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Author Topic: What's the best lens for shooting landscapes?  (Read 6492 times)
SteveZ
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« on: September 02, 2010, 09:06:40 PM »
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I'll be taking a trip to northern Arizona/southern Utah in a few weeks and wanted to treat myself to a new lens. It's been years since I purchased my 17-40mm L.
I'll be bringing to cameras: a 1DMkIII and a 5D. What lens do you recommend specifically for landscapes?
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Josh-H
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2010, 09:13:03 PM »
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Steve,

I think your question is going to generate as many different answers as there are going to be posts to your question.

So much depends on what you already own, what your personal shooting style is, how you shoot (from a technique perspective), what trade offs you are willing to accept between sharper primes and more versatile zooms and of course your budget.

There certainly isn't a definitive 'best lens' for landscapes.

I would ask you back - are you happy with your 17-40? If yes, then supplementing that lens with something that suits your shooting style would be recommended. If you tend to shoot wide then perhaps something like the 14mm might be an option. If you tend to shoot longer then perhaps something versatile like a 70-200 might fit the bill. Again, so much depends on you, your style, budget, needs and wants.

If you are not happy with the quality of the 17-40 and want sharper images in that focal area - then something like the 24mm F1.4L MKII or 35mm F1.4L or even the new Zeiss 35mm might be better options.

Lots to think about!
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SteveZ
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2010, 09:49:30 PM »
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Josh, thanks for the reply. Perhaps my subject line should have read "which lenses are most popular or most recommended for shootings landscapes. Yes, the 17-40mm is a great lens, it's on my camera most of the time. I've also considered both of the primes that you've mentioned but I don't think I need lenses that fast since I only shoot outdoors rarely opt for shallow dof.  I think an  EF 20-35mm f2.8L or Canon EF 100mm f2.8L may be more suitable. There are others as well but I prefer L lenses. One lens I've had my heart set on is TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L. I've heard it can be excellent for landscape work. If anyone uses this lens, I'd appreciate hearing more about.



« Last Edit: September 02, 2010, 09:55:51 PM by SteveZ » Logged
marcmccalmont
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2010, 11:03:43 PM »
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I use my 24 105 f4 IS more than any other lens
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2010, 11:16:50 PM »
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I (yet) don't own a 24TsII. I currently own a 17Ts, a 24Ts and a 45Ts. I feel confident enough to tell you that the best landscape lens for the Eos system certainly got to be the 24TSII.
Resolution and of course the tilt&shift features makes it number one for landscape.  Plus you can stitch easily for 40+ mp's images (5DII) with the angle of view of a 18mm lens!
That is deep into digital medium format country at a fraction of the cost.
Regards
Eduardo

Josh, thanks for the reply. Perhaps my subject line should have read "which lenses are most popular or most recommended for shootings landscapes. Yes, the 17-40mm is a great lens, it's on my camera most of the time. I've also considered both of the primes that you've mentioned but I don't think I need lenses that fast since I only shoot outdoors rarely opt for shallow dof.  I think an  EF 20-35mm f2.8L or Canon EF 100mm f2.8L may be more suitable. There are others as well but I prefer L lenses. One lens I've had my heart set on is TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L. I've heard it can be excellent for landscape work. If anyone uses this lens, I'd appreciate hearing more about.




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Daniel Browning
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2010, 11:24:49 PM »
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If you counted up the lenses bought specifically for landscapes on full frame, my guess is that the 17-40 would be the most popular one that Canon makes. Typical landscape lenses are wide angle, deep DOF, low flare, and highly detailed. The 17-40 hits all those marks: when you stop down to f/8 it becomes very sharp and detailed (wide open it's quite soft in the corners) and the flare is very well controlled for a zoom. I don't know what the second-most-popular landscape lens would be, but I suggest you first narrow down the angle of view that you want to have.
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kikashi
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2010, 01:57:31 AM »
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I use my 24 105 f4 IS more than any other lens
Marc
So do I. Well, my 24-105, of course, not yours.

Jeremy
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k bennett
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« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2010, 07:09:10 AM »
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If I already had the 17-40, I'd get the 70-200 f/4 L IS. (I own both it and the f/2.8 IS lens, and would much rather carry the f/4 version for mucking about shooting landscapes.)
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Equipment: a camera and some lenses.
DaveCurtis
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« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2010, 03:54:53 PM »
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Ive gone down the Zeiss road. 21mm f2.8, 35f2 and 50mm f2 MP ZEs. Nice colour and micro contrast and very good performance across the frame.

Zeiss is my first choice for landscape but I still use my Canon 16-36mm f2.8ll and 24-105mm and 70-200 f2.8IS when other focal lengths are required.

