The top travel photography lenses for Nikon’s and Canon’s full frame FX-format cameras.
“I’m going on vacation. What lens should I take?”
Depending on the type of travel that you’ll be doing, the equipment choices that you make will be radically different. On one of my first trips abroad to Paris, I remember standing in Montmartre and continually changing lenses. I was using the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 wide angle lens for capturing the stunning Sacré-Cœur Basilica and then switching to the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 to get closer to the street performers who dotted the streets in the area. This, in itself, was an exhausting experience and my travel memories of Montmartre are of me focussing on the lenses and not about soaking up the cultural experience.
I’ve included 10 of my favourite (and most often used) lenses in the list below. I’m not suggesting that you bring all of these lenses with you. Consider the list a menu to choose from depending on your travel destination. Many of my website visitors, readers, and podcast listeners are impressively serious and dedicated to taking epic travel photos. They are willing to work hard for their photos and they don’t mind carrying a slight heavier than average camera bag on their shoulders. If lugging around heavier lenses doesn’t sound like your idea of an enjoyable travel experience, you might want to disregard some of my suggestions here and wait for an upcoming post about high q quality budget travel lenses and gear.
|Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF AF-S||Overall||744||$$$|
|Canon 16–35mm f/2.8L||Overall||789||$$$|
|Nikon 35mm f/1.8||Cityscapes, Streets||200||$|
|EF 50mm f/1.8 STM||Cityscapes, Streets||159||$|
|Canon 100-400mm f/4-5.6L||Wildlife, Zoom||1600||$$$|
|Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G||Wildlife, Zoom||1600||$$$|
|Canon 35mm f/2 IS||Cityscapes, Streets||336||$$|
|Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G||Overall||898||$$$|
|Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G||Overall||971||$$$|
|Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II||Wildlife, Zoom||1500||$$$|
Over the years, I’ve carried with me, a selection of the lenses in the following list – usually two or three for each trip. For the past two years, though, I’ve narrowed down what I bring to three top performers that have served me well in a variety of travel environments:
- Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 (wide angle)
- Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED (best walk-around gem and the one that is most often on my camera)
- Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II (zoom)
These are the lenses that work well for my particular style of travel photography. This doesn’t mean that these are the three best lenses to suit all of your needs.