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Author Topic: Quality lenses for landscape photography  (Read 3176 times)
Andrew Makiejewski
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« on: February 22, 2013, 10:13:58 PM »
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Hi everyone. I am looking a full frame camera in the near future. It will be used for landscape and macro only. I am looking at either the Canon 5D Mk III or the Nikon D800. The really good images will be printed and I like large prints 16 x 20 and larger. Any really top notch landscapes would like to print at least 48 inches wide. I currently have Canon camera and lenses, but am OK in getting a Nikon camera. Use the best tool for the job.

I would like to hear from landscape photographers who make large prints in regards to which lenses to get the best image quality Which Canon, Nikon or other lenses would you recommend. This is a hobby so $3K + lenses are out of the question. Lenses that are sharp centre to edge mostly or a bit soft at the very edge,

Have been reading a lot on the internet and there is a lot of dribble out there and would like to hear from those that use the right tools in this area of photography.

Thanks very much.

Andrew
« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 10:20:22 PM by Andrew Makiejewski » Logged

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DaveCurtis
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2013, 10:48:56 PM »
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Im using a Canon 5D3 and printing/selling A2 (17"x22").

Lenses 21mm Zeiss, 35mm f1.4 Zeiss, 50mm MP Zeiss and 100MP Zeiss.
Also the Canon 17mm TSE and 24mm TSE are great.

If you want to print larger than this I would go with the Nikon. In fact the Nikon D800E is better period, for landscape.

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bill t.
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2013, 11:08:59 PM »
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The Micro Nikkor 55mm, f2.8 AIS (or is it AI?) is an astonishingly good lens which can be had for peanuts on ebay.  Pixel sharp from full frame corner to corner, essentially zero chromatic, high contrast.  I use it in full manual mode on a 5D2 with a cheap adapter, and with a D7000.  As good as it gets.  Manual everything on the 5D2, of course.

If you want sharp landscapes, use stitching.  Basically every part of the image is the optical sweet spot, no fuzzy corners, your resolution is limited only by your ambition and patience.

(Hey Peter, I beat you to it this time!)
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2013, 04:32:25 AM »
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If you start from scratch today for landscape work, go D800e.

As far as lenses go, the recommendation will depend on the focal length, there is an amazing line up. I personally stitch a lot with the Zeiss 50mm f2.0. The 24mm ts is also excellent for landscape applications where tilt is the main thing.

Cheers,
Bernard
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2013, 04:44:39 AM »
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I have sometimes been tempted by the Zeiss lenses and maybe one day I will succumb.

At present with my D800 and D800E, however, the lenses that I use most often for landscape are (in order of frequency of use):

Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8
Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII
Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8

They all perform well.
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Petrus
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2013, 04:48:18 AM »
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I quote myself from another thread:

If DxO is to be trusted, the best primes for D800E would be:

Nikon 85 f:1.8 G, 35 points, the SHARPEST lens they have measured so far (lens + camera combination, D3x). $500.
Sigma 50 f:1.4 DG, 28 points, sharpest normal lens so far. $500.
Sigma 35 f:1.4 DG, 30 points, the sharpest mid-wide so far (measured with canon 5D3, D800 should be better). $900.
Nikon 24 f:1.4 G ED, 29 points, best "landscape-wide" so far. Almost $2000.
Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 15 f:2.8, 23 points, best ultra-wide. $3000.

As we can see, the quality goes down with wider angles but prices explode, so stitching, when possible, is recommended.

Nikon 85 and those Sigmas are real winners in both quality and price. Nikon 14-28 as practically as good as 15mm Zeiss, but $1000 cheaper. It could also replace the 24mm f:1.4.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2013, 06:18:11 AM »
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Hi,

If you happen to compare DxO measurements you would see that there is very little difference between the 24/1.4 and the 24-70/2.8 if you shoot both at f/5.6. Most decent lenses are sharpest around 5.6 - 8.

It's highly unlikely that f/1.4 would be used for landscape.

Best regards
Erik

I quote myself from another thread:

If DxO is to be trusted, the best primes for D800E would be:

Nikon 85 f:1.8 G, 35 points, the SHARPEST lens they have measured so far (lens + camera combination, D3x). $500.
Sigma 50 f:1.4 DG, 28 points, sharpest normal lens so far. $500.
Sigma 35 f:1.4 DG, 30 points, the sharpest mid-wide so far (measured with canon 5D3, D800 should be better). $900.
Nikon 24 f:1.4 G ED, 29 points, best "landscape-wide" so far. Almost $2000.
Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 15 f:2.8, 23 points, best ultra-wide. $3000.

As we can see, the quality goes down with wider angles but prices explode, so stitching, when possible, is recommended.

Nikon 85 and those Sigmas are real winners in both quality and price. Nikon 14-28 as practically as good as 15mm Zeiss, but $1000 cheaper. It could also replace the 24mm f:1.4.
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Andrew Makiejewski
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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2013, 04:47:21 PM »
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Thanks to everyone that replied and for the info.

I have been reading the various reviews and lens tests and are a starting point. Knowing the quality of the print or large print is also a valuable part of lens review (at least if you make prints).

Will take this info to help me narrow down and help what to go with.

Andrew
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2013, 05:51:27 PM »
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(Hey Peter, I beat you to it this time!)

