Last Updated on 11/10/2021 by Chris Gampat
The season for travel photography is quickly approaching! Besides taking all the safety precautions for a cold-weather trip or to a remote area, you’ll probably want to pack some great camera gear with you, too. Lucky for you, we know exactly what you need if you’ve got a Sony camera, and we’re rounding up some of the best lenses for travel photography. And we didn’t forget about you folks shooting with APS-C cameras either!
Editor’s Note: In a previous version of this article, we forgot to put the disclaimer. We apologize for this.
This piece is presented in partnership with BRAND. We’ve independently and ethically reviewed all the products in this round-up already without sponsorship. And we worked with them to recommend a few key gems to you.
The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear that we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Pro Tips for Using Lenses for Travel Photography
Here are some tips from the pros on choosing lenses for travel photography:
- Go lightweight. No one needs or wants to drag around big, heavy lenses unless it’s a paid gig.
- The lenses we’re showcasing have weather sealing. They’re great for the rain forests, cities, deserts, snowy mountains, etc.
- Lenses for travel photography should be able to fulfill a variety of tasks. Portraits, landscapes, cityscapes, long exposures, etc. These lenses are great for these photo opportunities.
- These lenses are pretty compact, so they won’t take up much room in your camera bag.
Tamron 17-28mm f2.8 Di III RXD
In the field: This lens survived some of the hardest rains that we’ve tested a lens in. We were incredibly shocked at how well it did.
Use it for: Grab this lens when you want a more normal field of view and want to shoot wider. Exploring architecture in Europe? This lens is the one you should bring along with you. It’s one of our favorites.
In our review, we state:
“The autofocus on the Tamron 17-28mm f2.8 Di III RXD is mostly what surprised me. Of course, it’s going to be fast to focus because this is a wide angle lens. But then I remembered that Sony owns part of Tamron. And so I’m pretty sure the two are probably talking and working together in some ways. Photographers using the AF-C function with face detection and AF-Lock tracking will have a lot of joy using the Tamron 17-28mm f2.8 Di III RXD. Not only is it fast, but it’s also accurate most of the time.”
Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III-A VC VXD
In the field: This lens survived a lot of abuse on both camera systems that we’ve tested it on. And it’s really hard to not recommend it as a general photowalking lens. It’s one of the most perfect lenses for travel photography and remains super compact when carried in a camera bag.
Use it for: A lens like this belongs on your Sony APS-C camera. Use it as a general travel lens to shoot everything. Indeed, it really can do everything you need or demand from it.
In our review, we state:
“That’s a 1:2 magnification ratio, which is excellent for a lens that’s not a dedicated macro. And frankly, it’s also impressive for a lens that goes from 18-300mm as well. The close-up capabilities aren’t as good on the telephoto end at 1:4, so photographers will have to remind themselves to zoom out, then physically bring the lens closer.”
Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2
In the field: This lens mounts onto your Sony camera to be a pretty compact package overall. But better yet, it’s incredibly well weather-sealed. So when you take it out into the wild, it’s always going to be protected. If you’ve got one of Sony’s better sealed cameras, it will be too!
Use it for: The most lightweight, general walkaround lens you can get is the Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2. Compared to what Sony has, this lens is much more weather resistant and incredibly affordable. Plus it has a 1:2 macro for amazing close-ups during your travels.
In our review, we state:
“The colors rendered by the Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Model F053) are accurate and vivid without being overly saturated. Under certain lighting conditions, the colors produced by the Tamron 35mm f2.8 can be downright painterly. Landscape and portrait photographers alike will appreciate the Tamron 35mm f2.8’s ability to accurately capture their subjects.”