Best Travel Lenses of 2020 – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

Are you an avid traveler who backpacks around the world with a camera in your hand? Is buying a new camera lens a challenging task for you?

Then look no further, as this guide is here to solve your dilemmas!

In this article, you will find the best travel lenses, all with different specifications to suit your needs.

Comparison of the Best Travel Lenses

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

  • Best overall
  • Stepping motor for silent and fast autofocus
  • Used for portraits, nighttime photography, and action photography
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Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF Lens

  • Runner-up
  • 4 SLD elements and 3 aspherical lenses
  • Equipped with Optical stabilizer technology
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Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens

  • Best for the money
  • Slim and lightweight lens
  • Circular aperture allows for beautifully blurred backgrounds
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Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G

  • Best travel lens for Nikon
  • Focal length of 50mm and a great focus distance of 1.48 feet
  • Made with Nikon’s special silent wave motor for quieter autofocus
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Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G

  • Best Nikon travel lens FX
  • Focal distance is about 15 feet
  • Comes with 2 ED elements and 3 Aspherical lenses
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Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G

  • Best travel lens for Nikon D810
  • ED elements and aspherical lens included
  • Silent Wave Motor allows for a seamless and quiet shutter
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Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens

  • Best travel lens for D750
  • Silent Wave Motor feature for a quiet and speedy autofocus
  • Coated with Nikon’s SIC, to ensure reduced flaring and/or ghosting
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Sony - E 10-18mm F4 OSS Wide-angle Zoom Lens (SEL1018)

  • Best travel lens for Sony A6000
  • Has a 106-76-degree angle of view
  • Comes with a front and back lens cap
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Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens

  • Best travel lens for Canon
  • F/2.8 constant aperture and optical stabilization
  • Ultrasonic autofocus system to ensure a faster and quieter shutter
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Fujinon XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS

  • Best Fuji lens for travel
  • Solid metal body with a petal-shaped plastic hood
  • Comes with 3 aspherical lenses and 1 ED element
View Latest Price

What Size of Travel Lens Do I Need?

There are three sizes that you can choose from for a good travel lens. They are a 135mm telephoto lens, a 50mm lens, and a fisheye lens.

Fisheye 

The fisheye lens has an aperture of f/2.8 and can be used to take pictures of buildings. It is really fun to take pictures with this one, as it can help create a very globe-like image. They also allow you to capture the entire scene in a single shot easily.

50mm Lens 

It is a standard go-to lens. It is a good quality lens that focuses fast and allows you to see the view in a natural way. It also has a powerful aperture and takes really beautiful, scenic shots.

135mm Lens 

This is a telephoto lens that takes great portrait images. It also acts as a telephoto lens.

What Makes a Lens Great for Travel

There are many different things that make a lens perfect for traveling. Here are a few features that you must look for when buying a travel lens:

Aperture 

The wider the aperture is, the better the quality of your image will be. Wider apertures let more light sink into the lens, which allows for a clearer and sharper image.

Weight 

A good travel lens must be weather-sealed or have a solid build so that you can use it in all types of weather conditions without damaging it. However, it must also be lightweight and compact, so that you don’t get tired of carrying the camera around all day.

Quick Take - Best Travel Lenses

Before we dive into our review, here are the best travel lenses:

  1. ​Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
  2. Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF Lens
  3. Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens

Review of the Best Travel Lenses

With the plethora of models available in the market, one is bound to get confused regarding the most suitable option. To help you out, here’s a detailed review of the top picks.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

PROS

  • Bokeh is natural and beautiful
  • Ergonomic lens, which is easy to hold and use
  • Manual focus can easily be used by moving the ring
  • Flare performance is very good and there is no ghosting
  • Autofocus is silent and fast, providing a quick and seamless performance

CONS

  • Some level of barrel distortion
  • Moderate noises when shaken
  • Falloff is visible without the existence of a profile

What Recent Buyers Report

This lens is widely loved by many users. It works beautifully in low light conditions and performs magically for live events and indoor shooting. It is quite affordable and renders creamy and high-quality images. The build quality is also fantastic, as reported by users.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This lightweight and compact lens offers more than just affordability; it gives you pure value for your money. The silent stepping motor allows for speedier and quieter autofocus, and the lens also delivers supreme quality images, robust exterior, and less motion blur at a bang for the buck.

Who Will Use This Most

This lens would be an amazing upgrade for many users who are using the 50mm f/1.8. It is a great quality lens for beginners who want to take pictures while traveling, or for semi-professionals who love taking event photography. Moreover, it is a great performer in low light conditions.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a lens that has it all -- affordability, versatility, image quality, and ergonomic and lightweight build -- then this is the one for you. No matter what type of travel photography you’re into, one thing is for sure: this lens will leave you utterly speechless.

Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF Lens for Canon Auto Focus Digital SLR Cameras

PROS

  • Inner focusing system abolishes the front lens rotation
  • Ideal for close-up photography with beautiful color rendition
  • Anti-shake compression function allows for tack-sharp images each time
  • Multi-layer coating helps in eliminating any sort of ghosting or flare in the images
  • Aspherical lenses help ensure that the image quality stays high throughout the entire zoom range

CONS

  • There is some level of lens creep
  • Pincushion distortion in much of the image
  • Soft wide open in the center of the zoom range

What Recent Buyers Report

This is a go-to lens for many photographers as it is really flexible and versatile to use. It is also a knockout at the price that it is offered in as it gives total value to the customer. Moreover, it is perfect for capturing any kind of photos with, and the image stabilization feature is excellent.

Why it Stands Out to Us

One of the reasons why this lens stands out is because of its high-end features and excellent image quality. The anti-shake compensation function allows you to take picture after picture without the worry of either of them being blurry. It is also embedded with special low dispersion and aspherical lenses to enhance the quality of the image.

Who Will Use This Most

The lens is designed for multi-purpose use, which is why it is so popular among photographers. It is also affordable, which makes it a great entry-level lens, especially for travelers or nature lovers. It is also great for close-up photography. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly all-rounder lens, this is the one.

Bottom Line

If you are searching for a lens that can do anything, then you will not be disappointed with this one. Its quality is great and the build is fantastic. It also comes with very impressive features that will enhance your overall photography experience. If you’re a beginner traveler, you’ll love this lens!

PROS

  • Super lightweight and slim
  • Value for the money is quite amazing
  • Classic wide-angle lens, which is quite versatile
  • Image quality is sharp, and the clarity is amazing
  • Silent stepping motor allows you to take clear shots

CONS

  • Manual focus is not that great
  • There is no image stabilization
  • Noticeable vignette at the 2.8 aperture

What Recent Buyers Report

This is an excellent lens for normal portraits, and it can create the most beautiful and tack-sharp images. It is a standard lens that can be used for standard everyday use and works like every other high-end lens, but at a lower price and greater value for the price.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is one of the best travel lenses in the market because of its quality features and impressive construction. The circular aperture also helps create beautiful and natural backgrounds. It is also lightweight and slim, so you can carry it around anywhere.

Who Will Use This Most

This can be used for astrophotography, landscape, and portrait photography. The amount of flexibility that it has is phenomenal, especially at its price. Its color balance is also stunning, and the micro-stepping drive ensures quiet autofocus for silent photography.

Bottom Line

Are you looking for a budget-friendly, lightweight lens that will give you the best quality images at an affordable price? Then look no further, as this one has got you covered. With its impressive optics and stellar image quality, it is bound to leave you amazed.

Best Travel Lens For Nikon:
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • Lightweight and easy to hold
  • Renders silky and natural-looking bokeh
  • Equipped with a super-fast and quiet autofocus
  • Subject and background mesh together beautifully
  • At full aperture, the resolution in the middle of the image is brilliant

CONS

  • Lens distortion issues are noticeable
  • Vignetting can be seen at full aperture
  • Aperture and vibration ring are not equipped

What Recent Buyers Report

Users of this lens found that the bokeh is smooth and creamy and that it allows novice photographers to improve their photography skills. Images come out crystal-clear and tack-sharp, with wonderful low-light performance. For travel purposes, this product is a home-run. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a small and lightweight lens that can be carried around anywhere easily. However, the size should not be taken for its lack of performance. It can perform in any light condition, which is a stellar feature as far as the price goes. There are also many technologically advanced features equipped in it to provide excellent quality at a reasonable price. 

Who Will Use This Most

Beginners who want to kickstart their portrait photography journey can start with this lens. It is also amazing for travelers as it captures the essence of every photo. This FX lens can also be used by professionals who love taking portraits, for events, or while traveling around the world. 

Bottom Line

This lens has everything: design, quality, and a reasonable price tag. Not only that, it is widely popular for traveling as it is lightweight, durable, and can perform in every light condition. It can also capture fast-moving objects with its quiet and speedy autofocus. All of these features make up a stellar travel lens. 

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • Versatile, compact lens
  • Manual to automatic switch is quick and easy
  • Nano Crystal Coating equipped in it minimize flare and ghosting
  • Comes with vibration reduction and image stabilization features
  • Aspherical lens and ED elements to minimize chromatic aberrations

CONS

  • Corners may get dimmed at wide-angles
  • May not capture moving objects properly
  • Some distortion in the images which is noticeable

What Recent Buyers Report

This lens does not disappoint in its high-quality images and versatility. It is lightweight and compact and renders the most beautiful bokeh. It also ensures that images are tack-sharp edge-to-edge, and the photographs are crystal-clear. All in all, it is popular for travel photography among many photographers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This camera lens has Nikon VR2 embedded in it, which ensures that all images taken are sharp and have no blurriness in them. The SWM feature also makes sure that the photos are taken at an incredible speed without any noise. The color renditioning of this lens is also marvelous.

