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Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape
  
 
AaronNegro
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p.1 #1 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


Looking for a landscape lens, considered the following to couple with my 5DIII:

Canon 16-35 L II
Tokina 16-28 f2.8
Canon 17-40L

Somehow I feel the TSE would be a bit cumbersome for me, but that's just a feeling. So I would go for zoom just for convenience.

I accept feedback, the pictures I would be doing would be of coastal and Irish landscapes plus occasional holidays trip, mainly night pictures.

Thank you in advance, I'm going to change my gear profile so you have an idea of what gear I am left with

Aaron









Aug 31, 2013 at 11:26 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #2 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


Hi Aaron,

The TS-E 24/3.5L II certainly is a bit cumbersome in comparison with the L and AT-X ultra-wide zooms. OTOH, it has significanlty better IQ at the edges and in the corners than those two Canon zooms (I haven't used the AT-X). So does the TS-E 17/4L. The Zeiss 18/3.5 ZE and 21/2.8 ZE are also way better than the zooms, although they are manual focus (like the TS-E) and have 'moustache' distortion. This would be inconsequential for the coastal and landscape you describe, but often needs to be corrected for cityscapes and other subjects with strong linear components.

Given where your profile shows you're going, I'd get one of the zooms. The AT-X is relatively large, heavy, and does not take screw-on filters, but it's not so expensive and it has an excellent reputation. The 16-35/2.8L II is very nice (I have one now), but it's relatively expensive. The 17-40L is also a fine lens, but I prefer the f/2.8 aperture and my 16-35/2.8L II has better corners than did my 17-40L and 16-35/2.8L (Mk I).

The f/2.8 aperture on the 16-35L and 16-28 AT-X will enable better AF in low light.

Cheers,
Jim



Aug 31, 2013 at 11:50 PM
Klaus Priebe
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p.1 #3 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


17mm TS-E and the 24-70mm L II. Great combo for landscapes!


Sep 01, 2013 at 01:11 AM
skibum5
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p.1 #4 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


AaronNegro wrote:
Looking for a landscape lens, considered the following to couple with my 5DIII:

Canon 16-35 L II
Tokina 16-28 f2.8
Canon 17-40L

Somehow I feel the TSE would be a bit cumbersome for me, but that's just a feeling. So I would go for zoom just for convenience.

I accept feedback, the pictures I would be doing would be of coastal and Irish landscapes plus occasional holidays trip, mainly night pictures.

Thank you in advance, I'm going to change my gear profile so you have an idea of what gear I am left with

Aaron



for primes:
17 and 24 TSE are some top choices (i'd go 24mm if I could only have one, so far I actually have none)
samyang 14mm cheap way to get UWA
zeiss 21mm
canon 24 2.8 IS (cheapest way to get truly top edge to edge FF performance at 24mm for landscapes)

for zooms:
canon 24-70 II or second choice (unless you want to do lots of hand-held in so-so lighting and then second choice is better) canon 24-70 f/4 IS

I wonder if the rumored upcoming lens announcement said to happen within 5 weeks might be the 16-50 f/4 IS or the 14-24?

And don't forget long is often very useful and the 70-300L is a SUPERB choice for that.



Sep 01, 2013 at 01:13 AM
kevindar
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p.1 #5 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


Your are looking for a wide angle zoom lens right? I have just about tried them all.
Short answer is, for me 16-35II was the best option. it has excellent range, weather sealed, good flare characteristic, excellent star burst, very good color and contrast. sharpness at f11 is very good corner to corner. It certainly is not the sharpest lens in the corners always, but very good. It also takes filters (both cp, and ND, which I find very valuable).
Tokina will be slightly sharper in the corners on the wide end, at least below f8, and if you get a good copy (decentering issues, sticky aperture at f4, etc), and you can live without filters, and dont mind giving up the range, is a good option. 17-40 is an excellent value lens, with 90% of 16-35II image quality at half the cost. the two copies that I tried, had worse corners on the wide end (even at f11), and more distrotion on the wide end.
If you want optically the best zoom, it is nikon 14-24, which you can adapt to canon buying a 40 dollar adapter on ebay. it is big and heavy, very flare prone, manual focus and aperture, and does not take filters.



