From epic landscapes to urban street scenes: the best Canon kit for travel photography

Which are the best cameras and lenses for travel photography? Canon Ambassadors Ulla Lohmann and Jérôme Gence reveal their indispensable gear.
A brilliant sun rises above low-lying clouds. In the foreground is a dense, lush forest. In the background, a mountain range bathed in early morning light.

Canon Ambassador and adventure photographer Ulla Lohmann always travels with the Canon EOS R6 in her kitbag because its groundbreaking In-Body Image Stabilizer (IBIS) and exceptional AF enable her to shoot handheld from unusual locations. "I can find different angles that wouldn't usually be possible without a tripod," she says. Taken with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 24mm, 1/40 sec, f/18 and ISO320. © Ulla Lohmann

The temptation might be to pack everything, but when it comes to choosing the right cameras and lenses for travel photography, you have to be a little selective. Space and weight are always at a premium, but with the ever-growing Canon EOS R System, you get more versatility than ever before.

Thanks to their full-frame sensors, intuitive handling and compact size, Canon EOS R System cameras are a natural choice for the travel photographer. Add Canon's growing range of outstanding RF lenses to the mix, both zoom and prime, and you've got an incredibly capable camera setup.

But the question is, which are the best Canon cameras and lenses for travel photography? Here, we speak with two Canon Ambassadors, German adventure photographer Ulla Lohmann and documentary photographer Jérôme Gence, who detail which kit is essential to them when they're exploring. We also talk to John Maurice, European Product Marketing Manager at Canon Europe, who provides expert insight.

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As the sea laps at the shore in the distance, fluffy red clouds reflect in the still water of a rock pool.

Ulla loves the Canon EOS R6 for its speed, image quality, flexibility and compact size. "When travelling, you can shoot in situations that others wouldn't think possible," she says. Taken with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 24mm, 1/8 sec, f/11 and ISO100. © Ulla Lohmann

A silhouette of a lighthouse against a dimming yellow sky.

The Canon EOS R6 provides up to 8-stops of protection against camera shake – a game-changer for travel photographers for whom setting up a tripod often isn't an option. "I frequently shoot two-second exposures but thanks to the IS that's not a problem," says Ulla. Taken with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 35mm, 1/80 sec, f/14 and ISO100. © Ulla Lohmann

Best mirrorless camera for travel: Canon EOS R6

With its 20.1MP full-frame CMOS sensor, a sensitivity range up to ISO102,400, up to 8-stops of image stabilisation1 and up to 20fps burst shooting, the Canon EOS R6 is an incredibly versatile camera that's perfect for travel.

"The EOS R6 is an indispensable tool for travel photography," says Ulla. "The high ISO sensitivity means I can be more flexible and react to situations much more quickly. I can also hand-hold it."

Jérôme has recently switched from his trusted Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR to the Canon EOS R5 with its 45MP full-frame CMOS sensor and groundbreaking intelligent AF. "It's an amazing camera… I really love it," he says. "People won't wait for you to take a photograph, so you have to be really quick." Jérôme continues, "When you photograph a portrait, the face can change so quickly, so I love really fast autofocus. The speed of the EOS R5's AF is just crazy."

The Canon EOS R6 camera.

Canon EOS R6

The EOS R6 packs an impressive performance that will transform your photography and filmmaking.

For some situations, such as a city break, John points to the more affordable EOS RP as a perfect travel camera: "The EOS RP will satisfy lots of people's requirements because it's a full-frame camera," explains John. "The body has a similar weight compared to an APS-C DSLR yet offers the step up to full-frame quality, and we now have a range of lightweight and affordable travel lenses: the Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM, the RF 35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM, the RF 50mm F1.8 STM and the RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM."

A woman on a city street looks up, blocking the light with her hand, which casts a shadow across her face.

In this image taken by documentary photographer Jérôme Gence, a Chinese vlogger protects herself from the sun while waiting for the bus. "You don't need a big setup with the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II, and the quality is unbelievable," says Jérôme. "It's also so small, so you can photograph everything." Taken on a Canon PowerShot G5 X (now succeeded by the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II) at 12mm, 1/640 sec, f/4 and ISO125. © Jérôme Gence

Best compact camera for travel: Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II

When you want to travel even lighter, an advanced compact camera is ideal. With a design inspired by EOS cameras and an excellent 20.1MP 1-inch stacked sensor, the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II offers a brilliant blend of performance and portability.

"When I want to take a break from a project and just go out and take some photos, I bring this camera," explains Jérôme. "It delivers such great quality photographs. You can shoot RAW, which is a priority for me. For video it's also really great."

The Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II camera.

Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II

A powerful compact camera with a 5x optical zoom and pop-up EVF.

John fully supports the PowerShot G5 X Mark II's travel credentials: "It provides many of the same manual controls as EOS cameras. So it features a lens control ring, it's got dials and buttons on the body, and it will shoot RAW. It has a very versatile focal range of 24-105mm and it's got a very bright lens (f/1.8-2.8). With those specifications you can cover a wide variety of subjects indoors and outdoors and into the evening whilst traveling. Its compact size means you can carry it with you all the time too."

A large curving table fills most of a room, covered in green plants in plant pots, with people sitting working on laptops around the plants.

