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Author Topic: Choice for a landscape lens  (Read 4566 times)

nonac

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Choice for a landscape lens
« on: August 15, 2012, 10:25:12 PM »
I'm in the market for a landscape lens. The widest lens I have now is the short end of my 24-105.  I'm shooting with a 5d Mk III. What lens would you buy and why?  Cost is not an issue.  Thanks in advance for your input.
5d Mark III, 24mm f/1.4L II, 24-105 f/4L IS, 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, 100 f/2.8L IS macro, 135 f/2L, 3x 600EX-RT, ST-E3-RT, EF 1.4x III

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Choice for a landscape lens
« on: August 15, 2012, 10:25:12 PM »

Policar

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Re: Choice for a landscape lens
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2012, 10:49:59 PM »
24mm T/S-E II.  (Which I've never used, admittedly, but I've read up on it extensively.)

Sharp and with very little distortion or CA (important for a T/S lens since you can't correct this easily in post with one).

You can't consistently shoot decent landscapes without T/S.  Rise/fall and scheimpflug are totally necessary.  So that means the 17mm, 24mm, 45mm, and 90mm T/S lenses are your only choices for decent landscapes.

24mm on FF is too wide for my taste (I prefer 35mm-70mm range for lanscapes) but it's not "tacky" wide like the 17mm, which is more useful for real estate photography.  And if you want to go tacky wide you can always stitch.

45mm T/S looks nice, too, and I like that focal length--but optically should be much worse and the trend toward WA for landscapes is pretty aparant.  UWA is bad if you like polarizers because the sky gets wonky and it kind of forces you into bland or cheesy near/far compositions.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2012, 10:52:20 PM by Policar »

AprilForever

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Re: Choice for a landscape lens
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2012, 12:09:01 AM »
I like using my 300 2.8  with a 2x TC.

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stipotle

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Re: Choice for a landscape lens
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2012, 12:28:53 AM »
I used a 16-35mm f/2.8 II the other day and LOVED it. Sharp. Great Contrast.
I would recommend renting a couple lenses, I think you'll know which one suits you best when you try it.

RAKAMRAK

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Re: Choice for a landscape lens
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2012, 01:14:27 AM »
Since cost is not an issue

17mm TSE or 14mm wide prime....
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Policar

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Re: Choice for a landscape lens
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2012, 01:15:51 AM »
Since cost is not an issue

17mm TSE or 14mm wide prime....

Why would you shoot landscapes that wide?

dr croubie

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Re: Choice for a landscape lens
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2012, 02:00:38 AM »
Why would you shoot landscapes that wide?

Why not? Some people like them wide. Seeing as the OP said 24mm is not wide enough, i'm presuming s/he wants wider.

Zeiss Distagon 21mm is a damn fine lens, looking forward to the day that i can afford one (and an FF camera to put it on). Close second is the 18mm version.
14mm L II is the widest you'll get (without going Sigma). All 3 of these are very good (and expensive, of course).

For zooms, 16-35 L II is great, 17-40 may be soft and mushy at wide-open, wide-angle corners, but if you're doing landscapes at f/10 then they're pretty much very similar.

Of course the TS-E 17 and 24 have ridiculously high IQ, they can stitch to wider if you like spending time in PP (and want to buy a nice tripod collar for them). Learning shifting and scheimpflug takes a *lot* of time and practise, but the results are really worth it when you get it right.
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Re: Choice for a landscape lens
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2012, 02:00:38 AM »

RobertG.

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Re: Choice for a landscape lens
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2012, 02:43:14 AM »
Hi,
I would recommend the TS-E 24mm L II. I also tested the current EF 16-35 but the IQ is not overwhelming, especially in the corners. But landscape pictures should be sharp from edge to edge. Here the TS-E 24 leaves nothing to ask for.

The TS-E offers also shift, which helps a lot while fine tuning the composition. Of course stiched panoramas are very easily done. But the perspective correction is the more important feature of this lens. A degree or two of tilt helps also to get everything sharp from the foreground till background.

Sometimes, in maybe 10-15% of all shots, I wish for a wider angle than 24mm. Then I would take the TS-E 17mm, although it is hard to mount filters, which can easily be done with the TS-E 24 II. Landscape shots without pol & grad ND filters... is like a car without tires. A HDR can be quite nice sometimes but only if there is no moving object in the frame at all. This doesn't happen too often.

The Zeiss Distagon 21mm should also be quite good, albeit worse than the TS-E 24 II (see http://darwinwiggett.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/a-quick-lens-test-canon-ts-e-24mm-versus-zeiss-21mm/)
« Last Edit: August 16, 2012, 02:46:02 AM by RobertG. »
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Aglet

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Re: Choice for a landscape lens
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2012, 03:25:18 AM »
Landscape can be shot with any focal length, some of the more interesting shots are actually had at 100mm or longer.  I like my 50mm f/1.4 for many shots too, at f/8 it's pretty good across the whole frame on a 5D2.  Combine that with the DLO feature in their DPP software and you can create some seriously sharp images with it.

