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Ideal lens for landscape photography?

Tom McCabe , Jan 31, 2006; 06:52 p.m.

Just curious of the ideal focal length for landscape photography? I have a 300D so the 1.6x crop must be taken into consideration. I was thinking of buying a 17-40, making my widest 25 mm -ish, is this wide enough? Thank you.


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Kent Staubus , Jan 31, 2006; 07:16 p.m.

My ideal lens for landscapes? Why, 400mm of course. Really, you are going about this the wrong way. You need to start with the lenses that you have. If you are finding that you can't make some shots you want, then you start thinking about what gear WILL let you make the shot. If you needed a 17-40mm lens, you would know that and not have to ask people who likely have entirely different needs and styles than you do. Only you will know if a 25mm-ish lens is wide enough for you and what kinds of images you want to make. I often do use a 400mm lens out here where I live to isolate a small section of a landscape to photo. Maybe you like to do something different. Your photos will tell you what you need, not a message board.

Kent in SD

Kent in SD

Approaching Fairview SD

Beau Hooker , Jan 31, 2006; 07:25 p.m.

Hi Tom, I don't think there's a definitive answer to your question, unfortunately. For example you don't have to shoot landscapes with a wide-angle lens at all. I'm not a very good landscape photographer but here's a shot taken with a 70-200mm zoom lens.

I can tell you that a 17-40mm lens works well on a 1.6x "crop" factor camera. here's a shot shot taken with a 10D and Canon's 17-40mm f/4L lens.

But as you can see it's much wider on a film camera or full-frame.

But again, there's no law that says you must have a wide-angle lens to shoot landscapes. In fact, where I live, it's really tough to not get a #@$% powerline or something else that's unwanted in the shot. Sometimes a telephoto lens is just right for isolating and "compressing" your subject. Good Luck!

Stephen Lewis , Jan 31, 2006; 07:46 p.m.

And then the question arises...are you interested in doing panoramas? If so, I would suggest a top notch prime lens in the 40-65mm range.

Mark Plawchan , Jan 31, 2006; 09:20 p.m.

...any tripod will be the sharpest lens you ever bought.

Mark Pav , Jan 31, 2006; 09:21 p.m.

Look at a few landscape photos and see what lenses the photographers used. Pick the lens (es) that you most often like the perspective of.

R Jackson , Jan 31, 2006; 10:27 p.m.

With a 17mm lens and a 1.6 crop factor, you're looking at a 27.2mm equivalent lens. Not a huge difference from 25mm-ish, but a couple of mm on the wide end can make a big difference. If you shoot landscapes with WA's, I'd look at Canon's offerings in something a little wider.

Mel Resnick , Jan 31, 2006; 10:56 p.m.

As others have indicated, the answer to the question will depend on what you end up doing with your camera. But I think you're asking about a starting point.

Use what you have now, or buy a high quality medium zoom, something like a 24 or 28 to 70 or 75. Go out and take a lot of pictures with it. Look at your results and look at as many landscape images as you can on line and in books. Take more pictures and get frustrated that you can't capture a particular view you want because your lens isn't wide enough or long enough. Then you'll know what kind of lens you want next.

Stay away from the extreme zooms such as 18-200 or 28-200mm; the quality just isn't good enough for serious work. If you think you'll want prints larger than 8 x 10 inches, you may well end up with three lenses to give you the range from perhaps 15 or 17 to 200mm.

Hugh Sakols , Jan 31, 2006; 11:12 p.m.

Read one of John Shaw's Nature Photography Books. If I were to choose just one lens it would be a 105 in 35mm format. I really enjoy using my wide lenses but it takes more skill and compositional awareness???


Stephen H , Jan 31, 2006; 11:51 p.m.

24mm with full-frame film seemed to work well for me. Check if you can focus real close- that helps.

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