What is the best lens for travel photography?
Which lens is best for travel photography?
Just as the vacation destination automatically determines the type of clothing, the perfect photography equipment will also depend on the destination, but most importantly on the activities planned during the trip. Professional photographers also know that a camera is only as good as its lens. Even when traveling, the right lens depends on the type of photography you mainly want to do: Street photography, landscape photography, wildlife photography or underwater photography.
For example, you will take a different camera on a safari trip than on a visit to Tokyo. But the best part of traveling is the surprises that await the explorer around every corner, so it's a good idea to be prepared for anything when it comes to lenses and cameras. If it is not clear before the trip that you only want to take pictures of insects, an all-rounder is also recommended in terms of camera and lens.
What are your own requirements?
Travel photographers always emphasize how important it is not only to see the world through the camera lens while traveling and to be constantly on the hunt for the next picture motif, but to be attentive to the surroundings. It can also be good to figure out in advance what you want to do with the photos afterwards: are they for a photo album to share what you've experienced with friends and family? Are they to be used as material for posts on social networks? Or are the pictures for professional purposes and should be printed in large format? You can find a suitable bag for camera and lenses here.
You can also find the right camera bag for your equipment and everything you need to protect your camera in our Oberwerth Shop. From classic camera bags over modern Sling Bags up to noble photo-beachers and backpacks and backpacks. Of course you will also find hand straps and shoulder straps. Finest craftsmanship from the best materials. Feel free to look around and find the bags & accessories that best suit you and your equipment!
In addition to good and large cameras, the smartphone of course has its place in travel photography and even professional photographers sometimes take photos with the smartphone. It only gets difficult with high contrasts and poor lighting conditions. In the meantime, they often take just as good photos as common compact cameras and impress with their light weight and handy size. What's more, if in doubt, you probably just have the smartphone with you. Advocates of the compact camera, however, point out that it can help to concentrate on the essentials. The focus is more on the subject than the camera, and compact cameras are inexpensive, lightweight and small.
The all-round lens
One of the classics in travel photography lenses is a camera with 18-200 mm focal length and variable aperture, often referred to as a "travel zoom." Also popular are 16-300 mm lenses, whose focal length is highly variable and provides an option for almost any occasion. However, these lenses are sometimes lacking in speed. However, especially when weight is an important consideration when traveling, you can get by very well with such a lens.
Even though a good zoom offers the security of not letting a picture slip through your fingers, it is always exciting to challenge yourself as a photographer and get closer to the subject. Many experienced photographers report that the convenience of zoom quickly turns to laziness and they now prefer to "zoom with their feet." Those who forgo the zoom and work with fixed focal lengths often have to move closer to their subject, but often get sharper images with higher speed. One disadvantage of the fixed focal length is that you may have to change lenses often.
A lens for every taste
The equipment and therefore the lens must suit the trip, so on a mountain hike you will appreciate every gram less on your shoulders, while on safari the heavy telephoto lens will pay off. When in doubt, it's better to go for a camera that you know and can operate in your sleep, rather than carrying the latest and greatest. If you are traveling with expensive photographic equipment, you should of course also think about theft and insurance. It's also worth looking for a good, waterproof camera bag or backpack for your photo equipment early on. You can read more about this topic here.
Since each type of photography you focus on while traveling brings its own requirements for the right lens, here are a few of the most common types of photography with their specific recommendations for travel:
In landscape photography, the most important thing is a good wide angle and high image quality. Especially if the camera is to accompany the photographer on hikes, it is also worthwhile to pay attention to a particularly lightweight lens. In addition, a good lens can be supplemented, for example, with a so-called ND filter, which enables good photos in complex light situations and also beautiful long exposures during the day.
For photographing animals in the wild, a telephoto lens can be worthwhile. Also, a fast autofocus is helpful when the animals are moving quickly. Furthermore, if this is very quiet or silent, animals will not be startled by loud focusing noises. Also, make sure you have a good image stabilizer so that the images are not blurry.
Underwater and action photography
If you like to take photos or videos underwater while traveling or even while mountain biking or on a motorcycle, you should urgently get a waterproof, highly resistant camera. The classic in this area are the small GoPro cameras in their waterproof plastic housing. The image quality will rarely be the same, but you can take a lot of photos or even a movie to not lose a moment in the middle of the adventure. Since the GoPro is very small and light and doesn't need lenses, it's good to just take it along in addition to the rest of your photography gear.
When it comes to street photography, weight and a discreet appearance are also the most important factors when it comes to lenses. If your hobbyhorse is clearly street photography and you want to be sure to do just that while traveling, read about the right lens for you here.
Selfies are allowed
Many people don't like the idea of selfies. Maybe it's because of the strangely bent arm and angles that result, or the selfie sticks that are usually offered, especially when traveling, when you really don't need them. Whatever gave selfies their bad reputation, solo travelers appreciate them.
Especially bloggers who travel alone a lot, but live from their face in the context of the report, often have a tripod with them for this, in order to achieve better perspectives. In the meantime, you no longer have to run or grin into the camera for minutes to take a self-timer, because there are apps specially developed for this purpose. An interval shooting function, in which the camera automatically takes a photo every few seconds, can also be practical.
The right connection
The type of photography, the subject and one's preferences play an extremely important role in choosing the best lens in travel photography. At the same time, when choosing a lens, you should not disregard what camera you may already own. This is because the lens mount is specific to each camera manufacturer and must fit.
Experienced photographers also know that in addition to the right camera with the right subject, many other aspects such as a willingness to experiment, attention to detail, but above all an attentive presence during the trip play an important role. While everyone in the group may be excitedly photographing the sunset, an attentive photographer may see the flamingo flying in from the other side, perfectly lit in the last light of the day. The right lens is important for good image quality, but an observant, empathetic photographer takes the best pictures.
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