Landscape photography captures the beauty and vastness of nature, allowing us to marvel at its intricate details and scenic grandeur. A key component in capturing breathtaking landscape photos is having the right lens to articulate depth, color, and clarity. The perfect lens not only enhances the image quality but also lets photographers unlock the potential of their cameras and get the most out of the shooting experience.
Lenses for landscape photography come in a variety of specifications, catering to different shooting styles and preferences. They range from wide-angle lenses that deliver a broad view of a scene, to telephoto lenses that help capture details in distant subjects. Regardless of the lens type, the key factors to consider when purchasing one are the focal length, aperture, image quality, and compatibility with your camera.
Determining the ideal focal length for landscape photography depends on the style and composition of the images you aim to capture. A wide-angle lens typically works well for sweeping panoramas, whereas a telephoto lens is better suited for isolating specific elements in a scene. Aperture, on the other hand, impacts both the amount of light that enters the lens and the depth of field created in the image. A wider aperture, such as f/2.8, allows for greater light intake and smoother bokeh, while a narrower aperture, such as f/16, provides a larger depth of field and increased sharpness throughout the frame.
To help you secure the perfect lens for capturing breathtaking landscape photos, we’ve dedicated countless hours to researching and testing a variety of options, ensuring you’ll be equipped with the right tool to take your photography to the next level.
Best Lenses for Landscape Photography
In our quest to find the top lenses for landscape photography, we have carefully curated a list of exceptional products that will elevate your images and provide stunning results.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
This lens is a high-performing, budget-friendly option perfect for portrait, action, and nighttime photography.
- Wide f/1.8 aperture ideal for low-light conditions
- Fast, near-silent STM autofocus for photos and videos
- Compact and lightweight for easy portability
- Limited to a 50mm focal length
- Minimum focusing distance of 1.15 feet
- Lacks image stabilization
After using the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens, we found it exceeding our expectations in terms of performance and value. The wide f/1.8 aperture allows for better low-light shooting, which means we had less reliance on flash and were able to capture more natural-looking shots. This lens is also excellent for portrait photography, providing an 80mm effective focal length on APS-C cameras and a 50mm focal length on full-frame cameras.
The near-silent STM autofocus is another great feature that impressed us as it enables quick focusing when taking photos or shooting videos. The compact design of this lens makes it easy to carry with us at all times, so capturing special moments on the go has never been simpler.
However, there are a few limitations we should mention. Firstly, it’s worth noting that this lens is designed specifically for a 50mm focal length, which might not be suitable for all photography situations. Additionally, the minimum focusing distance of 1.15 feet can be a challenge for those looking to capture close-up shots. Lastly, the lack of image stabilization may require a steadier hand or use of a tripod to minimize camera shake.
In conclusion, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens is certainly a worthy addition to any photographer’s collection, especially for those seeking versatility and quality in low-light conditions. Despite its few limitations, this lens offers an outstanding value for its price and is sure to enhance your photography experiences.
Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras (Renewed)
We recommend this factory refurbished Nikon lens for an affordable yet high-quality option for landscape photography.
- Excellent low-light performance
- Fast and quiet autofocus
- Compact and lightweight
- Factory refurbished (may be a concern for some)
- No weather sealing
- Not suitable for full-frame cameras
As landscape photography enthusiasts, we were excited to try out this Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX lens, especially since it’s a factory refurbished option with a 90-day warranty. From our experience, the lens performs exceptionally well in low-light conditions, making it perfect for capturing stunning sunrises and sunsets.
The autofocus on this lens is fast, accurate, and quiet, which we found to be extremely helpful while shooting in challenging conditions. It also allows for close focusing up to 1 foot, providing creative perspectives and versatility. The compact, lightweight design of the lens makes it a pleasure to carry around on our photography adventures.
However, we should mention that this lens is factory refurbished, which may be a concern for some buyers, but in our experience, it performs and appears like a brand new lens. Additionally, it’s worth noting that the lens is not weather-sealed, so extra care should be taken during inclement weather.
Finally, it’s important to note that this lens is designed for Nikon DX-format cameras and won’t be compatible with full-frame models. This limitation may be significant for some photographers but should not affect those specifically looking for a landscape lens for their cropped sensor camera.
In summary, the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX lens (Renewed) is a fantastic choice for landscape photography enthusiasts seeking a high-quality, affordable option. Its low-light performance, fast autofocus, and compact design make it an excellent addition to any photographer’s gear collection.
