Following on from our Best Cameras for Mural Photography article, we’ve delved into a selection of the finest landscape photography lenses on offer.
Right behind “What camera do you use”
in the oftentimes asked questions category is the question – “What lenses are all-time for landscape photography?”
As with everything, the answer to that question isn’t simple. There are a huge range of lenses on offer, covering different focal lengths, aperture ranges, and lens mounts. Non merely that, but some of them take specific features that can add to the decision making procedure.
Information technology’due south a very deep rabbit pigsty to head down, but we’ve been down there for y’all.
Over again we’ll exist covering a range of budgets to ensure that anybody is catered for, and unlike about articles nosotros won’t only be focusing on the ultra wide bending lenses. Instead, we’ll cover almost every focal length that a landscape photographer is probable to demand!
Looking for some more tips on landscape photography? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Landscape Photography eBook here!
So, What are the Options?
Many people tend to think merely of wide angle vistas when the term ‘landscape photography’ is mentioned, but limiting yourself to merely the wide end of the focal range spectrum is a huge mistake.
In fact, my broad-angle lens probably isn’t fifty-fifty the about used lens in my handbag. I use both a standard prime and my telephoto lens but equally much, if non more.
This opens upwards a wealth of options for mural photographers, so hither are the questions you should consider:
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Prime or Zoom Lens?
Information technology’s simply in the past decade or then that zoom lenses have become the norm in photography. For the vast role of photographic history it’s been all near prime lenses, and they should nonetheless be advisedly considered today.
Indeed, zoom lenses have come a long way and the all-time of them can now compare to the best of primes. However, with that extra versatility of being able to zoom comes added complications and increased raw materials and manufacturing costs. The outcome? They’re damn expensive!
We’ve covered some reasons to use prime lenses hither, but the summarise – They’re by and large cheaper and take better image quality. They’re too smaller and lighter, but of course that comes at the price of versatility.
It’s a very personal decision. Would you prefer to get more for your money in terms of image quality, or is the ease of being able to optically zoom a bigger depict? I personally utilize a mixture of zoom and prime lenses.
Full-Frame or DX (Cropped Sensor) Lens?
When DSLRs kickoff came to market nosotros weren’t treated to the aforementioned assortment of camera bodies equally we are now. Basically, the sensor was e’er a cropped sensor (as explained here), and then all the lenses released at that fourth dimension were fabricated specifically for this sensor.
The problem? DX lenses don’t really work on full-frame cameras. The projected image ends up smaller than the sensor, which ways that instead of a total image you finish up with your prototype in a circle inside a blackness rectangle. Of course, yous can crop it so it becomes usable, but that’s non making the about of your expensive full-frame sensor is it?
For this reason, I e’er recommend paying a bit of a premium for FX compatible lenses. This is truthful for those with cropped sensor camera bodies too – All of them piece of work on cropped sensor cameras, and it severely reduces the pain of whatever future upgrade to full frame. Yous tin can just replace the camera body, rather than having to upgrade your entire lens selection also.
There are a couple of exceptions though, which we’ll get into later.
Wide-Bending or Telephoto Lens?
Don’t make that conclusion – Get for both! Landscape photography isn’t confined to whatever specific focal length, so make sure you’ve got a fairly broad array of zoom levels covered.
Personally, I don’t feel the demand to go whatever longer than a 200mm lens. The added weight and toll of the longer lenses aren’t justified by the small amount of times when I’ve wished for a longer lens. For this reason, on a total-frame camera, I try to have lenses in between 15mm and 200mm in focal length.
Note – That doesn’t mean I accept every millimetre covered, I find that rather unnecessary.
Old or New?
New lenses obviously come with their advantages. Generally speaking they’re manufactured improve and deliver higher quality results, although in that location are many exceptions. They too come up with all the bells and whistles such as image stabilization (IS) and autofocus. And a large price tag.