Who Will Use This Most

This lens is suited for many different types of photography, such as landscape and portrait. You can even use it to capture event photos. Moreover, it has the ability to capture high-quality images for distant subjects, as well as portraits with the silkiest bokeh.

Bottom Line

If compactness and high image quality are what you’re looking for in your travel lens, then this is the one for you. It is highly versatile and can take really beautiful pictures. Whether you’re shooting a gorgeous landscape or a lovely portrait, this one will not disappoint you.

Best Travel Lens for Nikon D810:
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • Speedy and quiet autofocus
  • Reduced flare and chromatic aberration control
  • Center sharpness throughout the focal length range
  • Compact and lightweight, making it easier to carry around
  • Solid build quality, making it durable and resistant to harsh conditions

CONS

  • Lens is not weather sealed
  • Some distortion present in the images
  • Variable aperture with no fixed settings

What Recent Buyers Report

This lens provides a sharp and beautiful quality wide-angle zoom, and the colors and clarity of the images are out of this world. For the exceptional quality that this model provides, it is a total bargain, as it provides value for your money. It is also lightweight and easy to carry around.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This lens is super versatile and can be used for many different types of photography. It is made with the highest quality materials and design. Plus, the innovative technology used in it can really be displayed through its quality of the design and the image sharpness.

Who Will Use This Most

Since this is a wide-angle to standard-zoom lens, it can be used for different photography types. However, it shines best when used with a Nikon D810. The travel shots are just stellar, and the image quality is beautiful. You can easily capture the most stunning landscapes and group images, as well.

Bottom Line

Are you on the hunt for a travel lens that doesn’t break the bank but also features all the amazing elements of a high-quality model? Then, this is the one for you! It will make sure you get the most impressive shots of everything, and you will not be disappointed.

Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • Minimal image distortion
  • Can perform under any type of light condition
  • Comes with a wide aperture which works brilliantly
  • Excellent sharpness of image throughout the range
  • Images are created with beautifully blurred backgrounds

CONS

  • Lacks image stabilizing feature
  • Slow and inconsistent autofocus
  • Limited capability at close focus

What Recent Buyers Report

This is a magical lens that creates some amazing photographs. It can be used for taking stunning portraits, as its bokeh rendering is natural and gorgeous. It gives the perfect background blur, and also works under any light condition. All in all, this is a very impressive unit for many photographers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This lens’ quality, build, and features are all phenomenal. For the price, it offers more than just bang for your buck. It is loaded with impeccable features that ensure a clear, tack-sharp image with beautiful colors and a naturally blurred background. The bokeh is also smooth and creamy.

Who Will Use This Most

This lens would be fit for many different photography types; however, it works beautifully on portraits. If you’re a traveler who goes around the world just to take the most stunning portraits, then you will adore this unit. It can also be used for professional model photography.

Bottom Line

Although this lens may not have the snappiest shutter speed or the best autofocus, it is embedded with many good features that give you an amazing photography experience. From its color renditioning to its naturally blurred backgrounds, it is absolutely perfect for your Nikon D750.

Sony - E 10-18mm F4 OSS Wide-angle Zoom Lens (SEL1018)

PROS

  • Speedy autofocus
  • Ensures smoother and natural-looking defocusing
  • Metal construction is solid that protects the lens from any kind of damage
  • 4-stop image stabilization feature to reduce blurriness and produce tack-sharp images
  • ED glass elements reduce chromatic aberrations and provide consistent color contrast throughout

CONS

  • Zoom range is limited
  • Needs to have lesser distortion
  • Slow aperture at the wide end

What Recent Buyers Report

This lens works like a dream with the Sony A6000. There may be some vignetting and barrel distortion, but it can be resolved. The metal encasing and build ensures that it works well under harsh conditions. Moreover, the in-built stabilizing feature promises sharp and clear images each time and also aids in low-light photography.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This lens is equipped with a wide range of technological features that make it stand out as one of the best wide-angle lenses in the market. There is a distance encoder that heavily aids in flash photography, and the internal focusing features ensure fast autofocus. Overall, it is quite an impressive pick.

