Ideal lens for landscape photography?

Discussion in 'Nature' started by, Jan 31, 2006.

  1. Just curious of the ideal focal length for landscape photography? I
    have a 300D so the 1.6x crop must be taken into consideration. I was
    thinking of buying a 17-40, making my widest 25 mm -ish, is this
    wide enough? Thank you.
  2. My ideal lens for landscapes? Why, 400mm of course. Really, you are going about this the wrong way. You need to start with the lenses that you have. If you are finding that you can't make some shots you want, then you start thinking about what gear WILL let you make the shot. If you needed a 17-40mm lens, you would know that and not have to ask people who likely have entirely different needs and styles than you do. Only you will know if a 25mm-ish lens is wide enough for you and what kinds of images you want to make. I often do use a 400mm lens out here where I live to isolate a small section of a landscape to photo. Maybe you like to do something different. Your photos will tell you what you need, not a message board. Kent in SD Kent in SD
  3. Hi Tom, I don't think there's a definitive answer to your question, unfortunately. For example you don't have to shoot landscapes with a wide-angle lens at all. I'm not a very good landscape photographer but here's a shot taken with a 70-200mm zoom lens.
    I can tell you that a 17-40mm lens works well on a 1.6x "crop" factor camera. here's a shot shot taken with a 10D and Canon's 17-40mm f/4L lens.
    But as you can see it's much wider on a film camera or full-frame.
    But again, there's no law that says you must have a wide-angle lens to shoot landscapes. In fact, where I live, it's really tough to not get a #@$% powerline or something else that's unwanted in the shot. Sometimes a telephoto lens is just right for isolating and "compressing" your subject. Good Luck!
  4. SCL


    And then the question arises...are you interested in doing panoramas? If so, I would suggest a top notch prime lens in the 40-65mm range.
  5. ...any tripod will be the sharpest lens you ever bought.
  6. Look at a few landscape photos and see what lenses the photographers used. Pick the lens
    (es) that you most often like the perspective of.
  7. With a 17mm lens and a 1.6 crop factor, you're looking at a 27.2mm equivalent lens. Not a huge difference from 25mm-ish, but a couple of mm on the wide end can make a big difference. If you shoot landscapes with WA's, I'd look at Canon's offerings in something a little wider.
  8. As others have indicated, the answer to the question will depend on what you end up doing with your camera. But I think you're asking about a starting point.

    Use what you have now, or buy a high quality medium zoom, something like a 24 or 28 to 70 or 75. Go out and take a lot of pictures with it. Look at your results and look at as many landscape images as you can on line and in books. Take more pictures and get frustrated that you can't capture a particular view you want because your lens isn't wide enough or long enough. Then you'll know what kind of lens you want next.

    Stay away from the extreme zooms such as 18-200 or 28-200mm; the quality just isn't good enough for serious work. If you think you'll want prints larger than 8 x 10 inches, you may well end up with three lenses to give you the range from perhaps 15 or 17 to 200mm.
  9. Read one of John Shaw's Nature Photography Books. If I were to choose just one lens it
    would be a 105 in 35mm format. I really enjoy using my wide lenses but it takes more
    skill and compositional awareness???
  10. 24mm with full-frame film seemed to work well for me. Check if you can focus real close- that helps.
  11. I would say a "Pinhole" would be the best.
  12. With my 35mm film cameras I have used lenses from 20mm to 500mm. Most of the time, I use a 28-70mm zoom. However, I also use a 20mm and 24mm lens a lot. And sometimes, I use a 70-210mm or a 300mm. Joe Smith
  13. Tom,

    What kind of photography are you doing now?

    Landscape is so wide open, pun intended, the choice of lens depends on your creative interest and what you visualize. Landscape photography is more concept than composure.

    Think about what you want to capture, then find the equipment that will realize your vision.

    I've used everything from a fisheye under a natural arch to a long telephoto to isolate a juniper against a raging sunset.

    25mm is not nearly wide enough; 25mm is far too wide.

    --- JDR
  14. Everything works.
  15. The 17-40 would be a great place to start. I have one and use it on a 20D and 1D from time to time, but mostly when I shoot landscapes i shoot medium format film still. WHen you can afford it add the 70-200 f/4 and you will be set for 95% of what the world throws at you. Its amazing how you can manage to get great pics when the light is good and the landscape is nice with whatever lens you have...
  16. I use 35mm equipment and 24 to 300 mm lenses work fine for me.
  17. Tom, as others have said your ideal landscape lens will depend on your personal vision. On my Canon 300D I use a Canon 10-22mm for most landscapes. The equates to a 16-35mm lens on full frame. The other focal length that I find useful for landscapes is around the 70mm mark which equates to around the 105mm area. I would find the 17-40mm lens a bit on the long side for landscapes but it really is a very personal thing and many others will find the 10-22mm range rather on the wide side. With some experience of landscape photography you will develop a feel for the focal length that suits you best.
  18. Tom, looking at your portfolio (I like the landscapes you have uploaded very much) I see you already have the 18-55mm Kit lens. If you have a good copy of this lens as I have it will give you sharp pictures edge to edge to A4 size when stopped down a bit. The result is that buying the 17-40 might only give you a marginal improvement over what you have. So if your kit lens is a good one I would look at other focal lengths which will offer a new range of photo opportunities.
  19. With a 300d I wouldn't go for landscape photography. You need a larger camera with a larger sensor.
  20. John,

    I am with you there. I've always felt that the landscape required and deserved 6x7cm or better. I still do.

    However, it is hard to deny the seduction of a lightweight Digital and a very high quality zoom. You can hike further and you can take more pictures. My best critter pix were from a digital.

    --- JDR
  21. John, I have used cameras of all sizes up to 4x5 inches large format for landscape photography and imo the 300D is fine provided you understand the enlargement limitations of the sensor. Being digital it is also very good for learning as the feedback comes though quickly.
  22. Thanks everyone for your replies. I believe the kit lens will be fine for right now. I am going to buy a 70-200 f4 in the next week or two so I will have the majority of focal lengths covered. Eventually I go for a higher quality wide angle when I run into limitations with the kit lens. Thank you everyone!
  23. I used a Nikon coolpix 4500 for Landscape photography and currently use an Olympus 8080 Wide Zoom. The limitations are frustrating.
  24. Tom, the 70-200mm f4 is a very fine lens!

    John, I agree that generally bigger is better where sensors are concerned. I use a Canon 300D (6.3Mp Dslr) for landscape at present while my wife has a Canon Pro 1 (8Mp bridge) - similar to the Olympus. I find that the Canon 6.3 Mp sensor performs as well as or better than the 8 Mp in the Pro 1 because it is physically larger and so generates less noise. This also shows in the max ISO allowed which is 1600 in the 300D and 400 for the Pro 1. But I am still looking forward to the time when a full frame sensor becomes practical for amateurs like me.

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