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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lenses For Landscapes

Looking for the perfect lens for your scenics? Check out the options and see what some top OP pros have to say about their favorite choices.

Labels: Lenses
Comments From The Field
We polled a number of pro landscape photographers to see what they used and why. Here are some of their choices and reasons.

Don Gale (www.photographybydon.com) likes a compact big gun: the Tamron AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di-II VC LD wide-to-tele-zoom. “This zoom range is absolutely amazing,” he says. “I’m shooting with a camera with the smaller APS-C sensor, and with this baby, I’m able to start wide—really wide—and zoom all the way through and end up with an amazingly long, tight shot at 270mm. It’s a nice feeling to know that one lens may be all I need for an entire day of shooting.”

John Isaac (www.johnisaac.com) likes the Olympus 50-200mm ƒ/2.8-3.5 ED SWD Zuiko zoom. “I like the compressed look of the landscape when using long focal lengths,” he explains. “Compared to 35mm format, the Four Thirds format doubles focal lengths, so this lens is like a 100-400mm on a 35mm camera. Nowadays when I use the E-3 camera body that has a built-in stabilizer, I shoot practically everything without a tripod or a monopod. This is such a plus for me, since I like to travel light.”

Kerrick James (www.agpix.com/kerrickjames) likes his Pentax DA 12-24mm ƒ/4.0 ED AL (IF) zoom. “It has a superb range of angle of view and excellent depth of field, retains fine resolution when stopped down and is a rectilinear (non-fish-eye) design,” he says. “It’s also reasonably light, being an ƒ/4, and easy to carry on the trail. It’s always in my bag, along with a thin circular polarizer.”

Sony Artisan of Imagery Andy Katz (www.andykatzphotography.com) has two favorite landscape lenses: “The Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 16-35mm ƒ/2.8 lens is a perfect landscape lens. At 16mm, you get a blazingly sharp super-wide-angle with amazing distortion correction. I’ve never used a fixed-focal-length wide-angle lens as sharp as this zoom. My other favorite lens that I can’t live without is the 70-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6. Being a travel/landscape photographer, weight is a big concern. The 70-400mm is so lightweight and versatile that I’ll never travel without it again. It’s a delight to have such a variety of focal lengths without sacrificing the sharpness. It’s an all-in-one, small package and absolutely ideal for hiking.”

Steve Kozak (www.stevekozak.com) likes two fast Tamron wide zooms, the SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 Di-II and SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di. “I like to get right up in the middle of it rather than shoot from afar,” he explains. “Weight is an issue when hiking into tough terrain, but so is lens speed. These two ƒ/2.8s meet both needs beautifully.”

Asks OP columnist Bob Krist (www.bobkrist.com), “Do I have to pick just one? I really don’t have one favorite landscape lens. I use all my three lenses for landscape: the AF-S DX 12-24mm ƒ/4, AF-S DX 17-55mm ƒ/2.8G and AF-S 70-200mm ƒ/2.8G VR Zoom-Nikkors. I find that landscapes vary so much that one lens doesn’t do it.”


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