Top 3 Lenses for Travel Photography Everyone Needs

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Travel photography is an exciting pursuit, but the wrong lens can turn your visual narrative into a dull tale. The key to capturing breathtaking images lies in having these 3 lenses for travel photography.

Three lenses – a prime, mid-range zoom, and telephoto – are your trusty allies on this journey. They offer you versatility without compromising portability or image quality.

But remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach here; it all depends on your camera brand and personal style.

3 lenses for travel photography

Top 3 Lenses for Travel Photography: An In-Depth Analysis

Prime Lens Deep Dive

First up, let’s talk about the 35mm or 50mm equivalent prime lens. This bad boy is a must-have in your camera bag. Why? It offers great coverage for most scenes and subjects.

  • It’s perfect for capturing portraits with stunning sharpness and depth.
  • You can use it to take breathtaking landscape shots too.
  • The quality of the image you get from this lens is top-notch.

A case in point is professional photographer Joe McNally, who often uses a 35mm prime lens for his travel photography. He loves its wide view and minimal distortion.

Mid-range Zoom Lens Examination

Next on our list is the mid-range zoom 18-55mm lens. This one’s like your Swiss Army knife of lenses – useful for pretty much anything!

  • It gives you the flexibility to frame your shot just how you want it.
  • You can zoom in or out without having to move closer or further away from your subject.
  • Its versatility makes it ideal for both close-up portraits and wider landscape shots.

For example, renowned travel photographer Elia Locardi frequently uses an 18-55mm lens. He appreciates its ability to capture a broad range of scenes without needing to change lenses.

Telephoto Lens Features and Uses

Last but definitely not least, we have the telephoto 70-200mm lens. This one lets you get up close and personal with distant objects.

  • Despite being far away, you can still capture sharp images with this lens.
  • It’s fantastic for wildlife photography where getting too close could be dangerous!

Famous wildlife photographer Steve Winter swears by his trusty 70-200mm telephoto lens. He values its ability to bring far-off subjects into clear focus while maintaining a safe distance.

Camera lenses

35mm or 50mm Equivalent Prime

Prime Lenses Shine in the Dark

Prime lenses are a traveler’s best friend when the sun goes down. They excel in low light conditions, thanks to their wide apertures.

Sharp Images with Shallow Depth-of-field

Prime lenses are notorious for delivering razor-sharp images with a shallow depth-of-field.

  • This means that your subject remains sharp while the background gets beautifully blurred out.
  • It gives your photos a professional look and makes your subject stand out.

A Jack of All Trades

Whether you’re capturing bustling city streets, serene landscapes, or smiling faces, prime lenses got you covered.

  • These lenses are perfect for street photography due to their compact size and quick focus.
  • They also excel at landscape photography because they can capture vast scenes without distortion.
  • And if you love taking portraits on your travels, prime lenses offer stunning bokeh effects that make your subjects pop!
Lenses lined up next to each other

Seeing Through Human Eyes

The beauty of 35mm and 50mm equivalent primes is that they give a field of view similar to our eyesight.

  • This makes them very versatile and pleasing to use because what you see is what you get!
  • Your photos will have a natural perspective, avoiding any weird distortions that might distract viewers.

Travel Light with Compact Size

One big advantage of prime lenses is their compact size which makes them ideal for traveling light.

  • You won’t feel weighed down by bulky equipment during long travel days.
  • Plus, their discreet size will allow you to blend into crowds and capture candid moments unnoticed.

The Showdown: 35mm vs. 50mm

Choosing between these two focal lengths comes down to personal preference and the type of photography you enjoy most.

  • The 35mm lens offers a wider field of view, making it great for capturing landscapes or big group photos.
  • On the other hand, the 50mm lens provides a slightly narrower field of view which is excellent for portraits and street photography.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong choice here. It all depends on your unique style and what you love to photograph during your travels.

Mid-Range Zoom 18-55mm

Telephoto 70-200mm

Telephoto lenses are a game changer in travel photography. They’re perfect for capturing far-off subjects, like wildlife or landmarks.

A Glimpse into the Distance

A telephoto lens is your best friend. With its focal length ranging from 70-200mm, this lens helps you capture wildlife or landmarks that are far away. It’s like having a superpower; you can photograph things that are miles away as if they were right in front of you!