Older lenses rarely have IS and in some cases forego autofocus every bit well. Yet, some of them are exceptionally good quality and much cheaper. For case, the Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D was released over twenty years agone and is under $400, but it has an excellent DxOMark score of 36, placing it above the much newer and more expensive Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G. Information technology’s over $i,000 cheaper and rated more highly than the 2010 Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G.
Not only that, but the build quality is ofttimes much more robust than the plastic-based modern lenses. They have a certain grapheme about them as well which is appealing, and I know more than a few landscape photographers who
shoot with old transmission focus prime lenses.
Again, it’southward a personal decision. Do you want the convenience of AF and IS or the rustic charm of old film era lenses? Once more, I have a mixture of both.
The Best Lenses for Landscape Photography
DX (Cropped Sensor) Format Lenses
If y’all’re shooting with a cropped sensor photographic camera, at that place are two situations where I would recommend ownership a lens designed specifically with the DX mount in heed – Wide-bending lenses and inexpensive lenses.
Wide-angle lenses because of the crop factor. A super wide bending lens such as the Tamron 15-30mm isn’t a super broad-angle on DX photographic camera bodies. That 15mm becomes a 22.5mm effective on Nikon, which isn’t all that wider than the kit lens that may take come up with your camera. Instead, you can opt for a DX format lens, which will exist cheaper and become down to significantly lower focal lengths.
The other situation is where a DX format lens is and then much cheaper than information technology’s FX equivalent that it’s worth holding off on ownership the full frame lens.
Tokina AT-Ten 11-20mm f/two.8 PRO DX
Expanding on their splendid eleven-16mm DX model, Tokina released the AT-X 11-20mm f/2.8 PRO DX in 2014 and it remains one of the very best broad-bending lenses on the market for cropped sensor cameras.
The image quality is superb, and the 11mm minimum focal length provide an equivalent of 16.5mm in full-frame terms. To say the least, it’s plenty wide enough. Not but that, but the constant f/2.eight discontinuity makes information technology an absolute dream for the astrophotographers among the states.
Tokina are usually first-class in the build quality department too, and this lens is no exception. Add that to the respectable price tag and you have an absolutely fantastic wide-angle zoom for your cropped sensor camera.
Cropped sensor shooters looking for the very best in epitome quality. Also, astrophotographers.
Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.half-dozen EX DC HSM
For those on a slightly more modest budget, the Sigma x-20mm f/iv-5.6 EX DC HSM lens is a adept alternative to the fantabulous Tokina above.
Information technology offers an actress millimetre on the short terminate of the focal range, and while that may look negligible in wide-angle terms that is actually quite meaning. Information technology as well brings an excellent HSM autofocus system to the mix, which is nice to accept fifty-fifty if it’s not a landscape lensman’s most primary concern.
The reduction in price does accept it’s drawbacks though. Most obvious is the smaller and variable maximum discontinuity of f/4-5.half-dozen. For most landscape photographers this won’t be an issue at all, as we’re normally using apertures in the f/8 to f/16 range. However, for those interested in astrophotography information technology is a huge drawback.
The paradigm quality isn’t upward at that place with the Tokina xi-20mm f/ii.eight above, but information technology’s more than passable and unless you’re pixel peeping it’s barely noticeable.
Budget conscious mural photographers shooting on cropped sensor
Nikon AF-Southward DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G
This is a must-take lens. Not only for landscape photographers, but for whatsoever lensman shooting on a cropped sensor Nikon.
The 35mm focal length is roughly equivalent to the ‘standard’ focal length of 50mm on total frame, and it makes information technology perfect for those landscapes where a wide angle isn’t the best option. Certain, you could buy the full-frame 35mm lenses on offer, just they would set you back
more money, and would probably become redundant if you did upgrade to full-frame (because many of the wide-angle zooms for full-frame encompass the 35mm focal length).
The cost is merely staggeringly low considering the quality. It is by far the highest rated DX lens on DxOMark in this price category, and yous have to go every bit high equally $500 before you detect annihilation that beats information technology.
