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What Camera Gear Should You Buy?

Lesson 3 from: Travel Photography: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

What Camera Gear Should You Buy?

Lesson 3 from: Travel Photography: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

3. What Camera Gear Should You Buy?


Class Trailer



Course Introduction


Camera Gear for Travel


What Camera Gear Should You Buy?


Gear Bags for Travel Photography


Location Research and Pre-Trip Planning


Importing and Naming Conventions in Lightroom


Processing Images with Presets in Lightroom


Lesson Info

What Camera Gear Should You Buy?

So let's talk about some cameras. Let's talk about what would I suggest, in general. What do I use. And if I were to buy a brand new camera today, what would I buy? And why am I making those choices? So first off, I can't tell you what you should buy, 'cause I don't know what's important to you. But I can tell you what advice I would give friends if they asked me and think about specific friends. Let's say I had a friend that said they're somewhat on a budget. But by a budget, it's an okay-size budget. He wants professional quality results. And most important to that person is lightweight and small. Well, this is what I would personally suggest to that person if they wanted professional quality results. This would be $1300 setup. It would be a camera and one lens. Camera and one lens would be really easy to carry, wouldn't it? It's gonna be lightweight, easy to pack, all that kind of stuff. What's nice about this particular setup is you can always expand it, because you can take the le...

