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Rebel T5i, best zoom lens for upcoming press trip to Galapagos


I am a travel writer and will be taking part in a press trip this March to the Galapagos islands. I recently upgraded from a T1i Rebel to a T5i with a Canon 18-135 zoom lens, and am loving the quality of the images.  However, I believe I do need a stronger zoom to capture close ups on this trip. Caveat:  I am much more of a writer than a photographer, to be sure, but these days, editors want your own photos to accompany articles, so I am truly learning the trade as I go along. I need an easy, light, and SHARP lens, within a budget.


I didn't come to this site before doing an extensive on-line search for recommendations. Despite my efforts to come to a consensus, I am getting so many varied recommendations, I thought I would reach out to the kind photography experts on this site who graciously donate their time to help neophytes like myself. THANK YOU in advance for your guidance.


Here is what I gleaned from a week-long search:


All these zoom models seem to have good reviews:


Tamron AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 VC PZD All-In-One Zoom Lens for Canon DSLR, Model BOO8E Filter Size 062mm


Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM for Canon Digital SLR Cameras


Canon 70-200mm f/2.8


Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras



The Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens also got stellar reviews, but how would that improve upon my current EFS 18-135 mm lens (which is awesome!I ) I don't know how close I will get to wildlife, so that is an issue. Another issue is the fact that I need to travel light--backpack and carry-on, and cannot bring a slew of lenses with me. 


I would be so grateful for some directions from experts. 


Thank you so much for your feedback. This forum is wonderful, and I appreciate it very much!








Very good advice, Alan. I will definitely consider the rental aspect, too. And when I return, I might look into some of the companies and a used lens.


 I'll also be in the market for a "one size fits all" Canon lens. I used a Tamron 18-250 mm lens on my T1i that I absolutely loved for its versatility, but it wasn't nearly as sharp as it should have been, in comparison to my new Canon lens. But if I could save up and get a relatively sharp lens that could cover that focal range, I would be such a happy camper. So often when I visit cities and countries in my travels, spontaneity is the key to the best photos.....I might see a glorious landscape and then a great close up of a person in a matter of seconds, so I can't deal well with changing lenses so often. But I do know that quality suffers with such a lens. 


Thanks again. This has all been so incredibly helpful.


I'm a Canon lens kind of guy...I don't have lenses from any other manufacturers.  Having said that, from your list, my vote goes to the Tamron 18-270mm.  A friend has it.  It's light and has decent image quality.  With this, you don't have to fumble with changing lens in harsh dusty conditions (risking dirt on the sensor).


Places like Galapagos and wild life, wild life will be both too close and too far.  The 18-270mm will help.  However, for the faraway wild life,  none of the FL you stated will be totally adequate.  The 270mm will get you a bit closer but it won't be enough.


The Canon EF 100-400mm lens would be a better bet except it's way out of your budget.  You might consider renting or borrowing it for the trip.


Have fun and do point us to your travel articles to will be fascinating.

Diverhank's photos on Flickr

Thanks so much for your thoughts. Since I don't know if the Tamron will make a noise during the video, I think I will go with the 55-250 IS STM. It is also very reasonably priced. I will save up for an "all in one" lens as suggested, but I can't do it this year, alas. 




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