If You Had to Take Just One Lens..... - Digital Photography School

If You Had to Take Just One Lens…..

Later this month I’m heading to Tanzania to do some work with a not for profit organisation (I’ll blog about it as it gets closer but for now you can read a bit more about the project here).

As I always do before I take off overseas – I’ve found myself this week pondering the question – ‘what gear should I take?’

I’ve settled on taking a Canon EOS 5D Mk II – but the question of lenses is something I’ve been throwing around. I think I’ll probably take a 24-70mm lens (fast yet the zoom gives some good options) but it has been interesting to ask other photographers this week what gear they would take.

So I thought I’d open up the topic:

if you were heading overseas on a trip next week and could take just a single lens – what would it be?

Of course not everyone has lots of lenses to choose from – so if you’d like to take it in the rhealm of fantasy/hypotheticals – you can answer ‘which lens would you take if you had it?’

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • Bill

    On my Canon I would probably opt for the 28-105 f/ 3.5-4.5 Mk ll for outdoors, Indoors I would go with the Sigma 24-60 f/ 2.8 On the K-x I like my SMC Pentax 28mm A F/2.8 the best so far

  • Jim

    I have the exact same setup that you are thinking of taking. Although it is not perfect for every situation, it has served me well on countless trips. I usually take a second lens with me if I can. My second lens is usually the Canon 70 – 200 L IS II for those long shots or isolating a subject from the background.

  • Naik

    I can never leave a nice sight without a shot, therefore; I would prefer 28-300mm . It may be heavy but it worth it.

  • Greg Loy

    My Canon 50mm F1.4 would be my choice. perfect for street photography. A great sunrise to sundown lens.

  • Sandy Gammie

    Well it would have to depend but I think I would take the Canon 50-300mm. for my Canon EOS 40D I use this lens the most. I love to take pictures of everything. But for wildlife I love my new 150-500mm. For outdoor adventure I take my Olympus point and shoot, its light, crush, water proof to 50m and shock ressistant and takes amazing pictures. I have some amazing macro pictures with this little camera.

  • Rick

    I have a question for Mark: of course, to go to Tanzania without a medium range and long zom lens is crazy. Please tell me: how does an f2.8 70-200mm with a 2 times converter compare to a 100 to 400mm?

  • dazay

    I’d opt for the Canon EF15-85 f/3.5-5.6 IS USM. Perhaps it falls short in reach, but the quality is good enough that enlargements don’t lose much. It’s a pretty good all-rounder and doesn’t weigh much. I’ve only owned it for a short period of time so am no authority, but so far seems the perfect ”stay on” lens.

  • http://djib.fr/ djib

    It would have to be my Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8. I could also go with a 18-200 but I don’t own one.

  • http://ad3sj.multiply.com andree

    For now, I use my Tokina 50-135 mm f/2.8 for almost my activity outdoor. It useful for my range to catch momentum of any conditions around.

  • Bidyut Datta

    I would like to take my 350d and my 70-300Is in my bag

  • Mich

    I will go with Nikkor 18-200 VR.

  • http://garylottphotography.com Gary

    I’m thinking the Canon 24-105 F4. Not as fast as the 24-70 but it makes up for it in images stablization and an extra 35 mms to play with. The major decision point however is “travel” which tells me outdoors will play a major role so, F4 should be fine. If shooting strictly or mostly interiors, then the 24-70 F2.8

  • Steve Griffin

    With my Canon 5D Mark ll it would be the 70-200f2.8 lens.

  • alaincorpuz

    I am owning a Nikon d90 camera. I will probably have the 50mm f/1.8 with me as it’s 80 percent always on my camera and a personal favorite of mine though it doesn’t have zoom and my secondary the 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR on the side when zooming is really needed.

    the 50mm is very fast and sharp with a great value for the separation and great bokeh, cheap lens and very light.

  • Soup

    I love my 24-70 2.8 nikon lens it’s a work horse depending on the situation my 70 -200 comes in to play.

  • Ranbir Singh

    I feel most comfortable when my 60mm f/2.8 Micro lens is on my D7000.
    It is sharp for all kinds of photography and can get up close too, when needed.
    It stays on my camera most of the time.
    So the baseline is – A fixed focal length fast Macro lens.

  • Sheryl Martin

    I would take my 70 – 300 (with macro). The 50mm 1.8 and 50mm 1.4 is great if you want to capture only portraits, but if I want more variety, I would use a lens that takes good portraits, telephoto shots, and macro.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/87659272@N00/ George E. Norkus

    (I don’t have the time but… )

    How about if someone compiled a list of the different suggestions? That would be interesting!

  • ScottC

    Very interesting opinions on lenses here, all well worth reading.

    I have a Tamron 17-50 that’s become my “walking around” lens. Most of my photos ae of places (including architecture) and events in Europe and I’ve found this lens to work very well. I’ll admit, though, to using the lens distortion correction in LR3.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/5483047834/

  • malik

    I’m always used my love Nikkor 24-70.

  • stumpjumper16

    Easy answer: Canon 17-55 f2.8 or the Canon 28mm f1.8 on my crop-sensor.

  • YossiD

    These days I’m only using a P&S so the question isn’t really relevant for me.

    But back in the day (~30 years ago), I had a Tamron 28-80 mm zoom that I would take when travelling light. That was about the largest zoom range going at the time (unless you were willing to spend the equivalent of a month’s rent), and the lens was sharp and compact with a decent maximum aperture. The 28-80 range covered a lot of ground and was good for group shots, portraits, and scenery.

    I must admit, however, that I often “cheated” and took along my superb 50mm Canon macro lens as well. The macro on the Tamron zoom couldn’t hold a candle to the Canon. I wonder if there’s a way to adapt that old lens to any current generation bodies.

  • Tony

    Olympus Zuiko 12 – 60mm SWD

  • http://dupont24.smugmug.com/ Richard

    I would take the Canon 24-105 with my Canon 7D. Great combo. I enjoy this combo. Works for me.

  • Regie Serrato

    I would take my nikkor 18-200mm. A 50mm1.4d is my second choice.

  • photofan

    First my Sigma 17-50 f2.8 around people and buildings. Then my Sigma 70-200 OS for open areas and outdoors.
    Not much else is needed.

  • http://thebidinoffs@mac.com Bruce Bidinoff

    If I was restricted to one lens, it would be the Canon 28mm – 300mm. I realize it’s a bit of a bulk, but it cover pretty much anything you will shoot, and it’s fast enough to use in lower light conditions.

  • Dave Kiehl

    Real hard question.

    90% of the time my Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX Lens on my camera, so it would be my first consideration. Its a fine lens and I’ve taken some of my best photos with it.
    However, I wouldn’t want to give up some of the wider angle shots, and I’d like the ability to get closer when I can’t physically do so. I guess I’ll have to give up some low light capability to get that. I’m thinking I’d most definitely go with my AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR. Its a good sharp lens with a great focal length, relatively compact and light too.
    Would it be cheating to have my AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III with me?

  • Sheryl Martin

    I would take my Tamron 70-300 with macro. I would miss the wider angle, but this lens is incredible for portraits, landscapes, and macros.

  • Jeff

    Probably my 8-300mm F1.4 pancake lens…. BAhahaah

  • http://zoom.nl Jeff

    Hi, i would go with a 10-24mm. DX body

    Cheers, jeff

  • John McKay

    I usually travel light with a nikon 28-105mm.

  • Michael McGrath

    Although I use Canon in my work I’d take my little Sony DSLR because I’d need the Minolta 28-135 Secret Handshake if only allowed one lens.

  • P. Tauzin

    Canon 24-105

  • James

    Depends where I’m going. Most of the time I’ll take the 50mm (equiv) lens. But if I was going to Tanzania I would definitely bring a telephoto lens because the main attraction would be the animals. No beautiful landscapes or beaches I’m assuming. If I was going to a place by the beach with nice rocks, I would bring a wide angle zoom. If I was going pretty much anywhere else (with people, I’m assuming), I would take the 50mm, because it really is a versatile lens. You can shoot landscapes, animals, and people and get great results.

  • rustyclx

    Canon EF 50mm 1.2. Perfect focal length and good for all lightning conditions.

  • Daris Alfafa

    18-105

  • Demi

    Any suggestions for a trip to San Francisco and then Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Monument Valley with a Canon Mark II? I only have a 17-40mm, a 50mm 1.4 and a 100mm and cannot decide! Seems like the 17-40 is coming but then which one as a second, if any? Thanks!

Some older comments

  • rustyclx

    May 19, 2013 08:13 am

    Canon EF 50mm 1.2. Perfect focal length and good for all lightning conditions.

  • James

    May 18, 2013 03:48 pm

    Depends where I'm going. Most of the time I'll take the 50mm (equiv) lens. But if I was going to Tanzania I would definitely bring a telephoto lens because the main attraction would be the animals. No beautiful landscapes or beaches I'm assuming. If I was going to a place by the beach with nice rocks, I would bring a wide angle zoom. If I was going pretty much anywhere else (with people, I'm assuming), I would take the 50mm, because it really is a versatile lens. You can shoot landscapes, animals, and people and get great results.

  • P. Tauzin

    April 2, 2013 01:30 pm

    Canon 24-105

  • Michael McGrath

    December 4, 2012 12:07 pm

    Although I use Canon in my work I'd take my little Sony DSLR because I'd need the Minolta 28-135 Secret Handshake if only allowed one lens.

  • John McKay

    April 27, 2012 10:23 am

    I usually travel light with a nikon 28-105mm.

  • Jeff

    April 26, 2012 03:07 am

    Hi, i would go with a 10-24mm. DX body

    Cheers, jeff

  • Jeff

    April 24, 2012 02:47 am

    Probably my 8-300mm F1.4 pancake lens.... BAhahaah

  • Sheryl Martin

    February 4, 2012 03:11 am

    I would take my Tamron 70-300 with macro. I would miss the wider angle, but this lens is incredible for portraits, landscapes, and macros.

  • Dave Kiehl

    February 3, 2012 08:23 am

    Real hard question.

    90% of the time my Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX Lens on my camera, so it would be my first consideration. Its a fine lens and I've taken some of my best photos with it.
    However, I wouldn't want to give up some of the wider angle shots, and I'd like the ability to get closer when I can't physically do so. I guess I'll have to give up some low light capability to get that. I'm thinking I'd most definitely go with my AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR. Its a good sharp lens with a great focal length, relatively compact and light too.
    Would it be cheating to have my AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III with me?

  • Bruce Bidinoff

    April 1, 2011 02:07 am

    If I was restricted to one lens, it would be the Canon 28mm - 300mm. I realize it's a bit of a bulk, but it cover pretty much anything you will shoot, and it's fast enough to use in lower light conditions.

  • photofan

    March 22, 2011 07:15 am

    First my Sigma 17-50 f2.8 around people and buildings. Then my Sigma 70-200 OS for open areas and outdoors.
    Not much else is needed.

  • Regie Serrato

    March 14, 2011 07:38 pm

    I would take my nikkor 18-200mm. A 50mm1.4d is my second choice.

  • Richard

    March 13, 2011 03:13 pm

    I would take the Canon 24-105 with my Canon 7D. Great combo. I enjoy this combo. Works for me.