But if you're looking for wide, and I know what you mean, sometimes a super-wide shot makes a very interesting composition, then the 17 & 24mm tilt-shift are fabulous options on a FF.  I'm still waiting for a Canon FF body truly worthy of those lenses for my kind of shooting tho so I don't own them, just want to.

The 17-40mm f/4 L is a nice range but the lens is terribly soft in the borders and corners on full frame even when stopped down. Need to use it at least f/8 to f/11 and it will still disappoint at 17mm in the corners.  I spent most of my shots with it in the 20-24mm range when craving wide landscape scenes, use 17mm when there's nothing with texture in the corners.
I haven't used the 16-35 L, it's a lot more $ and does chart a little better for optical performance in borders and corners if that's the range you're after.

I don't think any of Canon's current wide primes perform well in the corners either, even the L's aren't stellar.  The 16-35mm zoom would be preferable.

24mm f/1.4 L II is not bad but at that price consider the cheaper Voigtlander 20mm... or see paragraph below:
www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/514-canon24f14mk2ff?start=1

As long as you're spending, Nikon's 14-24mm f/2.8 on a D800e makes the ultimate super-wide-zoom combo.  That lens is a benchmark for sharpness in that range. Has its other foibles tho. 
I like the old Nikon/Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 AI-S on my D800/e when I want wide performance.
And I can use it on my Canon bodies with a cheap adapter ring.  I like it on my IR-converted 50D.

Tokina also makes a 17-35mm but it's even worse than Canon's 17-40mm.

Samyang has a very crisp 14mm prime but it's got a fair bit of center distortion, workable for some scenes but nothing with straight lines in the borders.

I haven't explored Zeiss and other premium 3rd party options enough to comment.  Perhaps others here have.


RAKAMRAK

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Re: Choice for a landscape lens
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2012, 03:53:20 AM »
Since cost is not an issue

17mm TSE or 14mm wide prime....

Why would you shoot landscapes that wide?

The OP only said he/she is in the market for a landscape lens. Who knows what is a "landscape" lens? As Aglet has said it can be any focal length. Correct.

The OP also said he has 24-105 and I read into his post that as if the wide/short end of that lens is kind of limiting to him (he said that the "widest" he has is the 24mm side of that lens). So my assumption was he wanted to go wider, although he did not mention anything specifically.

Of course if not making the above assumption then any lens can work depending on what is the photographer's personal taste (as dr croubie said).
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Policar

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Re: Choice for a landscape lens
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2012, 10:31:33 AM »
Since cost is not an issue

17mm TSE or 14mm wide prime....

Why would you shoot landscapes that wide?

The OP only said he/she is in the market for a landscape lens. Who knows what is a "landscape" lens? As Aglet has said it can be any focal length. Correct.

You can also shoot portraits at 14mm, but wouldn't want to.  Maybe he does want a 14mm, but, tbh, I have never seen a good landscape shot with a lens wider than 24mm.  I get that the thinking is "wider is more dramatic is better" but it's just not true.

That said, of course it's a matter of taste.  In that case, I'd choose first between 17, 24, 45, and 90mm and then get the TSE lens of that length.

bdunbar79

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Re: Choice for a landscape lens
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2012, 11:24:16 AM »
I would have to agree that the BEST landscape lenses, are tilt-shift lenses.
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Re: Choice for a landscape lens
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2012, 12:37:02 PM »
For casual landscape and travel use, the 16-35L II is a good choice.  It has focal length flexibility and has AF.  It minimizes lens changes when taking scenic pictures and then of people.

For serious landscape use, then the 17 and 24mm tilt shifts are hard to beat.  They're sharper corner to corner than any other lenses at their respective focal lengths and the tilt/shift functions are handy (esp. for architecture).  Either TS lens will make the 16-35L II look mushy outside of the central area, but they are MF only.  It is true that the 17mm has a convex front element, but some people work around it using modified Lee filter systems.  At that point, people use graduated NDs, which don't work well with screw on filters anyway.


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Re: Choice for a landscape lens
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2012, 12:37:02 PM »

EOBeav

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Re: Choice for a landscape lens
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2012, 12:41:12 PM »
If money is not an issue, than the 16-35mm is probably the way to go. Optically, it is superior to the 17-40mm, which I would whole heartedly recommend if money was an issue.

There are some suggestions for some primes on here, but you should consider the flexibility of a zoom also.
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marekjoz

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Re: Choice for a landscape lens
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2012, 01:28:10 PM »
If money is not an issue, than the 16-35mm is probably the way to go. Optically, it is superior to the 17-40mm, which I would whole heartedly recommend if money was an issue.

There are some suggestions for some primes on here, but you should consider the flexibility of a zoom also.

According to  TDP, 17-40 is the same or even better from 20 to 28mm @f5.6-f11 even in corners.
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Re: Choice for a landscape lens
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2012, 01:28:10 PM »