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What Lens Is Best For Travel Photography?

Here are 4 points to consider when packing or purchasing a lens with travel in-mind.

|  Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD MACRO in Photographers
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If you are going to be purchasing a new lens / packing a lens for your travels it's worth creating a checklist of what you're looking for so you can make a more informed decision on what lens would be most suitable. With this in-mind, here are 4 factors that should be on your checklist when you're next purchasing or packing a lens for travel / holiday photography.


Weight & Size

Unless you have your own plane or are flying first class, the weight limit on luggage will probably mean you will need to limit your lens choices. Even though you may shoot with several pieces of glass for different scenarios at home if you packed every lens into your luggage you wouldn't have room for any other accessories, plus it would probably weigh more than the allotted weight for hand luggage given by the airline you're travelling with. Plus, do you really want to be heading out with a heavy camera bag every day on your trip? And, you'd probably end up spending quite a lot of time changing lenses which not only eats into your holiday time but if you're shooting in sandy or dusty locations, you could end up with grains getting inside your kit. The more kit you take away with you the more kit there is to get damaged or lost, too which will just spoil your time away.

Another point to consider is how big your room's safe will be as generally, they're only designed to keep a few items secure so you don't want to take your full set of lenses away with you and run the risk of having to leave kit out on show.


Lens Speed

You may be wondering why this should be taken into consideration if you're heading off to somewhere that has 300 days of sunshine but if you're planning on visiting ancient sites, cathedrals, castles etc. where light levels are low or want to capture shots of your family after the sun sets or photos of evening shows you plan on watching then a 'fast' lens will be a really useful tool to have in your camera bag. Yes, you can shoot with flash, bump up your ISOs or use a tripod but there will be scenarios where flash and supports aren't allowed, plus you may not want to pack your flash gun and tripod so you may not have them to-hand any way.

A 'fast' lens has a large maximum aperture (the bigger the aperture, the faster the lens will be) but do note that a large maximum aperture will actually be a small number such as f/2.8. This bigger aperture will allow more light to reach the sensor which means you'll be able to use quicker shutter speeds when working hand-held in low light situations. A slight downside to 'fast' lenses is that they can be more expensive and larger than other lenses but if you do quite a bit of low light or action photography, they're well-worth considering.

Tamron 16 300mm F 3 5 6 3 Di Ii Vc Pzd Macro (3) (Custom)

Subject Choices

Travel photography can be very varied depending on where you are going, how long for and who you are going with. For example, you could find yourself taking photos of your family around the pool in the morning and capturing images of an ancient site in the afternoon. What this means is that you'll either need a few lens options that give you varied focal lengths or you'll need to pack a versatile zoom lens that has a focal range from wide to telephoto such as the16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD from Tamron.



Prime Or Zoom?

If you will be focusing your attention on one specific type of photography it's worth packing a prime or two with the specific focal lengths you need to capture perfect shots of your chosen subject rather than using a zoom. However, if space is of a premium and you don't want to be carrying a heavy camera bag around all day, a zoom lens is probably the way to go.Plus, standard zooms tend to be the lenses that come with camera bodies when bought as a kit package meaning that extra money doesn't have to be spent right away and zooms also tend to be less expensive than primes, too. On the flip side of the coin, primes tend to be faster and they produce a really nice Bokeh effect.

For more information on lens choices, take a look at ePHOTOzine's review section, plus visit the features area of the site where top lists of brand-specific lenses, such as the 'Top 5 Best Tamron Lenses Reviewed on ePz', can be found.

Tamron 16 300mm F 3 5 6 3 Di Ii Vc Pzd Macro (5) (Custom)


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ChrisV Plus
14 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
7 Aug 2014 11:09AM
Another Ad masquerading as an article?
7 Aug 2014 11:33AM

Quote:Another Ad masquerading as an article?