  • Tony

    March 12, 2011 04:53 pm

    Olympus Zuiko 12 - 60mm SWD

  • YossiD

    March 11, 2011 07:54 am

    These days I'm only using a P&S so the question isn't really relevant for me.

    But back in the day (~30 years ago), I had a Tamron 28-80 mm zoom that I would take when travelling light. That was about the largest zoom range going at the time (unless you were willing to spend the equivalent of a month's rent), and the lens was sharp and compact with a decent maximum aperture. The 28-80 range covered a lot of ground and was good for group shots, portraits, and scenery.

    I must admit, however, that I often "cheated" and took along my superb 50mm Canon macro lens as well. The macro on the Tamron zoom couldn't hold a candle to the Canon. I wonder if there's a way to adapt that old lens to any current generation bodies.

  • stumpjumper16

    March 11, 2011 04:05 am

    Easy answer: Canon 17-55 f2.8 or the Canon 28mm f1.8 on my crop-sensor.

  • malik

    March 10, 2011 01:49 pm

    I'm always used my love Nikkor 24-70.

  • ScottC

    March 10, 2011 05:34 am

    Very interesting opinions on lenses here, all well worth reading.

    I have a Tamron 17-50 that's become my "walking around" lens. Most of my photos ae of places (including architecture) and events in Europe and I've found this lens to work very well. I'll admit, though, to using the lens distortion correction in LR3.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/5483047834/

  • George E. Norkus

    March 7, 2011 08:53 am

    (I don't have the time but... )

    How about if someone compiled a list of the different suggestions? That would be interesting!

  • Sheryl Martin

    March 5, 2011 09:04 am

    I would take my 70 - 300 (with macro). The 50mm 1.8 and 50mm 1.4 is great if you want to capture only portraits, but if I want more variety, I would use a lens that takes good portraits, telephoto shots, and macro.

  • Ranbir Singh

    March 4, 2011 12:20 am

    I feel most comfortable when my 60mm f/2.8 Micro lens is on my D7000.
    It is sharp for all kinds of photography and can get up close too, when needed.
    It stays on my camera most of the time.
    So the baseline is - A fixed focal length fast Macro lens.

  • Soup

    March 2, 2011 12:41 pm

    I love my 24-70 2.8 nikon lens it's a work horse depending on the situation my 70 -200 comes in to play.

  • alaincorpuz

    March 1, 2011 08:41 pm

    I am owning a Nikon d90 camera. I will probably have the 50mm f/1.8 with me as it's 80 percent always on my camera and a personal favorite of mine though it doesn't have zoom and my secondary the 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR on the side when zooming is really needed.

    the 50mm is very fast and sharp with a great value for the separation and great bokeh, cheap lens and very light.

  • Steve Griffin

    February 26, 2011 06:37 am

    With my Canon 5D Mark ll it would be the 70-200f2.8 lens.

  • Gary

    February 26, 2011 12:11 am

    I'm thinking the Canon 24-105 F4. Not as fast as the 24-70 but it makes up for it in images stablization and an extra 35 mms to play with. The major decision point however is "travel" which tells me outdoors will play a major role so, F4 should be fine. If shooting strictly or mostly interiors, then the 24-70 F2.8

  • Mich

    February 25, 2011 11:51 am

    I will go with Nikkor 18-200 VR.

  • Bidyut Datta

    February 24, 2011 11:07 pm

    I would like to take my 350d and my 70-300Is in my bag

  • andree

    February 22, 2011 06:21 am

    For now, I use my Tokina 50-135 mm f/2.8 for almost my activity outdoor. It useful for my range to catch momentum of any conditions around.

  • djib

    February 21, 2011 06:54 pm

    It would have to be my Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8. I could also go with a 18-200 but I don't own one.

  • dazay

    February 21, 2011 05:35 pm

    I'd opt for the Canon EF15-85 f/3.5-5.6 IS USM. Perhaps it falls short in reach, but the quality is good enough that enlargements don't lose much. It's a pretty good all-rounder and doesn't weigh much. I've only owned it for a short period of time so am no authority, but so far seems the perfect ''stay on'' lens.

  • Rick

    February 21, 2011 04:36 pm

    I have a question for Mark: of course, to go to Tanzania without a medium range and long zom lens is crazy. Please tell me: how does an f2.8 70-200mm with a 2 times converter compare to a 100 to 400mm?

  • Sandy Gammie

    February 21, 2011 10:26 am

    Well it would have to depend but I think I would take the Canon 50-300mm. for my Canon EOS 40D I use this lens the most. I love to take pictures of everything. But for wildlife I love my new 150-500mm. For outdoor adventure I take my Olympus point and shoot, its light, crush, water proof to 50m and shock ressistant and takes amazing pictures. I have some amazing macro pictures with this little camera.

  • Greg Loy

    February 21, 2011 02:08 am

    My Canon 50mm F1.4 would be my choice. perfect for street photography. A great sunrise to sundown lens.

  • Naik

    February 20, 2011 08:20 pm

    I can never leave a nice sight without a shot, therefore; I would prefer 28-300mm . It may be heavy but it worth it.

  • Jim

    February 20, 2011 01:41 pm

    I have the exact same setup that you are thinking of taking. Although it is not perfect for every situation, it has served me well on countless trips. I usually take a second lens with me if I can. My second lens is usually the Canon 70 - 200 L IS II for those long shots or isolating a subject from the background.

  • Bill

    February 20, 2011 09:52 am

    On my Canon I would probably opt for the 28-105 f/ 3.5-4.5 Mk ll for outdoors, Indoors I would go with the Sigma 24-60 f/ 2.8 On the K-x I like my SMC Pentax 28mm A F/2.8 the best so far

  • KAG

    February 20, 2011 09:27 am

    Tamron 18-270 IS due to versatility. Great for landscapes and portraits. Trade off on low light shots, not the fastest lens, but great for one lens.

  • Rhett McCarthy

    February 20, 2011 08:54 am

    Nikon 24-70mm f2.8

  • Mark

    February 20, 2011 01:50 am

    To all recommending the 24-105 L series, that is an f/4.0 lens whereas the 24-70 L series is f/2.8 so obviously he is considering the aperture capabilities and wants fast glass for a reason. I could not go to such a beautiful place without at least two lenses even if I had to cut down on clothes and shoes to trim weight!!! I would take my 24-70mm and my 100-400mm no matter what I had to sacrifice to get in the second lens else the trip would feel like a waste for me!

  • Clarke

    February 20, 2011 01:37 am

    The added question is what would you be shooting,If it is wildlife I would take my CANON 7D produces more frame per.second and my 70-200 mm 2.8L IS AND my 1.4x EF extender for added zoom, but for walk around shooting the 24-70 mm f/2.8 will do just fine.

  • Torrey

    February 19, 2011 11:49 am

    My wife canon 17-85 w/macro. Quick sharp and small. Does butterflies well. Also consistant on hand held panos. For the quick field trip or limited space its the one for me.

  • Walt

    February 19, 2011 08:45 am

    Canon 28-300 f/3.5 - a little bulky but wide range of options!

  • Marian Adoranti

    February 19, 2011 06:42 am

    I would take a Canon 2.8 70-200 lens

  • Masood

    February 19, 2011 02:17 am

    Dear All,

    He decided to take Canon 5D Mark-II. Obviously Nikon or Nikkor lenses are unfit for the body. Also 18-200 is available in EF-S which is also unfit for 5D Mark-II. Though 17-40 is a very important lense but for travelling with single lense it is not suitable. In this specific case 24-105 is the best choice.

  • Neil Hargreaves

    February 19, 2011 01:37 am

    Reading through all of the comments I'm fascinated by the number of people calling for the 24-70.

    Notoriously one of the worst performing L-series lenses Canon make and heavy. If I wanted a zoom & wide-angle for landscapes, I'd be going with the 17-40. Sharp, bright and light.

    I still say take a 50mm/1.4 though ;)

  • Fred

    February 19, 2011 12:36 am

    Sorry, but I could not take only 1 lens, on a full frame or crop camera. My choice would be the 17-40 f4 and the 70-200 f4. Great glass and not so heavy to carry.

    JMHO

    Fred

  • ashis

    February 18, 2011 10:12 pm

    hi, ihave nikon d3000 and iwant lens 70-300mm of sigma lens is good for me plz suggest me.

  • Raymond

    February 18, 2011 08:13 pm

    I would have t take something that I have obviously, with my shooting preference and since I probably have no idea what I am going to see, I would go for the 24/70 2.8, although I like my 70/200 IS 2.8 better in terms of quality.

  • dgorenc

    February 18, 2011 08:04 pm

    When my wife and I went to Tanzania in 2010 we had the same question. Which lens to take?
    But for us it was easy, because we only have 18-200 and 10-24 from Tamron. We took both. ;)

    Let say that in 95% of the cases I used 18-200. We were mostly driving in a safari car and we had to zoom out to catch the animals (sometimes also to the extreme 200mm). The wide angle lens I used to catch the sunrise, sunset or some action around us.

    So it depends what your primary plan is. I was happy with my choice.

    You can check some of our Tanzanian photos on this link: http://www.tamdej.com/index.php/component/content/article/19-novice/45-tamdej-african-adventure

    Hope it helps,
    Dejan

  • Masood

    February 18, 2011 06:50 pm

    I will recommend 24-105 L series 2.8 lense. It will give wide angel as well as reasonable zoom.

  • Gibbo

    February 18, 2011 06:48 pm

    I would take a 70-200 f2.8 with a 1.4 extender for those long shots, plus a 14mm prime wide angle, Then maybe a 500mm for wildlife,,,, oops you said just 1 lens! I dont think that is possible mate!
    Then a carbon fibre tripod and a specialised head for the big glass. So much for travelling light!
    I would get the wife to carry the excess lenses and you could just take one lens yourself getting round the issue completely of just one lens. And I reckon you may need a nice 24 - 104 too - just incase you need 'normal' pics.

    Good Luck and happy shooting

  • Lars Dahlin

    February 18, 2011 06:13 pm

    I've been in India for almost a month. I brought almost all of my gear and counting the stats gives:
    1% Sigma 12-24
    62% Canon 24-70 L f/2.8 USM
    14% Canon 50 f/1.4
    23% Canon 70-200 L f/2.8 IS USM

    So, for now I say I go with the Canon 24-70 L f/2.8 USM

    I noticed that Marea would go for her Tamron 18-270 mm lens I second that. I went to Paris and that lovely lens stayed on my camera all the time. Very versatile.

    /Lars

  • Bernard Moses

    February 18, 2011 06:02 pm

    I happen to own the ESO MK II and know that you have selected a fine camera for your trip to Tanzania. If I were going with you (I wish that I could) and could only take one lens I would take a great zoom. One the goes form say 28mm to 3 or 400mm. There are some good ones out there. I would also take a doubler for the shots when I could not get close.
    I hope that you have a great and safe trip.

    Bernard

  • julie moon

    February 18, 2011 05:34 pm

    Come on thats like the lay's potato chip commercial!(you just can't eat one)you just can't take one!o.k. i'll bite......50mm1.4 or 18-200mm 2.8 nikkor. can i bring a doubler?Have a wonderful time.Thank you for entertaining and keeping our minds creatively sharp!!!

