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04-07-2014, 03:57 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
Everyone's different. Most of my landscape pictures are taken with my Rikenon 28mm f/2.8. I take quite a few in the 35mm range as well - even when I have my 19-35mm on, a lot of times I am closer to the 35mm side.

Having said that, I wouldn't call myself a landscape photographer at all! I'm still just starting.

Everyone's different so using the 18-55mm kit lens to find what length works best for them is what most of us are suggesting. Plus, I don't know if it's a good idea to get into ultrawide before being experienced in normal and wide perspectives.
My recommendation for this lens was purely based on images that I have seen on the web and from Canikon friends who shoot with this lens , I realise Everyone's shooting style is Different , I personally use the FA31 in Panoramic Landscape with a Nodal Slide. Samyang 14 is Sharp and quite affordable.

the 18-55 is also a Good Starting point.


Last edited by disco_owner; 04-11-2014 at 01:32 AM.
04-07-2014, 04:00 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fries Quote
What sort of landscapes are you planning to shoot? A telephoto zoom lens like the cheap DA55-300mm can be used very effectively to compress a landscape. Something that works really well in landscapes with hills or mountains. A wide angle lens is good tool for landscapes, but don't discard the telephoto option.
Great advice everyone, thank you. Fries, I live in Reno, Nevada so I can photography Lake Tahoe, the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Virginia City, Nevada, Bodie, California, Mono Lake California, not to mention Yosemite among others. Along with the Pentax DAL 18-55mm I also have the Pentax DAL 50-200 mm and the Sigma 70-300 1:4-5.6 DL Macro.
04-07-2014, 05:09 PM   #18
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ANY lens can be used effectively to make landscapes. You might want to examine some landscape photos you admire or want to emulate and figure out (approximately) what focal length was used.

Some photographers, for instance, use a near/far compositional approach, where an object in the foreground is contrasted with its surroundings/background. If this is the type of picture you want to make, you'll probably want to invest in a wide angle--any of those recommended above will be fine.

Then, there's the get-it-all-in approach. Usually taken from a distance with a longer lens. Photographers who shoot mountain scenes often take this approach.

There's also room to work in between--as Adam mentions above, the 35mm focal length is quite popular.

Your kit lens is a good starting point--try different focal lengths to see what works best for you. Use a tripod, focus carefully, stop down, use your lowest ISO, and you'll get respectable results. If/when you discover you have an affinity for a certain focal length, then by all means go shopping,
04-07-2014, 06:01 PM   #19
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As John states above, ANY lens can be used for landscape photography. It's always best to think outside the box when it comes to photography. Check this out and this too.. Just my two cents.

04-07-2014, 06:40 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by New 2 This Quote
Great advice everyone, thank you. Fries, I live in Reno, Nevada so I can photography Lake Tahoe, the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Virginia City, Nevada, Bodie, California, Mono Lake California, not to mention Yosemite among others. Along with the Pentax DAL 18-55mm I also have the Pentax DAL 50-200 mm and the Sigma 70-300 1:4-5.6 DL Macro.
Evening,

You have received wonderful advice from everyone. I just want to toss in a few additional ideas. Thanks for listing your current lenses as well as your location. Bottom line, you can use any lens - any focal length for landscape. Let me explain that a bit - to make a bit more sense.

Personally, I really like wide angle - my current lens collection shows that. But, I have learned a lot along the way. Wide angle pulls in scene from all sides (left, top, bottom and right) of the image's frame. It essentially pushes the center further back into the background to make room for this. In many instances, that is just the opposite from what you may want or intend to do. Think of a view of snow capped mountains in the distance. A landscape shot for sure, but if you use a 18mm lens, you are going to get a lot of foreground. So, say use a 100mm or 200mm to shoot the scene, essentially shooting over the foreground and emphasizing the landscape that you are really interested in. This is what I mean in that any lens will do. You really want to focus on what you want to show.

