What Lenses To Use For Landscape Photography

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If you’re a mural lensman, you care nearly lenses. That is true even if you don’t
know it’s true – a good lens is arguably the most important slice of equipment you can own. It is a common maxim, and almost entirely accurate, that lenses affair more than than your photographic camera. And then, what lenses are best for landscape photography, and how practise you choice the right ones for your needs? This article covers some of the most important considerations.

Why Your Lens Matters for Mural Photography

If you want to come across what makes lenses so important in landscape photography, accept a look at the photos below:

NIKON D800E + 20mm f/1.eight @ 20mm, ISO 100, ane/four, f/sixteen.0
Wide angle, upward shut.
Telephoto lens for landscape photography
NIKON D800E + 70-200mm f/4 @ 70mm, ISO 100, 0.six seconds, f/16.0
Telephoto paradigm of the same mural, just standing farther back.

It takes a moment to recognize that this is the
exact same landscape. Aside from differences in the calorie-free, I only changed two things here: my camera position and my lens. Those changes were enough to lead to ii photos with wildly different compositions and appearances.

With a wide-angle lens (the first photograph), I had to exist very close to the tree in order to capture an interesting composition. The mountains, though, are tiny past comparison, and that was impossible to avoid with this landscape and lens focal length.

In the 2nd photograph, though, the mountains have up most the entire height of the image. Information technology is a clear divergence. I captured the second perspective by walking away and zooming in with my telephoto lens. The two pictures are night and 24-hour interval.

Lenses affair because they change the way you compose your photographs. Every lens has its own style of “seeing” the world, just as the examples to a higher place demonstrate. Broad angles let you lot emphasize different elements compared to telephotos, and other aspects of a lens – things like weight, flare operation, maximum aperture, and sharpness – also can matter significantly for the type of mural photos you take.

When y’all decide to photograph a landscape, the first step is to picture the final image in your listen’southward eye (visualization). Which elements of the frame do you want to emphasize the most, and how do yous plan to practise so? Visualize exactly how the final photo volition look. Practice everything in your ability to make that vision a reality.

Lenses are within your power. They have a vast, foundational impact on your photos, and the proper use of lenses is one of the best tools you accept to tell your story.

Searching for the Best Mural Photography Lens

No two photographers volition take the same lens preferences, which means that the concept of a “all-time lens” for landscape photography varies from person to person. Information technology’due south not every bit if the sharpest wide lens on the market is the perfect landscape lens for every single photographer. Perchance it’s besides heavy, or it doesn’t take filters. Perhaps yous are more interested in a telephoto in the first identify.

This is why lens manufacturers take hundreds of different options on the market place correct now. They denote new ones every year, and more than choices are ever welcome.

When you’re picking a lens, ask yourself why that lens exists in the kickoff place. What does it do that others on the marketplace tin’t? Sometimes, two lenses may seem very similar, but they really have very different intended audiences.

For example, a seventy-200mm f/iv zoom and a 70-200mm f/ii.viii zoom are far from interchangeable. Even if both have the same optical quality, at that place will exist inherent differences but considering of the maximum aperture. The f/2.8 version will do better in low light, while the f/4 option will most always weigh and price significantly less. For landscape photography specifically, you need to remember virtually which of those factors is most important to you. (The standard answer would be light weight, but some mural photographers find the wider aperture useful for nighttime landscapes or closeups with less depth of field.)

The same is true for all the 50mm prime lenses on the market. They’re meant for different audiences. Yous might prefer the Sigma 50mm f/one.4 Art, and someone else might prefer the Canon 50mm f/ane.viii. As similar equally these 2 lenses may seem at first, they’re actually nothing alike. One is geared toward calorie-free weight and low price; the other is intended for maximum sharpness wide open, simply it’south heavy and expensive. If one is on your radar for landscape photography, in that location’southward a practiced chance that the other shouldn’t be.

Example photo taken with lens I don't like
NIKON D800E + 50mm f/1.4 @ 50mm, ISO 100, 1/25, f/11.0
I took this photo with the Sigma 50mm f/one.4 Art lens. Although this lens is remarkably sharp at f/i.4, information technology’s not much ameliorate than others on the marketplace at small f-stops like f/8 or f/xi – the nigh common settings for landscape photography. And then, for many landscape photographers, this lens is overkill – myself included.

I’m non saying that two dissimilar lenses cannot ever exist competitors. I also am not saying that information technology’s wrong to compare lenses side by side if y’all’re interested in both.

