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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

Stephen Lang (www.stephenlangphotography.com) uses a number of Sigma lenses for landscapes, including the 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 II EX DG, 12-24mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 EX and 15mm full-frame fisheye. But his favorite is the Sigma 17-70mm ƒ/2.8-4.5 DC. “I do a lot of long-exposure waterscape shots rather than traditional landscapes,” he explains. “The 17-70mm gives me really nice focal-length choices. I can get close to the shoreline when I do these, and not only can I get the shoreline when I want, but also the horizon with great clarity and the space I want to show.”

Olympus Visionary Michael Lewis (www.michaellewisfoto.com) says, “I used the Olympus Zuiko Digital 12-60mm for most of my landscape work. The 35mm equivalent of 24mm is wide enough for most landscapes, the ability to zoom to 120mm and the size and weight make this lens the one I usually grab for a hike, a bike ride or a dedicated landscape photo shoot.”

William Neill (www.williamneillphotography.com) prefers his Canon zoom: “My favorite lens for landscapes is my Canon EF 70-200mm zoom. Simply put, I like to isolate details and eliminate distractions.”

Moose Peterson (www.moosepeterson.com) says, “Right now, my favorite landscape lenses are the Nikon 24mm ƒ/3.5D ED and 45mm ƒ/2.8D ED PC-E Nikkors because they’re amazingly sharp and when needed have the PC [tilt-shift perspective control] attributes.”

Carol Polich picks her Sigma 10-20mm ƒ/4-5.6 EX DC zoom. “It’s one of my favorite lenses for capturing the breadth and scope of a landscape,” she says. “Not only do you feel surrounded within rock, water and trees encompassed by a tremendous sky, but you can lead into the essence of the environment with your foreground subject.”

Julie Quarry (www.photoquarry.com) likes her Pentax DA 12-24mm ƒ/4.0 ED AL (IF) zoom and 10-17mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 ED (IF) fish-eye zooms. “I, too, much like Kerrick, love the 12-24mm DA; however, I find great joy working with the fish-eye 10-17mm DA for some unusual images,” she explains. “Some landscapes have an unusual linear quality that lends itself to the full-frame fish-eye effect. Two striking examples I’ve shot recently are the salt flats of Badwater in Death Valley and Rainbow Bridge in Lake Powell. Filling the frame with a superwide lens such as this one almost requires a really distinctive land form like an arch. This isn’t your classic landscape lens, but you can have a lot of fun thinking outside of the focal box!”

Art Wolfe
(www.artwolfe.com) likes the Canon EF 16-35mm ƒ/2.8 II: “I turn to the 16-35mm II most often,” he says. “When I need to compose quickly, incorporating strong foreground elements, this focal range is ideal. It’s also the sharpest wide-angle zoom from Canon thus far.”

In addition to the lenses mentioned here, we like the new Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX 11-16mm ƒ/2.8 non-fish-eye superwide zoom for the wide angles of view it provides with APS-C-sensor D-SLRs (equivalent to approximately 16.5-24mm on a 35mm camera), and its fast maximum aperture.


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