Photography / Buying Guide

5 Recommended Full-Frame DSLR Lenses for Travel Photography

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An ideal lens for travel photography needs to be compact and versatile. For example, the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens that is made by several manufacturers is a stalwart for pros and enthusiasts alike, and certainly fits into the versatile category, but these lenses are far from compact so they will be left out of this particular discussion. Also left out will be “fast lenses,” which is shorthand for a wide maximum aperture. While certainly an important factor in choosing a lens, we will downplay it for now, given that most fast lenses are either large-body zooms and, therefore, not compact or small primes and not particularly versatile. Also, this article will discuss lenses for full-frame DSLRs, leaving those strictly compatible with APS-C format cameras for another article. Of course, “full-frame” lenses can also be used on APS-C cameras—just be sure to calculate the crop factor of the sensor to get the equivalent focal length for the lens.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens

This is perhaps the epitome of an all-purpose travel lens for the Canon EF mount—supremely versatile from wide-angle to portrait-length telephoto and with a constant f/4 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range. The lens features optical image stabilization to control blur when shooting in dim light or at telephoto lengths, and a USM motor for fast, accurate, and quiet autofocus action. Manual-focus override enables precise focus placement at any time and its minimum focus distance is 1.5'. As an L-Series lens, you can expect not only the best in optical design but also a durable, weather-resistant build that is just 4.2" long.  

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Lens 

While the Nikon 24-120mm f/4 would be the comparable lens to the above Canon, I prefer to mix in some long zoom into this stew. The 28-300mm is about as versatile a lens as you’re going to find, ranging from inclusive wide-angle to long telephoto reach, and it measures just 4.5" long. It really is a do-everything lens; ideal for travel. It does extend quite long when at 300mm and a drawback might be the relatively slow maximum aperture at the telephoto end, but its VR II Image Stabilization system with 3.5 shutter-speed-stop equivalence will reduce blur, and its optical design consisting of aspherical and extra-low dispersion glass elements minimizes aberrations. A Silent Wave AF motor provides fast and quiet action and manual focus override is supported. If you use this lens on an APS-C format camera, its 35mm focal length equivalence is 42-450mm.

Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 ZA SSM Vario-Sonnar T* Lens

Although Nikon and Canon also make high-end 16-35mm lenses, I went with the Sony A-mount lens. The Sony is slightly heavier than the offerings from the other two makers, but not significantly. While those two have image stabilization in the lens, Sony features its SteadyShot I.S. in its DSLR cameras. All three are exceptional pro-level lenses. This Sony ultra-wide-angle zoom is ideal for architectural interiors and exteriors; it is also useful for landscapes and wide cityscapes and for including everybody at the dinner table. It features its Super Sonic Wave Motor for smooth and silent autofocus and offers a focus hold button and an auto clutch to prevent the manual focus ring from rotating when in autofocus mode. ED and Super ED glass elements reduce aberrations and Zeiss T* lens coating reduces flare. When used on a Sony A-mount APS-C format camera, the equivalent focal length is 24-52.5mm.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR Lens

Small is the most notable feature of this Nikon FX lens. It measures just 3.2" and weighs 1 lb. With a focal-length range from full wide-angle to portrait length telephoto, it will cover almost all of your travel-photo needs. The Silent Wave Motor provides fast and quiet autofocus, VR image stabilization benefits shooting in low light, and an optical design with one ED and three aspherical lens elements reduces aberrations. Some distortion at its widest angle might be the only complaint about this lens but, for considering its size and price, it is a perfect travel companion.

Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens

Size and affordability are what distinguish this lens, but it doesn’t hurt that you can go from wide angle to full telephoto with a simple turn of the zoom ring, either. No one will mistake this for the famed 24-70mm f/2.8 but, for carry-ability and versatility, it will take on all comers. An ultrasonic autofocus motor provides smooth AF action, and manual-focus override is supported on its internal lens system. It may be best used just in daylight, as its variable aperture is not particularly fast but with optical image stabilization and a steady hand, you’ll be just fine with this “walk-around” gem. 

