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How do lens rentals work? I rented a lens and documented the process over a weekend in London, UK. 

The post How do Borrow Lenses work? appeared first on Cultured Kiwi.

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Let’s face it, travel photography is amazing! You’re constantly moving from place to place, having new experiences, trying new things. But it does mean that you’re away from your loved ones for long periods of time. While I’m travelling, I miss my family back home – but it’s still hard to find time to get […]

The post Touchnote Review (the best postcard app?) appeared first on Cultured Kiwi.

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I genuinely believe that I have purchased the best price to performance fuji system for street photography available on the market. Should I change my mind in a matter of months, it won't cost me a cent. This article is a summary of the criteria and research I conducted before purchasing my latest street photography camera. The results from my first street photography shoots are also included with a full review to come.

The post Best Street Photography Camera 2018 (Don’t Buy New!) appeared first on Cultured Kiwi.

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The Best Travel Hacks

Do you love the idea of travelling, but get discouraged by all the planning involved? Do you hate packing or always end up forgetting something? Maybe it’s the opposite, and you always pack too much. I was like that when I started travelling, but over the years I picked up some cool travel packing hacks. These helped me streamline my travel experience to the point where preparing for a trip is now almost automatic. Let me show you my 35 travel tips and tricks that’ll make your travelling life easier. Ready?

1. Roll Your Clothes! Image courtesy of Lifehacker

Travel pros know this: roll, don’t fold. Your clothes will take up less room in your bag. Get rolling as shown in the photo! This also goes a long way to removing wrinkles from your shirts too!

2. Bring a Power Strip

You’ll thank me for this one when you end up in one of those hotel rooms where there’s only one socket and it’s in the most inconvenient of places – as in up high the bathroom walls, and no, I’m not making this up! Bonus points for you if you get an extension cord that also functions as a power strip.

3. Ditch the Suitcase and Take a Backpack

Suitcases are kind of inconvenient: wheels that break or fall off, handles that get yanked by baggage handlers at the airport … not to mention the hassle of dragging a suitcase through the cobbled streets of Europe. There have been great advances in travel backpacks over the last few years, where you can maximise the amount you take away, without needing to check anything in. In short, smart travellers carry a backpack!

4. Call your Bank Before You Leave

Few things are more frustrating than arriving to your destination and finding out that you can’t withdraw cash because your bank hasn’t authorized foreign transactions, or having your card blocked after the first transaction. Think ahead and let your bank know where you’ll be going.

5. Pack Less than You Need
Image courtesy of Indie Traveller. Check out their guide to Packing Like a Pro here

Less is more, or better. As a general rule of thumb, lay out everything you want to pack, then get rid of half, and that’ll be a good estimate of what you really need. For everything else, there’s Mastercard – as long as you’ve called your bank in advance.

6. Remember to Pack a Pen
Like this pen? It’s on Amazon here.

You land at your destination, get in the passport control queue, and then realise you need to fill in an entry form and you haven’t got a pen, so you need to find one and go back to the end of the queue. That won’t happen to you, because you’ve got a pen with you, haven’t you?

7. Set Up a Price Alert for Flights

Finding a cheap flight on specific dates can be time-consuming and frustrating (ever seen a deal disappear just before you book it?). Set up a flight alert using the simple steps listed here.

Bonus tip: Always use private browsing when searching for a flight online. The travel companies know if you have visited the flight before and therefore are interested in buying it. Their algorithm will then increase the prices to simulate demand and make you buy the ticket more quickly (to beat a further price increase).

8. Pre-Order Your Meal

Pre-ordering your meal means you get it will be more fresh and you’ll be served first. That way you won’t get your beauty snooze interrupted, as many airlines have this annoying habit of serving meals just as  you’re drifting off to sleep.

9. Save a Copy of Your Passport Digitally (and a Photocopy)

Remember Murphy’s law? If you’re a traveller, you should. Passports get lost, stolen, or damaged every day, and if that happens, you’ll be glad you have a copy stored somewhere safe.

