As you can see in the accompanying chart, there are a number of wide-range "superzoom" lenses that include our focal lengths. These offer the advantages of providing focal lengths from wide-angle to telephoto in a single package, minimal bulk and at relatively low cost. Their main drawback is that they aren't quite as sharp as shorter-range zooms or prime lenses—trying to correct all aberrations, distortions and vignetting at a wide range of focal lengths is quite an engineering challenge. But, if you want to travel really light or have a very limited lens budget, a superzoom can be just what you need.
Long Landscape Lenses
Est. Street Price
CEF-S 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS
Canon EF 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6L IS USM
Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm ƒ/4-5.6G ED VR II
Nikon AF-S 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6G ED VR
Sigma 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 II DC OS HSM
Tamron 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 XR Di II
Tamron 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 XR Di
Tamron 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC LD
* A selection of short telephoto lenses suitable for a "different" take on landscapes; not a complete listing.
** FF = full-frame; APS-C = APS-C; 4/3 = Four Thirds System. Full-frame lenses also can be used on APS-C cameras with compatible mount. Canon EF-S (APS-C) lenses can't be mounted on full-frame or APS-H EOS cameras. Nikon DX (APS-C) lenses can be mounted on full-frame (FX) Nikon DSLRs, but camera will crop to DX format automatically.
*** UD = Ultra-Low Dispersion; ASPH = Aspherical; ED = Extra-Low Dispersion; SUD = Super Ultra-Low Dispersion; SLD = Special Low Dispersion; XLD = Extra-Low Dispersion; LD = Low Dispersion; FL = Fluorite; DO = Diffractive Optics; HRI = High Refractive Index; FLD = F Low-Dispersion; SED = Super Extra-Low Dispersion
† Mounts in which lens is available: C = Canon EF; N = Nikon F; P = Pentax K; Si = Sigma SD; So = Sony A; 4/3 = Four Thirds System
N/S = Not stated by manufacturer.
Pro-Optic 500 ƒ/6.3 mirror lens
The Pro-Optic mirror lenses provide an economical way to experiment with "compressed" long, focal-length landscapes. Really long lenses "zero in" on a small, very distant portion of a scene, producing images in which objects are squeezed together—a definitely different landscape look. While conventional refracting long lenses are costly, the Pro-Optic mirror lenses (500mm ƒ/6.3, 800mm ƒ/8 and a 1000mm ƒ/11 kit consisting of a 500mm lens and 2x converter) sell for just $99.95 to $224.95 (available from Adorama). Besides being less costly than conventional telephotos, mirror lenses are also much more compact and easier to cart into the field. Mirror lenses are also less sharp than refracting telephotos and turn out-of-focus highlights into rings rather than disks—some like the effect, some don't.
But, the price certainly is right, and long lenses let you produce landscapes with a different look.
Macro Lenses For Landscape?
As their name implies, macro lenses were designed for close-up work, optically optimized for close-focusing distances. They're especially good with flat copy and provide good edge-to-edge sharpness. But, they work well at normal shooting distances, too. In fact, one advantage of macro lenses over other close-up gear is that they also let you focus out to infinity—something you can't do when using extension tubes, close-up diopter lenses or a bellows. So, if you want the ability to shoot telephoto landscapes and also be able to zero-in on intriguing flowers and insects along the way, a macro lens is a great choice: It can focus close enough to produce a life-size 1.0X magnification at the image plane, yet also double as a normal tele lens, good for landscapes, portraits and anything else you'd use choose to shoot with that focal length.
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