What lenses for landscapes?

Hi all,

I am new here.

I want to know what are the best lenses been used for landscapes? Say with full frame cameras

Is it about gear or it is about editing/processing after capturing the images? Because i feel like if it is about gear and it is getting developed then old landscapes images from the past are not good enough then, but i know at some points a good quality gear will have a position.


Hi there,
I am also new here, I would say that the gear is quite a big part of a good and sharp image.
For example I had Tamron 17-50 f2.8 Di II and it was a good lens, but the corners of the pictures were always so soft and noticeable not sharp and it was really frustrating. Than I changed to my current lens Sigma 17-50 mm f2.8 DC OS HSM and the difference is really noticeable, images are nice and sharp through out the whole picture, no soft parts.
Those are both “budget” lenses and both quite old models, but for me the Sigma is perfect so far.
My point is that not sharp pictures can’t be fixed in post-processing and quality glass here is the key, but you also don’t have to get the most expensive gear to get good pictures. There are great “budget” old lenses out there that still do the job really god.

I already have nice lenses and sharp, just wanted to know more and confirm what else are there, i mean all my lenses are old models, and still performing nice, but i feel like lenses are getting bad if not used for long time and if they are outdated, i mean comparing a lens from today with a top quality lens from 10 years, will that 10 years old lens still win now?
I am trying to re-arrange my collection and see what things i should keep and what things i have to let it go and buy new things, long time i don’t do photography, but i won’t give up, if i feel like i can’t or won’t go back to photography sooner or later then i won’t bother about gear anymore.

I apologize for the late reply. For 10 years I have used two lenses for my landscape photography: a Nikon 12-24 f/4 (ultra wide angle) and a Nikon 24-120 f/4 (wide angle to zoom.) These modest and relatively inexpensive lenses have suited my needs well. True, I have rented and borrowed other glass over the years, but their cost and performance never led to a purchase. Both of these lenses are used with a full-frame Nikon D810 DSLR.

I saved myself by buying two lenses very nice, and a third one is not sure if nice or not, it was a great quality lens when it came out, i never used it because i had very bad situations that time that stopped me from doing photography and i stopped now, but i hope i will be back to photography after those long years, the lens is Tamron 15-30 VC mk1 model, i also have full frame cameras such as 1DX and Sony A7R old model and 1Ds MarkIII, i also have a Hasselblad medium format camera that is long time ago also outdated and one or two new lenses came out better for landscape for it or medium format in general.

Who says old lenses are not sharp? Leica Elmarit 90/2.8 built 1962…
The camera is a Leica Monochrom from 2013, BTW.

Very nice image, well, i do have sharp lenses for my medium format cameras or also large format, but for 35mm format digital i think prime are still holding strong against zoom lenses.

Well, I am active in the Leica world and the present-day TL and SL zooms are every bit as good as the primes. Sometimes better. The same for Zeiss and Sigma Art. Unfortunately such quality comes with an equally impressive price tag. As for age-my second-sharpest 50 mm lens is a Canon 50/1.8 Serenar From 1954…

I don’t have super sharp quality lenses from the past anyway, people mentioned the best lenses from the past to prove their points and i don’t have those lenses anyway, so in general not all or always old models are better or sharper, otherwise all new lenses either primes or zooms are just a waste, and no need to buy more or upgrade then, but i still think about when to upgrade or how to know if the lens is sharp or not or what kind of issues that make someone to decide about a replacement, my lenses aren’t top quality really except few that i bought later, but some old ones are just no match for better ones today, my 24-105 is like outdated, i had 24-70 old model that i lost in service, i had 70-200 mk1 but i sold it to get mk2 which is now replaced by Canon with mkIII so quick, even my 100-400 mk1 is like a joke against Tamron/Sigma big zooms, while with primes i have 50mm 1.4 and 1.8, no match to many today lenses, 85mm i don’t use for landscapes, 100 non Is is macro lens, Samyang 14mm, funny curve, Sigma 12-24 old model, well, i didn’t hear someone has it and kept it forever and i still have it for collection only, what else? I just bought Canon tilt shift 17 and 24 mkII, those two lenses killed all my other lenses for landscape, and i added Tamron 15-30 that i never used it yet and not sure when, it is a nice lens, but it came at time to fight with Nikon 14-24 and Canon 16-35, now all of those three lenses are outdared and replaced with many nicer better lenses, but i won’t replace my TS 17 24 with anything.

What can I say… Being a blunt Dutchman, and I apologise in advance - I would advise you to get rid of the whole dog’s dinner you describe and buy a Canon 6D and EF 24-70 L MK2. Then you could keep your TS lens, and add anything you might need later. That would enable you to concentrate on photography and leave the whole battle with gear behind you.
The reason that you think that some new lenses are “better” than old ones is because you have a mish-mash of second-rate consumer lenses, good lenses -like your 17-24TS -and known second-rate “pro” lenses (like that 100-400 mk1. - I hated it and couldn’t get rid of it soon enough…). Age has nothing to do with lens quality, lenses don’t become outdated.

Ok, sounds it is because lenses has some quality until something else better coming out, but being outdated is true, i think you meant that the quality of lens doesn’t change by age, it is just either it is staying best quality or another new lens being better quality, i understand that.
I don’t need to buy 6D, i have 1DX and Sony A7R which i want to sell and buy newer Sony or mirrorless cameras, i am happy with my cameras, only lenses are having give or take quality issue, and i stopped upgrading long time because i lost job and because i got into Astrophotography, so my interest and budget is for astro now, but i still love photography and landscape is my thing, i want to be ready if i will travel in the future somewhere for landscape or wildlife that i have the best i can have for it, not necessary the latest ones, but at least great quality, my TS are doing amazing for me and happy, but they are primes, i had before Canon 16-35mm mk1 that i sold to buy Tamron 15-30 which i didn’t use at all yet, still in the box, not sure if i should keep it and use it, or sell it and buy something else new as wide angle zoom, Canon every time producing something that making old ones like a joke, they have now 16-35mm mk3, i feel it will never end, and many people keep saying “WOW, this is an amazing lens, it outperform my mark 1 or mark 2 lens, i sold my old lens and happy with new”, are they honest or it is all promoting for everything new coming out?

