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Best lens for landscapes

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by matteoj, Aug 14, 2017.

  1. matteoj

    matteoj Member

    Hi guys - newbie here. I've recently been using a macro lens for work when I needed closeups and object images, but I'm looking to get into landscapes and outdoor shots with a much wider angle. Whats a good cheapish Canon dlsr lens to go for?
  2. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Don't go for wide angles. Use a long lens instead, to pick out beautiful details.

    Of course this is purely personal advice, but equally, Leica sold a 105mm lens in the 1930s as a "Mountain Elmar".

    Go down towards the bottom of Leicaphilia on my old site to see the Pyrenees and Istanbul shot with 135mm and 90mm lenses respectively.


  3. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Learning and Andrew Flannigan like this.
  4. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    As the others have said you can use any focal length for landscape depending on what you want to achieve. Ultra-wide angle lenses can make the subject look a little lost. They are best for showing something close to you in its environment, "strong foreground interest" is the jargon. I make use of three lenses for landscape ( I don't lug them all around, I choose one for the day) on my 5D. The main ones are a 16-35 and the 24-105 (standard zoom). The lenses with equivalent field of view on a Canon crop sensor are 10-22 and 15-85. The third is a 24 mm shift lens which is specialist lens bought mainly for taking pictures of churches. I'd class anything shorter than 24 mm on full frame as ultra-wide.

    I have a CSC with a standard 18-55 mm lens (crop factor x1.5) as a lightweight camera it's OK for landcape but I find 18 mm (27 mm on full frame field of view) a bit long.
  5. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Anything to suit your style.
    But Rainbows are special. A full diameter always subtends an angle of about 84 degrees and you need to allow a bit of space outside it so wide angle lens offering about 110 degrees is fine. Round about 10mm for APS C sensors and 16mm for full frame as beautifully demonstrated by Roger Macdonald is about right.
  6. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    WIdeangle lenses can be much harder to use than others, but if you do use them properly, they can be stunning. You generally need to make sure you include some foreground interest!

    A great, fairly cheap option for Canon APS-C cameras is Canon's 10-18mm.

    My favourite full frame focal lengths for landscapes (in focal length order) are 16mm, 24mm, 100mm and 300mm, with 24mm and 100mm being probably the most useful.
  7. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Having had a quick browse through my Flikr I tend to favour the shorter focal lengths, in the 10-24mm range (on APS format), but occasionally venturing out as far as 100mm. I probably have done some at longer focal lengths but rarely.

    As Nick says wide angles, especially below 16mm (APS), are harder to use and require boldness in composition with good foreground interest. They're worth pursuing but be prepared for a lot of pictures with blank space until you develop an eye for the right kind of subject.

    When not using an ultrawide zoom my standard lens choice tends to be either my 17-85mm Canon or my ageing 17-70 Sigma, both of which are more than versatile enough for general landscape use. Of the two I'd more likely recommend the Sigma. Mine produces remarkably good image quality for the price, a performance that they have managed to retain even into the latest version. The 17-85 isn't a bad lens for image quality (at least mine isn't) but it does have a reputation for lacking reliability (mine has had both the AF and aperture mechanisms fixed). There are still a few about new (though it's out of production) and they appear regularly in used dealerships. TBH you'd probably do better with the current 18-55mm lenses than take a chance on the 17-85.
  8. matteoj

    matteoj Member

    Cheers guys, some sound advice. The example with the rainbow is stunning by the way, it looks almost 3D.

    I'm still a total novice but I'm determined to blow people's minds with my holiday snaps.
  9. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the compliment. Incidentally I am not the first to admire this line of cliffs, Jane Austen wrote in Persuasion:

    "with the very beautiful line of cliffs stretching out to the east of the town, are what the stranger's eye will seek; and a very strange stranger it must be,who does not see charms in the immediate environs of Lyme,to make him wish to know it better. The scenes in its neighbourhood, Charmouth, with its high grounds and extensive sweeps of country, and still more, its sweet, retired bay, backed by dark cliffs,where fragments of low rock among the sands, make it the happiest spot"

    Unfortunately rainbows do not come to order/
  10. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    My own experience supports this.

    I did a quick analysis of the lenses used on my more successful landscapes and, roughly, the results were as follows (on a Nikon full-frame camera):

    14 - 24mm 10%
    24 - 70mm 35%
    70 - 200mm 45%
    Other 10%
    Roger Hicks likes this.
  11. Craig20264

    Craig20264 Well-Known Member

    I too find myself increasingly moving away from wideangle. As Nick says, they are a great tool, but difficult to master I think. I seem to use a 35mm prime on APSC for a lot of shots these days. Nice and light and very sharp. What's not to like? My 12-24mm spends more time in the bag than on the camera, but it's nice to have it there ready.
  12. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Roger Hicks likes this.
  13. matteoj

    matteoj Member

    So the consensus seems to be not to get a specifically wide angle lens.

    Ok, so how about a completely bog standard, every day lens that isn't quite as specific as my macro, that will work for shooting out and about in cities etc. Can anyone recommend a spec to go for?
  14. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    What lens is it you have now (not just Macro, but specifically, which lens is it).
  15. Craig20264

    Craig20264 Well-Known Member

    Can't go wrong with a 35mm prime.(Assuming APSC sensor). They represent great value for money. IMHO of course.
    matteoj likes this.
  16. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    15-85. Great quality for a zoom, covers a decent wideangle through to short tele, very useful lens.
  17. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    One of the first instruction books I bought on photography (Calder and Garratt's 35mm Photography Handbook) gave this advice about 50mm lenses (same angle of view as a 35mm on APS-C) - "Unless it has a wide aperture it's not much use", and I have to say it's always been very sound advice for me. I find it's one of my least-used focal lengths. They're good, sharp lenses, but that's pretty much all they have in their favour and I don't understand the obsession with them - I'm very pleased they're not compulsory, as they pretty much used to be.
    Canon seem to agree, as they don't offer an APS-specific 35mm lens, selling a nice, cheap 24mm pancake instead that I would personally consider much more useful. But nowhere near as much as the 15-85 for the OP's subjects.
  18. matteoj

    matteoj Member

    It's a canon EF-S 60mm (2.8 f stop)
  19. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    So I suggest the best and cheapest lens for landscapes is an EF-S 60mm. Free to you at no charge.
    peterba and matteoj like this.
  20. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I refer you to post #1. Recommendations for a wider lens wanted. For a crop sensor Canon camera the 15-85 EF-S offers the most fkexibility.
    matteoj likes this.

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