Landscape photography is one of the most popular types among both amateur and professional photographers.
Traveling, exploring, waiting for the beautiful light and simply enjoying the time in nature can be amazing.
While your camera is an important tool in capturing landscape shots, the lenses you use play a far bigger role. The most important factor is the focal length you choose, and while you could technically speaking photograph with just about any lens, going with an extremely wide angle will allow you to capture so much more and show your viewers more of the situation.
Landscape shooters usually own a full frame DSLR because of no crop factor, but there are plenty of excellent options for those of you who own an Canon with an APS-C sensor.
Best Canon Landscape Zoom Lenses:
Best Canon Landscape Prime Lenses:
Best Canon Landscape Lenses for APS-C Only:
Every Canon lens will fit on an APS-C DSLR, but the 3 lenses we recommend in the last category will not fit on a full frame DSLR. Simply put, if you’re using an APS-C camera you have nothing to worry about.
How To Choose a Lens for Landscape?
The best lenses for landscape are either extremely wide or completely the opposite, in the telephoto range.
Wide angle lenses are the most common lengths used for landscape because they allow you to capture pretty much everything you see. Anything under 20mm is considered extreme wide angle, while 20-35mm is wide.
Telephoto lenses are excellent for isolating a specific subject or for shooting animals you will encounter on trips. This definitely depends on your style of photography and we only recommend getting a telephoto lens if you’ve already spend a lot of time using a wide one.
You should also keep in mind that an APS-C sensor has a 1.6x crop factor. For example, a 10-18mm lens would now have a field of view equivalent to a 16-29mm lens (focal length x 1.6 = your “actual” focal length). If you’re trying to shoot extremely wide you should check out EF-S lenses due to their wider lengths, made specifically for APS-C sensors.
You can still mount and use EF lenses, but the 1.6 crop factor is definitely not an advantage here as it limits your lens options. Does this mean you should sell it? Absolutely not, millions of APS-C shooters do landscape as well, don’t let the gear limit you.
- Lenses under 35mm are considered wide, under 20mm is extremely wide and most commonly used for landscape
You don’t usually shoot at f/2.8, at least not when trying to achieve a small depth of field, which is more or less a norm for landscape photography. Typically you shoot between f/5.6 and f/16.
This means you don’t have to worry this much about having the biggest aperture. Even when the day gets darker, you’ll still probably want to shoot with a small aperture and having Image Stabilization will be much more helpful in this case. Plenty of lenses below offer help up to 4 stops, allowing you to shoot at 1/8 instead of 1/125.
If you need a lens for more than just landscape then by all means do consider getting an f/2.8 (for low light), but for strictly outdoor work you shouldn’t worry about it.
For astrophotography primes will be a better choice due to their f/1.4 or f/2.8 apertures.
Auto Focus vs Manual Focus
If you use a tripod (highly recommended, or at least a monopod), you will probably focus manually with the Live View feature. Having a fast AF won’t affect your style much.
But it still helps having a fast, accurate AF, just in case you travel without a tripod or are shooting something on the go. Luckily, all of our lenses below have reliable auto focus. It just helps knowing that there’s no need to overpay a lens based on the AF alone if most of your subjects won’t move at all.
Weight & Size
Too often we forgot that as awesome as a lens may sound on paper, you still have to carry it around for hours to get the shots you want.
Weight and size are extremely important, and a difference between the weight of an f/2.8 and f/4 zoom is quite big. You can check the specific weight of each lens in our links below.
Best Canon Landscape Zoom Lenses 2017
Widest to Longest (Full Frame + APS-C)
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1. Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM (APS-C)
The Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM is your widest Canon zoom if you’re using an APS-C DSLR. This means any camera between the Canon T6 and 7D Mark II.
When mounted, its field of view is equivalent to a 16-29mm lens on full frame, and that’s the wide angle range most landscape photographers use anyways. It’s great for architecture and indoor photography too, and it’s an excellent compact lens to take with you when travelling.
Optically, it’s performs very well and delivers sharp images. It replaces the 10-22mm, an older but more expensive lens, and they both have identical image quality. The 10-18mm also incorporates an STM type motor for more silent focusing, making it great for video shooters relying on silent auto focus.
If you’ve never owned a wideangle zoom before, you should get the 10-18mm, it’s fun and extremely wide.
2. Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM
The Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L is worth every dollar if you’re looking for an extreme wide zoom for your full frame DSLR.
As with all L lenses (the red ring), both image and build quality are top notch. The 11-24mm is great at f/4 and shows fairly little distortion for a zoom (although primes generally win here), whereas vignetting will be visible when completely wide open. Stop down a little bit and everything gets even better, including corner sharpness.
Design wise, the lens is weather-proof which is a must because most people will use it outdoors for nature shots. We recommend carrying a rain cover or anything similar to protect your gear, but if the lens itself is weather-proof it’s a much safer feeling, especially when shooting near the water.
Any downsides? It’s the heaviest of any wideangle zoom made for Canon (41.6 oz / 1180g) and the front element is big, meaning you won’t be able to use front-filters.
3. Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
Wide zooms from third-party lenses that would challenge more expensive Canon zooms are hard to find, but the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD does just that.
It was made to rival Nikon’s famous 14-24mm f/2.8G and Canon’s 16-35mm f/2.8 series. None of these have any stabilization added though, and that is perhaps Tamron’s strongest selling point right now. That, and the low price combined with excellent image quality!
Sometimes even f/2.8 is not enough to get a fast shutter speed, and if you need both, you literally have no other option. Increasing the ISO is always a possibility, but if you often shoot in low light the extra stop can make a big difference on your overall quality and depth of field.
The Vibration Reduction (VC) mechanism helps up to 3 stops (you can see it in TDP’s review here), which means you can shoot with 1/8 where you’d normally have to choose 1/60.
Thanks to USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) it focuses quietly and accurately, but the more expensive 16-35mm below tends to be more accurate, at least when shooting in more difficult conditions. We’re not saying Tamron is bad here, just that this is the biggest difference between the more expensive lens below.
4. Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
Until the announcement of the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM, we would have only recommended the Tamron above. The II version doesn’t look like a good value for the money anymore.
However, this 3rd version of Canon’s 16-35mm f/2.8 that was announced in 2016, offers excellent optical performance and very accurate, fast AF. Like with the previous 2 lenses, it does not feature Image Stabilization so if that’s important to you, get the Tamron above or the f/4 below.
For twice the price, the biggest differences are slightly sharper corners, faster, more accurate auto focus (not always, but noticeable) and less weight; 27.9 oz (790g) vs 38.8 oz (1100g) with the Tamron. However, the Canon does display a lot more vignetting at f/2.8, but this can be fixed in post processing.
It’s up to you to decide whether that’s worth paying $1000 more. Still, we had to include it as it is a prime example of Canon’s latest technology.
Unlike the Tamron, this lens can also accept 82mm filters which is a big plus if you already own some. It also weighs 150g more than the II version.
5. Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
The Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM is our most recommended lens if you’re looking for the best value for your money and are mainly shooting landscape/cities/static subjects.
With Image Stabilization and and Ultra Sonic Motor, you can shoot in pretty much any situation, be it indoors in low light or late during the day.
Image quality is absolutely stunning, it’s sharp in the center and corners and is simply outstanding for the price. Canon’s recent wideangle zoom lenses have been nothing short of amazing. It’s also the lightest of all 16-35mm lenses, including the Tamron (nearly half the weight).
Simply put, if you require a wide zoom for mainly outdoor work but will happily rely on IS when indoors or shooting with slow shutter speeds, this is your best choice. Even on an APS-C camera, where the field of view is equivalent to 25–56mm, it serves as a great all-around zoom that’s not too heavy.
6. Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art (APS-C)
The Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM is an impressive piece of glass; f/1.8 in a zoom is something we’ve never seen before.
All of this would be useless if the optical performance was crap, but its the exact opposite. It belongs to Sigma’s Art series, but is unfortunately only made for APS-C cameras where it “becomes” a 29-56mm lens. Not extremely wide, but it still starts where the 18-55mm kit lens begins. You may think it’s only 2mm longer than all the lenses above, but 2mm at such wide angles makes a big difference.
The lens is razor sharp and offers fast auto focus thanks to the Hyper Sonic Motor, but because of f/1.8 it’s relatively big and heavy. You can see the specifications here; at 28.6 oz (811g) and 3.1″ x 4.8″ (78mm x 121mm) it’s not compact.
It does feel very solid though and professional like, but it’s not weather-sealed. It takes 72mm filters and has a minimum focusing distance of 11″/28cm. If you often shoot in the 18-35mm range and would like something appropriate for low light as well, the Sigma wins here.