I was up in Alaska - in an inland passage cruise and pulling into Glacier Bay, I want to show the broad expanse of the mountain range leading up into the glacier. I essentially succeeded in getting the shot, but 90% of it was either water in the foreground or sky in the background.

That leads me to stitching and panoramas. You can stitch with any lens - any focal length. Just overlap by 1/4 and try to keep things level. Download Microsoft ICE (its free), and drag the images in and it will stitch them automagically.

So - back to your question. Essentially, I would do absolutely nothing. I would just use the lenses that I have, and start using them to frame landscapes. I would also start to stitch panoramas. The closer you are to a subject the more a wide angle lens comes into play. You can also stitch into larger images, say 3 x 3 - or 9 images stitched both vertically and horizontally. Start experimenting. You will start to see where your interest and needs lie, which will then lead you to the equipment and or lenses that will support that. During this time, I would also keep track of the focal lengths that you use - there is software that will do this for you. After some time, it will show you which lenses / focal lengths you tend to gravitate to. That will help you with your lens selection. Also, if you wind up doing a lot at 18mm and stitching - then, you might want to consider something like a 12-24 or 15mm - some wider angle lenses. The bottom line is that rather than trying to predict what you may want in the future based on other folks estimation of what you think you may want - let you photography help answer your question.

Again, this is a bit off your question - but in my mind still pertains to it. A tripod is a landscaper's best friend. I will also add that a head that will help you pan level will also be a big help.
_____________________
Let me also add something else. When you stitch with longer focal length lenses, you are essentially adding definition to the image. When you go wider (as in wide angle), you are sacrificing detail in a way in order to acquire the view within a single frame. It is up to you as the photographer to determine what you want to show or how you want to show it. Some images can only be taken in a single frame - for instance, things that are moving. If you try to stitch, it will not work. Also, some stitches of sunsets or sunrises do not turn out well since the sun is moving while you are shooting. So, again - you the photographer are making the call as in what you want to show.


Last edited by interested_observer; 04-07-2014 at 06:54 PM.
04-07-2014, 07:44 PM   #21
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Keep the 18-55.
Buy a circular polariser, a tripod and a remote.
Much more impressive results are possible with those accessories than anything possible from an expensive lens. The increase in sharpness from using a tripod and a 2 second shutter delay with your existing 18-55 will astonish you. Also, with the tripod you can now do long exposures at dusk (blue hour) and take great shots at night.
04-07-2014, 08:28 PM   #22
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That tripod and remote suggestion, with the 2 sec MLU delay is a really good idea, for any lens.

04-07-2014, 08:43 PM   #23
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Landscapes cover a wide variety of shots, and different shots require different focal lengths. Ive shot landscapes with my ultra wide 10-20mm, 30mm prime, 50mm prime, 70-200mm (even at 200mm!)

Start with your kit lens, keep it around f11, on a tripod (this is a better investment than a lens at this point). These are shots I took with the kit lens before I upgraded - https://www.flickr.com/photos/jezza323/sets/72157612836849011/ (the better ones are at the end of the set), the lens will do fine for now. Once you get a better idea of what you want focal length wise (wide, standard length or long) then we can better recommend a lens.

04-07-2014, 08:49 PM   #24
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I'll second the recommendation to get a circular polarizer. Just be sure to get a decent one. (Marumi is often mentioned. I did some comparison testing once here. I was using the base Marumi, but I have since gotten the Marumi Super DHG which is noticeably better.) Also, plan ahead! Your 18-55 lens has a 52mm filter, but if you are ever thinking of getting something like the 18-135 which has a 62mm filter, get a 62mm CPL now and some cheap step up rings. It will save you money in the long run.
04-07-2014, 11:23 PM   #25
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I'm in love with my 16-45 f4

