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Travel Photography

Lesson 8 of 32

Gear: Cameras

John Greengo

Travel Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

8. Gear: Cameras


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Introduction Duration:11:45
5 Travel Gear Duration:19:13
6 Health, Safety & Security Duration:11:09
7 Gear: General Advice Duration:06:20
8 Gear: Cameras Duration:15:56
9 Gear: Lenses Duration:12:48
10 Gear: Tripods Duration:15:44
11 Gear: Filters Duration:04:08
12 Gear: Camera Accessories Duration:13:33
13 Gear: Final Thoughts Duration:03:55
14 Camera Checks Duration:04:20
15 Technique: Camera Settings Duration:13:30
16 Advanced Techniques Duration:13:00
17 Workflow & Composition Ideas Duration:07:42
18 Scouting Duration:17:33
20 Locations: Opera House & Dumbo Duration:05:12
22 Details: Buildings Duration:05:15
23 Details: Pattern Duration:14:51
25 People: Street & Candid Duration:08:46
28 People: Environmental Portrait Duration:15:37
30 Wildlife Duration:08:44
31 Events Duration:08:19
32 End of the Road Duration:09:35

Lesson Info

Gear: Cameras

So we have this kind of never-ending stream of different levels of photography, and as I say, you can use your phone and take very good-quality photos. They just keep getting better every year with the phone. But you're limited with your angle of view and how much manual control and how much sophistication you can do with it. One of the things I love about the phone is that it's a great backup camera. In case your main camera goes down, at least you still have something to take pictures with. It can be great for behind the scenes, it's easy for shooting video. For people who are really wanting to get into travel photography, my guess is that you're probably wanting a little bit more out of the device. And so then we take the next step up the range. The point and shoot camera, I'm gonna give you some recommendations of favorite ones after this section, but for right now, point and shoot camera is really nice for those situations when you wanna go really lightweight. This is a great go t...

