As far as photography goes some things are classics, for example, portrait and landscape photography. These are the pillars that most photographers start their journey with. For a good reason too. While I always recommend photographers to give a try to every kind of photography out there, including safari, race car, astrophotography, street photography and so on, there is just something brilliant in those simpler forms. They are easy to get into but really hard to master. Especially landscape photography, which after street photography is my favorite. It is just extremely nice photographing experience that can be done in various locations and doesn’t require a lot of knowledge and gear to start, as I said even a beginner can get some pretty good results.
However, to get the best results you will have to put in some effort and invest in some good gear. While the camera is essential in landscape photography, there is one thing that will make or break it, and that is the choice of the lens. And if you are looking for a landscape lens for your Canon camera you are in the right place. I can comfortably say that Canon has the most extensive lens range in the world, for its DSLR cameras. There are a million choices out there, and I will help you choose the best Canon landscape lens. Further on we will check the top picks in the market, what makes them good or bad, and much more. Now without further ado, let’s get on with it.
The Top 5 Best Canon Landscape Lenses
5. Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 Pro DX
We are going to kick off this list with one of the most interesting options out there the Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 Pro DX which is one of the best lenses for landscape photography, especially for APS-C format sensors.
The biggest selling point of this lens is its superb focal length. At its 11mm you will have an effective focal length of 17mm on an APS-C sensor which wider than your eye can see, making itself a superb model for landscape photography.
The Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 Pro DX delivers some exceptional results, amazing quality, and sharpness. In the center of the frame, it was exceptionally well, and on top of that, it managed to control flare and distortion. I also have to mention that the chromatic aberration was pretty much nonexistent overall.
4. Sigma 24-105mm F4.0 Art DG OS HSM
If you have a full-frame camera though, I have an excellent option here coming in from Sigma again, the 24-105mm F4.0 Art DG OS HSM. This lens combines some of the favorite features of many photographers, including the fantastic optics, design and builds quality for ages.
The Sigma 24-105mm F4.0 Art DG OS HSM delivers a 24mm field of view on a full-frame camera that is super pleasant to shoot with. However, you can zoom to 50, 80 and even 105mm when the need arises, meaning that you have a pretty versatile beast in your hands.
The thing that impressed me the most with this excellent camera was that it packed both superb range and optical quality in the same package. Center was sharper than usual and the corners were pleasant overall, it does everything good overall.
3. Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM
We are once again striking with a Sigma model, that proves to be a reliable alternative for expensive Canon lenses, the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM will satisfy every landscape photographer without a doubt.
The optical performance of this lens is pretty good, as it is sharp wide open, especially in the center of the scene. It might show a bit of softness in the corners but then again it is pretty good overall.
Chromatic aberration is present as well, but with a slight retouch in post-production, you can get rid of it completely. Also, I should state that the vignetting is pretty good for its nature. My favorite thing though was that it is pretty small and light in weight.
2. Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
The runner up in this list is the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM which is my absolute favorite Canon lens for landscape, but it is a bit expensive overall. In my opinion, it is worth it since the performance is pretty much priceless compared to anything out there.
My favorite thing about this lens is that it has a wide-angle focal range that spans from 16 to 35mm. While the 35mm is pretty much closer to the standard limit it delivers a great performance in both ends of the range, making itself pretty versatile.
While it is dedicated to full-frame cameras of Canon’s range, it can be used with APS-C cameras with a crop factor. The aperture is pretty good as well especially for landscape photography and with a high-resolution camera, the results were pretty much priceless.
1. Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS
On top of the list, we have the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS which is specifically made for the APS-C cameras in Canon’s lineup. Also, it is not the most expensive model on the list delivering tremendous value for the price.
The Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS is a superb tool for landscape photography with its 17mm focal length delivering you a performance that will be able to capture the whole scenery. When you need a tighter landscape shot you have the 70mm at your hands.
This lens also offers amazing quality and sharpness, while it isn’t the sharpest, for the money it is the best you can get. It also has optical image stabilization technology and chromatic aberration is controlled well overall.
Features and Qualities You Need to Consider When Buying Canon Landscape Lens
Different kinds of photography require different kinds of lenses. This is not a set rule as we have seen countless times where photographers have bent the rules to deliver exceptional results. However, there are some unwritten rules for a reason, they have come as a result of years and years of experimentation with various gear, settings, and scenarios. While there is always a place to go around and add your personal touch, for the optimal results you should stick to what is tried and tested. That also counts for landscape photography lenses, there are some things you should know before you go on a shopping spree. Also, this will help you get the best value for your price and the best lens for your particular needs, so let’s get started.
