Best Vacation Lens Rentals

"What is the best lens for me to rent for my upcoming vacation?"

Customers often call when they are planning to go on vacation, wanting to know what we suggest.

Here are a couple common vacations and lens suggestions.

Safari- Since you will want to get as up close and personal with wild life as you can, without getting literally up close and personal, many people choose to bring along a telephoto zoom, or a super telephoto zoom. The Canon 100-400mm, Nikon 80-400mm and the Sigma 150-600's are all extremely popular. One thing we do hear is that you will want a wider, more multi- purpose lens during the day just for sightseeing and general photography. Bring along a Canon 15-85, Canon or Nikon 16-35, a 24-105mm(Canon), 24-120 (Nikon) or a Nikon 24-85mm.

Cruising- Plan on bringing a wide angle lens and a telephoto lens on your cruise. The wide angle will allow you to capture the stunning landscapes and the zoom will allow you to really get close to viewing anything in the water or anything far off in the distance. Nikon DX users may want to try a 10-24mm or Tokina 11-16mm. Full frame Nikon and Canon users would be in great shape with a 16-35mm. If you really aren't looking to pack two lenses, shoot for an 18-200 by Nikon or Canon, or a Nikon or Canon 28-300. Pack a polarizing filter to reduce the glare from the water and really add some contrast. Our link to the article on polarizing filters is here.

Northern lights/Starry night shots- Many people want to utilize the large aperture lenses for night photography, and cameras that shoot sharp images at high ISO settings (think possibly 3200 or above). We recommend the Nikon 14-24 f/2.8, Nikon 14mm f/2.8, Canon 16-35 f/2.8, Canon 14mm f/2.8, Tokina 11-20 f/2.8, or the Sigma 24mm f/1.4. Rent yourself a tripod to use too, as you will have some long shutter speeds. You'll most likely be shooting at f/2.8 even if you have a bigger aperture, its hard to get the stars sharp below f2.8. Take a look at this article before going to get some tips.

Birding/Wild animals- Birding can be a challenge, but with the right lenses you can get some fantastic captures. Bring along lenses with focal lengths longer than 200mm, as you may need to reach up into the tip tops of the trees. You really can't go wrong with the Sigma 150-600mm lenses, which we stock in Nikon and Canon mounts. Other choices would be the Canon 100-400 and the 400mm prime, as well as the Nikon 200-500mm (a personal favorite). Here is a link to an article specifically about birding and wildlife photography.

Europe- Many people are interested in photographing buildings, structures, bridges and street life, both in the daytime and evening. The Nikon 24-120mm or the Canon 24-105mm are both great choices. They both offer a constant f/4 aperture , which can be useful when things start to get dim. Other good choices are the Canon or Nikon 18-200mm, and Nikon makes an 18-300mm as well. These have variable apertures, but are quite compact for wide angle-telephoto zoom lenses.
Another option is to go with a simple 50mm fixed focal length lens. Both Canon and Nikon have 50mm f/1.4 lenses that are quite compact and do a nice job. A 50mm is considered a neutral focal length, much like you're capturing what your eyes see in the photograph.
Here is an article and a couple sample photos from a Europe trip using the Nikon 24-120mm f/4 ED VR.

National Parks/Mountains/Western US landscapes- To get photos that really provide the grand perspective you may want to take a wide angle zoom lens. Nikon users would do well with the 16-35mm lens for full frame, and DX users the Sigma 18-35mm. A good choice for Canon users would be the Sigma 12-24mm or a 17-40mm.
Also pack a multi-purpose wide angle zoom. Try out the 16-80 DX lens, 24-120mm, or the Canon 24-105mm. (Just on a recent trip to Arizona I found that I was shooting between 24-80mm for most of the landscape shots).
For a bit of a fun perspective, and some interesting photos, pack along a little fisheye lens like the Canon 15mm or the Nikon 16mm. These can also be good lenses to use for some really cool star photos at night with the big 2.8 aperture!

*Other things to think about: If you're headed out on the trip of a lifetime and only own one camera body, consider renting another... even if it is just a small one, that will be compatible with the lenses that you are renting. The last thing you want is to have equipment failure, and be stuck out in Africa with only your cell phone camera.
Neutral density filters are a good idea to pack as well, if you plan on doing any long exposures. Lastly, don't forget about a flash if your camera does not have one built in.

Please keep in mind that these are only suggestions! There may be a different lens that fits you and your application better. There are always special things that you need to consider before choosing a lens or lenses to bring along. What will the lighting conditions be? Do I need to choose a lens with an image stabilizer? How close or how far will I be away from what I'm trying to shoot? What size lens can I handle shooting with all day?
Also, please always check camera and lens compatibility! All lenses and cameras that we rent are not compatible.

Have fun, and happy shooting!