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Hi, I'm traveling to Africa next week and trying to decide on kit. Body is D610 which I plan to upgrade soon (after lenses). Will be documenting a workshop. May have low light condition and concerned about making subjects feel uncomfortable-- not everyone wants a big lens in their face. Always travel with 50 f/1.4, often a small fixed 20, and sometimes kit 24-85 but I feel like the kit zoom is not all that sharp and not great at low light. Have a 70-200 f/2.8 but it's huge and heavy. Thinking about the higher quality 24-70 as effectively a single lens to stop the swapping out.  would also consider 24-120 as a single lens. 

Have read through your answers, still stymied. Sure, lower weight might be preferable but on this particular trip, once I get to my base, I'm there for 10 days. 

Hi Kendra - 

If you are looking for sharpness, low light performance, and a versatile lens with dust and moisture resistance, the consider:

The AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Lens from Nikon  which offers a fast aperture standard zoom lens designed for photojournalism and general photography with wide-angle to portrait length perspectives. Optimized for edge-to-edge sharpness on both the Nikon FX (full-frame) and DX-format image sensors it provides the 35mm focal length equivalence of 36-105mm on DX-format cameras. The f/2.8 maximum aperture is effective in low light and creates a shallow depth of field with pleasing out-of-focus highlights enhanced by a rounded 9-blade diaphragm.

The optical design includes three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements and Precision Glass Mold (PGM) aspherical lenses that help control chromatic aberrations while enhancing sharpness and contrast, even at the widest aperture settings. Nano Crystal and Super Integrated lens coatings enhance light transmission, reducing flare and ghosting.

The internal focus system and Silent Wave Motor (SWM) feature provide swift autofocus with superior accuracy and ultra-quiet operation. Direct manual focus override enables fast and simple control over precise focus. Minimum focus is just 15" throughout the zoom range. This G-type lens does not feature an aperture ring on the lens body, resulting in a lighter and more compact lens. The filter diameter on this lens is 77mm and a large petal-shaped lens hood is included. Weather and dust resistant sealing add to its appeal as one of the most highly regarded and versatile lenses in the Nikon stable.

Kendra...I would agree with Mark that the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 is the one lens to take for your assignment, you just cant go wrong. The one caveat is that it is a relatively large lens, not much smaller than the 70-200mm in length. In that sense, you might want to look at a Sigma or Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 which are actually a bit smaller. Obviously, at the wide-angle end, it's ideal for working in tight spaces and the 70mm will allow for some tele work and nice portraits.  My other thought is that while the 70-200mm is bigger and in tight spaces, not so friendly, I often use it at events and press conferences to step just out of the group (and therefore be less of a distraction) and still get ashot that feels close...and the sharpness and low-light functionality just cant be beat. 

hey there,

just starting to get into photography and am starting to feel slightly overwelmed with everything. i do have a canon mirrorless M-10 which has served me well as i get the hang of lighting and settings. it just has a standard 18-55 lens. you can get an adabtor for standard ef and ef-s lenses. i want to start taking landscapes and animal shots but again get so confused with what lenses i need. i am looking at upgrading camera to an canon at some stage pending budget. can you offer me any guidance??

Hi Mandy,

You may want to consider upgrading to a full frame body, so you have more control over your depth of field and better low light performance. One in particular is the Canon EOS 6D Mark II DSLR Camera with 24-105mm f/4 Lens B&H # CAE6D2241054.  The EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM II lens included would be a great all around lens option to start with.https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1346735-REG/canon_eos_6d_mark_ii.html

Hello, 

I have a canon 6D with a 50mm lens, I will be taking a trip this weekend and want to buy a wide angle lens so i can take full frame pictures without having to go pretty far from by subject to take them. I was looking to buy the 24mm 2.8 they have at bestbuy but upon reading some reviews that lens doesnt work with my 6D. Please i need your help on this, i have been reading some articles but cant decide wich lens will be best, also price is a big issue so please suggest the cheapest options up to $700 

Best regards, 

Raquel Pupo

Hi Raquel - 

The EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens from Canon is a wide-angle prime lens that gives you superb image quality in a compact form, it is ideal as an everyday "walk-around" lens.  Equipped with Canon's Optical Image Stabilizer, it provides up to 4 stops of shake correction and is effective in low light. A ring-type Ultrasonic Focus Motor (USM) and advanced CPU with optimized AF algorithms provide fast, smooth and silent auto focusing which is especially important when shooting video. Full-time manual focusing is available even while in AF mode.

