Best Lens for Disneyland – What DSLR lenses should I bring?

What is best lens for Disneyland? Before going to Disneyland last week I debated what lenses should I take. We headed to the Happiest Place on Earth for my daughter’s cheerleading competition. It was held in the Hyperion Theater inside California Adventure. I knew I was going to take my Canon EOS 7D DSLR and my Canon 70-200mm 2.8 II lens for the competition, but what other lenses should I bring? I want to cover a decent zoom range, low light, and wide angles. Since no single lens would cover my needs, I brought several.

I even debated not bringing a DSLR at all (other than the day of the competition), but I did not want to miss a photo opportunity so the DSLR came with me every day in the park. I also brought along my Sony RX-100. It’s a wonderful compact camera and an excellent choice when I had my DSLR in the bag or just wanted a quick snapshot.

I ended up bringing my 35L, 24-105L, and my 10-22. The 10-22mm allowed me to get really wide angle shots, the 24-105mm was my general purpose lens, and the 35L was for low light and creativity shots. I never used my 70-200mm except for the competition. I thought I might use it to grab photos of the kids on rides, but in the end I was normally sitting next to them so the 70-200 just did not get used.

The 35L on a crop camera like the 7D was a bit tight for Disneyland in my opinion. The 35L on a full fram body would have been perfect.  It was still nice to get low light photos inside rides like The Pirates of the Caribbean.

This photo was taken in very low and yellow light. I was shooting at an aperture of f/1.4, a shutter speed of 1/30, and an ISO of 2500. It was also nice to blur out the background a bit in well lit environments like this one, which was shot with an aperture of f/2.2, shutter speed of 1/100, and an ISO of 125.

The 10-22mm lens was great when I wanted a wide shot. At 10mm you will get some distortion at the edges so be mindful when shooting people and straight lines. The 10-22mm works well for people as long as you remember the distortion you get the wider you go.

The 24-105mm served as my main lens for the trip. For me it is a wonderful focal length, but some people like wider on a crop body. For those people the 15-85mm or 17-55mm would probably work better. 24mm is generally wide enough for me and when I want wide I switch over to the 10-22mm anyway.

Changing lenses is not always easy in the park. If you are there for photography you can sit down and swap things around. If you are like me and running around with several kids, swapping lenses needs to happen at specific times like waiting in line. Often when we were getting to the end of the line I would put my DSLR in my bag so the Sony RX-100 was handy since it was hanging off my belt.

For most people I would recommend just taking a point-n-shoot camera. Do you really want to deal with the extra hassle and weight of a DSLR? For me it was a no brainer, I carry my DSLR whenever possible.

If you looking for a minimal setup go with zoom lens and skip the primes. Go wide for Disneyland, there are very few opportunities to use a long telephoto lens. I would at least go as wide as 15mm or 17mm on a crop camera. On the long side 50mm to 85mm will probably be just fine.  I covered 10mm to 200mm, however 19mm to 35mm was my most common focal range.  Remember have fun in Disneyland, your photos will look better when everyone is smiling.