If You Could Only Have Two Lenses For Travel?

April 02, 2023

Adolescent King Penguin, South GeorgiaAdolescent King Penguin, South Georgia

Adolescent King Penguin, South Georgia Fujifilm X-H2, XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR, f9 @ 1/500 second, ISO 500

Okay, so this question could go on forever, but there are times when travelling that it’s not practical to carry a large camera bag full of gear. For instance, on a zodiac you’re better off having two cameras and being able to shoot without changing lenses (in case of splashes or inclement weather). Or when you’re doing a long trek for a few hours, days or weeks, one camera with a spare lens might be all the space you have or weight you want to carry. What do you take?

For me, I’m looking to capture photographs that are a little different to the standard travel snap. ‘Standard’ used to mean something shot with a 35-70mm lens, but these days it would include a 28mm wide-angle on a smart phone. So, if I use focal lengths that are different to the masses, that might give me a head start in capturing something that stands out and I can always crop an image or stitch a few frames together in a pinch.

So, I’m going super wide and super long. For super wide, I use a Fujifilm 8-16mm wide-angle zoom (APS-C size sensor), or I used to use a Canon 11-24mm (full-frame sensor). At their widest settings, I find these lenses are great for interiors and massive sky shots, while at their longest setting, they aren’t too wide for general purpose shooting.

At the other end, my new best friend is a Fujifilm 150-600mm zoom. It’s lighter and smaller than my 200mm f2.0, and while not quite as sharp, I can make up for any shortcomings with a little extra sharpening. Using an APS sensor, this lens is the equivalent to a 225-900mm telephoto and I have to say, shooting at 600mm (900mm) is wonderful for both landscape and wildlife.

Downsides? Yes, I confess that 150mm is a little too long for some subjects and so a 70-200mm (full frame) might be a more sensible choice if wildlife isn’t a part of your itinerary. On the other hand, forcing yourself to use longer focal lengths can definitely mean you come home with some different shots and, given you have only two lenses, it doesn’t matter which two, you will always be missing out on something!

 


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