Best Lenses For Landscape Photography

So what are the best lenses for landscape photography? Is there even such a thing? Won’t it cost me a fortune? Let’s get to the bottom of this once and for all and get you on your way to investing in some good quality glass as well as your photography future.

Let me come right out and say this, there is no best lens for landscape photography. There, I said it. You have a choice depending on how you want to show the scene in front of you.

Lenses are fundamentally important in photography. Even more so than the camera itself these days. Give me an entry level DSLR with a higher quality lens on it any day if on a budget. The lens dictates how the light is transferred onto the sensor.

Imagine a lens is an air filter for a minute (stick with me here), if you have a poor quality air filter a lot more dust, dirt and just overall the air quality coming through will be poor.

Now imagine you get a much higher quality air filter (lens). The air that passes through will be more pure, clean and crisper. Now swap air for light and you have your completed analogy :) The way light enters your camera works in a similar way. Light flows through the lens and hits the sensor.

You could have the best sensor in the world but it wouldn’t be anything without a great lens.

If you have a decent budget I would always recommend spending more of it on a lens that the camera body. Cameras are constantly updated, good glass lasts a long time.

You currently have an overwhelming choice of lenses at this present moment in time. Technology is always improving but one thing you can be sure of is that quality lenses don’t just suddenly stop being quality. This is why us photographers hang on to a lot of our old lenses. We trust them and they still produce stunning results regardless of how old they are.

Focal Length and sensor size.

Depending on the sensor size in your camera (full frame or cropped), there are different definitions for ultra wide angle, standard and telephoto. Once you know if your camera is a cropped sensor or full frame you will know which focal length applies to your camera.

Here are 2 photos which can show you better than me waffling on:




Wide angle lens for landscape?

A lot of people tend to think landscapes equals wide angle lenses. These 2 are not mutually exclusive as it all depends on the look, feel and perspective you want to achieve in your photo. Take this photo below. This is shot with a Sigma 10-20mm at 10mm. This is classed as an ultra wide angle lens. The field of view is massive and it stretches the scene out in the frame and gives a unique perspective which suits this dramatic seascape.

Wide angle lenses can definitely add a huge amount of drama to your photos but and it’s a big hairy but, this isn’t a default lens for landscape photography. Don’t ever be afraid to try out different lenses and focal lengths.


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Here are some of the wide angle lenses I would recommend.

Cropped sensor lenses

Sigma 10-20mm

I have used the Sigma 10-20mm for many years now. I can honestly say I love this lens and still use it on my Canon 60D. Here is a review of the lens I did for the youtube channel. It still produces fantastic images but like any lens it is not without its faults but at this price you really can’t grumble!

Canon 10-18mm

This lens from Canon has to be the ultimate bargain ultra wide angle for cropped frame sensors. Not only is it incredible affordable but it also has image stabilization and all for a bargain price! All the reviews have been very very good, even better than the sigma which is getting on a bit now (9 years). If I was in the market for a wide angle lens today this is the one I would be buying for my camera for sure.

Tokina 11-16mm

The Tokina has an ace up its sleeve, it has a constant aperture of f2.8 making it a lot more desirable to those wanting to shoot in lower light. Now this is reflected in the price but again this lens has received high praise since its launch and its still the go to lens for many photographers all over the world.

Full frame lenses

Canon 17-40mm

This is my favourite lens by a long way. I use it on a Canon 6D and it never fails to blow me away. Its light, compact and built like a soviet tank! Images it produces are contrasty, have beautiful rich and vivid colours and if you are using it at f8 and above will be hard to beat on sharpness still today! Check out my review here with sample images to see for yourself what this lens can produce.

Nikon 14-24mm

The Nikon 14-24mm would be my weapon of choice if I was a Nikon shooter. I’ve spent many an hour researching lenses and its hard to find a bad word said against this lens other than the price! It isn’t cheap but in the photography world you really do get what you pay for. This lens is sat in the bag of professionals world wide that is for sure.


 What is a standard lens?

A standard lens is a lens which gives us a perspective close to what we see with the human eye. Anywhere between 35mm and 50mm is usually classed as a ‘standard’. Usually people new to photography use this sort of lens as a portrait lens (50mm), but they are missing a trick here. Using this focal length in your landscapes can instantly transform your landscape photography. Seriously go give it a try!

This photo was taken using the Canon 50mm f1.8


As you can see the 50mm lens gives a really natural looking photo. This is a very familiar perspective to the human eye so is very representative of what you would have actually seen with your own eyes if you had been stood where I was when taking this shot.

I love the warm feeling this photo gives me. The gentle glow of the sun coming through the tree and rich oranges and yellows is very pleasing to my eye.

