepro Flipside 400 AW II for the past seven years. That’s right it’s been with me from Australia to Greenland and all the deserts, islands and mountains in between! It fits all of my essentials, weighs around 7-10kg when full to meet carry-on restrictions and everything is super safe and snug inside the bag. It fits 2 x Olympus camera bodies, 4 lenses + my Microsoft Surface Book 13.5″ laptop.
Any extra items I want to take with me I just wrap up and pop into my main luggage. I usually always pack my underwater housing as I’m a bit obsessed with shooting split-level landscape shots in lakes, rivers and the ocean. The housing is too large for the backpack and to take onboard flights but it’s super sturdy so I just ensure it’s wrapped all snug and pop it in my suitcase. I shoot with the Olympus PT-EP14 underwater housing which fits the E-M1 MKII + E-M1 MKIII.
Here’s a little list of what’s in my bag for a trip…
Olympus OM-D E-M1X
Olympus OM-D E-M1 MKIII
Olympus OM-D E-M1 MKII
25mm f1.8 Lens
7-14mm f2.8 PRO
12-40mm f2.8 PRO
40-150mm f2.8 PRO
MC20 2x teleconverter
PT-EP14 Underwater Housing for E-M1 Mark II
Action Camera: Olympus TG6
Two x external portable hard drives (always back up your images in at least two places!) – I recommend Seagate BackupPlus Slim 2TB hard drives as they’re the ideal travel size and (touch wood) have always been reliable for me!
SanDisk Extreme Pro 64GB Memory Cards x 6 (can never have too many cards!)
SIRUI AM2-Series AM-225 Tripod – I rarely use a tripod but like to have this travel size one in my suitcase or at home if I ever need it!
Power plug adapters (relevant to destination)
Microsoft Surface Book Pro 13″ laptop
For my main suitcase, I’ve recently switched to the brand new JULY Checked in the Moss colour and I LOVE IT.
Opening the box was like Christmas (any traveller would understand!), with lots of little extras, packing cells, a cord case and cute little notes. The interior of the suitcase is so impressive, with high quality zips but also plenty of pockets, areas for dirty clothes, shoes and storing gadgets. If you’re someone who loves to organise their suitcase when travelling, this is the one for you!
The wheels work like a dream, it’s lightweight and when you’re walking with it, feels so solid and built to handle any journey. There are anodised aluminium bumpers, it’s water-resistant and has stain-proof nylon lining – oh and holds 80L…it’s massive but light! Almost like that Mary Poppins bag I mentioned at the start of this page. Available in 12 colours, I opted for the gorgeous moss green, but also loved the clay or sand options.
I would love to hear what you take with you in your bag abroad or on photography day trips! If you have any questions or would love to share what’s in your bag let me know below in the comments section…
Hello! I’m the founder and photographer behind The Wandering Lens.
With 17+yrs experience as a professional travel and landscape photographer, all advice found on this site is from my personal experience on the road. I hope it’s useful for your own travels and would love to hear in the comments about your trips and experiences around the world.
October 2, 2015 at 3:32 am
This post is so helpful, thank you! I’ve been sticking to my 18-55 mm Nikon lens while I work on getting better at taking DSLR photos, but now I’m at a stage where I want to try using other lenses too. I’m overseas at the moment and just took the above lens, leaving the zoom lens at home, but I’m going to research the lenses you’ve mentioned here, it’s a great, simple list among an Internet full of long, complicated, expensive lists. Thank you!
October 3, 2015 at 1:23 am
So great to hear Genevieve! The 50mm is a great lens for street or detail shots and is nice and cheap, the others require a bit more of an investment but for me they are worth their weight in gold and I’ve had my lenses for about 5years! Trusty little sidekicks 🙂
April 11, 2016 at 11:36 am
Lisa, Love your site ! I found it researching an upcoming trip to Italy in a couple weeks. I’m looking for some gear advice.I shoot crop sensor, going to Venice, Florence, Rome and Sorrento. I’m taking my 10-22 and 16-105 lenses. Torn over lugging my 70-300mm with me.( Its one of sharpest lens !) Did you find a need for extra length in Italy travels?