Sep 01, 2013 at 01:41 AM
timpdx
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p.1 #6 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


I would get the Tokina, used to have one before I stupidly went to a NEX for a while now back Canon FF, and I miss it. Shooting now with a used 17-40 that I got a good deal on, not a bad lens, but for a couple hundred more, get the Tokina, as good as the 16-35 but much cheaper. I have owned 3 Tokina lenses (16-28, 11-16, 12-24)and never had issues with any of them. No decentering, no QC issues with Tokina (Tamron, yes, 1 problem)


Sep 01, 2013 at 02:09 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #7 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


AaronNegro wrote:
Looking for a landscape lens, considered the following to couple with my 5DIII:

Canon 16-35 L II
Tokina 16-28 f2.8
Canon 17-40L

Somehow I feel the TSE would be a bit cumbersome for me, but that's just a feeling. So I would go for zoom just for convenience.


You have presented a big question inside a smaller question. The smaller question has to do with choosing among these lenses as tools for landscape. The larger question has to do with whether or not wide to ultra wide lenses (as these are, at last on your full frame camera) are necessarily "landscape lenses."

I'll take the bigger question first, but keep the answer short. The answer to the question of what sort of focal lengths are "landscape" focal lengths is very subjective. There is a type of landscape photograph that is very familiar to us - what I've heard referred to as the near-far image. It usually features some foreground point of focus - a rock, a flower or group of flowers, a plant, etc - with more distant features - mountain, sky, clouds, etc - beyond that. The familiarity of this type of image, and it can be an effective type, has led some to assume that this is how landscape is done.

In my experience, it isn't that simple. Many landscape photographers I know more often shoot this subject with longer focal lengths. In fact, I can name several who will tell you that their most-used lens for landscape is a 70-200mm zoom. I know it is for me. There are four zooms among the lenses that I carry for landscape photography... and the one I own from your list is the one I use the least for this sort of subject.

I mention this on the off-chance that you are looking at these three lenses, all in the ultra-wide category, because someone told you that ultra wide is what you need for shooting landscape. If so, you might want to consider a different or an expanded list. On the other hand, if your extensive experience shooting landscape has taught you that your work is most often done with ultra-wides... you can ignore this and the previous paragraph. ;-)

Among those lenses, if your primary or nearly exclusive goal is to shoot landscape, I would almost always go for the 17-40mm f/4. Let's assume that your landscape photography is more of the common variety - shot at small apertures and working in decent light and from the tripod. The 16-35mm lenses are fine lenses - both of them - but their chief virtue is their better performance wide open - they get to f/2.8 and they are better at f/4 - when shooting handheld in low light conditions. That would be quite atypical for most landscape shooters.

On the other hand, the 17--40 is as good as the 16-35 lenses (perhaps marginally though inconsequentially better in the center) when stopped down to typical landscape apertures and working from the tripod. It is also lighter, smaller, and less expensive, and it takes the more typical 77mm diameter filters that you might need for other L zooms. (There are exceptions here - a few more now take the larger and more expensive 82mm diameter filter that the 16-35 II uses.)

If you are convinced that the 16-35mm lenses are what you want for landscape - and they'll do fine for it, though they won't offer any advantages for landscape - the case for the more expensive model II is weak for your use. The main reported virtue of the newer version of the 16-35mm lens is very slightly better performance at (but not beyond) f/2.8. Unless you are an unusual landscape shooter, that hardly seems important. And the older version uses the smaller 77mm filters.

There are a few situations in which a TS could provide some advantages, but few landscape photographers that I know will substitute a TS for an ultrawide zoom. The TS allows you to tilt the plane of focus, most often to bring near and far objects into focus at slightly larger apertures, thus relying less on the larger DOF of small apertures. But this is less of an issue with an ultrawide lens than on longer focal lengths where the DOF is naturally smaller. Another thing you can do with the TS is correct for converging lines, for example trees that tilt inward when the horizon is low in the frame.

