The Best Canon Lens for Travel: The 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Lens

July 19, 2023

Lifestyle, Photography, Travel, Travel Tips

Are you a traveler and photographer looking for the perfect lens to carry with you on vacation? As someone who loves to take pictures while traveling, After years of trying several different lenses, I finally settled on my favorite: the Canon 18-135 mm f 3.5-5.6 USM lens.

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I purchased this lens a few years ago, and it still is a necessity in my camera bag. For me, this is without a doubt the best lens for travel photography that I own. I’ve been looking forever for a lens that has the ability to take wide shots and zoom shots, is good for portraits, and is affordable. This lens meets all my requirements! So if you have been searching like me for the ideal lens for travel, look no further than this awesome piece of photography gear!

Note: If you are a Nikon user, I believe the equivalent lens would be the Nikon 18-140 mm f 3.5-5.6. I have never used this lens personally, so I don’t have an opinion about it. But you can see the reviews on here. All I know for sure is that I love my Canon lens!

This lens can be expensive for new photographers, but keep reading to find out how you can get an awesome deal on this lens! Here’s why the Canon 18-135 mm is my most used lens!

Traveling with Different Lenses

The Canon 18-135 has been the only lens I’ve taken on many of my trips. For example, on my summer trip to Canada, this lens proved its worth while I photographed the majestic landscapes of Banff and Waterton. I used my phone occasionally for quick snaps, but other than that, my camera equipped with this lens was my main photography tool.

If you haven’t seen my previous posts from my trip to Canada, check out the photo-filled adventures I had at Banff and Waterton in Alberta!

Waterton Lake and mountains in Alberta, Canada

On previous trips, I used my 50 mm f 1.8 lens as a walk-around lens, but I often had to take a step back to get everything in the frame. Sometimes even moving back wasn’t enough. Of course, I love my “nifty fifty”, especially for portraits, and it’s an awesome starter lens. However, not being able to zoom in or out is often a frustration while on trips.

In addition, I would have to switch to my 75-300 mm lens for zoom pictures. This zoom lens is great for far-away shots, but nearly useless for portraits and wide shots.

Basically, I wanted an all-in-one lens so I wouldn’t have to keep switching back and forth, and I also didn’t even own a wide-angle lens for landscape shots. I decided that my Canada trip was the perfect chance to try out something new, so I bought the 18-135 mm!


I never wished that I had brought a different lens on my vacation. I was able to capture every view that I wanted with no problem. Having just one lens to carry around and not having to stop and switch between lenses is so convenient!

The zoom range is very good on the 18-135 mm. To give you an example, I took this picture at a beautiful lookout point near Waterton in Alberta. This is the widest shot I could get, and I was using a focal length of 18 mm.

Lookout point in Alberta Canada with mountains, green fields, and cloudy blue sky

Like this photo? You can find prints of this and more of my photos to decorate your home in my Etsy shop.

I also took a shot zoomed in on the cloudy mountains on the right. As you can see in the photo below, the lens does an excellent job of covering any zoom range you need. And this photo was only taken at 97 mm, so I wasn’t even using the maximum zoom!

Cloudy mountains in alberta canada

The 18-135 mm is great for portraits, too! My friend Brittney and I had several photoshoots on our trip. Even though the widest aperture on this lens is 3.5, the bokeh it produces is still very good! In other words, you can achieve those creamy, blurry backgrounds that make portraits look so pretty and professional! Check out my examples below!

Girl in Japanese garden, blurry background, bokeh

Photoshoot in Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in Lethbridge, AB


Girl petting brown horse with bokeh farm background

Brittney petting Ben while he munches on oats at the farm we visited near Lethbridge, AB

If you are going somewhere specifically to take portraits, then the 50 mm 1.8 is a better choice because wider aperture = more light and more background blur. However, not having to worry about carrying two lenses and switching them out is so much better in my opinion. The 18-135 mm does a great job all by itself.

Budget Friendly

This lens has a lot of value for the price. If you buy it new, it retails at around $600. However, you can also find bundles and renewed lenses on Amazon for as cheap as $300!Be sure to check for good deals here on Amazon.

If you’ve read this far, you’ll know that the Canon 18-135mm has won my heart. If you are looking for the most versatile, budget-friendly, and high-quality travel lens, this is my top recommendation! I hope you found this information useful, and I hope you will give the Canon 18-135 a try. You won’t regret it!

What’s your favorite lens for travel? Tell me below in the comments!

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  1. […] is the one I want. I love it so much that I even wrote a more detailed review in this blog post: The Best Lens for Travel. Check it out if you want to know […]

  2. PAI.B.B. says:

    Sure ,it is a very versatile lens .I am using this lens for most of my photo shoot.

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