In fact, in terms of image quality it comes third in DX format lenses on DxOMark. That’s overall – Canon, Nikon, Sigma, Tokina, Tamron, zooms, primes, expensive, budget. Third overall, ahead of many lenses that cost a k!
Hands down, this is my favourite e’er lens. I was pitiful when I had to sell it after upgrading to full-frame, and even so haven’t found annihilation that I enjoy using as much as the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G.
Everybody with a cropped sensor Nikon photographic camera.
FX (Full-Frame) Lenses for Mural Photography
For the about office, I abet planning for the future and ownership lenses that were designed with a full-frame sensor in mind. These are chosen FX lenses, but they all work seamlessly on their cropped sensor counterparts as well.
That means that yous tin can buy an FX lens, use it on your cropped sensor photographic camera, and then not have to supercede information technology if you eventually decide to upgrade to a total-frame camera. Apart from in the situations I listed to a higher place, this is the path I’d recommend taking (if your budget allows it).
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A wide-bending lens is a pretty crucial part of the vast majority of mural lensman’s kit bags. It allows you to capture those sweeping vistas that are synonymous with landscape photography, and the broad field of view offers a alter in perspective that will catch the centre.
Tamron SP 15-30mm f/two.viii Di VC USD
This is, hands down, the best wide-angle zoom lens available for full frame cameras. It beats the significantly more than expensive Nikon 14-24mm and Catechism xi-24mm in the image quality section, although it does sacrifice a bit on the shorter end of the focal range.
Still, it’s near one-half the price of the Nikon 14-24mm and nearly three times less expensive than the ultra wide Canon 11-24mm, and it still comes out on height for image quality!
The one downside to this lens is the front end chemical element. Information technology’s hugely bulbous, which means it can’t take regular screw-in filters or ‘off-the-shelf’ filter kits. However, many filter manufacturers are providing adaptors now, so it is still possible to employ filters with the lens. That being said, both the Nikon 14-24mm and the Catechism 11-24mm suffer from this same problem.
Basically, if you want the very best image quality for a great price then this is the lens to beat. The but other lens in this range to come out sharper than this is the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L Iii USM, just the difference is negligible, it’south double the price, and it sacrifices some other millimetre on the wide stop of the focal length spectrum.
Mural photographers wanting a zoom lens with the very best image quality
Tokina AT-X 17-35mm f/4 Pro FX
Information technology’southward dorsum to the trusty old Tokina range for our budget friendly selection in the realm of the full-frame wide angle lenses.
The Tokina 17-35mm f/iv AT-X PRO FX lens comes out at effectually half the price of the Tamron, and while information technology’s significantly less well endowed in the image quality department it’s by far the best budget choice available to full-frame users.
In testing, it comes out marginally improve than the more expensive Catechism EF 17-40mm f/4L and the Nikon AF-South 16-35mm f/4G ED VR, but is much less expensive than both of them.
Admittedly it’south rather wearisome autofocus does let it downward slightly, just equally landscape photographers we’re rarely in demand of the ultra-fast autofocus organisation that’south a necessity in genres such as sport or wild fauna.
Overall, information technology’s a skillful quality lens at a bargain cost, although you do have to accept some sacrifices.
The budget conscious full-frame landscape photographer.
Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM
Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens
- L-series ultra-wide zoom lens with an impressive 11mm starting focal length
- Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: eleven–24mm f/4, Closest Focusing Altitude : 11 in. / 0.28m
Okay, I may have just said how this doesn’t stack up to the much cheaper Tamron fifteen-30mm f/2.8 in terms of image quality, but it’due south notwithstanding an exceptional lens.
Image quality is beaten by just four other wide-angle zoom lenses, and none of them fifty-fifty come close to how wide this thing is. Honestly, you tin’t actually epitome an 11mm focal length on a total-frame photographic camera until you see it – It’s
The Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-v.6 DG Two HSM lens does come up close and costs much less, only it’s significantly worse in the image quality department also.
If you’ve got money to fire and want the widest of the wide, then information technology’s hard to beat the Catechism EF 11-24mm f/4L.
