Choosing the ideal lens kit for landscape photography can be overwhelming, especially if you’re just starting out. This is why it’s crucial to understand some basics and what each lens type does, for a start. In his latest video, Michael Shainblum helps you on this journey. He not only gives you the basics, but also suggests landscape photography kits for any budget.
Four main factors in choosing the lenses
Michael mentions the crucial factors that can help guide your decision. These include range, price, quality, and weight. They can cover different zoom ranges, or you can opt for prime lenses. Then, you may have a higher or a lower budget, which also influences your decision. You may need something lightweight and compact because you travel and hike a lot… or you’re fine with bulkier lenses.
Either way, Michael encourages you to try lenses before buying. You can rent them before making the final decision, or buy them used to save some money. If you have a photographer friend who shoots the same camera brand, you can exchange lenses (it’s something I personally enjoy the most).
It’s worth noting that Michael only covers Sony lenses because that’s the brand he uses. However, all of the information and tips also apply to any other brand!
Landscape lens kits
In his article, Michael goes in depth recommending various kits depending on different needs. One of them is the budget hiker/backpacker kit, featuring a Sony FE 16-35mm F4 G PZ and a Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD for Sony E. As I said, you can look for counterparts in your brand.
Then there’s the budget kit with the Sony FE 16-35mm F4 G PZ and the Tamron 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD, again for Sony E. The latter extends the telephoto range up to 400mm at a reasonable price, though it slightly increases the kit’s weight.
The mid-range kit is tailored to include the “holy trinity” of landscape lenses. In Michael’s case, the recommendation is the Sony FE 16-35mm F4 G PZ, FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS, and the Sigma Contemporary 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS. If you’re not limited by your budget, Michael suggests a kit consisting of the Sony FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM Full-frame Ultra-wide Zoom G Master, the Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS, and the Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS. Needless to say, all these lenses are ultra-sharp and high-performing to justify the price tag.
If all of this is still too complicated, Michael suggests one lens to rule them all: the 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD. It’s perfect for beginners in landscape photography, it’s high-quality, versatile, yet still pretty affordable.
Finally, you may be wondering what Michael’s lens kit is. He uses the Sony 16-35mm Vario-Tessar T FE F4 ZA OSS, the Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD, and the Sigma Contemporary 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS. In his article, he briefly mentions prime lenses and super telephoto lenses. However, he encourages you to start with versatile lenses with a broad focal range. Personally, I couldn’t agree more. You need to explore what suits you best before you opt for a fixed lens.
What’s your perfect landscape kit?
Ultimately, the perfect lens kit is subjective and should align with your individual photography style, vision, budget, and your way of life. Still, I’m sure Michael’s video and article will help you get started, get some ideas, and give you direction if you’re still new to landscape photography. And if you’re a seasoned pro, let us know: what’s your ideal landscape photography lens kit?