To take fantastic shots of your amazing travels, you need a high-quality lens. In this article, we look at the best lenses for travel photography that are on the market right now.
The best lenses are generally zoom lenses as they are more versatile and negate the need for a hoard of lenses to be carried on your travels. You can pack light, snap fast, and still get every image you want.
Best Lenses for Travel Photography:
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1. Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM is one of the most versatile travel lenses for Canon EOS full-frame cameras.
With a focal range of 24-120mm, you can take multiple types of photos – from wide-angle landscape to telephoto, and everything in between. This lens also has a beautiful construction and design and is a pleasure to use. It has a smooth zoom transition and weatherproofing for your outdoor travels.
A constant maximum aperture of f/4 should be ample for most situations and means that this lens also has relatively good low-light performance. We also like that it has various coatings and lens elements that contribute to its excellent sharpness and image quality.
This lens is also relatively affordable compared to some other L-series zoom lenses, making it a great buy.
2. Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
The Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM is a highly useable lens due to its IS, control ring, and durable exterior weatherproofing.
One of the best lenses for travel photography for EOS R cameras is the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. This has similar specifications to the EF variant but has some great additions such as a control ring. We love the functionality of the control ring as this can be programmed for different functions which will make your travel photography easier.
The lens also has optical image stabilization for up to 5 stops of shake correction. Combine this with the in-body stabilization of cameras like the EOS R5 and EOS R6, and you have a lens that can track and focus on subjects easily. This is perfect for taking photos in a bustling city or on a wildlife expedition.
This model has superior weatherproofing compared to standard Canon lenses and an improved lens construction that contributes to consistent sharpness and minimum optical distortions.
3. Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM
This EF-M lens is small and incredibly light and great for those who want to travel without fuss and with a light load.
Our last Canon pick is a native lens for Canon EOS M cameras. This is the Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM. Oftentimes, this flexible travel lens can be bought as part of a package deal with an EOS M camera.
For travel use, the Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM is lightweight and compact. It weighs only 0.28 lbs/127 g so it’ll hardly contribute to your baggage weight. When it’s not in use, it has a lock that secures it in its minimum profile position making for a compact lens that stores with ease.
This kit lens also has a decent focal length that translates to 24-70mm on a full-frame camera. As a result, you can use it for various travel photography types including landscapes and street photography. It does have its limitations, however, for telephoto shots.
4. Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S
The Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is a durable and rugged lens that can be used comfortably in different traveling situations.
For Nikon Z users, the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is a stellar pick. This multi-zoom lens offers a typical focal length range that is suitable for all sorts of travel photography.
One of the major benefits of this lens is the constant maximum f/2.8 aperture. This means that the lens can generally take better nighttime travel shots. Also, it has slightly more versatility than an f/4 lens in terms of background separation and bokeh effects
An essential that you need for travel photography gear and lenses is weatherproofing. The Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S has this. It has been extensively sealed and can resist dust and moisture. As a result, you can comfortably use it outdoors and in varying weather conditions.
Aside from the usability, this lens also has excellent construction that will make your travel photos shine. You can expect consistent colors, sharpness, and contrast in any situation.
5. Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S
The Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S can be used for multiple types of travel photography including detailed portrait and macro shots.
If you do not need a maximum f/2.8 aperture, and would rather save a few bucks, a great alternative is the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S. This is one of the best lenses for travel photography for those who want quality without spending a fortune.
Like the f/2.8 version, it has a flexible focal length, and some excellent features for travel photography. For example, it has an improved optical design that means colors are reproduced accurately, and images are sharp from corner to corner.
This lens is also lightweight and compact so it could be the perfect solution for your travel lens requirements. While the focal length is versatile, this lens also has a closest focusing distance of just 1 ft/11.8 in. As a result, you can use it for detailed shots too and even create macro-style with its 0.3x reproduction ratio.
6. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR
This AF-S FX lens has a greater maximum focal length than many travel lenses and allows for greater telephoto shots.