Here are a couple of standard lenses worth taking a look at;

Canon 50mm f1.8

If you are a Canon shooter and don’t own this lens then buy it! Seriously this is the cheapest lens Canon makes and you will be blown away by the quality, sharpness and bokeh of this nifty fifty! There is its more expensive brother the 50mm f1.4 but its so much more expensive and really does not produce any better results image wise. You are mainly paying for better build quality. I have a full review on my youtube channel here for the 50mm f1.8 here.

Sigma 35mm f1.4

I couldn’t resist putting the sigma in here. I have used this lens briefly and it made me want to instantly get out my credit card and get it! Honestly it is that good! 35mm is a wonderful and well used focal length by landscape photographers all over the planet and for good reason. It somehow just looks right, the goldilocks lens, not too wide and not too telephoto, just right. It is also built like a tank, produces stunning images and will no doubt outlive the next couple of DSLRs you own!

Telephoto Lens for Landscapes

World famous landscape photographers have used telephoto lenses to produce some of the most magnificent images to date. One of the things I love most about shooting with a telephoto lens is being able to pick out little scenes within a scene. These are glimpses into little worlds that without the telephoto lens you would miss and never see.


Click to view the full size image

Telephoto lenses give a very narrow field of view and compress the scene together. This works well when shooting landscapes but just remember lenses are just creative tools.  Like most things in photography it comes down to your personal taste and how you want to show off a certain scene to the world.


Click for full res image

Some telephoto lenses I recommend are;

Canon 70-200mm

The Canon 70-200 in all its variations from the f4 to f2.8 versions is pretty much damn perfect. The only thing that isn’t perfect to me is the price and the colour of the lens. Other than that this lens will be with you for years and years to come. A very wise investment indeed which produces top class images consistently, with punchy colours and contract you will not be disappointed.

Nikon 70-200mm

Nikon make some stunning pieces of glass and the 70-200 is one of them. Beautifully crisp and clean images all packaged in solid and professional looking shell. If you are a Nikon shooter this will be the telephoto lens you will be dreaming of!

Canon 55-250mm (For Canon Cropped Sensors only!)

I have used the Canon 55-250mm for a good few years now. I just can’t bear to part with it (even though it is the mk1 version which sounds like a robot having a moment every time you autofocus). It is far from perfect, it takes forever to autofocus, its loud, its not anywhere near sharp when shot wide open but still with all its downfalls can produce really high quality images. And it has image stabilization which really helps. Check out my full long term review of this lens here, video review here

Best Walk Around Lenses For Landscape Photography?

I’m sure you got an 18-55mm kit lens with your camera. If you did you will know how useful it is having a great walk around lens that enables you to get wide shots as well as more detailed and close up images. These lenses are extremely versatile and can produce stunning photos in a number of different environments.

lenses for landscape photography

Click for full res image.

After a while you will out grow your kit lens and want to upgrade. Lets have a look at what options you could go for. My go to lens for most situations is the canon 24-105mm. It covers everything  from wide to telephoto and everything in between. The build quality is very high as is image quality. This lens acts like 3 in one for me and I know I can rely on it when I need that shot.

Here are a few lenses that I would highly recommend;

Canon 24-105mm

Now as I mentioned above i love this lens. It is always in my camera bag usually slapped on the front of a camera ready to go. It renders details, colours and contrast beautifully. I have done a full in depth review of it here. It can be picked up at a very reasonable price now and is well worth having a look.

Sigma 24-105mm

If I didn’t already own the Canon 24-105 then the sigma would be sat in my kit bag now. If I was in the market for this kind of lens the sigma is without doubt the one I would be buying. The image test results for this lens were incredible. Its super sharp even shot wide open, built magnificently and packs a real punch when it comes to the all important image quality. It’s a no brainer! Buy it!

Nikon 24-120mm

Mixed reviews over the years but a consistently strong and satisfied amount of photographers still swear by the Nikon 24-120. I have seen some quite breath taking photos taken with it and again is built to last like the others. If I was  a Nikon shooter this would be on my wish list but would be one I’d be renting out before I made the plunge.

Tamron 24-70mm

The Tamron is the new kid on the block but somehow seems to bring something extra to the party. Now this is not direct competition for the 24-105’s here but still offers a great focal range and all with the added benefit of being cheaper and with a wider constant aperture of f2.8. Surely its worth taking a second look and even maybe renting it to give it a thorough test!

If you don’t have the budget to go splashing out on a new lens then fear not! Amazing landscape photography can be achieved with what you have already I promise you. Work with what you have, keep learning and taking photos and you and others will start to see your photos in a new light.


Click to view large – taken with a canon 18-55mm kit lens

With all that said and done it’s now up to you to get out there and show the world what you can do! Come share your photos with the lumusphoto group on google+ (link in the sidebar).  Oh and don’t forget to sign up to the newsletter, I’m giving away tons of free training and photography videos be sure to not miss out! Or if you need some beginner photography training click here to get started – don’t worry it’s free just for you!

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