13 Lenses for the Traveling Photographer

When it comes to traveling, photographers demand high quality and versatility from their lenses. Sometimes, choosing the right ones can be tough. A lot of it varies on the type of shooter you are and what kind of places you’re going to.

We’ve pooled our Reviews Index to round up some of the best travel lenses for you.

PS: Don’t forget about our Kickstarter!

Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 DC OS Macro

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 product images (4 of 8)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 5.6

In our review, we state:

“When I received this lens in for review, I had quite a number of dispositions. First off, I personally hate zoom lenses and think that their quality is far inferior to primes. While I still believe that, I was humbled by this lens. Not only was the quality good, but it is from a third party that has traditionally been known to not have their act together when it comes to quality control.”

Buy now: Amazon

Canon 50mm f1.8 STM

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 50mm f1.8 STM lens review product images (2 of 2)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 4.0

In our review, we state:

“Canon’s 50mm f1.8 STM is an overall great lens for what it is: a cheap lens that is aimed at a specific consumer. It’s not going to deliver the best image quality and it’s not going to give you the looks that many third party manufacturers give you now. But what it will surely do is give you a starting point to work with.”

Buy now: Amazon

Sony 28mm f2

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 28mm f2 lens review product photos (7 of 7)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.8

In our review, we state:

“We were quite pleased with how sharp the Sony 28mm f2 lens fairs. This has to be one of Sony’s sharper lenses and the company’s primes are what impress us the most. It’s about on par with the 35mm f2.8 if not a tad better, but both the 55mm f1.8 and 35mm f1.4 are sharper. This lens also seems sharper than the Zeiss 35mm f2, though not at all sharper than the Zeiss 50mm f2 Loxia lens.

The best sharpness comes at f5.6 with the best balance of both bokeh and sharpness coming in at f3.5 on a full frame sensor.”

Buy now: Amazon

Fujifilm 35mm f2 X WR

This is the X Pro 1 pictures, here, not the Pro 2

This is the X Pro 1 pictures, here, not the Pro 2

In our review, we state:

“On the X Pro 1, this lens actually focuses incredibly fast for a Fujifilm lens/camera combo, but where it really shines is on the XT-1. Indeed, this lens really is the fastest to focus optic that Fujifilm currently makes–and that goes or both low light and great light.”

Buy now: Amazon

Olympus 14-150mm f4-5.6 II

In our review, we state:

“Olympus lenses usually give very solid color rendition, and the this lens is no exception. However, the results are best with the JPEGs that their cameras put out. The lens delivers a fair amount of contrast, though nowhere as much as Sigma or Zeiss do. In Adobe Lightroom, we liked what we got when we applied Alien Skin’s Kodak Ektachrome color profiles to the images.

If you’re a travel shooter, you’re probably going to want to do the same thing.”

Buy now: Amazon

Tamron 35mm f1.8 Di VC

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 35mm f1.8 Di VC review product photos (1 of 2)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.8

In our review, we state:

“One of the strongest points of this lens is the bokeh. The Tamron 35mm f1.8 Di VC is designed with 9 aperture blades and has a very close focusing distance. It can seriously render better bokeh than almost everything we’ve seen except for the Sigma 35mm f1.4 and Sony’s 35mm f1.4.”

Buy now: Amazon

Tokina 12-28mm f4 AT-X

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tokina 12-28mm f4 first impressions (3 of 14)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 3.2

In our review, we state:

“If you’re looking for a wide angle zoom for an APS-C sensor camera, you can take relief in that this lens from Tokina has you covered in the image quality arena. While the out of camera color rendition could be better, we thought that it has some excellent sharpness to the point where we almost never wanted to stop it down.

If you want bokeh, you’ll need to get super close to your subject due to the nature of the focal lengths. But this isn’t really a lens to get bokeh out of. Instead, you’ll be using it for wide scenes and architecture. And for that, you’ll really enjoy the performance.”

Buy now: Amazon

Nikon 35mm f1.8 G

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm f1.8 lead image (1 of 1)ISO 1001-40 sec at f - 4.0

In our review, we state:

“Nikon’s 35mm f1.8 G ED is a lens that you can’t really complain about when it comes to sharpness. As always though, the sharpness is best when a flash of some sort is used. When coupled with the Nikon D3800, we were able to pull in some amazing details that we didn’t think would be possible.”

Buy now: Amazon

Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Art

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 product photos (5 of 7)ISO 2001-125 sec at f - 2.2

In our review, we state:

“So how is this lens? Well, it isn’t soft. Our copy was sharp, contrasty, and even had a sprinkle of micro-contrast. However, it isn’t as much micro-contrast as Zeiss puts into their lenses.

Everything about this lens seems totally in line with the performance of Sigma’s latest lenses. They have a characteristic color pattern to them, and also need the same minor adjustments in Adobe Lightroom.”

Buy now: Amazon

Zeiss 12mm f2.8 Touit

In our review, we state:

“The Zeiss 12mm f2.8 Touit lens is made from all metal on the outside with rubber rings for focusing. It is by all means an extremely solid lens. I tested it in various situations and environments and it survived basically everything with no issues at all. The lens was subjected to a bump on a turnstile in the NYC subway system and suffered no damage. Even more amazingly, I shot part of a wedding with this lens on the beach and despite how hard the wind was blowing, it suffered from no sand damage.”

Buy now: Amazon

Sigma 24-35mm f2 DG HSM Art

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 24-35mm f2 review product images (2 of 9)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

In our review, we state:

“This lens is designed and built very solid indeed. It’s big, the focusing rings are beefy, and in our tests it took while a bit of abuse. At one point during the Sony trip in Portland, a skateboard came and hit me right in the face. The side of the lens took some of the damage but it kept working like a charm.”

Buy now: Amazon

Olympus 9-18mm f4-5.6

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Olympus M.Zuiko 9-18mm f4-5.6 Review

In our review, we state:

“The biggest selling point of the M.Zuiko 9-18mm over its main competitor, the Lumix G 7-14mm, is probably the size and weight advantage the former has over the latter. Thanks to its clever collapsing mechanism that Olympus introduced with the first M.Zuiko 14-42mm kit lens, the M.Zuiko 9-18mm has a length of only 5 cm (2 in) when not in use, compared to the 7-14mm’s 8.3 cm (3.3 in). The M.Zuiko also weighs only half as much as the Lumix G. This makes it a pleasure to use, as it’s small and light and doesn’t get in the way. In its extended state, however, the size advantage is lost altogether.”

Buy now: Amazon

Sigma 24-105mm f4 DG OS HSM

Sigma-24-105mm-f4-DG-OS-HSM-Lens5-640x379

In our review, we state:

“The Bokeh was nice and smooth in all the right places. If you have to shoot a quit portrait or isolate a subject this lens is more than capable. Don’t let the f4 fool you, bokeh with this lens is good. Having to shoot quick portraits of people as they were speaking, I was able to isolate them from their environment easily.”

Buy now: Amazon