o dinner, going on a hiking trip type camera. You don't have as many controls as you do with the full larger ones, but everything's small and compact in there. For people going on safari, dealing with wildlife, or needing a telephoto, there are these super zoom bridge cameras that have some ridiculous zoom lenses on them. They're not quite as good as a true telephoto lens on a larger-scale camera, but they do a really good job in the bang for pound that you are getting with these things, and so still not quite what I would recommend for most people bceause you can't change the lens, and there's so many options that open up when you get to this next level. And so if you really want something compact, there's a whole group of cameras that I call sub-compact mirrorless cameras, and this is often the Micro 4/3 system. They use a relatively small, medium-sized sensor in them, but you have tons of different lenses, 'cause Olympus and Panasonic share a lens mount here, and so I think this is a sweet spot for a lot of people who wanna stay pretty small in size and still get real camera control with shutter speeds, apertures, filters, and all those sorts of things. Moving more up to a mid-size compact here is one of my favorite places, 'cause these are typically just a little bit bigger, they have better hand grips and the controls are a little bit better. The thing about cameras is that yes, you can make cameras as small as you want, but our hands have not changed in size, and so dials and buttons need to be a certain size for them to be easy to use with, and this is about the smallest size that most serious photographers like to use, because the buttons are all easy to work with on there. This is probably one of the most common types of cameras that people are using for travel photography, and that's because Canon and Nikon, the two biggest manufacturers, this is where they make more of their affordable cameras and their crop frame sensors. And so this is good just because you're dealing with the large crowds, and there's an abundance of options out there at a very good value. We're starting to see more and more mirrorless cameras on the market, and so full frame mirrorless is kinda the latest thing that is really starting to blossom right now. And going back to the issue of mirrorless versus DSLR, the mirrorless cameras are nice 'cause they have some very nice features. The camera body does end up being a tad bit on the smaller side, but don't get a mirrorless camera if you think you're reducing your camera package, all right? The entire package is gonna be virtually identical in size and in weight. It might be three ounces less and a quarter inch less, and so it's, yes, it's less, but it's just not much less. And so I like mirrorless because of the features it offers. I like the electronic viewfinder, in some cases, or other features that it might have. And so they're becoming more and more popular, as we will see going forward. The most popular for the serious photographer, let me see if I can go back here. Most popular for the serious photographer is the full frame SLR, which has traditionally been Nikon and Canon, a little bit of Pentax in there as well. And this is because there's a ton of different lenses, and if you were gonna go on a professional shoot this is what you should probably have, or at least what we've had in the past, 'cause there's so many different options on here. It's what I've used predominantly on my travels over the last dozen years or so, but I do look longingly at those cameras that are mirrorless, that are smaller size sensor, that have a smaller size package to them. But if you're trying to accomplish something serious, sometimes you need serious gear. And that's not the end of it. You can go another step and you can go to medium format, and there are a variety of medium format cameras out there that will take even higher quality photos, but there's less options when it comes to lenses and accessories and the price goes up. All of these cameras take batteries. They dno't have a cable that runs into the wall, and you can pick them up in your hands, which means they're good for travel, which is my definition of a good travel camera. Okay, so looking at our range of cameras and some of the characteristics that they have, I was thinking for a moment, is there a bad travel camera? No, it really depends on your needs. And so I think all cameras can be good for travel. Obviously the phone is gonna have lower quality, I know it's getting better and better, but with that smaller size sensor it just can't compete with the larger-sized cameras. When it comes to point and shoot, here are four of my current favorites currently available on the market, slightly addressing different needs. In general purpose, the Sony RX100, they keep on coming out with new ones, the latest one is, I guess, the VI. It's a nice general purpose one for those who like a fixed lens. The Fuji has some traditional controls, which has been very much loved. If ou want a large zoom, the Sony RX10 can be really nice. And then for those of you who are going scuba diving or hiking or are gonna be exposed a little bit more to the weather elements, Olympus is making a great line of Tough cameras that are weather-resistant that can do very well in harsh environments, you might say. For those of you who do have point and shoots, my key tips on how to use these things is that the focusing can be a little bit slower on these cameras and they use a half-press of the shutter release to pre-focus, and that'll cut down on the timing. So for instance, let's say your friend is gonna jump into the pool. What you wanna do is press halfway down and focus as they're getting ready to jump, because if you just try to do the whole thing while they're jumping, you'll probably capture a splash with no person. So that way your camera is ready to fire very, very quickly. The automatic flash, which is usually turned on on these things, doesn't understand distance, so when you're taking a picture of the Grand Canyon at nighttime, it's firing the flash, and its flash is not filling the Grand Canyon. And so turn that off unless there's something pretty close up to you, and when you are taking pictures of people that are up close to you, the fill flash can be very helpful for lighting your subject. And keep an eye on the battery charge, 'cause these can run through batteries a little bit more quickly because they're powering the LCD on the back of the camera which uses a bit more power than a traditional viewfinder. All right, when it comes to compact mirrorless cameras, a few of my favorite ones out there fall into the Micro 4/ or the APSC category here, and lots of different lenses are available with these. My favorite are the ones from Fuji, I like the traditional controls. They're the only company that is fully dedicated to that APSC system, and so they have just this fantastic collection of lenses and they are the only manufacturer that is making lenses, if I was hired to be part of a company to make a camera and lenses, I would say we're gonna have special travel lenses that emphasize small size. And they have a whole series of compact primes for normal, wide-angle, short telephoto. They're not a huge collection, but they're really small, lightweight, relatively fast lenses, and I think that's just a lot of great stuff, and I've taken those on professional quality shoots, you might say. The crop frame DSLR is probably the safest place to go. If somebody's new into photography, and they're like, I just don't know where I'm gonna end up and what I'm doing, this is the safest place, 'cause you're part of major camera systems, you can grow into their full frame system, their lenses are very popular, you can buy and sell them online at various locations, they're available in all the stores, you break your lens in Rome, go into a camera shop, they're gonna have these two products in there, most