ns off, buy a new one to exchange with it. And you're not stuck starting over again. And the advantages to this setup would be since you never take the lens off, you're just using one lens. You're never gonna get any dust inside that area. You're never gonna have to clean that. And it's light, easy to pack and carry. The disadvantage of that is. Do you see this number right here where it mentions lenses? F4 to 5.6. Whenever you see that number, it's telling you how much, how large of an aperture can you get. You'd have to do the math to figure out the actual size, but whenever there's two numbers listed, the smaller of the two numbers means at the wide end of your lens. And this larger of the two numbers means at the long end of your lens. And so with this, it's gonna be harder to get that really isolated narrow depth of field, where I get one thing sharp and get everything else looking like a beautiful blurry background. Which to me is a real key to successful shooting. And so anyway, that's one setup I might get if somebody wanted a small setup. Now, let's say instead, somebody's used to a big camera. They're used to having three lenses, and just like this one, right here. But they want something smaller and lighter for travel. An example of that would be my wife, Karen. She shoots with a big Nikon camera, and she has a 14-24, a 24-70, and a 70-200. Which is kind of a really nice setup for shooting on a Nikon. But what would I suggest if she wants something lighter weight? This is what I'd end up doing. It would cost $4300, and in this case, what we're doing is we're replicating the general feeling of a lot of her lenses. This particular camera has a crop factor of two. Which means if you want to know the equivalent lenses on a big camera, take these numbers and multiply 'em by two. So this would be the equivalent to a 14-24; this would be the equivalent to a 24-80 in this case. And this would be an 80-300, which gives you nice range. And we have our prices in here. The advantages of this, it's gonna be smaller and lighter weight. And the disadvantages is that with a smaller sensor these F2.8 numbers are not equivalent, remember? You have to multiply those as well, by the crop factor. So those are the equivalent to F5.6. And we'll talk more about that if you're not used to knowing what settings and how important they can be. This, if I were to buy a brand new setup, would be what I would buy. But this is really expensive. Well, that's because I do a lot more than just travel, and I have certain priorities. And so what would I get here? I would get something called the Sony A7R II. It's a brand new camera, it just came out. And I'm not sure why there's two prices next to it. I think it's $3,200. I would actually shoot it with some Canon glass. The reason why I would end up using Canon glass and what I look for in some of my cameras is, when I look at a lens, I find that the lenses for Cannon and Nikon. They're big cameras. They all have a, part on the lens that has a scale on it. That scale tells you how far away you're focused. I find this information to be overly useful. We'll talk about why that is later on. But if I grab this, which is a Sony lens, they decided not to put it on it. They decided not to put it on any of these lenses. That's useful. The other thing is the Sony glass, the f-stop number. This goes to four. That's the lowest the number goes. This goes to 2.8. What does that mean? If you're not used to thinking about aperture settings it means I can isolate more. But that's a really expensive camera. I don't expect you guys to want that camera at all. That's me 'cause I shoot so many different things. The other thing this is gonna give me is the ability to crop my images a lot and do a lot more. But for you, you gotta think about what is your situation, what are your priorities. If your priority is low cost and lightweight you're gonna have to give some sacrifices in order to get that. What I'm gonna end up doing is, as we talk about shooting, planning, and everything else, you'll start learning what those sacrifices will be. So by the time we end up getting through all of it you can end up knowing really how to think about choosing a camera. So Ben, I wanted to acknowledge Girl Geek who says, I am so glad that he is covering all of the technical information about what to consider when buying a camera. I know for me personally, it took a really long time to figure out what 2.8 meant on a 70- versus 2.8 on a 24-70. It kind of took, in the field me trying to be like, what? Why did that happen? So thank you for that explanation. Well, and that's the thing is, often times what happens is, like when I got started I would ask people advice and they would say, oh get this lens. They seemed to love to just tell me a lens. And because I'd asked them I wanted an answer. But what they would do is tell me what lens to get instead of telling me why. So I could pick any lens. So I'll be discussing a little bit more about the why's. Unfortunately there's a little more detail than you sometimes want. But once you get through it and you actually understand it, suddenly you understand a lot more about all the gear then when all you hear is just little tips about, get this one or that one. Right which is so important when you are out there traveling in a place you might never go back to to get those types of images that you want. So a question from Shahid is, if we have a full frame mirrorless camera with the same f-stop. Sorry. If we have full frame mirrorless camera with same f-stop, is that the same depth of field as-- Yes, it is. Okay. Yes, because the only thing you're doing is. A full frame camera has, what's known as a crop factor of one. And what that means is take any lens and multiply it by one and you get the exact same number, right? Which means the full frame sensors, if you have F2.8 it's the same as it on this because if you do the math which is the length of the lens in millimeters, you know, a 100 millimeter lens, divided by the f-stop. If you did it for these two cameras, they'd be identical. You can do the math real easy. They are equivalent. Okay, awesome. But this can be smaller because there's no mirror in here that takes up space and has to flip out of the way. Right. Okay, great. Some more awesome questions coming through. Let's see, John says, can buying a lens which is not meant for a full frame body have significant impact when isolating a subject? Say that again. When isolating a subject, can buying a lens which is not meant for a full frame body. I guess to back up a step. Can you put lenses that are made for a crop frame body on a full frame? It depends on the camera, but usually if the lens is designed specifically for a crop frame sensor you can't put it on the big ones because often times it would need to stick into the opening of the lens too far or other things like that. You can have a full frame lens that you can put on crop frame cameras. So you can go one direction usually and not the other. If it's designed for a big sensor, you can often put it on smaller ones. But you can't usually go the other direction. The reason for that is remember, it's a crop frame sensor; which means that if we attempted to do that and it physically would fit, imagine that this picture here where you see the full image, that would be your sensor on the big camera. But your lens wouldn't be able to project the light across the whole area. Instead your lens would project it closer to this amount of space and we would start getting blackness out here, where the lens just doesn't project anything out there. Your lens actually projects a circular image, that we're just cropping to a rectangle. So if you were to imagine a circle going around that, it wouldn't cover the corners. So in that particular example where you had a full frame lens and put it on a crop frame sensor and you're okay with the image that was cropped, could you still get the isolation factor? Like let's say it was like a 1.4. Would you still get the isolation? You would get the isolation but the problem is your view of the scene would be different. So that, when I take that lens and put it on that smaller sensor and shoot with it, it's going to be cropping into the scene. So if I have a wide angle lens it's not gonna look as wide. If I'm used to shooting with that lens on a big camera and I can see the entire interior of a room suddenly in the crop frame sensor, it's gonna crop into that and make it so now I can only see the middle portion of the room. It will give you a different view than on the big camera but you'd have the same depth. I have a question. On the cameras when you're going from the optical to the electronic is the print, when you go to print, is the quality compromised? Is the density of the pixilation compromised? No, no compromise there whatsoever. The only difference is, on a big camera here that's got an optical viewfinder, there's a mirror in it. And the mirror is what's sending the light up to your eye, that mirror moves out of the way and then the light ends up making it all the way to the sensor, it captures the picture. With an electronic viewfinder camera it's using the sensor the entire time and it's no different as far as the quality of the end result, the end picture. Alright, one more question. This is from Linda. I chose the optical over the electronic viewfinder because it had a faster response from click to shutter response when shooting birds, et cetera. Is that true? It depends on the camera. If you think about it, a optical viewfinder, most of the time unless it has something special called a translucent mirror, a mirror that can send some light through it and reflect some. That mirror has to move out of the way because it's just a mirror in there that the light reflects on. It bounces up, go into your eye, so you can see the scene. It needs to move out of the way to make the sensor visible and that takes time. With a electronic viewfinder, if there is no mirror, I mean if it's a mirrorless camera, then there's no mirror to move out of the way. And the time it takes for that mirror to get out of the way, can be taken out of the equation. So this should be able to shoot faster. It depends on the camera though. There could be an older version of this or more inexpensive version that might be slower than another camera you're comparing it to. But technically there should be able to shoot faster with this just because the mirror doesn't have to get out of the way. That takes time. One more. One more over here. So this might be kind of a silly question but is that the whole point of mirrorless cameras is so that way you're not getting the shutter lag, or what's the point of mirrorless? The point is a couple. One is, first off, the mirror doesn't have to get out of the way. That makes it so if you're shooting your camera doesn't shake either 'cause the mirror, if it pops up, when it gets to the top it's gotta stop moving and anything that's moving quickly, it has to stop quick, it's gonna shake your camera a little bit. So you don't have that. And the body is much smaller because the physical space it takes for that mirror. If you look at how thick this body is, there's a mirror in there. It's a at 45 degree angle in there. You can see it if you take the lens off. That physically takes up space. Take that out and now this body can become slimmer. So a mirrorless camera, possibly shoot faster and you end up with a smaller body. Yeah, it's really nice.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Lightroom Presets Quickstart Guide
Lightroom Preset Sampler
Pre-Trip Planning
Actions Sampler Guide
Travel Photography Handbook
Actions Sampler
Lightroom Keywords
Big Set of Lightroom Presets
Practice Images
Travel Photogtaphy Mobile Guide
Gear List
Lightroom Tips and Keyboard Shortcuts