I must admit if you are printing big there is noting like good quality primes.
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dchew
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« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2010, 07:00:57 PM »
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As Josh stated, it is a very personal decision.  For landscapes, most would agree there is a sweet spot from 20-35, and another from 70-135.   On the wide end I've had several of the above-mentioned lenses, including the 17-35, 16-35, 24TS (v1), 35f/2, 35f/1.4, 24-105.  I was recently debating between the 24TS II and the Zeiss lenses.  I ended up with the Zeiss 21 and 35 for a few reasons:
1. For relatively light but still very sharp combo, the Zeiss 35 and Canon 90TS is tough to beat.  Same 58mm filters, moderately heavy but not too big.
2.  I think the 24TS II is a great lens, but it's big.
3.  I still have the original 24TS.  While not as good, I can use it as a specialty lens instead of the everyday workhorse.
4.  Autofocus is not important to me.

My normal kit has become the Zeiss 21 & 35 plus the Canon 90TS and 70-200 f/4 IS.  Someday I'd like to add the Zeiss 50 macro.

Dave
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SteveZ
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« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2010, 07:14:57 PM »
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Thanks, Dave, interesting.
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spotmeter
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« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2010, 08:29:48 PM »
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The area you are going to visit lends itself to panoramas.

For this reason, I would recommend the Zeiss 50mm macro. It is the sharpest 50mm I have ever tested.

You can then use it in landscape or portrait mode to stitch large, sweeping panoramas.  It is easy to generate 100 MP files that are a joy to print.

I use this lens to make panos that I print to 3' x 10' on canvas that are so detailed that you can see each blade of grass in an enormous landscape.
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DaveCurtis
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« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2010, 11:01:37 PM »
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Yes, I second the 50mm Zeiss MP.

Technically very sound.  I too have been using it recently to make large prints The sharpest in my kit. It has a very nice "drawing style".

The lens is an all round winner. Great at f2, nice bokeh, performs well at infinity and at close focus.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2010, 11:06:49 PM »
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What, nobody's mentioned the Zeiss 100mm f/2 MP yet?
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MrSmith
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« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2010, 08:52:54 AM »
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don't dismiss the 24mkII and 90 TS-E lenses.
they are very good quality lenses with impressive image sharpness, the ability to change the plane of focus for more or less sharpness as well as perspective correction could add something to your landscape photography. the ease of stitching by shifting is something else to consider.  i seem to shoot 16:9 or thereabouts landscapes so find them ideal. i also use the 70-200 2.8 but appreciate this could be a bit much to carry around so an f4 might be better.
(i didn't include the 45 TS-E as it needs a bit more work in post with sharpness and CA. it's a good lens but not in the same class as the other 2)
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SteveZ
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« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2010, 10:04:18 AM »
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Yes, the TS-24II is on my short list. Thanks for your feedback.
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Luis Argerich
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« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2010, 01:37:09 PM »
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I'm using the 90 TSE a lot lately for landscapes. I mention this because it is a lens that is not commonly used for landscaping work.
I also use a 17-40, 70-200 and a Nikon 14-24 plus adapter.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2010, 02:27:59 AM »
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Hi,

I'd recommend that you check out the different usual places for lens quality information:

http://www.photozone.de
http://www.slrgear.com

DxO also makes extensive lens test: http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/en/Lens-with-Camera
DPReview also has tests: http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/

More hands on:
http://www.juzaphoto.com/eng/articles.htm

In general:

Very few lenses are really usable at full aperture and most tend to be best around f/8, at least if corners are taken into account. In general "aberrations" go down with increasing f-number, but when stopping down diffraction is also increasing. Diffraction is a property of light and aperture. Lens manufacturers can do little to reduce diffraction even if a circular aperture may help a little.

Fast lenses in general have issue with axial chromatic aberration, meaning that different colors are focused in different planes. I know of two lenses not having this issue, a Voigtländer macro and the Coastal Optics 60 macro, neither one being a commonplace lens.

Some of the Zeiss lenses available for Canon seem to be excellent.

Best regards
Erik
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KevinA
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« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2010, 05:49:42 AM »
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I'll be taking a trip to northern Arizona/southern Utah in a few weeks and wanted to treat myself to a new lens. It's been years since I purchased my 17-40mm L.
I'll be bringing to cameras: a 1DMkIII and a 5D. What lens do you recommend specifically for landscapes?
I have the 17 - 40 mm and I bought the 24mm and 35 mm f1.4, not just for the speed but because they are sharp, something that can not be said about the 17 - 40 mm (which I do use a lot).
I doubt you would need anything wider than the 17 - 40mm so something longer might add better to what you have in your bag already. Or something completely different like a Lensbaby. Or a tilt shift is excellent  if you have time to use it. If the trip has the family in tow leave it all behind and take a point and squirt, in my experience anything longer than 5 secs to take a picture will get moaned at and you will be eating at the times you should be shooting.
I'm off to Rome at the end of the week, I will just use my Wife's Sony point and shoot I will not be given the chance to make anything else count, it will just be heavy jewellery .

Kevin.
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Kevin.
SteveZ
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« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2010, 03:17:49 PM »
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Thanks, Erik, this info is really helpful and appreciated.
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