Lens Selection for D800 Landscape Photography

Started Jan 19, 2013 | Discussions thread
Contributing MemberPosts: 592Gear list
Re: Lens Selection for D800 Landscape Photography
In reply to Michael Benveniste, Jan 22, 2013


I'm sure Canon will eventually be competitive again in the sensor department, but it will not be in 2013. It is too early to replace the 5D and 6D. Besides, they are good cameras and sell very well.

On the other hand, I do understand shawn. I used to have a 5D. The noise in the shadows is really there. It was a disappointment at the time, even coming from medium format film. My Olympus E3 had less shadow noise than the 5D! Later on, I had a Pentax K5 and indeed the Sony Exmor sensor in that camera is incredible.

I have now moved to a D800. I get the Exmor and full frame, with access to a great lens range again. I have made some comparisons with the Canon 5D MkIII. In the shadow noise department, the MkIII is not a big improvement compared to the original 5D. I don't think anyone who hasn't tried to use a 5D for landscape can understand how big that problem is. You simply cannot open the shadows without compromising the overall look of the picture. I'm talking on 13x19" prints. It makes the Sony-based APS-C cameras better landscape cameras than the 5D! The D800 absolutely gives film-like medium format quality with very few compromises.

My lens kit is:

  • 16-35mm f/4
  • 24mm PC-E
  • 28mm f/1.8
  • 50mm f/1.8
  • 85mm f/1.8
All these are totally brilliant. The 16-35 is the biggest surprise. I read mixed reviews but the shop had a like-new second-hand one. I bought it thinking that if the reviews are true, the big value loss was taken by the first buyer already. Well, I'm keeping it. It is an extraordinary lens.
The 24mm PC-E is vastly superior to the first 24mm TS-E from Canon. Much less distortion, much less chromatic aberrations, way better definition when shifted. It also has a very positive detente on the 0┬░ tilt range, making is very easy to put it back in perfect alignment.
The three f/1.8 lenses are spotless, completely usable wide open. Incredible value. And I have years of Leica experience too.
Good luck.
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