The best lenses for landscapes can help you to capture the beauty of a scene, but you have to choose the right one. The right lens will provide good quality and give you the potential for stunning results, whereas if you get the wrong lens you'll end up with very unsatisfying results.
Generally speaking the best lens for landscapes will be a wide-angle zoom. A standard zoom can work well, but you'll probably find yourself wanting to squeeze more into the frame. And, while you can sometimes shoot from further away to get your desired crop, you won't always be able to move yourself around in the scene to do so.
We have put together a list of the best landscape lenses for the job, covering all the major manufacturers. Let's look at the best optics out there when it comes to photographing mother nature...
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What to look for in the best lenses for landscapes
Due to the expansive nature of landscapes, you might think that an ultra-wide-angle zoom (opens in new tab) would be ideal for the job, however these tend to have integral hoods to protect the protruding front elements. This means that it's impossible to use standard landscape filters and you would need to spend a lot of money to invest in something specialist like the Lee Filters SW150 Mark II.
• Read more: Camera filters explained (opens in new tab) and why you still need them
Ideally you need 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 also 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, including what types of lenses are available for different styles of photography. Our guide on the best camera lenses (opens in new tab) to buy will then help you discover just how many different lenses are available.
If you can invest in a lens with a generous zoom, this is a good idea. Not only does this approach mean you don't have to carry multiple lenses with you and swap them regularly, but it also provides 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 2022
Canon(opens in new tab)
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.(opens in new tab)
Despite being released in 2014, the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM (opens in new tab) 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 has a fluorine coating on the front and rear elements which help repel dust, water, grease and dirt. The 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.(opens in new tab)
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(opens in new tab)
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.(opens in new tab)
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.(opens in new tab)
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.
Fujifilm(opens in new tab)
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.
Olympus/Panasonic MFT(opens in new tab)
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.
Sony(opens in new tab)
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.(opens in new tab)
Remarkably compact and weighing in at just 225g, the Sony 10-18mm (opens in new tab) 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.
How we test lenses
We test lenses using both real world sample images and lab tests. Our lab tests are carried out scientifically in controlled conditions using the Imatest testing suite, which consists of custom charts and analysis software that measures resolution in line widths/picture height, a measurement widely used in lens and camera testing. We find the combination of lab and real-word testing works best, as each reveals different qualities and characteristics, and avoids the results being too biased by the reviewer – who may or may not like the "look" of a certain lens.
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