For instance, imagine you’re on a safari trip and spot an exotic bird perched on a tree far away. Your smartphone camera won’t do justice to the beautiful creature. But with a telephoto lens mounted on your Nikon camera body, voila! You’ve got yourself an impressive shot of the bird in all its glory.

The Magic of Bokeh

The telephoto lens doesn’t just excel at long-distance shots; it’s also great for close-ups and portraits. One of its coolest features is the ability to create a blurred background effect known as bokeh.

Bokeh enhances subject focus by blurring everything else around it. This effect makes your subject pop out against the backdrop, drawing viewers’ attention straight to it.

Imagine taking photos of your friends against the Eiffel Tower with people bustling about in the background. A telephoto lens will blur out these distractions, making your friends stand out beautifully against the iconic structure.

A person holding a lens

Packing Considerations

Every coin has two sides, and so does our beloved telephoto lens. Its larger size and weight might be something to consider when packing for travel.

While its benefits outweigh this minor inconvenience, we cannot ignore that lugging around heavy camera gear can be cumbersome during travels. Therefore, planning ahead becomes crucial here.

Ensure that you have enough space in your kit bag for this hefty piece of equipment – remember not to compromise on other essentials. Also, consider investing in a sturdy camera bag that can safely accommodate your lens and other camera bodies.

Understanding the mm f/. in Photography

All About That F-Number

The ‘f/’ number in photography is like a secret code. But don’t worry, I’ll spill the beans. This little guy controls the aperture size of your lens, which affects two big things: depth-of-field and how much light gets into your camera sensor.

Think of it like this: you’re chilling at home and it’s too bright outside. You close your blinds a bit to control the sunlight coming in, right? That’s exactly what the ‘f/’ number does! It acts like those blinds, controlling light entry.

  • Lower ‘f/’ numbers mean larger apertures (more light)
  • Higher ‘f/’ numbers mean smaller apertures (less light)

This isn’t just about brightness though. The aperture also influences depth-of-field – that’s how much of your shot is in sharp focus. A low ‘f/’ number gives a shallow depth-of-field (blurry background), while a high one keeps everything from front to back crisp as a fresh apple!

Unraveling The Mystery Of Focal Length

Now let’s talk about the other part of our dynamic duo: ‘mm’. This stands for millimeters and measures lens focal length. In plain English, it tells us how wide or narrow our field of view is when shooting.

Imagine you’re looking through binoculars – that’s kind of what using a long focal length (high mm) feels like. It zooms in on far-off objects but narrows down your field of view.

On the flip side, short focal lengths (low mm) are like taking off those binoculars and just looking around with your own eyes – you get more scenery in one shot!

Here’s some quick pointers:

  • Shorter focal lengths (<35mm): Wide field of view – great for landscapes or street photography.
  • Medium focal lengths (35-70mm): Standard field of view – versatile for various shooting scenarios.
  • Longer focal lengths (>70mm): Narrow field of view – perfect for zooming in on distant subjects.

The Significance Of These Parameters

So, why do these ‘f/’ and ‘mm’ numbers matter to you as a photographer? Well, they’re like the ingredients in your favorite recipe. Without them, your photos might not turn out the way you want!

Understanding these parameters lets you control how your image will look. Want to isolate a subject against a blurry background? Use a low ‘f/’ number. Need to take in a beautiful landscape or bustling cityscape? Go for a shorter focal length.

Remember, photography is all about capturing moments and telling stories through images. Knowing how to work with ‘f/’ numbers and focal lengths gives you more control over your story-telling tools – your camera and lens!

Practical Use of Lenses in Travel Scenarios

The Magic of 35mm or 50mm Prime Lens

Picture this: you’re wandering through the bustling streets of Tokyo. Your trusty 35mm prime lens is your best bud, capturing every blink-and-you-miss-it moment. It’s perfect for street photography and portraits. You can capture a sushi chef’s intense focus or a Harajuku girl’s colorful outfit in all its glory.

Take another scenario. You’re exploring the ancient ruins of Rome with a 50mm prime lens. This “normal” lens lets you capture life as it appears to the naked eye, making it great for candid shots and architectural marvels alike.

Both these lenses are compact and light, making them easy to carry around on your travels. Plus, they’re fantastic in low light situations – ideal when you’re exploring dimly lit temples or enjoying sunset views.

