Photography > Traveling with a DSLR - What Lenses to Take

Traveling with a DSLR -
What Lenses to Take

By BAY OLIVER
Published: September 2, 2008

What camera gear is best for traveling? This is a question that's been asked for many a year by digital photographers the world over. It's one of those unique situations where the photographs wanted are top notch but this desire must be weighed up against how much to lug around while vacationing. And, as a DSLR user the situation is even more complicated given all the paraphernalia that is available and the multitude of lenses on offer.

As a backpacker, the choices can be even more complicated since a tight budget does not provide for cushy traveling options. Public transport, economy seating and long walks are the bane of a backpackers days (but also part of the adventure).

Nikon and Canon have both solved this problem to some extent by offering an 18-200mm zoom lens. That's right, 18-200mm. For Nikon this is old news with the lens being released in 2005, whereas Canon only caught up recently releasing theirs in August 2008. Both offer image stabilisation (Vibration Reduction for Nikonians out there) and amazing zooming capabilities that could replace two or three lenses in anyone's kit. Unfortunately both lenses are around $700 US and weigh approximately 500grams, but compare this with many lighter or cheaper lenses and it's still a better bet.

On top of this one versatile lens, another recommendation for travel kits is a low light prime lens. Nikon and Canon both offer a 50mm f1.8 for around $180, but for those with a little extra cash the f1.4 is an amazing lens that's just that wee bit faster - it could be a life saver for situations where flash is not allowed. The great thing about these lenses is that they're also extremely light.

Of course long stints of traveling require a laptop for uploading, and this presents its own unique problem. Fortunately many innovative companies out there are releasing combination bags that solve this problem. While at the more expensive end of the scale Crumpler offers some of the best bags around. And though more pricey, they're also extremely well-made and as a bonus do not look like camera bags. So, in more dangerous or higher crime destinations they will not scream "steal my backpack with $4000 worth of laptops and camera gear inside"!

These backpacks will also house any miscellaneous camera equipment or other gear happily with their multitude of movable compartments.

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