  • Kapil

    February 18, 2011 04:46 pm

    I'd definitely take the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VR lens with me. It an awesome example of a very versatile lens. It does get kinda heavy though .. but I don't mind ;-)

    And yes... if I had the 28-70 f/2.8, then I'd have taken that instead. IMO... Portraits at 70mm are better than portraits at 50mm.

  • Rick

    February 18, 2011 04:31 pm

    Having just bought the new Canon EOS 7D, I would take (also new) Canon EFs 15-85 f3.5-5.6. Why? Well, you can take photos in any indor environment without flash - so we went through the Hermitage and captured it al! It gives good wide angle lens, and a fair amount of zoom when you need it.

    An alternative is the Sigma 17-70 f2.8 lens.

  • Alan

    February 18, 2011 04:06 pm

    With my 5d2 I would go for the 24-105 ok its f 4.0 but most of the time shooting would be in good light or turn up the iso but the extra zoom is great.
    Cheers enjoy the holiday.
    A

  • Dave

    February 18, 2011 02:35 pm

    Tough question, I guess it would primarily be based on the subject matter. Family vacation, Tamron 18-270, very versatile. I also really like my Sigma 15-50 2.8 for great DOF and portraits.

  • Landmark

    February 18, 2011 12:57 pm

    I took just one lens, EF 24-105mm L w/ my 40D on my last trip to China. I was very happy in most situation. But I wished I had a longer telephoto range for where people don't like their properties photo. Now on this trip I left the EF 24-105 behind and took a much lighter Tamron 18-270mm f/3.6-6.3 as the only lens. So far I am very satisfied w/ the results. Less weight and photo quality is as good as the L lens. I'm not sure the Tamron lens will fit the 5D body though.

  • Jan

    February 18, 2011 12:38 pm

    If I could pay for it, I would take a EF 28-300 f/3.5-5.6 L IS USM.
    On a full frame it will give you enough wide angle,, and the IS will help you in low light situations.
    The major down is the size of the lens. It's heavy for a walk around. But he, image quality means you have to suffer. One time when you pay for the lens, second time when you have to carry it around

  • Gez Xavier Mansfield

    February 18, 2011 10:41 am

    Def take the 50mm 1.4 - keeps you moving behind the viewfinder - great for most lighting and has amazing depth...also cheap, so you don't feel like someone has stolen your car if you loose it - whoop!!

  • nick

    February 18, 2011 10:18 am

    In June is my vacation and look forward to take my all time fave 17-55, f2.8 and i will let home some personal stuff to make room for the 70-200 l, f4 and x2 converter...just in case...

  • Liana

    February 18, 2011 09:57 am

    I have take more than one lens on my recent vacations, but my favorite by far is my Sigma 18- 50, 2.8. It is versatile and not too big.

  • thayne

    February 18, 2011 09:44 am

    Well I also have the canon 5DmarkII and long ago I bought the 28-300 for like 2400 knowing that some day the wide 28 to 300 would really pay off I can even take shots of the wife while she drives and I shoot I often like to frame her sillouet against the sunrise or sunset. then be able to zoom out and catch a smoke stack of an eiectrcai plant belching steam early in the morning gotta love New Mexico

  • dannGomez

    February 18, 2011 09:19 am

    30mm sigma 1.4...

  • Eduardo Joachim

    February 18, 2011 08:19 am

    I´d leave my DSLR at home and take my fantastic Olympus SP570UZ "point and shoot" with its 26 to 520mm (35 mm equivalent). The camera has most of the bells and whistles found in DSLR. Maybe some minor lens and sensor size issues but everyone can live with that.

  • nuttomaki

    February 18, 2011 07:59 am

    70-200 len mug for coffee break ^O^

  • marlene

    February 18, 2011 07:47 am

    I'd take my 2.8 Nikkor (I'm a nikon girl) 70-200

  • George E. Norkus

    February 18, 2011 07:36 am

    One thing you didn't address and that is the type of photography you plan on. (Not-for-profit often take what they get.) Do you want to cover: Close up; Nature; Landscape; Amature; Pro assignmets; a little of everything; or like most of the public... "I'll just use my phone's camera" type of attitude?

    From the type of camera you play to use, I'll assume it falls into the "better quality" photography, but you never know what they desire.

    The reason will decide the lens. Choose whatever fits!

  • Jon

    February 18, 2011 06:21 am

    The question should also ask what camera too. Definitely the Canon L 24-70mm F 2.8 with my 2Ti Canon Camera. If there was room, I would also pack the Canon L 70 - 200mm F2.8.

  • Nancy

    February 18, 2011 06:11 am

    If I were on this trip, the one lens I would take is my Nikon 18-105 - so very versatile

  • Andre

    February 18, 2011 06:11 am

    For Tanzania and my Canon EOS 5D Mk II I would prefer my Canon EF 28-300mm L IS USM.
    It's not so light, but is fast enough and if you know how to use MKII (this comment is specially for Sacha Vogt;) with this high range yet high quality lens you can make incredibly great series! Waiting for your shots!!!

  • Rich Maher

    February 18, 2011 06:11 am

    Canon's 24-105mm. Fabulous all-around lens.

  • J

    February 18, 2011 05:56 am

    There's always room for more than one lens. The big question is what you will be shooting (it doesn't sound like wildlife, but work for a non-profit can involve many different things). 24-70 would be useful, especially in lower light situations. Though slower, I like the EF 28-135 as a walking around lens. Since I like shooting wildlife, and in Africa I've found that there's always an opportunity for that even in developed areas, I'd also want something with a little more reach. My preference is the 100-400 L. However, during my last trip to Africa the non-L 70-300 mm IS USM would have been sufficient for most wildlife opportunities I encountered.

  • Jarno Rekonius

    February 18, 2011 05:42 am

    My all time favorite on crop is 24mm f/1.4 L and on full frame that would be 35mm f/1.4 L (for the reason that both are fast, light and works for from "landscapes" to "portrait").

    But if you can carry easily one heavy lens and feel that zoom gives you more creative freedom then 24-70L or 24-105L (slower but fantastic IS unless you wish to shoot wild animals). 24-105L is also smaller and lighter but if focus speed and accuracy in low light is important then 24-70L.

    Hard one indeed but I would go for 35mm f/1.4 L with full frame but that is me :-)

  • Caleb

    February 18, 2011 05:40 am

    Looking at the site I would bring the 70-200 f/2.8. On a full frame 70 will be wide and if you need to be a little wider STEP back to get wider and having a 2.8 will give nice creamy backgrounds

  • Donald martin

    February 18, 2011 05:36 am

    My favorite lens is my 18-135mm,on my Nikon D90

  • Srini Sadasivam

    February 18, 2011 05:29 am

    Canon 5D Mk II with 24-105 F4 L

  • Jay

    February 18, 2011 05:25 am

    Wow, I'm surprised there's not more 24-105 f/4 IS votes. Longer and more hand holdable than the 24-70. Probably lighter also. Of course it all depends on if you know the situations you'd be shooting. If it would be dark. a 50 f/1.4 would be great too. If you are doing wildlife maybe the new 70-300 f/5.6 L IS.
    But the 24-105 seems to be the best compromise to me with good range, quality, size/weight, and hand holdability.

  • Prasanna

    February 18, 2011 05:24 am

    I am not sure if a Safari is part of your plan in Tanzania. If so, based on my experience, I would
    suggest a zoom lens of at least 600mm. I had taken 100-400 IS but that was not sufficient, I felt.
    You will need a monopod, bean bag for stability.

  • Kathy Peck

    February 18, 2011 05:20 am

    If I could only take one lens...I would cry a lot!!!!

  • Arun Prabhu

    February 18, 2011 05:14 am

    Why no one talks of Olympus lens I wonder :-) .....if I am out for wildlife I take with me SWD 50-200.Amazingly quick and sharp images too.

  • John Driskill

    February 18, 2011 04:55 am

    I would take my favorite Tamron 28 to 200 mm lens to BFE.

  • Bruce Bidinoff

    February 18, 2011 04:51 am

    I shoot with a Canon 5D, and do a lot of hiking for landscape images, my favourite type of photography. The lens I have on my camera is a Canon 24mm - 105mm which works for about 99% of my photography. Canon has a new lens out; the 3.5 28mm - 300 mm. It's expensive, $2,600, but that would be the absolute pluperfect lens for me. The Canon 5D is a full-frame camera, so that would be quite enough wide angle for landscape, and more than enough focal length.

  • Michael Kruger

    February 18, 2011 04:30 am

    I LOOOVVVE my Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8 lens!! Super fast, quiet and sharp as anything around. Wide enough to get those landscapes and enough zoom for those awsome portrait shots!!

    M

  • Michael Kruger

    February 18, 2011 04:29 am

    I LOOOVVVE my Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8 lens!! Super fast, quiet and sharp as anything around. Wide enough to get those landscapes and enough zoom for those awsome portrait shots!!

    M

  • Xenia

    February 18, 2011 04:07 am

    I recently went on a trip to Namibia and was too scared to leave any of my lenses behind so I took my Sigma 10-20mm (F4), Canon 24 - 70mm (F2.8), Canon 24 -105mm (F4) & Canon 70-200mm (2.8). In the end I used the 24-105mm 90% of the time as it was the most versatile lens. I even took it to a rock concert in the dunes for New Year and was invited on stage to photograph the event - the entire concert was photographed without flash and the images were perfect. I use the Canon 7D and Canon 50D Camera's.

  • Dion Williams

    February 18, 2011 04:03 am

    Looking at all the comments it looks like my decision I've been trying to make on which lens to get for an all round L series, a 24-105mm is the way to go. Just wish it was a f2.8 :( it would be one of the best lenses around. Enjoy your trip Darren.

  • Manny of Vancouver

    February 18, 2011 03:57 am

    I looked at your project via the link you provided. First of all, I think it's appropriate to wish you luck and thank you for participating in such a great endeavor. A good photographer should be able to convey the message as to the situation the people there are facing - and this is where we should focus. I looked at the pictures in your project link and think that what would be needed is a good wide angle to set up the scene, and a good normal or short telephoto (maybe, 135-150mm 35 mm equivalent) for portraits. I don't think you will need any long lens for what you intend to accomplish. And you probably will not have the time to set up lighting and most likely be doing available light work most of the time. So a fast lens is important, however, with your camera's excellent high ISO capability, you should be able to compensate if the lens that fit the above criteria does not have the big opening that will be required. Since you only plan to take one lens with you as this really is really not an adventure photography to take safari shots in difficult situations, a 24-105 mm, or an 18-200 would be more than good enough. I would be nervous though if I am taking only one camera for a very important mission like this. A backup is something I would not hesitate to bring along, just in case. Any of the compact superzooms would do best, even if it just sits in your pocket until it's needed.

  • Steve

    February 18, 2011 03:50 am

    I own the 5dII and several lenses. Considering the nature of the shoot I would absolutely take the 24-105 f4. I would sacrifice a bit of speed to get into the portrait range while maintaining your wide angle. Being L it will take the climate.