But there are downsides, too - or else lots more people would use them. Most people will regard them, as you seem to, as cumbersome by comparison to using zooms. They are larger and heavier and more difficult to focus. They are, despite their fine optical performance and ability to tilt the focus plane and deal with converging perspective lines, less flexible in many other ways.

Take care,

Dan



Sep 01, 2013 at 02:37 AM
timpdx
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p.1 #8 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


I am in Northern Arizona shooting around right now including a bunch of landscapes and have yet to reach for the 17-40. Its been all 24-105, Sigma DP2M and occasional Tamron 70-300 VC usage.

Got a flash flood in action using my Sony RX100 (not a video guy, usually), no way the bandwidth here in Tuba City is going to allow that to be uploaded anytime soon.

Still would like to have a Tokina 16-28 in my bag over the 17-40, really liked that lens when I had it.



Sep 01, 2013 at 02:44 AM
LSExplorer
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p.1 #9 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


It is surprising to me that no one mentions the unique advantage of the EF16-35 F2.8L II for capturing the clean and prominent sun rays. And I believe sunrise and sunset are undoubtedly one of the important parts of the landscape photography. Take a look at the image below:







For me, go with 16-35 F2.8L II



Sep 01, 2013 at 03:02 AM
galenapass
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p.1 #10 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


Bought a 17-40mm. For me the corner sharpness was unacceptable. Tried 2 copies of the 16-35 ver 1 and one copy of the 28-70mm. All lenses were returned.

Given the cost of a new 16-35II, I'd rent the Canon and Tokina first, and give each a try. I've since gone back to using Nikon for wide angle work. The 12-24mm is fantastic, but has some draw backs as noted above.



Sep 01, 2013 at 03:12 AM
 

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fotografur
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p.1 #11 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


24-70 f4L


Sep 01, 2013 at 03:12 AM
galenapass
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p.1 #12 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


Here is an unconventional idea (at least for some) and not at all what you asked for so this idea may not be useful. However, just in case, for landscape work I am blown away by the Sony RX1. At first I thought "Fixed 35mm lens? Price = ~$2700!"...."No way!!".
But then I looked through this image thread,

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1168684/0 [edit, specifically look at HelenaN's posts. Wonderful images!]

and now this camera and its fixed lens are at the top of my list for a next purchase. If I recall correctly, the sensor in this camera has the highest dynamic range tested by DXO. I find increased DR very useful for landscape shots. It would be a challenge to use a fixed lens, but, I think a very good one. From the images posted in the thread above you can see that the RX1 has a VERY unique look.



Sep 01, 2013 at 03:26 AM
kevindar
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p.1 #13 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


LSExplorer wrote:
It is surprising to me that no one mentions the unique advantage of the EF16-35 F2.8L II for capturing the clean and prominent sun rays. And I believe sunrise and sunset are undoubtedly one of the important parts of the landscape photography. Take a look at the image below:

For me, go with 16-35 F2.8L II

IN my post, I specified great sunburst and good flare characteristics, as two of the big virtues of 16=35II.
as for Dan/s assertion about 17-40, Dan, we each have our own threshold of price to performance ratio. Having shot extensively with 16-35I, and test shots with two copies of 17-40L, I would say neither of them are good in the corners at f11 on the wide end. both are barely passable by my standards (which is different for everyone), and I would happily to with them is funds were limited. 16-35II clearly had better corners from 16-24, at f5.6 and f8 and to a lesser extent f11. could be of course sample variation. II also has much better flare characteristic than 16-35 I. 17-40 is pretty decent in this area. For me, the difference was well worth it.

