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Canon's Best Lenses for Landscape Photography

Landscape photography is all about capturing the stillness of our wild and wide open spaces to draw your viewer into the scene. There are a few key elements to help you create landscape photography; namely good lighting, composition, focal point and the right equipment.

When it comes to equipment, shooting the majesty and grandeur of landscapes requires the right type of lens. We speak to 3 regional photographers in Southeast Asia and find out which are their favourite Canon lenses for landscape photography.   

Photographer: Edwin Martinez
Favourite lenses: EF14mm f/2.8L II USM lens for night images specifically the Aurora Borealis, EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens for most landscape photos

A man standing on a cliff in Longdrangar, Iceland to take a landscape photo

EOS 5DS R, EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens, f/22, 4sec, 16mm, ISO100
Longdrangar, Iceland

“Unlike most ultra wide-angle (UWA) lenses which suffer from bad barrel distortion, chromatic aberrations and soft edges, the EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens has no issues and is very sharp at the corners. The EF14mm f/2.8L II USM lens is the widest prime lens for full frame sensors. It is also sharp, even at the widest aperture, which you’ll need for shooting the Aurora Borealis for instance. Both lenses are also light and weather sealed, perfect for my chosen genre.

Quality lens equals quality output. These two lenses provide good contrast and colour rendition, hence simplifying post production work. Their focal lengths also let me capture more of the grandeur of landscapes and provide a sense of depth and perspective."

Aurora Borealis in Fjallsarlon, Iceland

EOS 5DS R, EF14mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/2.8, 15sec, 14mm, ISO800
Fjallsarlon, Iceland

"Always look for the quality of light and colour when shooting landscapes. Colour by itself can make the photograph and shooting during sunrise and sunset makes your scene more vibrant. Visual design is important, so use layers in your composition such as foreground, middle ground and background to provide depth and perspective.”

Learn more about wide angle lenses and how to shoot with them in the article: Exploring Wide Angle Lenses Part 1: Photo Effects of Wide Angle Lenses


EF14mm f/2.8L II USM

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EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM

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Photographer: Keris Tuah
Favourite lens: EF17-40mm f/4L USM

Sunset at Teluk Bayu, Penang, aerial landscape photography

EOS 5D Mark II, EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens, f/11, 63sec, 17mm, ISO100
Teluk Bayu, Penang

“It’s a great wide angle lens that performs well across various subjects; from normal scenery shots to sunsets and sunrise. It also helps me compose the subject and scenery very well without having to move my camera, especially when I’m shooting within a limited space.

My most important advice to novice landscape photographers is to arrive early at the location to get the best composition. Then wait for the moment to arrive. It usually comes very fast and you’ll have little time to react, let alone think of another composition.”

EOS 5D Mark II, EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens, f/5.6, 30sec, 17mm, ISO320
Tanah Lot, Bali

Read more about landscape photography in the article: Mastering the Art of Landscape Photography


EF17-40mm f/4L USM

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Photographer: Wisnu Haryo Yudhanto
Favourite lens: EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

aerial view of Mount Bromo in East Java

EOS 5D Mark III, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/13, 0.8sec, 23mm, ISO200
Mount Bromo, East Java

“Although I’ve worked with the EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens, my ultimate lens for landscape photography is definitely the EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM. The width and speed make it a perfect choice for shooting landscapes. Although I rarely shoot landscapes using a wide aperture setting, it’s good to have. It’s also useful when shooting indoor events or when I don’t have my tripod with me.

The good thing about this lens is its zoom feature. There were times when I was unable to move closer to, or even further away from the subject. For example, if I am standing on the edge of a cliff, then it is not physically possible to move forwards. The advantage of a zoom lens in this situation is that it enables me to frame the landscape precisely."

Take a closer look at more photos shot with this lens when you read this review of the EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens.

Horse riding on top of a hill with sun flare in the background

EOS 5D Mark III, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/20, 1/160sec, 23mm, ISO160
Puncak Pass, West Java

"Ultimately, landscape photography is about waiting. Beautiful landscape photos are often defined by the quality of light they were taken in. The timing, the weather, the season, they all make up the photograph. Don’t forget about the rule of thirds, and include an interesting foreground. Look for something interesting to place in the first third of your photo to give the viewer something to look at.”

Learn how composition matters and how it can improve your photography in the article: Simple but Essential Compositions


EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

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Love to capture stunning landscape shots just like these photographers? Tell us which Canon lens gets your vote as the best lens for landscape photography.

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