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Author Topic: Essential lens list for landscape work  (Read 5332 times)
bellimages
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« on: March 09, 2010, 10:07:43 AM »
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I am in the process of adding a new lens to my bag. I currently have three Canon "L" series lenes -- 16-35, 24-70.

As image quality improves with DPP photography, the faults of current lenses are becoming evident. Canon has introduced a handful of new "digital" lenses. The prices of them will make your jaw drop. The new 200mm prime lens retails for $4800. And the 70-200 will be introduced this spring at a cost of $2499 (not bad by comparison to the 200mm).

I'd like to add a telephoto, or telephoto zoom. I could go with the new Canon zoom, or a prime lens (200, 300 or 400). What do you guys suggest?

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Jan Bell, Owner/Photographer, Bell Images
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Luis Argerich
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2010, 10:26:54 AM »
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The 200mm F2.8LII prime is very economic and excellent.
If you prefer a Zoom the 70-200F2.8L with or without IS is excellent, the 70-200F4L with or without IS is great too. The new version of the 70-200 F.28LIS should be even better but you can choose based on your budget, nothing really wrong with the other four 70-200s.

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JeffKohn
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2010, 11:06:04 AM »
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I don't shoot Canon, but I've heard many say that the 70-200 f/4 IS is every bit as sharp or sharper than the 2.8 versions. Most folks don't need f/2.8 for landscape work, and the f/4 lens will offer considerable savings in both price and size/weight. I wish Nikon made such a lens.
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bellimages
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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2010, 11:22:00 AM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
I don't shoot Canon, but I've heard many say that the 70-200 f/4 IS is every bit as sharp or sharper than the 2.8 versions. Most folks don't need f/2.8 for landscape work, and the f/4 lens will offer considerable savings in both price and size/weight. I wish Nikon made such a lens.
Thanks for the reply Jeff.

This whole thing on a new breed of lenses for digital has my ears perked. While it's exciting, it looks to be VERY expensive. Canon wouldn't be doing this if it didn't produce a better final image. The R&D that goes into designing such a lens must be intense. If the public doesn't buy then, they stand to loose a lot of money.
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Jan Bell, Owner/Photographer, Bell Images
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tim wolcott
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2010, 12:59:03 PM »
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Jan, I would say carry every focal length you can haul.  Composition changes by where you are standing.  If you move forward or backward everything is moving also.  I carry everyone I can get.  But sorry I don't shoot 35mm.  But the same is true.  I did the same when shooting 4x5 and 8x10.  Having the lens for the image makes the difference, zoomz work great but you really can't see what's in true focus or where it falls out.

Remember you are paying for every megapixel - 5% for cropping issues.  Tim

If you shooting 35 then stitch and stitch more.
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PeterAit
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2010, 01:20:37 PM »
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Quote from: bellimages
I am in the process of adding a new lens to my bag. I currently have three Canon "L" series lenes -- 16-35, 24-70.

As image quality improves with DPP photography, the faults of current lenses are becoming evident. Canon has introduced a handful of new "digital" lenses. The prices of them will make your jaw drop. The new 200mm prime lens retails for $4800. And the 70-200 will be introduced this spring at a cost of $2499 (not bad by comparison to the 200mm).

I'd like to add a telephoto, or telephoto zoom. I could go with the new Canon zoom, or a prime lens (200, 300 or 400). What do you guys suggest?

I find a tilt/shift lens to be essential for landscape work - perhaps a result of my many years with a view camera! I know Canon has at least one entry in this category, but I don't know how it stacks up optically (I use Nikon).
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Peter
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Terry Breedlove
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2010, 01:36:15 PM »
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Quote from: PeterAit
I find a tilt/shift lens to be essential for landscape work - perhaps a result of my many years with a view camera! I know Canon has at least one entry in this category, but I don't know how it stacks up optically (I use Nikon).


I think a good basic kit that will cover most everything will be something like  80-200 F 2.8 and a good wide angle. I shoot with a Nikon D2x and I have the 80-200 and I am thinking about adding the Nikon 10-24 this month. I can add more specialized lenses later as I can afford them.
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bellimages
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2010, 01:53:59 PM »
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Quote from: tim wolcott
Jan, I would say carry every focal length you can haul.  Composition changes by where you are standing.  If you move forward or backward everything is moving also.  I carry everyone I can get.  But sorry I don't shoot 35mm.  But the same is true.  I did the same when shooting 4x5 and 8x10.  Having the lens for the image makes the difference, zoomz work great but you really can't see what's in true focus or where it falls out.