Instead, my uncomplicated suggestion is that there is no reason to worry yourself about lens comparisons when one is not fifty-fifty suited for the subject yous are trying to photograph. Although I know the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 is wonderful for portrait photography, I shouldn’t intendance that information technology’south better than my 70-200mm f/4 in bokeh quality,  because that’s just not relevant to the landscapes I take. The only purpose of seeking out such comparisons is to go lost in a fog of mine-is-better syndrome (or, to autumn into a masochistic, mine-is-worse depression). They have no bearing on photography itself.

A better way to pick a lens is to call back about
your goals in photography. Expect around at the available lens options, and come across which ones are the most relevant to your ain piece of work. Take every variable into consideration – not just sharpness, especially as a landscape photographer, since you’ll exist at sharp apertures almost of the time anyway. Things like build quality, flare performance, weight, focal length, and filter adequacy volition likely matter more.

And then, how do you figure out which lens is best for your requirements? There are a few different methods.

What Lenses Practise Landscape Photographers Need?

If you’re looking to photograph near annihilation in the wide world of landscapes, there are about four dissimilar lenses that are peculiarly useful:

  • 14mm f/2.viii:A broad-angle, broad-aperture lens for astrophotography
  • 16-35mm f/4: Intended for the most important range of wide angle shots
  • 24-70mm f/iv: Meant as a walk-around lens for normal focal lengths
  • 70-200mm f/four:
    Ideal for capturing distant landscapes and isolating subjects

The exact numbers here are not of import at all. You can cover functionally the same landscapes with a sixteen-35mm f/2.8, a 50mm f/1.viii, and a 70-300mm f/iv.5-five.6. Y’all can cover it all with prime lenses (14mm f/2.8, 24mm f/1.8, 35mm f/one.eight, 50mm f/1.eight, 85mm f/1.8, 135mm f/two, 200mm f/2.8, or a smaller sample of those). Y’all tin embrace it all with a superzoom and an astrophotography prime number.

This is also not to say you lot demand all of these lenses, or even almost. Many landscape photographers don’t demand or want anything more than a couple prime lenses, or a single normal zoom. For more than a yr, my only lens for landscape photography was a 105mm f/2.eight prime, and, afterward that, I added a 24mm prime number and shot with but those two lenses for another year. Some people never shoot astrophotography and have no want to exercise and so, while others wouldn’t ever employ a normal focal length for this type of work.

All the same, that is the basic kit if you desire to photo any sort of mural you may run across: something for nighttime landscapes, and a set from wide to telephoto. I gave the zoom lenses in the sample kit in a higher place a maximum discontinuity of f/four, since it saves some weight and price over an f/2.8 version, merely that is a small detail. The direction y’all take your kit from here depends upon your needs, including whether or not y’all will use your lenses in other genres of photography as well.

Then, how do you narrow things down to find the best possible lenses for landscape photography? Is there a adept way to know if you’ll need less than this kit, or something beyond it (say, a tilt-shift or a supertelephoto)? Indeed there is. It all comes down to a bit of cocky-analysis.

Evaluate Your Old Pictures

One of the best ways to option a good lens is to look at photos you’ve taken in the by. What trends do you lot come across?

Personally, I like telephoto lenses for mural photography. I’ve known that for a while. But information technology wasn’t until looking at my old photos that I realized just how many of my landscapes have a telephoto perspective.

Specifically, looking at my best 40 landscape photos, I took xv with a telephoto lens, 21 with a wide-angle, and four with a medium lens. I clearly similar wide angles, as near landscape photographers practice, but more telephotos made information technology into the mix than I had expected. That realization was a major stepping rock in my decision to become one that was every bit skillful as possible.

It is easy to effigy out these numbers for yourself by opening a set up of landscape photos in your image system software. Merely sort your best 40-lx mural photos by focal length or lens (which nearly all software tin practise). And so, take a expect at the data you discover, and compare it to your expectations.

Don’t follow the results blindly, peculiarly if you accept yet to buy a particular type of lens so far (which would skew your data). Simply if you take lenses that cover a wide range of focal lengths, this procedure should give you lot a good basis for understanding your about common landscape photography needs.

Looking at your old photos
NIKON D800E + seventy-200mm f/4 @ 200mm, ISO 140, 1/800, f/7.1
I dear the calibration that telephoto lenses allow.

Endeavour Renting a Lens (or Borrowing from a Friend)

Whatever time that you lot have the opportunity to test out a lens – even if information technology’s not i you expect to exist useful – go for it. Chances are skilful that y’all’ll larn something valuable.