I have a Canon 600D and I'm looking for a new lens for my end of year trip to Europe for 3 weeks I plan to take alot of photos and make a small movie of the trip, what lens would you recommend?

Cheers 

While you do not list which lenses you currently own, assuming you are using the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II kit lens, if you are looking for a lens with better optical image quality, I would recommend the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM Zoom Lens for Canon DSLRs with APS-C SensorsB&H # SI175028CA, as a good option for your needs.  If you instead want a lens that has a longer zoom range, I would recommend the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM LensB&H # CA18135ISUSM, for your needs.  This lens has Canon's STM motor inside the lens that gives you more silent and smoother autofocus during video recording needs.

https://bhpho.to/2sRXEJp
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I was wondering if you have any recommendations for a Canon EF-S all-in-one lens for my Canon 80D? Something like the 24-105mm? Wide + portrait + a bit of telephoto with a f1.4-4 with image stabilization? Sounds like a unicorn, I know. I just got into Canons and don't know my way around the neighborhood quite yet. 

Hi Erin - 

It sounds like the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens is ideal for you.  Why not go for it!

Would love some advice, I have the canon 24- 105mm on my 5D III is it worth getting a wide angle 17-40mm? for landscrap travel. thanks in advance 

A super wide zoom lens can be an excellent option for landscapes or travel (shooting architecture/interiors). The 17-40mm f/4 is a lovely lens, and would be a great addition to your current kit. Especially if you find yourself wanting something wider than 24mm when you are shooting.

I'm interested in purchasing a lens for travel. I currently shoot with a Nikon D750. I always find myself bringing multiple lenses, but need to travel light and only want one lens. I'm considering the Nikkor 24-120mm f/4. I currently have the Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8, but am considering selling it because I don't use it often. My kit includes: (all Nikkor) 35 1.4, 50 1.4, 85 1.4, 24-70 2.8, 70-300. Does anyone have the 24-120 & 24-70? How do the images compare?

Hi Robbye,

I used to travel with a bunch of primes and a Nikon DF.  Too many missed shots, dusty sensors, grit on my lenses and swapping lenses (and I took care when changing lenses).  I later decided to go back to zooms.  I tried the Nikkor 24-120mm F4 and it's OK but really lets you down on either end of the zoom range.  F4 is also a little slow, especially if you're considering a one lens solution for your travel needs.  The 24-120 is a good one lens solution if you're not that critical about your photography output and if you're budget is a little tight.

I now keep it simple: Nikon DF and 14-24 F2.8 AFSG & 24-70 F2.8 AFSG zooms for travel.  I find it's easy to shoot that way.  The ultra wide gets used for internal shots (churches, indoors, landscapes and tight street shots) and the 24-70 zoom covers about 90% of my daily travel photography needs.  I'm happy with the outcome.  Yes it's a little heavier but that's the priceI pay for top glass.  

Honestly, I don't regret passing on the 24-120 for the 24-70.  The 24-70 is great, a little heavy, but well built and should last you for years to come.  You'll end up leaving the 35, 50 and 85 at home....perhaps you might decide to take the 85 for portraits (just saying).  It's a personal choice and I don't really think there is a right or wrong answer. But if you're critical about the output, you might be a little disappointed with the 24-120 as it is not as sharp and doesn't perform as well in poor lighting conditions (even with VR). The weather sealing on the 24-120 is not 'pro' level as you'll get with the 24-70 and that might just be a critical decision you'll have to make, depending on what conditions you find yourself travelling in. Try both and see what you think.  I personally don't think you'll miss the 70-120 range if you decide on the 24-70.