I do landscapes, primarily, using Nikon camera and lenses. I see from the replies that the lenses you all are using are wide angle zooms, or primes.

What about a longer zoom? For example, I use my Nikkor 70-200 a lot. One of its best uses is to extract details from a broader landscape that would lose their significance using a wide angle. It’s also nice when I want to compress the perspective.

I think longer lenses have a place in landscape photography and are worth looking into. I don’t have any specific recommendations since I do not use Canon or Sony cameras.

When i travel i carry 4 zooms lenses, from super wide angle to long telephoto, i do carry 16-35 and 24-70 in the past before i lost it or 24-105 now and 70-200 and 100-400, i carry few primes also like 50mm and fisheye and 100 Macro, so i am covered, but i sold my 16-35 and lost 24-70, 24-105 isn’t bad at all but don’t use it much, my 70-200 mk1 before it wasn’t sharp but my mkII is beautiful, 100-400 is bad, so, i feel like i have to add something or change something, for now i still don’t know if i should keep Tamron 15-30 or not, it is new in the box, and also that Macro 100, 100-400 i want to sell it very fast but no buyers at all, and some of my old cameras are also without buyers at all, long years passed and they are more like dead to some people to buy them now, i think i need one more prime and like two zooms and i am done, something in 24-90 range rather than my 24-105 and something at longer range from 150 to 500 for example, and i am done, and as prime i think something like 25 or 35 or even a bit wider but that is already covered with my two TS lenses.

You ask a great question. Of course, you need a certain level of equipment, and in most cases, a certain level of post processing ability, to create good photos. But, more than anything else, you need press the shutter at the right place and time. So many people who are interested in photography become obsessed with “sharpness”, as if that alone will make a great photo. Galen Rowell was a wonderful landscape and travel photographer who made many amazing photos before the digital age. For the most part he shot with film and 35mm cameras 20 to 40 years ago, and many of his photos were made hand held. He used to have a gallery in Bishop, CA, so I was able to see many of his enlargements and they often were definitely “not sharp” by today’s standards. But they were compelling photos. So, what I am trying to say is yes, try to get good equipment, continue asking the questions you are asking, but don’t think you can’t make wonderful photos with old equipment, and don’t obsess about sharpness.


Hello Tareq,

A little late to the conversation but wanted to chime in with a slightly different approach.

The conversation has been mostly around the technical aspect, lens quality, range of focal lengths, etc. I think that’s been covered well - and of course it’s ultimately going to boil down to what you end up feeling most comfortable with that suits your style and types of scenes you like to photograph.

From the above quote though, there’s very important aspect you left out; it’s not just a discussion about gear vs. post-capture processing/editing/cropping, etc. There is also the very important part of composing, framing and your vision in the field while photographing. You can have sub-par gear and capture phenomenal images with impact and meaning. If someone is pixel peeping on a 30x40" print, then yeah, glass quality and technique matters.

But in the end, quality images are more than just gear and processing pixels. It’s about vision and recognizing great potential at the time of capture. Having said that, having a zoom really helps in that vision and composition, allowing one to adjust literally on the fly, but it’s not paramount. On the other hand, primes often force one to “see” at certain focal lengths. I found this to be true when I spent many years using primes in the 4x5 large format arena.

Regardless of fixed primes, zooms or kit lenses or expensive glass - you must also include and learn to see and recognize comps and situations that have the potential for quality images.

My .02.



When I travel, one prime requirement for me is not to be encumbered by gear, I must be able to carry it comfortably. I am very happy that APS-C has come of age with more than excellent 24 MP cameras in the last few years, allowing me to shed both bulk and weight without any loss of quality. So now I carry just a small Leica CL (and TL for backup), 18-56, 55-135 and Sigma 100-400 DG DN, giving an equivalent range of 24 to 600 mm. For low light and sheer beauty of rendering the Summilux 24/1.4. It all goes into a small bag, weighs about 8.5 kg. I couldn’t be happier. My backpacks gather dust :joy:

I already have some wonderful images from my old equipment, i am only obsessed about when the lens can be that old or when it should be replaced or does it really needed to be upgraded every while if that will help, not only for sharpness, but overall image quality.

That is already done, now i have that approach, talented enough Thank God, years experience must be there, i agree about this, thanks.

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I learnt that the hard way, in the past i tried to carry everything i can, but i am happy that things changed, in the past i have to carry like two cameras and still, one is a full frame and the other one is a fast camera, now i have 1DX which do both together, and i carry A7R if i will travel again as i didn’t travel since 2009 except once with family in 2018, Mirrorless cameras are small, so i did reduce the wait, and with two primes i love i almost get red of two zooms as well, so i am almost carrying like 4 primes and 2 zooms or maybe 3, but last time i traveled with family i didn’t carry 100-400 so that came down to two zooms at the end.

Manufactures knew how to make good sharp lenses for many decades. If you have a quality 15 year old lens, you probably won’t notice better optical quality with newer lenses. You will, however, gain in autofocus speed, better OIS, and perhaps weather sealing. That may or may not be worth the upgrade for you.

As always, there is significant gain from replacing mediocre lenses with good quality. You’ll gain in better optical quality, build quality, faster autofocus, better IOS, weather sealing, and faster f/stop.