Best Landscape lens for 5D Mark II

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by kirsten_s, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. I already have the the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L and I am wondering if it is worth it to purchase a wide-angle zoom lens for landscape photography in Europe. I am looking into the Canon 17-40mm f/4.0 L, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L II, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, and the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8. I read reviews on how amazing the 16-35mm is but it's just so expensive and I'm not sure how much better it is compared to the 17-40 for landscape photography. I love my 24-70 lens and can't decide if a wider angle would be worth it for my 3 month trip. I would love any feedback! Thanks
  2. Kirsten, what camera do you have?
    If it is a crop sensor camera such as the Canon 60D or 550D then the Canon 10-22 would be my recommendation. Otherwise if you have a full frame camera (such as the Canon 5D II) then the 17-40 L is a fine lens for the money. I have owned both these lenses and they are excellent for wide angle shots.
  3. It sounds like you have an APS-C camera. If the EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM is your widest lens, yes, then it makes sense to get something wider for wide angle photography. Get a dedicated super-wide zoom for crop-factor cameras. The best is probably Tokina's 11-16mm lens, but pretty much all current super-wide zooms from Canon and third-party manufacturers are very good. I definitively wouldn't buy an expensive L zoom lens without a full-frame body.
  4. Well, the thread title specifies "5D Mark II", if that's correct then you don't want any EF-S lens. I'd say go with the 17-40L.
  5. Again, as Colin and Bueh say. If APS-C (otherwise you shouldn't be considering the EF-S lenses at all) then the Canon 10-22 is a good choice. In addition to the Tokina mentioned, I'd explicitly recommend one of the two Sigma 10-20mm lenses. I have the older one and am very pleased with it.
    If it really is a 5D, then one of the L-class 16/17mm and up zooms. For even wider, there is a "full-frame" Sigma 12-24mm lens.
    However, an ultrawide is a tool for lots of things, not just landscape. In fact, just getting more into the frame doesn't necessarily make a better landscape at all. For a generation, 35mm photographers would have been delighted to have as wide as 24mm. You really don't NEED anything wider, it's simply a matter of wanting something wider.
  6. Just as I suspected, most people don't read the whole post. (I am guilty sometimes myself)
    I have the 17-40 lens on the original 5D and I love it. I really enjoy wide angle shots. If I was going to have just one lens for travel it would be the 24-105 but the 17-40 would please me.
  7. My fav landscape lens on the 5D2 is the 70-200 4L IS. I have the 17-40 L but reach is too short and 17 is way too wide 99% of the time. I liked it a lot better on crop bodies. Although the 17-40 is a good zoom, the 70-200 4L is noticeably sharper and snappy across the frame.
  8. Robert, the OP muddies the water by specifically mentioning the EF-S 10-20mm lens, and there is no mention of the 5D except in the title, which I will grant is in bold type and all.
  9. Would you say a wide-angle lens for landscapes is worth getting when I already have the 24-70 for my 5D Mark II?
  10. JDM, I was attempting humor.
    Kirsten, it depends if you like wide shots. A friend of mine thought the 24 to 70 was perfect for him but as stated above, I like wide shots. I bet 80% of all my shots are at 17mm and I have even contemplated the sigma 10-20 zoom!
  11. Canon 17-40 4 is a great lens, but if you have the 16-35 2.8, you'll love it.
  12. Only you know if you find the 24mm focal length not wide enough. If you are not sure then I suggest the Canon EF 17-40mm f4 L or a used Canon EF 17-35mm f2.8 L for about the same price. Another, more expensive option, is a used Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8 L version I.
    The advantage of all these zooms is that you can use them in the normal wideangle range from 24mm to 35mm that you are used to, and experiment with the superwide range from 16/17 to 24mm.
    I shot with a 17mm lens for over 15 years and have now shot with a 14mm lens for 6 years, and just recently I started using a full frame circular fisheye. Shooting effective compositions using lenses wider than 24mm is very challenging but very rewarding when you do.
    Good luck and have a safe trip!
  13. the new tokina 16-28 2.8 is suposed to be a beast.
  14. The "best" way to figure out the "best" landscape lens is to first think about how you shoot. There is no rule that say, for example, wide lenses are better than long lenses for landscape. I have both and I find myself shooting long lenses for landscape more frequently that ultra wide lenses. Ask ten photographers and you'll get nearly ten different answers.
    Since you have a full frame 5D2 camera, the EFS lenses are not an option - so rule out the 10-22 and the 17-55 lens you mentioned in your post. (Those are fine lenses for people shooting cropped sensor bodies - and either or both would be high on my list if I shot cropped sensor cameras.) Between the 17-40 f/4 L and the 16-35mm f/2.8 L, the choice is not about which lens is a better lens, but rather about how you will shoot.
    The 16-35mm f/2.8 L II is a fine ultra wide lens on a full frame sensor camera. Its chief virtue is its better performance at f/2.8 (which the 17-40 doesn't have!) and f/4. With this in mind, it is a great choice for full frame shooters who will do a lot of low light hand held ultra wide angle shooting - for them the additional cost may well be worth it. It uses a slightly non-standard 82mm diameter filter thread, so your 77mm filters from for the 4-70 will not be interchangeable with it.