10. Mark Your Baggage As Fragile

Ever noticed how rough baggage handlers are when tossing bags around? Sometimes you’d think it’s in the job description, so get that sticker on your bag whether it’s fragile or not. More tups on how to ensure your baggage gets the “Fragile” treatment it deserves can be found at Condé Nast Traveler.

11. Put Spare Shoes in Shower Cap
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The dream of about 50% of Instagram users is to become a travel photographer, paid to wander the globe taking photos. By that logic, there’s around 400 million of you looking to take amazing travel images. But your smartphone camera, however mind-blowing it is, just isn’t going to cut it to compete with the best.

Try putting an ultra-wide lens, telephoto lens or taking a long exposure on a smartphone, you just can’t! If you’re looking to find the best mirrorless camera for travel, then you’re in the right place.

For years, everyone used DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras, but as technology evolved, photographers slowly started to seek out lighter and more advanced cameras. This article serves as a guide to help you choose the right mirrorless camera for a frequent traveller.

How Does a Mirrorless Camera Work?

As the name suggests, a mirrorless camera is one that doesn’t use a mirror. The traditional SLR cameras have a mirror inside that reflects light up through the lens and into the eyepiece. As a result, they need to be much larger, and heavier.

Mirrorless cameras have since evolved to combine the best of both worlds. The power and performance of the DSLR in a smaller body. They project the image directly onto the sensor, which is then displayed on an electronic viewfinder. This allows for you to see the final image (as the camera sees it) rather than exactly as your eye sees it. Potentially improving the number of keepers you can take away from a shoot.

How to Choose a Mirrorless Camera

We’ve all been there, standing, staring at a wall of digital cameras wondering which one to buy. In your head bouncing between the price tag, image quality, battery life, 4k video and weather sealing. There are so many options, basically, we just want the best camera without breaking the bank!

Here are some of the considerations to keep in mind when choosing the best mirrorless camera for a travel photographer:

Weight and Size

Since these cameras have no mirror inside, they are much lighter and smaller than their predecessors, which makes them perfect for travel. The best camera is the one you have with you and if it’s light, you’ll have it with you a lot more!

Weather sealing

Bad weather can kill your camera quicker than you’d like to think. Weather sealing varies from camera to camera so make sure to read the instructions carefully. But generally speaking, it means that the camera is dust, sand and rain “resistant”. For me, it’s always been an essential feature as I just want to focus on taking shots, not the 2 drops of rain on my lens.

Battery Life

Swapping a mirror out for an electronic viewfinder doesn’t come for free. As a result, they generally have a lower battery life than their canon Eos DSLR counterparts. I recommend keeping at least 3 batteries on you if you’re out shooting. One for now, one for later and one more just in case there’s a problem, or something amazing happens.

a mirrorless leica rangefinder camera Image Stabilization

Some modern mirrorless cameras come with in-camera image stabilisation. If you don’t have image stabilised lenses, this is essential. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to use a tripod, or shoot at high shutter speeds. For video, some sort of stabilisation is absolutely necessary.

Sensor size

Mirrorless cameras generally come in three sensor sizes, full frame sensors, APS-C, and the micro four thirds. There are larger medium format sensors, but as these are bulkier, I am not recommending them as a travel camera. Not to mention, they have a pretty hefty price tag. The larger the sensor, the easier your camera can absorb light and the better the images.

Versatility

Travel photography involves you shooting different scenarios. From macro to landscapes and as the light fades you want low light shots, oh and the whole time you’ll be needing to shoot video. Easy! Right? Well unless you’re Elon Musk you’ll probably need to decide where you want to sacrifice a little to save some money!

Video Recording

4K video was once a feature found in select, premium cameras. Nowadays, it seems this is par for the course. Video is essential to telling a story in today’s day and age. Things like autofocus tracking, framerates, the LCD screen and external mic inputs are important to check too!