Thanks Ed K.
April 11, 2016 at 1:16 pm
Hi Ed, thanks so much, I’m glad you found me! Exciting to hear you’re off to Italy soon, so many photo opportunities around every corner. Regarding your lens it depends on what you’re looking to shoot but I know personally I’d regret leaving a favourite lens at home. I always travel with my 28-300mm when visiting cities because there are usually those moments when you need the extra length, especially in Venice to zoom in on gondolas in the canals or from Villa Borghese in Rome at sunset…I hesitate when it comes to packing a heavy lens but usually end up taking it 🙂 Have a great trip!
June 4, 2017 at 7:09 am
I stumbled across your page and its infinite travel wisdom! I am planning a long trip (4+ months) to Europe in the next year and am conflicted about lenses to bring with me. I have the Canon Rebel t5i with the 18-135mm kit lens. I am considering bringing a wide angle (10-18mm) and a prime lens (24mm or 50mm) with me, but since I will be backpacking I don’t want to worry about lugging around three lenses. Any suggestions?
June 24, 2017 at 5:33 am
Lovely to hear from you and super exciting you’re heading to Europe for a huge trip! The 18-135mm lens will be great to have as a versatile lens and then it would be a matter of what you think you’ll use and what you’re aiming to capture. If you love mountains, waterfals, natural wonders then having a wide angle will be beneficial. On the other hand, a 50mm is one of my favourites for street photography, portraits and detail shots of things like flowers, cool artwork etc.
Did I just answer and say you should take them all and break your back carrying them!? Sorry haha!
Where are you headed in Europe?
July 19, 2017 at 3:01 am
This is so helpful! Could you help me with lens advice? We’re about to take a trip around the world for a year with our two little kids, so I sadly have to leave my Rebel at home due to space/weight issues. I’ll just be bringing my Olympus E-M10 (original). Right now I have the 14-42 EZ 3.5-5.6, but I’m thinking about another. I’m leaning toward the 17mm 1.8, but do you have another suggestion? I’ll be photographing landscapes, wildlife, kids, cities… the whole gamut!
Thanks in advance 🙂
July 20, 2017 at 7:01 am
Great to hear! Super exciting you’re taking a trip around the world with your kids, what an adventure! The Olympus E-M10 is actually what I also have as a back up to my OM-D E-M1 Mark II and it’s great for travel shots. I have a 25mm lens on mine at most times but also have a 14-150mm f4-5.6 that’s really versatile too and could be a great second lens for you to have. Having a standard zoom lens with a little extra reach that what you’ve already got will allow you to capture a range of subjects and as you’ve mentioned you’ll be shooting landscapes, cities and your kids, it’s probably best to invest in a lens similar to the 14-150mm. However, I do love a good prime lens and having the 17mm 1.8 would allow you amazing results in low light for landscape photography. I’m pretty horrible at suggesting gear, I always sway two ways haha. They’re pretty tiny lenses though…any room for both 😉
Where are you off to for your trip?
July 21, 2017 at 5:28 am
Thanks for your reply, Lisa!
I’ve been staring at that 14-150 and I found a great deal on a used one from a reputable shop!
But then, I was just looking at someone’s landscape photos with the MkII and the ones I liked were mostly taken with the 9-18. Tough choices, right?
I’m trying to avoid spending a ton of money and carrying a ton of weight/volume, but I could see potentially wanting A LOT of options on such a long trip. Our itinerary is Panama, Chile, Argentina, NZ, Australia, Thailand, Japan, Israel, Greece, Portugal and Holland… total international time around 10 months!
July 23, 2017 at 7:28 pm
Wow Melissa, what an incredible itinerary you’ve got lined up! I can definitely see why you want to get your gear sorted 🙂
Definitely a tough choice but also once you’ve decided on a lens, I think regardless of what you choose you’ll make it work. I find that if I’ve only got a 25mm it’s challenging at first but then makes you seek new angles etc.
