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The 9 Best Nikon Lenses For Traveling in 2022

best Nikon lenses for Traveling

Have you been looking for the best Nikon lenses for traveling? This guide will get you on the road with some of the best lenses Nikon offers for people who love a good adventure as much as they love photography.

The best Nikon lens for landscape and travel is easily the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-120mm f4 G ED VR. It’s just got a little bit of everything for people on the go. However, the rest of the lenses in this list might steal the show depending on your style.

Introducing the 9 Best Nikon Lenses For Traveling

Let’s dive right into our top 9 Nikon lenses for travel!

1. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-120mm f4 G ED VR: Best Overall

Specs

  • Focal Length: 24 to 120mm
  • Size: 84 x 103 mm
  • Weight: 710 g
  • Sensor Type: Full-Frame
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Aperture: f/4
  • Autofocus: Yes

Are you looking for the best Nikon lenses for travel photography? Well, this is it.

The Best All-Around Lens

Sometimes you just need a lens that can handle everything. The Nikon AF-S FX 24-120mm is able to handle everything from scenic landscapes to portraits and more. While it does take care of basically every travel photographer’s needs, it does fall short when it comes to more specialized features that you get with other lenses.

Pros

  • The 24 to 120mm focal length covers everything from landscaping to telephoto photography
  • Great choice for a lightweight kit with just a single lens
  • The Nikkor line of lenses are well respected for their image quality

Cons

  • There is some vignetting and distortion that you’ll need to correct in post-production
  • This is a great all-around lens, but if you’re focussed on a particular style of photography, you’re better off with another lens on this list

2. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens: Best Prime Lens for Travel

Specs

  • Focal Length: 50 mm
  • Size: 72.1 x 52.4 mm
  • Weight: 185 g
  • Sensor Type: Full-Frame
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Aperture: f/1.8
  • Autofocus: Yes

Not only is this the best prime lens for travel photographers, it’s also one of the best Nikon lenses you could own. Every photographer needs a 50 mm in their kit.

50mm is All Your Need

In the world of photography, 50 mm is considered to be the most versatile focal length. Many people even consider this to be the same focal length of human vision. Because of this and so much more, 50 mm lenses are the go to for travel photographers no matter where your adventure takes you.

Pros

  • 50 mm is the go-to focal length for street photographers
  • Handles portraiture, street, and even some landscape shots
  • Affordable for a prime lens
  • Fast aperture is great for action shots

Cons

  • 50 mm isn’t the best for wide angle or telephoto work
  • You’ll eventually want to add a second, or third, lens to your kit

3. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR Lens: Best Travel Telephoto Lens

Specs

  • Focal Length: 200 to 500 mm
  • Size: 108 x 267.5 mm
  • Weight: 2,300 g
  • Sensor Type: Full-Frame
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Aperture: f/5.4
  • Autofocus: Yes

This Nikon best telephoto lens for travel is going to change how you handle long distance shots while on the road.

Get the Shot No Matter How Far the Subject

With a 200 to 500 mm zoom lens, you’ll be able to get just about any shot no matter how far away your subjects are. This is an ideal lens for individuals just starting out with wildlife photography as well as people who are looking to get shots with subjects that are a little too far for other lenses. While it might be a little heavy for some, it’s going to be a great lens for people to prioritize telephoto over everything else.

Pros

  • The maximum focal length of 500 mm will let you take pictures of just about anything from far away
  • The f/5.4 aperture is pretty fast for a lens with this much zoom
  • The image stabilization is a must at this focal length

Cons

  • This lens has no close-up potential
  • It’s heavy which might make it a no-go for lighter kits

4. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens: Best Budget Lens for Travel

Specs

  • Focal Length: 35 mm
  • Size: 70 x 52.5 mm
  • Weight: 200 g
  • Sensor Type: APS-C
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Aperture: f/1.8
  • Autofocus: Yes

Are you looking for a great prime lens that won’t have a high price tag? The 35mm lens from Nikon saves you money while unlocking a classic way of taking pictures while traveling.

Save Money with a Classic 35mm Lens

35 mm is the classic focal length used by Hollywood as well as old school photography. This will give you a unique way of looking at the world through the lens while also saving you some cash. This lens is an ideal choice for individuals who are shooting on an APS-C, or crop sensor, camera.

