We all like to travel.
So when we’re not really traveling (that is almost all of us, at this time, sadly), we’re most likely dreaming about the next journey. And in amongst all that preparation, you might be taking into consideration the best digital camera kit to get. We’ve already got helpful information on the very best cameras for vacation, but if you’ve obtained a DSLR or perhaps a mirrorless camera, you have to work out what lenses to get too. Which is where the superzoom lens makes it’s own. They are lenses with extra-length zoom ranges that work with a standard contact lens and a telephoto zoom mix.
When deciding on a superzoom zoom lens, it’s tempting to choose the largest zoom range you can find your hands on. Apparent contenders are the Nikon AF-S DX 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR, Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM | C and both of Tamron’s 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro and 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD lenses, which give class-top wide-angle and telephoto focal lengths respectively. However, most of these lenses are usually quite big and weighty. They’re usually more convenient and much less heavy than a mix of regular and telephoto zoom lenses but, when you wish to visit light or continue walkabout, it’s nicer to possess something smaller and much more light-weight dangling off your digital camera strap.
Taking into consideration the 1.5x crop element of all APS-C cameras (1.6x for Canon), a zoom selection of around 18-200mm is generally ideal. This gives you similar wide-angle coverage as from a standard zoom while stretching your telephoto reach to 300mm in full-frame terms (320mm for Canon). Overall, you’ll get a really generous zoom range in a compact package. Choices are more limited for Canon and Nikon full-frame SLRs. Canon’s EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM is a pricey heavyweight, while Nikon’s AF-S 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR only delivers mediocre image quality. However, both companies have developed attractive and travel-friendly superzooms for their recent mirrorless full-frame cameras.
Is a superzoom the only lens you will need? If you like cities, architecture and culture, we’d suggest having a look at the best ultra-wide lenses too.
Ultra-wide shots aside, though, a superzoom should be able to take care of every other kind of subject. Let’s take a closer look at the best buys for a whole host of different camera brands. Remember, we’re choosing the best lenses for travel, so we’re not just looking at outright zoom range, but at portability, weight and performance too.