As a Filipino Travel Photographer, Im always being asked about the best lense that I can recommend for Travel Photography. The truth is, lenses are created and optimized for a specific use. Many people think this is simply to magnify the image and get closer to the subject with telephoto lenses but the options and benefits are far wider.
Lenses are usually described by their focal length. The shorter the focal length the wider the angle of view and the longer the focal length the narrower the angle view. With long focal lengths there is less in the frame but subjects are magnified.
One of the major advantages of digital SLR cameras over more basic models is the ability to switch lenses. Most digital SLR camera lenses used in Travel Photography are zoom lenses, which means they cover a range of focal lengths. This offers great flexibility for the travel photographer and saves money having to buy different lenses. One of the most common zoom lenses is the 18-55mm which offers the full range from wide-angle to a modest telephoto.
For Photo Bloggers, switching lenses produces a completely different view and this allows the travel photographer creative flexibility. By changing focal length the photographer can change the perspective of a picture to create an appropriate mood and style.
Changing lenses on a digital SLR is very straightforward with turn and lock mechanisms. However, care is required as when you remove a lens you expose the inside of the camera and there is a risk of dust sticking to the sensor. Dust on the sensor will impact image quality and needs to be removed as soon as possible. Always make the lens switch quickly and replace caps on both the front and rear of lenses before storing them.
Zoom lenses generally produce slightly inferior results to prime lenses and there is a compromise between convenience and quality. This is simply due to the construction and the fact that zoom lenses have more glass elements inside. Each element will reduce the amount of light passing to the camera sensor and impact the colour and contrast of the image.
When using telephoto and longer focal lengths care is required to reduce so called ‘camera shake.’ This results in blurring of the image caused by vibrations of the camera and the photographer’s hands. In Travel Photography, Camera shake can be reduced by using a tripod or by bracing yourself against a wall or nearby object.
Certain types of photography are more suited to specific types of lens and focal lengths. For example, telephoto lenses are great for travel, nature and sport photography because they allow the photographer to get closer to the subject. Landscape or travel photography favours wide-angle lenses which allow wide sweeping vistas to be captured on film. Of course rules are made to be broken and when it comes to creative photography it’s great to break away from the traditional approach.
Modern digital SLR cameras can deliver fantastic results but the quality of images very much depends on the quality of the lens. For this reason it’s worth investing in the best quality lenses you can afford.
I hope you can post comments or suggestions about travel photography on the comment form below:)