    The 17-40mm f/4 L is a fine ultra wide lens on full frame cameras also. While the 16-35 is a better performer in the corners at f/4, as you stop down the 17-40 catches up to - and may marginally and probably insignificantly surpass - the 16-35. If your approach to landscape is largely to use ultra wide angle lenses stopped down for large depth of field, the 16-35 provides no advantage over the 17-40, and you are better off buying the less expensive lens. (Yes, you get 16mm instead of 17mm... but you also get 40mm instead of 35mm with this lens.)
    To summarize, if you are looking for a lens to shoot primarily stopped down for landscape subjects the 17-40 is a great choice. If you need a lens for ultra wide hand held low light shooting then the 16-35 has advantages.
    Do think through how much you need such a lens. Do you often find yourself "running out of wide" at 24mm? And also consider whether or not a longer lens (like the 70-200mm f/4 IS) might be as useful in different ways.
    Take care,
    I wrote something about this subject at my blog recently, too...
  15. @Robert
    I didn't think you were trying to be nasty or anything. Yeah, it's certainly true enough that it is easy to miss some details in a quick go over followed by an extended, even interrupted session of heavy-duty composing. Who among us is without sin? ;)
  16. stp


    I didn't say anything, so perhaps I'm without sin. But perhaps being quiet and therefore unhelpful is sinful. Sometimes you just can't win.
  17. Stephen, don't you know that we're all sinners? :)
  18. I already have the the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L and I am wondering if it is worth it to purchase a wide-angle zoom lens for landscape photography in Europe. I am looking into the Canon 17-40mm f/4.0 L, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L II, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, and the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8. I love my 24-70 lens and can't decide if a wider angle would be worth it for my 3 month trip.​
    Okay, first let me understand something. Are you saying that you're going to shoot landscapes in Europe for three months? No cities, no towns, no cathedrals, no people, no castles, no monuments, etc.? Just landscapes? Where are these landscapes? The Highlands of Scotland? The Swiss Alps? The Black Forest? Rural Scandinavia?
    I'm guessing that you'll be shooting MORE than just landscapes in Europe. That said, a wide angle lens would be useful for many different subjects, not just landscapes.
    I read reviews on how amazing the 16-35mm is but it's just so expensive and I'm not sure how much better it is compared to the 17-40 for landscape photography.
    The 16-35 f/2.8 L II is a newer design by several years. It's very sharp, and in the middle of its range it's almost distortion free. Is all of this worth the price and size difference over the 17-40? I don't think anyone can answer that for you. You'll have to do some hands-on test shooting.
    The other lenses that you mentioned are not suitable for full-frame cameras. My personal choice for "best landscape lens for the 5D Mark II" would be one of Canon's wide-angle TS-E lenses, but these models are probably beyond your needs or your budget.
    What telephoto lenses do you own? A 70-200 f/4L IS is probably more useful than even a wide-angle lens for everything that you'll see on a three-month journey. Along with being versatile and extremely sharp, this lens is relatively small and lightweight, i.e. ideal for extended travels.
  19. Kirsten, thanks for the confirmation of what camera you have. I have the earlier Canon 5D and use it with the Canon 17-40 L. I find it is a very good lens at a very reasonable price compared with competitors. Though if I were to criticise it I would suggest for landscape it needs to be stopped down to f8 or thereabouts for best results.(Which you would probably do anyway to get the depth of field).
    I also have the Canon 28-70 L (similar to your 24-70 but the earlier model). I tend to find that when out shooting I take just two lenses. The 17-40 L and the 70-300 f4-5.6 IS telephoto. The gap in the middle is a bit of a restricion but like many restrictions it tends to make me think creatively to get round the problem. The 28-70 comes with me when I want to just carry one lens.
    I live in the UK so have been on a tour of Europe for over 50 years. The 17-40 L works well for both landscape and architecture though for architecture you need to try to keep the camera level and crop later if required.
  20. Another vote for a TS lens. The TS24II is probably the best choice, but its introduction has made this a good time to pick up an original-version TS24 if cost is an issue. OK, it's not quite as good optically (it's still pretty good, see the Luminous Landscape 24mm shoot-out), but the main weakness is a bit of lateral CA, and, at least for shift shots, you can correct that with general-purpose aberration correction software if you don't mind a rather fiddly procedure. For landscape work you would probably find it best to have the tilt and shift movements set parallel. I use mine like that, and I certainly don't miss the greater flexibility of the new lens. Even the original TS24 is a pretty solid lump of mechanical engineering, but it is lighter and more compact than the new version.