In summary, I think they're both fine lenses but offer slightly different propositions.  As a one lens solution I think you'll be very happy with the D750 and a 24-70 welded to the front.  You'll be confident in all weather conditions with the 24-70 zoom lens that is well and truly proven in the field and which offers great resolution and results for a 2.8 zoom. It performs well in challenging lighting conditions and the AF is quick and very accurate. Happy travels good luck with whatever choice you make.

Pete,

Thank you so much for your suggestions. I am going to Sedona, AZ and the surrounding area later this week. I will take your suggestion and take my 24-70 and also I have a Fuji x100T that I'll take when I don't want to lug my D750 around. Maybe I'll find that I really do love the 24-70 given that it will be the only lens I take.

Best,

Robbye

Planning a 10-day whirlwind to Prague, Vienna, Rome & Pompeii. Bldgs & churches & palaces primarily day and night. Gear includes 5D Mark IV, 17-35 f2.8, 24-70 f2.8. Deciding upon either 70-200 f2.8 IS or 28-300 f3.5-5.6.....Q: which large zoom would you recommend? Is theft a big problem?

Mark...  I would  take the 28-300 and leave behind the 24-70 and the 70-200.  The 28-300 would seem to serve your needs, especially if its mostly day/outdoor shooting,  Interiors would be served by the f/2.8 apertures but with image stabilization on the 28-300, you catch a break there. It all comes down to carrying weight and the all-in-one convenience of the 28-300 for me, but if you really want the 24-70mm, then perhaps dont overlap and do bring the 70-200mm. but be sure you intend to use it.  Hope that helps.  In regards to theft, that's a tough one to answer as I'm not sure of your itinerary, but less gear, less weight and less lens changes are to your advantage if theft is a concern.  The places you describe seem somewhat on the beaten path, so I wouldn't worry too much, but bringing less not only alleviates some of the theft concerns but can help you focus on using the gear you do have to their best results. Have a great trip. 

My post is from an actual professional travel editor for a major magazine. I cover international city features, hotel openings, press events, restaurants, you name it. 

I think the best compromise all around travel zoom lens is the 24-120/24-105 f4 variants, whether it's canon/nikon/sigma/whatever. 

The 24-70's are just too big and heavy, and the others have optical compromises, no constant aperture (especially important if you ever shoot video or even think you might). 

I've tried just about every possible travel setup over the years, including trying to supplement with go pros, mirrorless, aps-c bodies, whatever. I need the DSLR, if I'm out and about, I never know when that "publishable photo" moment will arrive. That's when I'm thinking, would a fuji x100* or  tiny micro 4/3 body work... Pushing it... I'd rather be able to pull a raw full frame image on a bad shot. 

My setup is the 24-120 Nikon (when I don't know what I'm shooting in daylight), the 35mm 1.8g (FX) (walkaround, low profile street indoor no flash inside restaurants/museums, hotels), and the 85mm 1.8g (portraits, fast medium telephoto indoor for events), sb-700, and rode microphone, on a D750. There is an equivalent in the Canon world, similar price. 

I use 24-120 probably 50% of time, 35mm 30% of time, 85mm 20% of time. 

Yeah I could get faster glass, or more megapixels, but then I get into too heavy territory, anything lighter the quality starts to drop off. Anyway, that's my "sweet spot" kit. I'm well aware of the 1.4g are better lenses. I'm aware of Sigma Art and had a lot of my wedding shot on a 35mm Art lens (my choice). But in all things photography, there are compromises to be made. Otherwise we'd all be shooting Hasselblad. 

I've also tried 50mm 1.8g before as my walkaround, but honestly it kind of sucks as a walkaround if you are travel focus, i.e. walking around tight streets, shops, shooting buildings, etc. 35mm is better in low light anyway due to focal length. It's also too short for flattering portraits/headshots. I ended up selling it because it was just never "right for the job." 

If I need any other lens I rent it for the day/week. This is generally a 70-200mm or 300mm f4. I use them infrequently (twice a year maybe where I'm cramped to a press pit). I definitely don't want to pack it on an international flight or even own them really. 

