Generally, the best lenses for landscapes are wide-angle zooms. A standard zoom can also work really well but you'll probably find yourself wanting to squeeze even more into the frame. While you can sometimes shoot from further away to get your desired crop, that's not always the case so we have put together a list of the best landscape lenses for the job.
While you might think that an ultra-wide-angle zoom would be ideal for landscapes, they tend to have integral hoods to protect the protruding front elements. This means that it's impossible to use standard, landscape filters with it and you would need to spend a lot of money to invest in something like the Lee Filters SW150 Mark II.
• Read more: Camera filters explained and why you still need them
You'll want a lens that has a relatively long minimum focal distance, a separate hood and a built-in filter thread. A wide, maximum angle of view will ensure you can still fit a vast area of a landscape into the image frame without too much distortion. It's very common to exaggerate perspective in landscape photography, making the distance between the foreground and background greater than what it really is.
Before we get into the best lenses for landscape photography, you might want to learn the lens basics, what types of lenses are available and what style of photography. Our guide on the best camera lenses to buy will help you discover just how many different lenses are available.
It's always a good idea to invest in a lens with a generous zoom. Not only does it mean you don't have to carry multiple lenses on you and swap them regularly, but it also gives you a lot of versatility. Most top-end wide-angle zooms will have a fast aperture of f/2.8 but these are pricey to buy and chances are if you're doing landscape photography you won't want to shoot wide open.
If you're not bothered about having quite such a fast lens, not only will you save yourself money, but you'll save on the size and weight of it too. Lenses with an aperture of f/4 will still deliver sharp images with accurate color reproduction at a fraction of the cost. They are a much better option if you plan to walk long distances as your kit will weigh less.
With all that in mind, here is our pick of the best lenses for landscapes, to suit a wide range of popular cameras.
Best lenses for landscapes in 2021
Canon offers two wide-angle zooms for its APS-C format SLRs. There’s the diminutive, budget-friendly and relatively recent EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM, and its older, chunkier and more-upmarket sibling, the EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM. This Tamron lens outperforms them both, while matching the latter for price. Unlike both Canon lenses, it features weather-seals for the worst of the outdoor weather and a fluorine coating on the front element to repel spray and raindrops. You won’t need to buy the lens hood separately as an ‘optional extra’, either.
With a string of letters after its name, it boasts a fast and virtually silent HLD (High/Low toque-modulated Drive) autofocus system and a VC (Vibration Compensation) unit that delivers 4-stop stabilization. Handling, performance and image quality are excellent in all respects, and sharpness is superb across the entire frame, right into the corners.
Despite being released in 2014, the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM is still a really popular choice among photographers using full-frame Canon DSLRs such as the Canon EOS 5D IV. It has a constant aperture of f/4, a fast, almost-silent ultrasonic autofocus system, it's weather-sealed and had a fluorine coating on the front and rear elements which help repel dust, water, grease and dirt. Its optical setup includes UD (ultra-low dispersion) elements and Super Spectra coating. Additionally, it has a 4-stop stabilizer which enhances the sharpness of images when shooting handheld. The handling and build quality are exactly what you would expect of Canon's pro L series lenses. It's incredibly sharp in the center of the image and although it drops off towards the corners, it's still a spectacular landscape lens.
A weighty proposition for Canon’s EOS R-series mirrorless cameras at 840g, this ‘fast’ f/2.8 lens is nevertheless only about the same size and a little heavier than most f/4 wide-angle zooms for full-frame SLRs. Speaking of which, it has similarly high-end L-series build quality as Canon’s EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens for SLRs, with weather-seals and fluorine coatings on the front and rear elements. It also shares the same ‘IS USM’ credentials but the image stabilizer is even more effective, rated at 5-stops instead of 4-stops, and the autofocus is ‘Nano Ultrasonic’ which is even faster more silent, while adding the bonus of smooth autofocus transitions during movie capture. Unusually for such a wide-angle f/2.8 zoom, it has a filter attachment thread and separate hood. The only real downside is the steep selling price.
Nikon currently markets a low-budget AF-P DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR wide-angle zoom for its APS-C format SLRs, as well as more up-market (and much older) 10-24mm and 12-24mm DX lenses. The Tamron occupies the middle ground in terms of selling price but beats all the Nikon lenses for image quality, especially in terms of corner-to-corner sharpness. It has a solid build, incorporating weather-seals and a fluorine coating on the front element. Key features include a highly efficient 4-stop optical stabilizer, a fast and virtually silent HLD (High/Low toque-modulated Drive) autofocus system and an electromagnetically controlled aperture. However this makes aperture adjustment unavailable when using older Nikon SLRs including the D3000 and D5000.
