Top 3 lenses for landscape photography
MY FAVORITE LENSES
I am going to share with you my all-time favorite lenses for landscape photography. These 3 lenses are my go-to lenses and I carry them in my backpack on every hike, trip, or expedition. I have no idea if these lenses are considered landscape photography lenses but they are my favorites and I’m sure that every photographer has different preferences, but I think we can all agree that focal length matters!
1. 50mm f/1.4 – a classic that everyone needs
2. 17-35mm f/4 – a good wide-angle option
3. 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 – amazing telephoto zoom lens
Let’s compare these 3 lenses real quick. You’ll see in the photos below how much of a difference does it make if you use different lenses for shooting the same landscape from the same shooting point.
As you can see from the photographs above, lenses make a huge difference in the composition.
The first image was shot with a 17-35mm lens and captured a wide part of the scene in front of me. The volcanic crater is almost fully captured by the 17-35mm lens but the vulcanos and the sea in the back that were further away are too small for my taste.
The second photograph was made with 50mm lens. The crater in front of me appears closer as well as the vulcanos in the back.
The third photo was taken with 100-400mm lens. The crater that was in front of me is no longer visible, there is only a tiny little detail in the composition left. The volcano in the back is now super close as well as the ocean behind it.
In this case, the 50mm lens did the best job. Often the 50mm lens would be the one that can capture the majority of scenes best. And you can also create amazing portraits with this lens! It’s my absolute favorite portrait lens.
A classic that everyone needs: Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens
50mm lens is a classic lens and it captures the most ”natural” angle compared to an angle of human sight. Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 is great for capturing low light condition scenes. Because of a super wide-open aperture f/1.4, it’s great for those ”after-sunset” moments. You can take nice sharp shots even an hour after the sun had set.
At the 1.4 aperture point, this lens creates a super shallow depth of field which means that we can blur the background or the foreground a lot. It just creates a romantic and artistic vibe and you can play with the depth of field a lot. The depth of field is a very important composition tool. I love this lens because of its ”natural” angle, super wide aperture, and because it’s super small and lightweight. This lens was one of the first lenses that I bought and it serves me well since.
A good wide-angle option: Tokina 17-35mm f/4 at-X Pro FX Lens for Nikon
A good wide-angle lens is a must when capturing nature and landscape. Tokina 17-35mm f/4 is serving me very well for at least 5 years. It works with my analog and my digital Nikon camera. This lens creates super sharp photos and the distortion is not too bad.
When shooting landscape, oftentimes there is no space to take a few steps back to capture the subject in front of you. In these circumstances, you desperately need a wide-angle lens. That’s why I carry this lens with me all the time. You never know when you’ll need it. This Oasis scene on the right couldn’t be captured with my other 2 favorites. The natural sand stone bow scenery was also so close that it was impossible to capture the entire structure without a wide-angle lens. There was no space to step back because this bow was located at the top of the mountain.
Amazing telephoto zoom lens: Tamron 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Telephoto Zoom Lens
This telephoto zoom lens is my latest love. I bought Tamron 100-400mm only a year ago but it became my favorite instantly. It’s pretty heavy but I carry this lens with me everywhere. It’s great for capturing distant landscapes and isolating objects. I love to shoot mountains, sun, and moon with this lens. A tripod is needed in low light conditions, otherwise, you risk an unsharp photo. It works perfectly without it on a bright sunny day. This lens also works with my analog Nikon camera on film and with my digital Nikon camera.
You can learn more about my gear here: GEAR