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Thread: Why use the 70-200 in landscape

  1. #1

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    Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    Hi, May sound like a bit of a silly question but after watching a couple videos on landscape photography I noticed that the lens that seemed to get an awful lot of use was the 70-200L (don't no if it was the I S units or not) most of the time tripods where in use. I just thought that at a range of only 70mm it seemed a bit constricted for landscape work compared to say a 24-70 or 17-40mm.
    Advice as to why this lens seems to be favoured anyone?.
    Thanks
    Russ

  2. #2
    herbert's Avatar
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    Re: Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    Hi Russ,

    I use my 70-200 for a lot of landscapes. This is the lens I have on my camera most the time. I find that you can pick out the part of the scene that you want to focus on.

    Taking a landscape with a wide angle lens is harder than you think. The rectilinear distortion expands all the image content that is close to you. This means that you get a lot of foreground. If your foreground is boring then your image is going to look boring too.

    Ways to solve this is include:

    • Not having a foreground, e.g. shooting off a balcony
    • Having a good foreground, e.g. an object of interest like a statue
    • Using a telephoto lens to skip the foreground


    In the case where the lens is not quite wide enough then you can do a panarama stitch. Here is an example of 2 images taken with a crop camera at 70mm:

    Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    A good way to see what a longer lens can do for landscapes is to browse images that have the EXIF data present. That way you get to see the lens used to take the picture.

    The best of both worlds is to carry lenses that cover more focal lengths. You can then swap between them. However if you only have one lens then remember that the best lens is the one you have with you.

    Regards,

    Alex

  3. #3

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    Re: Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by herbert View Post
    Hi Russ,

    I use my 70-200 for a lot of landscapes. This is the lens I have on my camera most the time. I find that you can pick out the part of the scene that you want to focus on.

    Taking a landscape with a wide angle lens is harder than you think. The rectilinear distortion expands all the image content that is close to you. This means that you get a lot of foreground. If your foreground is boring then your image is going to look boring too.

    Ways to solve this is include:

    • Not having a foreground, e.g. shooting off a balcony
    • Having a good foreground, e.g. an object of interest like a statue
    • Using a telephoto lens to skip the foreground


    In the case where the lens is not quite wide enough then you can do a panarama stitch. Here is an example of 2 images taken with a crop camera at 70mm:

    Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    A good way to see what a longer lens can do for landscapes is to browse images that have the EXIF data present. That way you get to see the lens used to take the picture.

    The best of both worlds is to carry lenses that cover more focal lengths. You can then swap between them. However if you only have one lens then remember that the best lens is the one you have with you.

    Regards,

    Alex
    Hi, Thank you for the reply, makes sense after what you have written, I do have 17-40 and others but never really gave much thought to using the 70-200 for landscape.
    Russ

  4. #4
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    Re: Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    Hi Russ,

    The knee-jerk reaction to landscape photography by many photographers is to slap on the widest lens in their kit or if they don't have a UWA, to pine for a wider lens.

    I am generally not a fan of UWA focal lengths when shooting landscapes except under special conditions; such as when there is a distinctive and interesting subject (rock, plant or other object) in the foreground and the wide focal length is used to accentuate that object. Another time I will use a UWA is in relatively cramped areas. I do have a wide angle 12-24mm f/4 Tokina lens which I occasionally use in areas like the narrow canyons of Zion National Park. The last time I gave this lens a lot of landscape use was in Yosemite National Park since that is a rather small valley (by Western U.S. standards) with massive natural structures surrounding it.

    Often when photographers slap on a UWA lens in order to obtain sufficient left to right coverage of the subject, it results in a boring image with lots of sky and foreground and a thin line of miniscule interest somewhere near the middle of their frame. It seems to me that the decision making process may be: "I know there is something out there interesting. If I shoot everything, I will be sure to include the interesting area." Great vistas such as the Grand Canyon are reduced to tiny details.

    Please don't get the idea that all wide angle landscape images have to be boring. Roman Johnston is a master at using wide lenses effectively in landscape photography. His galleries convinced me that I wanted the 12-24mm f/4 Tokina and I have not been disappointed in that lens, although my work doesn't come close to Roman's in quality:
    http://www.pbase.com/romansphotos/page_area

    That said, my 70-200mm f/4L IS lens is one of my favorite lenses. I use it frequently for all sorts of subjects including landscapes. The long focal lengths will allow me to accentuate details, crop in the camera to get rid of uninteresting sky and foreground and to compress distances. I use my 70-200mm f/4L on my 1.6x cameras and absolutely love it. When shooting landscapes I will most often try to use a tripod. IMO, tripods are "virtually mandatory" for landscape photography.

    I used the 70-200mm f/4L IS lens (tripod mounted wearing a CPL filter) on a Canon 40D for this image of Yosemite National Park's Bridal Veil Falls...

    Why use the 70-200 in landscape
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 25th October 2011 at 04:21 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    I'd endorse what Richard has said above. The 70-200 (I also have the L f4 IS) is a superb landscape lens.

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    Re: Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    Hi Russell,

    For the most part, it all comes down to the field of view that you want to capture; often wide-angle lenses capture such a wide angle that there's no pleasing detail. I'll give you a couple of examples - both shot in the same place - the first with a WA lens, the 2nd with a 70-200 ...

    Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    I wrote an article for leading filter manufacturer Singh-Ray on the subject of UWA -v- Telephoto a while ago, which you might find interesting ...

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

  7. #7
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Russell,

    For the most part, it all comes down to the field of view that you want to capture; often wide-angle lenses capture such a wide angle that there's no pleasing detail. I'll give you a couple of examples - both shot in the same place - the first with a WA lens, the 2nd with a 70-200 ...

    Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    I wrote an article for leading filter manufacturer Singh-Ray on the subject of UWA -v- Telephoto a while ago, which you might find interesting ...

    http://singhray.blogspot.com/2009/09...-for-your.html
    Actually I like the first

  8. #8

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    Re: Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    Actually I like the first
    Which is why I shot it for you Steve

  9. #9

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    Re: Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Russell,

    For the most part, it all comes down to the field of view that you want to capture; often wide-angle lenses capture such a wide angle that there's no pleasing detail. I'll give you a couple of examples - both shot in the same place - the first with a WA lens, the 2nd with a 70-200 ...

    Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    I wrote an article for leading filter manufacturer Singh-Ray on the subject of UWA -v- Telephoto a while ago, which you might find interesting ...

    http://singhray.blogspot.com/2009/09...-for-your.html
    Hi, Read the article Colin and next time I go out will try the 70-200 rather than what I normally have attached 17-40.
    Thanks
    Russ

  10. #10

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    Re: Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    Thank you for a really informative thread.
    I have the Sigma 10-20 and a Canon 70-200 2.8L IS (plus a couple of other lens) and this thread has made me stop and think. I have always "slapped on" the sigma when I wanted a landscape but now it will be ... "hmm let me think about this a while"
    Thanks

    David

  11. #11
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    Re: Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Why use the 70-200 in landscape
    What are these spherical things on the stones ?

  12. #12

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    Re: Why use the 70-200 in landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by darekk View Post
    What are these spherical things on the stones ?
    Sea Snails

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