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What is the best travel lens for Nikon D3500?
So you’re planning on travelling and wondering which lens is best for travel photography with your Nikon D3500?
These days, most travelers use their smartphones to take pictures and post them on Facebook or Instagram. Don’t get me wrong, you can make impressive pictures with recent smartphones and they are very useful to document little details of your trip, but they are limited to one perspective.
So you’ll probably need a lense with a focal range that will allow you to get shots that are impossible to get with your cell phone (zoom or wide angle).
What makes a good travel lens?
Well, this is extremely subjective and depends on the type of photo you will make when you will be on the road. It also depends on how often you’re going to use it. Any lens can be good for travel, but having to commute by train, bus, plane, and moving around all the time makes it hard to carry a huge bag dedicated to your favourite lenses. There are always the risks to pay extra fees for them, to break them during the trip or to get your bag stolen.
Hence, most photographers like to travel light, with the lightest and most versatile setup possible. Getting the most out of one or two lenses is probably the way to go, with a range .
You may not know for sure what kind of shot you are about to make during your trip. If you plan on taking portraits, wildlife, street scenes but also landscapes, a zoom lens will be perfect since they offers the advantage of allowing close-ups and scenery shots, to some extent. For a more versatile use, this kind of lens will be the perfect fit.
Travels are full of surprises, and you may want to grab your Nikon D3500 and shoot as quickly as possible. For this situation, the best lens will be a bright wide angle lens since they are usually a good choice for street photography. They allow for close-ups and large scenes, and are generally pretty small and convenient to carry. If you are planning a city trip, this kind of lens should be attached in permanence to the body of your Nikon D3500.
Every photographer has its own favourite setup for snapping on the go. But if you are not sure on what travel lens to choose for your Nikon D3500, this small selection is suitable for most photographic opportunities while traveling.
Note: the product links in this article lead to Amazon.com
- Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM (All around travel lens)
- Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S IF ED VR II (All around travel lens)
- Nikon AF-S DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 ED VR G (Zoom lens)
- Useful accessories
Here’s the Top 3 travel lenses you should consider for your Nikon D3500:
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM (All around travel lens)
Weight: 465 g
Filter size: 72 mm
One of the best all-in-one lenses, stabilized, with a precise and fast autofocus, quiet, with a useful amplitude and as compact as an 18-55mm lens supplied as a kit. It delivers very good image quality over the entire focal range. Its aperture is relatively fast and allows to photograph in low light conditions.
The only downside, however, is that the image quality is lower at 17mm, with low dive angles and quite noticeable distortion. The ‘Macro’ name is not as special as it sounds but offers correct results if you want to take pictures of small subjects. The minimum focusing distance is 22 cm.
- 17-70mm focal length
- F2.8-4 maximum aperture; F22-22 minimum. Image stabilization
- 72mm filters. 0.22m/8.66" minimum focus
Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S IF ED VR II (All around travel lens)
Weight: 570 g
Filter size: 72 mm
Very good choice for those who want a versatile lens and quality results. Be careful, its weight is significant even if it’s not very large in size. It has a large focal length, and for this budget it’s one of the best all-in-one zoom lenses. It will be suitable for those who do not want to change lenses several times during the trip (for fear of putting dust on the sensor).
It offers pretty images, with natural colors and a correct sharpness (do not expect results as good as with a fixed focal length however!). In low light the VR system helps enormously by reducing the risk of blurred photos.
- One-lens solution adept in a wide variety of situations
- Focal length range: 18 -200 millimeter, minimum focus distance: 1.6 feet.
- Two extra-low Dispersion (ED) elements; Three aspherical lens elements
Nikon AF-S DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 ED VR G (Zoom lens)
Weight: 580 g
Filter size: 58 mm
A very useful lens to have in addition to a standard lens: it allows you to zoom up to 300mm to get as close as possible to the subject of the photo but it is also suitable for portrait photography. Stabilized and silent, it is a very good zoom for beginners who would like to take pictures from a distance (animals, sports…).
A warning regarding the Sigma and Tamron zoom lenses sold at low prices: most of them do not have a vibration reduction system! This is an important point to take into account to avoid missing every other photo, so choose Nikon directly if you want to avoid disappointments!
- 5.5x Telephoto Zoom lens,Filter Thread: 58 mm
- Nikon VR Image Stabilization; Tripod Detection Mode, Focal Length Range : 55 -300 mm, Minimum Focus Distance : 4.6 ft.( 1.4 m)
- HRI (High Refractive Index) Lens Element
☛ ADDITIONAL OPTIONS
- For more travel lenses options, check this out: The best lenses for Nikon DX cameras
Useful accessories for travel photography
Travels can be hectic, so you want to make sure that your lenses are safe and sound all along the trip. A good quality carry bag is mandatory to protect them from the weather and bumps. A UV filter will also help protect your lens by adding a layer of glass that can be scratched or dripping with water with no harm to the lens. Finally, a polarizing filter is always useful to get a glare-free result in any shooting scenario you might face.
Here is a small selection of useful accessories to complement your lenses and your Nikon D3500:
If you want to go on a trip soon and are wondering what is the best travel lens for the Nikon D3500, think in advance about the types of photos you plan to take mainly: landscapes, portraits, night shots… Think about the focal lengths you need for that.
You can also go on Google, type in the name of the country or the tourist sites you want to visit and you will see which focal lengths are mainly used. This will give you an idea of what equipment you will need to bring but remember that taking a single lens with you might be too limiting. The flexibility of an all-around lens is very useful but generally they offer a lower image quality than a fixed focal length.
Another thing, if you plan to do a lot of walking or hiking, take into account the total weight with the camera body and the lens. If the whole thing is too heavy or bulky and lacks discretion, you won’t want to bother with it and would rather just take your smartphone with you. You may also not want to risk damaging an extremely expensive lens.
And finally, perhaps the most decisive point about choosing the perfect travel lens for your Nikon D3500 will be if you need to get a portfolio of professional quality travel photos or videos (it may be your business or it may become your business who knows?).