Sunset Photography

Lenses for Landscape Photography

Find your perspective

If you're striving to capture the richness of nature, as a landscape photographer you'll probably find yourself on camping trips, expeditions or climbing mountains. So it's essential for you to think seriously about your lens selection for different locations.

When photographing landscapes, typically you'll want to make use of wide or ultra-wide focal lengths that offer a wide perspective and the opportunity to capture vast expanses of space. To ensure you are selecting the right lens for your landscape style, you'll need to take a look at all the available focal length options and work within a range that suits what you want to capture.

Seaside Photography

Ultra wide-angle

Ranging from 11mm to 20mm, lenses in this focal length range (when used on a full frame camera) produce an extremely wide field of view, going beyond the human perspective. They're perfect for exaggerating the distance between foreground and background and giving a vast expression of the space in front of the camera. Ultra-wide lenses are very effective at filling the frame with grand architecture and interiors.

Desert Photography

Standard wide-angle

Ranging from 24mm to 35mm, lenses that cover the standard wide-angle range still give you a wide field of view, but with less exaggerated perspective when compared with the ultra-wide range. This range suits tighter compositions and is useful when you do not want your background to shrink from the foreground.

Mountain Landscape


Using a longer focal length can bring elements of your composition closer together, flattening the perspective and compressing the scale of the scene, giving the impression that the foreground and background are closer together. When you're working with layered scenic elements; such as forests with mountains and sun, this technique can give a dramatic effect. Anything beyond 85mm is generally considered to be telephoto.

Forest Photography

Ultra-Wide Range Capturing

In the scene below you can see that the ultra-wide range captures more in the frame and distant elements in the frame appear much further away and the foreground becomes an important consideration in the shot as well as the sky. As the focal length increases you can see the opposite effect - the field of view narrows and elements draw closer together.

Note: The focal lengths above will multiply by 1.6 when taken with an APS-C camera.

Lighthouse Photography


Lighthouse Photography


Lighthouse Photography


Lighthouse Photography


How your camera can influence your lens choice

Canon's EF-S lenses are designed exclusively for APS-C sensor cameras such as the EOS 760D and are not compatible with full-frame models such as the EOS 5D series of cameras.

EF lenses can be used with any EOS camera, but when an EF lens is used on an APS-C type EOS, it will give an angle view equivalent to a lens with a focal length 1.6x longer on a full-frame camera. For example, an EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM lens used on an EOS 760D gives an angle of view equivalent to a 45mm lens on a full-frame camera. This is something that you need to keep in mind when shooting wide angle landscape shots.

Forest With Full Frame Sensor

Shot at 11mm on a full frame sensor

Forest With Aps-C Sensor

Shot at 11mm on a APS-C sensor

Fixed or Zoom lens?

It might seem strange to consider a 'fixed' or 'prime' lens but as they are optically simpler and lighter than a zoom and deliver superb image quality, many professionals use them for this reason alone. They can also encourage you to move and frame your subject rather than to rely on using zoom.

Conversely, carrying multiple fixed lenses often just isn't practical when you're on the move. For these situations, a lighter weight wide-angle or ultra-wide-angle zoom lens can make sense, allowing more flexibility without having to change lenses.

Understanding Aperture

Most of the time landscapes are shot at small apertures of f/8 or greater to get the foreground and background in sharp focus, however, if you're considering shooting landscapes in low light conditions or going to the extremes of capturing starscapes, wider aperture lenses (f/2.8 zoom or an even wider f/1.4 prime) are worth considering. These lenses are also ideal when you want to capture movement without blur - such as birds taking flight.

Ocean Photography

Choosing the right lens

After taking all these things into consideration, you need to think about what is important for your shoot and what style you are trying to achieve.

  • Do you want to fill your frame with expansive landscape shots? If so, an ultra-wide lens in the 11-20mm focal range would be the best option to help you achieve this.
  • Do you want to work with layered scenic elements; such as forests and mountainscapes? In this case you should be looking towards a telephoto lens to help to flatten the perspective of the scene and bring the background and foreground closer together.
  • Are you wanting to capture natural landscapes? Then you should be looking for a lens in the 24-35mm focal range to help you capture a more natural perspective.

Sunset Photography

Go further with landscape

Perceptions of traditional landscape photography usually incorporate vast, stretching landscapes.

To push your landscape photography further try experimenting with a longer focal length. This can bring elements of your composition closer together, flattening the perspective and compressing the scale of the scene, giving the impression that the foreground and background are closer together than they actually are. When you're working with layered scenic elements; such as forests with mountains and sun, or valleys and seascapes, this technique can give a dramatic effect.

There are also some specialist lens types that can give a unique look to your scene. You can broaden your lens collection with fisheye or tilt-shift lenses to give your images a fresh perspective.


Circular perspective may feel like a leap of faith, but the 180° wide field of view of the lens can make a style statement and present an excellent slant on a typical landscape. You might choose one for its distinct overall style, due to the hemispherical look it can give.

Fisheye Photography


Usually associated with cityscapes and architecture, Tilt-Shift (TS-E) lenses are capable of correcting problems with perspective that are caused when taking pictures at an angle. The tilt and the shift of the lens are controlled individually and have different effects on your images.

Museum Photography

With shift applied

Museum Photography

Without shift applied

The extreme lens choice for landscape photography

EF 11-24mm f/4L USM

One of Canon’s famous L Series lenses, this professional ultra-wide angle zoom lens has an impressive range at 11-24mm with minimal distortion, even at it’s widest focal length. Its durable weathersealed design makes it resistant to dust and water and ideal for shooting in harsh conditions. It’s 9-blade circular aperture creates beautiful, blurred backgrounds.

View Details

Ef 11-24Mm F/4L Usm

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