Large budget landscape photographers who want to capture the whole view and more.
Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
Sigma 20mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Canon
- Optical designs is highly resistant to strong incidental light sources such as backlight
- Minimized Chromatic abnormality, baloney, and ghosting. Weight is 2.i pounds
If having optical zoom isn’t elevation of your priority list and so yous open the door for some incredible options at reasonable prices, and this is the best of the all-time.
Sigma’s Art range has been revered for it’due south quality for years, and this is no exception. The Sigma 20mm f/ane.4 DG HSM Art is top of the pile for image quality, and not fifty-fifty past a small corporeality. It has a huge 41 rating on DxOMark, with the second place Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM scoring a modest 34 on that calibration. A huge deviation!
The f/1.four aperture on a 20mm lens is staggering really, and makes this a sensational choice for astrophotographers. That 20mm focal length is very usable for general landscape photography, and it’s not often I have felt limited past it to be honest.
Autofocus isn’t quite every bit high finish as the image quality, but considering the very reasonable price point and the out of this world image quality I’g willing to let that slide.
Zoom sceptics and those looking for the very all-time in image quality. As well, astrophotographers.
Samyang / Rokinon 14mm f/two.8 IF ED UMC Aspherical
No products found.
Peradventure the Sigma 20mm f/1.four Art is out of your price range, or maybe 20mm just isn’t wide enough for your mural photography. No matter, Samyang are on mitt to offer an ultra-wide upkeep option that doesn’t skimp on image quality.
The Samyang 14mm f/two.8 IF ED UMC has long been touted equally the lens of choice for astrophotographers, and the reason is simple – Information technology’southward fantabulous quality, inexpensive, and wide as hell!
It scores a bear upon lower than the legendary Nikon 14-24mm on the DxOMark charts for prototype quality, merely somehow comes in at under $500. I say somehow, merely it’s pretty obvious – All the focus went into making the highest quality optics possible. There is no autofocus, IS, or whatever of those luxuries.
Yet, no other wide angle lenses come close to this in terms of image quality for anywhere close to this price. The Tokina AT-X 17-35mm f/4 PRO FX is a full five points lower than the Samyang 14mm on the scoring charts, and it’s more than expensive likewise.
Astrophotographers and landscape photographers on a budget who don’t mind a prime lens.
‘Normal’ Lenses for Landscape Photography
Along with a wide-angle lens, yous’ll want something in what’s called the ‘normal’, or ‘standard’ focal range. This tends to refer to whatsoever lenses between 35mm and 70mm, and delivers a perspective and field of view that is comparable to the man eye.
Traditionally, all SLR cameras were shipped with a 50mm standard lens, and having ane of these in the bag has continued to exist a good movement.
As a word of warning, don’t get tricked into thinking y’all need every millimetre of the focal range covered. By all means, go for it if y’all like, but it’s certainly not a necessity. Personally, I tend to head out with but my 50mm prime lens in the ‘standard’ range.
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Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
Unless you desire to shell out four thou on a Carl Zeiss lens, this is the best you can buy in the standard focal range, and a nifty-fifty is something that every photographer should have in their armory!
Sigma corrected a lot of previous mistakes with this release of the 50mm f/one.four DG HSM Fine art, and the upshot is a standard prime that is simply incomparable unless you lot take an extortionate amount of money to spend on the Carl Zeiss Distagon T Otus 55mm.
It beats out both Nikon and Canon equivalents and delivers well-nigh perfect images in terms of sharpness, chromatic aberrations, and distortion.
Sigma really take outdone themselves with their Art range of lenses, and this is another that is just summit of the line at a reasonable toll.
Prime enthusiasts wanting top of the line in paradigm quality
Canon EF 50mm f/i.eight STM / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G
If you lot want a more budget friendly standard prime, and then both the Canon and Nikon 50mm f/ane.8 lenses offer the perfect solution. They’re so similarly matched that it wasn’t worth creating 2 sections for them, and so we’ll discuss them together.