I just picked up a Limited 40mm pancake for some night landscapes

and I have even used a Pentax 50mm and a 28-75 tamron f/2.8

just depends on your shooting style

---------- Post added 04-08-14 at 01:24 AM ----------

also the sigma 10-20 is wicked

I know people who ONLY use this lens for all their shooting
04-08-2014, 12:14 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by New 2 This Quote
Hi, what is the best type of lens to use for landscape photography? Will a 18-55 kit lens work?
I've just looked at what lenses I've tended to use for landscapes in recent years:
DA 10-17mm Fisheye
DA 12-24mm f/4
DA 17-70mm f/4
DA* 60-250mm f/4

For the typical "wide angle" type of landscape I use the DA 12-24mm f/4. I find it sharp at the widest end. It works best at about f/8, but I've noticed that recently I've used it at f/5.6 for landscapes.

A fisheye lens that covers the whole sensor (not a circular fisheye) can be effective if used carefully to avoid being a gimmick. Typically this means getting a line in the scene that needs to be straight through the centre of the sensor. For example, the horizon, or the water level of a lake. Any line going through the centre of the sensor will remain straight.

All of the above lenses are good enough for printing at A3+. I rarely if ever use prime lenses for landscapes, finding them too restrictive. I often use a circular polarizing filter (although not on the DA 10-17mm Fisheye).
04-08-2014, 05:26 AM - 1 Like   #27
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This is one of these cases where I'd say "Never ask an expert any simple questions." Although there is not a single answer in this thread that I would completely disagree with, most are very technical and very specific. Considering that the OP is probably a beginner, the information given here might overwhelm him or her slightly if not put into context. Just for this I'd like to add a few things.

The Holy Grail of landscape photography is DOF!
This is true as a general rule to which there are always exceptions. Probably more than 80% of the landscapes you see on postcards or the like are shot with the goal of everything being in focus. If you like these pictures, then most probably you will be shooting with a wider angle.

Before you buy a new lens, buy a tripod!
Don't be stingy when doing this and don't be surprized if you have to spend more than 200 USD on the tripod and head each! A cheap tripod will shake around in a light breeze as much as you after taking a dip in an ice cold mountain lake. Remember that when shooting landscapes you will often be stopping down and as a result have longer exposure times. Always buy a tripod with a detachable head! You can find a good demo of the different types of heads and tripods
Do not go with a monopod! When shooting landscapes, you will often compose your photo and then sit around waiting for better light. A monopod is no good for this. A remote for your camera will cost you about 25 USD and is well worth it.

A little knowledge goes a long way.
If you like photos where everything is in focus and you have a good tripod, the one thing that will really improve you pictures next is something that will cost you nothing (in terms of money). If you use your camera's AF, the setting will most likely be at infinity. Don't use that. When you read up on DOF, you will understand this better. Let's assume the calculated DOF is 3m, then the thing you focussed on isn't in the middle of that field, but the field begins 1m in front of that object and ends 2m behind it. It's easy to see that having two thirds of the area in focus beyond infinity (while objects in the foreground are out of focus) is pretty pointless. If you are not too good at calculations "on foot", you can download apps that will tell you what the best focus point is for your combination of focal length and aperture.

Check your white balance.
Most cameras are set to auto white balance. This is a bad choice for landscapes. In auto mode the camera tends to compensate if a picture seems to have "too much" of a colour. A lush and green mountain side can suddenly look really muted and drab. If you are shooting in sunlight, use the sunlight mode! Note that a sunset is sunlight too. It looks red in nature and so should it on your photo. This is the setting which will be the best choice most of the time. There are exceptions like really cloudy or overcast skies, or if you are shooting in a valley under a blue sky but the sun behind the mountains (so no direct sunlight). Especially in the second case the light is noticeabely bluer than direct sunlight.

Don't expect too much from your kit lens.
The 18-55mm kit lens is ok for starters. Use it by all means, but don't be disappointed if your photos aren't as good as you hoped. Even stopped down its sharpness isn't exactly breathtaking. Additionally, it distorts at the wider end. Use it to practice composition and focus. Use it to find out what focal length you prefer. But if the photo somehow looks boring and you are sure it's not the composition or the lighting, it might well be the lens. It will help you to take photos and you might even get some really great shots with it. But you might miss sharpness and details when using it.

