Photo walking is much more enjoyable when you only have to carry only one lens.
Photo walking is a favorite past time of many. The social aspect of it always makes it fun, and just being out to take pictures of whatever you fancy brings about a sense of peace and calm. One thing you don’t want to do when photo walking though is carry a bunch of lenses with you; that just takes away from the simplicity of the event. After the break we’re going to share five versatile lenses that you can take on photo walks that will produce amazing images, and will put the fun back into your walks.
Sometimes our gear gets in the way of us being able to enjoy what we’re doing. The extra weight we have to carry around, and having to switch out lenses often, can really put a damper on things. Being able to use just one lens that can shoot a variety of genres is always a relief, and lenses that can do this lend themselves perfectly to photo walking.
One second you can be taking a landscape or cityscape shot, and within the blink of an eye you can be shooting a portrait. Zoom lenses and their versatility can really help make photography quick, easy, and fun. Here’s a look at five lenses under $1,000 that will be perfect to take on photo walking excursions.
Pentax D FA 28-105mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR
First up on our list of lenses for photo walking is in the flavor of Pentax. The K mount 28-105mm f3.5-5.6 is an incredibly versatile lens that lends itself well to being out and about. It’s wide enough for landscapes and cityscapes, and it’s long enough to do some portraiture or detail work. It’s also priced well under $1,000.
In our review we said:
“If you were to choose one walkabout zoom lens for the Pentax K-1, it would most likely need to be the Pentax 28-105mm f3.5-5.6 ED DC WR. This lens has a very versatile zoom range and, despite its variable aperture, is still highly capable of doing quite a bit for any photographer who holds it in their hands.”
On the inside of this weather sealed lens you’ll find 15 elements in 11 groups along with nine rounded aperture blades. These optical elements produce some really nice images, with pleasing bokeh at the long end of things, and super sharp images wide open and on. Color renditions are saturated and have a fair amount of contrast with the Pentax 28-105mm. Distortion is kept to a minimum too thanks to the extra low dispersion glass. In the image quality department you’re not going to be disappointed.
Autofocus performance is just fine; we never encountered any type of slow down while we were testing it out on the Pentax K1. Build quality wise this lens is solid. Pentax’s weather sealing is legendary so you’re safe to take this out into the elements. We took it into the rain and the lens brushed it off with ease. The giant rubber grip makes using this lens a joy. It feels great in the hands, and the zoom and manual focus rings are easy to use. This lens will no doubt last you a while.
If you want a solidly built lens that’s weather sealed and can produce sharp images, the Pentax 28-105mm is a fantastic option. It should be the go-to lens for any Pentaxian who likes photo walking.
Buy now ($496.97): Amazon
Pentax 28-105mm Image Samples
Pro Tip: Make sure you keep your lenses clean while out photo walking. Keep a basic lens cleaning kit in your bag so you can remove dirt, dust, grease, and water spots from the front element; they’re a pain to remove in post.
Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD
The Tamron 28-75 f2.8 Di III RXD may well be the perfect walk around lens for Sony Mirrorless cameras thanks to its versatile focal range, superb build quality, and the razor sharp images it can produce.
In our review we said:
“One of the things that makes the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD so appealing is just how good the image quality is. Not only is the lens capable of delivering sharp images, but the colors are very vibrant and the bokeh is smooth and beautiful.”
This lens is built to last and will allow its user to cover many different genres of photography with ease. The lens features 15 elements in 12 groups, and has nine rounded aperture blades.
Images produced with this lens will make you happy with edge to edge sharpness (even when shot wide open), rich, vibrant colors that pop, and some beautiful, smooth bokeh. We have never seen any chromatic aberration when using this lens, and have seen just the slightest amount of distortion (easily remedied in post production). Autofocus performance is solid and it has no trouble finding focus in both good and low lighting conditions. The 28-75mm is also compatible with many of the features of Sony Mirrorless cameras such as eye and face detection, and it will work with all five axis of in-body image stabilization.
When it comes to build quality the Tamron is hard to beat. The lens has a premium feel to it and it feels nice to hold and use. The focus and zoom rings are big and well dampened. The weather sealing on this lens is top quality. We took the lens out into decently heavy rain and it kept on shooting and never gave us any issues. Tamron built this lens to last.
If you want to add a solid lens that’s perfect for photo walking to your collection, the Tamrom 28-75mm f2.8 is a fantastic option for Sony shooters.
Buy now ($849.99): Amazon
Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Image Samples
Pro Tip: Not all cameras and lenses are weather sealed. Stay on the safe side of things and carry some weatherproof camera and lens covers with you when you go photo walking. You never know when the weather may turn on you and your gear.
Fujifilm 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
The Fujifilm XF18-135mm f3.5-5.6 OIS WR has a great focal range (27-206mm on crop bodies), and it’s weather sealed to the nines. Whether you want to shoot landscapes that show your surroundings, or if you want to get up close and personal with people, animals, and more, this lens lets you do it all.
In our review we said:
“The lens perfectly slots into a long vacant gap within Fujifilm’s X-series lens lineup as a jack-of-all-trades tool for tourists on vacation to journalists in need of a flexible lens for events.”
Inside this do-it-all lens you’re going to find 16 elements in 12 groups, and seven rounded aperture blades. The lens produces sharp, detailed images that have pleasing colors. Of course, as with all Fujifilm lenses, coloring is highly dependent on what film profile your’re using, but regardless of which one you use, you’re going to get great colors. The lens is able to produce a fair amount of bokeh in the right situations, especially on the long end of things. The lens does exhibit some color fringing and chromatic aberration, but with software like Capture One 12 and Lightroom it can be taken care of with a single click.