To the op, I always give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I am assuming you know what you want. As Dan said, and others have suggested, certainly any lens from 12 to 400mm is used regularly as a landscape lens, but I dont see much point recommending to you a focal length you are not interested in. I actually think for sea scape, the ultrawide works very nicely. However, when I was at Yosemite, my most commonly used lens was 24-105, and I even used my 70-300 a bunch



Sep 01, 2013 at 03:45 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #14 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


kevindar wrote:
IN my post, I specified great sunburst and good flare characteristics, as two of the big virtues of 16=35II.
as for Dan/s assertion about 17-40, Dan, we each have our own threshold of price to performance ratio. Having shot extensively with 16-35I, and test shots with two copies of 17-40L, I would say neither of them are good in the corners at f11 on the wide end. both are barely passable by my standards (which is different for everyone), and I would happily to with them is funds were limited. 16-35II clearly had better corners from 16-24, at f5.6 and f8
...Show more

Differences in the reports of individual users are one good reason to read a range of reports and to perhaps also consult a variety of test results.

One site that provides interesting and useful side-by-side comparisons is slrgear.com at http:/ /http://www.slrgear.com/

When you get there, scroll down to the "product gallery" and click on the link to "Canon Lens: zooms." Then find the links to these three lenses and open them in separate windows or tabs. (For reasons that you may discover along the way, you might want to just compare the 16-35mm f/2.8 II and the 17-40 f/4.)

On each of the two pages/tabs, find the results for "full frame" tests. Look for the interactive "blur index" charts. Click on the one on one of the pages first, and it will open in a small window. Then return to the other page/tab and click on the blur index chart for that lens to open its window. Position the two windows side by side so that you can compare at similar apertures and focal lengths.

What you'll note in general will be similar to what I wrote: The 17-40 is not very sharp at all in the corners at f4 and it isn't great at f/5.6. It improves a lot by f/8, and at f/11 and f/16 it is sharper - according to this test - all the way across the frame at all focal lengths - though the difference are truly trivial. On the other hand, the 16-35 is "less awful" at f/2.8 - decent, actually, in real world terms for such an aperture on such a lens - and much better than the f/4 lens at f/4.

Here is another useful comparison tool that lots of folks may already be familiar with: http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=412&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=1&API=4&LensComp=100&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=1&APIComp=3

What you want to do here is select one lens (lets say the 16-35mm f/2.8) on the left and the other (the 17-40mm f/4 on the right). Select the same full frame camera from the small pop up menu for both cameras. (The OP's 5D3 isn't there, so the 1DIII is probably the best common option.) Select the same focal length and aperture for both lenses from their respective pop up menus. By f/8 things become quite similar according to this test, and by f/11 it seems to me that the 17-40 is making a very fine showing. (Each lens shows slightly different patterns of geometric distortion and small amounts of correctible CA.)

I doubt if I can name any one photographer that everyone will recognize as "their" favorite authority. Let me name two that you might have heard of, since they came up in another post in the last day or two. Each shoots a variety of types of images, but both are known for their landscape and nature work. Art Wolfe has written in the past that he does most of his shooting with the 16-35 and a 70-200, so there's one for the 16-35 fans. (And if you shoot in non-landscape ways that make good use of the f/2.8 aperture, that could be the deciding factor.) Michael Frye shoots the 17-40 and the 70-200, exclusively as near as I can tell. (IIRC, he also shoots the same 1D3 used in the second test comparisons I mentioned above.)

By the way, I cannot speak to the sunburst issue, since that is something that I rarely - almost never - use in a landscape shot. On the other hand, the 17-40 is widely known to be very resistant to flare compared to lenses of this type.

So, there is a bit more stuff to ponder as you make your decision.

Dan



Sep 01, 2013 at 04:11 AM
mttran
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p.1 #15 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


^^^ +1

Like Dan and others have said, 17-40L is a fine lens and one best affordable landscape lens. Imo, any canon lenses, that has support from DPP Digital lens Optimizer (DLO) and Lens Aberration Correction (LAC) plugins, will be a decent sharp one. Here are some 17-40 snapshot samples that I took last month:

All handheld f7-f16 (without hood) shots, either on moving train, tourist bus and tourist boat: Click images for sharpness view.

