There seems to be an endless line of questions about what gear to get for landscape photography. For classic landscape photography, there are three lenses I could not do without.
Over the years I have owned several different lenses that came with different benefits, sharp lenses, small lenses, fast lenses, etc. I even got a nifty fifty as my second lens. Back then, I did a whole range of other types of photography, but mainly focused on candid photos of my friends at parties and portraits and the nifty fifty was a really great fit for that. For landscape photography, it just collects dust on the shelf.
In my brand new video, I share my thoughts on what lenses I deem necessary for landscape photography.
My most used lens for regular landscape photography (daylight, golden hour, and blue hour) is a wide-angle zoom such as a 16-35mm. I photograph a lot in Iceland and the Faroe Islands and the wide-angle view fits perfectly with many of the iconic locations in those countries. The big question is whether to get an ultra wide-angle lens. Many ultra-wides have a maximum focal length of 24mm and a minimum between 11mm and 14mm dependent on the brand. That is a relatively narrow focal range and photographing that wide are usually not necessary to capture “the entire scene.” Many ultra-wides also comes with a bulky front element, which means you cannot use regular screw-on filters. Whether you go for the ultra-wide or regular wide-angle lens, one thing is clear, you do not need an aperture lower than f/4. Generally, in landscape photography we want everything from front to back to be in focus, which is the reason we tend to photograph between f/8 and f/16. The f/2.8 is nice to have if you want to add astrophotography into the equation, but for regular landscape photography, it is redundant.
There are other arguments for and against wide-angles and ultra wide angles but in the end, it comes down to your own preferences.
Standard zooms are probably my second most used lens type. I currently use the 24-105mm from Sony and it is a gem of a lens! The other day I was out photographing in Denmark for six hours and I only used that lens. The 24-105 is a fantastic all-round lens, but should you go for a 24-70mm instead? Budget, aperture, lens stabilization, sharpness, and focal range are all factors to consider when you choose your lens. In my specific case, it is a no brainer, the 24-105mm from Sony is not the cheapest lens in its class, but it exceeds expectations in all other categories. I do not need the f/2.8 aperture (for the same reasons as above), it is very sharp, arguably sharper than the 24-70 GM and it comes with image stabilization.
Last but not least, a telephoto zoom lens is also a must-have lens, there are a few different types on the market and again there are several factors to consider. Since I use the 24-105mm I can use the 100-400mm without compromising any focal length, however, the 100-400 comes with a bigger price tag, larger size and more weight than a typical 70-200mm. The 70-200mm f/4 has been my go-to lens for many years for both Sony and Canon and no matter your brand, there are some really good 70-200mm lenses on the market.
In my video, I go even deeper into budget, aperture, sharpness, filters, focal range comparison, and much more. Check it out above if you want to know what lenses to get for landscape photography. What lenses do you prefer or own? Let me know down below.