  21. Hello Kirsten - a 3 month photography trip sounds fabulous! I live in Europe and I have a Canon 5D MkII. I mostly do landscape shots but, as an earlier responder has pointed out, you might be tempted to get some good travel shots as well. If I was packing my camera bag for a 3-month trip around Europe, primarily for landscape, I would pack my much loved 24-105 L. You say that you have the 24-70 and I've heard that it's a great lens, so obviously you are taking that lens with you. I would also pack my 70-200 f/2.8 and also a 17-40L. The 70-200 f/2.8 is good for landscapes and also for travel shots and portraits. I got some absolutely fabulous shots with that lens at the Venice Carnival. The 17-40L is an excellent wide angle lens and less expensive than the 16-35 MkII. For landscapes you will be using small apertures and the 17-40 is a very good wide angle lens. If you really, really want an absolutely outstanding wide angle lens, then go for the Zeiss 21 f/2.8 Distagon - it just has a certain magic about it - but it's expensive! Obviously, you will be thinking about weight of your camera gear and airline restrictions. Always a juggling act! Good luck with your choices.
  22. Dan, your blog was very helpful and I'm starting to consider a 70-200mm f/4
    I have a 24-70mm and a 100mm f/2.8 L IS Macro
    Tricia thanks for informing me of your travel choices. I am having a very hard time with that.
    I have decided on getting the 17-40 and am looking into the 70-200mm f/4 as well ($726), the 70-200mm f/4 IS ($1,350), and the 70-200mm f/2.8L USM ($1,450). The first one is so much less so I am leaning towards that since I'm already getting the 17-40. Does anyone know if the 70-200mm performs well without the IS. I have never used a lens without IS so I am a little nervous and am not sure if I should spend more money or look for a used one. My 100mm works for me when it come to portraits and some wildlife, but Im starting to think it might be time for purchasing a 70-200 before this trip... so many decisions!
  23. Hello again Kirsten. Sorry to give you another dilemma, but I really think that a 70-200 would be a great asset for your trip. As to the f/4 or the f/2.8 - that's really down to personal preference. The f/4 is lighter and is a very good lens. The f/2.8 is quite a bit heavier (I have the Mk I version) and I found it very useful with IS. The IS came in very useful for me as the f/2.8 is a heavy lens and I really believe the IS helped me get the shot even when I had been hand-holding the camera and lens for some time. However, on a tripod for landscapes, I would not need IS and the f/4 would have done nicely. It comes down to a personal shooting style. Your 100mm macro is a fabulous portrait lens. If I were you, I would only consider the 70-200 (either f4 or f2.8) if I needed the 200. It's a tough call and my best advice would be for you to hire one of the 70-200 lenses so that you can try it out and see if it suits your style of shooting. Just to give you another perspective, maybe also think about keeping the number of lens changes to a minimum as I have a sneaking suspicion that you will be tempted to shoot much more than landscapes. On a recent trip to Spain I left my 5D MkII behind and took only my Panasonic GF-1 with the 14-45 kit lens. (28-90 actual focal length) Incredibly useful camera - very unobtrusive for travel shots - and unbelievably good quality. In your shoes, I would pack your 5D MkII, your 24-70, a 17-40 and a 70-200 f4. If the budget allows, consider a Panasonic GF-1 with the 14-45 just for those fun, quirky travel shots. Sorry to blow your budget but you will find lots to shoot in three months around Europe. Not forgetting lots of cards and back-up! Have a great trip.
  24. Let's see if I can wrap things up a little.
    You have: 5D-II, 24-70/2.8L, 100/2.8 L IS Macro. (by the way, this means you have shot with IS already, the macro has it)

    You'll be going on a 3 month to Europe in which photography plays a big part.
    • Mostly wild landscapes or in cities?
    • Will you have to carry your gear (on your back) or is weight not an issue?
    In the cities you'll appreciate something wider than 24mm, outdoor less so I'd guess.
    The simplest option is of course to just bring what you have.
    The slightly expanded option is to get the 17-40 and bring what you have. If you need more length than your 100L, just crop it. The 5D-II has quite a lot of pixels to crop.
    Some of the more expanded options I've already read above. (Note: the 70-200/4 IS has a really nice size/weight/image quality/usability combination.)
    Now the oddball option:
    Take the 5D-II, the 24-70 and the 100 plus a 7D. That way you'll have a very responsive camera when you need one and the 100 is a pretty effective 160mm as long as your ISO stays at 800 or below. (Higher is possible but it gets visible to the very critical eye.)
    Then, when you're in Europe, decide whether you still think you need a 17-40 and just buy that in Europe if you do think so.
    Throwing in a fast 50 never hurt anyone, though you have that pretty well covered by "The Brick". (24-70)
    I hope this helped,
    P.S. Stephen Penland has shown time and again that an EF 500/4L IS USM is quite the lanscape lens as well, but that's probably not what you're looking for...
  25. Hi,
    I have be reading your informative articles but I am at a crossroads myself.
    Have just made the move to the 5d m2 myself and will be selling my new 7D {THOUGH A NICE CAMERA}.
    My question is, I have a 70-200 2.8, and a 100 2.8 IS macro{can no longer use my favorite 17-55 on full frame}. I too like landscape work so I need to look for an in between zoom. I like low light work so I am leaning towards a 2.8 if I can, thus the 24-70 or the 24-105. The price is appealing on the 17-40 but the upper range is limited to 40.
    So, asides from the upper range of the 105 over the 70, which of the two has better image quality?
    And am I prematurely discounting the 17-40?
    Thank you for all and any help.
    William P

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