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Authored by Sebastian Jacobitz

With travel photography becoming increasingly popular, a good quality camera is now a necessity for most travelers. But the biggest question is, what kind of camera should we use?

Whether you are an already experienced photographer or a beginner looking for ideas on which camera is the best, I see a lot of misguidance when it comes to advice on travel cameras.

A of lot of the time, I see people recommend equipment that would leave any professional photographer envious. And a lot of it. But from my own experience, you don’t need a very complex setup or the most expensive gear.

I traveled with the Fuji X100F through Southeast Asia for a few months and couldn’t be happier with it. For me, this is my ideal travel camera, and I want to share the stories that I was able to capture with that one single camera.

The Advantages of Traveling With a Single Camera

Which Travel Camera

When making a decision on which camera will be the best for your travels, you should considering the subjects you want to photograph.

Do you want to photograph the local people, landscapes or wildlife? Or do you need a camera that is able to capture everything equally well? Depending on your budget, the choice of the camera might change, but all in all, I would recommend spending less on the camera and more on the travel experience itself.

Most cameras of today, whether you are looking for a compact camera or a DSLR, are already so good that even the entry-level models are able to capture great quality images.

Travel Light

Sebastian Jacobitz

My second advice aside from being conservative with your camera budget would be to travel light. You don’t need a whole collection of camera lenses or other equipment, as you probably won’t use them anyway.

Having less equipment makes the journey a lot easier and doesn’t limit your ability to capture moments. You might be worrying that you might miss a picture, but having too much equipment can be more distracting than actually helpful.

Instead of enjoying the moment, you are thinking about which lens might be the best fit for this situation, and might find that you end up more stressed.

If you are just looking for a decent travel camera, I would recommend a compact camera with a zoom lens. Such cameras are readily available for less than $500 but are able to impress with images that are already far better than your mobile phone.

The FujiX 100F

My personal choice for my travel was the Fuji X100F. As a Street & Documentary Photographer, my goal was to photograph people, and to a lesser degree, I was interested in landscapes and architecture.

For that endeavor, the 35mm fixed prime lens is perfect. The field of view is close to our normal eyes and photographing with that camera feels very natural.

If you want to take a close-up of people, the camera forces you to get close, instead of being able to zoom in. I believe this is very beneficial for portrait photography, as the distance typically shows.

➡ Read more camera specs.

Photograph: Sulfur Miners on Mount Ijen

Sulfur Miners on Mount Ijen

During my journey through South East Asia I stayed for six weeks with a local family in a homestay in the Indonesian Jungle. My goal was to photograph the sulfur miners on mount Ijen.

The environment there is very hostile due to the toxic sulfur smoke and I was very worried that the smoke & dust might damage my camera. After-all, the camera was a huge investment for me and I was worried if the X100F would withstand such an environment.

As the picture shows, I was able to document the work of the sulfur miners by joining them right in middle of the action. Equipped with a gas mask, I stood in the center of the toxic sulfur smoke and my camera withstood this dangerous environment.

I believe the mirrorless camera design is an advantage because it takes away the mirror as the weak spot.

Photograph: Elephants in Chiang Mai

Elephants in Chiang Mai

In case you believe, that a fixed prime lens camera might be limiting, I had also the opportunity to photograph elephants in a sanctuary near Chiang Mai in Thailand and have photographed a few landscapes.

This should be more than enough proof that you don’t need a big collection of camera equipment to document a travel experience in the best way.

Would I have been getting pictures if I had multiple lenses or cameras with me? I doubt it, and what I am sure about is that I wouldn’t have as much fun.

The Fuji X100F is simple, yet has a great image quality and I couldn’t think about a better travel camera for my subjects that I am interested in.

➡ Check out the camera on Amazon.

Worries of Traveling With a Single Camera

If you’re still not convinced that a single camera and even a single lens is sufficient for travel photography, try the minimalistic combination in your hometown and try to photograph as if you are a tourist.

It might take a bit of practice to adapt to this minimalistic style, but in the end, I can assure you that it makes traveling a lot easier.

You can save a lot of weight traveling with only one camera, and if you’re used to a lot of walking it definitely makes all the difference. In the end, the most important thing is to enjoy the trip and in my opinion this can be best achieved when you focus your photography gear to a minimum.

Rather than investing more money in additional lenses, you might instead think about a useful workshop or learning the art of photography via video tutorials. You as the photographer have a lot more influence over how your images turn out than the camera does.

Get the Fuji X100F

OTHER CAMERA GEAR WE RECOMMEND. CLICK PHOTO ↓

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INSPIRED?! PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS ↓

Sebastian is a Street & Travel Photographer from Berlin. During his recent travel through Southeast Asia he lived with a local family in the Indonesian Jungle and documented their local life as well as the workers on the nearby mountain Ijen.

He shares his experiences via photography blog Streetbounty.com to inspire others to enjoy photography.