Harnessing the Power of Mid-Range Zoom 18-55mm Lens

Next up, we have the mid-range zoom lens – an absolute must-have in any travel photography kit. Picture yourself on a safari adventure in Africa with an 18-55mm zoom lens at hand. The versatility of this lens allows you to quickly switch between wide-angle shots (at 18mm) capturing herds of elephants grazing under acacia trees, to tighter shots (at 55mm) focusing on a lioness stalking her prey.

Or maybe you’re hiking through the Canadian Rockies with nothing but your camera gear and sense of adventure. The mid-range zoom lets you frame breathtaking landscapes perfectly at one moment, then snap close-ups of intriguing flora at the next.

Telephoto Lens – A Travel Photographer’s Secret Weapon

Last but not least is the telephoto lens – specifically speaking about the popular range amongst travel photographers: 70-200mm. Imagine standing atop Machu Picchu with this beast of a lens. You can capture stunning details of the ancient Incan city from afar, without disturbing the peace and sanctity of the place.

Or let’s say you’re on a boat in Antarctica, surrounded by towering icebergs and playful penguins. A telephoto lens lets you zoom in on wildlife without getting too close and risking disturbance. It’s like having a superpower – capturing moments that are out of reach for others!

A zoom lens

To sum up, different lenses bring unique perspectives to your travel photography. Whether it’s the compactness and light-gathering abilities of prime lenses, the versatility of mid-range zooms, or the power to bring distant subjects closer with telephoto lenses – each has its role in telling your travel story.

Remember: The best lens for travel photography is not just about technical specs but also about how you use it to frame your experiences and share them with the world.

Zoom vs Prime Lenses

The zoom vs prime lens for travel photography debate is a hot one, each with its pros and cons. So, let’s talk about them.

Zoom lenses are cool because you can switch between different views without swapping lenses.

They’re awesome for when you’re on the go, like taking pics of animals or sports where things move fast.

But, they’re kinda big and heavy, and not the best for dark places or making the background all blurry.

Prime lenses are different; they stick to one view but are really good at it. They let in a lot of light, which is perfect for snapping shots when it’s not super bright out or when you want to make someone stand out with a fuzzy background.

They’re usually sharper and easier to carry around than zoom lenses.

The downside?

You’ve got to move yourself to get the right shot since prime lenses can’t zoom.

If you need lots of different views, you might end up carrying a bunch of them, which can be a hassle.

So, picking between zoom and prime lenses is about what you like to shoot and how you like to do it. Zooms are all about being ready for anything, and primes are about making each shot super nice.

Final Insights on Travel Lenses

So, there you have it! You’re now armed with the knowledge to choose the best lenses for your travel photography. Whether it’s capturing those intimate street portraits with a 35mm or 50mm prime, grabbing wide landscape shots with an 18-55mm zoom, or getting up close and personal with wildlife using a 70-200mm telephoto lens – you’ve got this! Remember, understanding the mm f/. in photography is key to mastering your craft. With practice and patience, you’ll be churning out jaw-dropping images in no time.

Don’t forget: Photography isn’t just about gear. It’s about seeing the world through your unique perspective. So get out there, explore new places and cultures, and capture those unforgettable moments. Your next adventure awaits!

Ready to take your travel photography game to the next level? Check out our range of high-quality lenses today!


What does mm mean in camera lenses?

The millimeter (mm) measurement on a lens refers to its focal length. A smaller number means a wider angle of view, while a larger number provides a narrower view.

Why should I consider buying a prime lens for travel photography?

Prime lenses often offer superior image quality compared to zoom lenses. They’re also typically lighter and smaller which makes them ideal for travel.

Is an 18-55mm lens good enough for most travel situations?

An 18-55mm is considered a versatile lens that can handle various shooting scenarios from landscapes to portraits making it great for general purpose use during travels.

When should I use a telephoto lens like the 70-200mm?

A telephoto lens like the 70-200mm is perfect when you need to capture subjects from afar such as wildlife or distant landmarks.

How does understanding ‘f/’ in photography improve my images?

The ‘f/’ number on your lens refers to its aperture. Understanding this can help you control the amount of light entering your camera and depth of field, which directly impacts the look and feel of your images.

Can I take professional-quality photos with these lenses?

Absolutely! With practice and understanding of how to use these lenses effectively, you can definitely produce professional-quality travel photos.

Where can I buy high-quality lenses for travel photography?

You can check out our range of high-quality lenses on our website. We offer a variety of options suitable for different types of travel photography needs.