SWA lenses and landscapes

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Darran, Daz or ****
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#1
When I got into photography in 2008, as far as I was concerned swa lenses were the best choice for landscape photography.
I used a Canon 10-22 and I was happy with the results.
I've had a break from photography and got back into it this year so I bought a Canon 10-18 as I thought I would use it quite a lot on holiday.
I also bought a Canon 70-300L IS to use as a walkabout lens (although I may regret not bring the 100-400 as we will be doing a trip for wildlife).
On a recent excursion I got fed up with changing lenses so I decided to use just the 70-300.
So far as I've only been able to see my images on my phones display but it looks like I'm going to more be than happy with the results.

One reason I decided to try this is because another member here (long lens photography) advocates using long lenses for landscapes.
I've previously used other shorter zoom lenses for landscapes but the idea of using a longer zooms had never previously entered my mind.
This has made me realise I can get the results I want with one lens rather than taking another one on holiday and faffing about changing lenses.
I'm now toying with selling the 10 -18 as I don't think I'll use again.
Perhaps this time around I've been more open minded than I was 10 years ago.
 

StephenM

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Stephen
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#2
I also prefer long to short for landscapes on the grounds that to me a landscape is a distant view rather than a foreground; and ultra wide angle lenses force you to photograph the foreground and reduce the actual landscape to miniscule proportions. That said, I wouldn't be too hasty to get rid of your lens, as an extreme wide angle can be useful in certain situations. I find my 14mm (on full frame) invaluable for some subjects and some treatments of subjects.
 
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Mark
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#3
As the roughest of general rules...

To get the best from a swa lens you need to be stood ‘in’ the landscape you are photographing.

To get the best from a view you can see ‘over there’ a telephoto will produce ace results.

Of course there are plenty of exceptions.
 
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Ned
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#4
As the roughest of general rules...

To get the best from a swa lens you need to be stood ‘in’ the landscape you are photographing.

To get the best from a view you can see ‘over there’ a telephoto will produce ace results.

Of course there are plenty of exceptions.

This is my view also, nearly all of my favourite landscape shots are with a telephoto.

UWA does have its place but it is actually pretty rare, the amount of times you see crappy photos where someone has tried to force fit a landscape into a UWA shot (or even WA) because they think it's the right thing to do is ridiculous and you can see that with a tele they would have been able to pick out something really interesting. And they tend to end up being rather formulaic as a result, an uninteresting rock for "foreground interest" is a particular bugbear, but there you go :)
 
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Lee
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#6
It's is very rare that I want/need wider than 28mm (on FF) I don't really have a good quality long telephoto but the sort of places I go 28-70mm or 85mm does the job. If I lived near or spent a lot of time in the mountains/districts then I'd probably own a 70-200/300mm by now.
 
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Tim
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#7
From my experience for an interesting SWA landscape image you need to be up close to some good foreground and the background needs to be huge and/or also close. When done well the results can look really good, however it’s not easy. For example, even the Eiger from path above Kleine Scheidegg right in front of it looks small at 16mm.
 
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Mike
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#8
More Land, does not, more Landscape make.
I use my UWA mostly to get up close on subjects in small spaces I couldn't get far enough away from to fit in the frame with anything longer.
Tele's to fill frame with subjects in larger spaces I cant get close enough to fill frame with, with a shorter one.
There's no right or wrong answer other than the inverted assumption that you need wide for wide open spaces.
Wides though are more demanding to work with; knowing where they are more appropriate, then working for and with them, to pay attention to the huge amount they both cram in the frame, and shrink in scale, to find the 'interest' that's obvious, isolated with the cropping provided by a tele, without loosing it in the mele of detail packed in by a wide. Chuck in the perspective shifts just a small difference in view-point or angle can make, and you really have to work hard with wides to get them to work for you.
DONT give up on them.... they have their place, its just that landscapes are probably not their major forte.
 
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Marc
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#10
I find my 24 2.8 quite good for landscapes and if for any reason I need to squeeze more land to the shot, I simply do a multishot and stitch it with autopano.
 
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Paul
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#12
But it STILL LOOKS like a H/SWA shot. That's what I always notice first rarther than the picture it's self. If that's the effect your after than fine, it's YOUR shot, but to me surly the ultimate Landscape shot is one you think your just looking at the landscap rarther than a photo, and think you could step right in.
 
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Ned
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#13
But it STILL LOOKS like a H/SWA shot. That's what I always notice first rarther than the picture it's self. If that's the effect your after than fine, it's YOUR shot, but to me surly the ultimate Landscape shot is one you think your just looking at the landscap rarther than a photo, and think you could step right in.

Well said :)

For me that shot looks like someone has a UWA lens on their camera and is looking for an excuse/reason to use it...
 
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Steve
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#14
But it STILL LOOKS like a H/SWA shot. That's what I always notice first rarther than the picture it's self. If that's the effect your after than fine, it's YOUR shot, but to me surly the ultimate Landscape shot is one you think your just looking at the landscap rarther than a photo, and think you could step right in.
Then surely on full frame you'll only use a 50mm, which is considered the nearest generally available lens which is the equivalent to the human eye. Otherwise its not really gonna be what you might actually see if you were there ;)
 
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Paul
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#16
Back in the day, a 28mm was always considered the widest if used with care you could get away with. A 24 was much easier to show exagerated perspective for "Dramatic" pictures but much dearer
.......I eventualy got a 24mm f2! But over the years looking back, I (and others) think my best ones were within the range 35 - 70/85ish. 100mm is to long for natural perspective and brings us int short tele.