    28 Comments

  1. I totally agree, and am surprised more travel bloggers and photographers don’t talk about mirrorless cameras more! As much as I love a DSLR, I found that I hated traveling with them due to the space, weight, and then danger of switching lenses in harsh environments like desert sand, snow, rain, etc. I switched years ago and largely love it. I’ve used the Panasonic Lumix for a long time (just upgraded to the LX100) due to the Leica lens and the 4/3 sensor but have heard great things about the FujiX.

    • Glad to hear you’re loving the Panasonic Lumix Jessica! When I met my husband for the first time while traveling he was traveling with a large bag, full of all his camera equipment and then a tiny carry on for clothes lol. It really does get too much when you’re constantly on the move, especially now that the image quality of mirrorless is what it is 🙂

      Happy travels!

  2. Great read! However, I dont think that I’ll be ever to travel with a single/camera lens as a videographer haha! For me, I think bare minimum is two bodies, 2 lenses and a drone =) but definitely respect people who can get away with small setups!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Ryan! Ultimately it’ll always be what works best for every individual, but hopefully we can at least let people know it’s possible 😀

  3. I love this camera. I think I’m ready for something else besides my Nikon D3300. I’m mostly into landscapes and I’m tired of switching lens as well.

    • The Fuji X100F is a really great choice if you’re looking to make the change from DLSR 🙂

  4. I think I just found my next camera!

  5. I used a point and shoot for my photos and some of them are amazing photos.

    • Our wildlife photography is usually all with a point and shoot, and we’re always really happy with it 🙂

  6. I wish I could limit myself to a single lens but taking photographs in so many different conditions means that I prefer to have 2/3 option – an 18-200mm and a couple prime lenses. My camera bag has enough space for my ‘day’ stuff too though.

    • Ultimately it’ll always be what works best for every individual, but hopefully we can at least let people know it’s possible. If you’re traveling through many different conditions it does make sense to have more gear 🙂

  7. Since the mid 1980s I travelled with an SLR and then later a DSLR. For some kinds of trips, I’d use a single telephoto lens that covered wide through zoom effectively. For safari / wildlife trips I’d have more lenses, including some prime lenses and doublers, plus tripods etc. For citybreaks, I stuck with the single walkaround. BUT for the last couple of years, I’ve switched to my phone camera as the primary camera for most trips, and I take my (small body) DSLR with just a 50mm lens attached, for restaurant/ food photography, partly because it’s a 1.8 so can cope with dark restaurants and also because I love shallow DOF. So most of the photos that I use in my travel blogposts are now phone camera photos! ❤

    • I realise this makes me sound REALLY OLD!!

    • Lol d/w I understood it all so that probably makes me just as old!!

      When I met Mike he had a small travel bag for his clothes and then a large pack for all his camera gear haha, now that technology has advanced to the point that a mirrorless / point and shoot can offer the same high quality of image, we’ve completely minimalized our gear.

      I’m amazed with the quality of phone images these days – especially for macro photography. Half the time if I need something macro I actually prefer my phone!

  8. The 35mm, f/1.8 prime lens. Great for most situations, wonderful in low light.

  9. Couldn’t agree with this more! While it depends on what kind of trip you’re on, I generally take only a single camera and lens. A short day trip might be manageable if you bring a bunch of equipment, but longer trips (like trekking) become nightmares with anything more than simple gear!

    • When I met Mike he had a small travel bag for his clothes and then a large pack for all his camera gear haha, now that technology has advanced to the point that a mirrorless / point and shoot can offer the same high quality of image, we’ve completely minimalized our gear.

      You’re right – it’s such a nightmare to have to try and manage long trips, especially adventurous activities and be stuffing around with a lot of gear.

  10. We’ve been traveling for the whole year and I’m happy to have my Olympus omd em-10 with a superzoom lens (equiv 28-300). At some point I had THREE (small) lenses with me but the other two weren’t bringing me joy so I shipped them back to the US 😀

    • A fellow minimalist 😀 We’ve ditched most of our extra lenses over time too – we realized we really weren’t taking the time to switch out, so it wasn’t worth carrying them. Glad to hear you’re enjoying your Olympus 🙂

  11. A drone, a canon dslr with one lense and a go pro. I also use my iPhone se a lot for its outstanding stabilization.

    • I’m truly amazed by how incredible iPhones are these days! 🙂

  12. I wish one lens did everything I wanted, it would make my bag so much lighter!

    • So much lighter 😀 Ultimately it’ll always be what works best for everyone personally, but hopefully we can at least let people know it’s possible 🙂

    • It’s definitely possible. I’ve going on trips with 1 body + 1 lens just doesn’t always work out that way though 🙂

  13. Nice article, solid points. Nowadays I find myself switching equally between photos and video, compiling both as part of my story shared in different mediums. I’ve been using the Sony RX100 series as single camera and quite nice.

    • Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the post 🙂 Fabulous to hear that the Sony RX100 is a great choice, I’ll have to check it out 🙂

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