Who Will Use This Most

This lens produces excellent results when used for exterior as well as interior photography. It is a versatile lens that can also be used to capture unique geometric shapes and architecture. It is lightweight, so it can be carried around the entire city for landscape or close-up photography.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a great wide-angle lens to work with your Sony A6000, then this is the one that you should purchase. Its impressive features and stellar image quality will leave you speechless. It gives consistent colors and contrasts throughout the image and has fast and silent autofocus.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens

PROS

  • Autofocus is silent, speedy, and precise
  • Stellar color balance throughout the image
  • Flawless optics and amazing image quality
  • Build quality is amazing as it is weather-sealed
  • Impressive flare control and no ghosting with the optimized lens coating

CONS

  • May not be affordable by some
  • Vignetting can be noticed at 50-70mm
  • Lower image quality at close distances

What Recent Buyers Report

This is a very special lens that can make your photography experience hit the roof. The depth of color and attention to detail in every image taken with it is quite impressive, as reported by users. If you’re looking to make a big purchase on your lens, this one will definitely not disappoint.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This lens is designed for the most superior performance and features the most excellent optics. The specs are amazing, and the image quality is stellar. The build is also luxurious, as it is weather-sealed for protection and performance under any condition. It also has a large aperture throughout the focal length.

Who Will Use This Most

While the lens comes with almost all qualities that you need in a versatile lens, it definitely performs impressively well for landscape photographers. You can trust it to make every picture look stunning and can be used as a go-to camera lens for shooting buildings, natural landscapes, or the night sky.

Bottom Line

If you are on the hunt for the best travel lens that works with Canon, then this is the one for you. Not only is this a fierce competitor in the market, but it is also one of the most impressive travel lenses you will find right now. With its high-quality construction and superior image quality, you will definitely not regret splurging on it. 

Best Fuji Lens for Travel:
Fujinon XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS

Fujinon XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS

PROS

  • There is minimum distortion in the images
  • Optics are quite crisp, ensuring a sharp and clear image
  • Build is solid and durable, making it sturdy and robust
  • Aperture is bright, so you can see all the colors in their vibrant form
  • Lens comes with an optical stabilization feature to reduce blurriness

CONS

  • Not weather-sealed
  • Not good for macro-photography
  • There is a lack of wide-angle coverage

What Recent Buyers Report

This is a seriously phenomenal lens, as per the customers’ reviews. The optics are tack-sharp, and the image clarity is stunning. It also creates an excellent bokeh, which is silky and naturally blurred. It also feels good in the hand and fits for all-rounded shooting. Moreover, it has better light sensitivity.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a versatile lens that allows photographers to capture a variety of images. It is durable and strong, but it is still lightweight and compact. The autofocus is also silent and blazing fast, and it comes equipped with four stops of image stabilization to eliminate blurriness.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a perfect lens for enthusiast photographers who travel around the world and capture random things. It is also a good starter model for enhancing your photography skills and can be used under any lighting conditions, making it amazing for traveling. It can also be used for video shooting.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a lens for your Fujifilm camera that doesn’t break the bank, it doesn’t get better than this. The specs, construction quality, and image quality are all spectacular, which is why you won’t regret buying this lens for a second. If you’re a traveler on a budget, this is the one for you!

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Before you reach the end of this article, here are a few main considerations to keep in mind before purchasing a travel lens:

Aperture

The aperture of the lens lets the light comes through, and the wider the aperture is, the better the image quality will be. If you need a lens that works amazing under low-light conditions while traveling, then you need to look for one with the maximum aperture. It can also affect the depth of field that an image has and how natural the blurriness of the background is. Make sure that the one you buy is also within your budget, as lenses with higher apertures usually come with a heftier price tag.

Versatility

You also need to check whether the lens is versatile or not. If it is only designed for macro-photography, you will not get the most use out of it while traveling. You need an all-rounder lens that works for every type of photography so that you can accommodate different subjects in your photographs.

Image Stabilization

If you’re looking for a camera lens that can capture fast-moving objects, then you need one with image stabilization. Wildlife and nature photography requires you to have a fast autofocus system and image stabilizing so that the image doesn’t get blurry and the subject stays in focus.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article gave you some insight on which travel lens is suitable for you. There are many things to consider before buying lenses, so if you need more time and information, you can research the individual models in-depth and decide which one is better for you. Happy traveling and shooting!

People Also Ask

If there are still a few ambiguities in your mind regarding the sizes of a travel lens, then you can go over these frequently asked questions to make sure your doubts are cleared:

Is a 50MM Lens Good for Travel?

This lens is a standard that can be used for your everyday go-to photography and can be used for traveling. Although fisheye lenses may give some fun and quirky photographs while traveling, there are a few scenes where you require a more sophisticated touch to your photographs. However, these lenses are great for low-light shooting.

Do You Need a Zoom Lens for Travel?

Yes, having a telephoto lens in your photography kit is a must! These add more reach to the camera’s ability, and if you’re into shooting landscapes or wildlife, then this one is necessary. They enhance the features of the subject and give a more detailed and tack-sharp image quality.