Lenses for Landscape Photography
One of the most common questions I get is ‘What lens should I use for landscape photography?’. In this article I explain what lens I use 90% of the time and why. I’ll also explain the other lenses for landscape photography I use when out in the field.
Wide Angle Lens
The lens I use most on my Nikon D850 is the 14-24mm lens. It does look a bit bigger than it should but that’s because it has the bracket for the lee filter kit. This lens pretty much sits on my camera all the time and is my go-to. I love it for landscape photography as it gets the best and most appealing shots from those really wide vistas. I think most landscape photographers will tell you to get a ultra-wide lens and I think the 14-24mm does a great job when it comes to getting the shots you want. The downside to this lens is that it is huge and heavy which can make the camera a little less balanced. However, if you shoot mostly on a tripod this isn’t as big of an issue.
Tilt Shift Lens
The lens I use second most of all, which is a little bit obscure and some people find a bit strange, is a tilt shift lens. I usually use the 45mm Nikon lens which they call PC (perspective control). It is commonly used both in architecture photography and miniature looking photography. What they’re less known for and what I use them for is panoramics. With these lenses you can actually shift them left and right. What I’ll do is shift it all the way to the left and then all the way to the right which gives me enough data to create a panoramic image without having to move my camera head at all and without losing any of the data when I crop.
I also use a few other lenses which are more obvious like the Nikon 24-70mm. I only started to recently use this a bit more because I didn’t have the adapter beforehand. Now that I’m using it a bit more I’m really appreciating the benefit of being able to get in that little bit closer. The benefit of this is that the scene is more compressed and can work for you really well. While this is more used for weddings or portrait photography, it is still a great option for landscape photography.
70-200mm Zoom Lens
The lens I use the least frequently is my 70-200mm zoom lens. The reason I still keep this with me is sometimes you’re out shooting and you’ll see something awesome in the distance and with this you’ll be able to zoom in and get a super sharp image of it. Again, this is quite a heavy lens and once you get all the lens in your bag you’ll probably end up carrying around quite the heavy kit.
So in summary, if you can only afford or are only going to get one lens, get yourself a wide angle lens. The Nikon 14-24mm is quite expensive because it is the F2.8 and hardly has any distortion which makes it also very popular but there are plenty of third party lenses as well like Tokina or Sigma. Another good option if your a Nikon shooter is the 16-35mm. Canon also has a 16-35mm and recently came out with a ultra wide angle. My second choice if you were only going to get one lens would be a 24-70mm and again there a plenty of good choices out there with third parties like Sigma or Tamron.
You can check out the video for this post for a little bit more detail into why these are my go-to lenses for landscape photography.