  • gchamp

    February 18, 2011 03:43 am

    Well, my camera is a Pentax K20D and I am just hobby level. I like your idea of a flexible lens. Your Canon EOS 5D is full frame so for me, I would need to go a bit wider to similar coverage on my camera so..........
    I would choose:
    Pentax SMC DA* Series 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL IF SDM Wide Angle Zoom
    I don't really own it, just in my dreams but its touted as super high quality, for my ASP-C cam it give me 24-75mm which should cover typical needs for me.

  • Eric Kuhnel

    February 18, 2011 03:40 am

    Years ago Ansel Adams presented an article on his choice for the preferred camera outfit to be taken on extensive travel. He chose a compact body 35 mm camera with a 28 to 135 mm zoom lens. I have travelled the world on construction and other projects starting in Ansel Adams era, chose his complement to take on trips, and have now gone with the top of the line point and shoot digital cameras such as the Canon SX1 IS and a couple of others. I don't need a gadget bag full of equipment, just a tripod and have travelled all over the world including 4 times around the world. The latest developments in the point and shoots will suffice for almost all photographic requirements covering scenery and wildlife.

  • JD

    February 18, 2011 03:30 am

    Another vote for EF 24-105mm f/4.0 L IS USM

  • Snug Photography

    February 18, 2011 03:23 am

    24-70, but I would have to agree with Sasha. Why take a 5D if you can only take one lens. I would find a way.

  • Icepick

    February 18, 2011 03:20 am

    I would probably go with my 17-55mm F2.8. I'm sure I would miss having the 18-200mm, but I'd get some lovely indoor and late day shots that would make up for it.

  • Dragos

    February 18, 2011 02:21 am

    My Minolta 35-70mm f/4 and its amazing sharpness.

  • Pam

    February 18, 2011 01:14 am

    Have to take my Tamron 18-270. Wonderful lens! So versatile. And of course have to have my BlackRapid Strap on my camera too.

  • Mark Fenton

    February 18, 2011 12:38 am

    I would take the Tamron AF18-270 F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC. This is one versatile lense.

  • Erin

    February 17, 2011 04:00 pm

    I'm a BIG fan of my 50mm Canon prime lens. While the 24-70 is lovely and versatile, I've found myself photographing with the 50 more and more recently... no matter what I'm shooting.

    Can't wait to hear about (and see images from) your trip!

  • Bryan

    February 17, 2011 12:44 pm

    I don't go anywhere without my Tamron 17-50 2.8. It's "L" quality, fast to focus, and has a great range. It's the one lens that has made my photography improve over the last few years.

  • Matt

    February 16, 2011 08:34 pm

    If I was going to Tanzania, I wouldn't even dream of carrying a studio camera like the 5D with me, unless I wanted to throw it away either during my trip, or directly afterwards.

    Get a weather-sealed body.

    Also get a weather-sealed lens.

    The focal lengths are utterly unimportant.

  • Alan

    February 16, 2011 08:23 pm

    I am taking my Tamron 18 - 200, to use on my Pentax K20D, on a China tour next month. Great value lens with pretty good quality.

  • MikeBN

    February 16, 2011 06:37 pm

    I always travel with a maximum of two lenses if I'm nit lugging my entire large pelican case wont my mobile studio space. It's always either my nikon 14-24mm along with a 50mm f1.4. That gives me wide shots as well as the option of some more focused and crisper images. I also take the 17-300mm instead of the wider lens but it doesn't haveas much character.

  • Liz

    February 16, 2011 05:46 pm

    My initial instinct was to say the 85mm f/1.2, because I am currently obsessed with it, but the focal length is impractical for a vacation/trip. I would probably take my 28mm f/1.8 or the 24-70 f/2.8 much like you! This question is too damn torturous!

  • Lisa Nakamura

    February 16, 2011 05:40 pm

    I would take 70-200mm f2.8 and sneak 50mm f1.2 in somewhere! :)

  • Brian

    February 16, 2011 01:24 pm

    It would be my Tamron 18-200. The versatility is just too great to pass up. I was leaning towards my Sony 50mm F/1.8 but just not enough flexibility to be the only lens I would take.

  • Through the Lens of Kimberly Gauthier, Kimberly Gauthier Photography

    February 16, 2011 09:19 am

    My location of choice would be Italy and I would bring my 105mm prime lens.

  • Matstar

    February 16, 2011 09:09 am

    For outdoors: Nikkor 28-300mm
    For indoors: Nikkor 24-70mm
    Prime Only: 50mm f/1.4

  • Perla

    February 16, 2011 08:25 am

    Based on what it looks like you be doing, I would make a similar decision although in my case I would take my 24-105 ISL lens, but my big question is why only one body? You might want to take another body as back-up?

  • Leo Mangubat

    February 16, 2011 07:25 am

    If I were to go to Tanzania, I would take a decent zoom lense. Don't worry about the speed of the lenses since I think you would always have enough lights to compensate for that in Tanzania. 18 - 250 would be flexible enough I guess.

  • Jen Xi

    February 16, 2011 03:36 am

    I'm a weird one. I prefer the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII. It is the lens I would take if it is the only one I can bring along with me. I love the range it gives me on my D700. Yes, it's not wide but I prefer to shoot close and tight. Great for street and portraits. I prefer to capture life in the places I travel to. Not just the sights.

  • idb

    February 16, 2011 02:59 am

    I would take the Pentax 16-50mm, f/2.8 (if I had it) but I would also take the Sigma 2x teleconverter (if I had it). I wish I had the equivalent of my Minolta 28-70 macro in a Pentax mount. It was great for light weight, and versatility. When do we leave?

  • Curtis Doell

    February 16, 2011 02:52 am

    I travel through Latin America alot. I'm leaving for Nicaragua for 2 weeks tomorrow so this is a question I work with all the time. I travel light. Depends on the camera I take and what surroundings I will be in. This trip I will be taking a 24-85 and maybe a prime, with a full frame Nikon. Just got back from Cuba and took a 18-200.

  • Sam

    February 16, 2011 01:52 am

    Glenn, I for one did read about the project that Darren will be working on - really inspirational stuff. But it's the very rare East African visitor that won't see at least a little more of the country than their project. Because so much is rural, and there is so much wildlife and culture to see, IF he were only to bring one short lens I'd guarantee that he'd regret not having more flexibility. I'm sure there will be opportunities where he'll want the longer zoom. Voice of experience here. ;-)

  • Charlie

    February 16, 2011 01:36 am

    I'm planning a trip to Scotland this summer and am wrestling with this very issue. I primarily shoot landscapes and nature and I shoot a Canon 7D. I am considering one of three lenses to carry with my 10-22mm:

    EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS (lowest cost max versatility but slower and lower quality)
    EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS (good quality, versatile, more expensive, not as fast as the 24-70)
    EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM (fast, most expensive, less reach)

    I'm still turning this over in my mind.

    What I really want is a EF 18-200 f/1.4L but that would probably cost $10,000 and weigh 2 kilos :)

  • Andy Bryant

    February 16, 2011 01:25 am

    I'd go extra wide - in my case on Micro four thirds - with the . Tiny, light, and great for sweeping vistas!

  • cGaleano

    February 16, 2011 12:54 am

    My Tamron 18-270 would be my multipurpose to be chosen.

  • Francis

    February 16, 2011 12:30 am

    Although EF 24-104 f/4L IS USM is tight for my 7D, it makes great travel lens for 5D2.

  • Saneesh

    February 15, 2011 11:20 pm

    One lens, without doubt Nikon 50mm 1.4f Lens!

  • KV

    February 15, 2011 08:57 pm

    Well,Im leaving to Kathmandu,Nepal in Mac. If the only options of 1 lens, I will take my Nikon 24-70mm as I will be doing lots of shots on landscape,street. Since I have the option, my prime 180 & 60mm would be joining me too.
    Ardious

  • albert

    February 15, 2011 08:39 pm

    Back in the 50's and early 60's I used an 135mm for about 80% of my shooting.... At that time it was a inexpensive lens and would take a beating....By just using one lens most of the time I became very familiar with it and when in new territory I did not have to fiddle with it.....My lens kit was comprised also of a 28mm, 50mm, and 200mm. I also had a doubler (2x ) That is also the settings I usually try to emulate with my Rebel T1i and a canon 18 - 55 mm and a 55- 250 mm. zooms. A hand full of filters and I was set...Have a nice trip.. I am just in the planning stages for a 10 day trip this fall to the southern oregon coast.

  • Wayne Turner

    February 15, 2011 08:38 pm

    I live in Africa so does that mean because I have all my lenses here with me I can have more than one:-)

  • Trigga

    February 15, 2011 08:00 pm

    hmmm, would have to be my 24-105 f4L.... Damn, Africa and only one lens ?

  • Wayne Turner

    February 15, 2011 05:24 pm

    Mine would have to be my Canon 100mm macro. May seem an odd choice but most tourist photographers shoot copious amounts of traditional shots. I like to get in really close and of course it does make a great portrait lens, especially with the 5D.

  • SJLarue

    February 15, 2011 01:20 pm

    I would take the 18-200 VR, and leave my extra underwear at home so I could take my Sigma 150-500 OS. ;-D

  • Sharon Dietrich

    February 15, 2011 12:56 pm

    I think my 24-70 Zoom, if I thought I would be doing mostly city stuff or panorama landscapes. Also people.

  • Juan

    February 15, 2011 12:45 pm

    Hello.
    As you are taking a full frame Canon 5D Mark II with you, I'd probably carry a 28-135mm. Not a fast lens but it gives you room enough to shoot from wide to short telephoto and you can always squeeze the 5D's exceptional high ISO performance to gain speed!!

  • Terry Straehley

    February 15, 2011 12:32 pm

    Well, I'm in pretty much the same situation you are. I have a 5DMkII and I have both a 24 - 70 and 24 -105. The latter wins my vote hands down. 50% longer reach and much lighter for traveling. With the MkII, the extra stop doesn't attract me so much as I can easily raise the ISO.

  • Rocky Long

    February 15, 2011 12:16 pm

    My Canon 50mm 1.4

  • Glenn

    February 15, 2011 12:13 pm

    Looks like not many is checking out the Tanzania site and seeing what you will be doing...

  • Hamley

    February 15, 2011 11:57 am

    If 5dmkII then I go for 24-105 as the higher iso can compensate f2.8 and 24-105 is more of walk around lens.

  • Gil Riley

    February 15, 2011 11:42 am

    No question, it would be my 18-200 VR. Very good quality and very range coverage.

  • Phil

    February 15, 2011 11:37 am

    Canon EFS 17-55 2.8 USM does not disappoint. Like it for a lot of situations.

  • Orv Neconie

    February 15, 2011 11:21 am

    That's a tough question and I never know what lens or lenses I am going to pack until I determine what I'm going to be shooting. With that being said, just off the top of my head I would have to say my Canon EF 24-105mm f4 L IS lens would be my all-around choice. My other choices would be my Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L and then my Canon EF 70-200mm 2.8L IS lens (my favorite lens).

  • Lisa Thomas

    February 15, 2011 11:04 am

    I would take my go to everyday lens a tamron 18-270 mm. Yes, I have a nikon, but this lens has the ability to do close up and the power to distance. Have fun and enjoy your trip and hope this helps.