Avoid the Canon 28-135. I had the later version (2008 model) on the 5Di and it was terrible, sharp at the centre but the moment you moved away softness creeps in until it's a blurred mess around the edges, even when stopped down at both 28 and 135 mm.

Hey Guys,

Love the article and the comments.

I have a Canon 60D with a Sigma 17-55 F2.8 which has served me well.
Shortly I'll be upgrading to the 80D and was considering adding a 70-200 F4 IS to the kit before a trip to Sri Lanka.
I really miss the long range that I used to have on my compact super zoom before I switched to the SLR.
But someone else I was talking to mentioned the 24-105L.
So the question is which one to add and whether the 24-105 would compliment the lens I already have.
Thanks in advance 

If you are happy with the 17-55mm f/2.8, and don’t mind carrying around two lenses (switching out lenses), I would likely go with the Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS.  While the 24-105mm f/4 is a great lens and a great option for an all-in-one, I think you would be better served by using your 17-55mm f/2.8 and going with the 70-200mm.  It would cover a better range, and would be a good set of lenses for your trip. 

Hi Christina S,

Thanks for the reply.

I was also sold on the 70-200 originally, now just worried I'll get stuck with the wrong lens on the camera at the wrong time. I suppose the 24-105 would be instead of my current lens and more and all-in-one type, but I would miss the sharpness and quality of the 2.8 I think.

Hello,

have question I plan to travel about year or two without returning home , currently have 5d MkIII , 16-35 MkII, 70-200 2.8 IS MkII and planing to buy 7D Mk II + 100-400Mk II is it will be overkill to have so much gear in backpack ? Because I will be traveling in Africa and Papua New Guinea for some months so just for that I thinking to buy 7D + 100-400 or it's better get Canon 1.4 Mk III extender instead of 100-400 ? On crop sensor I can have same focal lenghth with extender and 70-200 but not sure if extender on crop sensor is good idea . If images will be soft it's definetly will make me sad . Thank you for your time and recomendations .

Having two bodies with you would be a good idea.  While it does add weight to your kit, it would also add a failsafe in case something happens to one of your bodies.  If you are worried about weight, you might consider going with the 1.4X teleconverter instead of the 100-400mm lens.  Though, you will get the better performance from going with the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens over using a teleconverter.  If you think you can handle the weight, I would lean towards the 100-400mm.  Though, if you think that the weight will be too much, then the teleconverter will likely be the better option.

Hi, every one..actually i need ur suggestion that i gonna purchase my 1st dslr camera of canon n my father suggested to purchase canon EOS 600D  .. i dont know abt dslr and their features etc,.. so kindly help me may i buy this or not.                                           P.s. I want that dslr which is easy to carry ,not to heavy, n small. not with big lenses

Please send us an email to askbh@bhphoto.com. Let us know the budget you  are working with as well what your general subject matter will be. Once we have a bit more information we will be able to make a suitable recommendation. 

I have a choice to buy 1 of this. i can only buy 1 from these 2.

I am fan of Canon system and L lens. I recently returned from a trip to Japan and I really suffered with my gear. Then I decided to buy a mirrorless Fuji T-10 with 18-55 mm f2.8-4 System for some ocassion that I don`t need that much quality and carry weight all day long for a few street shots. But I came back with a lot in my mind. Should I still keep carying all that weight? I do own many zoom lens and prime lens. Basically I like to take pictures of cityscape and people. What should I carry on my next trip among my sort of lens:

1) Body: Canon 5D mark III

2) Lens:

   Prime: All Sigma ART Series 1.8:  20mm, 35mm and 50mm

Zoom Lens all L Series:

Canon 16-35 f2.8

Canon 24-105 f4 IS

Canon 70-200  II f4 IS

Canon 28-300 f3.5-5.6 IS

From my 3 previous trips, I really used a lot the 24-105 f4 most of the time. I hardly used the 70-200mm (twice) and the 16-35 mm was not used at all. I am considering for my next trip buy a 24-70 f 2.8  and carry the 28-300 and a prime lens such as the 20mm OR 35 mm for extreme night city shots after dark. I usually mix outdoor photography and city scape shots but I love to the pictures of street light and around sunset.