The autofocus performance is excellent on the XF18-135mm and is consistently fast and accurate Good light, low light, and everything in between poses no problems for this lens. The optical image stabilization is good enough for five stops, so low light shooting isn’t a problem at all.
The Fujifilm 18-135mm weighs 1.08lbs so it’s a slightly heavier lens than some Fujifilm users might be used to, but it’s still very easy to hold and use. It feels great in the hands, and the large rubber grips provide a solid resting spot. The 18-135mm is also weather sealed. As long as you pair this up with a weather sealed body, you can go out photo walking in the rain and the snow and you won’t have to worry about anything.
If you’re a Fujifilm shooter and you want one lens that can do pretty much anything, the variable aperture 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 will make you very happy. It’s well built, produces sharp images, and it’s easy to carry around for long periods of time. It’s the perfect lens for photo walking.
Buy now ($899): Amazon
Fujifilm 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 Image Samples
Pro Tip: Comfort is key when photo walking. The last thing you want is for your gear to become uncomfortable to carry. Use a padded shoulder sling to help disperse the weight of your gear across your entire upper body. You’ll be so much happier during your walks.
Panasonic 12-60mm F2.8 Power OIS
If you’re looking for a do-it-all wide to telephoto lens on the Micro Four Thirds platform, the Panasonic 12-60mm f2.8-4 is a solid option. Thanks to its great build quality, sharp images, and durability, the Panasonic 12-60mm may well be the perfect lens on the Micro Four Thirds system for photo walking.
In our review we said:
“During my tests, I was rather surprised by what the lens is capable of. It’s super sharp and I’ve got no qualms here. I also really enjoy the colors, the lack of most chromatic abbreviations, keeping the distortion down low, etc.”
Inside the housing you’ll find 14 elements in 12 groups, along with nine rounded aperture blades. Images produced with this lens are super sharp from edge to edge and you’ll never find a reason to stop down below f5.6. The colors produced are natural; they aren’t over saturated, but have a nice pop to them. Bokeh lovers will be pleased to hear that the lens can create some smooth bokeh too. The consistency of results in terms of sharpness, colors, and autofocus performance on both Panasonic and Olympus cameras made us happy as well.
The Panasonic 12-60mm f2.8-4 features optical stabilization which really helps in low light situations. Another area where the 12-60mm excels is in autofocus performance. No matter what situation we found ourselves in, the lens was able to quickly find and lock on to whatever we were tracking. It never missed a beat.
The 12-60mm f2.8-4 is built solidly. There’s no doubt this lens will stand up to heavy use. While the plastic doesn’t have any kind of texture to it, the zoom ring offers a sure place to grip the lens. You’ll find that this lens really feels nice in the hands. This piece of glass weighs just 0.70lbs, which means you can put it on your camera and walk around with it all day without breaking a sweat.
This 24-120mm equivalent lens is perfect for landscapes, portraits, street, documentary, and event photography. Thanks to its great image quality and durability you won’t be left wanting more. For those who shoot Micro Four Thirds and like photo walking, this lens is a must have.
Buy now ($897.99): Amazon
Panasonic 12-60mm F2.8 -4 Image Samples
Pro Tip: Make sure you can shoot for as long as possible by carrying spare SD cards on your person while photo walking. It can be easy to become snap happy while out and about, and those files can take up space quickly.
Tokina 24-70mm F2.8 Pro
Tokina lenses don’t get as much attention as those from the likes of Sigma and Tamron which is a shame. Their version of the versatile 24-70mm f2.8 is every bit as good as first party lenses from Canon and Nikon, and they hold their own against Sigma and Tamron too. This Tokina 24-70mm f2.8 is perfect for photo walking, and it’s a lot cheaper than the competition.
In our review we said:
“The Tokina 24-70mm f2.8 is a really fantastic lens if you’re a professional who doesn’t need weather sealing or even if you’re a high end hobbyist/semi-pro. There is lots to love about it. The image quality it can deliver is something other manufacturers should be looking at.”
Inside this solid lens you’re going to find 15 elements in 11 groups, and nine aperture blades. To say this lens is sharp is an understatement. It puts the competition to shame when it comes to overall sharpness; we couldn’t quite believe it when we tested it. From f2.8 and on, it will make your jaw hit the floor. The colors are nicely saturated and a little on the warm side, while the bokeh is very pleasing to the eyes. Slight hints of fringing can be seen when pixel peeping, but it can removed in post in a matter of seconds.
The lens performs really well with autofocusing too. It’s fast, and it’s very accurate in all lighting situations. The focus motor is not the quietest in the world though. While out photo walking this will not be an issue at all, but if you have to use the lens in a quiet situation like during a wedding, you’re going to hear it. Switching over to manual focus is easy thanks to the push-pull ring which Tokina is known for.
Tokina lenses have always been well built, and the 24-70mm f2.8 is no exception. There’s no weather sealing on this lens so just keep that in mind before you head out. The lens feels really great when being held. It’s on the heavier side of things at 2.2lbs, but it doesn’t feel unwieldy at all. Honestly you’ll be so floored with the results while out photo walking that the extra weight won’t bother you much.
For under $1,000 this 24-70mm from Tokina is really hard to beat. The versatile focal range will allow you capture landscapes, cityscapes, portraits, and more. It’s built like a tank, and it’s beyond razor sharp. For Canon and Nikon shooters who want one lens to take photo walking, this one is hard to beat.
Buy now Canon ($748.95): Amazon
Buy now Nikon ($949): Amazon
Tokina 24-70mm F2.8 Image Samples