Capture Your Vacation Memories
It was in 1839 that French artist and inventor Louis Daguerre shared his "Daguerreotype" exposure process to the world, making commercial photography a reality. Today, amateur photographers have access to a wealth of professional-quality equipment and accessories at reasonable prices.
As amateur photographers, we at Compass & Key have tested plenty of equipment to find the best gear for our adventures. We are excited to share our essential guide to cameras and accessories for your next trip.
DSLR cameras allow amateur photographers to capture exceptional shots. While they take a little more time to learn, there are many advantages over a standard compact camera or smartphone. With many camera brands out there, we've always turned to Sony for easy-to-use, quality cameras. We've owned our current Sony DSLR, the Sony Alpha 300, for several years, but we're eyeing this model, the Sony α68 DSLR, for our next upgrade.
$699.99 with body + 18-55mm lens / sony.com
The Sony RX100 provides the power of a DSLR in a fabulously compact package that fits in your pocket. It shoots incredible photos in low-light and the video is top-notch. The small size makes it ideal for those times when we don't want to carry a bigger bag, like evenings out. We rarely leave home without it.
$699.99 / sony.com
As technology improves, we rely on our smartphone cameras more and more. Thankfully, there are some fantastic accessories to improve our photography on the go. This lens set from Photojojo (one of our fave shops for the photo-obsessed) works with iPhone and Android smartphones and fits easily in your pocket. Choose from fisheye, super fisheye, telephoto, wide angle, macro and polarizing lenses, or buy the complete set.
$20 for individual lenses / $99 for 5-lens set + pouch / photojojo.com
ONA camera bags are stylish for both men and women. We love our leather 'Bowery' bag from ONA and use the front and side pockets to store small guidebooks, maps and DSLR accessories. The strap adjusts, making it easy for either of us to carry.
$149 for canvas, $249 for leather / Available in ten colors / onabags.com
Photos: Hello Lulu
The 'Casey' camera bag from HelloLulu is lightweight and water-resistant, ideal for outdoor adventures. The inside zip pockets are perfect for storing extra batteries, memory cards or loose change. We use the front zip pocket for our pocket tripod and the open pocket in the back for guidebooks. Our Casey bag has faithfully carried our DSLR through most of the 15 U.S. National Parks we have visited, and has never let us down.
$95 / Currently only available in rasberry color / hellolulu.com
Photos: Lo & Sons
This is the Claremont from Lo & Sons, offering a discreet yet elegant solution for carrying your DSLR. There are two tiny pockets sized just for memory cards along with a back zipper pocket for other essentials. We own two other bags from Lo & Sons and appreciate the thoughtful design incorporated into all of their products. This is next on the purchase list.
$300 / Available in three colors / loandsons.com
MegaGear offers a slim fitting leather case for our recommended Sony Cyber-shot camera (shown) at a great price - just over $25. The "ever ready" design allows you to take off the top part of the case to easily snap a shot. There's no need to remove the bottom portion of the case - your tripod screws in as normal. Given that the Cyber-shot is an investment, we wanted some outer protection, and this case has proven to be the perfect fit. MegaGear sells cases for virtually any camera in a variety of colors.
$25.99 / This product available in four leather colors / megagearshop.com
Photo: Kelly Moore
The Woodstock backpack from Kelly Moore is a stylish option for those who prefer a backpack over a crossbody or sling bag. The interior has a removable, adjustible padded basket to safeguard your camera, plus plenty of other pockets for your essentials.
$229 / Available in three colors / kellymoorebag.com
For around $10 and measuring only 5 inches, this is an exceptionally versatile tripod. We easily fit ours in the pocket of our camera bags and it performs remarkably well, even in the outdoors when we are stabilizing our DSLR on uneven surfaces.
$12.99 / Available on Amazon
For additional grip, check out GorillaPod's line of tripods that can wrap around most anything. At 10" in length and weighing less than half a pound, the Hybrid is still portable and provides more versatility.
$39.99 / joby.com
If you plan to take photos outdoors, always have a rain sleeve. The simple design of the OP/TECH rainsleeve works with most DSLR cameras and fits in a tiny pocket. We have only had to use ours a handful of times, but when you're hiking in a remote area, there is peace of mind knowing we have one.
$6.95 for 2-pack / Available on Amazon
Photo: Lens Pen
It's inevitable that your camera lens will get dirty, whether it's dust or a smudge. Pack the small LensPen in your camera bag to quickly and easily clean your camera lens and get back to capturing incredible moments.
$14.95 / lenspen.com
For all you Apple fans, you may only travel with your iPad rather than a laptop. This lightning to USB camera adapter is handy for downloading your photos to your iPad when you need to free up space on your camera, or if you're planning to edit your favorite shots and share online to a blog or social media.
$39.99 / apple.com