Not really. The information is factual and can be applied to any brand of lens. The reason a Tamron lens is used as an example is that Tamron are sponsoring this month's Photo Month calendar.
ianrobinson 11 1.2k 8 United Kingdom
7 Aug 2014 11:55PM
I tend to go on Holiday with a 24-70mm f2.8 and an 85mm f1.8 and that does me proud, on skiing trips and summer holidays too, unless it is a safari then I would be using a 70-200mm f2.8 with a 2x extender giving a reach of 400mm at f5.6 and as it's a safari 9 times out of 10 the light will be good enough to get an aperture of 8-9
giving good sharp images, especially if using the canon 70-200mm f2.8 l is usm mkii and the canon 2x extender mkiii, a superb combo that works incredibly well together.
marktyler 18 17
8 Aug 2014 11:12PM
For a Canon DSLR the 24-105 f4 IS is the ideal one lens for travel where you don't want to have to change or carry more. It has something at the wider end, a bit of length, constant aperture and image stabilisation. Note that this is a recommendation for full frame. For crop sensor you'd want something like 17-65. It is heavy though. Personally if I were starting afresh then I'd get a m4/3 with a 12-40 f2.8 and something else (longer, wider, prime) as the weight will be so much less.
ChrisV Plus
14 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
9 Aug 2014 4:21PM

Quote:For a Canon DSLR the 24-105 f4 IS is the ideal one lens for travel where you don't want to have to change or carry more. It has something at the wider end, a bit of length, constant aperture and image stabilisation. Note that this is a recommendation for full frame. For crop sensor you'd want something like 17-65. It is heavy though. Personally if I were starting afresh then I'd get a m4/3 with a 12-40 f2.8 and something else (longer, wider, prime) as the weight will be so much less.

That's exactly what I've done - never was all that impressed by the 24-105 - it vignettes wide open like a pinhole. The 12-40 f2.8 seems better all round although of course some of its shortcomings are addressed by (in camera) software- and it doesn't have the range of the Canon.

The Panny 14-140 is a surprisingly good super zoom. I had a Tamron 28-300 previously for the 5dIi and assumed big compromises were just a necessary evil. The Panasonic knocks spots off it and it is incredibly compact for a lens with a 28-280 equivalent reach. Very expensive on its own, but often bundled with Panny bodies at a reasonable price.
marktyler 18 17
11 Aug 2014 12:26PM
@ChrisV: I am at the point now where I am considering a change of system. I love my 5D Mk II but I tire of the weight nowadays as I recognise just how much it affects my shooting i.e. I just don't take it anywhere. It's not exactly inconspicuous which can restrict where you take it for personal safety reasons and it's not something you can just pick up on your way out the door. Every trip is planned ahead and involves a suitable backpack. In summer it just doesn't travel. It does take wonderful photos though.
For me I am currently torn between the convenience of something like the Panasonic GX7 against the abilities of something like an A6000. I'm not sure whether I could get on with the 2x crop factor (requirements for ever wider lenses and their inherent limitations, more limited bokeh etc) and the more limited low noise abilities versus the Sony. However with one system you have a multiple suppliers and can mix and match lenses and bodies whereas the other means a total investment in Sony although they've not done much wrong in the last couple of years. Decisions decisions.
Might just wait to see what gets announced at Photokina. Don't think I'll get rid of the DSLR as it works perfectly for me for portraits but something more flexible is in order.
FyneChris 3 2 United Kingdom
21 May 2019 9:22AM
Holidays for me mostly revolve around some serious photography, I donít like having around 12kg of camera equipment slung on my back though. I got the Tamron 16-300 for my wifeís canon 7d and itís brilliant, however I have the5d mk4, and the Tamron didnít work on full frame. So,
Iíve recently added a Canon 28-300 L lens to my kit, a bit pricey and quite heavy but I was fed up sticking to the 24-105 on holiday and not having the reach for some shots that I wanted, I couldnít seem to find anything reasonably priced like the tamron for a full frame sensor except this one, and itís great quality, so my holiday kit now will just be 17-40 and 28-300, no big backpack for me anymore roll on the holiday

23 May 2019 10:12PM
First of all I will never travel again with a DSLR full frame camera.
They are to big, cost a lot more then APS-C (Sony) or 4/3 cameras (Olympus)

With the APS-C Sony A6000 you have two great choices of lens for travel.
Sony A18-105mm & Sony 18-135mm
Note the Sony 18-105m is more suitable for video with the power zoom and continuous F4; while the 18-135mm is smaller, lighter and you gain 30mm more in range, and a bit better optical quality. No power zoom(Not a necessity for photo)ť

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