  • Gaye Edwards

    February 15, 2011 11:04 am

    50mm 1.7

  • Jim Hughes

    February 15, 2011 11:03 am

    I shoot a Sony alpha 100. I bad want the new A55. To the question , my everyday lens is the Tamron 18 to 200 mm. So whatever your choice of brands i would go with the 18 to 200 mm.

  • Paul

    February 15, 2011 10:56 am

    i would use my sigma 18-200 is 3.5 i would have to bring my sigma 18-200 is 3.5 ...its a great all round walking lens

  • Paul

    February 15, 2011 10:55 am

    i would use my sigma 18-200 is 3.5

  • Paula

    February 15, 2011 10:43 am

    If I could take just one lens... it would be a miracle. ;) I'm so indecisive. I have at least learned I never zoom, and honestly I'm probably happy 99% of the time with my kit lens (boring as that is). I have managed to get away with taking one lens (depending on situation) PLUS my macro and been happy. I just can't take just one. I can't. It's ok, I can admit it. I have the back problems to prove it. ;)

  • Rich

    February 15, 2011 10:34 am

    My Tamron 18-270...

  • Polly

    February 15, 2011 10:33 am

    From the lenses I have - my 50mm f1.8 or 18-105mm f3.5-5.6
    If I had it, a 24-70mm f2.8. I can dream.

  • Geoff Coates

    February 15, 2011 10:26 am

    My most often used lens is a nikon18 - 200 and i dont like to chang it to often because of the dust fear

  • Rabi

    February 15, 2011 10:20 am

    It really depends. General answer for me would be a fixed-aperture normal zoom like a 17-55 2.8, or a fast prime like a 35 1.8 (both assuming DX body). An 18-200 obviously gives you the most range, but ever since I started using fixed-aperture glass I haven't been able to use sliding aperture lenses without going crazy.

    I'm doing some humanitarian media work in India this summer and definitely am taking more than one lens, but since photo/video work is the reason I'll be there I think it's worth packing heavy.

  • Darren

    February 15, 2011 10:20 am

    Canon 17-55mm EF-S love that lens, best all rounder I have for my 7D, of course if I was taking a Nikon it would be the 18-200mm VR.

  • Old Sailor

    February 15, 2011 10:20 am

    I have an old Canon 28-80 2.8-4 L series lens that I take 90% of my photos with. Now they make the 24-70L, so I guess that would be my choice.

    Read more: http://www.digital-photography-school.com/if-you-had-to-take-just-one-lens#ixzz1DyiicPkI

  • Old Sailor

    February 15, 2011 10:19 am

    I have an old Canon 28-80 2.864 L series lens that I take 90% of my photos with. Now they make the 24-70L, so I guess that would be my choice.

  • Glenn C. Riffey

    February 15, 2011 10:18 am

    After looking at the Tanzania project page, I'm thinking your first choice of the 24 - 70 f/2.8 will be your best bet. I don't forsee you needing another lens if all you are going to be doing is concentrating on the project. Why bother yourself with possible needless gear; you'll have enough to worry about...

    Glenn

  • Geoff Coates

    February 15, 2011 10:18 am

    The lens I would take is my nikon 18 - 200 it covers such a wide range

  • Robert

    February 15, 2011 10:15 am

    50mm 1.2 and my feet as the zoom.

  • james

    February 15, 2011 10:14 am

    If I had to take one lens - wow. great question!

    I'd go for the Canon 50 mm. either 1.4 or 1.2 (depending on budget!)

    OR

    the canon 24-70 L 2.8

    but the 50 is fab!

  • Neil Hargreaves

    February 15, 2011 10:00 am

    The choice of lens really depends on where you are going, what you are planning to do and where your photographic interests lie.

    I spent 3months in Tanzania in the early '90s working for a not-for-profit organisation doing marine surveys. My interest was really in the landscapes and people, rather than the animals.

    I took a case full of gear, but if I were to restrict myself to only one lens, it would probably be a 50/1.4 or 50/1.2, purely so I could get some great shots of the people in low light, around a campfire, etc. A f/2.8 really won't cut it for that unless you don't mind noise.

    For landscape shots, you can easily stitch shots together to create some amazing panos.

    If you an animal lover and head of into the Ngorongoro Crater, you'll be kicking yourself if you didn't pack at least a 200mm with a x1.4 or even x2 TC.

  • Kathleen Andersen

    February 15, 2011 08:58 am

    The only one I ever take anywhere (for weeks at a time) is Nikon's 18-200mm. When I get a full-frame camera next year I'll get their 28-300mm.

    Have a great trip.

  • Deirdre

    February 15, 2011 08:34 am

    Depends on where I was going. If it were mainly cities and culture, I would almost always choose either my 50mm f/1.8 or my 35mm f/1.8, but if I were going to have the chance to shoot wildlife and more landcapes, I would probably want a fast zoom with a wide range. I would probably bring a prime and then rent a zoom for the days I was going to shoot wildlife.

  • Matthias

    February 15, 2011 08:03 am

    This is really a hard decision. I would also say the 24-70 2.8 is the more versatile lens for the 5D mark II.
    I traveled to Japan last month and had the following lenses with me (Nikon D700): 14 2.8, 35 2, 50 1.4 and 85 1.4.
    I recognised that I was using the 35mm f2 and the 85mm f1.4 most of the time. So if two lenses would be allowed, I would go with them otherwise the 24-70 2.8

    If you are interested in some pics of Tokyo and Kyoto:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/matthiashombauer/sets/72157625860163114/

    greetings from Vienna
    Matthias

  • myrth

    February 15, 2011 08:01 am

    tamron 90mm - incredible lens.

  • tate

    February 15, 2011 07:58 am

    Of my lenses I would choose the 35mm 1.8.
    It's wider than the 50mm and I can very close while getting a lot in the frame without too much distortion.

    As for the fantasy lens I would probably choose a wide zoom with a 2.8.
    No long zooming needed: I figure if it's far away, I wasn't really there.

  • John Richardson

    February 15, 2011 07:57 am

    I would, and do, take the Nikkor 18-200 VR II.

    BUT it is a hard choice because I also like to take only the Tokina 50-135 f2.8 (on DX it is 75-205)

    The other 3 lenses have their uses but not like the two above.

    Decisions, decisions decisions .... :-)

  • Robert

    February 15, 2011 07:53 am

    I would take my Nikor 18 - 55 mm. I shoot mostly landscapes and don't use a long lens very much.

  • Luis

    February 15, 2011 07:38 am

    If I had to take just one lens......that would be my 50 f/1.8 all the way!!!!! Small, very small, light weight and crisply sharp!!!

  • Sam

    February 15, 2011 07:21 am

    As much as I like my fast 24/70, you should bring a more flexible zoom with you. I do some work for an NGO in Kenya and (especially if you might spend some time in rural areas), I know you'll want the longer zoom. Something in the order of an 18-250 +/-.

  • Martin

    February 15, 2011 06:53 am

    I would bring my Tamron 17-50 f/2.8. Lovely, versatile lens with excellent image quality.

  • Gary Ngo

    February 15, 2011 06:42 am

    If I could only take 1 lens with me (Nikon D7000)for a oversea trip, It would either be the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC or the little Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G (I love prime lens). But I think it will most likely be the Tamron IF only 1 lens is allowed.

  • Kurnia

    February 15, 2011 06:18 am

    I have cropped sensor, so I'll take my 17-55/f2.8 IS.
    For your case, perhaps the best is 24-105 f/4. 5dmk2 can take good images at high iso, so f4 should be ok.

  • Lako

    February 15, 2011 06:12 am

    a 8-600mm f1.4

  • Bob

    February 15, 2011 05:48 am

    I have a Nikon D40 and will take with me to Portugal next week the kit lens - 18 - 55mm, and my 55-200mm VR lens.

  • Carl Shortt

    February 15, 2011 05:47 am

    Was in recently in Egypt for 10 days. 90% of my shots were with the Canon 24-105L lens. The balance were with a Canon wide zoom. I would definitely take the 24-105 if I could take only one lens.

  • Brian Hoffman

    February 15, 2011 05:13 am

    I agree with the 24-70, Nikkor in my case. But I would cheat and dump 3.5 pounds of whatever else I was taking so I could take my 14-24.

  • wendell UNDERWOOD

    February 15, 2011 05:05 am

    Toss up:
    70-200 f2.8 is or
    24-105 f/4l is
    hard decision for international trip and varing subjects

  • Jamie

    February 15, 2011 04:20 am

    I'd take the exact camera/lens setup that you're taking except it'd be the Nikon version. :)

  • Elizabeth Christensen

    February 15, 2011 04:11 am

    I'd leave my 7D and lens's home and travel with my Canon G12.

  • Dunc

    February 15, 2011 03:49 am

    I purchased the new Nikkor 28-300 3.5-5.6 in Sept. 2010.... Has not left my D300 since.... Not the fastest, but you can find ways around that....definitely the lens to take if you could only take one....If it was two, I would augment with a nifty fifty for speed....

  • Tony Plewa

    February 15, 2011 03:09 am

    Tamron 18 -270.

  • Almond Butterscotch

    February 15, 2011 02:55 am

    Well, you did just say hypotheticals are alright, so how 'bout a 10-400mm f/2 that's as sharp as any prime lens and no bigger than, say, the Nikon 105mm VR?

    Yeah- that'd be good.

  • samuel sims

    February 15, 2011 02:49 am

    l would ditch the cannon and buy the panasonic FZ100 plus the conversion lens fiitting will give you 25mm to 1200mm plus macro best for close ups and animals.

  • Hagen

    February 15, 2011 02:26 am

    24-105 is my go-to lens. Left it on the camera for 2 weeks in Spain.

  • Geren W. Mortensen, Jr.

    February 15, 2011 02:08 am

    Tamron 18-270 on my Canon Rebel T1i body. As mentioned by others, the "super-zooms" are not the fastest lenses on the planet, but newer DSLRs have good enough high-ISO performance that it's not as much of a problem as it would have been just a few years ago. No, I wouldn't get the super-bokeh shots, but I can get pretty smooth backgrounds with it if I get in close and/or use a long focal length.

    If I had an extra nook or cranny in my luggage somewhere, I'd stash the 50mm f/1.8 USMII, just because. It's sharp, fast and weighs nothing.

  • Ruth Tan

    February 15, 2011 02:03 am

    I had just return from a vacation in Hokkaido. I brought my 5dmk2 & am so happy with my 24-105L. It has the IS which was very good for my unsteady hands. I like this lens, as I could shoot macro for food and got lovely bokeh, took Wide Angle of the Sapporo Snow Festival and about anything with the telephoto. No regrets at all. I have the 24-70 & 18-200 but found the 24-105 to be sharp and fast.

  • Steve

    February 15, 2011 01:41 am

    I've been doing similar work for an NGO in Kenya. While I love my 24/70 lens, you'll want the option of a longer lens - trust me on this! Any of the 18-200 or 18-250 lenses would make a good choice for a single lens option. (That being said, when I return this summer I will have my 24/70 and this time my 70-400 for a few days on safari. But if I was only bringing one, it would be my 18-250. Not as good as either of the other two, but more flexible.)

    Thanks for the work you're doing!