Remember you are paying for every megapixel - 5% for cropping issues.  Tim

If you shooting 35 then stitch and stitch more.
Hey Tim .... thanks for your comments. As money comes in, I plan on adding to my arsenal of lenses. I'm happy to see these new "digital" grade of Canon lenses. But hell, the lenses cost more than their camera bodies. LOL

I know, I know .... 35mm is way cheaper than what you're using. So I don't expect any sympathy ... grin.
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Jan Bell, Owner/Photographer, Bell Images
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tokengirl
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2010, 03:04:39 PM »
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Quote from: PeterAit
I find a tilt/shift lens to be essential for landscape work - perhaps a result of my many years with a view camera! I know Canon has at least one entry in this category, but I don't know how it stacks up optically (I use Nikon).

I agree, I don't know what i ever did without it.  Canon has 4 TS lenses - 17mm TS-E, 24mm TS-E II, 45mm TS-E and 90mm TS-E.  I own the 17mm and the 24mm, they are both spectacular, with the 24mm TS-E II having the edge.  It is incredibly sharp, has no barrel distortion, and no CA to speak of.
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ckimmerle
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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2010, 03:11:41 PM »
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Quote from: tim wolcott
I would say carry every focal length you can haul.

I would recommend the opposite. Pare it down to the essentials, specific to what you are shooting. My bag consists of only three lenses: 24 and 45 t/s lenses and a very sharp 85. I have no need for anything longer. Of course, there may be the occasional shot that I miss because of the limited selection, but it's more than made up for by the shots I do get by being able to focus my thinking and vision.

It doesn't matter what lenses you have, IMHO. That's a personal choice. But it's a mistake to assume that accounting for every single millimeter of focal length will make things easier. It actually can have the opposite effect.
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AndrewKulin
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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2010, 05:40:10 PM »
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Quote from: tokengirl
I agree, I don't know what i ever did without it.  Canon has 4 TS lenses - 17mm TS-E, 24mm TS-E II, 45mm TS-E and 90mm TS-E.  I own the 17mm and the 24mm, they are both spectacular, with the 24mm TS-E II having the edge.  It is incredibly sharp, has no barrel distortion, and no CA to speak of.

I also have the 24 mm TS-E II and agree whole-heartedly with the above.  Essentially zero CA on my copy (I use it with a 40D)
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2010, 06:22:44 PM »
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Quote from: Luis Argerich
If you prefer a Zoom the 70-200F2.8L with or without IS is excellent, the 70-200F4L with or without IS is great too. The new version of the 70-200 F.28LIS should be even better but you can choose based on your budget, nothing really wrong with the other four 70-200s.

+1, I have the mark 1 70-200 2.8 L IS and it is excellent for landscape.  The 2.8 max aperture helps to focus in low light and for shallow DOF.

Paul
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ognita
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« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2010, 08:32:44 PM »
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It will depend on the area you're at.
My 17-40 was not used when I was on the Great Wall. 24-105L served me best.
The 24-105 was rarely used when I was in Mongolia. The 70-200 f4 took most of the shots.

+1 on the 70-200 f4 IS.
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tom b
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« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2010, 09:10:10 PM »
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Quote from: ognita
It will depend on the area you're at.
My 17-40 was not used when I was on the Great Wall. 24-105L served me best.
The 24-105 was rarely used when I was in Mongolia. The 70-200 f4 took most of the shots.

70-200 f4 IS

I have the 70-200 f4 at home and a 70-200 f2.8 at work and although the f2.8 is a great lens, I hate lugging it around. So I would give the nod to the 70-200 f4 IS if weight is a consideration. I shoot with tripod at work but prefer to shoot more street style for my personal work so IS is a greater priority for me. It's a pity the F4 IS came out after I bought my lens. I find that going up to FF I'm needing smaller apertures, so a fast lens isn't an advantage for my work.

Cheers,
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bellimages
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2010, 01:44:20 PM »
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Quote from: ognita
It will depend on the area you're at.
My 17-40 was not used when I was on the Great Wall. 24-105L served me best.
The 24-105 was rarely used when I was in Mongolia. The 70-200 f4 took most of the shots.

+1 on the 70-200 f4 IS.
So what's all the fuss about tilt lens cameras? I understand their principle, and have used them in architectural shooting. But I never have seen a need for them in the realm of landscape work.

