The Best DSLR Lens for Travel

The Best DSLR Lens for Travel

* This is not a comprehensive review, but rather a brief overview of my current favorite travel lens.


I used to hate bringing my DSLR with me whenever I traveled. It was bulky and too heavy to carry around. I’m guilty for asking my boyfriend to carry it for me (I suck, I know). So I eventually just stopped bringing it around, but I would always regret not taking pictures with it a few months later. Then I came across the magical “pancake lens”, which I heard so many great things about. I decided to do some research and ended up purchasing it myself.


I was scared at first because whenever I come across a good quality lens, it always ends up costing hundreds — if not, thousands of dollars. Luckily, most of you will be able to afford this lens as its under $200!
Here’s a brief overview of my favorite travel lens:



The Canon 40mm EF f/2.8 lens (aka the Pancake Lens) is all I carry around these days. It’s a prime lens and is amazing for travel because it’s light and versatile. I shoot mostly landscape so I don’t necessarily need one with a really big aperture. The 2.8 aperture on the Pancake Lens does the job for me.



The maximum aperture is F2.8 and the minimum is F22.



The focal length is 40mm. I didn’t think 40mm would make a huge difference compared to my 50mm lens, but it sure does. I love how wider the shots turn out. I personally love it over the nifty-fifty lens.



The Pancake Lens only weighs 4.6 ounces and has a dimension of 0.9 x 2.7 x 2.7 inches! Now I bring my DSLR camera with me everywhere! Even after hours of walking, I don’t get shoulder pains from carrying my camera anymore. Plus it makes my camera look really cute!


Personally, I’m a huge fan of prime lenses because they focus a lot faster than zoom lenses. This is because there is only one focal length on prime lenses. This means it doesn’t have as much glass for light to travel through in order to reach the sensor. On a zoom lens, extra elements are required to zoom in and out and because light is altered more times, the quality of the image begins to degrade. Prime lenses have a simple design, preserving sharpness. This also allows them to perform better in low light conditions.


11.81″ (30.00 cm)


I’d say the build quality is solid, especially for its size. It doesn’t feel plasticky, but it also isn’t the sturdiest — like the   high-end lenses.


This lens is compatible with 35mm Film/Full-Frame Digital Sensor and APS-C size sensor. I also heard it is compatible with the Canon EOS 70D, Rebel T4i and T5i. But I could be wrong. I would do more research on that.


If you’re buying a brand new one, it’ll cost you around $149.00 + tax. That is an incredibly good value for a quality lens. If you buy a used or refurbished one, I’m sure you can snag one for under $100. Such a steal.


  • No image stabilization
  • Maximum aperture is F2.8
  • No zoom
  • Doesn’t come with a hood
  • A bit of vignetting
  • Not the fastest AF
Overall, I highly recommend this lens to any photo and travel enthusiasts out there. It’s been my goto ever since. I absolutely love how small and compact it is — it can fit in your pocket! For the price, I think you’d be getting a bang for your buck!


Comment down below and let me know what your favorite DSLR lens are! I’d love to learn about different lenses out there. Or if you have the same lens, let me know how you like it!



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This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using this link. Nonetheless, everything is expressed 100% in my honest opinion. There is no disadvantage to you.


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  • Marijs Vrancken
    Posted at 20:21h, 11 February Reply

    I totally agree, I love my 40mm lens. Traveling with another pancake these days, the 24mm to have a bit more of a wide angle. I love it as well!

  • Monica @ Not a nomad blog
    Posted at 13:52h, 05 August Reply

    Pancakes are the best! I’ve got a pancake for my Fujifilm mirrorless (it’s 27mm f2.8 cropped, equivalent to 41mm full-frame so it’s very similar I think). I really enjoy it too for travel shots — you’re exactly right, those few mm really make a difference from the 50mm!