Jérôme took this image at a popular co-working space in Lisbon, Portugal. "The main reason I use the Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens is that it means I'm able to include as much detail in the frame as possible," he says. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 at 16mm, 1/40 sec, f/4 and ISO400. © Jérôme Gence - Pierre & Alexandra Boulat Award 2020 sponsored by La SCAM

A masked French taxi driver types on his laptop while waiting for customers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A young French taxi driver trades online while waiting for customers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the low light, a common challenge for travel photographers, the Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens enabled Jérôme to brilliantly capture both the scene in the cab and the driving rain outside. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 at 15mm, 1/40 sec, f/4 and ISO3200. © Jérôme Gence - Pierre & Alexandra Boulat Award 2020 sponsored by La SCAM

Best wide-angle zoom lens for travel: Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM

Canon's ultra-wide RF zoom is an impressive lens that opens up a range of creative possibilities. "It's incredibly sharp," says UIla. "It is just the right lens to use for travel photography when capturing landscapes."

"The RF 15-35MM F2.8L IS USM will be more dedicated to vast landscapes or interiors," adds John. "If you want to capture the magnificence of buildings at close range, for example, you want an ultra wide lens such as this one."

The Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens.

Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM

This exceptional ultra-wide zoom lens is perfect for shooting in tight spaces, delivering dynamic angles and stunning performance.
A pin-sharp close-up of a small stone on a larger rock.

Ulla uses the Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM lens when she wants both herself and her subject to stand out from the crowd. "It's a really, really cool lens," she says. "It really allows you to put the focus on specific things." Taken on a Canon EOS R6 at 50mm, 1/320 sec, f/1.2 and ISO100. © Ulla Lohmann

Best prime lens for travel: Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM

"I'm always looking to stand out from other photographers, and this lens helps me do just that," enthuses Ulla. "It's a fairly heavy lens, so it's not necessarily the everyday lens you put in your camera bag, but the weight is worth it for the image quality it delivers."

Travel photographers will want to pack this lens if they want that extra bit of quality, especially if they're shooting people or working in poor light. "It has this really beautiful bokeh. It's hard to describe as you don't see it very often – but it's kind of a unique bokeh effect," continues Ulla.

The Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM.

Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM

A high-performance professional L-series lens perfect for low-light and extreme depth of field control.

John agrees that it's a stunning lens for portraiture. "When you're travelling, you're also interested in where you are, so it enables you to add a bit of context. Together with the nice depth of field control, it's going to help you capture amazing environmental portraiture."

If you want a more compact version of this aspirational lens, the Canon RF 50mm F1.8 STM is a lighter weight, more affordable option and an excellent choice if you want to carry a compact and light lens that's also very high quality. The 50mm focal length offers a similar perspective to human vision, so your shots will appear very natural. The wider aperture will also allow you to be more artistic and blur busy backgrounds – which can be useful in crowded locations, such as a market place or street.

Best standard zoom lens for travel: Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM

If you're restricted to one lens or need to travel light, then this lens should be the one you take. With a very versatile focus range, it also sports Canon's Nano USM autofocus for quiet and fast focusing, while the 5-stop Image Stabilizer increases to 8-stops when the lens is mounted on a Canon EOS R6 or EOS R5.

"The RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM is probably the lens you're going to use most of the time," says John. "It will give you speed and a good range – you'll be able to capture both portraits and landscapes very well. It's also a lens that offers good video performance with quiet and smooth autofocus. Many enthusiasts and professionals choose this lens because it's versatile and belongs to the prestigious L-series – so you have a useful and high quality lens in one for landscape, portrait and everyday use."

The Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM.

Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM

Featuring fast, silent autofocus and 5-stops of image stabilisation, this lightweight and versatile f/4 L-series zoom lens is a perfect travel companion.
Photographed from above, a lone man fishes from a rocky outcrop above a choppy sea.

The Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM lens is one of Ulla's go-to lenses when she travels because of its incredible focal length range. She used a long exposure to blur the wild seas below this lone fisherman. Taken on a Canon EOS R6 at 135mm, 1 sec, f/32 and ISO50. © Ulla Lohmann

Best super-telephoto wildlife zoom for travel: Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM

The 100-500mm focal length range that the RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM offers makes it ideal for bringing distant scenes closer, and is particularly useful if you're planning to photograph wildlife on your travels.

I hesitated before buying this lens, because I wanted the RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM," explains Ulla. "But for photographing from a distance, whether that's animals, birds or people, the RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM is much, much better. I don't mind that it's only f/7.1 at 500mm, as you automatically have a fairly blurred background."

The IBIS in the EOS R6 combined with the IS in the lens makes it possible to use slower shutter speeds for more creative imagery, such as Ulla's photograph of the sea (above). The ISO range also enables you to use higher shutter speeds for fast action shots.

The Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM.

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM

The RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM sports both 5-stop IS and L-series build quality, while delivering detail, clarity and exceptional telephoto performance.

Best binoculars for travel: Canon 10x30 IS II

"Binoculars are often how you find things before you photograph them," explains John. "They're essential for wildlife, travel or even revealing stuff in the landscape that you can't quite pick out otherwise.

"The Canon 10x30 IS II binoculars are bright enough for most conditions and have a good magnification," he adds. But it's not just about those qualities, as these binoculars also feature Canon's optical Image Stabilizer technology. "That really improves the resolution," John says. "Your eyes don't have to correct for the movement that would normally occur with other binoculars, which can be very fatiguing and reduces your apparent resolution – or in other words, it improves your ability to clearly identify subjects."

A pair of Canon 10x30 IS II binoculars.

Canon 10x30 IS II

With Canon's Image Stabilizer, these portable 10x binoculars are ideal for travel, bird watching and sports.
Phil Hall

1 8-stops based on the CIPA standard with Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM lens at a focal length of 105mm.

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