The Travel Kit Late 2020

You may remember that shortly after the Nikon Z6 and Z7 appeared, I suggested that the optimal two-lens travel kit was the 24-70mm f/4 S kit lens coupled with the F-mount 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E AF-P lens on the FTZ adapter. That's still not a bad combination, at all, particularly if you use 300mm a lot. But today I'm going to alter my two lens travel suggestion for Z5, Z6, Z6 II, Z7, and Z7 II owners:

  • 14-30mm f/4 S — Extends you into wide territory without a lot of drama. Extreme corners can smear, particularly wide open, but this lens does a fine job for run-and-gun travel photography.
  • 24-200mm f/4-6.3 — The lens that's probably on your camera most of the time, since it adroitly moves from a fairly wide angle to a moderate telephoto without any significant issues. 

A Z6 kit with these two lenses clocks in at 61.1 ounces—less than four pounds; 1730g for my non-US friends—and is very pack friendly. You can consider modest-sized backpacks that have a camera+lens accessible area at the bottom with lots of general purpose storage at the top. Yet you're competently covering a 10.3 to 103° horizontal angle of view. If you need macro, add an extension tube and learn when and how to use it.

The reason why I mention this is because those of you considering picking up a Z system over the holiday are going to be confronted with Nikon's kit lens choices, or, in some cases, lack of kit lens choices. The temptation for the more casual shooter—and most travel photography is more casual in nature than highly specific—is going to be to pick up the 24-50mm or 24-70mm lens because of the way Nikon is pricing and kitting. There's a bit of deviousness to how Nikon is packaging product, though: they're trying to encourage more lens buying later on. 

There's nothing wrong with the 24-70mm f/4 S. Thing is, the 24-200mm is pretty much the same optically through that reduced focal range, but then gives you a competent, but slow aperture, 70-200mm on top of that, without having to change lenses. Nailed it. 

Of course, Z50 buyers should just pick up the two-lens kit that Nikon sells (16-50mm, 50-250mm). 

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