likely. If you want to go for the highest quality, you're going for full frame cameras, and there's a lot of them out there. These are some of my favorite models, Canon, Sony, and Nikon, they are building up with new models and they are just ready to do battle in the future with full frame. But one of the things I've noticed about full frame in my 30 years of shooting is that it keeps getting bigger. The bag that I bought when I was in college for putting in four lenses and two bodies now fits two bodies and two lenses. The lenses are getting bigger, and everything else, and so it's not necessarily the best choice for people who really want to be portable. But if you really wanna get the highest quality, yeah, if you're willing to carry the gear, this stuff will provide you with very, very good image quality with a lot of versatility out there. One of the most important things to me is having a backup option. What happens if something happens to my main camera? I could lose it, there could be an accident, I could have it stolen. I've never had any of those, and that's probably because I brought a backup camera. That's why I fear not bringing the backup camera with me. Sometimes I will want to shoot with two cameras. I went to the camel auction just outside of Cairo, and there's camels kicking up dust and there's just chaos, and this is happening, that's happening right next to you, and this is happening way down there, and I wanted to shoot with a wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens like two seconds after another, and there's been a number of cases where I wanted to shoot with two cameras. I normally don't go strolling down the street with two cameras off the shoulder, it's just, you know, a little bit much. But in some special event situations, that can be very, very handy. And sometimes they have a different feature set, which can be very useful. Do you have a compact option? Maybe you're just bringing the point and shoot, so that's just your go to dinner, relaxing type camera. So think about what is your backup option. And so there's a lot of different ways to think about things. For instance, Olympus, you could take two identical cameras. And I can understand this, 'cause everything works the same. The menu's the same, uses the same cards, everything is exactly the same, so that if you need a backup or second lens on there, everything works exactly the same. Sometimes we'll have a main camera and we'll kind of have a junior camera. Well, it's not quite as good resolution, maybe I'll use that in a riskier situation or the older camera is the one I'm gonna leave out there doing the time lapse, you know, while I can be shooting with my main camera. I've traveled with this type of combo, full frame, crop frame. Crop frame has a little bit more advantage in shooting telephoto, sometimes in frame rate as well. So I like that option, 'cause I love having two different things that do different things. It's like I'm the boss and I have two employees that are good at different things. I can task them when they're needed. And so frame rates, you know, what are you gonna be shooting? Maybe you need one that has lower resolution but faster frame rates for something in particular that you're doing. And then another one that we just talked about is kinda having a full size option and then a compact junior option, and so some of these cameras will be notably different in size, but use all the same lenses. Maybe they don't have as many features, but would sure be nice in a pinch that can save your day, save your vacation. Now, I guess it would be a third option you can have for a camera, and this is one that Kenna has loved to bring is the instant camera, and this is a way to make an instant connection with somebody. Because when you can give them a photo, it's one thing to talk to them, it's another thing to show them a photo on the back of the camera. But when you can give them a photo of themselves, that is something that many people in this world do not get that opportunity very often, especially in some poorer countries where, you know, this photographer came to me and gave me a photo of myself, they'll put it up on the wall with the pictures of their mom, you know. It'll go up there with the best of the photos. And right now, Fuji is killing it on the instant cameras. And so they have the ones out there, they have a couple of different models. These are a couple of the most popular models out there. It is a little bit on the pricey side on a per-shot basis, so you're not doing it for everyone everywhere, but in the right times and the right places this can be the icebreaker that will change your trip. So I've said that pretty much every camera can be good for travel photography, depending on what you're doing. But if I had to design a travel camera, here are some of the features that I would wanna have in there. That way, if you have stabilization, you don't have to carry a tripod with you. Silent mode, so that you can be very stealthy in how you shoot, you don't draw a lot of attention to yourself. Wifi remote enables you to set the camera up and see what you have the camera pointed at for some potentially interesting options there. Also for downloading and sending pictures up to the internet can make things easy, so you don't need other cables for it. This is kind of an extra, but boy, this has been really nice, 'cause I've been to some unusual places and I'm kinda like, we drove for hours, and I think we were driving in circles, I dunno. Pull up the GPS log, and I can see exactly where I went. And that's just real fun to know exactly where you got those shots. Because you're always trying to come up with solutions, a tilt screen just gives you more options as to where you can place the camera and get the shot exactly framed as you want it. Dual cards, I like being able to back up on site as I shoot it. It's just an extra level of security that I know I got things. We'll talk more about backing up as we go along, but I could very comfortably go on a trip, take no computer, no hard drive, one camera with dual cards, knowing that everything's backing up as I'm going along. I could even take one card out and stash it, you know, every other day or something like that, so that just gives you more options. Raw processing is the ability to take a raw image and turn it into a JPEG, because generally, if you want to upload a picture to Instagram or Facebook or something like that, you can't upload a raw image. Often times it's too big for the internet, for most email servers to handle. So what you want to be able to do is to be able to take a raw image, process it, and make it into a JPEG in your own camera. About half the cameras will do this right now. Whether you need this feature, well, it depends on how you work, but it allows you to not bring a computer but still have access to outputting images as you were going along on your trip. USB charging. So one of my cameras has a battery charger, or USB charging. I love that. Now, if I was to lose that battery charger, all I have is a simple little cable and I can charge it from any sort of USB plugin, which is becoming more and more common all over the place. And that is a nice little backup without having to bring two chargers, and so it's just another option in a way to save yourself in that situation. And so those are things that I would look for. If your camera doesn't have one or two of those things, don't freak out, unless those things are really, really important to you. And I'm gonna have to cut this short here, 'cause I could talk all day for weeks about cameras, and I have a lot more information in my camera buyer's guide which goes through more features to look for, and as I mentioned before, I do have classes on individual cameras that go into the individual features of them, and so hopefully that kinda gets you the most important tip of the iceberg when it comes to the cameras.

