I'm always asked what equipment I choose to bring when I travel on vacation. I might have placed some of these items in random articles on this blog, but here i'll list out my favorite Vacation travel gear that I can't seem to go without. Often i'll title this collection as my 'Personal Travel Setup' or at times 'Here honey, you can use this to bring to your friends party' equipment list. Keep in mind it's a balance of getting quality footage without risking expensive equipment getting lost or damaged.
First up a super light weight camera that does both awesome photos + awesome video the Canon EOS 550D or T2i. It's the cheapest SLR I own which makes it perfect for traveling (in case I get jacked!). The hybrid photo camera + HD video means I'm only carrying one piece of gear for all those captured memories.
Second piece of travel gear, (you've heard my praises on this lens), the Tamron 18-270mm with VC. Yes it's wide for this cropped camera, it zooms out to a crazy 270mm, and it has Image Stabilization too. When they are on sale, you can grab them just about $520 dollars (it's on sale now). Being able to shoot wide and super zoom with image stabilization all in one lens, it's the perfect travel buddy. And for the price, I can afford to get jacked with it too. (don't jack me if you see me, it's hypothetical)
Media card choice (thanks readers) would be the Transcend 32GB SDHC Class 6 card. I posted about this asking what everyone's opinions were, and they all had very good reviews. So for vacation wise, this is an item you can get several of. The Class 6 is fast enough for RAW photos and Videos. I can stock up soooo many of these cheap cards and not have to carry a laptop out to the jungle for dumping data. Just bring several of these since they run fairly cheap.
Next up is a Variable ND filter. There's hype about the LCW Fader ND's and i'm not sure if they are the best, but i'm using the Genus brand from BHPHOTOVIDEO. With the 1/4000ths shutter speed on the T2i sometimes it's very very very bright out on a beach. This bad boy helps me stop down light to keep my shutter in check, and also to do Flash sync in photography. As you know Flash only syncs at approx 1/200ths, so if you need that fill light for better exposure, you gotta have an ND. Cutting out the light is also perfect to get my Video shutter speed to where the pros shoot at - 1/50th-1/60th. If your'e doing any type of landscape photography, this will help you capture motion in the ocean or streaming waterfalls by allowing your shutter to remain open longer on bright sunny days. Since it's a Variable ND filter, you can adjust different exposures without carrying multiple ND's. Something every Photographer and Videographer should carry and a very important tool.
I'm not a fan of the OEM straps, they just aren't that comfortable. I was sold on the Black Rapids R-Straps when I saw how smooth they worked, and how professional they look. The Strap also doubles as a bag to carry your phone, extra batteries, media cards, and more. It's like having a backpack on a strap and the camera just glides along instead of 'binding' everywhere. Those pockets built into the strap are perfect when you're rocking the beach in speedos. Just kidding, I don't wear speedos. It's much better to go naked to prevent tan lines.
Gotta have flash! Most people think flash is strictly used indoors, low light, or at night. In fact many professionals use Flash outdoors on bright sunny days to balance lighting. If you take the time to understand flash, you'll get much better lighting in with your subjects. My choice obviously is the OEM Canon 580 EX II. It's fast, powerful, pretty weather sealed, and can be used off camera with an ST-E2 transmitter. Firing the flash off to the side normally gives a better look instead of flat on your subject. This is completely an optional piece of equipment when used in the 'Here honey, you can use this to bring to your friends party' equipment list. You might want to just let 'em use the built in flash.
Tripods on Vacation. Depending where you go, you might want those beautiful night scenes with long exposure shots, timelapse photography, steady Video clips, or maybe just set the camera on timer to get a shot of yourself (in speedos). My personal favorite is an old Velbon travel tripod. Sorry I don't think they sell it anymore, but you can check out a line of Travel tripods following this link. Travel tripods have to be super light and fold up super short so you don't mind bringing it around. If you try and get the biggest and the baddest, i've found you'll tend to use it alot less. Grab yourself a light weight one, and you'll find yourself using it more often.
Now if I must have a bag with me, the Lowepro Fastpack is my choice. I actually have 2 of these bags. It can fit a full DSLR + Battery Pack + Big Lens in the bottom area, is quickly accessible, and has several other pockets for my Flash, ST-E2 transmitter, cards, strap, ND Filter, yadda yadda yadda. Now this model doesn't have a Tripod strap, but I use the Mesh pocket off to the side to hold my tripod and a bit of Velcro tie down at the top to keep it all in place. When i'm traveling (without a tripod) it doesn't have that umm..how do we say... 'Hey I got me some camera gear inside of this Backpack!' kinda look. I like it pretty sleek, portable, and discreet.