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Thread: What lens best for landscape on full frame

  1. #1

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    What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Hi,

    I am new to this forum just today. I have a Nikon d700 camera and have just started enjoying landscapes and seascape photography.

    What lens/lenses does everyone use for this? I would like to know what would be the best fixed focal length lens and also what wide angle telephoto would be the best on a full frame sensor?

    Tossing up between buying a 16-35mm Nikon lens or getting a couple of prime lenses such as the 20mm for landscape and the 50mm for other general purpose.

    What are your suggestions?

    I do mostly underwater photography and have Nikon 60mm & 105mm macro and Sigma 15mm fisheye and Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lenses for underwater.

    I have posted here a couple of my underwater shots but I need help for topside photography. Thanks in advance.

    Deb

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    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 15th June 2011 at 11:34 PM. Reason: add image inline

  2. #2
    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    First choice would be the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f2.8G ED - Test

    24mm is more than wide enough for most things and once you've got to grips with what you can achieve then start saving for the AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED - Test

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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Quote Originally Posted by black pearl View Post
    First choice would be the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f2.8G ED - Test

    24mm is more than wide enough for most things and once you've got to grips with what you can achieve then start saving for the AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED - Test
    Hi Robin,

    Thanks for this advice. I think the 24-70mm might be what I will consider. It is a nice fast lens @f/2.8 and a good quality lens at that.

    Deb

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Hi Debbie,

    I'm not disagreeing with Robin's advice regarding those lenses, he's in the trade so knows his stuff.

    Just bear in mind that landscape doesn't have to be shot 'wide angle', do have a look at the works of our other two moderator/admins; Donald and Colin - they both shoot landscape, often with something like a 70-200mm.

    Unless you're looking for ultra wide apertures (e.g. f/1.4), I'd suggest using the 60mm macro for a bit before laying out more dollars on the 50mm prime lens as the focal lengths are not so different and see how it goes. I appreciate your full frame (I'm a crop body), but I might have thought 20 too wide and 50 too narrow.

    Nice shots UW btw.

    See what the others say,

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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your advice. I have been reading some information on using the Hyperfocal focusing and alot of information I am getting is that it is better used on wide angle lenses - that's why I thought to get a 20mm. What are your thoughts on this?

    As a newbie to this forum - how do I look at the works for Donald and Colin?

    Deb

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Quote Originally Posted by wommby View Post
    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your advice. I have been reading some information on using the Hyperfocal focusing and alot of information I am getting is that it is better used on wide angle lenses - that's why I thought to get a 20mm. What are your thoughts on this?

    As a newbie to this forum - how do I look at the works for Donald and Colin?

    Deb
    Ah, sorry

    Quick, lazy answer; find a post from each and click the links in their signatures.

    Here you go;
    www.dmackimages.org (Donald MacKenzie)
    http://pbase.com/cjsouthern (Colin Southern)

    There are of course, many other talented landscape shooters here, in fact too many to start trying to list them.

    Yes, hyperfocal distance focusing at that focal length will;
    a) make manual focusing easier than auto
    b) probably give everything form 10 cm to infinity sharp
    but is that always what you want I wonder - I'm not qualified to answer that, but I know several here are ...

    o gawd, is that the time, late for work, bye for now ...

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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for this information on the Hyperfocal focusing. It probably won't always what I want to achieve but can be much easier to use, especially when you have the camera and tripod set at really low angles.

    As I don't really have any good glass for landscapes I was trying to get everyones point of view and then decide what would best suit me.

    Thanks again - Hope you enjoyed your day at work.
    Deb

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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Hi Deb,

    At the end of the day, focal length isn't important - what IS important is field of view. Admittedly one is inversely p[roportional to the other, but I just wanted to mention that because I think - when it comes to landscape photography - it's more important to think more in terms of "what focal length will give me the field of view that I want for this shot". Sometimes the answer is "I need 14mm" sometimes the answer is "I need 400mm" - it really depends on what you're shooting.

    A common misconception is that "wider is better", but that just isn't the case.

