The Landscape Lens


Choosing the Right Camera Lens


Lesson Info

The Landscape Lens

One of the most popular types of photography is landscape photography. And landscape has it's own needs just like everything else in photography, so let's talk about what a landscape photographer might want in a lens. First and foremost, like all lenses, it's that angle of view, how much do you want to see in the view finder. Landscape photographers like a lot of depth of field, so how much depth of field can we get with a particular lens. Sharpness is very important in this field, and we also tend to use a lot of filters as well, so how easily can we filter this lens, that's important. Size and weight, because we're carrying it around quite a bit. And of course, the price is always important there as well. Now, traditionally most people think of landscape lenses as wide angle lenses, and that's definitely true. Landscape photographers tend to use a lot of wide angle lenses, something like a 16 to 35 is a good range to have, but the fact of the matter is, there's a lot of great shots y...

ou can get in that telephoto range like 100 to 400. So, different types of shots that you're gonna get with those ultra wide angles when you're in really tight spaces in a bamboo forest looking straight up, with that ultra wide lens, it's a perfect choice for that. Those wide angle lenses that allow you to have subjects in the foreground and the background, those work out really well too with those ultra wide lenses. One of my favorite is the 24 millimeter lens, it's not quite as extreme, but it's a nice balance, pretty realistic, wide angled look at the world. But it still allows me to have subjects in the foreground as well as the background, to tell that type of story. Kind of old but more natural perspective is the millimeter lens, and sometimes it's just the right lens, it has the right content in the right spot with that particular lens, and so a 16 to 35 I think is an excellent lens. And there are some really wide lenses, Canon has this 11 millimeter to 24 millimeter lens that's really fun to use, but it's not always the right lens so here's an example of where I used it to shoot at 11, at 16, and 24. Now to get this shot at 11, I had to move in much closer to this piece of wood, but the background became very small, you need to have a really large background for it to fill the frame, and in this example, I think the 24 millimeter lens on the right was the better choice, because the subject size in the background was a little bit bigger and easier to see. As I said before, telephoto lenses can be very good for smaller vinyets of nature that you're seeing, so it's not always the big picture but a small snippet of what you see. This is also where we're gonna find out macro photography so if you want to get closer up to your subjects, you can really get a nice little glimpse to show that detail. To show one little sliver of the landscape you see in front of you. And I am surprised at how much I use a telephoto lens when it comes to nature photography, cause it's relatively rare to run into an environment that is beautiful 180 degrees from side to side, there are a lot of other little areas that have their own piece of interest, and so lenses up to a 400 millimeter lens, I think can be very valuable in the world of nature and landscape. But you definitely do want to have some sort of wide angle lens, in the basic category, what we're looking at here is almost the same recommendations that I made when we were in the zoom wide angle category. And so those 16 to 35s are really good, Canon and Nikon make those very affordable 10 to and 10 to 20 lenses, which I think are excellent. Sony again with their 16 to 35, Fuji 10 to 24 is a very, very nice lens. And so some very good, affordable choices in that category. When we get to the premium category, for instance I'm throwing you in the 11 to 24 here from Canon, you don't need that 2.8 aperture on their other premium wide angle lens, the wide angle capability of this might give you a little more use than the faster aperture in this case. And so all of these are some really beautiful lenses, that Sony 12 to 24 looks like it's a really nice lens at about half the weight of the Canon lens. And the Olympus 7 to 14 is a really nice lens, in there as well is the Panasonic 8 to 18 with that Like a influence in that. When it comes to the telephoto lenses for a landscape photographer, it's pretty much the same telephoto recommendations I gave you in the standard zoom category here. These basic, standard telephoto zooms, stop them down to F8, F11, maybe need to use them on a tripod are gonna make for some perfectly good lenses for landscape photography. And so these are just your standard general purpose lenses but they're very good for landscape photography. When you get into the premium stuff, I'm looking at the lenses that go up to 400, I have found that shooting at 400 is really nice if you have a big open environment, it depends on where you're going, if somebody said you're going to the Red Wood Forest, what lenses do you want. I would think wide angle, but if I'm gonna go to Death Valley, where there's a lot of big open spaces, that's when I would want that 100 to 400, so I could do some compression of the hills and the sand dunes, and things like that. And so that's where that extra three or 400 millimeters comes in handy on those longer zooms. A lot of good options for the mirrorless cameras as well. That Panasonic 100 to 400, I showed it to you earlier, nice and small in size, and allows you to really reach out there quite far. So, some of the favorite focal lengths for people doing different types of stuff. If you're in architecture and real estate, you're gonna need a lot of wide angle, and maybe a little bit of telephoto, so anything in that range of 14 to is gonna cover you. Nature and landscape, as we just talked about, somewhere in the 16 to 200 millimeter range is gonna cover most all of your needs quite well. Now, the main category, travel, event, street, candid, wedding photography, almost everything is that 24 to range, if you have that 24 to 200 range, you're gonna be able to cover just about anything that you encounter. If you're working simply in a studio, being a portrait photographer, somewhere around 50 to 200, you could probably narrow it down less than that, but that range is all you need for that type of work. For sports work, it depends on what type of sports shots, I've seen great sports shots from fish eyes and ultra wide angle, but the majority of them are in that telephoto range of 85 to 600 millimeters. And finally, if you're into wildlife, you need long lenses, there's not doubt about it. 200 to 800 millimeters, there's some very good lenses out there that will get you out there, they're big, they're heavy, they're hard to get around, but they're definitely the right tool for that type of job.

Class Description

Once you’ve chosen the camera of your dreams, how do you know which lens will maximize your camera’s capabilities? Join camera expert John Greengo as he explains what the best lenses are to add to your camera bag. He’ll explain:

  • Which lens is best for specific areas of photography
  • The technology behind lenses
  • How to use specialty lenses including macro and fisheye
  • Tips on operating and maintaining your lenses

John will also talk about lens accessories including hoods, mounts, filters, and teleconverters. By the end of this class, you’ll understand exactly what lens you’ll need to take your best photos!