The Sony Lenses you should get for Travel Photography

Everyone gets so wrapped up in what camera they should buy (that is the question I get more than any other), but they often ignore the question of what lenses to buy.  In reality, the lens on your camera is probably going to impact the quality of your image a whole lot more than the camera.  For travel photographers, the lens is going to impact a lot more than just your image quality as well.  The lens will determine how big and heavy your set up is and how convenient it will be during travel.   Because lenses get expensive,  you likely need to be smart about what lenses you buy.  Hopefully, this quick guide will help you Sony shooters pick out a travel set up.

What Sony lens should you get for travel photography?  I recommend the the Sony 18-200 mm f/3.5-5.6.  This is my favorite all-in-one zoom for Sony, but there are some other great options that may fit you better that I will discuss below.

When it comes to camera lenses, most camera systems have what is called the trinity of lenses.  This is going to be the top quality wide angle zoom, medium zoom and short telephoto zoom.  Investing in the trinity of lenses is usually a safe bet because you get the best quality lenses to cover the range needed by all but wildlife and sports photographers.

For travel photographers or casual shooters, however, the trinity of lenses may not be the best option.  When we are traveling, I love bringing an all-in-one zoom lens.  These cover the focal ranges from wide angle to moderate zoom in one lens, which is much more convenient for traveling.  The quality usually isn’t as good, but you can still get something that will produce very good images while you only have to carry one lens and not worry about changes lenses ever.

The other lens I love to use for travel photography is a pancake lens.  a pancake lens is usually a prime lens (only has one focal length).  It is called a pancake lens because it is really thin, like a pancake.  I like taking a pancake lens for casual situations where I want my camera to be as compact as possible.  With my pancake lens, I can actually fit my camera in most pockets so it is not a burden when we are just headed out of the hotel for dinner or something where photography is not the focus.

Recommended Lenses for sony

Sony isn’t known for its wide variety of lenses, but the line up is rapidly increasing.  More importantly, you get access from two of the top third-party lens companies in Sigma and Tamron, who generally get very close to the same quality as native lenses for a much lower price.

The Trinity

The top-end wide angle lens from Sony is the 16-35 mm f/2.8.  This great lens comes with a hefty $2,198 price tag.  While not a whole lot cheaper, you can save a little money going with the 12-24 mm f/4.  This is a great lens for landscape photography and anything you don’t need the speed of a 2.8, plus you get quite a bit wider focal length when you want it.  It will currently set you back $1,698.

In the mid range zoom, the top option from Sony is the 24-70 mm f/2.8, which is currently priced at $2,198.  If you don’t need top of the line, I highly recommend saving yourself a ton of money with the Tamron 28-75 mm f/2.8.  The Tamron lens has been highly recommended by many great photographers I know and will save you a ton of money, costing only $799.

For the telephoto zoom, Sony’s top option is the 70-200 mm f/2.8.   The price reflects the quality at $2,598.  The budget option on this lens is going to be the 70-200 mm f/4.  It generally runs just under $1,500.

The All-in-One Zoom

The all-in-one zoom I recommend for Sony is the 18-200 mm f/3.5-6.3.  This lens covers a very wide focal range, but I hate how slow the aperture gets longer focal lengths, basically making those lengths unusable in low light.  Still it is going to be a great lens to start with if you are on a budget as it covers the whole range you will need and make good images, especially at the closer ranges, for $848.

The Pancake

The pancake option available from Sony is the 20 mm f/2.8.  Again, it is nice to get a pretty fast lens in a pancake format.  The 20 mm lens is extremely small and will make a very compact shooting system.  While there are some disadvantages in image quality, it should perform well enough for most shooters.  It generally about $350 .


What do you think? Do you have a Sony lens you love for travel photography? Let us know in the comments or in our Facebook Group.  Be sure to check out our Recommended Gear as well for more lens recommendations and much more.

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