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This video answers a question that I get asked, perhaps more than any other. "What is the best lens for travel photography? For documentary photography?"
I’ll give you a very comprehensive answer. I’ll talk about the best lenses for the full frame sensor system as well as the Micro 43 system that I currently use.
Of course I want you to have an idea of what kinds of images these recommended best travel photography lenses produce. There will be plenty of photo examples.
What about the lens’ usability, weight, discreetness and stuff like that? I’ll mention all that in the video too!
📷 LINKS TO ALL THE GEAR I TALK ABOUT IN THE VIDEO BELOW
24-70mm type lenses and equivalents
BHPhoto and Amazon links
Recommended for full frame sensor cameras
Latest Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens: https://bhpho.to/2HE5Np7 | http://amzn.to/2plbzoZ
Recommended Sony 24-70mm f/2.8: https://bhpho.to/2FIcJFe | http://amzn.to/2HJ93Qn
Recommended Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8: https://bhpho.to/2FFDLx2 | http://amzn.to/2DBinmS
Sigma for Canon mount 24-70mm f/2.8 lens: https://bhpho.to/2HHkl7D | http://amzn.to/2phJPld
Sigma for Nikon mount 24-70mm f/2.8 24-70mm f/2.8: https://bhpho.to/2FGCGFf | http://amzn.to/2DBBg8Y
Recommended for cropped frame sensors
Canon 17-55 f/2.8 (for the cropped sensor Canons) https://bhpho.to/2pnspn2 | http://amzn.to/2pkQiMe
Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 lens (Micro 43): https://bhpho.to/2HGxA8i | http://amzn.to/2DCsMys
Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR Lens (APSC): https://bhpho.to/2HEsqd1 | http://amzn.to/2FSiqwg
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Lens (Micro 43) Not quite 24-80 equivalent, but close enough: https://bhpho.to/2pj6w8J | http://amzn.to/2HJ9ev1
30 and 35mm type lenses and equivalents
Recommended for cropped sensor cameras
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH. Lens (Micro 43): https://bhpho.to/2pnq383 | http://amzn.to/2FSj3WE
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8 Lens (Micro 43): https://bhpho.to/2HHS9l5 | http://amzn.to/2HF1pWQ
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 PRO Lens (Micro 43): https://bhpho.to/2FI6Gkc | http://amzn.to/2HHkvvx
Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2 R WR Lens (APSC): https://bhpho.to/2HFDjvd | http://amzn.to/2pkByfo
Sony E 20mm f/2.8 Lens (APSC): https://bhpho.to/2HEJ4tc | http://amzn.to/2FMejpu
Camera bodies that I talk about in the video:
Canon 5D MKIV The new version of what I used to use in my digital SLR days https://bhpho.to/2FV0DF0 | http://amzn.to/2tWqXNh
Panasonic GX80 - My favorite Micro 43 camera https://bhpho.to/2FVpwAm | http://amzn.to/2HIasGG
Panasonic GX9 new version of the GX80 https://bhpho.to/2FMnWEZ | http://amzn.to/2HFCPW8
Fuji X100F - https://bhpho.to/2IDQ36T | http://amzn.to/2GAHIAd
Sony a6500 -https://bhpho.to/2FX6zgF | http://amzn.to/2FI1AnT
Hey all! Of course this video is purely my opinion formed through my experiences. These are the lenses which I think are best. If you have a different idea, if there’s a lens you can’t live without - please do share!
On a separate note: Do you like this new format? What do you think of the video being filmed on the road in different locations?
I love that you're filming in Colombia and I do hope you come visit Medellín or many other places you'll definitely enjoy. I am a Nikon photographer (D5500) trying to make more professional photos with a tight budget and this is a great video for future reference. The $600 price range is more adequate for me at the moment, but I am saving up! Please do share your best choice of one single lens if you were in my position and had a Nikon 5500. Cheers from Colombia...