    I wrote an article for premier filter manufacturer Singh-Ray a while ago on this topic - you might like to have a read ...

    http://singhray.blogspot.com/2009/09...-for-your.html

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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Deb,

    At the end of the day, focal length isn't important - what IS important is field of view. Admittedly one is inversely p[roportional to the other, but I just wanted to mention that because I think - when it comes to landscape photography - it's more important to think more in terms of "what focal length will give me the field of view that I want for this shot". Sometimes the answer is "I need 14mm" sometimes the answer is "I need 400mm" - it really depends on what you're shooting.

    A common misconception is that "wider is better", but that just isn't the case.

    I wrote an article for premier filter manufacturer Singh-Ray a while ago on this topic - you might like to have a read ...

    http://singhray.blogspot.com/2009/09...-for-your.html
    Colin,
    Thanks for this information. I looked up the article you did and very interesting. I am really leaning towards a 70-200mm lens. I can see why a wide angle lens is not always the right lens. I know most of the landscape opportunities I get will probably benefit more from this lens than a wide angle one. Thanks heaps. You made my day but not my husbands as he knows one of these lenses is over $2000. Oh well, I guess that's what you get when you have a wife who wants the best she can get.
    Deb

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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Quote Originally Posted by wommby View Post
    Colin,
    Thanks for this information. I looked up the article you did and very interesting. I am really leaning towards a 70-200mm lens. I can see why a wide angle lens is not always the right lens. I know most of the landscape opportunities I get will probably benefit more from this lens than a wide angle one. Thanks heaps. You made my day but not my husbands as he knows one of these lenses is over $2000. Oh well, I guess that's what you get when you have a wife who wants the best she can get.
    Deb
    Hi Deb,

    No worries. Don't forget though that if you're shooting with a crop-factor camera, your effective focal length will be approx 100 to 300mm with this lens. Not saying it can't be used for landscape, but to be honest, those sorts of lengths are more usually used for other things (like portraits).

    In photography you'll sometimes here of a "trilogy" of lenses - these are 70-200 / 24-70 / & 16-35 - one you have these three, you can just about "rule the world".

    You might like to remind hubby that your "superb judgement in these things" also includes choosing him

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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Hello Deb,
    Just an idea – since in another tread you asked about a 135mm portrait lens......
    How about a 70-200 zoom – per Colin's suggestion. If you can justify the f2.8 job – on your D700 – that should make a very fine portrait lens. In fact a very fine almost everything lens – which is why it's a standard part of almost every pro photographers kit. The special nature of the 135mm DC lens may not lend it's self to fast action baby photography! On the wide angle question. Using your 60mm macro to get the feel of things is a great idea IMHO. How about using the 60mm to do some hand held stitched panoramas? Try doing that with the camera held in portrait orientation, and give a good 30% overlap between photos. With luck the resulting panorama's will give you some idea of the kind of “look” you might like, and an indication of what (if any) wide angle lens you may like to get.
    HTH

    Regards,

    Nick.

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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Just a thought... I really prefer zoom lenses for landscape use because it is often totally impossible to "zoom with your feet" when shooting landscapes. There is often a river, canyon or other barrier between where you are and where you need to be in order to correctly frame the image. At other times the foot-crop distance is just too great. Shooting with primes most often requires a compromise in focal length because you are seldom in the serendipitous position in which your focal length is exactly what you need. Most often a photographer will use the next widest focal length and crop the image. This cropping can (depending on the extent of crop) negate the supposed quality advantage of the zoom. Top line zooms of today produce excellent quality imagery, not like the poor quality IQ produced by earlier still camera zoms.

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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Just a thought... I really prefer zoom lenses for landscape use because it is often totally impossible to "zoom with your feet" when shooting landscapes. There is often a river, canyon or other barrier between where you are and where you need to be in order to correctly frame the image. At other times the foot-crop distance is just too great. Shooting with primes most often requires a compromise in focal length because you are seldom in the serendipitous position in which your focal length is exactly what you need. Most often a photographer will use the next widest focal length and crop the image. This cropping can (depending on the extent of crop) negate the supposed quality advantage of the zoom. Top line zooms of today produce excellent quality imagery, not like the poor quality IQ produced by earlier still camera zoms.
    I think I need to introduce a special 'This man "gets it" award'

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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Deb,

    No worries. Don't forget though that if you're shooting with a crop-factor camera, your effective focal length will be approx 100 to 300mm with this lens. Not saying it can't be used for landscape, but to be honest, those sorts of lengths are more usually used for other things (like portraits).

