Photography is not all about gear, but having the right tool for the job is essential to getting the images you want. For a landscape photographer, choosing what gear to pack before heading outdoors is especially important since the job can involve hiking long distances to get the best shot. This can be hard to do while a heavy backpack filled with cameras, batteries and lenses drags you down, so knowing which lenses to take can save you from a lot of strain on your limbs and free your mind for inspiration to come.
Canon produces great quality lenses, and any professional will tell you that the glass you put in front of your sensor is the most important part of your kit. New camera bodies come out every year but are useless without a good lens, and if you choose your glass carefully you will use it for years, while switching the bodies behind it.
Keep reading to discover what are the best Canon landscape lenses you can buy, but don’t forget to keep practicing and shooting to improve your eye and your skills!
How To Choose A Canon Lens For Landscape Photography – Buying Guide
Size And Weight
Landscape photography is an activity that requires a lot of walking since the best spots from which you can snap are rarely found in easily accessible places. Having equipment that will not slow you down is therefore essential to achieve your goals. If you’ve read the Canon lens for landscape reviews we have compiled for you, you’ll notice that there are several options at your disposal for lenses that are not too heavy but that will get the job done. Usually, however, buying a premium product made from the best available materials will mean purchasing a lens made entirely of metal and this might weigh on you in the long term. Nevertheless, if what’s important to you is taking great quality images, you will be prepared to carry a few extra pounds if they make the final result more satisfying.
When purchasing a Canon lens for nature photography it is also important to consider what camera body you are mounting it on. This is because heavier lenses can unbalance your whole setup if the camera body is significantly lighter than them, making it hard to keep the combination perfectly still on a tripod. Look for lenses that are about the same weight of your camera, or that have a tripod mount placed in a position that will compensate for the difference of weight if you do not want to risk damaging your gear and ruining your pictures.
Low Light Performance
Most of the time landscape photography involves the use of a tripod, since you want to be using the lowest sensitivities your camera can offer to retain even the smallest details of the scene you are photographing, and this may require closed apertures and longer shutter speeds. If the conditions are right, you might be able to get away with a lens that doesn’t have the widest possible aperture. There are times, however, when you can’t or simply don’t want to bring a tripod along or the conditions don’t allow you to set one up, and those are the cases where an extra stop of light like the one a f/2.8 aperture provides can really come in handy. Another option you can consider is choosing a prime lens for landscape from Canon, which usually features wider apertures, but at the obvious expense of zooming possibilities. Lenses that feature an f/2.8 or wider aperture are usually the top of the line models, so if you can afford one you know you’ll be purchasing a great quality product that is built to last. However, they are usually larger and heavier since they require more glass, so it’s up to you to decide if you feel capable of bringing them along with you or if you’re fine with smaller glass that may not be as bright.
There is no definitive answer as to which focal range is best suited for landscape photography. The success of a landscape photo session can depend on so many factors such as the weather, the terrain conditions and the lighting that it’s impossible to say with certainty which one is the exact focal length you need. A good wide-angle lens, however, is definitely an extremely useful tool to have in your bag and it will allow you to capture a wide variety of situations. It is also a less specialized tool than a telephoto lens so it can be much more flexible than, say a 70-200 zoom, so it is recommended to have one in your bag when you set out on the road. If you’d like to challenge yourself, however, you can also choose to bring along something longer, to see if it will make you notice details and compositions that you may have missed if you were only looking for wide-angle shots.
A feature that is a must-have for any landscape lens for Canon is weather and dust resistance. You have to consider that you will be taking your lenses out in nature, through dirt and maybe mud, and they need to be able to withstand it. Furthermore, a lot of the most spectacular landscape photography shots are taken when the weather takes a turn for the worst since it provides the most dramatic lighting. In these situations, you need gear you can rely on and that you are confident will keep working and not just leave you with a pair of wet shoes on your feet and no pictures on your card. Other useful features that most high-grade lenses will have are coated elements to prevent aberrations of ghosting and a manual focus override that can be useful if you want to take complete control over what your lens is doing.
Q: Do You Need A Wide-Angle Lens For Landscape?
As we have said, there is no definitive answer to the question of which focal length is the best suited for landscape photography. A wide-angle lens, however, is an extremely versatile tool that will allow you to produce a usable image in most situations, and landscape photographers usually like their images to have an epic scale and include lots of elements in the shot, for which you do need a wide lens. So, in the end, while it may not be the only lens you need, a wide-angle lens is definitely a recommended item to have in your bag.
Q: Is An 85mm Lens Good For Landscape?
If you hear 85mm the first thing that comes to your mind is portraits, and this focal length is indeed great for those. As far as landscape photography goes though, it can be interesting to bring a longer lens to force yourself to think outside of the box and find something different than the standard wide-angle shot. So if you have space in your bag, why not slip one of these into your bag for the extra challenge.
Q: Can I Use A Prime Lens For Landscape?
Many photographers, especially beginners, tend to be wary of fixed focal lenses since they give them the feeling they won’t be able to choose the correct focal length they need. Most limitations, however, can become a great inspiration if you think about them the right way. Don’t think about what you can’t do, rather focus on doing the best you can with what you have at your disposal. Sometimes having too much choice, such as with a zoom, distracts you from actually focusing on the images you could be getting and a prime lens takes away that distraction. The effect it can have can be surprising, so it is recommended you give it a try.
Globo Surf Overview
As the saying goes, the best Canon lens for landscape is the one you have with you, since it’s better to work with what you have than to fantasize about the gear you don’t own. However, if you can choose, why not go for the best option you can find? We hope our reviews have helped you clear up your mind about the many options at your disposal. A good lens is a trusty companion that will be with you for many years of shooting, so take your time to pick the one that best suits your needs.