Favorite do-it-all / travel lenses?

Fenixgoon

Lifer
Jun 30, 2003
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So I've been doing a bit of travel and lot of hiking lately, and I'd like to travel lightly while having a broad range of photo-taking ability. My current lenses really don't allow for that. Anyone have a recommendation for a do-it-all zoom lens? Best I've found so far (without costing an arm and a leg) is Nikon's 18-140 F/3.5-5.6 or a Sigma 18-250 F/3.5-6.3 (damn that's a flexible lens!)

Current lenses (Nikon D7100 body):

Tokina 12-24mm F/4
Nikon 35mm F/1.8
Tokina 100mm F/2.8 macro
 

fralexandr

Platinum Member
Apr 26, 2007
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I typically use my smartphone to cover the wider angles and use a cheap 70-300 with 1:2 macro capability as my dslr lens. Modern smart phones are pretty flexible and can replace most lenses other than a true macro, telephoto, or fast prime for low light.
 
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MrSquished

Lifer
Jan 14, 2013
16,164
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My Micro 4/3 do it all zoom lens is a FF equivalent of 24-70 F/2.8.

24-70 or 24-105 are considered the go to 'walkabout' do it all zoom lens ranges. I prefer a more limited range with a fixed faster aperture than those superzooms that get slower apertures quite quickly.

I mean I really wish they went a bit wider because 24mm is not quite wide enough for the very dynamic landscapes and cityscapes, but for just an overall range to have to just quickly lift up the camera and shoot a variety of scenes, to me that's the sweet spot. You have the ultra-wide covered decently with the 19mm FF equiv Tokina.

I think in LR or another program you can separate your photos by focal length. Do that and see what range most of your photos fall in, and where the most you consider keepers fall in. Then you know what to prioritize.
 
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CuriousMike

Diamond Member
Feb 22, 2001
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I used to have the 18-140 for a time; it is a fine lens with a versatile range.
If you need more zoom, there is the (pricier) 18-300 in Nikon and Tamron(?) variations.
 
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solidsnake1298

Senior member
Aug 7, 2009
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I used to mainly use a 24-70 F4 on my OG Sony A7. When I looked at my stats in LR for focal length I found that I was almost always in the 40-60mm range. My dad had an old Minolta 50mm F1.7 lens that I adapted to see how I would like A) manual focus only and B) only having one focal length available to me during an outing.

I have since bought a native FE mount Zeiss Loxia 50mm F2 and it lives on my camera. I still use my 24-70 when I know I will be taking a lot of handheld video, mainly for the optical stabilization since the first gen A7 doesn't have IBIS, or if I know I am going somewhere that will have great opportunities for landscape photos. I plan on getting a wider lens for the latter situation in the near future. Otherwise, my 50mm manual focus lens is the only lens I bring.
 

Fenixgoon

Lifer
Jun 30, 2003
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I found a good deal on a used Nikon 18-200 VR II, so I went with that. Most of my pictures (at least during hiking) were <100mm, though I did get a couple of ~200mm shots. The lens is a bit soft at full zoom, with a fair bit of chromatic aberration, but eliminating those would probably raise the cost by 10x.
 

shortylickens

No Lifer
Jul 15, 2003
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I know a lot of people think that the 18-200mm lens is hot stuff and can do it all, but I have noticed the image quality at either end is consistently poor. Unless its a VERY expensive model.
 

fralexandr

Platinum Member
Apr 26, 2007
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yep, the nikon 18-200 has an msrp of ~$650. It's one of the better super zooms out there.
 
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Fenixgoon

Lifer
Jun 30, 2003
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example photos (minus whatever compression Gphotos automatically adds in). i did do post-processing (cropping, brightness/contrast/shadows/etc., sharpening, smoothing, etc.)
34mm
200mm
 
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MrSquished

Lifer
Jan 14, 2013
16,164
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This is a pretty sick lens for micro 4/3 https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1644555-REG/olympus_v313030bu000_8_25mm_m_zuiko_digital_ed.html

Olympus 8-25 constant f4 so that's a FF equiv of 16-50. You can get true wide angle landscapes and cityscapes, and still have enough zoom to get classic 35mm shots or a tiny bit of zoom after.

The beauty of M43 is the size and weight of the lenses. I see so many reviews where they compare a M43 body to a FF Sony Mirrorless body, which are similar in size for capabilities, but in the pros and cons mention everything but the fact the M43 lenses are half the weight and size. Carrying all that crap around with FF gear is what turned me off, M43 was an illuminating experience.
 
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MrSquished

Lifer
Jan 14, 2013
16,164
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I use a Canon and so far the best one I have is the ef 24-105mm. My shots are crisps and perfect for street photography.
That's a fantastic lens and a great range for a walkabout street lens. Absolutely perfect.
 

gradoman

Senior member
Mar 19, 2007
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Maybe I can't recommend an exact lens for your setup, but IMHO, f2.8 24-70mm is what I'd recommend. You can go from wider architectural shots to portraits, get some pretty detailed multi-shot panoramas with the short telephoto end, have decent bokeh and not have to crank the ISO when it's somewhat dark.

Using my Capture One stats, the total number of keepers ( 2 stars and above) for 135mm and up is 777 with 12 5 star rated shots or 1.5%. For everything between 24-85mm I'm at 4933 with 94 5 star rated shots or 1.9%. I guess if you use one of those photo managers, you could probably research this for yourself to figure out what your favorite focal length is and narrow down your needs.
 

MrSquished

Lifer
Jan 14, 2013
16,164
14,089
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I recently picked up the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 pro lens and put my older Panny 12-35 f2.8 lens up for sale on eBay, where it has bids on it already.

The Oly is a FF equiv of 24-80mm at a constant f 2.8. What a sick lens in this size. I briefly used this lens on a recent vacation, it really is a do it all walkaround range with a fast aperture and pro level optics.
 
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MrSquished

Lifer
Jan 14, 2013
16,164
14,089
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Took the 12-40mm out one night on vacation just to test it out with a few generic sunset beach images. The range really is quite nice, getting a respectable wide angle for some shots at 24mm, with 80mm giving a decent bit of reach when needed. Just shot a few HDR images.

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P8090339_40_41_42_43 (Large).jpgP8090233_4_5_6_7 (Large).jpg
P8090283_4_5_6_7 (Large).jpg

P8090303_4_5_6_7 (Large).jpg

P8140354_5_6_7_8 (Large).jpg
 

repoman0

Diamond Member
Jun 17, 2010
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Yeah the classic 24-70 2.8 equivalent is the way to go IMO. I greatly prefer the constant aperture to longer reach. I use the Fuji mirrorless variant … a 16-55 that’s a 24-82 equivalent after crop factor. The slight bit of extra reach is nice and it’s not too heavy, I take it on all day 10 mile hikes. Just got back from a vacation in Hawaii with it after not really using my camera gear for a while. nice to get back into using real gear, at least more real than my phone.
 

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