Here, we take a look at the best travel lens for Nikon full-frame and DX digital SRLs, as well as Nikon’s Z mirrorless cameras. With versatile zoom ranges, each lens is capable of photographing anything from landscapes to loved ones.
And because travel can be unpredictable, each lens packs features that make it easier to get great results in a broad range of conditions, come rain or shine.
Best Travel Lens for Nikon FX Full Frame DSLRs
Thanks to its abundance of features and attractive price-point, the best travel lens for full-frame Nikon DSLRs is the Nikon AF-S 24-120mm F4G VR. Buy a Nikon AF-S 24-120mm F4G VR from Amazon | Adorama
With its 24mm wide-angle, weather-resistant build, and contrast-boosting nano-coating, the Nikon 24-120mm is a formidable lens for landscape photography. Yet, zoom in a little, and you have a lens suitable for street photography, group shots, and classic portraiture.
And with its constant, bright F4 aperture and optical stabilization, the Nikon is a good low-light option. Hence, ideal for sort of sunsets and dark interiors you may encounter on your travels.
And finally, since the Nikon AF-S 24-120mm F4 began life as a premium kit lens, it’s relatively well priced compared to its peers.
Best Travel Lens for Nikon DX APS-C DSLRs
In many ways, the 24-80mm is the DX equivalent to the Nikon AF-S 24-120mm F4 VR mentioned above. For instance, it shares the same equivalent focal range, weather-resistant build, and contrast-boosting Nano coating.
As a result, the 24-80mm is as happy shooting landscapes as it is portraits and streets. And thanks to its fast F2.8-4 aperture and VR optical stabilization, you’ll be able to take hand-held photos in poorly lit environments without hauling around a tripod.
In fact, the only problem with the premium 16-80mm is its premium price. Next to lenses such as the AF-S DX18-200mm, it appears somewhat expensive.
However, the 16-80mm is more robust and renders a nicer image thanks to its superior optics. Therefore, if all your travel photos are reliant on a single lens, I would recommend the 16-80mm.
- Buy a Nikon AF-S DX 24-80mm F2.8-4G VR from Amazon | Adorama
- Related Reading: Best Lenses for Nikon DX
Best Travel Lens for Nikon Z full-frame mirrorless cameras
The best travel lens for Nikon Z is the Nikon Nikor 24-70mm F4. Although it’s a little short at the long end, it remains an excellent choice for landscapes, group photos, street photography, and portraiture. Buy a Nikon 24-70mm F4 from Amazon | Adorama
Despite its compact size, the weather-resistant 24-70mm delivers some of the finest image quality you can buy at any price. And whilst the 24-70mm misses out on optical stabilization, all full-frame Nikon Z cameras have stabilization built-in.
Overall, whether you are travelling or looking for an everyday lens, the Nikon 24-70mm F4 is too good to ignore.
Best Travel Lens for Nikon Z DX mirrorless cameras
Since Nikon only offers two Z DX lenses, you might as well use the lens that comes with the camera. With its tiny form, useful focal ranges, and optical stabilization, the Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR is a fine travel companion. Buy a Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR from Amazon | Adorama
Of course, the cheaper lens does lose out on the premium features. Its slow F3.5-6.3 aperture is slow indeed and will likely drive your camera’s ISO up and your image quality down. It also lacks flare resistant, contrast-boosting Nano coasting and weather resistance. Read more about ISO.
But overall, this is a cheap and cheerful lens is one that I’d happily walk miles with and costs even less if you buy it as part of your camera’s kit.
What makes the best travel lens?
If like me, you like to take the kind of pictures your memories deserve, a good travel lens needs to be light whilst taking great photos in a variety of conditions.
1. Versatile Zoom Range
A good travel lens features a versatile zoom range enabling you to capture anything from landscapes to family photos and portraits of loved ones. Read more about focal length.
2. Great for outdoors and interiors
Whether you’re wandering around a sun-soaked market square or through a dark medieval church, you need a lens that performs. Features such as Nano coating boost contrast while reducing stray-light issues such as lens-flare.
On the other hand, a large, bright aperture and image stabilization are essential for sharp hand-held photography in poorly-lit spaces. And if you get unlucky with the weather, a weather-resistant lens keeps you shooting long after the clouds have rolled in. Read more about Aperture.
3. Saving weight
Not only must your travel lens take the place of multiple lenses, but it must also be reasonably light itself. And if you buy a lens with optical stabilization, you’re less likely to need a tripod and suffer the burden of carrying one.