What's the best FL for landscape/scenery?

Started Mar 13, 2013 | Discussions thread
blue_skies Forum Pro • Posts: 11,470
Re: What's the best FL for landscape/scenery?

dpyy wrote:

Does anyone have a recommendation for the best FL for landscape photography? I know landscape photography can mean a lot of things, I'm looking for those cliche shots of sunset + beech, or an amazing city skyline etc. Just general far away grand looking things.

I ask this because I hear different opinions. Some say wide angle is an obvious choice, some say wide angle make the actual things of interest too small?

It all depends.

Like DCox mentioned, the wider the angle, the smaller the center, but only at a distance. If short distance, the center actually seems emphasized.

If you consider a panorama shot taken with the 35mm FL, versus a wide angle shot, taken with the 12mm, you'll notice a very different picture.

In the panorama shot, the center is actually enlarged (bulbeous), whereas in the 16mm shot the center is reduced in size.

Next, a wider angle lens will also reduce detail. A longer FL will capture more detail and this can make a picture more interesting. It again depends on your viewing distance and print/monitor size.

Sometimes, it is the image composition that matters, sometimes it is the image detail.

Nature shots with 10-18 look normal, because we do not have a reference for nature images. But if you shoot scenes that we recognize, the distortion can be rather (unpleasantly) visible. Some photographers use this to accentuate a part of an image.

I find that it is up to the photographer - some scenes look great with a 12mm lens, others need a 50mm lens to 'get there'.

Typically, I would consider 20-24mm a good FL for enough 'wide' but not enough 'distortion'. You can pan with a 20mm FL quite effectively.

12mm perspective - looks funny?

24mm perspective, appears 'almost normal'

35mm perspective 'normal look'

35mm 'nature shot'

16mm 'nature shot'

200mm view of same scene - see how much detail is missing in the 'wide view'

180 degree pan with a wide 12mm angle lens (center drops back)

Horizontal pan with 22mm FL (SEL18200)

Vertical pan with 19mm FL (Sigma 19)

Vertical pan with 19mm FL (Sigma 19)

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