Do I dare say that Photoshop allows for some minor correction of perspective/distortion? Maybe some of you wouldn't consider that route though.
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Jan Bell, Owner/Photographer, Bell Images
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2010, 02:01:26 PM »
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Quote from: PeterAit
I find a tilt/shift lens to be essential for landscape work - perhaps a result of my many years with a view camera! I know Canon has at least one entry in this category, but I don't know how it stacks up optically (I use Nikon).
For people who appreciate movements, ff 35mm is nonsense at these lens prices - it makes a MF digital view camera look more cost-effective. Why spend so much on a lens (for landscape) when your image is limited by a relative low pixel count, "low" res sensor?
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ckimmerle
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« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2010, 03:05:22 PM »
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Quote from: Dick Roadnight
For people who appreciate movements, ff 35mm is nonsense at these lens prices - it makes a MF digital view camera look more cost-effective. Why spend so much on a lens (for landscape) when your image is limited by a relative low pixel count, "low" res sensor?

Not sure I would count 12, 18, or 24 megapixels as "relatively low", as prints well in excess of 20" can be made with even the lower of the three. Even a magazine two-page spread needs not much more than 18-24 megapixels. IMHO, many, if not most folks shooting digital MF don't need half the pixels they do get, and those that use them all print too damned big.

Also, and perhaps more important than pixel density is how an individual photographer works. I've worked professionally with 35mm cameras for more than 20 years. Still do. I know them, I like them. I don't much care for the feel of any of the current crop of portable digital MF cameras. They're bulky and unwieldy. The new Pentax 645D has possibilities for my personal style, but doesn't really offer anything beyond a few more pixels, which I do not currently need, if ever.



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tokengirl
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« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2010, 10:06:30 PM »
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Quote from: bellimages
So what's all the fuss about tilt lens cameras? I understand their principle, and have used them in architectural shooting. But I never have seen a need for them in the realm of landscape work.

Do I dare say that Photoshop allows for some minor correction of perspective/distortion? Maybe some of you wouldn't consider that route though.


Perspective control is as useful for landscapes as it is for architectural work.  Think about controlling the perspective of tall trees, for example.  There is also the benefit of being able to tilt the focal plane to achieve great depth of field while using a relatively large aperture, which is great on a very windy day when you need a higher shutter speed to stop the motion of vegetation.

Photoshop is ok for slight corrections, but the more you correct, the more you have to crop out, thereby changing the composition.  I'd rather try to get it right in camera.
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Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2010, 05:14:27 AM »
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Quote from: bellimages
I am in the process of adding a new lens to my bag. I currently have three Canon "L" series lenes -- 16-35, 24-70.

As image quality improves with DPP photography, the faults of current lenses are becoming evident. Canon has introduced a handful of new "digital" lenses. The prices of them will make your jaw drop. The new 200mm prime lens retails for $4800. And the 70-200 will be introduced this spring at a cost of $2499 (not bad by comparison to the 200mm).

I'd like to add a telephoto, or telephoto zoom. I could go with the new Canon zoom, or a prime lens (200, 300 or 400). What do you guys suggest?

Adding a telephoto or telephoto zooms for landscape photograhy is not easy. You have to consider several things: what are you going to photograph, how far away will you be from the subject, at what scale do you wish to isolate detail? On top of these "pragmatical" and "artistic vision" factors, you then have to factor in things like: are you shooting from  tripod, do you wish to have IS, and so on.

Personally, these days I have trimmed my equipment to bare essentials. I use a 5D MKII with a wide angle zoom (17-40), and a 50D with the 100 L macro. As such, I can use the 100mm lens in the 5D MKII when I want 100mm, or in the 50D when I want longer reach.

For landscape, a telephoto zoom can be handy, but if you want excellent results, you need to carry the heavy lenses (70-200 f/2.8, 100-400), or the lighter 70-200 f/4 (which is a good compromise).
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Ronny Nilsen
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« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2010, 05:32:01 AM »
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Quote from: Dick Roadnight
For people who appreciate movements, ff 35mm is nonsense at these lens prices - it makes a MF digital view camera look more cost-effective. Why spend so much on a lens (for landscape) when your image is limited by a relative low pixel count, "low" res sensor?

Because I can use tilt to get the planer of focus where I want, and with shift I can stitch and get parallax free 40mpix images that is medium res instead of low res images of 21 mpix.  

Ronny
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