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My Best Lens for Railway Photography

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My Best Lens for Railway Photography

Back in the days when only the film camera was available, the most used and popular lens then was the 50mm.

Today, I think that the most popular size of a lens and the best for railway photography is between 24mm to a 105mm.

This type of lens that is between a low length to a small telephoto size that can be very useful. The low length can allow you to get more of a wide-angle photo. This could include a train within a nice bit of landscape. The small zoom size is ideal for distant trains that you cannot get closer to.

My Favourite Lens 

The lens I use the most for my railway photographs is the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. For me, this is an ideal lens, it allows you to take a photo that can be quite wide and also fairly close to the train.

I have had this lens for just over five years now. I do not intend to get rid of it or exchange for a different one.

Over 75% of my photographs in my gallery were taken with this lens of mine.

Reasons I like it

1: This Canon lens gives a huge range of shooting situations that I think is great.

2: Having used the correct settings I usually get excellent quality photographs.

3: The lens itself is a moderate size, not very heavy so it is easy to hold.

4: Using this type of lens you don’t have to waste time changing lenses.

5: This lens can cover a decent area ranging from 24mm wide-angle to 105mm small zoom length telephoto.

I personally think that the 24-105mm f/4 is the perfect combination of great focal lengths, quality, and price.

You might never take it off your camera!

If you are not a Canon owner, I am pretty sure that other cameras will do a similar type of lens. MPB sells a lot of second-hand lenses, if you have a look, you will probably find something very close to my favourite lens.

Wide Angle Photo

This photograph was taken at the wide angle 33mm on the lens.

Photo Details:

GWR 0-6-0 No: 3205 is seen at Hood Bridge working the 14.17 Totnes Littlehempston to Buckfastleigh service on the 22nd April 2011 during the South Devon Railway Easter Gala

Small Zoom Photo

I photographed this train at the small zoom size of 90mm.

Photo Details:

70809 is seen at Dawlish working the 647Q 05.46 freight service from Aberthaw to Moorswater on the 11th March 2020


You can use any type of lens that you are happy with. Of course, any lens choice ultimately comes down to you and what you need it for. Just because this Canon lens is my favourite, it does not mean it has to be yours too.

Please feel free to let me know what lens you use the most for your railway photos.

Please Share!