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Best Canon Lens For Landscape Photography

No matter what Canon camera you have or what your budget level, there’s a landscape lens that will work for you.

Below we’re going to look at my top five lens choices for Canon DSLRs.

I’ve included options for DSLRs, mirrorless, and crop sensor cameras…as well as a budget option to get you out shooting beautiful landscapes without breaking the bank.

Top Pick | Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM

The 16-36mm f/2.8L III is the quintessential landscape lens in the Canon system. The 16-35mm range will cover just about all of your wide-angle landscape needs.

When the company decided to make the 16-36mm f/2.8L III, they focused a lot on the build quality. It looks great and is durable and weather-sealed with a polycarbonate barrel and premium fluorine scratch-resistant glass.

This Canon lens should be perfect for shooting valleys, fields of flowers, or tall trees. Landscape lenses are known for their wide-angle, and this Canon lens fits the bill.

The one thing to note about wide-angle lenses is that there can often be distortion. The 16-35mm isn’t completely immune, but distortion is pretty well controlled. Also, the more you zoom out, the less distortion there is.

One thing I really like about this lens is that even with the wide 16mm, you can fit an 82mm filter on this lens. Some wide-angle lenses have large front elements that require you to get a special filter holder and use large square filters. Filters are essential for landscape photography so being able to use standard filters makes things a lot easier.

Another thing to note is that there’s a slight vignette around the edges when used wide open. But unless you’re shooting astrophotography, you’ll probably be stopped down to at least f/8.

Runner-Up | Tamron 17-35mm F/2.8-4 Di OSD

The runner-up pick is the Tamron 17-35mm wide-angle zoom lens. Although the combination of exceptional image quality, compact design, and affordability could make it a first choice for most of you.

Third-party lens makers like Tamron have really been stepping up their game in the last few years. This lens is a great example of that. It is a pro-quality wide lens at about one third the cost of the Canon lens above.

When it comes to the build, this matte black Tamron lens is surprisingly lightweight and compact. But it still feels solid in your hands and is rugged enough to take on photo excursions.

This lens also accepts regular filters and has a 77mm thread. Because this is a wide-angle lens, you’d expect to have some distortion as you zoom out but Tamron did a great job correcting it.

I like this zoom range for shooting mountain landscape photos because you can zoom in to 35mm to avoid having the mountains look tiny in the background or even use focal length blending by taking one shot at 17mm and another at 35mm and blending them together later in Photoshop.

Overall, this is an excellent option if you want exceptional image quality that is a little more affordable than the Canon and has fewer compromises than the budget pick below.

Budget Pick | Tokina 17-35mm f/4 Pro FX Lens

With camera bodies costing hundreds to thousands of dollars, not everyone has the same amount to spend on lenses. If you’re looking for a budget option that still delivers stunning results, consider the Tokina 17-35mm f/4 Pro FX lens.

There is a previous f/2.8 rendition of this lens, but this one delivers better image quality and unless your shooting night sky images, the f/2.8 isn’t really necessary for landscapes.

The image quality isn’t as great as the more expensive options on the market but you also don’t have to compromise a lot either.

Tokina still makes high-quality lenses and the 17-35mm f/4 is durable and lightweight. If you enjoy using filters, you’ll like that you can easily add one without needing an extra connection piece.

Crop Sensor Pick | Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

The Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens is perfect for landscape photography on a crop sensor camera.

Many Canon users are working with crop sensor bodies, like the 60D. If you’ve tried your hand at landscape photography while using a crop sensor body, you’ve likely gotten frustrated as the 1.6x crop factor means that even a 16mm lens gives you a field of view of about 26mm.

So the 10mm wide end of this lens is going to give you the field of view of a 16mm on a full frame camera.

It’s also relatively inexpensive when compared to other lenses.

The distortion is minimal and vignetting doesn’t even exist with this bad boy. Ghosting and flares are also well controlled with this lens.

When it comes to build quality, it is designed pretty well. It’s not quite up to the same quality of the full-frame Canon L lenses but it’s pretty solid. This is basically what you would expect from a crop sensor camera.

RF-Mount (Mirrorless) Pick | RF 15–35mm F2.8 L IS USM

If you’re working with a mirrorless camera, then Canon’s RF 15-35mm F2.9 L IS USM is the perfect wide-angle landscape lens.

With Canon (like the other big manufacturers) putting much of its development into their mirrorless system,

There is very little distortion and no vignetting with this lens. The optics are above the standard and deliver crisp and beautiful RAW images. What stands out most about this lens for me is the build quality.

It has weather protection on the exterior and the high-quality glass is finished with a fluorine coating. You won’t have to worry about dust getting in or the glass getting scratched. It has threaded filter support, making it easy to throw on a filter at any time without any extra attachments.

I will say that though the build is fantastic, the stabilization system makes this lens a bit bulkier. This generally isn’t a big problem for the majority of photographers as the stabilization system is seen as a huge pro.

What To Look For When Choosing A Landscape Lens

Just like when you’re buying anything else, it’s a good idea to know what you’re looking for.

Whether you’re an amateur photographer or you’re a seasoned vet, this buyer’s guide will help inform you of what features should be compared when shopping for a new lens for landscape photography.

Overall Image Quality

I know, I know, hearing that image quality is important seems redundant but hear me out. When a lens is built to shoot wider shots, there can be things like ghosts, flares, vignetting, and distortion to the RAW images.

Can you imagine going on a trip to the Grand Canyon only to get home and see that your photos all have these types of “defects” on them? This is why it’s crucial to read reviews before buying a camera lens.

Build Quality & Weatherproofing

Let’s keep going with this Grand Canyon scenario. You’re outdoors, taking the best photos you’ve taken in months and suddenly it starts raining. You want to keep shooting but you’re working with a lens without weatherproofing.

You’ll have to pack up and wait for the clouds to clear until you can continue. When you choose a lens with weatherproofing, it keeps the equipment safe from dust, dirt, rain, and other elements. Many lenses have fluorine protection on the glass that keeps it safe from these things, along with scratching.

Consider what the exterior of the lens is built with. If it’s made of cheap plastic, expect it to work accordingly. Opt for a lens with a sturdy and dependable build quality that you can rely on day after day.

Wide Angle Is The Most Used For Landscapes

Using a wide-angle lens for landscape photography is a no-brainer. It’s the most commonly used and for good reason. When you think of landscape, what do you picture? Maybe a field of corn, a towering mountain range, an ethereal forest, or a relaxing beachfront.

Whatever the case may be, you’ll need a wide-angle lens to capture everything in the area. Landscapes are known to be vast and expansive. If you’re using a standard lens, it likely won’t be able to get everything into the frame. Having a wide-angle lens on hand allows you to be more in control and get the shot you want without compromising.

Something else to consider as well as how much space you have to work with when you’re in nature. If you have a standard lens, you may not be able to physically back up enough to get the shot you want. Having a high-quality wide-angle lens will get the job done with ease.

Ability To Use Filters Is Important

Speaking of not being able to control your environment when you’re shooting landscapes, you’ll want a lens that can easily attach filters. No one wants to carry more gear than they have to, especially when hiking a long way to the location.

Plenty of lenses designed for landscape shooting have the ability to attach a filter without the need for extra equipment. Because wide-angle lenses are known to pick up on things like glares or reflections, filters can help minimize that.

They can also enhance colors and reduce the amount of light coming into the lens. If you haven’t played around with filters before, I highly recommend giving it a try.

Pete LaGregor

Pete LaGregor

Pete is a photographer in New Jersey and specializes in portraits and commercial photography, but loves shooting landscapes and video for fun. You can check out his work on his website.
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