I shoot with Canon 6d and 7D Mark II. Birds and wildlife are my usual subjects, but I now need a good lens for landscape in the Canadian Rockies. Already have a 24-105, 15-55(kit) and 50mm. What else would you suggest either instead of, or in addition to? Budget is modest, less than $500.
It depends on how serious you are about landscape. What you have is great for
snapshots--and may be all that you need. But if you want the best results:
First, make sure you have the proper lens hood for that 50 mm prime.
(Of the lenses you have, it's your best bet for high quality landscape work.)
Not just any lens hood--the one that matches the angle-of-view.
Second, bring a really stable (rigid and heavy) tripod. You will probably encounter
wind in the mountains.
Third, consider a 35 mm prime. This is the most common lens for serious
landscape. Unfortunately, all the EF-mount offerings from Canon and Sigma
are ridiculously over-priced. Canon seems to be pricing primes to avoid
undercutting zoom prices (with the latter having many more elements
and moving groups), and Sigma seems to be following Canon's prices.
The least expensive I saw was the the Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM $549.
You could try to find a used one at B&H. Or you could buy an older used
Canon EF-mount lens --- old primes are often very good.
Reasons to use a prime for landscape:
* Sharp even off-axis
* Less distortion (noticeable if the landscape contains a building)
* Contrasty (noticeable on an OLED, CRT or plasma display)
* Can accept a lens hood that matches the angle-of-view
(impossible with a zoom)
* Allows you to concentrate on composition
* Encourages you to walk around and find the best perspective
* Ansel Adams
* Bruce Barnbaum
* Don McCullin
Need any more reasons?
Landscape is different than most photography:
* Multiple points-of-interest in one shot
* Often the entire scene is "the subject"
* Getting the right perspective may require moving long distances
* Often it's important that infinity be in focus
* Can encounter very high contrast
* Flare from the sun is a big problem
* In low light, flash--no matter how big--won't help
* Often printed large
* Much work is still done in true B&W (not de-colorized color)
* Much work is still done in large format film
* "The competition" has set a high standard for image quality
and printing (and that's an understatement)
Usually with FF we have more resolution than we need--that's not the
case with fine art landscape. But even with your miniature format
cameras, you should be able to make some beautiful 8 x 10" prints --
provided everything is done perfectly.
It's not a question of picking the lens to match where you're standing, it's
standing in the right spot to match how you visualize the scene. People
who shoot 50 mm visualize that way, people who shoot 35 mm visualize
that way. Chances are, you'll prefer one or the other for most of your
There is nothing convenient about landscape photography. If you don't
want to walk around, you can drive around and pull off the road at the
perfect spot. But basically, you're going to spend a lot of time getting
just one shot.
So when you do shoot, you want to maximize your chances of success.
Double check the focus and bracket exposure. With a miniature format
camera, you've got a severe trade-off between DoF and diffraction. I wouldn't
set an aperture narrower than f/11 (and that's pushing it), so you'll to pick
your focal plane carefully. Find a DoF table calculated based on sensor
resolution, not "acceptable unsharpness"--there isn't any.)
Flare is a big issue when shooting in outdoors in bright sunlight. Most people
(and all who rely on LCD/LED monitors) only worry about visible flare. But loss
of contrast due to insidious flare is a common problem with zoom lenses outdoors.
On the other hand, in extremely contrast situations, such as a canyon in the mountains,
the loss of contrast with a zoom can actually help stay within the sensor's dynamic range.
So like everything in photography, "it depends on the situation" and what look you are
trying to achieve. Just be aware that the "shoot lots and cull" and "fix in PhotoSlop"
mentality won't work for producing quality landscape prints. You are working right at
the limits of your camera sensor and optics. A color sensor inherently has less resolution
and more noise than a monochrome sensor. The deck is stacked against you, but you
can still bring home a few winners.