  • Carlie
    Posted at 09:46h, 06 February Reply

    Great post. Been looking at a similar lens for my pentax. I’ve got a 35mm prime lens with 1.8 aperture, but it’s no pancake. I just can’t justify the purchase. I typically carry my 16-50 lens when traveling, best of both worlds. But it’s soooocooool heavy! You’ve given me some food for thought…

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 10:13h, 06 February Reply

      You can always go to a photography shop and try out the lenses to see if you like them. I know there’s some sort of online shop where you can rent out lenses for a certain period…but I would think buying the pancake lens would be cheaper at that point? I could be wrong

  • valerie hansen
    Posted at 18:33h, 05 February Reply

    Do you know which lens would be comparable to this for a Nikon? I have D3200..thank you..this is a great post!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 10:10h, 06 February Reply

      Hey Valerie! Good question. Honestly not too familiar with Nikon gear, but I think you might wanna look into the Nikon 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 …although this one only has a focal length of 10mm. There’s also the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 series, but I would think that’s more like a nifty fifty lens. Let me know if you ever find a comparable pancake lens for Nikon. I’m pretty curious myself.

  • Liv
    Posted at 17:50h, 05 February Reply

    I love mine – but I miss the zoom. Especially when travelling. Beautiful pics!!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 18:00h, 05 February Reply

      Yeah that’s the main drawback, but I honestly will take that trade off for a bit more sharpness. Thank you Liv!!! ☺️

  • Angie Scheie
    Posted at 16:08h, 05 February Reply

    This is great! I have a Canon DSLR that I am still learning on, and my lens could definitely use an upgrade. This sounds super practical too!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 16:34h, 05 February Reply

      That’s awesome! Make sure to check the compatibility with your camera. It’s mostly for full-frame with a few exceptions. 🙂

  • Kusum
    Posted at 23:40h, 04 February Reply

    Your shots are beautiful! I use a 50mm and loveeee it, definitely going to try a 40mm someday 🙂

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 16:33h, 05 February Reply

      Yay!!! Yeah I love both my 50mm and 40mm. I just love my 40mm more for travel 🙂

  • Dia @ All The Things I Do
    Posted at 19:53h, 04 February Reply

    You take awesome shots! I got a new recently and haven’t really gotten to play with all the features yet.

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 19:56h, 04 February Reply

      Wow thanks Dia! That’s awesome. Have fun with it! 🙂

  • laci
    Posted at 19:26h, 04 February Reply

    Yay definitely getting !!!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 19:28h, 04 February Reply

      Awesome!!! I’m excited for you! Lmk how you end up liking them. 🙂

  • Carol Cassara
    Posted at 19:24h, 04 February Reply

    I need to up my game as far as my photography goes. Good recommendation and reminder!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 19:27h, 04 February Reply

      Hi carol! Thanks for reading. 🙂

  • maryrose
    Posted at 19:02h, 04 February Reply

    Oh my gosh! How cute is that lens! I need that little pancake lens in my life haha I agree with you, I dislike carrying around big lenses if I don’t need to lol Thanks for recommending this lens. The pictures are beautiful!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 19:26h, 04 February Reply

      Haha super cute right?! And it’s so much lighter. Thanks Maryrose! lmk if you ever get the same lens. 🙂

  • Lesile Rossi
    Posted at 13:56h, 04 February Reply

    thanks! i have that pancake lens on my wishlist

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 13:58h, 04 February Reply

      Of course! Yay I can’t wait for you to get it 🙂

  • Naomi
    Posted at 11:49h, 04 February Reply

    your shots with the lens are amazing. I have a Canon 7D so need to calculate the cropping factor and I’m not sure if the 40mm will work. I do not understand however that you put the F2.8 as a con?? Or are you comparing to the 1.4?

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 11:55h, 04 February Reply

      Hi Naomi,

      Thank you! Yeah I would definitely do more research on that. I put it as a con because the aperture only goes up to F2.8. This might not be the best aperture for those who want a more shallow depth of field. You’d get better results with a 1.4. But if that isn’t your priority, then I guess it wouldn’t be a con. Sorry for the confusion. Thanks for reading!

  • Suzanne Spiegoski
    Posted at 18:42h, 03 February Reply

    Wow! Love this ‘pancake’ lens! I might have to get one myself! Thanks for sharing honey, your pictures are just gorgeous! Cute kitty friend 🙂

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 19:32h, 03 February Reply

      Haha thank you! I couldn’t get them out of my shots..figured I’d just have them pose with the lens 🙂

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