If you’re in the market for the best Canon travel lenses, you’ve made it to the right place.
This comprehensive guide to the best Canon camera lenses for travel will go in-depth through the different types of lenses best suited for travel photography, the best Canon and other affordable versions, as well as why manual photography is so important for travel photography.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If a product is purchased using one of the following links, I may earn a small commission from the brand at no cost to you.
What To Know Before Buying The Best Canon Travel Lenses
Before we begin, it’s important to know that you can buy the most expensive lens on the market and still take sub-par photos.
The truth is, a camera does not take great photos. A photographer takes great photos.
So, how exactly do you become a photographer who takes great photos? By understanding your camera’s functions and learning manual photography.
Manual photography is daunting, I know. But, after this guide, hopefully you’ll have a beginner-level understanding of why manual photography is so worthwhile. After all, once you know manual photography and travel photography basics, you will be able to take amazing professional photos from any camera — even your iPhone.
What Is The Ideal Lens For Travel Photography?
There are three types of ideal lenses for travel photography: a wide angle lens, a telephoto lens and a prime lens. As a travel photography beginner, start with a wide angle (18-35mm) or prime lens (35mm).
In overview, a wide angle lens will allow you to get more into the photo (perfect for landscape travel photography). Whereas, a prime lens, meaning it doesn’t zoom in or out, will give you more bokeh (AKA background blur; amazing for travel portraits).
Furthermore, telephoto lenses, which allow you to zoom in far, are ideal for travel photography because they allow you to make the backgrounds of photos look bigger.
You’ll also want to look that the f-stop of each lens, which controls how much light is let into a photo as well as how much background blur the photo will have. The best lenses always have a low f-stop (between 1.0 and 2.0), which means it has capability for more light and background blur.
(A low f-stop is particularly important if you’re interested in astrophotography and travel portrait photography.)
Best Canon Travel Lenses
Now that you have a basic understanding of travel photography lenses, let’s get a little more specific. Here are the best Canon travel lenses on the market.
Note: all of the following linked lenses fit the Canon EF lens mount. Before purchasing, please verify that your Canon camera body has the EF mount. Otherwise, these lenses will not work on your camera body.
|lens type||lens brand & model||Price Range|
|Wide angle||Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III||$$$$$|
|Wide angle||Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art DC HSM lens for Canon||$$$|
|Prime||Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II||$$$$$|
|Prime||Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art DG HSM lens for Canon||$$$|
|Telephoto||Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III||$$|
1. Canon Wide Angle Lens: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III
If you’re completely brand loyal to Canon and are willing to invest a bit in a Canon wide angle, the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III is a fantastic option.
This wide 16-35mm lens gives you a great aperture range for landscape photos, meaning you’ll be able to zoom in and out plenty for landscape photography purposes. Moreover, the low f/2.8 f-stop can produce great background blur if desired, and it will do really well in low-light environments.
2. Cheaper Canon Wide Angle Lens: Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art DC HSM Lens For Canon
A much cheaper alternative to the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III is the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art DC HSM lens for Canon EF camera bodies.
For a fraction of the cost, you can still get a very wide angle shot. Additionally, you can let even more light in for astrophotography and background blur with the lower f-stop.
This is the exact wide angle camera lens that I use for all of my wide angle photos. Trust me when I say this is a reliable, durable, professional camera lens that produces incredible high-quality photos despite its generic brand name and price.
Here are a few wide angle travel photo examples that I took with the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens.
3. Canon 35mm Prime Lens: Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II
Next, as previously mentioned, prime lenses (AKA lenses that do not zoom in and out and are more precise than a zoom lens) are ideal for travel portraits.
Why? Because they produce astonishingly sharp images and uncomparable background blur.
With the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM lens, you will be able to capture travel photos that show personality, evoke emotion and truly tell a story.
4. Cheaper Canon Prime Lens: Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art DG HSM Lens For Canon
Likewise, if you’re on a budget like me and not quite willing to invest several thousand dollars into a prime lens, Sigma also has an equally incredible 35mm prime lens: the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art DG HSM lens for Canon EF.
With Sigma’s version, you can again expect extremely high-quality, sharp, professional travel portrait images.
Similarly, this is the exact prime lens that I use for the vast majority of my travel photos today. I can say with complete honesty that this lens was, hands-down, the best investment I made for my travel photography.
Here are a few travel portrait examples that I took with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art DG HSM lens for Canon.
5. Affordable Canon Telephoto Lens: Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens
Finally, a telephoto lens is also essential for professional travel photography.
First, by stepping back and zooming in, a telephoto lens will compress the background, making it appear much grander and more dramatic. This is a phenomenon called lens compression. Second, a telephoto lens with a high zoom range is also helpful for wildlife photos when you can’t get close to the animals.
Unfortunately, the best telephoto lenses are huge, heavy, breakable and cost as much as a brand new car.
A much more affordable and travel-friendly Canon telephoto lens is the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III telephoto zoom lens.
Although this lens has a higher f-stop and does not perform as well in low-light conditions, the lens compression and zoom capabilities are equally effective.
I love using my Canon EF 75-300mm when my other lenses can’t quite depict how massive and epic the places I visit are. When the background looks bigger to my eyes than to my camera, that’s when I pull out this exact Canon telephoto lens.
Here are a few travel photos that I took with my Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III telephoto zoom lens to demonstrate such lens compression.
What Lens Do Travel Bloggers Use?
Travel bloggers use a variety of camera lenses, usually including a wide angle lens for landscape shots, a prime lens for portraits, and a telephoto lens for wildlife photography and distant backgrounds.
All of the lenses reviewed above are used by travel bloggers worldwide.
Are Prime Lenses Good For Travel?
Yes, prime lenses are great for travel, especially portrait travel photography.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one travel camera lens, a 35mm prime lens will be your best option. However, just remember that you won’t be able to zoom in or out. The trade-off is usually worth it in my opinion.
Have any questions about the any of these best Canon lenses for travel? Leave a reply below or message me on Instagram. I’ll respond as soon as possible!
Looking for more travel-friendly camera gear? Here is the best budget camera gear for travel photography.