What camera lenses do I take for travel photography?
I am often asked what camera lens or lenses I use for travel photography. It’s not a simple answer. It depends on where I am going, what I will be shooting and what I will be doing.
I am a landscape photographer and a wildlife photographer to some extent. Most of my wildlife photography is bald eagles since they are near my house. Of course I need a long lens for those pictures. I will also take a long lens when going to places such as Alaska, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, etc., where I know there will be wildlife. So before you read further, this is written from the perspective of a landscape travel photographer.
Lots of gear to what I need
When I started getting serious about photography several years ago, I purchased many lenses because they were the “best”. I loved new cameras and new lenses. I tried several camera brand names. A couple of years ago I took a serious look at my photography, and the equipment I had. I narrowed down my equipment to what worked for me for the different types of photography I do. I used to travel with a backpack full of heavy DSLR camera bodies and lenses. It just wasn’t practical for travel. First, you have to carry it. Second, changing lenses in the field is a pain, and if you are hiking carrying a lot of equipment is a real pain to me. I now take what I need with me.
Prime vs. Zoom Lenses
I LOVE fast prime lenses. But unless I’m shooting indoors, I don’t often NEED fast prime lenses. I used to own many fast primes. Now I use one for taking indoor pictures and maybe low light landscapes. Every trip I tend to take a prime (or two) and every time I brought them back home unused. I use zoom lenses now for the versatility. They save weight over carrying several prime lenses and work great for landscape photography.
Zoom lenses allow me to be versatile and adapt to what I’m shooting and different situations.
Depending on where I am going, I might take one fast prime. Actually, I now only own one fast prime. I shoot full frame SONY and I use the 24 mm F/1.4. It’s a beautiful lens. It’s fast, sharp, and allows me to use natural light and get the shot.
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My favorite zoom – SONY 24-105 F/4.
My favorite zoom is SONY 24-105 F4. I’ve tried the 24-70 G Master lens. No doubt it is a great lens. But I much prefer the reach of the 24-105. There has been many shots that I might have missed without this lens. This is the lens I take hiking. Unless I know there will be wildlife, it is usually the only lens I take with me on a hike making it a perfect travel camera lens.
The advantages of this lens are:
- It is incredibly sharp
- The focus lock button is an advantage
- The lens is solid construction
- It actually does have great bokeh
I have used this lens a LOT. It has never failed me. I truly love this lens for both the versatility as well as the sharpness.
Amazon has fantastic prices on this lens.
My second favorite zoom SONY 16-35 F2.8.
There is some overlap in focal range between the 24-105 and the 16-35. But this lens has its purpose. When the sun goes down, the last thing I want is photo quality going down. Since this lens is faster, it helps in the low light situations. When shooting in low light a fast lens is a real advantage. It is not inexpensive but totally worth it when it comes to image quality and ability in low light. You can get this lens by clicking below.
I will often take two camera bodies. I’ll put a longer lens on one and a wide lens on the other. When traveling, you must be ready to take a shot when it occurs. With two bodies, I’m ready for whatever comes up. I use SONY A9 and SONY A7R. I like the high resolution of the A7RIII for many landscape photos. The detail provided in the higher resolution photos is stunning.
You can purchase these cameras here.
I have found that less is better when you travel. Carry only what you need and will use. Make your lenses usable for multiple shooting scenarios. These camera lenses for travel photography have worked very well for me.
Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.
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Debbi Marquette Photography is located in Upstate New York at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. Debbi is an award winning and published travel, landscape and bald eagle photographer specializing in artistic, authentic, and memorable landscape and wildlife photography. She travels frequently, lives near the mountains and constantly has a camera in her hand to capture photographs so others can see the beauty of our world.
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