Hi , If I have crop camera like the Nikon D80 , I know it is quite old , so the lens can be like 18-55 ? I have several lenses like 50,18-135 , 18-55,55-300 . what would you choose based on that arsenal for travel photography with kids ?
First time seen your videos and I love the Honest review.you have a new sub here. Those lenses are way out of my league as I'm a biguiner but is always good to know for the future..thanks for sharing those amazing pics...
+mitchellkphotos sure. The gear itself is rather outdated - the original 6d. But the thing is , 40mm pancake turns any full frame canon into a portable and rather lightweight travelling companion. Cheers!
So glad I came across this video. A m43 camera was my first foray into photography. Recently I bought a FF Sony, and I'm loving it. I still can't justify giving up the oly epl5, it's just so small and convenient. I like to use older manual film lenses to keep the size down too. Your shots are fantastic, no matter the system or lens. Photography is always 90% the person behind the lens!
Thanks very much for your comment. Yes, Micro 43 cameras are awesome because they are so small. There are some drawbacks and you can't do some things with them that you can with a FF, but, I'd say for most cases they don't matter.
Excellent insights here and well made videos. I often wonder what that magic lens is, but it really doesn’t exist. Looks like you made peace with the compromises you have to make to achieve relative inconspicuousness.
Totally agree! I have the Sony A7R2 and my favorite walk around lens is the 35mm 2.8. It's like a little pancake lens. I can throw camera w lens in my purse and off I go. If I need a close up, I can always switch to the 85mm, 1.8. I love the freedom even though I might not get the reach for a few shots. Love your photography and have been following your for several years. Enjoy the ride.
Hi, I love this video, it actually convinced me to get a mirrorless camera instead of an APS-C 800D! But which one? Do you recommend the Panasonic GX80/GX85 with the 15mm 1.7 or the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III with the 17mm 1.8? I will mainly use this as a travel camera for street photography/portraits and some landscapes probably. Looking forward to hearing from you!
Sorry. Disagree. I'm sure that if I had not written which photos were taken with which cameras – you'd not have known. There are also a few other factors. Stay tuned for another video where I'll have some images from the Sony full frame.
For Sony, I would think the new Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 is worth considering, very light, and lower price, meaning more room in your kit for something else. Closer minimum focusing distance the Sony lenses. Though I might lean towards the Sony 24-105mm for the extra reach and versatility, probably would not care about the 1 stop difference with how well today's cameras perform in low light + stabilisation.
For me I cant live without the Sony FE 85mm 1.8, its just ridiculously light weight. Ill just add in something else for versatility.
With mirrorless you can also use silent shutter (electronic shutter) and turn off camera/AF sounds for silent shooting, which is a major advantage for being discreet.
Thanks Michael! I am starting with my EF 24-70 but I am really thankful about Crops x Aperture trick tip. I have a Cannon T7i and my travel kit has a EF-S 10-18, EF 24-70 and a EF 70-300. You channel is amazing! Congratulations!
Hi Mitchell, thanks for such a quick and easy video showing multiple systems. I like to shoot portrait, street and food. Hope you can provide some guidance. I am more versed in Fuji but recently am exploring Panasonic since the system is lighter and have other benefits. For Fuji system, I have an xt-20 with 16 1.4, 56 1.2 and am thinking of getting a 23 or 35 f2 to fill the middle gap.
For Panasonic, I got a used GX8 body for cheap and have the 25 1.7 and 42.5 1.7 but think they overlap with my Fuji focal lengths. What lens would you recommend if it's just a two lens setup for travel/portraits/street? I feel like I'm being redundant.. although GX8 is weatherproof and has ibis for video too thanks so much
Did compare few of the cameras size wise & concluded that nikon d750 is not that much bigger than rest & at ridiculously low price fully loaded becomes best for me.. Hehehe add to it tech specs... Nothing better around...but if we talking weight it's another story. Thx love the videos & pics great work thx
Being a newbie in photography, I ended up getting a Tamron 16-300mm VC Macro for my APS-C camera, mostly because I didn't know any better and wanted one lens to give me tons of options. It turned out to be an amazing purchase for a 1st lens. Has Image Stabilization, I find it very sharp in comparison with the Canon kit lens, it's extremely versatile, the 26mm-480mm range offered by the APS-C sensor makes it a godsend shooting both wildlife and landscapes. Only problem is shooting indoors and low-light, but at the same time it forced me to be creative and study the location to understand where the sources of light are and how to use them more effectively. It was (and still is) an education in one single lens. And I also got several photos I'm really proud of.