What do you recommend? I am really tired of carying on a lot of weight.

Hi Sergio -

Based on what you are describing and the fact that you travel, I like the 24 to 105 f4.  It is probably the most versatile focal length for you.  If you need the additional speed, then do pick-up the 24-70mm f2.8. 

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

I don't see the point of using an FX body with so so lenses. When I need something light to travel with, I have a D5300 with a 35mm DX 1.8g... doesn't get much better for high quality/lightness. I'm still under the impression if I'm lugging an FX body, I want the best glass on it as well, so that means, 24-70, 50mm 1.8g, 70-200... Also the investment in the lighter glass is still expensive, and not worth it to me, could get the d5300 and 35mm for the same price as those 24-120 lenses. 

klizzo...thanks for the comment and you make a good point. As the first paragraph mentions, we limited our selection to compact zooms for full-frame and did discuss a selection of recommended APS-C lenses for travel in this article. However, while a 35mm f/1.8 lens is an affordable and lightweight option, many travellers prefer the versatility a zoom can provide. When we compare weights, the D5300 plus 35mm weighs about 1.6 lb and the D750 plus 24-85mm is 2.6 lb, arguably a significant difference, but for the expanded perspective options and full frame format, perhaps worth the lug.  In general, I do agree with your thoughts on the worthiness of lesser lenses on better cameras, but the above lenses, while not all fast aperture "pro" models are very good lenses for versatile applications. Thanks again for the comment, it is the type of constructive critique that makes for a good convresation.

Question. Why does "everone" still use the wrong mm lengths for APS/DX lenses? I understabd thet a full frame 16mm is 24mm on an aps, but why sholu lenses for APS/DX cameras still use the mm of a FF when they cannot really be used on a FF camera?

Geoffrey...I encourage you to check back in tomorrow when my colleague Todd Vorenkamp will unveil his latest masterpiece, "Last Word on Crop Factor", which I will link in this comment section, but the short answer is that focal length is a physical measurement of the lens, not the barrel's physical length, but the distance from the optical center of the lens (where the light rays converge into focus) to the focal plane. That measurement does not change based on the size of the sensor. I realize this has created much confusion in the digital era with crop sensors, but to refer to APS-C designated lenses by only their "equivalent" focal lengths would be inaccurate and thus we are stuck with these dual descriptions. 

Geoffrey,

Keep in mind that the crop factors can also vary from camera and this needs to be taken into consideration also. Most crop sensor cameras from Nikon and Canon are 1.5 or 1.6 crop factor. However, my older 2007 introduction, Canon 1D Mark III is an APS-H sensor and has a crop factor of 1.3. So, for example, my 85mm EF lens has the viewing angle of about a 110mm lens. It is a bit of an oddball sensor but I enjoy the camera. I do agree that by purchasing full frame lenses you can leave yourself well positioned to get a full frame body in the future. Certainly something to consider if you think that might be a future possibility. That is the approach that I am following as I plan to one day have a full frame camera also.

Best,

Todd Ferguson 

Because the mm is referring to the focal length of the lens, not the field of view.  A 16mm lens on a crop sensor camera is still a 16mm lens, the only difference is the top and sides are cut off due to the sensor not including the full image circle, resulting in a field of view that appears to be *similar* to a 24mm.  However all other things, depth of field, background to subject compression, etc. remain exactly the same as they would on a 16mm lens.

What do you think, talking about travelling of course, about a AF-S NIKKOR 70-300mm VR ED IF f/4.5-5.6.

I know that it`s not a wide-angle that covers all needs, mainly for close subjects, but mounted in a D 610, it made good results for me in daylight situations when travelling.

Nathan,    I love that 70-300 Nikon.  I am a retired school teacher and for the money, that lens is great.  However, some might feel that for travel, it might be a bit much for walking around.   Served me well in the mountains of Haiti.