  • Joan Sandler

    February 15, 2011 01:04 am

    On a recent trip to Italy and France I found that my Canon 24-105 f/4L handled 95% of my photo opportunities. I used my Canon 10-22 for everything else.

  • jmarieg

    February 15, 2011 12:59 am

    My Nikkor 18-200 for wide enough shots and for those great zoom shots you don't want to miss, but I'd throw the 50mm 1.4 in my pocket for low light and street shots. A lens can break, get wet, stolen, whatever. Better have a backup.

  • Grant Kreinberg

    February 15, 2011 12:58 am

    Probably my 50 mm 1.4. It's a great lens!!

  • Ken Morrocco

    February 15, 2011 12:37 am

    I have a Nikon D90. My favorite lens is my 18mm to 55mm lens. It also close focuses to about 8 or 9 inches. Then I'd take my 50mm to 200mm to just about cover anything I'd need.

  • Barry Scully

    February 15, 2011 12:33 am

    Of the three lenses I carry around (17-40L, 24-70L, 100-400L) I would definitely take the 24-70 on most occasions. If I had to only own one lens I would probably pick up the 28-300L to cover as much zoom as I could on the 5D II. Giving up the wide end would not be nice, I'm having a lot of fun playing with the 17-40.

  • Jun Llamas

    February 15, 2011 12:30 am

    That was my same problem before.You know how heavy lenses could be. Carrying my Trinity lenses would create a big burden for me. So I decided to bring my (Nikon 24-70mm f2.8) for our trip to the Carribean.. You have wide lens and a good zoom. Plus a fast shutter speed! Bon Voyage!

  • Bill Turley

    February 15, 2011 12:28 am

    I would take a good superzoom instead. I have an older Kodak Z7590- I like the superzoom because it is sealed against dust etc and the 35-600 ( 35mm eq) covers everything including macro.

  • Lucas Zallio

    February 15, 2011 12:28 am

    Even though I love fast lens, I think I would take the Nikkor 18-105mm. It's very versatile between a decent wide angle and tele.

  • Mei Teng

    February 15, 2011 12:24 am

    I agree with your choice. I own the same gear too.

  • t.scudiero

    February 15, 2011 12:12 am

    24-70 f/2.8, Canon or Nikon. I can carry 10 lenses with me and that lens will still see 50% or greater use.

  • Pedro Beltran

    February 15, 2011 12:12 am

    Canon 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105 good all poupose lens
    Canon 7D whith Tamron 18-270 very flexible good quality

  • Luis Matias

    February 14, 2011 11:51 pm

    I use a DX body.
    To be very light - 50mm prime
    To be median light - Sigma 10-20mm
    To suport some weight and be ready to face all situations - Nikon 18-200mm

    At the end, I believe the last one would be my option...

  • Andrew

    February 14, 2011 11:48 pm

    I think with the 5D, that is too short of a lens. Too much wide, and not enough telephoto. I'd take the 24-105 f/4. If you can take a flash, that can compensate for any real low-light issues, plus you have great ISO response clear up to 3200-6400. I think the f/4 is sharper as well. If you have, throw a 1.4 or 2x converter in there as well so on safari you have a 200mm lens so you don't become a lion's lunch....

    Enjoy the trip!!!

  • AngusM

    February 14, 2011 11:46 pm

    My travel lens (actually, my everything lens) is the 24-105mm that others have recommended.

    The Canon 50mm/f1.8 is so small and light that I'll usually bring that along as well.

  • hans

    February 14, 2011 11:22 pm

    My 24-105 L without a doubt. You can crop a tele-shot, but you will need a wide-angle.

  • Karenk

    February 14, 2011 11:15 pm

    My Tamron 18-270 for canon. Great. Pictures and phenomenal zoom. I love it!

  • footslogger

    February 14, 2011 11:12 pm

    It would have to be the Canon 17-55 f2.8.

  • Tom

    February 14, 2011 10:58 pm

    It all depends on what you have available to you and what you like to photograph. My preferred single lens is a 55-250 since I do little people photography and generally lean towards isolated areas when doing scenery. The extra zoom allows for flower photography and a better chance with any animals that might cross my path.

  • Thomas

    February 14, 2011 10:01 pm

    Of course the Canon EF 24-105 f4 L IS. Covering around 75% of my purposes

  • hito

    February 14, 2011 09:42 pm

    Like you the 24-70mm f2.8 i've been doing a 3 weeks trip to New-Zealand and most of the time i've used my 24-70mm...
    Although i've been carried with my 50mm f1.4 and 100mm f2.8...

  • Elja Trum

    February 14, 2011 09:37 pm

    Canon 5D mark II with 50mm f/1.4 for me.
    Or the 35mm f/1.4 perhaps.. :)

    I'd go for a fast prime; versatile enough for most shots and not a lot to carry.

  • ohmz

    February 14, 2011 08:29 pm

    Canon 18-200 it might be lacking on the aperture front but is amazingly flexible otherwise. I'd probably try and sneak a cheek 50mm prime in my pocket/bag too though.

  • Dave Quail

    February 14, 2011 08:28 pm

    Would have to be my Canon EF 24-105L. This has been such a reliable and versatile lens for me I would never leave home without it!

  • Pepe

    February 14, 2011 08:15 pm

    I have Canon 7D so only one lens with me would be efs 17-55 is 2,8.

  • Juha Ylitalo

    February 14, 2011 07:40 pm

    If I would be there doing vacation trip and would have to limit my options to one lens, I would either go with 24-70 or 70-200/2.8 (+ extenders). After taking a look on what you are going to be doing there, I would go for 24-70/2.8 without hesitation.

    If I wouldn't have limitation on what to bring, I would probably take two camera bodies and one lens for each (5DMk II + 17-40/4 and 40D + 70-200/2.8 (+ 1.4x)). Then again, we can argue whether or not our photographs about wildlife on vacation trip can bring up something that nature photographers haven't already captured on numerous occasions.

  • Hans

    February 14, 2011 07:10 pm

    Nikon 18-200 mm. I did several trips with only this lens.

  • Sascha

    February 14, 2011 07:05 pm

    +1 for the 24-70!

    I spent 2 weeks in Mexico and Southern Utah late last year and found myself using that lens for all but 2 shots despite having taken (and carried on hikes in Zion) a whole raft of other lenses like a 50mm, 16-35 and 24 TS!

    plus it's a lot sharper than the other "superzooms"! ;-)

  • Alberto

    February 14, 2011 07:02 pm

    You know it depends on what you are planning to shoot. If you are not sure I think you should go for the 18-200. It would also be the best choice if you are going to walk a lot.
    Otherwise, if you think you will always have the possibility/permission to get close to your subjects, the 24/70 would be the best choice, IMO.
    Fixed lenses could be limiting, but a 50mm f1.4 cold be a great addition for tack sharp photos when available light is really low.

  • edmund

    February 14, 2011 06:54 pm

    With one lens to bring it's always the 18-200...
    They are not the sharpest or fastest ones and other photographers will laugh at you... or your back. But when I get the shot and they miss it because they are changing lenses (or lack a telelens)... then I'm laughing... quietly... and enjoy it :)
    The lens is wonderful for a first time trip in a city, when you don't know what's behind the next corner.

  • Mikko

    February 14, 2011 06:53 pm

    Done this many times. Prefer to travel light, so:
    Panasonic GF1 + Voigtländer Nokton Classic 40/1.4

  • Jeremy V

    February 14, 2011 06:49 pm

    My space saving setup is my 5D mkII along with the 50 1.2L. Its a little heavy but very well balanced setup for travel.

  • Rebecca

    February 14, 2011 06:17 pm

    I would take my Tamron 18-270mm

  • Joel L.

    February 14, 2011 04:50 pm

    I'd bring my D7000 with 35mm 1.8. Light, compact, and does what's necessary to stunning effects.

  • Alvin

    February 14, 2011 04:37 pm

    Canon 15-85mm

  • Johno L

    February 14, 2011 04:37 pm

    On my trip to Nepal last year I only used my Nikon 18-200. Perfect for all conditions.

    See http://nomadimages.smugmug.com for my shots

  • Victor Howard

    February 14, 2011 04:28 pm

    My Nikkor 18-200 on my D300S. Great for walking around...

  • Suzanne

    February 14, 2011 04:17 pm

    I would take an 18-200. Not my "best" lens, but my most versatile.

  • denib

    February 14, 2011 04:08 pm

    canon 15-85 IS USM wohoo!

  • Dmitry Chastikov

    February 14, 2011 03:50 pm

    For my cropped cameras I take Tamron 18-250 or something of the kind, and a fast prime such as 30/1.4 or 50/1.8
    There is nothing in the world that would make you take exactly one lens. So take 28-200 for its zoom range, and a nifty fifty for low light situations. I see some people have suggested this already.

  • johnp

    February 14, 2011 03:21 pm

    Tamron 18-270

  • StearnsJD

    February 14, 2011 03:17 pm

    You picked my choice.... 24-70mm on my Mk II

  • StearnsJD

    February 14, 2011 03:15 pm

    You picked it.... the 24-70mm on my Mark II

  • Ruth Medford

    February 14, 2011 03:07 pm

    Hello! I love reading your insightful articles and thank you for the generous tips we always get. Will follow your project with CBM - and will send this info to my sister, who works as a programme officer in CBM - Vietnam (she is based in Hanoi). She also loves photography and hopefully she would cross paths with you (just wishing).

  • Danthemann5

    February 14, 2011 02:54 pm

    Not a fast lens but:

    24-105mm f/4.0 L

    best. lens. evar.

  • Rob_Stone_Photography

    February 14, 2011 02:41 pm

    Personally, I love my 24-105 ƒ/4 L IS. It practically lives on my 20D.

  • Karl Elvis

    February 14, 2011 02:40 pm

    Assuming I'm taking my micro 4/3 Lumix dcm-g2, I'd have to go with my 20mm f1.7 Pancake. It's my absolute favorite lens. I'd sacrifice the zoom for the really great, sharp images, low light ability, and mostly, the amazing portability. This lens turns the dcm-g2 into *almost* a pocket camera.

    Now, if the 14-42 kit lens were anywhere near as fast as the pancake, i might have to think about it; but the pancake is hard to beat for this camera.

  • Conor

    February 14, 2011 02:32 pm

    Canon 50mm 1.8

  • Chandu

    February 14, 2011 02:02 pm

    Hmmm...tough one to answer 'coz I feel handicapped with only one lens...
    but if I have no choice I would take my 70-300 lens....

  • Joe O

    February 14, 2011 01:14 pm

    I would take my favorite walking around lens the Canon 24-70 f2.8.

  • V

    February 14, 2011 01:05 pm

    14-54 mkii olympus

  • Jeff

    February 14, 2011 12:57 pm

    If you have ample lighting I would definitely take either the 18-200 Nikkor or the 18-250 Sigma or the 18-270 Tamron. Tremendous lenses that are very handy if you have good light, don't want something crazy heavy, and can only take one piece of glass.

  • Dave Burdick

    February 14, 2011 12:48 pm

    For a vacation coming up soon, I was torn between the 24-70 f2.8 and the 24-105 f4. I absolutely love the 24-70, but wanted a wider zoom range and don't expect many low light shots, so I went with the 24-105 f4.

