Landscape Photography "What Lenses to use?"

December 09, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Hey everyone! Its Max again with my thoughts on photography.  Hope you had a great week.  This week I want to talk about Landscape photography and what "I" think the lenses you should be using. First of all you can use any type of lenses to take landscape but these are the ones that I think you should use. I have three lenses that I use for landscape photography. Before I get into what lenses I use first lets talk about the different types of lenses.

First there are prime lenses. These lenses are sharper (debatable ) they are lighter have a wider aperture and are cheaper. So why aren't everyone using them for landscape photography? They are of one focal length. You can use them and there is nothing wrong with it but they aren't as versatile as zooms. When your out in nature you can't always get to the right distance you want because of the terrain that you're in.  So when using a prime only there will be a lot of times where you just can't get the right perspective because of the limitation of the one focal length of the lens you are using. Now you can make the argument that Ansel Adams only used primes and you would be wrong. A lot of the photo's he took was with a bellows type of lens that lets you change the focal length and also vertical perspective like a tilt shift lens would. So he was using a type of zoom lens in the field on a large format camera.

Zoom Lenses. These lenses are sharp, heavier , not usually as wide aperture as primes, and are expensive.  So why would you ever use them? They are more versatile in this environment than primes.  Zoom lenses let you adjust your focal length to the situation that you have. Most people for all types of photography are using zooms whether its portraits , sports, or landscape. Primes aren't used much for anything anymore because the zooms now are so good.  They are expensive and in photography you usually get what you pay for.  A good zoom if cared for can last forever and is a good investment.  You can get zooms in aperture as wide as f2.8 but they are expensive but the variable aperture range lenses are good too.  To tell you the truth there aren't many bad lenses made anymore. So Zoom lenses are the choice for Landscape. But which ones?

If you are a landscape photographer I recommend 3 to 4 lenses. The fourth being a macro lens for close up shots of plants, bugs and things. But the first of the Zooms I recommend is the wide zoom. Somewhere between say 16-24mm.  This lens will let you take wide landscapes and get all of the scene in the frame. It's also good for closed in situations say like on a trail or in a forest.  They are great for waterfalls and almost anything that you want to get all of it in.  They do not have to have a wide aperture of 2.8 but if you got the money.  The one I use is a constant F4.

The next Zoom I would get is the mid-range zoom. It will be somewhere 24-70mm.  This is a great lens and probably the first one I would get. If you've got the money I would get this one at f2.8 aperture if you can afford it. This is the focal length that I used the most. Its my bread and butter so I got the best one I could afford for my kit. I recently went on a fall colors trip and this was the lens I used 90 percent of the time if not more. Its always attached to my camera and seldom comes off.  It has always been my favorite zoom and focal length.

The last Zoom is the Telephoto Zoom.  The big boy.  This one can be a variable aperture and these lenses can be expensive. I would suggest buying this one used. As a matter of fact I would buy all of them used. But use a friend or a established company to buy them from. The range of this zoom is say 100-400mm.  This will let you zoom in and isolate different subjects in a large scene. If you're photographing a large canyon you can get the wide open shot first then take this lens and isolate different aspects of the scene. Work the Scene! This is a great lens for this and can also be used for the occasional wildlife shot when you don't want to get close like a bear.

So these are my suggestions for Landscape lenses. Three Zooms.  A wide Zoom, Mid-Range Zoom and a Telephoto Zoom.  I would not recommend a all in one zoom like a 24-300. These large range zooms usually aren't as good in quality as the specific zooms I mentioned above and you won't be satisfied with the quality. Also a macro lens.  I personally don't have one at the moment and am searching for one to add to my kit but I think the macro is the least important of the kit and would be used the least.  Well there you have it my thoughts on Landscape Lenses and what I think you should have in your kit. Until next time Get out and shoot!


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