Although fairly weighty for an f/4 wide-angle zoom, this Nikon 16-35mm is nevertheless only about two-thirds the weight of most f/2.8 editions. It certainly feels very solid and comes complete with a weather-seal on the mounting plate. The up-market optical design includes two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements to enhance sharpness and contrast while minimizing colour fringing, plus Nano Crystal Coat to reduce ghosting and flare. There’s a typically fast and whisper-quiet ring-type ultrasonic autofocus system, with the usual full-time manual override. The VR (Vibration Reduction) system is a bonus, although it only gives a relatively meagre 2.5-stop advantage in beating camera-shake.
This Nikon is refreshingly compact and lightweight for a full-frame compatible wide-angle zoom. Designed for full-frame mirrorless Z-mount cameras, it’s only about the same size and weight as the Tamron 10-24mm zoom for DX format SLRs. It nevertheless packs a lot into its diminutive and weather-sealed build, including four aspherical elements, four ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements, Nano Crystal Coat and a fluorine coating on the front element. There’s a fast and virtually silent stepping motor-based autofocus system but, as usual with Nikon Z lenses, this comes without a physical focus distance scale. There’s no optical image stabilizer either but that’s no problem because Z 6 and Z 7 cameras have built-in, sensor-shift stabilization. Typical of Nikon’s Z-mount full-frame compatible lenses, image quality is exceptional with incredible corner-to-corner sharpness.
Fairly hefty for an APS-C format wide-angle zoom, the XF-10-24mm combines a generous zoom range with a constant f/4 aperture rating. It’s impeccably turned out and the high-end construction looks and feels fabulous. As signified by the ‘R OIS’ lettering in its title, the lens has a physical aperture ring to enhance handling and an Optical Image Stabilizer, albeit with a slightly mediocre 3-stop effectiveness. There’s nothing mediocre about the optical path, which includes four aspherical elements and four ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements and delivers exceptional sharpness in the short half of the zoom range, even when shooting wide-open. At longer zoom settings, it pays to narrow the aperture by an f/stop for real bite.
Ultra-wide-angle lenses represent a real challenge for the Micro Four Thirds system, due to its 2x crop factor doubling the ‘effective’ focal length. Even so, there are high-performance zooms to choose from, including the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7–14mm f/2.8 PRO. Unlike that lens, the Panasonic has a separate hood and comes complete with a filter attachment thread, while nearly matching the Olympus for maximum angle of view. Further landscape photography credentials include a tough, weather-sealed and freeze-proof construction. The lens lives up to its Leica billing with excellent image quality, thanks to an exotic optical path that includes three aspherical elements, two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements, one aspherical ED element and a UHR (Ultra High Refractive index) element.
if you thought all wide-angle, fast-aperture lenses had to be super heavy, think again. Tamron's range of f/2.8 lenses for Sony mirrorless cameras are not only surprisingly lightweight but they're also really good quality with a tough, weather-sealed design. The lens is made up of an LD (Low Dispersion) and (eXtra Low Dispersion) element which help reduce aberrations while the autofocus is almost silent thanks to Tamron's RXD (Rapid eXtra silent stepping Drive) stepping motor. This lens is compatible with Sony's sensor-shift stabilization which is just as well since it doesn't have any optical image stabilization. The images produced re sharp from corner-to-corner and color fringing and distortions are minimal even without digital corrections in post-production. At less than half the price and a quarter of the weight of the Sony 16-35mm f/2.6 G Master - it's a bit of a no-brainer as to which one to choose.
Remarkably compact and weighing in at just 225g, the Sony 10-18mm is a perfect match for slim-line A6000-series bodies. The 10-18mm zoom range isn’t overly generous at the long end but gives a useful spread of focal lengths, equating to 15-27mm in full-frame terms. Stepping motor-based autofocus is quick and virtually silent in operation. As usual with this type of system, there’s no physical focus distance scale and the manual focus ring is electronically rather than mechanically coupled. The latter enables very precise adjustments. Despite featuring Super ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass, sharpness is a little lacklustre when shooting wide-open but improves significantly when stopping down to f/5.6. The 3-stop optical stabilizer is worth having but isn’t an overachiever by current standards.