Class Description

Are you going on a once in a lifetime trip and want to have photos that you can share with friends and family? Do the decisions of what to bring, where to shoot, and what to capture feel overwhelming? Travel photography can feel challenging, time consuming, and expensive. But with the right tools you can plan and prioritize to come home with images that you treasure.

Join photographer, educator and author John Greengo, who has photographed all over the world, as he guides you through all of the steps that you need to capture the photos that you want during your travels. This class will offer different plans of what to bring, and how to create a realistic agenda based on your priorities, whether it’s documenting your trip, telling a story through photographs, or simply capturing great images.

John will teach you:

  • What gear to pack based on your goals.
  • How to create a media storage plan and workflow while traveling.
  • Best practices on how to find and scout the best locations to photograph.
  • How to approach locals and build trust before taking their portraits.
  • Camera techniques and settings for different shooting scenarios.
  • Different types of travel photos, such as The Walk Away, The T-Shot, and Environmental Portrait.
  • What to do with your photos once you’ve returned home.

Don’t let the challenges of travel photography keep you from capturing images that will provide you with lifelong memories. Join John Greengo to learn the best techniques, tools, and technology to capture great photos no matter you limitations in time, money and resources.



As usual John has been an awesome instructor. He is so energetic and fun. I love taking his courses and this was no different. I absolutely loved it. I have learned so much by taking his courses. Thanks John for all you do to help us beginners out.

Melissa Maxwell

So inspiring! This class is so comprehensive and I look forward to applying all of Greengo's tips. He is a wonderful instructor and the example photos are breathtaking.

user 1399347749726793

John is fabulous ... and so inspiring! I can travel the world and live vicariously through him! I've watched John for years and always find that he teaches me something new every time! Thanks John and CreativeLive for another awesome class!