What Camera and Lens Do I Use For Travel Photography?
Updated: Aug 14, 2021
I absolutely love photography. I've often heard that people who don't love to be in front of a camera tend to be good behind one [guilty]. I'd like to think I'm improving in learning travel photography. Photos mean so much to me because that exact moment in time cannot be recreated; it will never happen again, and to be able to capture that to keep forever is pretty magical if you ask me. I have been learning DLSR and travel photography for a few years and here are my personal picks for equipment.
This is my personal camera body, the Canon 80D. The Canon EOS 80D is a digital single-lens reflex camera announced by Canon on February 18, 2016. It has a body-only MSRP of US$1199, which is the same as the Canon EOS 70D, which it replaces.
From Canon: Whether raising your game to SLR level photography or having fun with a feature-rich, versatile SLR you can use pretty much anywhere, the EOS 80D camera is your answer. It features an impressive 45-point all cross-type AF system* that provides high-speed, highly precise AF in virtually any kind of light. To help ensure photographers don't miss their shot, an Intelligent Viewfinder with approximately 100% coverage provides a clear view and comprehensive image data. Improvements like a powerful 24.2 Megapixel (APS-C) CMOS sensor and Dual Pixel CMOS AF for Live View shooting enhance the EOS 80D's performance across the board. Complementing the EOS 80D's advanced operation are built-in wireless connectivity and Full HD 60p movies that can be saved as MP4s for easy sharing. Merging power, precision and operability, the EOS 80D is a dynamic SLR camera for anyone ready to realize their creative vision.
Where to purchase the Canon 80D? I bought mine here:
This is a bundle set that comes with an 18-55 and a 75-300 lens included. I personally own both of these lenses but they aren't my go-to lenses for traveling.
My first pick for a great travel photography lens for the Canon is the Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 art series lens.
I bought this lens and took it on our recent trip to Aruba to give it a real test. This lens is slightly heavy, but I found that I used it for nearly 85% or more of my photos during our trip. It is so versatile and the perfect lens for capturing landscape or street photography. The pictures are sharp, the speed is super fast, it does very well in low light, and most importantly, the photos turn out beautiful. If I had to choose one and only one lens to take on a vacation, it would hands down be this one. Another note about the Sigma art lens - It is the only lens that I own that is not a Canon. The Canon 24-70 lens was close to double the price of this lens. I have tried both the Canon and the Sigma 24-70 lenses and actually prefer the Sigma. The sharpness seems to beat the Canon and the price certainly does.
Next on my list for must-have travel lenses is the Canon 70-200 telephoto zoom lens.
I have wanted this lens for as long as I've had a DSLR camera. I also took this lens with us on our recent trip to Aruba. Although the photos are undeniably beautiful, I didn't find it quite as versatile as the Sigma 24-70 lens. There weren't many situations while on the beaches that I needed a zoom this long. When I did need a zoom lens, it was perfect, but that wasn't as often as I assumed it would be. I actually use this lens more at home with my kids playing outside because I can be far enough away that they don't notice me taking endless pictures of them and stop being cute. The lens is super fast and precise and great in any light setting. My other (not really complaint) observation about this lens is the weight. This thing is HEAVY. I carried it in my carry-on during the plane ride to Aruba and it made my shoulders hurt. Lugging it around the island wasn't ideal. You almost always have to have a tripod or somewhere to rest it because I tended to shake while trying to hold the camera and lens, making my pictures turn out slightly blurry.
While I do love this camera lens and love the pictures it produces even more, I would be selective about which trips I would consider taking it on. If you know that you'll be further away from your subjects and will be using a tripod often, you'll be glad you have it with you. If you will be taking more street photography and natural sightseeing photos, I'd say leave this one to your more advanced photo shoots.
My last travel photo lens recommendation is the Canon 50mm f/1.4, or the nifty fifty.
This lens is light and useful in a host of travel situations. It produces beautifully blurred backgrounds if you're looking for that option in your photos. This lens is a great option if you are taking family photos or using a tripod. And it's light to carry around in a camera bag. Although it doesn't zoom, I found having the 24-70 and the 50mm sufficient for almost every photo that I wanted to take while in Aruba.