This landscape photography shootout sees 24mm and 200mm lenses go head-to-head
We often see lenses described as being for a particular type of photography. Anything in the 50-135mm range is for portraits, anything 150 and up is for wildlife or sports and anything 28mm or less is generally regarded as a “landscape lens”. Wide angle lenses just typically seem to be designated to that genre.
It’s all nonsense, of course, you can shoot whatever you want with whatever focal length you like. And that’s put to the test in this landscape photography challenge between landscape photographers Nigel Danson and James Popsys. One is only allowed to shoot with a 24mm while the other has to shoot 200mm.
At the beginning of the challenge, neither of them knew which lens they were going to be shooting although they both knew what they wanted to shoot. James wanted the 24mm and Nigel wanted the 200mm. It was decided on the flip of a lens cap, due to the great UK coin shortage (for real, who carries cash around these days?) and they both lucked out and got the lenses they wanted.
It’s interesting to hear them talk about their different approaches while they shoot with the two very different focal lengths and what they’re looking for in the scene, how they compose and what they want to direct the viewer’s eye towards. If you’re a landscape shooter that’s only ever shot one way, it’s well worth having a watch.
It’s quite rare that I use long focal lengths for landscapes myself – unless it’s something I plan to shoot a bunch of images of and stitch together in post – typically preferring to go quite wide. Perhaps it’s the boring and obvious choice for landscapes, but whenever I have found myself “stuck” with just a long focal length lens and forced myself to look for compositions, I’ve always enjoyed the results I’ve managed to get.
Perhaps I should start shooting more long focal length landscapes! Do you shoot long lens landscapes or do you prefer to go wide?
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.