Also, I must say, really happy to find your channel. Really useful advice and amazing work. Keep doing it, plz!
Now we have MIrroless the body weight between smaller sensor cameras being small not applicable. Let's say a MFT with 17mm f/1.4 and FF body with 35mm f/2.8 would be same in size and weight. The only reason smaller sensor cameras can survive in the future by competing with their prices. Still for those who use multiple bodies has good price advantage when using smaller sensors. That's one more reason I stick to Fuji. Now the digital photography fully replaced film again 35mm is becoming the standard. May be professionals may even go for these portable Medium format cameras
First of all thank you for sharing very useful knowladge about photography and gears to use. I have one issue, problem that I face very often and I want to know your vision how to solve it. The problem is that skies are always blown out im my photoes. Is this problem of low dynamic range of my camera, or should I use some equipment/filters? How did you overcome this problem in your photoes?
You can avoid it with any camera by exposing properly for the situation that you have. There are a few nuances here that I don't know, but in general, even with the crappiest camera you can expose the sky well, unless you're in high contrast situations. High contrast - that's another matter that would require some post-processing.
I was able to afford the Canon 24-105mm f/4.0 L, and I'm very happy with it. I've been shooting Canon since 1978 (I'm an old man). I would REALLY like to be able to switch to Sony, hopefully some day before I die. What Sony has done for photography is phenomenal!
wow.. I also shoot with the lumix GX80 and a similar lens (the 20mm 1.7) and you have really proven to me, that it's not the camera but the photographer who creates a great image! I'm really feeling the lust for new gear lately, but your breathtaking images are really motivating to save that money and keep my current setup!
Did you have any issues while travelling with the fact that the GX80 is not weather sealed ?
I’m travelling often carrying my Ricoh grii the but only concern all the time is about the weather sealed
Love the body of the GX80 but the lack of weather sealed body is what stop me to buying it
Any advice will be helpful
Love what you doing and love your pictures
Thanks Mitchell for this video , another example of it's not always about the gear but your skill in taking photos and wow do you take amazing photos !! I have a canon 5dsr with 16-35 and 100mm macro for landscapes and macros , I love the resolution for cropping and big enlargements but was tinkering with the idea of a 24-70 2.8 lense for travel but this set up will be close to 2kgs !!!! My other idea was to go a fuji setup xt20 / xt2 and 18-55 and some primes for travel , do you have any thoughts on a set up like this for a travel kit or should i go the 24-70 , i guess 50mp is not needed for travel most of the time except for the occasional landscape, thanks so much for your videos !!
I have watched several videos about beginner photography and photography in general. This is the first time I have heard anyone say that the crop factor of APSC affects aperture, thank you for helping me see why I can’t get the super shallow depth of field in portraits.
I bought a nikon d3400 with both the 18-55 and 70-300 lenses...... I'm going on an Alaskan cruise and also booked a private whale watching tour once i get there....... are my lenses sufficient,, or should i buy a wide angle lense with good distance shooting capability?? Please help
Man, I love your photography, and really appreciate the video. I really want to encourage you to try to go back to the full frame camera. I think we've gotten swept away with the idea of having a discreet camera system and want to believe that that's all we need, but I'm of the mind that the quality just isn't there. Everything from apsc and below just full short. Even the best of them are great to look at for the moment but never leave you with that sense of wonder and emotion. There really is something about the larger sensor and the quality that (particularly Canon) put into it. It's not about the numbers, it's the results. There's just so much more there. Take care, man, and thank you for the insightful video.