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3726/9481807175_d339c708a2_k.jpg
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7433/9470583134_0e677aa054_k.jpg
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7327/9449889858_e7013f8c69_k.jpg
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2843/9422391237_e27fe622c6_k.jpg
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2822/9422391469_a4631cf3d8_k.jpg

and some has posted here in this thread: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1216812/32#11776190

Out of camera 16-35LII is a bit better but with the help of DLO & LAC, I don't see much differences between them so I sold my 16-35LII. Hope this helps

Edited on Sep 01, 2013 at 05:14 AM · View previous versions



Sep 01, 2013 at 04:41 AM
galenapass
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p.1 #16 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


The problem with looking at tests online - for a landscape lens - is that they generally involve test charts shot at short to medium range (say ~15 ft); whereas, the subjects in landscape shots are often in the distance. We know that lens sharpness, or the perception of sharpness, can vary with distance. For example, the 70-200 f/4 IS does not take crisp shots close to it's MFD, but given more distance the performance is fine.

I have looked at a number of sites that have tested the 17-40 and the one that I find most useful is the 16-9 site.
http://www.16-9.net/lens_tests/canon1740_nikon1735/c1740vn1735a.html

This test agrees with much of what Dan has said.
If one were to purchase the 17-40 and just think of it as a ~ 24 to 50mm lens, I think it would work well. In other words, just shoot a little wider than you would like to frame a given shot shot, and then crop out the corners later. What you end up with is the shot you wanted in the first pace but with much crisper corners, and at a fraction of the price of the new 16-35mm. With a 5DII/III there is ample room for cropping.

The DPO comment is interesting as well. I have seen those plug-ins perform "magic".



Sep 01, 2013 at 05:06 AM
mttran
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p.1 #17 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


galenapass wrote:
...
The DLO comment is interesting as well. I have seen those plug-ins perform "magic".


+1, with the help of DLO you don't need to get Canon Version II lenses...all your old lenses are real fine performer



Sep 01, 2013 at 05:21 AM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #18 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


I agree with kevin, Jim C, and LS -- the 16-35L II is the way to go. I got that lens while still owning the 17-40, and both were good copies. In A-B comparison, the 16-35 was always as good or better at all apertures and focal lengths in common. I liked the 17-40 quite a bit, but couldn't justify keeping it along with the 16-35.

Plus there is the great f/2.8, which is very handy, and the lovely sunburst (nice for night lights in city shots).

16mm is noticeably wider than 17mm.

Build quality and weather sealing (with front filter) are superior to 17-40L and the Tokina 16-28/2.8.

I consider this a great lens, with a few limitations. With minor cropping, I could generally squeak by with it in almost all applications with I use 17 TSE and 24 TSE with no client being the wiser (with minor PP perspective correction). That's saying something!

I could use this lens for about 60% of my landscape needs.



Sep 01, 2013 at 05:35 AM
StarNut
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p.1 #19 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


I second Dan's mentioning using longer focal length for landscapes.

I readily acknowledge that it's very much a matter of personal preference, but I'd rather stitch a number of photos taken at longer focal length, and avoid the ultra-wide-angle distortion. I also get a much, much sharper image at any particular size (for obvious reasons) when I stitch.

My favorite landscape lens is the 70-200, with the 24-105 getting a very honorable mention. I do have the 16-35 II, and there are times (other than indoors with low light) that I use it. But I've run my own experiments, stitching a large number of images taken at longer focal length, and taking the same frame using the 16-35 at 16, and I like the results better (always) that I get from stitching.

JMO.

Mark



Sep 01, 2013 at 05:37 AM
Paul Mo
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p.1 #20 · Wide Angle: Best lens for Landscape


Longer focal lengths are useful when the atmosphere is crystal clear. Trying shooting long when the air's full of dust - unless you like it that way.


Sep 01, 2013 at 05:55 AM
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