Advantages of Using a Mirrorless Camera

Mirrorless cameras are relatively a new development in the photography world. They are smaller, lighter, and more portable than their predecessors, but also offer the benefits of DSLR such as interchangeable lenses, manual controls, larger sensors, and superb image quality.

As they generally are newer, and the companies are iterating models faster. Mirrorless cameras are evolving fast. A lot of photographers have a number of lenses from a specific manufacturer and are hesitant to give it all the extra weight for a smaller, lighter mirrorless system.

But, as we see Canon and Nikon entering the mirrorless camera market to compete with Sony and Fuji these people can use their older lenses on a new smaller, more advanced body. I have been very tempted myself and that’s why I analysed the top 5 mirrorless cameras for travel. I’ll be making the switch sooner than I think now!

The Best Mirrorless Camera for Travel

People are very passionate about their brand of camera. This list is aiming to provide the best mirrorless cameras for most travellers at a reasonable price. Meaning we won’t cover the extreme ends, just the best value camera for your trip. Here is a list of the best models to get you started:

Sony A6500 the best mirrorless camera value for money

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Sony Alpha A6500

Sony offers the best value camera with the Sony Alpha a6500. It has a range of specifications, including 5-axis image stabilization to keep shots nice and sharp, 24.2 megapixels, APS-C sensor that is a great choice for creative travellers looking for an alternative to big and heavy DSLR, 11fps continuous shooting, and 4k video. The alpha a6500 also comes with several features such as a tilt-angle touchscreen, bright viewfinder that makes it easy for you to see when the image is sharp and correctly exposed, a touchpad mode that allows you to quickly change AF points and control rack focus speed with a touch of a finger, weather-sealed body, impressively-fast autofocus, not forgetting built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity that allows you to share images.

Pros
  • Fast performance
  • Excellent electronic viewfinder
  • Made from a weather-sealed and durable magnesium alloy, which offers durability
  • Comes with a very capable autofocusing system
Cons
  • Some users cited overheating when shooting a video for an extended period of time
  • Larger lenses feel a little unbalanced
  • Low battery life

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Fujifilm X-T20

Fujifilm’s X Series cameras are generally ideal for both beginners and professional photographers. But, the X-T20 is by far the best budget camera for travelling in the series that still offers high-quality images. Some of its key specifications include 24.3 megapixels, APS-C sensor format, X-Processor Pro Image Processor, 8.0fps continuous shooting, and 4K Video that comes with different drive modes like panoramic shooting. The X-T20’s manual controls allow you to experience the old fashioned way of taking pictures, capturing images as you see them. Some of its key features include: advanced filters to create unique images, film simulation modes that are available even while shooting 4k video that creates versatile video effects, Versatile AF modes, The X-Trans CMOS III sensor that allows you to capture gorgeous, vibrant, clean, and crisp images even in low-light situations, and AF-C custom settings that makes it easier for you to accurately track a moving image.

Pros
  • Offers rich and detailed images
  • Excellent speed
  • Very little shutter lag time, which means it won’t get in the way of you capturing precious moments
  • Excellent build and design
Cons
  • No weather sealing
  • Some users reported that the camera is a bit slow to operate after long hours of use.

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Fujifilm X-T2

Fujifilm has been perfecting their X Series, and the X-T2 is one of their major flagship models with the biggest improvement of all being the autofocus system (325 AF points, 169 of which offer phase detection). This digital camera is hugely popular among amateurs and professionals. The X-T2 carries a lot of similar features as the Fuji X-T20 like 24.3 megapixels, X-Processor Pro image processor, and the X-Trans CMOS III sensor, which begs the question of why it’s a bit costly. Well, it comes with more distinct features over its predecessor like weather resistance, dual card slots, a faster maximum shutter speed, and better ergonomics. It also features a full-frame sensor that offers superb quality images.

Pros
  • Polished handling
  • Extremely well-built
  • Comes with a wide range of lenses to choose from
  • Fast autofocus
  • Quick startup
Cons
  • No touchscreen
  • Some users reported overheating while using the 4k video for an extended period of time

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