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The Best Single Travel Lens is...

Updated: Jun 21, 2018

My good friend Tony Avila posed the question, "which lens would you take on your travels if you only had room for one?" Now this seemingly innocent query has been the fodder for many a spirited debate among serious photographers. It reminds me of the passion sports fans have about their favorite football (American that is) team. Which is the Denver Broncos by the way. But I digress.

Tony asked a serious question and I wanted to give a serious answer.

"Just one lens? That is a tough question. It would suppose," I began, "on what type of travel I intended to do. My choice for a single lens would depend on whether or not I was going to Yosemite National Park in California or the western highlands of Guatemala. It also depends on what type of images I was going to capture." Tony listened patiently. "For example," I continued, "I wouldn't take a wide-angle lens to photograph birds, nor would I take a telephoto lens to capture the interiors of Italian churches."

Tony looked at me expectantly.

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

"So let's assume I was going to shoot both, then I would take something like Nikon's 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR., (around $955). This lens covers and immense range and is amazing for the price (compared to Canon's EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS for around $2,500). The Nikon is compact, so it's not as conspicuous on the camera and it weighs around 28 oz (800g). I like its fast and precise focus and I would take that lens anywhere in the world."

He nodded thoughtfully.

"What about you Tony? What one lens would you take?" I asked.

Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di USD Lens

"My choice might surprise you. I would take a 15-30mm f/2.8 Tamron (around $900). Tamron has been on a roll lately. They've really been putting out quality lenses these past couple of years on par with the likes of Nikon or Canon. This Tamron lens is remarkably sharp, even on the corners, is image stabilized and perfect for landscapes, urban, and low light interiors. It comes with a Nikon, Fuji, Canon or Sony mount. Besides, I don't shoot birds."

I nodded respectfully.

There was so much I wanted to say and I had my chance later when I joined Tony for a podcast.

So what one lens would you take?


About the author:  JS Engelbrecht began his photography career in a High School dark room for the school's Year Book. Later he entered the fashion industry and product photography before turning his attention to Nature. "I moved from shooting pictures of beautiful jewelry to shooting pictures of natural beauty."

Now JS Engelbrecht enjoys capturing beautiful scenes during his travels. He is also a gifted teacher and guide for local photographers. Click here to see his fine art gallery.

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