Pros

  • 35mm is the classic focal length of Hollywood and old-school photography
  • Lightweight and affordable
  • The perfect choice for photographers with crop-sensor cameras
  • Great for beginners looking to explore new styles

Cons

  • The crop sensor sizing means this lens isn’t a true 35mm
  • 35mm works great for street, landscape, and even portraits, but struggles when you need a zoom
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5. Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR: APS-C Landscape Photographers

Specs

  • Focal Length: 10 to 20 mm
  • Size: 77 x 73 mm
  • Weight: 230 g
  • Sensor Type: APS-C
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Aperture: f/4.5
  • Autofocus: Yes

Now you can capture landscape shots like a pro without the budget of a pro.

Try Out Landscape Photography

Landscape photography is one of the most exciting things to do while on vacation. However, you only get the best Landscaping photography with a 10 to 20 mm lens. This lens lets you get started without breaking the budget for your trip.

Pros

  • Ideal for first-time landscape photographers
  • The perfect focal length for catching those sweeping vistas
  • Lightweight and a reasonably small form factor

Cons

  • APS-C cameras zooms the focal length in making this a little tighter than a true 10 – 20 mm lens
  • Less useful for street, portraits, and other styles
  • You’ll need to learn how to use basic editing software to deal with distortion and vignetting

6. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR Lens: Best Travel Lens for Pros

Specs

  • Focal Length: 24 to 70 mm
  • Size: 88 x 154.5 mm
  • Weight: 1070 g
  • Sensor Type: Full-Frame
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Autofocus: Yes

Are you breaking out into pro photography on the road? This is the Nikon best zoom lens for travel.

The Best High-End All-Purpose Travel Lens

Whether you’re just really serious about the hobby or you’re getting paid to do photography while traveling, this Nikon lens is a great choice for professional photographers. Not only does it cover a wide range of focal lengths, it gives you the professional respectability that comes with serious gear. If you’ve got the money for the investment, you can’t go wrong with this lens as your first professional photography travel lens.

Pros

  • Ready for anything from landscapes to portraits
  • Ideal for the pro who only wants to take one lens
  • Gives you the flexibility to switch up your style whiteout hauling around the whole kit on your trip

Cons

  • It’s a little heavy
  • You might also need a tighter lens and a wider lens for different situations
  • That price tag is higher than most

7. Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Lens: The Best for On-the-Road Portraits

Specs

  • Focal Length: 85 mm
  • Size: 75 x 99 mm
  • Weight: 170 g
  • Sensor Type: Full-Frame
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Aperture: f1.8
  • Autofocus: Yes

This could be the best Nikon full-frame lens for travel. This 85mm prime lens lets you take the most flattering portraits while you’re on the road.

The Best Choice for Portraits While Traveling

There’s nothing like taking some stunning portraiture while you’re on the road. Whether you are taking a portrait of the people you’re traveling with or the people you meet on the way, you need a lens that can keep up with the work. This 85 mm lens for Nikon is one of the best portrait lenses on the market, and it’s a great choice to take with you on your next trip.

Pros

  • The best prime lens for taking portraits
  • Also works great for street photography if you can manage the tighter focal length
  • This lens can handle professional level work
  • Lightweight and small

Cons

  • 85mm is a restrictive focal length which means you might need a second lens
  • You can get similar results with a zoom lens that has 85mm capability

8. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens: Best for Astrophotography

Specs

  • Focal Length: 14 to 24 mm
  • Size: 98 x 131.5 mm
  • Weight: 1000 g
  • Sensor Type: Full-Frame
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Autofocus: Yes

One of the best parts about traveling is getting away from those bright city lights and enjoying some astrophotography. If you’re looking to take some pictures of the stars, this is the lens for you.

Aim for the Stars

Astrophotography is a trend that has only gotten more and more popular over the last few years. In order to accomplish getting stunning pictures of stars, you need a lens that can handle the job. This wide-angle lens allows you to tackle astrophotography while leaving you enough wiggle room to do some landscape work while the sun’s out.

Pros

  • The best choice if you’re looking to do some astrophotography while on the road
  • Also doubles as a great landscape and interior lens
  • The ultra-wide focal length also lets you take some artistic shots

Cons

  • It’s one of the heaviest lenses on this list
  • Not the best choice for street, portraits, or other common travel photography styles

9. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR Lens: Best for Wildlife

Specs

  • Focal Length: 500 mm
  • Size: 106 x 237 mm
  • Weight: 1460 g
  • Sensor Type: Full-Frame
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Autofocus: Yes

Are you looking to get more in touch with nature during the next photography session? This lens is the best of the best when it comes to wildlife photography.