Disagreed totally, but appreciate your comment. And... who says I am not sometimes shooting full frame now? 😜 DEFINITELY not a Canon though! 😳I mean I don't care what camera it is, but they have nothing exciting now.
Superb inspirational photography. After over 50 years of photography using nearly all formats up to 5x7. I now use a small Fuji body with the 16mm f1.4 for 90% of my pics. However I will buy the new 16mm f2.8 when it comes out for size and reducing weight. Superbly easy to crop with a 24 mp sensor so it can be used for internal wide shots to Astro photography and portraiture it is as good as a 24-70 in one package. Love your site and have just subscribed
very well explained - thank you. I recentlt purchased the Sony A6500 with SIgma 30mm lens and think its great. the sigma is super sharp also. I still want a zoom lens but seems there isnt much under £1k and nothing under f4 so not ideal
Hi. Would you like to release the video " What is the best lens for travel photography? " I'm Alice from Geekoto, which specialize in the camera tripod and other photographic equipment? If possible, may I invite you to try them out ?
I have to tell you that i in love with your work, your lifestyle and your way of be (humble,smart and warm guy) What do you think about sony a7 brand? Are not reliable cameras for profesional travel work? They are the lightest full-frames in the market (lighter than the panasonic ones!). ¡Un saludo, te deseo lo mejor! ^.^
I've only used it on a few shoots and mostly been experimenting photographing my daughter. She's a challenging subject. Always moving, running. Generally if the camera can deal with her... it can deal with almost anything. 🙂
Great video. Thank you!
I've been a prime lens user for a while as well. Using a Canon 7D and 600D user I use my beloved 28mm f1.8 which is my fav lens although I use my 70-200mm f2.8 which is great for capturing things from afar.
Mitchell, Iike so many others I am in love with your photography and appreciate your insights. I'm an amateur newbie and recently purchased a used Panasonic G85 from a friend to take with me on a trek and medical service trip in Nepal. I recently learned that we have a pretty strict weight restriction due to a flight into a small airport. I just purchased a Panasonic point and shoot ZS100 so that I wouldn't have to carry an extra lens due to its bulkiness and weight. After seeing your you tube I'm wondering if I would have been better off just buying F1.7 15mm lens? I"m wondering what the overall weight is with the camera and lens?
Maybe I should have watched this video more sooner, as I came to the same conclusion. I have a whole stack of M43 lenses and I'm in to a project to document my village. 12mm is just too wide as the end of the street is too far away. The 20mm is a bit narrow, and I don't like the rendering. So I too settled on the 15mm and will shoot them all at F1.7 to have little depth of field.
Guy! Your presentation is fantastic. Pictures are excellent. I enjoyed your video. If I carry two lenses for street photography my first choice will be 30mm (below f2.8) prime and second choice will be small zoom lens. Your 24-70 is a good lens, indeed. Thanx
I currently shoot mostly wildlife and nature with a Nikon D500, but I've been thinking about getting a Panasonic G9 to save some weight. In particular, i rented the Nikon 200-500mm F/5.6 for a trip to the mountains, and LOVE the shots I got. The downside is that it's HUGE. With the D500, the total kit is over 3kg, while the G9 with a 100-400mm(which gives a little better zoom range) is about 1.5kg.
Any thoughts on the G9?
It's a great stills camera, as long as you don't shoot over about ISO 2500. I've got the lens you're talking about. I'd actually probably recommend the 45-200 (90-400) equivalent. The lens you mention has not been working as good in regards to autofocus. Tried photographing eagles with it and never really managed, whether as I did with the 95-200.
Thanks for the review.
I understand you don't use sony but I would like to know your opinion on traveling:
Would you recommend sony zeiss 24-70mm f4 426g *or* 28-75 Tamron f2.8 510g?