They both cost an extremely budget friendly corporeality of your hard earned cash, and both offer infrequent prototype quality even when you don’t consider the bargain basement price. I mean, both of them actually slightly
the $1300 Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar 50mm, which is absolutely incredible.
In case you lot were wondering, the reason for these 50mm lenses beingness and so cheap and optically great is because lens manufacturers have had decades to perfect this relatively straightforward focal length. So now you know!
Budget conscious photographers wanting a standard prime in their arsenal
Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
If you’re determined to get that entire focal range covered, or maybe yous merely don’t like using prime lenses, then you can opt for a zoom lens covering this standard focal range.
Once again, the third political party lenses come up out of this smelling like roses, with the excellent Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD scoring an fantabulous 32 on the DxOMark tests. This is slightly beneath the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM admittedly, so if y’all’re a Canon shooter and have the actress money to burn so that is a great option.
For the rest of us, this is exceptional. Information technology beats the Nikon equivalent hands-downwardly despite costing a expert chunk of change less. It likewise has image stabilization and controls things such as ghosting, distortion, and chromatic aberration very well indeed.
Overall, it’south a height quality lens for those who have adverse feelings towards primes.
Landscape photographers favouring zooms and wanting to encompass the entire focal length.
Telephoto Lenses for Landscape Photography
Telephoto lenses are so often undervalued in landscape photography. Everyone thinks of the wide sweeping vista, and so they either ignore the telephoto lens entirely or settle for a deal basement selection which does goose egg but damage their photography.
Poor epitome quality is fifty-fifty more noticeable in telephoto lenses due to their high magnification, so settling for second or third rate here really tells. Even so, the top quality telephoto lenses do cost a lot of money, so as always it’southward a balancing act between what y’all can beget and what quality you want.
For the purposes of this guide, we’re considering everything from 70mm to 300mm as a telephoto lenses. Anything longer than that is, in my experience, rarely used and more effort than information technology’s worth to carry it effectually all solar day!
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Tamron SP 70-200mm f/ii.8 Di VC USD
Tamron SP seventy-200mm F/two.8 Di VC G2 for Nikon FX DSLR (6 Year…
- VC functioning is 5 stops (VC mode iii) and offers 3 modes optimized for different shooting situations
- MOD reduced to 37.4″ (1:half dozen.one max. mag. Ratio). Bending of view (diagonal): 34°21′ – 12°21′(for full-frame format), 22°33′ – 7°59′(for APS-C format)
It used to exist the instance that if you bought third party lenses you were taking a huge gamble. Quality control was oftentimes poor, and they rarely stacked up against their Nikon and Canon counterparts.
Every bit y’all may have guessed from this listing, that is no longer the case. The Tamron SP lxx-200mm f/ii.8 Di VC G2 is quite simply the best lens in it’s class. It’s sharp throughout it’south zoom range and performs very well with the discontinuity wide open, also as bringing along the very helpful image stabilization and silent autofocus.
It’south marginally better than the Canon L series equivalent merely costs about one-half equally much, chirapsia it in every category apart from chromatic aberration. It blows the Nikon competitor out of the water too, again costing nigh half every bit much.
If you’re looking for a top of the range 70-200mm lens, then the Tamron obliterates all other opposition in terms of value for money. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Mural photographers looking for the best telephoto lens out there.
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR
One thing that is a
trouble for landscape photographers is the sheer size and weight of the loftier finish telephoto lens. Having such loftier levels of image quality while keeping the maximum aperture at that fabled f/2.8 level requires
But equally landscape photographers, how often are we really shooting at f/ii.8, especially with a telephoto lens? The answer is not a lot, so we can make some compromises there.
That’s where the Nikon 70-200mm f/4G ED VR comes in. It rivals the image quality of the Nikon f/2.viii counterpart, merely drastically reduces the burden on your shoulders. In fact, it weighs almost one-half as much as the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 (850g compared to one,540g) and measures in a full 30mm shorter.