But at the end of the day, ITS WHAT YOU LIKE not others, (Unless their paying you of course).
 
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#17
Bye the bye, I think the above shot is great.....if you crop into the middle. Captured the light just on the houses a treat.
 

StephenM

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#18
Then surely on full frame you'll only use a 50mm, which is considered the nearest generally available lens which is the equivalent to the human eye. Otherwise its not really gonna be what you might actually see if you were there ;)
The assumption here is that the photograph should show what you might see; if the photographer is allowed to put his own interpretation on the scene, or indeed show something that a casual observer almost certainly wouldn't see, then I don't think that this assumption holds true.

Back in the day, a 28mm was always considered the widest if used with care you could get away with. A 24 was much easier to show exagerated perspective for "Dramatic" pictures
I think that sums it up. Given the short attention spans of viewers, the need to hit them between the eyes before they get a chance to skip to the next image, exaggeration and artificially induced drama (HDR anyone?) are absolutely necessary if you're aiming for the mass market.
 
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Steve
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#19
The assumption here is that the photograph should show what you might see; if the photographer is allowed to put his own interpretation on the scene, or indeed show something that a casual observer almost certainly wouldn't see, then I don't think that this assumption holds true.
I think you've missed my point, which was actually pretty much the same as yours.
 

StephenM

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#20
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John
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#21
Distortion...

...hate it, can't use anything wider than 35

Its not quite that simple though, some lenses have better correction for the same focal length than others.
I would...um no...I have, changed complete kits based on the distortion correction of WA's.
 
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Mike
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#22
Distortion...

...hate it, can't use anything wider than 35
AH! Now then.... you need to shoot some fish! And to do that open a can of worms! lol
Fish-Eye's provide absolute true angular perspective, NOT 'distortion'. It's actually a feature of rectilinear lenses that 'distort'' the image in the rectilinear 'correction' they use to flatten the image back to square and cover the whole frame.
As they say, what's distortion for the gander is distortion for the goose!
 
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#23
I made use of the Canon 10-18 yesterday when visited a plateau on a mountain range.
Not too sure of photos yet as I can only view them on my cameras display. I also took similar photos with the 70-300, I'll compare them when I get home.
 
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Alistair
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#24
I had a Sigma 10-20mm uwa for my old 60D. I thought I'd use it for landscapes, particularly a trip to Norway. But I didn't use it much at all.
Wide angle lenses do tend to flatten a landscape if you just shoot straight on. If you are trying to incorporate a foreground object with the landscape then they are good for that, but otherwise a 17-50 (crop) or 24-70/105 (ff) is more often useful.
 
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#25
Every focal length has it's use for landscape photography. While a wide (for me) is the most used, those moments when you need a tele lens you really do need it - it took about 5-6 years of casual landscape photography for me to realise this!
 
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Lewis
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#26
I had a 17-40 on cropped sensors and liked it, but found it too wide on full frame for the style of landscapes I like taking.
 
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#27
I had a 17-40 on cropped sensors and liked it, but found it too wide on full frame for the style of landscapes I like taking.
The 17-40 (assuming the Canon f4 L) is a full frame lens, but on a crop sensor gives a view similar to a 28-64mm on ff, which is not actually that wide, but very similar to the standard crop sensor kit lens length of 18-55mm.
Using the 17-40mm on full frame would mean it's angle of view would be equivalent of a 10-24mm on a crop sensor.

I'm not a huge fan of the ultra wide angle lens, but I do have one and it has it's uses. However I have a 24-105mm (on full frame) which gives me a decent wide end and a good long end, both extremes are good for landscapes. I could shoot with that all day.
 
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Richard Alan Jones
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#29
Ultra Wide is my favourite, but it can't be used for everything. You have to think how you want to portray the relationship between things up close and things in the distance, if you want to push the background away and create vastness, then you go wide and get in close. If you want to bring it all together and create a much 'bigger' feel to the background, step back and go for a tele. Out and about yesterday I used everything from 10mm to 200mm. I also prefer to use leads rather than anchoring points in UWA shots, I am sick of seeing rocks in lakes with mountain backdrops. A nice diagonal lead is usually my go to. Chris has a good point about skies too, an UWA is a sure fire winner if you want a big sky.

Some examples:

10mm: Big Open foreground (and an exception to my anchor points rule!)
Summer's End
by Alan Jones, on Flickr

44mm short tele from around 20 yards behind previous pic. background has been pulled up close and feels a lot more brooding. Empty space between doesn't feel as large or open as a consequence.

Olion Cernyw
by Alan Jones, on Flickr

The big sky effect, can't be achieved with a tele because the angle of view only includes clouds that appear bunched up close to the horizon, you need the ones that are near on dead overhead.

Ageing
by Alan Jones, on Flickr
 
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Jeremy Moore
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#30
It partly depends on whether you're using your 10-18 lens on a crop or full format body; if the latter 10 mm is +/- fisheye territory and I would suggest very "niche".

However I have a 24-105mm (on full frame) which gives me a decent wide end and a good long end, both extremes are good for landscapes. I could shoot with that all day.
Me too, and often do!

For landscapes the wide end of my 24-105 zoom is usually about as wide as I go (on ff), but the lens suffers from barrel distortion, and needs correcting in PP, with consequent minor crop. I also have a 16-35 for an occasional exceptionally wide landscape, AND for undistorted 24mm landscapes if I remember to change lenses.

To the OP - don't sell your lens, you may come back to it one day...........
 
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