  • David Englert

    February 14, 2011 12:43 pm

    I would probably take my 24-105 f4, solid lense and good zoom range for most situations.

  • Jamie

    February 14, 2011 12:36 pm

    I got back from a 3 week trip to Tanzania a month ago. I took my 24-105mm and my 70-200mm for safari photos - I'm very glad that I had both.

  • Kathy

    February 14, 2011 12:13 pm

    I would take my 28 - 135. This one goes with me everywhere and lives most on my camera. It has great range and I most always get the results I want.

  • Darshan

    February 14, 2011 12:00 pm

    24-105 f/4L

  • Dominique

    February 14, 2011 11:51 am

    I found myself in a similar situation now volunteering with an NGO in Haiti. I took along my 24-70mm and have been happy with my choice.

  • Dominique

    February 14, 2011 11:48 am

    I found myself in a similar situation coming down to Haiti where I am with an NGO and I took my 24-70mm. It's been a good choice thus far.

  • XPinger

    February 14, 2011 11:40 am

    My Sony/Zeiss 16-80mm. Superb clarity over the whole range, great close focussing ability and reasonable telephoto length

  • JesseAdams

    February 14, 2011 11:39 am

    I took a four month trip to Europe and brought the Nikon 18-200VR with my Nikon D90. Was really happy with it and felt that it covered everything nicely.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/26431673@N04/sets/72157621631439963/

  • Iain

    February 14, 2011 11:38 am

    I use Nikon, but I'm in complete agreement, I would also take the 24-70, it constantly lives on one of my two cameras (the other usually being a fast prime)!

  • Frank Gore

    February 14, 2011 11:12 am

    Definitely my 31mm F1.8. I've gotten so used to it, it never fails me.

  • Grace H

    February 14, 2011 10:57 am

    If I was going to Tanzania with the project in mind, the option is 24-105. I don't have the 24-70 but if that's what I have I'd bring that. If you have the time to take landscape and wildlife, then yeah, I'd be pressed to bring a telephoto. Why wouldn't you on such a trip! But it's the people and the actions around the project that will be the focus, hence there is goodbye, telephoto option. It will be the good, ol' reliable 24-105 for me.

    I'm also just a beginner (as in fetus), hence, I am restricted with what I can do and what i know. The 24-105 has not left my camera at all for everyday purpose. It' my friend.

  • Aaron Hockley

    February 14, 2011 10:49 am

    While the 24-70 is a great lens, if I were forced to choose one I would go with the 24-105 f/4L. You'll sacrifice one stop but will gain a longer zoom which will be useful for travel-style photography.

  • SuzeVich

    February 14, 2011 10:40 am

    My Canon 55mm 1.4 ... I rock with it. It takes super sharp images that allow me to zoom in when in post. Plus, it still works great after my husband had to push it back in to place after I dropped it on the cement floor.

  • Shane

    February 14, 2011 10:28 am

    I would take my Sigma 24-70mm for exactly the same reason as you. Actually that lens lives on my camera and I only change when something pops up that requires a different lens.

  • Brian S

    February 14, 2011 10:20 am

    No doubt my Canon 18-200mm IS. Yeah it is not a "L" lens, but it makes up for it in the range of shots I can get.

  • Bryan

    February 14, 2011 10:14 am

    the lightweight compact version of the 10-500 IS USM f2.8 would be a good choice if only they invented it, it weighed less than a grown man and cost less than Bugatti.
    tough tough question, i guess the 28-300 gives the best range but i'd probably sneak a few primes in and make do with only 1 change of clothes

  • Dan Hogan

    February 14, 2011 10:08 am

    I would definitely take the 24-70. Great all-around lens.

  • Matt Higby

    February 14, 2011 10:05 am

    If I had one, a Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS.

  • Martin

    February 14, 2011 10:05 am

    One lens... well, I'd have to say, my last Euro trip went well with the sigma 18-250 OS HSM 3.5-6.3 lens but I still enjoyed pulling out my 50 1.8 for the evenings...

    But if I had the money... maybe the 24-105 4.0 to cover the grounds.

  • johnyyz

    February 14, 2011 10:02 am

    On a 5D Mk2 and places like tanzania where there will be lots of daylight 24-105IS is a good choice, all around lens. But on the other hand 16-35 2.8 is also an option.

  • Rich

    February 14, 2011 10:02 am

    35mm 1.4 with appropriate ND's. I took a whole load of lenses travelling recently and this one barely came off my camera.

  • jmlecocq

    February 14, 2011 10:00 am

    I would make exactly the same choice. I have the 5DM2, and my 24-70 is almost always my "go to" ...it's versatility wins out almost every time....especially, if I'm not sure exactly what I'll find when I go to a shoot...

  • Chris

    February 14, 2011 09:50 am

    The 80mm/2.8 that came with my Hasselblad, probably. Otherwise the 14-54 mkII with my Olympus E-3.

  • Klemen

    February 14, 2011 09:48 am

    I can't believe some are suggesting 18-200 and such lenses... How exactly would you put that on a 5D? :)
    I am facing similar decision as I'm traveling abroad next week... And from my lineup I've decided to take 35L. Also, 24 would be a nice option.
    Have a nice time in Africa and be safe.

  • Eamon

    February 14, 2011 09:40 am

    I have a Nikon 18 - 200 and it is a great camera for travelling as it covers a huge range of options.
    This is the only lens I have had when I travel, and I have some great shots from landscape to full zoom.
    Being Africa I would like more zoom, but not at a sacrifice to losing too much at the wide end.
    I like all the comments from people saying if you need zoom, get closer. I wonder if any of you have been to Africa, I'd like to see how you get a full frame shot of an elephant or a lion???
    I'd be interested in the updates from the project, good luck with it, and make sure you get out to see some of the wild wildlife.

  • Stewart Finley

    February 14, 2011 09:38 am

    As I am off to Istanbul next week I too am packing 1st lens in 70-200 I dont go anywhere without it. It's great for portraits. 2nd 50mm 1.4! Please don't ask me to choose!! it's like choosing one of your kids over the other. Who do I leave at home?

  • Dan Horn

    February 14, 2011 09:37 am

    Best travel set is the Canon 24-70, 70-200 and a 2x doubler.

    Three lenses, 24 - 400mm and 2.8 most of the time!

  • matty78

    February 14, 2011 09:29 am

    My Sony 50mm f/1.8 prime on my a55. So light and small yet gives beautiful shots. I may have to sprint backwards to get it all in, but to capture the character even in low light, you can't beat it for just over £100!!!

  • Jim Harmer

    February 14, 2011 09:02 am

    If you're taking a 24-70 already, I'd bring a 70-200. I like a little working distance to shoot people from further away. People who aren't used to being photographed really don't like the camera right up in their face.

  • Tony Bell

    February 14, 2011 09:01 am

    Went to Dublin one weekend and took only my 85mm f1.8 - had so much fun thats what I'd take.

  • Andrew

    February 14, 2011 08:58 am

    50mm f/1.4, no question. I freaking love that lens, particularly on 35mm film and full-frame cameras.

  • Merle

    February 14, 2011 08:43 am

    We just got back from Huatulco, Mexico and I took a Nikkor 28-300 on the trip. Worked well for me. As suggested in one of the travel photography books offered on this site, we also took a point and shoot which came in handy for areas where a bigger camera may not be allowed. I purchased the Nikon S8100 which worked very well and took some good video as well. Easy to slip into a pocket and pull out for some quick shots.

  • Chyea Mimbles

    February 14, 2011 08:40 am

    Nikon 14-400mm f1.4. In a fantasy world.

  • Ryan Cooper

    February 14, 2011 08:37 am

    Definitely the Sigma 200-500mm F2.8. Its only $30,000 :)

    On a more serious note the best travel lens for me is my 18-200mm VR. F3.5. It pretty much gives me the range to do nearly anything I want, be it street stuff or landscape.

  • HeberC

    February 14, 2011 08:30 am

    35mm equivalent. Wide enough for scenery but long enough for street and environmental portraits. Even so I wouldn't be caught dead with only one lens, I love tight portraits too much not to take an 85mm equivalent lens.

  • Steven

    February 14, 2011 08:26 am

    I only take one lens whenever I travel internationally, my trusty Canon 28-300L, mounted on my 5D MkII. The range of the lens covers everything I could possible want to shoot, and with aforementioned ISO range, I've shot everything from the Indian countryside to the interiors of Italian cathedrals without trouble or blur.

  • Dave

    February 14, 2011 08:21 am

    5d markII and my 24-105, wide plus zoom.

  • Peter Camyre

    February 14, 2011 08:11 am

    I would take the 24-70, no doubt about it!

  • Bud Gibson

    February 14, 2011 08:08 am

    I'd take a fast 50mm lens. It's lighter, and the 50mm focal length is a good compromise. I say this while feeling a bit ambivalent about my Nikon 50mm 1.4g. It's soft wide open, perhaps a combination of focal length and wide aperture just making it too hard to get precise autofocus, along with a clear drop in accutance.

  • Rob

    February 14, 2011 08:06 am

    My first instinct was a 50mm 1.4 but after really thinking about it, it would be my Sigma 17-50mm 2.8 OS

  • Wendy

    February 14, 2011 08:00 am

    Defenitly the 50mm! easy to take, not to heavy and it's good for portraits. But, if I had the money I would take the 24-70 nikon, I guess

  • David Barto

    February 14, 2011 08:00 am

    5DmkII and the 24-105 f4L (kit) lens.

    Fast enough for the basic stuff you want to do on vacation. And the ISO quality of the camera allows lower light photography for those special shots.

    For my wife I got her the T2i and a 28-200 lens. Short, compact, fast enough for almost everything and again, the ISO in the camera allows higher range settings for lower light photography.

  • piet

    February 14, 2011 08:00 am

    I wouldn't go

  • Rick

    February 14, 2011 07:59 am

    Out of my gear bag, I'd grab the 50mm f/1.4. If you have a 24-70, though, that might be your best bet.

  • Steve

    February 14, 2011 07:59 am

    D700 with 24-70 2.8

  • Andy Marx

    February 14, 2011 07:59 am

    Tamron 28-300 for use with my Canon 7D. It's a great all-around lens. I

  • Diogo Zampieri

    February 14, 2011 07:57 am

    Well, I guess it won't hurt you to take a zoom + a prime lens... Who knows what you may find there...

  • Casey

    February 14, 2011 07:55 am

    It depends a lot on the type of photography I'd be doing. If it was primarily portrait, I would most certainly take my 85mm f/ 1.8. I love that lens like a child!

  • Unger Photography

    February 14, 2011 07:53 am

    Stick with the 24-70 if you can only bring one lens. Need more zoom? Get closer. If you can bring a second lens, the 70-200 for sure. Best 2 zoom lenses ever made.

  • Serge Van Cauwenbergh

    February 14, 2011 07:52 am

    Because I like to work close to my subject I would bring the Nikon 35mm f/1.4. I also love wideangle lenses but they add some distortion to the faces of people, you have to use them very carefully.

  • Tolga

    February 14, 2011 07:51 am

    I was just in Tanzania in November....what parts are you going to?

    If you will be in Dar Es Salaam most of the time I agree with you on the 24-70.

