ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST LENSES FOR TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHYCOMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST LENSES FOR TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHYLENSES FOR TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY REVIEWSTOKINA 11-16MM F/2.8 (CANON MOUNT)TOKINA 11/16MM F/2.8 (NIKON MOUNT)CANON 100-400MM F/4-5.6LNIKON 80-400MM F/4.5-5.6GCANON 35MM F/2 ISNIKON 35MM F/1.8CANON 16–35MM F/2.8LNIKON 17-35MM F/2.8DTAMRON 28-75MM F/2.8 (CANON MOUNT)TAMRON 28-75MM F/2.8 (NIKON MOUNT)HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST LENSES FOR TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHYFOCAL LENGTHWIDE ANGLETELEPHOTOMACROPRIME VS. ZOOM LENSPRIME LENSESZOOM LENSESMAXIMUM APERTUREIMAGE STABILIZATION (IS)WEIGHTCOST Choosing the best lens for travel photography will not only affect the quality of your images, it will also have a direct impact on the overall experience of the destination you’re photographing. Our goal at The Adventure Junkies is to provide you with the best advice on travel photography lenses to help you pack the right gear for your next trip. For more of our top outdoor photography gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: Landscape Camera | Landscape Lenses | Landscape Tripods Travel Camera | Travel Lenses | Travel Tripods Wildlife Camera | Wildlife Lenses | Wildlife Tripods QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST LENSES FOR TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY 1. TOKINA 11-16MM (CANON MOUNT) VIEW AT AMAZON 2. TOKINA 11-16MM (NIKON MOUNT) VIEW AT AMAZON 3. CANON 100-400MM VIEW AT AMAZON 4. NIKON 80-400MM VIEW AT AMAZON 5. CANON 35MM F/2 IS VIEW AT AMAZON 6. NIKON 35MM F/1.8 VIEW AT AMAZON 7. CANON 16-35MM F/2.8L VIEW AT AMAZON 8. NIKON 17-35MM F/2.8D VIEW AT AMAZON 9. TAMRON 28-75MM (CANON MOUNT) VIEW AT AMAZON 10. TAMRON 28-75MM (NIKON MOUNT) VIEW AT AMAZON COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST LENSES FOR TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY PICTURELENSBEST USEWEIGHTPRICERATING PICTURELENSBEST USEWEIGHTPRICERATING Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8DOverall750g$$$5.0 Canon 16–35mm f/2.8LOverall800g$$$4.0 Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 (Canon mount)Landscapes500g$3.0 Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 (Nikon mount)Landscapes500g$3.0 Canon 100-400mm f/4-5.6LWildlife1,500g$$$4.0 Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6GWildlife600g$$$5.0 Canon 35mm f/2 ISCityscapes350g$$4.0 Nikon 35mm f/1.8Cityscapes300g$$4.0 Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 (Canon mount)Budget500g$3.0 Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 (Nikon mount)Budget500g$3.0 LENSES FOR TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY REVIEWS TOKINA 11-16MM F/2.8 (CANON MOUNT) Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Outdoor and Landscape photography LENS TYPE: Wide angle WEIGHT: 500g PROS: Affordable, versatile and constant f/2.8 aperture CONS: A little distortion on the sides (minimal) TOKINA 11/16MM F/2.8 (NIKON MOUNT) Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Outdoor and Landscape photography LENS TYPE: Wide angle WEIGHT: 500g PROS: Affordable, versatile and constant f/2.8 aperture CONS: A little distortion on the sides (minimal) CANON 100-400MM F/4-5.6L Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Wildlife, safari and adventure photography LENS TYPE: Telephoto WEIGHT: 1,500g PROS: Sharp, fast focusing, image stabilization CONS: Weight, price NIKON 80-400MM F/4.5-5.6G Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Birds, wildlife, adventure, sports LENS TYPE: Telephoto WEIGHT: 600g PROS: Excellent build, image stabilization, sharp CONS: Price CANON 35MM F/2 IS Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Portraits, cityscapes, landscapes LENS TYPE: Macro WEIGHT: 350g PROS: Excellent build, image stabilization, fast, constant f/2 aperture CONS: Fixed focal, lens hood not included NIKON 35MM F/1.8 Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Portraits, cityscapes, landscapes LENS TYPE: Macro WEIGHT: 300g PROS: Sharp, light weight, price CONS: Cheap build CANON 16–35MM F/2.8L Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Can be used for almost any style of photography LENS TYPE: Wide angle WEIGHT: 800g PROS: Sharp, fast focusing, vibrant colors CONS: Price, weight NIKON 17-35MM F/2.8D Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Shooting practically any style of photography LENS TYPE: Wide angle WEIGHT: 750g PROS: Excellent build, sharp, good zoom range CONS: A little distortion on the edges TAMRON 28-75MM F/2.8 (CANON MOUNT) Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Almost any style of photography LENS TYPE: Macro WEIGHT: 500g PROS: Price, constant f/2.8 aperture, sharp CONS: Cheap build TAMRON 28-75MM F/2.8 (NIKON MOUNT) Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Landscape, cityscape, nature and outdoor photography LENS TYPE: Macro WEIGHT: 500g PROS: Price, constant f/2.8 aperture, sharp CONS: Cheap build HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST LENSES FOR TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY FOCAL LENGTH One of the biggest challenges of choosing a lens for traveling is finding one that covers an array of subjects. The importance of the versatility of a lens will allow you to focus on the type of subject that you are most interested in and also eliminate weight in your camera bag. Before selecting