“What lens should I bring with me today?” Is a question commonly asked by photographers to themselves every time they leave the house. For a lot of photographers, weight savings and compactness are important. For others, quality of the image is of the utmost importance, regardless of how big the lens is. Today, we’ll be exploring various different Canon lenses used by landscape photographers everywhere and their advantages and disadvantages.
- EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
One of the most cost effective lenses in Canon’s L lens lineup, the 17-40 is in the bags of many landscape photographers. I personally used this lens for about 4 years before switching to the 16-35mm version. For the 17-40, the corners of the lens are much more soft than other comparable lenses. Additionally, this particular lens lacks the Image Stabilization (IS) feature seen in the 16-35. For most photographers this does not matter due to the fact that most landscape photos are taken on a tripod, and IS can actually make your photo more blurry if you forget to turn it off. Probably the best entry level L lens out there, the cost effective and sharp 17-40 will definitely be a contender for a spot in your camera bag.
- EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
A step above the 17-40, this is the current lens that I utilize in my lens trilogy. A great workhorse zoom lens, I use it not only for landscape photography on my full frame body, but also video work as a general purpose lens on my crop sensor body. Super sharp in the corners and with the advantage of being able to be handheld at around two stops of compensation via the IS feature; this lense is perfect for the adventure photographer looking to capture amazing candid moments of friends while hiking in the backcountry without having to setup a tripod. The sister of this lens, the 16-35 f/2.8L USM lens is another great choice, swapping out the IS feature for a 2.8 aperture, also allowing for lower light photography. The downside of the 16-35f/4L IS USM is that it is also around $200 more expensive than the 17-40. The 16-35 f/2.8 is even more expensive at $1,200 more expensive than the 16-35 f/4.
- EF 24mm f/4 f/1.4L USM
Prime lenses (lenses that don’t zoom) Offer the highest image quality of any lens out there. Due to this fact, many photographers choose to only use prime lenses. Commonly, photographers using prime lenses employ the “Trinity” of prime lenses, the 24, 85, and 135 focal lengths. The 24mm is the most affordable prime lens coming in at $1,500. It also has an incredible 1.4 aperture that is a whole stop wider than the normal 2.8 offerings that come in zoom lenses. The 24 is also lighter, due to the fact that it does not have the complicated zoom mechanism employed in the previous two lenses. This is definitely a lens I have been looking to add to my arsenal, and hope to in the near future.
- EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM
For those of you shooting on crop sensor bodies and are super budget conscious, The 10-18mm EF-S Canon offers is perfect for you! EF-S denotes the fact that this lens will only be able to mount to crop sensor camera bodies such as the Rebel, 80D, and 7D models in Canons lineup. This lens offers a variable aperture 4.5-5.6 aperture range which can somewhat complicate matters when shooting landscapes as if you zoom in your aperture will change. This also means that the sharpness of this lens will be slightly compromised. Despite all this, the price of this particular lens is around $500, which makes this lens the most affordable of the four we have in the lineup today.
There you have it folks, a quick guide into a couple of Canon’s lens choices for landscape photography. Mind you, there are a bunch of other different lenses you can look into including 3rd party companies that also produce great glass. This was just a quick on brand comparison of 4 lenses I thought could help you out in the photography world. For more incredible lens and camera reviews, check out The Digital Picture for some super in depth reviews. What’s your go to lens when you go out shooting? Comment below!