    However if you are going to other places like Arusha or the Serengeti you will want a wider angle because it is absolutely beautiful out there and you can get some awesome landscapes.

    Here is a photo I took at 17 in the Serengeti (granted on a crop vs your full):

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tolgademirel/5442917808/

  • Mike Cohen

    February 14, 2011 07:50 am

    My Nikon 18-200. On my last trip to San Francisco, that's the only lens I used.

  • Pete

    February 14, 2011 07:47 am

    Canon 70-200 2.8 with 2X converter

  • SebVial

    February 14, 2011 07:43 am

    Because it is a *social* (human) trip, i'll take a standard lens : 50/1.4 on Full frame sensor, and 35/1.8 on DX sensor. Both nikon and canon had extremely sharp ones, and very easy to carry !
    In a landscape trip, I'll take the sigma 20/1.8 (yes a heavy one !)

  • Robert

    February 14, 2011 07:41 am

    85L II on a 5D II

  • Stephan

    February 14, 2011 07:41 am

    I would take my Sigma 18-125 f3.8-5.6 HSM (on my Sony A550), definitely.
    Maybe I would consider buying/borrowing an 18-200 for the occasion, but the 18-125 has already proven its worth in Alaska for me. Although, I would like to have a faster lens in the same range.

  • Brandon

    February 14, 2011 07:38 am

    I'd probably have to go with the Canon EF-S 55-250mm. Not the best piece of glass I own, but probably the most versatile.

  • Bas

    February 14, 2011 07:33 am

    It would have to be the 24-70 that lens has really served me well in so many situations.

  • Gary

    February 14, 2011 07:33 am

    Canon EF 24-105

  • shakira_d

    February 14, 2011 07:32 am

    My dear Sigma 28-200. It works pretty well for me.. :)

  • Alec R. Hosterman

    February 14, 2011 07:30 am

    If I had the money, I would take a Canon EF 28-300 IS/USM AF lens. I have the 70-200 (non IS) and it produces some of the best images - it's turning into my go-to lens. Go figure.

  • lynette

    February 14, 2011 07:28 am

    depends where you're going....but me, with all those animals, would opt for a greater zoom. you can't always get close enough...and why miss them!

  • nicanders

    February 14, 2011 07:27 am

    if it were me... if its a 5dm2 , i'd get 50mm/1.4 canon
    if its on aps-c i'd get 30mm/1.4 sigma
    but again if budget is allowing - on 5dm2 i'd use 50L while on apsc i'll have 35L

    "coz no zoom is better than a pair of leg"

  • nicanders

    February 14, 2011 07:26 am

    if it were me... if its a 5dm2 , i'd get 50mm/1.4 canon
    if its on aps-c i'd get 30mm/1.4 sigma
    but again if budget is allowing - on 5dm2 i'd use 50L while on apsc i'll have 35L

  • JF Machado

    February 14, 2011 07:26 am

    Well, if you're also going to do some wildlife shots, I'd go for something a bit longer

  • Butch

    February 14, 2011 07:25 am

    Tamron 18-270mm DiII VCD

  • Brian Ullestad

    February 14, 2011 07:20 am

    Nikon 28-300mm
    Best of both worlds

  • John

    February 14, 2011 07:19 am

    I think I'd take my old Canon EF 28-70 f/3.5-4.5 II ... great sharp lens, good for portraits and landscapes.

  • CE Jones

    February 14, 2011 07:19 am

    I have a Canon 24-70 2.8 lens. That's the one I would take. And, extra batteries and memory cards.

  • Zibri

    February 14, 2011 07:18 am

    I prefer portraits so I would bring my 50mm F1.4.
    If you don't need portraits (but want to them occasionally) then a 70-300 (I have a Sigma) would be best.

  • Kendall

    February 14, 2011 07:18 am

    Well I would bring my 18-105mm (my only "walk around" right now), but I would also sneak on a lens doubler or 1.4x as well. So it would give my camera a boost if I wanted to take something far away and I would still get a decent wide angle. If it isn't wide enough, then I would take off the doubler.

  • Mark

    February 14, 2011 07:17 am

    Canon 50mm 1.4. To misquote Red Dwarf "How does the zoom function work?" "You move your head closer to it!"

  • Pat

    February 14, 2011 07:13 am

    My Tamron 18-270mm.

  • Bradley

    February 14, 2011 07:09 am

    ...because it's the lightest, most reliable, most portable full frame. Zoom lenses? "You aren't close enough!"

    To clarify, I don't have this but the question was that if you could take one which would it be. Yeah it's a $10,000 lens and a $7,000 camera but hey, it really is the best option for a trip like that.

  • Chris J Dickey

    February 14, 2011 07:07 am

    I am an airline pilot and avid photographer and I find a 24-70 or a 50mm lens is just right for almost any task. i shot with a Nikon D-700.

  • Bradley

    February 14, 2011 07:05 am

    A Leica M9 with a 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux

  • theJonson

    February 14, 2011 07:03 am

    When I went to Taiwan last year I took 4 lenses, but due to humidity, it would of killed me to put them in my backback. Instead I went everywhere with my 24-105 f/4 L on my 500D and a BlackRapid Strap, yes I was limited, but it also felt so freeing to only use one lens and not carrying so much dead weight.

  • Paul Avery

    February 14, 2011 06:59 am

    EF 24-105mm f/4.0 L IS USM

  • chuck

    February 14, 2011 06:56 am

    My nikkor 18-200 for DX. And 28-300 if I had an FX. Kinda obvious since both are 'walkaround lens'.

  • Nicky H

    February 14, 2011 06:55 am

    Is there a 10-300mm 1.8 lens yet?? ;)

  • Andre Favron

    February 14, 2011 06:55 am

    If I was travelling to Tanzania and could only bring one lens with a Canon EOS 5D Mk II I would definitely bring the Canon EF 28-300mm L IS USM. Though it is relatively slow f/3.5 - 5.6 compared to some faster shutter speeds, I think that slight disadvantage is more than adequately compensated for by the quality glass at a higher than minimum DOF from the 24-70mm. Of course, it depends on what you think you will be shooting but I hazard a guess that it will be both much farther than usual, and much more panoramic in the distance.

  • Keri

    February 14, 2011 06:54 am

    I'd have to say 18-200, not quite as sharp or fast as 24-70 or 70-200 but an excellent range that can allow you to take pretty much any shot except for a low DOF shot.

  • Garry Knight

    February 14, 2011 06:53 am

    Ditto the nifty fifty.

  • Jabari

    February 14, 2011 06:52 am

    I'd be hard pressed between 2 lenses...

    If image quality trumps versatility a bit, then I'd do the same as you and go with the 24-70mm 2.8. If versatility is the main concern then I'd go with the 18-200mm.

    I'm a Nikon shooter, but I guess the Canon equivalents will work. *devilish grin*

  • Boris

    February 14, 2011 06:50 am

    Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM

  • stargate

    February 14, 2011 06:44 am

    I am not very familiar with the canon lens choices but for a Nikon full frame camera I would just take the 24-120, or the new and really good 28-200. But there is no way I would not sneak a fast prime for these low light shots, One of the 35 f2 or the 50 1.8 which are both so small and light would be indispensable and unobtrusive. I could take the 24-70 2.8 but I do not like to carry so much weight and still have to resort to cropping for that tele shot.

  • Johan

    February 14, 2011 06:41 am

    I would definitely take Nikons new 28-300mm with me.

  • EF mount

    February 14, 2011 06:40 am

    EF 15-85 as allarounder lens for my APS-C camera :)

  • Jacob cummings

    February 14, 2011 06:39 am

    I agree with sascha,, I love digital, but for a cool trip I'd be inclined to take medium format with a 55mm or 80mm lens. If not that, a small 35mm rangefinder with a fast 45mm lens

  • John R. Carter, Sr.

    February 14, 2011 06:39 am

    I have to agree with Doug Sundseth: 18-200mm. The downside is that the autofocus isn't all that good in conjunction with zoom. I use only this lens with my 60D on field trips. Don't forget to take a telescoping monopod.

  • Mihai

    February 14, 2011 06:37 am

    off topic: I would really would like to be of help with the Tanzania project ... but I am so far away ...

  • Stephen Van Tuyl

    February 14, 2011 06:36 am

    If I could only take one it would have to be my 17-55 2.8. But I know I'd curse myself at the first long glass shot I missed.

  • erin

    February 14, 2011 06:33 am

    Depends what you are doing. When I was in Tanzania my longest was a 300 and I wish I had brought an extender or longer but I was shooting mostly animals. Good luck, its an amazing country! If you can fit them in, we brought a bunch of pencils and notebooks for the kids at the schools :)

  • Martin

    February 14, 2011 06:31 am

    I'd take my Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5 - 5.6 VR (25-125 mm equiv) with me: nice wide angle, tele is just enough, virabtion reduction and a good build quality

  • Sascha Vogt

    February 14, 2011 06:26 am

    If I could take just one lens, I wouldn't take the 5DII in first place.

  • Kathie M Thomas

    February 14, 2011 06:24 am

    My fav is a 70-300 so I'd probably take that, but if I wanted an option for a bit closer then perhaps my 55-200mm

  • joe

    February 14, 2011 06:20 am

    well depends on what I am about to shoot... landscape work, portraits, etc...

    If it is a mixture the 24-70 2.8 may be the best solution. Otherwise I'd stick to the 24 1.4. And the 85 1.2... But since you can just take one lens... The zoom may be the best solution...

  • tim king

    February 14, 2011 06:19 am

    Definitely the 16-35. Best story telling lens, you'll want the super wide for the landscapes. Kinda bummed I took anything past a 50 prime here to europe...enjoy your trip & keep us updated!

  • Marea

    February 14, 2011 06:18 am

    My husband bought me a Tamron 18-270 mm lens for Christmas. I don't know if you can get one for a 5d though. However, if I could only take one, that would be it. It takes awesome pictures. I use a Canon Rebel.

  • Jonathan

    February 14, 2011 06:12 am

    Canon 28mm f/1.8 USM for me. Just my personal favorite. I use the Canon 60D(1.6 Crop), so on a full frame I would take the 50mm 1.4 or 1.8.

  • Sylvain

    February 14, 2011 06:05 am

    Probably my Canon 50mm 1.8, always sharp and reliable.

  • Ilan

    February 14, 2011 05:53 am

    To my last few trip to Barcelona, Prague, Turkey and US I always took only one lens.

    Tamron 17-50m f/2.8

    http://www.ilanbresler.com/2009/04/bona-petit.html - Barcelona

    The lens is far from being 'fancy' but I like the wide angle, it's fast and it does the job.

    Enjoy your trip :)

  • Carsten Stann

    February 14, 2011 05:49 am

    i would take a 50 f/1.4
    fast. simple. light

  • Doug Sundseth

    February 14, 2011 05:49 am

    18-200.

    They're usually slow, but I shoot mostly in decent light and I'd prioritize zoom range over speed for vacation photography.

  • Harpo

    February 14, 2011 05:40 am

    I've been using a Nikkor 18-200mm in those situations. I have great experience from that lens which is quite affordable for the performance. It's a remarkable compromise between good quality images and wide range of zoom.

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