the right lens, consider the possible scenarios you will encounter when traveling to your destination. Think about the location you’ll be visiting and the style of photography you’ll be shooting, and based on this select the type of lens that best suits your needs. There are three types of lenses that will cover most of your needs while traveling: WIDE ANGLE Wide angle lenses are best used for interior, landscape and nature photography as the focal length is significantly smaller than average allowing you to include more of the scene in your frame. TELEPHOTO Simply put, a telephoto lens is a long lens that allows you to take photos of objects that are farther away without being intrusive. Telephoto lenses are ideal for portrait and wildlife photography. MACRO A macro lens is a close-up lens that gives a 1:1 reproduction. Best used for nature, portrait and abstract photography. PRIME VS. ZOOM LENS Continuing with the focal length, another variable to take into consideration when selecting the best lens for travel photography is understanding the difference between prime and zoom lenses. PRIME LENSES Prime lenses have a fixed focal length such as 35mm or 50mm. The main difference between a prime and a zoom is that, with a prime lens, you will not be able to make the object appear bigger or smaller within the frame. You will have to be the one moving farther or closer to the object to obtain the desired result. The advantage of prime lenses are that they are usually more compact and light weight making them ideal travel companions. They also offer maximum aperture options allowing you to shoot in low-light conditions and creating a shallow depth of field. ZOOM LENSES A zoom lens, has a variable focal length, like 18-50mm or 70-200mm. While somewhat heavier and bulkier, zoom lenses are more versatile and can cover much of the travel photographer’s needs from landscapes to even close-up pictures. MAXIMUM APERTURE The aperture defines the amount of light that is allowed onto the sensor and it is measured in f-stops (i.e. f/4 or f/16). It also directly affects the depth of field or, in other words, how blurry you want the background to be compared to the subject you’ve focused on. When traveling, you will find yourself shooting at different times of the day and carrying a lens that lets more light in the sensor could make all the difference. Fortunately, faster lenses have become more affordable and you can now find them with a constant aperture of f/2.8 for a reasonable price. IMAGE STABILIZATION (IS) You will have probably noticed that some lenses have the (IS) symbol written on the side. What does this mean? IS stands for Image Stabilization and, as the name implies, IS is a system built into the camera to help reduce the blurring of the exposure that is usually associated with shooting in low light conditions. When traveling and, as mentioned earlier, you will most likely face situations where the light will be dimmer than usual. It could be a sunset out in the forest, a sunrise over a volcano or the Milky Way in the middle of the desert, and in any of these instances you will need to slow the speed of the shutter to let more light get in your sensor. With lower shutter speeds also comes the potential risk of getting some camera shake and ruining that special moment you had been wanting to capture for so long. Having a lens with image stabilization, along with a tripod, will drastically reduce the appearance of blurriness in your photos allowing you to shoot in dimmer light conditions. So, when choosing the best lens for travel photography always be sure to find the (IS) symbol written on your lens. WEIGHT As a travel photographer you will be carrying not only your lens with you but also other equipment such as the body of your camera, a tripod, a flash, filters and even camping gear. Keeping your backpack’s weight to the bare minimum is essential when traveling. Hence, the importance of choosing a light-weight lens that will cover an array of styles while you’re shooting your subject. Ideally, try to keep the weight of your lens to 1lb (500mg) or less, especially if you plan on taking more than one lens with you on your trip. COST The cot of the lens is also a factor to take into consideration when choosing the right gear for travel photography. While lenses can be pricy, it is always best to invest more in your lens collection than the camera body. Why? It is likely you will replace your camera body over time as manufacturers add new features to them every couple of years. Good lenses, on the other hand, tend to pass the test of time and remain part of your gear for several years. Invest money on a good lens that will last, at least, a decade. Going back to the features mentioned earlier, prime and fast lenses will cost more but produce sharper results. Zoom lenses are usually more affordable but may not be as fast and tend to be bulkier as well. At the end of the day and as, National Geographic’s contributing editor Jim Richardson mentioned, it all comes down to the style of photography you’ll be shooting while traveling, how willing you are to becoming a “pack mule” as he calls it, and how much money you can afford to invest in your gear. OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSOUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHYTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. FUNDAMENTALS 2. TRAVEL PHOTO 3. LANDSCAPE PHOTO 4. WILDLIFE PHOTO 1. FUNDAMENTALS 2. TRAVEL PHOTO 3. LANDSCAPE PHOTO 4. WILDLIFE PHOTO Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.