There are lots of different factors to consider in photography. There are many different categories of photography; each one uses various lenses to help capture the details, composition, and effects necessary to make a gorgeous photograph.
As a result, the same lens won’t work for both portraits and landscapes so you need to choose the right lens for you carefully – but which one works best for landscape photography?
Here, we are going to be covering the different lenses that work best for landscape photography. This way, you can find the right lens for you – and avoid the lenses that won’t help you capture the best landscape photographs possible! So, check out the guide below!
Best Lenses For Landscape Photography
There are four lenses that are commonly used for landscape photography.
This doesn’t mean you have to use them all or any at all – but they are the four types of lenses that most photographers use for capturing stunning photographs of gorgeous views and scenery. Let’s check them out one by one.
1. Wide Angle Lens
The most obvious choice for landscape photography is the wide angle lens. These have focal lengths ranging between 10 and 35 mm and allow you to capture both a large range of view and a long depth of field with your camera.
This results in sharp, clear photographs where you can clearly make out details in the far background and close foreground of your frame.
The larger angle of view allows you to capture larger landscapes so your camera doesn’t miss out on some of the most gorgeous elements of your scene.
This works great for landscapes as you can make out the gorgeous details in a scene, no matter if it’s close or far away.
This includes far-away city skylines and close-up blades of grass. By using a wide angle lens or ultra wide angle lens, you can capture the details of both. Wide angle lenses also create barrel distortion – an effect that bulges the center of the image slightly.
This kind of effect is unflattering for portraits but works great with certain landscape photos as it allows photographers to exaggerate certain elements in a frame – like a lake or field of grass. Ultra wide angle lenses also fall into this category.
They work the same as wide angle lenses but have a larger angle of view and shorter focal length so they cover wider landscapes.
2. Zoom Lenses
Standard zoom lenses are another great lens to use for landscape photography. They range from 24 to 70 mm focal length and provide a similar field of view to the human eye.
This means that using a zoom lens will make your photographs more realistic by avoiding the barrel distortion caused by wide or ultra wide angle lenses. Photographs look flat and even and more authentic.
Zoom lenses are best used for landscape photographs that actually cut out a lot of the landscape.
Sometimes, fields of grass or lakes can look pretty empty on certain landscape photographs, especially if you are trying to capture certain parts of the scene like a range of mountains or a sunset (see also “Best Sunset Photography Ideas“).
So, a zoom lens works great for photographing elements of a landscape rather than the vast area around you. It can be used to avoid capturing empty photographs with distracting elements that take the attention away from the more attractive subjects in the frame.
3. Telephoto Lenses
Telephoto lenses are a type of long lens that is great at capturing figures and subjects over long distances. They are usually between 70 to 200 mm range and are also commonly used for wildlife photography as well as landscape photography.
This lens can be used to compress scenes so the subject of your frame feels closer and dominates the scene. The foreground and background are slightly blurred, allowing the subject of your photograph to stand out.
This is why telephoto lenses are great for wildlife photography as they help the animal subjects stand out against the scenery. This can also be used to great effect for landscape photography too.
Sometimes, there will only be a few interesting subjects in the frame – a tree, a rock formation, or a waterfall.
Telephoto lenses can help you zoom in and capture an intimate photograph while limiting distractions in the composition. This zoom-in capability is also great for capturing textures in your scenery too!
4. Prime Lenses
Finally, we have come to the last lens on our list – prime lenses. Prime lenses are a bit of an alternative choice when it comes to landscape photography.
They only offer a single focal length so you cannot zoom in or out to capture more landscape in your frame. This can make taking photographs more difficult – but it can also be an exciting challenge for seasoned photographers.
Compared to some of the other lenses on this list, prime lenses stand out for their portability as they are lighter and tend to be more affordable too.
As a result, some photographers like to use a prime lens to help create some more creative landscape photographs while also benefiting from the practicality of using this single lens.
So, the four lenses most often used for landscape photography are the wide (or ultra wide) angle lens, the telephoto, the prime lens, and the zoom lens.
These four lenses offer a ton of different natural effects to your landscape photographs and as a result, using each lens on the same landscape can result in four very different photographs.
Which lens is the ultimate best lens for landscape photography all comes down to your preferences and what kind of finishing photograph you desire.
One lens may work great for a certain landscape shot but not for others and so, there is no one-fixes-all when it comes to lenses in photography.
Check out the effects each lens gives to landscape photographs and choose the one you think is the most visually appealing.
Wide angle lenses capture wide, sharp images while zoom and telephoto lenses can capture specific interesting subjects in your work. Either way, all four are great options for landscape photography!