“Try it out” doesn’t mean that you lot should just take the new lens, shoot for a few minutes, and capture a handful of test photos before returning it. Yous won’t learn much from that.

Instead, bring information technology on a mural photography outing. Rely on it. Use information technology as if information technology is your only tool for the job.

When yous do that, yous’ll always acquire something new. Years agone, I decided to examination a 50mm lens on a week-long photography trip, fifty-fifty though I had not been interested in that focal length in the past. What did I acquire? That, indeed, a 50mm wouldn’t fit my style of landscape photography, at least for now.

That’due south all personal preference. Certainly, many people love 50mm lenses for mural photography. However, because I personallytried out this focal length, I learned something valuable well-nigh the equipment that gave me a proficient footing for planning trips – and gear purchases – in the future.

So, try to do something like this for yourself. You might exist pleasantly surprised by a new lens, or yous could realize that your old kit works perfectly for your needs. Either fashion, you’ll larn more about the equipment that makes the most sense for yous, and that translates directly to improving your overall landscape photography.

Try out a new lens
NIKON D800E + xiv-24mm f/2.8 @ 14mm, ISO 3200, 25 seconds, f/2.eight
For a recent landscape photography trip, I tried out a new broad-angle lens (the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.eight) that I wasn’t certain about. Turns out, it shines in certain scenarios – especially nighttime photography – more than I expected. It’s now my chief wide-angle lens.

What Feels Right?

Sometimes, you should just go with your gut. If y’all can’t figure out which lens to pick, the simplest reply is to choose the one thatfeels right, instinctively. At the end of the day, the best lens for you lot is but the i you similar using the near, even if it seems like a strange pick on paper.

I will point out that this is not good advice in every state of affairs. Often, your “gut feeling” is something that has been influenced by exterior forces – marketing, reviews, forum discussions, so on – to the point that the lens in question could be wildly wrong for your purposes without you realizing it. The goal is to run into through all that, merely information technology is not e’er piece of cake.

Still, in most cases, instinct plays a helpful role in the lens decisions you lot make. When you choose a lens, information technology’s impossible to separate that decision from what you, internally, believe to be the right option. If there are several competing options, information technology is natural to base your final determination uponwhat feels right, at least at some level.

I could give you numerous examples from my own photography where I did a practiced job or a bad chore following my gut. Most of the skilful cases come down to times when I was thinking from a more grounded perspective – basing my decisions on things similar focal length rather than wide-open sharpness, or other factors that are less important for landscape photography.

What lens feels right
NIKON D810 + 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 100mm, ISO 180, ane/500, f/ten.0
I took this photograph with Nikon’southward brand new lxx-200mm f/2.8 FL lens – an amazing piece of equipment, but not one I plan to use for landscape photography in the future (and 1 I was only borrowing temporarily). A lighter lens, such as the 70-200mm f/4, is better for long hikes, and it costs less likewise.

Photography has a great deal to practise with gut feelings. When you compose a photograph, you’re doing your all-time to create a solid bulletin out of a chaotic world. That’s something that takes meaning creativity and instinct. Why should it be any different with lenses? If a lens seems like it ticks all the boxes, but yous only don’t similar the idea of
using it, y’all’re not going to pull it out in the field, and you won’t feel inspired to use it creatively.

Some photographers bask using beat-up old lenses because they simply feel right, or transmission focus lenses but considering they enjoy the process. What’s more, they volition take better pictures with “depression quality” equipment than with a fancier option on the market. If your equipment inspires or interests you, you’ll pull out your camera more often and take meliorate pictures.

So, when you are deciding on the ideal lens to buy for mural photography, don’t be afraid to pick the one that just feels right.


A lot of people find it difficult to choose the best possible lenses for landscape photography. Of form, it’s an of import decision to make. Lenses are at the center of every photo you take. They influence the creative side of photography arguably more any other piece of equipment.

Still, you lot shouldn’t afflict over your decision. If you recollect about your fashion of photography, the right choice will become much clearer. Practice you prefer prime lenses? Is there a set of focal lengths that matter most to you? How important is lens weight for the situations you’ll encounter?

Questions like these are more often than not easy to answer, and they should help you eliminate a lot of options. If all else fails, though, go with your gut. Photography is a very personal art, and your
for a lens can make a big departure in inspiring you to take better pictures.

Finally, be consoled by one fact: If everything goes incorrect, lenses have a very good resell value!

Source: https://photographylife.com/landscapes/choosing-the-best-lens-for-landscape-photography

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