    In photography you'll sometimes here of a "trilogy" of lenses - these are 70-200 / 24-70 / & 16-35 - one you have these three, you can just about "rule the world".

    You might like to remind hubby that your "superb judgement in these things" also includes choosing him

    Colin,
    Good idea - I will remind him about my judgement in choosing him. I would love to have each of the above lenses. I am shooting with a full frame so 70-200 should suit the landscapes nicely. Thanks heaps.
    Deb

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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Richard,
    Thanks for the information and advice. It's been absolutely great getting so much feedback and answers.
    I think I will probably go for the 70-200mm lens
    Deb

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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Nick,

    Good thinking - kill two birds with one stone with the 70-200mm lens.
    Deb

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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Reading back on my earlier posting... I committed a typo and meant to say: "This cropping can (depending on the extent of crop) negate the supposed quality advantage of the PRIME". However, I think that you probably got my meaning based on the rest of the posting.

    For Debbie: "kill two birds with one stone with the 70-200mm lens." Should have read "kill 130 birds with one stone" (LOL).

    AND: Please see my Yosemite and my Chiba galleries at: http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/

    Many of these images were shot with the 70-200mm lens.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 18th June 2011 at 10:03 PM.

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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Richard,

    Yes, understood what you meant about the PRIME. Your yosemite shots are just superb. How do you take infra red shots and can any camera do it? I have a Nikon d700 so could I do it with this camera?
    Deb

  19. #19
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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Debbie...

    Thanks for the compliment,,, Yosemite is a fabulusly beautiful location with wonderful vistas at every turn.

    Regarding infrared; there are two ways in which you can accomplish infrared imagery:

    1. Using an infrared transmitting filter. This works; but there can be some problems due to the excessively long exposures needed when this type of filter is mounted on your lens. It is, however, a reasonably inexpensive way to get into IR photography. The long exposures necessitate a tripod and moving subjects (even foliage moving in the breeze) will appear fuzzy. Here is the selection of IR filters on eBay:
    http://photography.shop.ebay.com/Fil...=p3286.c0.m282


    2. Converting a DSLR or P&S camera to full time infrared photography. This is more expensive (a lot more) than using a filter but results in a camera which can capture images at hand-held capable shutter speeds. I had a very old Canon D60 (not the new 60D) converted to full-time IR. I don't remember how much this cost but, it was several hundred US dollars. If I were to do this over, I would have converted a nice P&S camera instead of the full size DSLR. That way I would have been able to carry my Infrared capability in the top pocket of my photo vest. Note: when converted to full-time IR, the camera will no longer shoot normal color imagery.

    One final thing... Using Photoshop, I don't know of other post processing software, you can do a pseudo-infrared looking image. Not quite as dramatic as real IR but, it looks nice.

  20. #20

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    Re: What lens best for landscape on full frame

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Debbie...

    Thanks for the compliment,,, Yosemite is a fabulusly beautiful location with wonderful vistas at every turn.

    Regarding infrared; there are two ways in which you can accomplish infrared imagery:

    1. Using an infrared transmitting filter. This works; but there can be some problems due to the excessively long exposures needed when this type of filter is mounted on your lens. It is, however, a reasonably inexpensive way to get into IR photography. The long exposures necessitate a tripod and moving subjects (even foliage moving in the breeze) will appear fuzzy. Here is the selection of IR filters on eBay:
    http://photography.shop.ebay.com/Fil...=p3286.c0.m282


    2. Converting a DSLR or P&S camera to full time infrared photography. This is more expensive (a lot more) than using a filter but results in a camera which can capture images at hand-held capable shutter speeds. I had a very old Canon D60 (not the new 60D) converted to full-time IR. I don't remember how much this cost but, it was several hundred US dollars. If I were to do this over, I would have converted a nice P&S camera instead of the full size DSLR. That way I would have been able to carry my Infrared capability in the top pocket of my photo vest. Note: when converted to full-time IR, the camera will no longer shoot normal color imagery.

    One final thing... Using Photoshop, I don't know of other post processing software, you can do a pseudo-infrared looking image. Not quite as dramatic as real IR but, it looks nice.
    Thanks Richard, I only have the one camera body so probably won't venture this way, not yet anyway. Love your IR images, they are amazing.
    Deb

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