5 Must-Haves for Holiday Travel Photography

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Traveling home for the holidays elicits images of comfy crackling warm fireplaces, plates full of mom’s home cooking, and nice, hot cups of tasty eggnog. But before you get there, you’ll probably be caught in the unavoidable last-minute crowds scrambling for gifts, luggage-packing nightmares, bumper-to-bumper traffic to the airport, never-ending check-in and security lines, only to end up sitting in a cramped coach seat with your knees at chin level. Sound familiar? Relax. Breathe… Here are five pieces of tech that will ease your nerve-pinched shoulders and iron out the stress wrinkles on your forehead. A few of them will help you take great pictures with reduced bulk and hassle. Let’s make holiday travel a little more stress free, shall we?

  1. Sony Alpha a6000

If you’re a seasoned pro with a top-of-the-line DSLR, packing your kit (including lenses, flashes, and accessories) is like cramming 10 pounds of bratwurst into a 5-pound casing. Perhaps you’d like a camera with the flexibility of interchangeable lenses and manual features, but want to ditch the bulk, to ease your sciatic nerve over the holiday break.

The Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Camera with 16-50mm lens fits the bill perfectly. Its compact, lightweight form factor is a welcome reprieve from a large, weighty DSLR setup. The 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS zoom lens is versatile and sharp. You can even set the lens to power-zoom smooth control, well suited to video.  

The menus are intuitive and easy to navigate. Two control dials allow for quick manual adjustments over shutter speed and aperture settings. The 24.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor offers excellent dynamic range, as well as sensitivity values up to ISO 25600 for low-light shooting.

Key features that round out the a6000 include a Fast Hybrid AF system with 179 phase-detect points for precise tracking of moving subjects, Full HD video recording at 1080/60p and 24p, a 3-inch tilting LCD, and a built-in OLED viewfinder. Wi-Fi with NFC connectivity is also present for remote camera control or to transfer images to your smartphone or gadget via the PlayMemories Camera App.

Sony’s E-mount lens lineup extends the capabilities of the a6000. The E PZ 18-105mm f/4 G OSS Power Zoom lens offers a versatile zoom range—from wide-angle to telephoto perspectives. A constant f/4 maximum aperture is maintained throughout the zoom range and a quiet slider switch activates the power zoom for controlled, smooth zooming. Optical SteadyShot image stabilization minimizes the appearance of camera shake.

All in all, the Sony a6000 offers the robust feature set of a DSLR with the flexibility of a compact form factor for easy holiday travel.

  1. Nikon COOLPIX S6800

What if you’re a last minute shopper on your way home for the holidays and need a simple, economical point-and-shoot camera? You walk into the store and you're overwhelmed with all the options, price points, megapixels, bells, and whistles.

In this scenario, the Nikon COOLPIX S6800 is a great option. It's economical without skimping on quality, and its compact form factor is perfect for keeping it in your pocket (and using it) for family events. The 12x optical zoom, with 25-300mm equivalent focal-length range, gives you the flexibility to take close-ups of people opening gifts, or you can shoot wide for group shots. Home videos? Check. It can record Full HD 1080p video at 30 fps. It's equipped with onboard Wi-Fi for instant uploads to your smartphone or tablet.

The Nikon COOLPIX S6800 can’t be beat for its price point and features. With scene modes, and in-camera image editing tools, this little guy can compete with even the best smartphone apps out there.

  1. Eye-Fi Pro X2 SDHC 16GB Memory Card

If you shoot with a digital camera that doesn't have Wi-Fi connectivity, yet you still want to share images wirelessly with your smartphone, tablet or computer, the Eye-Fi Pro X2 is the solution. It's a special kind of SDHC card that carries out the tasks of a regular memory card inside your camera, and it also creates its own wireless network, so you can transfer images wirelessly to your computer and mobile devices.

The Eye-Fi Pro X2 is perfect for photography enthusiasts who are constantly on the go. The Pro X2 version of the Eye-Fi card also enables you to transfer RAW files—easy wireless image sharing without compromising quality. It’s supported by a free desktop and mobile app for iOS and Android. Got that perfect family shot that you want to send Grandma back home? You can now upload photos from your camera directly to your smartphone and send them off in a quick email. Grandma uses email, right?  

  1. The PNY PowerPack HD5000

It’s happened to the best of us. You glance at your phone and suddenly the battery indicator is down to 1%. How did this happen? You scramble desperately for a power connection at the airport, only to find that all the USB charging stations are overcrowded. Your phone blacks out before your eyes. Now you can't even send a text message to tell your family that your flight has been delayed.

Don’t fret. PNY PowerPack HD5000 to the rescue! This slick PowerPack can juice up your phone with up to three full charges, depending on device. At the touch of a button, a hidden digital display indicates just how much of a charge you’ve got left.

So… You’ve downloaded your favorite movie onto your tablet. It’s an eight-hour transatlantic flight. No worries. Relax. Recline that seatback, at ease with the knowledge that you have a few extra charges on hand as you slowly doze on autopilot, 36,000 feet above the ocean.

  1. Freehands Stretch Thinsulate Gloves

It’s the season of lights. It's the perfect time to take pictures of the festive illumination that lines the streets and hangs silently on trees. The only problem is that a winter wind has blown your nose cozy off and, in addition, your frostbitten fingers are now numb from subzero temperatures.

Whether you’re taking photos with a professional DSLR or smartphone, regular gloves add an extra layer of clumsy dexterity to your usually agile fingertips. Freehands Stretch Thinsulate Gloves for both men and women are the perfect solution for outdoor photographers. They enable you to flip back the material that surrounds your thumbs and index fingertips. Now you can snap a quick shot with your trigger finger or answer that text message. Then flip the fingertips on these gloves back up again, and proceed. Waterproof and windproof, Freehands gloves are just the remedy for keeping your fumbling fingers warm and fuzzy, and away from the frosties.