Ratings and Reviews


This was simply an amazing experience! Without a doubt the best investment of time and money I have experienced in quite awhile. Ben's complete command of the subject, the practical tips, suggestions and reference information was outstanding. I have enjoyed point and shoot photography for some time and recently decided to invest in some decent DSLR equipment (Canon EOS D70). I have a trip to Cape Town and Johannesburg South Africa rapidly approaching and thought it might be a good idea to take some classes and make an effort to get up the learning curve ASAP to take advantage of this travel opportunity. "Discovering" Creativelive and Ben Willmore's class was literally an answer to prayer! There is nothing like sitting at the foot of wisdom, taking notes, and having numerous "ah-ha" moments! This was great....looking forward to more classes. Thanks for the high quality effort!

a Creativelive Student

Genius! Ben is a brilliant master teacher - focused, clear and holds back no information. The best! This course has condensed the equivalent of 10 courses into one. He is a perfectionist in his approach and knows how to present the material. He is the leader in photoshop and photography "par excellence". Highly recommend any of his courses. Save your time and start with the best - everyone loves Ben!!!!

Nichole Sams

I feel the title of this class, Travel Photography, is much to limiting for what you are really going to get. As a wedding photographer, who dreams of traveling, I attending the class live in Seattle, and was hoping to get some inspiration for on location shoots. What I got, however, was a WHOLE LOT MORE. I would recommend this class to anyone with a camera and Lightroom. What I learned about how lightroom works and how to integrate it with photoshop is invaluable. I actually think they should charge WAY more for this course. The bonuses with purchase from the keywords (we are talking every key word you could possibly imagine) and the presets (holycow everything you would ever need) are worth exponentially more than the course price itself. Ben is a gentle easy going teacher and nice to listen to. His ease of teaching pretty complex ideas was truly wonderful. If you are reading this you must buy this course, it is well worth it!

Student Work