Appreciate anyone's reply!
Great explains !! I didn't knew that apperture stick with the same crop's rules. I thought that 2.8 in FF it's same in micro 4/3. Nobody mention about that which is very important. I've using a GX80 and I'm very satisfy of this camera typically with lumix 14-45 but I bought 25mm 1.7 whit is very nice and 45-175 for hunting animals :) and sometimes to zooming something which is too far.
At the outset, loved the format of the video split up over different locations. Much better than having to sit through an indoor location in a cramped makeshift video studio. Equally endearing was the exhaustive, yet to-the-point narrative that kept the listener engrossed for the entire duration. Next up, just loved your photographs, especially when you went candid with the smaller cameras. And finally, fantastic eye for people/ situational photography. Have subscribed, so do keep the videos coming. Thanks :)
Hello Mitchell, I love your videos on travel photography. Myself with my student schedule, I traveled only to Montego Bay in Jamaica. It was wonderful! Plus, in my spare time I'm a photographer. Your video help me a lot about how to choose my lens. To encourage you and share my passion for travel and photography, here is a gift card of $ 200 for your bookings of hotels, restaurants etc. Hoping to see more videos of your next trips.
Promo code: 70878
Hi Mitchell absolutely fantastic work. By the way changing locations for the vlogs is very nice. Do you have any plans o making videos on editing, video or photos? I f not, on your course do you address that? Thanks and looking forward to new vlogs. Jose
Thank you for sharing! You are extremely talented. I love to travel too:)I fairly recently revealed my first ever video - My travel diary in Queenstown. Eep!Would appreciate your feedback on my video/editing so that I will develop like you!
Excellent video. I understand where you are coming from but, I liked the early images (shot with the full frame camera and 24-70mm lens) best. If I could choose one focal range (that is already out there for a full frame camera), I'd pick the 28-135mm. That said, however, the overall quality of that specific Canon lens is not quite up to my standards.
I travel with two Canon crop cameras (7D and 7D2) with the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS and the 70-200mm f/4L IS lenses mounted. I also will often take a 12-24mm f/4 Tokina ATX as a wide angle lens and as a potential backup to the 17-55mm if that lens should ever fail. I don't worry about the 70-200mm failing because it is built like a tank.
I was recently given an older Tokina 28-70mm ATX Pro (the one based on the Angenieux 28-70mm f/2.6 design) and I really like it both for my full frame camera and my crop cameras.
It is not QUITE as sharp as the 24-70mm f/2.8L Canon but comes quite close to the 28-70mm f/2.8 Canon lens. It is a bit smaller and less conspicuous than the L lenses and it has a certain glow about the images that I really like...
My money would be on the Fuji system...for the last couple of years, all the fuji system choices are great choices. The x100f is the best(highest quality, smallish, inconspicuous, yet most versatile, powerful and simple) travel camera considering everything except price(1000.00)....even though there are other possibilities to choose from for different purposes.
Your voice and how you explain things make me love photography more!!! I am definitely not a photographer and I only have my phone but I definitely love photos... The video about where the eye should look earned you a new subscriber... More power and more videos.
As a Panasonic ambassador, I feel that you left out one of the best options for traveling really light and for blending in - the LX100. It has a 24mm to 75mm equivalent lens, but it doesn't quite use the full four thirds sensor, as it has that funky image format manual switch. So that's the downside, but the upside is that it is fully controllable on manual using its classic aperture ring/shutter speed dial arrangement plus it's tiny. The lens is also fairly fast at f1.7 to f2.8. It's my travel camera of choice.
I also have an X100T, but when I'm just doing the tourist thing, it's the LX100 that is around my neck.
What I learned from this video is: If the photographer is talented and experienced and if the places or people he/she shoots are interesting, pretty much any type of good quality camera/lens will do :) For me personally, the coolest piece of gear in the video was the 1997 Toyota :P
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