As a professional wildlife photographer I have come to depend upon the Nikon 70-300mm telephoto and use it more than any other lens I own. It consistently produces superb images, sharp as a tack and with good contrast. While it's true that there is always some degree of risk of motion blur when shooting handheld with a 300mm lens I've found that with good technique this lens is capable of producing great images when used handheld to capture bald eagles, osprey, and other birds in flight. While it is true that it's a bit handicapped by its relatively small 5.6 aperature in low light I haven't found this to be much of a problem. As for its weight...well let's just say that as an ex-ice climber used to packs holding 30 lbs of ice screws, biners, and runners I don't exactly sag under the weight of this lens.

boatphotog- Thanks for the professional insight!

Thanks for the comments Natan and Tom. I would agree that the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G is a good, sharp telephoto zoom lens for travel, especially when you consider cost. I would also agree that it is best used in daylight and at tele lengths with a tripod. However, personally and in the context of the article, if i were choosing one lens for a trip, it would have to offer wide-angle and standard length perspectives. Thanks again for the input.

I've used and continue to use the Nikon 28-300 mm while outback travelling and can't fault it but for cities and overseas travelling I put my bid for the fixed lens APS-C fitted (badly named) Nikon Coolpix A - a greatly neglected little camera. I took it to Japan and got my best folio ever.

I have a question about using a full frame telephoto lens on a crop camera. A friend of mine says doing this does not extend the reach of a telephoto...so I am confused about what this means..." If you use this lens on an APS-C format camera, its 35mm focal length equivalence is 42-450mm." If I were to use this lens on my D90, would it be like having a telephoto that goes to 450mm? Thanks for your help.

Gail,

The focal length of the lens never changes... But with a crop sensor the angle or field of view angle is narrower than on a full frame sensor. This has the effect of cropping the image down to fit onto the smaller sensor. So a 50mm lens on a 1.6 crop camera would give the same angle of view as an 80mm lens on a full frame sensor.

Best,

Todd Ferguson 

Thanks for your response...but I'm still a bit confused, especially by the word "equivalence". With your example of a 50mm lens on a 1.6 crop camera, does the image as seen from an angle of view as an 80mm lens appear closer? Or is it the same with less of the surrounding edges of the photo that you would normally get with a full frame sensor? Thanks again.

Gail,

It would be the latter.  The edges you would get on a full frame would essentially be cropped off by the smaller sensor, giving the appearance of the photo being closer. But that is just because the photo is cropped by the smaller sensor size.  If you have a good photo shop nearby go and try the same lens on a crop body and a full frame body and you will grasp it better.  Bottom line is the focal length is always the focal length of a lens.

Best,

Todd Ferguson 

Right.  I would add this: If you are planning to go up to a full frame camera in a few years you should consider buying a FF lens now and use it with APS/DX now, with a croped image and leter as a full image. For example a 24mm FF/FX on your APS/DX would be 35/37mm now and 24mm later, with a FF camera. Get it? The confusion is cause by the fact that camera/lens companies still use the "Wrong" mm for their APS/DX lenses. It would be eaiser for most if they said: A 28-70 on FF is equilivant to a 42-105 on a DX camera but they should call a lens for a DX camera a 42-105mm lens, not call it a 28-70, since it is not made for FF usage. OK?

G.

These comments are all correct. The only thing you get with a smaller sensor is a smaller field-of-view.

The idea of "35mm equivalent" focal length is marketing garbage.

Gail, Todd, Geoffrey and wayne....Thank you all for working through an issue that can be confusing for sure. Gail, I hope things are a bit more clear and while its true that the focal length is the same regardless of the sensor size, there is a benefit of knowing, in quantifiable terms that are more familiar than angle of view, what your perspective will be when you put a certain lens on a certain camera.  Actually, tomnorrow we will be posting a new article explaining crop factor which I will link and here is a video that may also help.

Your comment on 16-35mm choices is not fully accurate re: available f-stops, as Canon has had a 16-35 f2.8 (L series) for years (now in its second generation), although an f4 is cheaper.

Bela...Thank you, you are absolutely correct, the f/2.8 version now included in the hyperlink in that section of the article. 

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