Best Lenses for Landscape Photography

Nature is amazing and beautiful. It is wonderfully exciting to go hiking on a mountain, follow a trail into a forest, go rafting on a river or do paddle boarding on a still lake. But what is even more alluring is to capture the beauty of these things with your camera! Learn about the best lenses for landscape photography and improve your results.

For all types of photography, you need to have a proper lens that helps capture quality images with beautiful colors and sharpness. The truth is, the more you spend on a good piece of glass, the better your photos will be.

Night time shot, stars and rocks.

Landscape photography demands better quality lenses and a variety of focal lengths. The composition is key. Most landscape photographers differ from other types of photographer, as they compose images using different perspectives and light to illustrate their unique views of the world around them.

Nikon's AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
Nikon’s AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED

If you’re looking for the best landscape photography lens, we can’t precisely tell you which one to choose. There are many “best lenses” with different focal lengths, aperture and image quality, and which one to choose is a matter of preference for each photographer.

Some photographers love wide-angle lenses while others decide to go with telephotos because they want to include different elements in their landscape photos. Both are extremely useful, and we recommend you need to have at least one of these in your camera bag.

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Prime Lenses for Full Frame
Cameras

Best Ultra Wide-Angle Prime Lenses

Ultra wide-angle lenses fit many elements into a photo. Their focal length is shorter than 24mm on a full frame camera (35mm image sensor). As a result, with these lenses, you can capture high-quality landscape photographs, for example, the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, beautiful lakes, rolling waves, old lighthouses and much more.

Photography enthusiasts and pros will love the 14mm lenses from Canon and Nikon. The Canon EF 14mm f/2.8 II USM and the Nikkor 14mm f/2.8D ED are excellent for landscapes. As for Sony users, they couldn’t go wrong with the Voigtlander. It’s the best ultra-wide prime lens with 10mm focal length and exceptional image quality.

Best Lenses for Landscape Photography - ultra wide-angle prime lens
Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM

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Best Wide-Angle Prime Lenses

The 24mm focal length is still considered wide. Although it’s not as ultra-wide as the 14mm, it can still capture a wide scene with many different elements. It is also fabulous for night photography. Sony has created a fast 24mm GM lens with f/1.4 aperture. It is best for landscapes and astrophotography as it eliminates the sagittal flare from stars.

Canon and Nikon both have excellent 24mm lenses too. The “L” series for Canon lenses are at the top of the line. The purpose of this line is to eliminate distortion and increase sharpness. Also, Nikon’s 24mm ultra-wide lens provides the same sharpness and lightning fast, silent autofocus.

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Zoom Lenses

Best Wide-Angle Zoom Lenses for Landscape Photography

The most advanced landscape photographers use a standard wide-angle zoom lens. This lens has a focal length of 12-24mm, 14-24mm or 16-35mm on a full frame camera. It is the “go-to” zoom lens because it gives you a little bit of a zoom, which can be useful.

Sony’s 16-35mm is the first wide-angle zoom lens made for Sony full frame cameras. Mounted in one of the a7 full frame cameras, it produces extra high-pitched images with incredible sharpness and colors matching the natural world as we see them with our naked eye.

Sony's 16-35 mm f/2.8
Sony’s 16-35 mm f/2.8

Canon has released the third version of the famous 16-35mm f/2.8 lens that doubles the image quality and sharpness from its predecessor. Even if you have to reach deep into your pocket to buy it, it is still worth every penny. Every professional photographer would want to have such a lens for their Canon 6D Mark II or 5D Mark IV.

Nikon also has a great wide-angle lens. The Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED is a masterpiece. Mounted on a Nikon D850, it is an excellent option for photographing landscapes and the night sky. Even wide open at f/2.8 it produces sharp images with fantastic color reproduction. Because of this, it is in our opinion the best choice for Nikon shooters.

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Best Middle Range Zoom Lenses

In this category, I would like to mention the standard middle-zoom range lenses with 24-70mm focal length. If you want to buy just one lens, this range of focal length can cover a wide variety of photography genres including landscape photography. Consequently, it is the most useful focal length in photography.

For this reason, Canon has released two versions of the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L lenses. The latest version has become the most popular for Canon users because it gives you everything you need in one piece of glass. The perfect wide-angle and mid-telephoto focal length, wide aperture at f/2.8 and unique image quality make it the best zoom lens by Canon.

Nikon's AF-S Nikkor 24-70 mm f/2.8G ED
Nikon’s AF-S Nikkor 24-70 mm f/2.8G ED

The Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 is the workhorse of all Nikon’s professional lenses. Extremely versatile, it produces brilliantly sharp images with exceptional clarity, improved contrast, and bright colors. Also, Nikon APS-C users can benefit from using it in their cameras as it supports the DX format.

Sony’s G Master 24-70mm is also a great lens. Mounted on an a7R Mark III it captures the smallest details in the landscapes. It is tremendously sharp from corner to corner even when the aperture is wide open at f/2.8. Because this particular lens doesn’t have image stabilization, if you want to use it in APS-C Sony cameras you will need a tripod if you’re going to shoot in low light.

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Best Telephoto Zoom Lenses for Landscape Photography

Telephoto lenses are anything longer than 50mm focal length on a full frame camera. In landscape photography, we see the need for a telephoto lens, because wide-angle lenses push everything away, making the scenery look smaller and gives the foreground a dominant aspect in the image. When you shoot with a telephoto lens, it gives you the ability to bring the scene closer to you.

The Canon 70-200 f/2.8 is one of a kind. This focal length allows you to have a significant magnification effect which brings out all the benefits of using a telephoto for landscapes. Also, the newer version (3.0) has advanced optics to deliver ultimate performance.

The same quality comes from Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8. The fixed f/2.8 aperture helps to maintain the same amount of light coming into the sensor in the whole range from 70mm to 200mm when it is misty or cloudy. The VR is also very helpful because it eliminates vibration if you have shaky hands.

Nikon's AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G II ED
Nikon’s AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G II ED

The Sony G Master 70-200mm f/2.8 can deliver the same quality as the Canon and Nikon telephoto lenses. It is the first telephoto lens made by Sony for mirrorless cameras and can fit in APS-C cameras too. Additionally, you can bring subjects closer and maintain the same amount of quality. The only difference between this lens and the Canon and Nikon is that the sensor is smaller.

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Conclusion

These five different types of lenses are the best choice for landscape photographers. Without a doubt, they can deliver high-quality images with incredible sharpness from edge to edge and natural color reproduction.

Best Lenses for Landscape Photography - Sunset over river with clouds.

If you’re looking to buy just one lens, you should certainly go with the 24-70mm, because it is the best focal length that will be useful in many other ways. On the other hand, if you want to photograph distant subjects, the 70-200mm is your next best photography tool.

We would recommend buying a zoom lens instead of a prime. But if you can’t afford a super expensive zoom lens, you can instead buy a prime lens and maintain the same image quality and sharpness. The only downfall would be that you have to move around to compose your shot.

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Author Details
Hi, I am John Mak a self-taught landscape, sports and event photographer from Greece. I love nature, traveling and cooking. I’m also a freelance writer. I create content for photography websites and other small businesses. I use Mirrorless Cameras, lenses, gear and I share more about it in my personal website. You can also find me on Instagram @johnmakphotography
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Hi, I am John Mak a self-taught landscape, sports and event photographer from Greece. I love nature, traveling and cooking. I’m also a freelance writer. I create content for photography websites and other small businesses. I use Mirrorless Cameras, lenses, gear and I share more about it in my personal website. You can also find me on Instagram @johnmakphotography
Best Lenses for Landscape Photography

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