If you think this departure is negligible, and then you’ve never dragged 1 of these monsters up a mountain along with all your camping gear. Saving almost 800g is a huge bonus.
As I mentioned, image quality stacks up confronting it’s doubly expensive f/two.viii Nikon counterpart, and while not upward to the same lofty heights of the Tamron higher up information technology is withal excellent.
Canon also have a similar offering in their Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM, but information technology’due south not quite every bit good as the Nikon version.
The weight saving mural lensman
Sigma 70-300mm f/iv-5.six APO-M DG Macro
Okay nosotros get information technology, shelling out about or over a thousand for a telephoto lens you lot’re not sure you’ll utilise is a big enquire (Hint: You definitely volition employ it).
For those of you looking to go along the costs lower, and significantly so, and so in that location’south the range more affordable telephoto lenses that as well work on full frame cameras. The best of the bunch hither is the Sigma 70-300mm f/four-v.half-dozen APO Macro DG, which also offers a shut focusing way. It’s non true macro, simply it’southward still a useful and fun characteristic to have.
Paradigm quality doesn’t compare to the Tamron 70-200mm f/two.8 Di VC USD, but it scores a respectable 22 on the DxOMark charts and costs a fraction of the professional grade glass above.
What’s more, it weights even less than the Nikon 70-200mm f/4, and also adds an extra 100mm of accomplish into the mix! At 550g and 122mm it’s nigh a kilogram lighter than the Tamron lxx-200mm and almost 100mm shorter. A existent weight and spacespaver for your pocketbook.
The upkeep and weight conscious landscape photographer who wants that fiddling extra reach.
Carl Zeiss 135mm f/2.0 APO Sonnar T ZE
Zeiss Milvus ii/135 ZE f/2.0 135mm Transmission Focus Lens (Catechism…
- CREATIVE STILL AND VIDEO PHOTOGRAPHY THROUGH PRECISE MANUAL FOCUSING: ZEISS Milvus lenses characteristic a large rotation bending which enables pinpoint focusing. The top-quality focusing mechanism moves smoothly without backfire, optimally supporting the lensman’s creative interplay with the focal plane of high-speed fixed focal lengths. Engraving in both meters and feet and the focus scale provide additional support for manual focusing. The long focusing range is optimal for video photography.
- FUTURE-PROOF SOLUTION FOR HIGH-RESOLUTION Photographic camera SYSTEMS: The excellent image operation of the ZEISS Milvus lenses is sharply focused on the requirements of current and future loftier-performance digital cameras. Thanks to the low level of stray light allowed past the lens pattern, high-contrast images are possible with increasing high dynamic ranges of the sensors (HDR). The minimization of coma, astigmatism and spherical aberrations enables consistently high resolution over the entire image field. The optics are designed to ensure total utilization of the operation provided past high-resolution camera systems.
If prime number lenses are more your thing, and then this is the one you want. The 135mm focal length is the perfect compromise between the wideness of the short telephoto range and the reach of the longer focal lengths.
Not only that, but this demolishes anything over 100mm in the image quality department. Honestly, this thing is precipitous as a tack, which is rather unsurprising given how legendary Carl Zeiss are at producing exceptional quality glass.
Because it’s sheer form, information technology’due south really rather reasonably priced and will just set you back about equally much equally a third part 70-200mm f/ii.8, so if you prefer to apply prime lenses this should certainly be on your radar.
Prime number lens lovers who still want some telephoto adequacy
In that location you have it – Along with our guide on the best cameras for landscape photography we should have all bases covered for your landscape photography needs.
The of import thing is to use what yous’re comfortable with, and spend what you’re comfy with spending. I have used these lenses, but there’southward no fashion that I’d ever want to accept all of them out with me. In fact, I wouldn’t even want to accept the highest rated in each department out with me at the same fourth dimension – The weight alone might break my shoulders!
Just for reference, here is what I ordinarily take out with me on an boilerplate landscape shoot:
- Nikon D810
- Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/one.8G
- Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD (or the lighter Nikon 18-35mm f/4-5.6)
- Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
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