What Lenses Should I Travel With? | Travel Photography & Film Making

This one is for the creatives!
Travel goes hand in hand with photography and film making, it is a hard market to get into if you plan on getting paid. It takes years of practice and hard work in order to make it as a travel creator. So, when you start getting collaborations and paid work, it helps to have the right gear.

Having the right gear for travel photography also comes with the added hurdle of weight. You want to avoid additional travel costs by keeping your gear to a minimum, but still be able to film/snap all of the shots you need. How?

How, might involve some creative packing techniques or, it might be time to start saving for the holy trinity of lenses. In this blog we cover the 3 best lenses for travel photography/film making.

Shot at 18mm focal length

Shot at 18mm focal length

The Holy Trinity of Travel Lenses

Today we talk lenses, specifically, the best lenses for travel photographers & film makers. To keep this blog easy to follow & concise, we have separated the lens options by focal length; 16mm-35mm, 24mm-70mm & 70mm-200mm.

This range of lenses (or similar focal lengths) will cover almost all of your bases while traveling, from vast landscape shots to intimate wildlife shots. We have also included several options to suit most budgets & some handy accessories.

16mm - 35mm f/2.8

The 16-35mm focal range is a must have for travelers looking to document their journey through landscape & portrait photography. The 16mm focal length is also super handy for those who plan to Vlog their journey, it captures a huge area even at close range.

The 16mm focal length is so good for landscapes, allowing you to show a huge area and really capture the vastness of what you see. With a quick adjustment of the focal range you can then capture brilliant portraits of friends, locals or a friendly monkey that spots your hidden pocket banana.

Now the cost for a faster lens (lower Aperture) is significantly higher, the lower aperture does allow for better shooting in low light. Having a lower aperture (f/) also gives you more flexibility when shooting at night or, if you want to blur out the background and dial a viewers eye into your subject.

The Fast/Expensive Options:
Canon
You can also pick up similar lenses from; Sony, Nikon, Sigma and other less known brands.

The Slow/Cheaper Options:
Canon
You can also pick up similar lenses from; Sony, Nikon, Sigma and other less known brands.

24mm - 70mm f/2.8

This is your work horse!
The 24mm-70mm is the perfect all-rounder, a great lens for portraits, landscapes and, if you find yourself in the city, architecture. The focal range of a human eye sits around 44-50mm, the 24-70 often shoots portraits most akin to what you might see when walking down the street.

If your budget restricts you to just the one lens purchase for now, this is the one to buy first. Once again, it is better to aim for a faster lens (f/2.8), however you can get this (or similar) focal range with a higher aperture at lower costs.

The Fast/Expensive Options:
Canon
You can also pick up similar lenses from; Sony, Nikon, Sigma and other less known brands.

The Slow/Cheaper Options:
Canon
You can also pick up similar lenses from; Sony, Nikon, Sigma and other less known brands.

Shot at 24mm focal length.

Shot at 24mm focal length.

70mm - 20mm f/2.8 Telephoto

We have only recently started shooting with a Telephoto lens, dear god we love it!! If you plan on shooting wildlife or crispy portraits with compressed backgrounds then this lens is going to blow your mind. Film makers, this applies to you too. Some of the best travel videos out there contain footage shot with this lens.

This lens can also be paired with a teleconverter, boosting the focal length to 400mm at the cost of overall sharpness and lens speed (aperture). The sharpness of this lens is so good that you barely notice the reduction.

If you want to shoot lions in the savannah (at a safe distance without being mauled), film wilder-beast during the great migration or show the details of jagged NZ mountain peaks. This is the lens for you!

The Fast/Expensive Options:
Canon
You can also pick up similar lenses from; Sony, Nikon, Sigma and other less known brands.

The Slow/Cheaper Options:
Canon
You can also pick up similar lenses from; Sony, Nikon, Sigma and other less known brands.

Shot @ 200mm focal length.

Shot @ 200mm focal length.

Some Handy Accessories

If you already have these three lenses then you might consider these handy accessories;

  • A teleconverter for your 70mm-200mm lens.

  • Variable ND filters, especially for film makers & long exposures

  • A lens cleaning kit. You have invested so much money… maintain your kit!


I would assume that if you are planning on investing in these lenses, especially the faster f/2.8 versions, you have a full frame camera. If not, be aware that crop sensors will reduce the focal range on your lens. For example; if your camera body has a crop sensor with a crop factor of 1.5, a 16mm focal length will be cropped to 24mm (1.5 times 16).

One thing money cannot buy you is time, the most important thing is to shoot. Even if you cannot afford the best lens on the market, shooting all the time is what will get you better. Don’t let your equipment be the excuse… GET SHOOTING!

Life is Great. Travel is Better.
Paulo & Jacques | Massie Bros