Best landscape lens(es)

Started Dec 14, 2012 | Discussions thread
Matty W
Regular MemberPosts: 195
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Re: Best landscape lens(es)
In reply to gdanmitchell, Dec 15, 2012

Thanks, Dan, for the very in-depth reply!

Weirdly enough I started with digital. Ideologically I'm a luddite but it wasn't in my upbringing!

I still disagree. Velvia simply has better looking color than digital. It's less realistic, but it looks better. The way that memory works it remembers color very poorly and simplifies things a lot so a very simple composition with punchy color seems realer, perceptually, than real. People misremember colors as more saturated than they are. Almost always. And since HDR and even ND grad filters and other methods to boost apparent saturation and contrast are kind of meh visually and since printed paper only has four or five stops of contrast, shooting with Velvia ensures that the contrast of the scene will transfer over to the print because it's so incredibly high contrast and punchy. That said, maybe I am romanticizing the light table. Prints never live up to the light table. Still, each layer of Velvia rejects most wavelengths in a very harsh way… compared with how poor the color is on current bayer arrays with weak filters and very little color detail in the first place. There's more apparent saturation and tonality and detail even after a scan with film. It's just richer with detailed tonality and color information. Way more bits per stop captured, too, in a 4x5 drum scan than in digital. Not to mention 22 megapixels on a 5D versus like tons more on large format. And large format lenses are much better.

That said I'll be the first to admit that in terms of detail and tonality, FF destroys 135 film. But 4x5 is huge. Canon does have decent colors. I shoot video and prefer Canon's colors to the competition (Sony and Red).

Maybe it boils down to misconceptions and associations I have with the digital "look." The famous digital landscape photographers (Trey Ratcliff and Peter Lik) are average to poor photographers and do the scariest things in post processing. I can't imagine having that tacky stuff on my wall. The trends toward UWA and fisheye and HDR are just abysmal, but they look good in thumbnails I guess. I just can't imagine shooting a landscape with anything wider than 24mm lens and still having a look that holds up on a big print and tone mapping ruins any sense of depth, anyway, which might be why people then run to get UWAs to return some depth somehow through perspective distortion.

That said, I looked at your gallery and you have some nice shots and without the tacky techniques that are now popular, but the same locations shot in 4x5 look better to me still. The color green is more beautiful, a little bluer, slightly darker relative to other colors for some reason… just prettier with Velvia than digital. I know since I've taken some similar enough photos that are no better in terms of composition (probably mine are worse) but the color is richer. That said, I'd settle for it! Do you have any tips on post-processing techniques? And do you overexpose (expose to the right) or try to nail exposures spot on. Do you bother with HDR or multiple exposures?

Would the 45mm TS-E be a good starting point for me? From what I gather it's optically superior to the Nikon equivalent, significantly so and to the extent that it would negative the resolution advantage of a D800E except in the middle unshifted, which is great since I already own a 5D III.

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