Well, almost every angle. We don’t mean to be misleading, but unless you’re capturing wildlife from a mile away or shooting macro underwater, these two lenses are the only ones you need to confidently capture 99% of your travel pics.
Type of travel
Everyone travels different. Everyone shoots differently. You’re going to want a couple of drama-free lenses that can keep up with you, your itinerary and your subjects.
The adage “ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain” is used in basic training by the US Marine Corps. The same truth applies when packing for your travel photography trips. Camera stuff is heavy so only carry what you need, not what you might need. (Put that telephoto lens down and step away.)
Travel photography presents infinite subjects and angles to explore from people to landscapes to architecture. You don’t know what you’re going to see and as a result, a lens (or two) that is as versatile as possible in terms of zoom, size and lens speed is worth investigating and worth investing in.
24-70mm: The most versatile zoom lens
Recommended: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
This is the ultimate all-in-one, do-it-all lens. The 24-70mm is a standard zoom lens that can capture the majority of the shots you want. You can easily shift from wide angle for landscapes to close-ups for perfect portraits—without changing lenses.
Although not quite a macro lens, the 24-70mm is more than capable of taking high quality close-ups and offers an impressive depth of field for you to play around with. It’s low light capabilities also ensure your opportunities and image quality don’t go down when the sun does.
Build and size
Generally speaking, most 24-70mm lenses are built to withstand the odd bump and bruise here and there. Relatively short in length and manageable in heft, 24-70mm won’t be a burden to your neck or shoulders and can easily be stowed in whatever bag you’re toting.
Alternative: The 24-105mm
Just as spectacularly versatile as its more popular cousin, the 24-105mm lens offers similar image quality and shoot capabilities for about the same price (depending on what model you choose). The only difference is that it offers 35mm extra focal length. Up to you if that extra length is worth the extra weight.
35mm: The perfect prime lens
Recommended: Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens
Superior image quality
One of the most significant advantages of a prime lens over a zoom is better
image quality due to the fact that they don’t have extra glass inside their body
that zoom lenses require. What it lacks in zoom versatility, it makes up in
Just because it doesn’t have the ability to zoom, doesn’t mean it’s not versatile.
The 35mm is versatile enough to deliver on both impressive wide angle and close-up shots with low light capabilities that make it great for indoors and outdoors.
One of its signature features is that it allows you to capture your subject relative to its environment. A person walking in their neighbourhood. A house in the forest. It is this ability of the 35mm, painting a complete story with context, that
makes it a favoured travel companion.
Build and size
It’s got to be one of the smallest, lightest lens types around. It’s compact size not only makes it a dream to carry, but also allows you to blend in a little better than your telephoto-wielding counterparts.
For the most part, prime lenses are cheaper than their zoom lenses of the same entry level. Sharper images at half the size and often half the price? You do the maths.
Interaction with subject
Although zoom lenses are convenient, they can often rob you of a level of intimacy with your subject that only a prime lens like the 35mm can arrange. And it shows in the shot. The 35mm forces you to move to get your perfect shot, often requiring you to get up close and personal with your subject.
Not only does this enrich your travel and travel photography experience, but gives you a unique angle of the world that perhaps many miss.
Alternative: The 50mm
The debate between the best prime lens, 35mm vs 50mm, is a debate with no winners. With its extra 15mm focal length, the ‘nifty fifty’ 50mm offers you slightly better depth of field than the 35 mm—which means better bokeh (background blur).
Now you know what lenses you need, it’s time to learn how to use them. Sign up to ‘Travel Photography with Richard I’Anson’ today and learn all the knowledge and know-how you need from one of the world’s most-awarded travel photographers.