Get in Touch With Nature

Wildlife photography is one of the most challenging styles in the art form. You have to get up close with nature while being at the top of your game with your photography skills. Sometimes, the best way to get up close is to have a lens that has a 500 mm focal length.

While this lens might cost more than your camera, if you’re into wildlife photography it’s worth the investment.

Pros

  • The single best Nikon lens for capturing nature up close and personal
  • It’s one of the longest focal lengths in a prime lens which gives you unbeatable images
  • If you’re focussed on wildlife photography, it’s hard to ask for a better lens

Cons

  • This lens might cost more than your camera
  • It’s big, heavy, and you might need to pair it with another lens with a shorter focal length

How To Buy The Best Nikon Lenses For Traveling

It can be hard to sort through the noise and find the travel lens that’s right for you. That’s why we put together this guide to answer your top questions about buying a travel lens.

How to Buy The Best Nikon DX Lens For Travel?

It’s pretty common for travel photographers to start out with a Nikon DX camera. This is Nikon’s line of APS-C cameras. These are crop sensor cameras that do not have full-frame capabilities but do save beginners tons of money.

You should keep in mind that crop sensor lenses are a little bit more magnified than their focal lengths would suggest. As general advice, go for a slightly smaller focal length than you normally would for a given style of photography.

Prime Vs. Zoom: The Debate

The Prime vs. Zoom debate has a serious argument for photographers the world over. This is even more true for individuals who are traveling and can only carry a limited number of lenses with them. Here’s how the prime vs. zoom debate breaks down.

Prime lenses tend to have cleaner images and fewer mechanical problems. Prime lenses are also often associated with professional photographers and higher-quality images. Their biggest downside is that you’re going to need several prime lenses to cover the same focal-length ranges as a zoom lens.

Zoom lenses tend to be budget options that have a habit of having more distortions in the image. They also have a bad reputation because they’re associated with the kit lens that probably came with your camera. They can also experience more mechanical breakdowns as they have more moving parts than prime lenses. With that said, zoom lenses have great features and can be some of the best.

Consider your budget, your style of photography, and how much kit you want to carry to pick between prime and zoom lenses.

What Lens To Use For Travel Photography?

Here’s a quick guide for picking the best travel lenses for photography. This is going to be a bullet point rundown of the top factors you need to consider the lens that’s right for you. Think about each of these options and then pick the lens that gets you closest to each goal.

  • Consider your budget first
  • Next think about your photography style
  • How much weight will you carry during your trip? Image hauling this lens for a full day running around a city
  • The last thing to consider is your kit. Does this lens fit in? Will you replace it soon? Does it compliment what you already have?

How Much Should I Spend On A Travel Lens?

This is one of the biggest questions that bother professional and beginner photographers alike. Figuring out how much money to spend on your lenses isn’t as easy as it seems. Here’s what you need to consider.

The first thing you need to consider is just how much money you can spend. You don’t want to be breaking in your bank account over a travel lens.

Another thing to consider is that you can use an entry-level, budget lens to get professional level images if your skills are good enough. It’s often better to master the basics of photography on affordable gear than to rely on high-end gear to make up for a lack of skill.

How To Keep My Travel Lenses Safe While On The Road?

In order to keep your lenses safe while traveling, you need to consider a few best practices for staying safe on the road.

Never leave your bags unattended especially if they hold expensive photography equipment.  Listen to the advice of locals when it comes to staying away from particularly heavy crime areas. You should also do your best to not advertise that you have a bunch of expensive photography equipment by skipping out on bags that have clearly visible labels and I can discreetly rather than like an obvious tourist.

There are also insurance plans for camera gear that you can purchase.

Conclusion

No matter what your photography goals are, you can’t go wrong with the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-120mm. It’s got an affordable price, it’s easy to carry, and it lets you enjoy nearly every style of travel photography.

Other options like the 50mm and the astrophotography Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm let you experience specific styles or meet tight budget or weight requirements.

It’s your journey, which lens are you taking on the trip of a lifetime?

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