Curious About Lindblad’s Photo Gear Locker? Here Are the Details

State-of-the-art gear, available to borrow onboard.

close up of camera bodies in Lindblad Expedition's Gear Locker onboard a ship
(Photo: Christine Sarkis)

Wondering what Lindblad Expeditions Photo Gear Locker is? I was too before my first expedition cruise, but I could only find general information in the cruise line’s pre-departure documentation. So once I boarded, I got the full scoop and am sharing it with you here. 

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Lindblad cruises take guests to some beautiful spots full of ultra-photogenic wildlife, so if there’s a time in your life you’re going to go deep on photography, this might be it. Even if you have your own camera gear, the Gear Locker might be of interest since it’s a chance to try out lenses you might not already have. 

What’s in the Photo Gear Locker? 

Lindblad has an ongoing partnership with OM SYSTEM (formerly Olympus). The camera company stocks the Gear Locker on most Lindblad ships (the exception being vessels in the Galapagos). 

The Gear Locker is a cabinet full of OM SYSTEM photo gear, including camera bodies, various lenses, and other camera-related gear (like battery chargers) that’s overseen by the onboard photography expert. It’s free to borrow the gear (though you’re responsible for any damage to the camera or lens while you have it on borrow). 

On some sailings, the cameras and lenses are in high demand while on others, almost no one borrows any of the gear. 

How do you use the Gear Locker?

Lindblad photography expert unlocking the Gear Locker onboard an expedition ship
The onboard photography expert oversees the Gear Locker (Photo: Christine Sarkis)

The first step is to find the Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor onboard (you’ll meet them, along with the expedition leader and naturalists, early in the journey) and ask them for Gear Locker access. They’ll show you what’s available and help match you to the right tools. The big thing to know is that you’re financially responsible for the gear as long as you are borrowing it, and you’ll need to sign a form at the time you check out your items. 

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You can borrow gear for a morning, a day, or longer, depending on whether or not there are other requests for it. 

What other photography support does Lindblad offer?

What’s cool about the program is that you can use nice cameras and lenses while also benefiting from the expertise of the onboard photographer, who will talk you through everything from f-stops to composition, and even sit and review photos with you after you’ve taken them to give advice about how you can improve your picture taking.

During the sailing, there are also some photography workshops led by the National Geographic photographer to help you hone your skills.

Could I get away with not even bringing a camera and just using the gear in the Gear Locker?

close up of OM SYSTEMS photography gear on a Linblad expedition ship Gear Locker
The Gear Locker has camera bodies, lenses, plus other photography gear (Photo: Christine Sarkis)

I’m going to say … probably? Unless you’re on a sailing in which the cameras in the Gear Locker are in high demand (you won’t know in advance), you’ll have your pick of the fantastic equipment in the locker. In my experience, most people who are serious about photography arrive with their own gear, and most people who aren’t into photography are happy taking pictures with their phones, so it’s entirely possible that you won’t have much competition borrowing a camera during the journey. 

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Christine Sarkis is the co-founder of Vacationist Media and editor-in-chief of TourScoop and She is the former executive editor of, a travel publication owned by Tripadvisor. Her work has been published in dozens of publications including Conde Nast Traveler and USAToday, and she has been quoted in print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also offered tips for travelers on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, and Here & Now.