I am a photographer who likes to take all the pictures. When I travel with my family, I capture the entire feeling of a trip, from macro and still life shots to landscape images to pictures of my kids playing. I usually bring a backpack stuffed to the brim with camera equipment to cover all those genres, and let’s face it: When I’m running after my four boys on vacation, that gets pretty exhausting.

Recently I took a trip with my family and challenged myself to only use one lens. Yep, just one. I needed something versatile, lightweight, and durable, since I knew I’d be outside in the elements with it quite a bit. In this case, I knew I’d be reaching for a Tamron lens, and decided that the Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD lens would give me enough versatility to handle a variety of shooting scenarios.

This lens did not disappoint. Let me tell you about my favorite features, and why it might be the best lens to use when you can only choose one.

Tamron 35mm lens, photo of an oyster restaurant
Oysters shot with Tamron 35mm lens

The 35mm focal length of this Tamron lens is incredibly versatile.

The 35mm focal length is a great choice for when you want to shoot everything: indoors, outdoors, portraits, landscape, still life. It gives me just enough room to get what I need without much distortion, and allows me to seamlessly transition from sweeping landscapes to low-light portraits.

The ability to open up to f/1.4 is a game changer. It means that I don’t have to compromise with a high ISO in low-light situations, so I can keep shooting through golden hour and beyond. It also means I can get beautiful bokeh and a creamy background without having to lug around a heavy longer lens.

And the autofocus on this lens is incredibly fast and accurate, meaning that I was able to shoot at f/1.4 at the end of golden hour, through a thorny bush to frame my son, and get a perfectly sharp image.

Environmental portrait of a boy taken with Tamron 35mm lens

I love that this lens is so lightweight.

This lens is the perfect size. It’s small and light, so I can throw it in my beach bag or my diaper bag with no problem. I didn’t even bring my camera backpack with me during our trip, instead just toting my DSLR with the Tamron 35mm lens attached.

I had no problem hiking for several miles with my kids while keeping this camera/lens combo strapped to me. My kids were relieved that for once they didn’t have to help carry my gear! And at no point did I feel regret that I hadn’t brought more lenses with me, since I was able to use this lens for everything that I normally would shoot on vacation.

Baby on a hammock taken with Tamron lenses

I need very durable lenses, and the Tamron 35mm hits the mark.

I have been using Tamron lenses for years, and they have been my go-to lenses for just that long. I cannot tout their durability enough. As a photographer who likes to take her gear everywhere and shoot through every condition, I find this feature extremely important. I need to be able to throw on my camera and lens, hike through water, rain, fog, and snow with four kids in tow, and still be able to create beautiful imagery. Tamron lenses are the only ones that I’ve used that can do all that without missing a beat!

The fluorine coating is like liquid gold.

This is hands-down my number one favorite thing about Tamron lenses. Their fluorine coating is like liquid gold. I have been out shooting in some pretty rugged conditions — rain, fog, freezing cold — and I have used my jacket sleeve, shirt hem, or whatever else I can find to wipe down my lenses to keep shooting through the weather. I don’t recommend this, but sometimes you get desperate in a pinch when you need to get the shot!

Not only does this coating help to repel the water, dirt, and oil, but it also protects the lens from scratches and smudges. I have never had so much as a scratch on my Tamron lenses, and I am pretty tough on my gear.

Tamron’s moisture-resistant construction is a must for me.

Tamron lenses are sealed tight. And no, I don’t mean you can submerge your lens underwater, but when I’m out in the field in adverse weather conditions, Tamron lenses don’t let me down. They are the only lenses I own that do not fog up uncontrollably when faced with changing humidity, temperature, and moisture. I know I can trust these lenses when I’m out shooting, no matter what Mother Nature throws my way.

And a bonus feature I love about this Tamron 35mm lens…

A little bonus feature that I find perfect: the hood-locking mechanism. The lens hood locks in place, and can only be detached by pushing a button and turning. So it’s virtually impossible to accidentally detach the lens hood, even if it bumps up against something solid. As a photographer who has lost her fair share of lens hoods, I absolutely love this feature!

Sailboat taken with Tamron 35mm lens

If I can only bring one lens on a trip that will have not only beautiful landscapes, but also plenty of opportunities for portraits of my boys? I’m going to stick with the Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD. For me, it’s a great choice for ONE lens that serves all of my needs and satisfies my gear-loving heart. It just may become my new go-to lens!

Photos by Megan Arndt

This is a sponsored post but opinions are those of the author.