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“If I buy one lens, which one should it be?” One of the most frequently asked questions when purchasing a new camera is this. There are hundreds of lenses on the market and it can be quite challenging to know which one to purchase.

The Most Versatile Lens for All Types of Photography

After spending five years traveling with a very small camera bag, I’ve narrowed down the best and most versatile lens.

What I photograph ranges from interior photos, travel, portrait, to landscape, and this lens has been great for ALL of it.

The one thing I’ve avoided for the past years is lugging around heavy equipment. In being practical with my purchases, I did a lot of research and tested different lenses to see which one got the job done.

So here it is, the most versatile lens for all levels and types of photography. The one I never leave the house without and the one I always reach for.

The Most Versatile Lens for All Types of Photography

The Most Versatile Lens for All Types of Photography

The Lens

It’s the 24-70mm lens. The jack of all trades, every manufacturer has their own for their lineup. The versatility in this lens is endless (will show photos below). Why is it so versatile? Simply put, it’s wide enough to grab everything in a landscape photo but also can zoom in to do tight shots like portraits.

One key thing to know about this lens (especially when it comes to interior photography) is that the lens captures a photo almost identical to how your eye sees it. There is little to no distorting.

So if you go to a wider lens, often the image will contort. It’s why the 24-70mm also does really well when you want to take a photo inside your home or at a cafe. The photo captured feels like you’re right there in the photo.

The next component is that most 24-70mm lenses are very sharp because of their low aperture (also makes the pricepoint higher). Often sold at f/4 or f/2.8, you can create an incredible depth of field and capture a really creamy bokeh.

This single aspect makes it ideal even for food photography and portraits.

Simply put, the 24-70mm lens covers almost all types of photography.

A Few Tips For When You Purchase

Skip the kit lens

One thing that may be appealing is purchasing a full-frame camera with a kit lens (often a 28-70mm). The price difference between the body without a lens and a body with the kit lens makes it feel like a deal. And though it is a cheap lens, I’d argue that it’s better to put the money towards this lens.

We did this a few years ago when we upgraded our bodies and took the money and put it towards the 24-70mm lens. It was more expensive (no denying that!) but the results in imagery are worth it.

Buy the sharper lens if possible

You’ll often see two options when it comes to a 24-70mm lens and the primary difference is in the max aperture. Either sold as an f/2.8 or f/4, the sharper of the two is the f/2.8.

Our first 24-70mm was an f/4 and many times we wished we would have purchased the f/2.8. It is a steep upgrade in price but after photographing with the f/2.8 lens, I wish we would have done it from the beginning.

That maximum aperture makes a world of difference for sharpness and the f/2.8 lenses are typically made with different features. For instance, the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 lens has a larger front filter size, higher max magnification, and more aperture blades.

If you can spend the extra money, go with the f/2.8 option.

Where to Purchase

We’ve purchased our gear from B&H photo for years. We opted for their company as they’re a trusted resource for photography, have experts on hand, offer free shipping on qualifying orders, and more. Their customer service is incredible and you can even shop for used lenses.

For the 24-70mm lens options:

Example of Photos

Travel Landscapes




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The Most Versatile Lens for All Types of Photography

PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

I use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

I use for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

I use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Rental Car

Self-driving is the best way to explore most destinations. I use Discover Cars for our rental cars, select full coverage insurance, and opt for a reputable company like Alamo, Hertz, or Sixt.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

I use Priority Pass to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:


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