Meike 85mm f1.8 Telephoto Lens
This Meike 85mm f1.8 lens is a fantastic option for landscape photography as well as portraits, delivering quality images at an affordable price.
- Sharp image quality
- Versatile for various subjects
- Autofocus can be noisy
- Occasional flare issues
- Firmware updates via USB
We recently tested the Meike 85mm f1.8 lens and were pleasantly surprised by its performance, especially considering the affordable price point. The lens construction, with 6 groups of 9 pieces, allowed us to capture sharp, detailed images across various subjects like landscape, architecture, and portraits.
The large aperture range of f/1.8 to f/22 provides flexibility in shooting, particularly in low-light conditions where we were able to achieve pleasing bokeh effects and maintain the desired depth of field. Paired with a minimum focus distance of 0.85m, this lens can capture striking images, even in close quarters.
However, it’s worth noting that the autofocus can be a bit noisy, which could pose a problem for videographers who need audio from their recordings. Additionally, we encountered occasional flare issues when shooting in high-contrast situations. If controlling flare is a top priority, you may want to invest in a lens hood to tackle this head-on.
One unique aspect of this lens is its firmware updates via USB, which is both a pro and con – it’s convenient for those who prefer in-lens updates, but might be a nuisance for others who would rather have it integrated with their camera system.
Overall, the Meike 85mm f1.8 Telephoto Lens offers impressive quality, versatility, and value for landscape photography enthusiasts or portrait photographers on a budget. Just be mindful of the noisy autofocus and occasional flare issues.
When searching for the best lens for landscape photography, there are several factors to consider. In this buying guide, we will provide you with the essential aspects you need to pay attention to in order to make the perfect choice.
Focal Length: The focal length of a lens is one of the most crucial factors. For capturing wide, sweeping landscapes, consider a wide-angle lens with a focal length ranging from 14mm to 35mm. These lenses allow us to capture a broader perspective and include more of the scene in a single frame.
Aperture: A lens with a large maximum aperture (e.g., f/2.8) will offer better performance in low light situations. However, for landscape photography, we often shoot with smaller apertures (e.g., f/8 to f/16) to ensure a greater depth of field, so having the fastest lens is not always necessary.
Build and Weather Resistance: Since outdoor photography often exposes our gear to challenging weather conditions, we suggest looking for a lens with a robust build and effective weather sealing. This will protect the lens from dust, moisture, and minor falls or bumps while out in the field.
Sharpness and Image Quality: When purchasing a lens, consider the overall image quality and sharpness. Look for a lens that resolves details well across the entire frame, with minimal distortions or aberrations. Keep in mind that more expensive lenses often deliver better results, but don’t forget to consider budget-friendly options that offer excellent performance.
Weight and Size: Lastly, consider the weight and size of the lens. While larger and heavier lenses may offer better optical quality, they may also be more challenging to carry around during extended hikes or shoots. Look for a balance between size, weight, and optical performance that suits your needs.
By considering these factors, you’ll be able to choose the best lens for your landscape photography needs. Happy shooting!
Frequently Asked Questions
Best focal length for landscapes?
While there isn’t a definitive “best” focal length for landscape photography, we generally recommend using wide-angle lenses with focal lengths between 14mm and 35mm. These lenses allow you to capture sweeping vistas and encompass more of the scene in a single frame.
Top wide-angle lenses?
Some of the top wide-angle lenses that we often recommend for landscape photography include:
- Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
- Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
- Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM
- Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2
Please note that various factors, such as camera compatibility, may affect the suitability of a specific lens for your needs.
Prime or zoom lens?
This can be a matter of personal preference; however, each type of lens has its pros and cons. With prime lenses, you’ll generally experience a higher image quality and a larger maximum aperture, which can help in low-light situations. Zoom lenses, on the other hand, offer more flexibility in focal length range without having to switch lenses. Consider your shooting style and the type of landscapes you’ll be capturing before making your decision.
Affordable landscape lenses?
You don’t have to break the bank to find a good landscape lens. Some affordable options that we recommend are:
- Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM
- Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR
- Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS
- Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM
Best lens for nature shots?
Nature shots, especially when capturing wildlife, may require a telephoto lens to get up close and personal from a distance. Some of our top recommendations for telephoto lenses in nature photography include:
- Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM
- Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR
- Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS
- Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
Canon or Nikon lenses?
Both Canon and Nikon offer an impressive lineup of lenses to suit your landscape photography needs. Your choice between the two may heavily depend on your camera body and compatibility. It’s also worth considering third-party lenses, such as those from Sigma and Tamron, as they often offer excellent performance at a more competitive price point.