Lightweight Photo Gear For Travellers

Most travellers will agree that with the advancement of technology smartphones have become the ultimate lightweight photography tool. And although they are pretty good in terms of performance and result it might just not be enough for those more enthusiastic about capturing their best travel moments. But do you really need a DSLR camera? It’s true they might be more capable compared to a compact camera, but they also tend to be heavier, with many lenses and accessories which can be a great downside on the road. When it comes to travelling alone or going on day trips and exploring freely, the less you carry the better. Here’s some of the best lightweight photo gear that’s perfect for any traveller!

1/ The Olympus PEN Camera


Olympus PEN-F

Olympus PEN-F, image source:

For those of you who think that smartphones are the world’s best portable cameras, the micro four-thirds system in the Olympus PEN Camera can be a real eye-opener. One of the advantages of purchasing a high-end compact camera is essentially the fact that you will get amazing quality photos, while still having greater flexibility compared to most DSLR professional cameras and equipment. The Olympus PEN-F is one of the best mirrorless cameras out there. It’s super light, easy to use and it will deliver high-quality performance video and photos (it also has a very retro feel to it). It’s not a surprise that many travel and lifestyle bloggers use it while sightseeing!

The Micro Four Thirds system (MFT) in the Olympus PEN Camera was developed by Olympus and Panasonic back in 2008. This system has a very similar image sensor size to that in a DSLR but it comes without the mirror box and pentaprism, thus the space saved allows it to have an amazingly slim body.

Most impressive features of the Olympus PEN-F camera:
  • The Pen-F is built around a 20.3 megapixel Live MOS sensor
  • This is a micro four-thirds system
  • 5-axis body-based image stabilization with auto panning detection
  • Full HD video recording at 60 fps
  • 10 fps continuous shooting speed
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • A high-resolution shot mode that is capable of churning 50-megapixel frames

2/ Insta360 One X Camera

Insta360 X One

Insta360 X One, image source:

With a cost of almost 400 euros, the Insta360 One X Camera certainly isn’t cheap, but its features and design do make it one of the best 360 cameras around. While the obvious benefits of using this handy gadget seem to revolve around it being able to capture some pretty amazing action-packed videos and images, it’s worth mentioning that the high performance of this product in comparison to its compact size is quite impressive. In fact, many users claim that footage shot with the Insta360 One X Camera is so smooth that it almost looks like it was shot from a gimbal.

The sleek design is also pretty great and the camera is pocket-friendly, meaning you can easily carry it along with you on your adventures. The device is exceptionally easy to use. There are only a few buttons on the camera which are used to power on the device, select various options (such as switching between photo and video modes) and start and stop recording. The camera also comes with a removable battery and a micro USB port, which you can use to both recharge the battery and connect the camera physically to your phone.

Our favourite Insta360 One X Camera features:
  • An 18 MP still image resolution, allowing you to capture clear, crisp images
  • 5.7K video at 30 frames per second. For smooth motion in action videos or slow-motion effects, you can also record 4K footage at 50fps or 3K video at 100fps
  • An absolutely amazing built-in 6-axis gyroscopic stabilization
  • A MicroSD card slot with a capacity for over 128GB worth of storage
  • Live-streaming
  • Easily controlled via an iPhone or Android smartphone
  • The “Bullet-time” special effect – this timeshift feature lets users adjust the speed of different parts of a clip so they can put the focus on key moments, using either slow-motion or hyper-lapse effects

3/ Moza Aircross Gimbal

Moza Aircross

Moza Aircross, image source:

If you’re looking for a travel-friendly gimbal that offers great stabilization and comes loaded with features for a reasonable price, the MOZA AirCross may be one of your best options. This handy gadget supports pretty much all mirrorless cameras and it comes with a max payload of 1.8kg. The gimbal also has a very sleek, compact design and according to most of its users, it does indeed offer some truly amazing stabilization performance, allowing you to capture any kind of action as smooth as possible!

Some key features:
  • Unlimited DC Power in for Camera/Gimbal
  • Arca-Type/Manfrotto 501PL Quick Release
  • Create Time-Lapse Shots with MOZA App
  • Mimic Motion with Optional Thumb Control
  • Rechargeable 2000mAh batteries that provide up to 12 hours of operation

4/  Manfrotto BeFree GT Travel Tripod

Manfrotto BeFree GT Travel

Manfrotto BeFree GT Travel, image source:

When it comes to tripods, most travel photographers (or enthusiasts) concern themselves with 2 primary factors – size and cost. As we mentioned before, you wouldn’t want to carry heavy bags with you everywhere you go or some super chunky pieces of equipment. At only 43 cm when folded, the Manfrotto BeFree GT Travel Tripod is an extremely compact, viable option for travelling.

The tripod easily fits into a standard-sized suitcase and it slides into the water bottle pocket of most regular backpacks. It’s just so easy to carry and a big favourite amongst amateur and professional photographers. The tripod is so well received in terms of value for money that in fact many of its fans have said they’d hardly consider an upgrade when it’s time to travel again!

5/ Zhiyun-Tech Smooth 4 Tripod

Zhiyun-Tech Smooth 4

Zhiyun-Tech Smooth 4, image source:

Looking for a device that will help you create stable and smooth footage on your smartphone? The Zhiyun-Tech Smooth 4 Tripod can literally turn your mobile phone into a professional filmmaking camera. This amazing gadget is an unbelievably useful piece of equipment to have with you as you travel. The tripod is light, super handy and comes packed with many useful features that never cease to amaze.

It’s compatible with almost any mobile phone out there and the amazing control panel allows Android and iOS users to control both gimbal and smartphone camera functions such as focus, zoom, time-lapse, and still photo settings. The gadget comes with a free, downloadable ZY Play app and the Smooth-4’s controls significantly reduce the need to touch your phone’s screen.

Best of Zhiyun-Tech Smooth 4 features:
  • A 300° of pan, 240° of tilt, and 240° of roll
  • A super-smooth large focus wheel with a witness mark that can be lined up to focus marks you place on its textured band
  • A “Vertigo” effect, and super quick-response PhoneGo modes
  • Multiple time-lapse and follow-mode choices – pan-following, locking, full-follow, or the full-speed PhoneGo mode to adjust your level of axis control while shooting
  • For Smartphones up to 210 grams
  • Up to 12-hours battery life of better action capture + the ability to use an external power pack
  • Can charge your phone while shooting

There are indeed many more cameras and gadgets out there that are just as lightweight and as easy to carry around on your adventures. The ones we’ve picked will give you a good start and somewhat retain a steady balance between quality and budget. While not everyone can afford the high-end cameras and gear, a common concept on which most photographers agree is that if there’s one thing worth investing when it comes to photography, that would definitely have to be a good camera!

You can get all these items (and many more) at Photosynthesis!