Nikon users also have a superb range of traditional AF-S lenses too for FX cameras. One of the top options for travel photography is the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR. This lens offers a larger focal length than most others on this list. At 120mm, you have decent telephoto capabilities.
We love many of the lens’ features. It has Vibration Reduction which will help when using the lens handheld without the use of a travel tripod. It also has an excellent lens construction that features ED and aspheric elements. These are vital for reducing optical imperfections and improving image quality.
Although the exterior construction is not comparable to Canon L-series lenses, it is still durable, and the zoom transition is easy to use. We also like that it has a constant maximum aperture of f/4. This should give you enough versatility for multiple types of travel photos in different light conditions.
7. Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM
This Sony FE lens is a great all-rounder and can be used comfortably for various travel situations including night time shots.
For cameras like the Sony a7R IV, there is a great range of Sony FE lenses. One of the best lenses for travel photography from these lenses is the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM. This is a G Master series lens. This means it has superior construction and quality compared to standard Sony lenses.
With a focal range of 24-70mm and a constant maximum aperture of f/2.8, this is a highly versatile lens for travel. You can use it for things like wide-angle landscapes, street photography, and portraits. Also, it performs great in low-light situations for nighttime travel shots.
The Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM is also easy to use thanks to its lightweight construction. Additional features make setting your focus and maintaining it a breeze!
This FE lens also has an XA element and ED elements that improve image sharpness, detail, and textures, making sure that your travel photos are crisp and clear.
8. Panasonic LUMIX G Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4
This LUMIX G lens is rugged and durable and has a brilliant set of features for outdoor use and various travel photography compositions
If you have a micro four-thirds camera from Panasonic or Olympus, there are a great choice of travel lenses like the Panasonic LUMIX G Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4. This LUMIX G lens offers superior quality in a small and compact lens body.
This lens has Leica DG Elmarit lens optics which will get you incredibly sharp images and beautiful colors repeatedly. The nano surface coating of the external glass also reduces ghosting and lens flare.
Another great benefit for tracking subjects and people photography is the Power O.I.S. This image stabilization, paired with the in-body image stabilization on Panasonic and Olympus cameras means camera shake is a thing of the past.
This lens also has a durable metal body construction. It is dustproof, freezeproof, and splashproof. All of which means you can confidently use it outdoors on your travels.
9. Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2
The Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 is an affordable travel lens that provides great image quality and features.
Our last picks are two third-party travel lenses. The first is the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2. Tamron is a renowned manufacturer of high-quality lenses and this multi-zoom model is no exception.
This is a Super Performance lens which means that it has a superior lens construction and a more durable exterior body. For example, the lens construction features coatings that have excellent anti-reflection properties.
For coping with different compositions and travel shots, this lens also has Vibration Compensation, and a constant maximum aperture of f/2.8. Combine this with the focal length of 24-70mm, and you have a travel lens that can be used for virtually any type of photography.
We also like the light design of the lens, and the compact size when it is retracted. The only downside is that the AF motor may not be as fast and accurate as some premium lenses on this list.
10. Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM
The Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM is available for Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Sigma cameras and is a flexible travel lens.
Our second third-party pick is the Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM. Like Tamron, Sigma also produces a great selection of high-quality lenses in their Art range. This lens in particular makes for one of the best lenses for travel photography and is also relatively affordable.
At 24-105mm, you have slightly more range than standard 24-70mm lenses. The lens also offers a decent maximum aperture of f/4 across the board.
While this is not a premium lens, it still delivers brilliant image quality and usability. For example, it has Optical Stabilization for handheld use. It also has various special SLD and FLD glass elements to maintain image sharpness while reducing aberration and flare.
Which Travel Lens Do You Need?
Regardless of what type of camera you have, if it has an interchangeable lens mount, you can find a suitable lens for traveling. As mentioned, the lens should ideally be lightweight and compact. This helps with portability and reduces hand and neck strain when you are exploring.
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