3 Lenses for Vacation Photography Any Sony Photographer Would Love

Still trying to figure out what to bring with you to enjoy some rest and relaxation? Well, you should obviously bring your camera! And trust us, the selection of lenses for vacation photography isn’t all that difficult. You need something weather-resistant, affordable, small, lightweight, and with excellent image quality. But most importantly, you need something that will autofocus quickly so you can put the camera away and just enjoy. Remember, don’t forget to actually enjoy the moments on your vacation! Here are some of our favorite lenses for vacation photography if you’re a Sony shooter.

This piece is presented in partnership with TAMRON. We’ve independently and ethically reviewed all the products in this post 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 on Using Lenses for Vacation Photography

Here are some pro tips for any photographer taking a vacation:

  • In reality, you don’t need more than two lenses for vacation photography. We typically stick to prime lenses, but these zooms are really great for what most folks do. I personally have taken a weekend getaway with the Tamron 17-28mm and 70-300mm lenses and been totally fine. The former covered anything I needed honestly. Tamron lenses are  small, lightweight, and weather-resistant and they’re the only lenses for vacation photography I’d bring for the Sony system.
  • We recommend using the Dynamic Range Optimization option on your Sony camera for vacation photography.
  • If you shoot prime lenses, don’t scoff at zoom lenses for vacation photography. They can be a whole lot more useful than you’d think. What’s more, these lenses are pretty small, too.
  • Weather sealing on the Sony camera system is a big concern, andhese Tamron lenses are weather sealed, prefect for shooting in inclement weather. I’ve taken them out in the rain, in snow, around shedding Golden Retrievers, and they’ve consistently worked just fine. 
  • Always remember to change the face detection priority. The Sony system lets you switch between bird, animal, and human depending on which camera you’re using. In fact, our review snippets are focusing on autofocus performance. For even more transparency, we’ve used these excellent lenses for vacation photography on cameras like the Sony a7r III, Sony a7r IV, Sony a1, Sony a7 original, and others.

Tamron 17-28mm f2.8 Di III RXD

Tech Specs

ModelA046
Focal Length17-28mm
Maximum ApertureF/2.8
Angle of View (diagonal)103°41′-75°23′ (for full-frame mirrorless format)
Optical Construction13 elements in 11 groups
Minimum Object Distance0.19m (7.5 in) (WIDE) /
0.26m (10.2 in) (TELE)
Maximum Magnification Ratio1:5.2 (WIDE) / 1:6 (TELE)
Filter SizeΦ67mm
Maximum DiameterΦ73mm
Length*99mm (3.9 in)
Weight420g (14.8 oz)
Diaphragm Blade Number9 (circular diaphragm)**
Minimum ApertureF/22
Standard AccessoriesFlower-shaped hood, Lens caps
Compatible MountsSony E-mount

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.”

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Tamron 28-200mm f2.8-5.6 Di III RXD

Tech Specs

ModelA071
Focal Length28-200mm
Maximum ApertureF2.8-5.6
Angle of View
(diagonal)
75°23′-12°21′ (for full-frame mirrorless format)
Optical Construction18 elements in 14 groups
Minimum Object Distance0.19m (7.5 in) (WIDE) /
0.8m (31.5 in) (TELE)
Maximum Magnification Ratio1:3.1 (WIDE) / 1:3.8 (TELE)
Filter SizeΦ67mm
Maximum DiameterΦ74mm
Length*117mm (4.6 in)
Weight575g (20.3 oz)
Aperture Blades7 (circular diaphragm)**
Minimum ApertureF16-32
Standard AccessoryFlower-shaped hood, Lens caps
Compatible MountsSony E-mount

In our review, we state:

“At other times, I used the lens to track moving subjects and to automatically search for something cool to focus on. It had no trouble at all. And this is important because any photographer who wants to potentially buy this lens should be concerned about a third party on a Sony camera body. If you can’t utilize Sony’s fantastic autofocus, then why get the system? You’re throwing away a significant part of it otherwise.”

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Tamron 70-300mm f4.5-6.3 Di III RXD

Tech Specs

ModelA047
Focal Length70-300mm
Maximum ApertureF4.5-6.3
Angle of View
(diagonal)
34°21′-8°15’ (for full-frame mirrorless format)
Optical Construction15 elements in 10 groups
Minimum Object Distance0.8m (31.5 in) (WIDE) /
1.5m (59.1 in) (TELE)
Maximum Magnification Ratio1:9.4 (WIDE) / 1:5.1 (TELE)
Filter Sizeφ67mm
Maximum Diameterφ77mm
Length*148mm (5.8 in)
Weight545g (19.2 oz)
Aperture Blades7 (circular diaphragm)**
Minimum ApertureF22-32
Standard AccessoryRound-shaped hood, Lens caps
Compatible MountsSony E-mount

In our review, we state:

“I tried this lens mostly with the Sony a7r III. But I also used it a bit with the original Sony a7. The autofocus is pretty comparable to one another. But overall, the focus with this lens is accurate, fast, and reliable. I nailed pretty much 92% of the shots. Any time I missed the shot, I’d blame Sony. Trying to find birds in the trees can sometimes be a bit tough for the Sony a7r III. It’s even tougher with leaves and branches in the way.”

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.