When traveling, the views to admire are endless. As a photographer, you need to have a fantastic lens to do justice to the sights you wish to capture. A travel lens can make or break the quality of your photographs. Hence you must find the most suitable one for yourself.
There are a few considerations you need to take into account before purchasing a travel lens, however. Weight is important since it can be difficult to carry a heavy camera on the go. Second, versatility is significant too. While traveling, you will end up with unique opportunities to take all kinds of photographs for which you must be prepared. Lens speed is crucial as it is an immense advantage while shooting in low light.
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 IS II USM is known for being one of the best zoom lenses out there. It is an “L” series lens, making it a pro-level or a luxury lens. It has a wide focal length due to which it is suitable for covering all kinds of needs and situations. This lens is not super fast, but it can work in many lighting situations, particularly for shots captured in daylight.
It’s f/4 across each focal length making it faster than the 18-55mm at full extension. This lens also comes with Image Stabilization allowing you to handhold shots up to two stops faster than the regular rate. But on the other hand, this is a reasonably heavy lens and can tire you out if you carry it around for too long. It is also quite pricey, and having low speed is another of its downsides.
2. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM (Budget Winner)
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is an affordable option considering the quality of the photographs it produces. It is one of the fastest lenses you can find and is fantastic for indoor photography, especially when a flash is inappropriate or not allowed. It is small and light-weight, meaning that you can carry it around in your pocket where you won’t even feel it.
This travel lens is excellent for shooting at night or when you have a lot of traveling to do. While this lens comes with just one focal length, it is a useful one. It’s suitable for portraits and for getting close tightly framed shots too.
However, the downsides of this prime lens are that while the focal length is useful for some shots, it doesn’t have the ability to zoom, which can make it frustrating. The lens is also a bit noisy, and not very fast at focusing in low light either.
If your interests lie in ultra-wide-angle photography, the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM is sure to tickle your fancy. It comes with an ultrasonic motor that drives a fast and accurate autofocus. However, you can override this option with manual settings for full control. You can take panoramas of sights as this lens has a maximum angle of view of 180 degrees. The lens also offers both rectangular and circular fisheye effects, giving you the option to experiment with different results.
This fisheye lens is specialized for distortion, but it doesn’t allow chromatic aberrations. The clarity and contrast of your images are enhanced due to the lens’s ultra-low dispersion optical elements. This ensures that your images stay true to real colors. A sub-wavelength coating protects against ghosting and flare. A bonus of this travel lens is that it has a built-in filter holder at the back compatible with cut gel filters, giving you options to spice up your shots even further.
The Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED is suitable for you if you are looking for something highly versatile. This lens covers wide-angle to ultra-wide focal lengths, making it ideal if you want a lens that can perfectly capture all the cityscapes and the landscapes you want to photograph.
This lens has several extra-low dispersion and aspherical elements that can rid color fringing and fish-eye distortions. For you to be able to take photos in museums, it enhances the work of options by having a super integrated coating for suppressing unwanted flare and ghosting.
This Nikon lens also comes with a seven-blade aperture diaphragm and a silent wave motor. The moving of the lens part is not seen from the outside as the motor uses an internal focusing design. This allows for quiet, precise, and fast autofocus performance. The aperture has a seven-blade diaphragm, making it suitable for selective focus and background blurring techniques.
Since it has a zoom range of 18-35mm, Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM can come off as a standard lens. However, its distinguishing factor is its maximum aperture of f/1.8.
An f/1.8 is particularly useful for poorly-lit and hand-held scenes, producing images that are noise-free in lighting that usually corrupts most other lenses. This aperture, alongside a nine-blade diaphragm, provides you with a lot of control over the depth of field for you to take landscapes and portraits where you can isolate your subject or build as much as complexity as you would like.
More features of this Sigma lens are extra-low aspherical and dispersion elements that result in a distortion-free perspective and authentic colors. This lens comes with a hyper-sonic motor with an internal design, ensuring that autofocus is silent and fast. If you want to travel to cold areas, this lens is perfect for you as it is built with a thermally composite material allowing for it to perform anywhere and everywhere.
This Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM is known to be best for detail-oriented photographers. It is another lens that appears ordinary for its maximum aperture and focal length range. However, it’s specialty lies in its optical design. This lens combines small and large aspherical elements that correct illumination edge to edge and minimize perspective distortions. As a result, vignetting, which is usually an issue for lenses, is reduced.
Another aspect of this lens is that it has extra-low dispersion elements, allowing you to sharpen the colors in the corners of your photographs. Other features of this lens include its ultrasonic motor with internal design. This optimizes autofocus and results in near-silent and accurate action.
The aperture diaphragm consists of nine blades, providing you with excellent depth of field control. The body of the lens is protected against dust and moisture. The front element comes with a coating to protect against smudges as well. This means that you don’t need to worry about where you take the lens; it will be safe wherever you go.
7. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM (Overall Winner)
If you are a journalist, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM is considered as the most suitable travel lens for you. It has an ultrasonic motor, advanced motor, and some other features that are commonly found in good travel lenses.
However, it is its range of focal length that distinguishes it from the rest. This lens can shoot up to 24-70 mm, making it great for portrait and wide-angle photography. So, if you are interested in photojournalism, this is the option for you. It also has a zoom lock securing the lens at 24mm, ensuring that it is compact.
Optics-wise, the lens is oriented for color-fidelity. This means that it has ultra-low dispersion elements enhancing the clarity and true colors of your images. It also comes with a Super Spectra coating that stabilizes colors in intense light and prevents flare and ghosting, allowing for you to work indoors with ease. The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II is sealed against moisture and dust, making it easy for you to work outdoors as well.
If you prefer handheld shots, the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM is the lens you are looking for. Since it is a wide-angle to portrait lens, it is excellent if you want to walk around with it. It is designed to be able to fit APS-C format Canon EF-mount cameras, translating the range to 27.2-80mm.
The Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 has a hypersonic motor, resulting in accurate, fast, and silent autofocus, making it suitable for any situation at all. It comes with an optical stabilizer that can deal with any camera shake that might make its way to your photographs. This feature, combined with a maximum aperture of f/2.8, ensures that the lens has a solid grasp of handheld and poorly lit scenes.
The lens provides Super-Multi Layer coating, reducing ghosting and flares, making it suitable for indoor photography. If you are searching for a stylish option, the sleek profile of this travel lens is just the one for you. It’s not only aesthetic but compact too, meaning that you can carry it around with you anywhere.
Final Words on the Best Travel Lens
All the best options have been suggested to you above. Now, it is time for you to think about what your needs are, and decide which travel lens is the most suitable fit for you. Good luck!