Think about a new lens.
Several people have told you to get a prime because primes are better. This may be true if your only criterion is sharpness at a wide open aperture. Since you will most likely not be shooting like this, you might want to think about other criteria too. A good zoom lens has just about the same image quality at f/8 or above as a prime. What is true is that primes are usually smaller and less costly. I have and use primes too, mainly for portraits. In that setting, walking a bit for a better composition is usually not a big deal, because the distance I have to cover is relatively small (not more than 3 or 4m in most cases). When shooting landscapes the distances can be much bigger. If this movement involves crossing a river, it can be annoying. Should you be standing on the edge of a cliff, you're out of luck. You can never get all the flexibility you might want. 18-200mm zooms just don't cut it in terms of picture quality.

An idea for a lens - just so I don't only answer questions the OP didn't ask.
The Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 EX HSM (and a few more letters) offers only a small zoom range but has stunning image quality that in many cases is equal to a prime - even if the aperture is wide open! Stopped down, I am pretty sure you won't see any difference to a prime. It gives you that little bit of flexibility in terms of focal length that might make the difference to getting the shot or not. The price isn't exactly chicken feed, but it's actually quite good considering what you get for your money. Be warned though, this lens is pretty big and pretty heavy.

Get yourself a polarizer!
You may notice that this comes in last. Others think you should get the polarizer for your kit lense. I don't. I have never owned your kit lens, but the last time I saw and touched one of these, the front element turned with the focus. When moving the focus ring manually, it was way to easy to turn. In my personal opinion, there is little point to attaching a polorizer to that lens - especially since a good one will cost as much as the entire lens! When you do get yourself a polarizer, don't be stingy either! I have been quite happy with the two I have from b+w. If you don't want to spend quite that much, you could use a Hoya or something in that range, but please do not go below that, or you will be wasting the money you do spend.

I hope this little intro helped you out a bit!

Regards,
Chris
04-08-2014, 06:02 AM   #28
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As mentioned above technique matters most.

What a kit zoom is great at is letting you know what range your first purchase should be. Take images at different focal lengths, the camera will record all the information. Then you can look at them and figure out what range you're using most. That's where you should focus your attention when you do look for a prime.

Until then, get the most out of the lens you have.
04-08-2014, 06:25 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
Keep the 18-55.
Buy a circular polariser, a tripod and a remote.
Much more impressive results are possible with those accessories than anything possible from an expensive lens. The increase in sharpness from using a tripod and a 2 second shutter delay with your existing 18-55 will astonish you. Also, with the tripod you can now do long exposures at dusk (blue hour) and take great shots at night.
Yep... Also stop it down to F8 for optimum sharpness. You might be surprised with what the 18-55 can do. I had one & used it a lot.
04-08-2014, 09:55 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by disco_owner Quote
My recommendation for this lens was purely based on images that I have seen on the web and from Canikon friends who shoot with this lens , I realise Everyone's shooting style is Different , I personally use the FA31 with Panoramic Landscape with a Nodal Slide. Samyang 14 is Sharp and quite affordable.

the 18-55 is also a Good Starting point.
Panoramas with the FA31 might be the ideal landscape setting!

As interested_observer noted - stitching is where landscape can become fun. This would make an option like the DA 35 f/2.4 very appealing - and the focal length would be the amount of pictures that you decide to stitch together Seriously, that technique can give breathtaking results. Personally, I prefer stitching to the ultra-wide angle style of photography.

As disco_owner said , the 18-55 can be a good starting point - even for stitching, if you use the middle of the range where distortion isn't as pronounced.

All in all, so much great advice has been given in this thread! Tripods, filters, stitching and playing with DOF/hyperfocal distance, along with learning to do Post Processing (PP), will yield the results, not the current obsession with "the sharpest" lens.
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