Damn. Smiley 

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Petrus
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2013, 12:20:57 AM »
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It's highly unlikely that f/1.4 would be used for landscape.

That is true, basically also slower & cheaper lenses are likely serve (just as) well if used only stopped down for more DOF, and past f:8 or so they are all diffraction limited anyway. I just have this available light documentary side in me which likes fast glass... Should be getting the f:1.4 Sigma 35 any day now.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2013, 12:36:38 AM »
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Hi,

My point was mostly that it is a good idea to check out the graphs on DxO-mark. That single figure of merit may not match the priorities that you have.

Best regards
Erik


That is true, basically also slower & cheaper lenses are likely serve (just as) well if used only stopped down for more DOF, and past f:8 or so they are all diffraction limited anyway. I just have this available light documentary side in me which likes fast glass... Should be getting the f:1.4 Sigma 35 any day now.
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HarperPhotos
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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2013, 04:29:37 AM »
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Hi Petrus,

I got my new Sigma 35mm F1.4 lens the other day. I did a test outside my studio in the car park and also used my Nikon 35mm F1.4G lens.

After all the fantastic reviews I had read about the Sigma the results I got where so bad I re packed it up and sent it back to the NZ rep for Sigma. The Nikon 35mm F1.4G was clearly superior.

I can You Send some raw shot if you like.

Ciao

Simon
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Simon Harper
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Dan Berg
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« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2013, 05:08:13 AM »
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Another D800E landscape shooter here.
Recently purchased 2 Zeisses,the 21 f/2.8 and 100 f/2.
Stitched panos from the 100 are to die for,so sharp.
For wider shots the Zeiss 21 and Nikon 14-24 f/2.8 are my go to pieces.
The new filter adapter for the 14-24 from Lee is excellent if you go that route.
I wanted mf for years and just could not afford it.
This is as close as it gets output wise with only a 5k outlay.
20"x60" stitched panos shot with D800E/Zeiss really stand out against some shot 5 years ago with the D200 and D2Xs.
 Time to reshoot some of the older ones I guess.

Andrew,
The Zeiss 100 f/2 was really purchased by me for macro use. I am finding it to be my most used lens for macro and landscapes,it is that good.
To get to 1:1 I have the Kenko extension tube set which will get me there and further if I want. Awaiting for spring to really try them out.
Someone over at Nikonians has a used one for sale.
* Just take note it is a ZF not the ZF.2 It is listed for $1300
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 07:58:49 AM by Dan Berg » Logged

Andrew Makiejewski
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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2013, 11:29:52 AM »
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Thanks once again for the replies from the second group.

All the info is useful to help me decide which lenses to use. Reading the info out there certainly could drive one crazy trying to decide. This site/forum has many persons with lots of useful knowledge.

Another question that I should have asked in relation to the Nikon camera is D800 or D800E? I do fairly well at post processing. So I would like to hear from those here, what your results are.

I know that the D800 will be great for single frame images, but the Canon 5D Mk III would suffice if I stitch a few frames together. So many decisions, so few brain cells.

Also have been looking at the DXO and other specs. Hearing from those who use the lens and the their findings is of great use as well

Thanks again.

Andrew
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2013, 11:45:23 AM »
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question that I should have asked in relation to the Nikon camera is D800 or D800E? I do fairly well at post processing. So I would like to hear from those here, what your results are.

The D800 files are so clean from highlight to shadows that they can pretty much take any processing you throw at them.

I was reworking the other day some old D2X files, themselves very clean I thought, and was amazed at how much progress has been made in a few years.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Ligament
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« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2013, 02:16:24 PM »
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Apologies for going on a tangent, but what pano head setup are you guys using for your landscape panoramas?
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2013, 02:26:33 PM »
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Hi,

I mostly just just my Arca D4 head, sometimes with a simple nodal slider from RRS.

Before that I used the RRS Pano head, but the Arca makes the same job.

Best regards
Erik

Apologies for going on a tangent, but what pano head setup are you guys using for your landscape panoramas?
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bill t.
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« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2013, 05:11:07 PM »
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I was reworking the other day some old D2X files, themselves very clean I thought, and was amazed at how much progress has been made in a few years.

Have also been reworking my best D2X work, using the miraculous sliders in LR4.  I am reminded how much I miss the abundant, small-sensor DOF in near/far landscape shots.  I would need to resort to T/S or focus stacking or egregious cropping to do as good with my FF, as judged by same sized, large prints.  Am going to give the D7100 a try before going on to whatever trumps the D800x.  But anyway, just as much progress in software as in hardware.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2013, 05:55:38 PM »
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Have also been reworking my best D2X work, using the miraculous sliders in LR4.  I am reminded how much I miss the abundant, small-sensor DOF in near/far landscape shots.  I would need to resort to T/S or focus stacking or egregious cropping to do as good with my FF, as judged by same sized, large prints.  Am going to give the D7100 a try before going on to whatever trumps the D800x.  But anyway, just as much progress in software as in hardware.

Yes, indeed.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2013, 04:48:44 AM »
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Well, from Canon, there are many excellent lenses for landscape: the TSE series (especially the 17mm and 24mm); the new 24-70L f/2.8 MKII zoom (which is excepcionally sharp); the 70-200L f/2.8 MKII zoom; the 100L f/2.8 macro... the zooms are really very good, equivalent to primes, and offer very useful flexibility for landscape shooting.
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