What is the best configuration to carry with me when traveling on a motorcycle? Should I carry a professional camera? Or a small compact one? Should I take a small drone or a big drone? Would a smartphone be sufficient for my photography?
The options nowadays are countless since we reached a level of consumer technology that can easily pass as semi professional equipment, with a fairly small amount of money invested. Many travelers choose to take with them , or perhaps a mirrorless DSLR, plus their cellphones; on top of this, some people are now equipped with a small drone (such as DJI Spark or Mavic).
Others instead decide to travel heavy, carrying DSLR cameras with big lenses and a semi-professional drone, such as a DJI Phantom or Inspire.
Unless you are a professional photographer, it’s kind of a burden to travel with heavy photographic equipment; constantly carrying an expensive camera, for instance, is not only an impediment in the sense of volume occupied by the whole set (camera, lenses, chargers, tripod, extra batteries, etc) but also quite a pain to carry with you constantly, even when going for an easy stroll around a city. On top of this, you will constantly be haunted by the dangers implied by carrying such expensive items though ambiguous neighborhoods.
Carrying all this equipment on a motorcycle is also quite complicated, if you decide to get off the beaten track. You will have to purchase a special shockproof case or a proper backpack to carry it all with you.
Clearly the results of your photography and videography will be different using a professional DSLR camera compared to a smartphone, but… the real question that you have to ask yourself is:”Do I really expect to sell my photography after my trip? Is it really more important to take professional photos or to enjoying my ride?”
I believe that the optimum cocktail would be: a high quality Camera Cellphone and a small consumer-level Drone
Considering that the photographic capabilities of modern phones like the latest iPhone X, Samsung S9 or 10, Huawei Mate or P series etc, are perfectly able to provide enough photography power to perform like small compact cameras, I believe that there is pretty much no need to carry an extra camera unless you specifically need professional photos.
The latest photography algorithms implemented in smartphones, in fact, are perfectly capable of providing high-quality images comparable to small compact digital cameras. Twenty Mpix cameras with f1.8 or 2.4 aperture are common in smartphones nowadays.
If you wish, carrying a small digital camera as well as your smartphone makes sense only if you are particularly into night sky photography, a field where cellphones still haven’t excelled. But if you are not really heavily into sky and star photography, a phone is even able to take pretty amazing shots at night with the help of a little tripod.
But what about aerial photography? The options on the market are numerous. DJI is one of the best producers of consumer drones, in terms of quality/price. I’ve been flying for over three years now and I can say that technology has advanced so dramatically that, even if I think that “size matter” in this realm, a Mavic or a Spark drone would be enough for most users.
Unless your plan is to fly in adverse weather conditions, you should be fine with a small and portable unmanned aircraft with at least a couple of spare batteries. The results can be outstanding even without the use of large quadcopters, which are certainly more stable and reliable, but also heavier and more complicated to carry around. They are also noisier and more visible.
Concluding, I believe that a high-quality smartphone (which can be used as camera, gps and anything else, really) and a small drone make the perfect combo for your adventures around the world.