The focal length is the most important quality that you should check out in the lens for landscape photography. Yet, contrary to the popular that states, that only wide-angle lenses are good for landscape photography, you can shoot some excellent sceneries with a lens from any focal length, even standard and telephoto. You should know that each focal length provides some different perspective which may be good or better for the scenario, so learn to adapt and improvise with your lens, and keep an open mind.
Then again the wide-angle lenses are the most popular choices for landscape photography for a good reason. They allow you to shoot a super wide piece of the scene, most of the time bigger and wider than your eye can see. It allows you to shoot some delicious landscape photography, since with a wide-angle lens you can capture the foreground, midground, and background in a single shot, with full detail, which is excellent. I also recommend these for most photographers especially beginners.
On the other hand, we have tighter, or standard and telephoto lenses which are not the most popular choice but deliver some excellent performance in some cases. They are great for isolation certain subjects or aspects of the landscape. Not the most popular choice but a lot of photographers have used them for capturing some abstract compositions in the landscape genre. Then again, all of this will depend on your personal preference and skill level. If you are not sure to check some photographs from professionals to see which one is better for you. However, I mostly recommend wide-angle lenses to get the best results and versatility in the same package.
When talking about aperture, many photographers have different ideas, as the fast aperture is mostly very important for many types of photography. However, in our case of landscape photography, you would rarely need to shoot below f/8. Meaning that it is not the most important factor if your camera will be pretty fast at f/4 or even f/2.8. For this exact reason, I recommend photographers, especially beginners to stay away from f/2.8 lenses for landscape photography, since they will be heavier and more expensive overall. For landscape, it will be more than enough to have a lens with a maximum aperture of f/4. But like I said it will depend on your preference in the end.
While you might not give a second thought about weather protection for your lenses that you use in the studio, for landscape photography you should opt for the weather-sealed options. The best ones in the market have them and it is important to keep those expensive pieces of equipment protected against dust and moisture. If you are anything like me, a little on the clumsier side you will need to get a high-quality lens that is shockproof, waterproof and dustproof to get the longest life out of it. Then again you need a camera with a weather-sealed body to have the optimal setup here.
If you checked the most modern cameras you see that they all boast super sophisticated and advanced autofocus systems, which I have to admit I am a big fan of. However, landscape photography manual focus delivers some exceptional performance especially for those that prefer to shoot from tripods. You should know that there are lenses that support autofocus and those that do not, and for landscape photography, both have their place.
I can comfortably say that manual focus lenses are mostly smaller, a lighter duet to fewer components and also cheaper for the same reason, well at least compared to their autofocusing counterparts. However, these days they aren’t very popular, and you have to search a bit back into the lineup to find those. On the other hand, autofocus lenses are extremely versatile, but they aren’t the most useful for landscape photography since most of the users shoot from tripods. However, if you prefer to shoot from a handheld position they might be pretty handy.
This is a problem that many landscape photographers face when they use wide-angle lenses. I have to say that all lenses have this problem to some degree, some more than the others. This comes as fringing on the corners of the frame that adds an unpleasant effect, especially in high-contrast edges. You can notice this easily while shooting a leafy tree against a bright blue sky. You can rarely get away from this, as chromatic aberration will always hunt us. However, the best lenses out there manage to control it properly, and you want that as a landscape photographer. High-end lenses do that properly, but if you don’t want to invest in a super expensive lens you can eliminate some of the chromatic aberrations with post-processing.
Canon or Third Party Lenses
While this is not the biggest thing you should be careful about, it is something that you will come across. Most users stick only with native or Canon lenses because they believe that the quality is unmatched. However, in my experience, I have seen that many third-party lenses deliver at least the same matching quality with a lowe price. You should know that third party manufacturers such as Sigma, Tokina and Tamron, have a reputation for delivering quality and consistency, so you shouldn’t be worried about them. What I am trying to say is look for quality where ever you can find it, and also get the most for your money.
There you have it your complete guide on buying the best Canon landscape lenses. I hope that I have informed you extensively about what you should consider and what will be good for you. I want to stress it again that you should check multiple options and get the one that fits your needs the most. Don’t spend more than your budget allows and be smart with your lens purchases. Check out our top picks for the fail-safe options from different price ranges, as they will deliver you excellence in terms of quality and performance. Have fun with your new lens.