Do you have Instagram at all? Would love to follow your adventures!
August 8, 2017 at 4:56 pm
Sorry for the delay! You can follow us at @thefamilyvoyage. Still in packing mode, but we start road tripping at the end of the month
I haven’t bought it yet due to an eBay snafu, but I decided on the 9-18. Hope I like it! If I feel really limited, I can always look for a tele on the road.
August 14, 2017 at 1:19 am
That’s great Melissa! Thanks for sharing your account too, I’ve just followed so I can follow along on your big adventure ahead 🙂
May 11, 2018 at 5:18 am
Hi Lisa, I stumbled across your website researching for some good spots in Florence to photograph. First of all, I love your site and your success story in becoming a Travel Photographer, I sure envy you a bit. Secondly I am curious why you’ve changed from Nikon to Olympus? I am guessing it has to do with weight. I am currently using a full frame Nikon with several different lenses and I am getting tired of hauling everything around and have considered myself changing to Olympus. Is it a step worth taking? Love to here from you. Thank you, Guenther from Austria.
Lisa Michele Burns
May 11, 2018 at 8:09 pm
Thanks for your lovely message Guenther! Great to hear you’re toying with the idea of switching over to the good side haha. You’re correct in thinking it was about the weight, my back was so wrecked from lugging the Nikon equipment around at weddings for years. I only made the switch once the OM-D E-M1 MKII came out as it’s weatherproofing and stability looked really intriguing. I was SO impressed when I took it to Iceland and haven’t picked up my Nikon since…except to sell it 🙂
If you’re worried about switching from full frame, the RAW file quality is amazing and there’s the ability to capture 50MP files too with a tripod.
Good luck deciding!
June 23, 2018 at 4:22 pm
Im glad to come across your blog site while looking up on the perfect lens to carry at lofoton.
We are from India and going to be traveling to Norway next month. Would like to have your suggestion of one good lens to carry there with my canon 5d. Ive been confused to carry a 16-35mm f 2.8 lense or 24-70 f4 lens.
Would be great to have your thoughts on it.
October 11, 2019 at 5:51 am
Good evening. I see it’s been a while since posts. I am new to the OMD E1 mii and was curious if you shoot the night sky? Any tips, pictures you could share?
At the moment I am debating to purchase the Panasonic G9 or this Oly OMD E1 Mii. It’s such a hard choice. What are your thoughts?
Thanks in advance.
Lisa Michele Burns
October 12, 2019 at 1:34 pm
Hi Brian, thanks for your message. I’ve been photographing with the OM-D E-M1 MKII since 2017 and have used it in all conditions concerning both light and weather without any issues. The live composite mode in the Olympus cameras is a huge bonus if you’re interested in shooting astro, you can capture star trails with the click of a button and it does all the rest! I wrote an article about it here – “Creating Star Trails with Olympus Live Composite Mode“. The stability on the camera is really, really impressive too and a lot of people who use the camera for the first time are surprised at just how great it can be without a tripod, I actually rarely travel with one now. I haven’t personally seen or used the Panasonic camera so can’t comment on one vs the other.
I hope that helps a little!
January 17, 2020 at 11:47 am
Can you tell me which of the JoTotes camera bag you purchased? Also I have a NIkon D750 and I was wondering if you can tell me the best wide angle lens to purchase for this particular camera. I wish I had found your site before I purchased the Nikon as I was torn between purchasing a mirror less. Thanks for any assistance.
Lisa Michele Burns
January 20, 2020 at 4:05 am
Hi Corrine, I had the Siena Jo Totes bag and LOVED it! It’s so handy for travelling while disguising as a handbag 🙂
When I was shooting with a Nikon camera a few years back I used the 14-24mm f2.8 lens for wide angle landscape shots and underwater. It was my go to for landscape images and interiors. The little 50mm is also a very handy lens to have with the Nikon camera. For travel my essential was the 28-300mm.
I hope that helps, switching to Olympus has definitely changed the way I travel due to the compact nature of the gear but hopefully you can get some use out of your current kit before maybe looking at changing again.
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