It serves as a both landscape and casual lens (portraits, pets, parties) thanks to the f/1.8 and 50mm length on APS-C.
7. Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM
There’s also an f/2.8 version, but we feel like the much cheaper Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM with added Image Stabilization and a lighter weight is a much better choice for landscape photography.
The lens is extremely sharp in the center and performs very well in corners too. In fact, it’s nearly indistinguishable from the f/2.8 version when it comes to quality, chromatic aberration, vignetting at the same aperture sizes and overall performance.
While the 24-70mm f/2.8 is an excellent lens, for landscape use mainly there’s no point in paying twice as much for it, when the f/4L is also lighter, smaller and comes with much needed Image Stabilization. You also usually shoot between f/4 and f/11, where IS up to 4 stops is much more helpful than a larger max. aperture you would rarely use anyways.
Its macro mode is also really impressive with 0.70x magnification, better than most other zooms.
8. Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM
In case you’re looking for something with even more zoom, the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM provides the best combination of reach and quality.
Compared to the previous version which was highly popular, the small increase in price also brings a few improvements. Not huge ones, but definitely worth the price.
It comes with better Image Stabilization, less optical issues at 24mm and 105mm (such as aberrations, vignetting and ghosting), but weighs more and is slightly bigger (125g more).
The 24-105mm and 24-70mm are both very similar in quality, have the same f/4 aperture, feature IS making the decision quite tough. The 24-70mm is 200g lighter, smaller and costs $400 less, whereas the 24-105mm is better if you want the most zoom and rarely use more than one lens.
9. Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM
When you hear the word ‘landscape’, you probably think of wide lenses, but quite often, a telephoto lens is actually even more useful. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM provides a great length for both FF and APS-C cameras without spending too much.
If you often travel and hike, many interesting subjects such as animals, mountains far away or locations below you aren’t something you can really isolate with a wideangle lens.
There are 4 different versions of Canon’s 70-200mm; two f/2.8 (one without IS) and two f/4 (you guessed it, one without IS). The IS-less versions are cheaper, but when shooting at such long lengths your minimum shutter speed needs to be around 1/125 if you want to get sharp results. Sometimes you’re tired and sometimes it’s not as bright as you wish, and that’s why we recommend the version with Image Stabilization here.
All Canon’s 70-200mm lenses are razor sharp, focus very quickly as they’re aimed at sports and animal photographers and display very little optical issues. They are also weather-sealed and great for outdoor use, but thanks to f/2.8 you can use them pretty much anywhere. If you’re just starting out with landscape photography we don’t suggest buying a telephoto as your first lens, but if you’ve been already shooting with wide lenses and feel like something is missing, a 70-200mm telephoto will be perfect.
Best Canon Landscape Prime Lenses 2017
Widest to Longest (Full Frame + APS-C)
1. Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM
The Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM is expensive, but it’s also the widest prime with quick auto focus (USM).
It displays less distortion than most zooms above, and less than the 16-35mm f/2.8L so it’s much more suited if you occasionally also shoot landscape or just want straight lines in your shots.
It’s fairly expensive at $2,000, so we recommend you to get it if you absolutely know and love lengths around this extreme range. With a zoom you can always zoom in if you get everything in your scene, but if that’s exactly what you’re looking for, the 14mm is your best option..
It’s appropriate for landscape, cities, traveling, astrophotography, nature and even for real estate and architecture. Vignetting is visible at f/1.4 and mostly disappears at f/4.. If you are going to use it on an APS-C camera you won’t notice vignetting at all.
However, most photographers use this on a full frame DSLR in order to get those extreme wide shots. The lens is weather-sealed, shows little chromatic aberration (mostly in corners) and flare. Because the front element is so big you can’t use a filter, and the lens cap is also bigger than your average cap in order to protect it.
2. Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II
The Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5-L II does not have auto focus so it’s best to use it on a tripod, like all other tilt-shift lenses.
What is the beauty of tilt-shift lenses?
First is the ability to achieve absolutely straight lines by tilting or shifting the lens, something that’s a must for professional architecture, indoors and building photography. You could also do this with certain subjects in the nature, like the sea or trees.
The second reason why these lenses are great is the fact that you can stack shots together and get extremely sharp, high detailed photographs with a very small depth of field. The lens allows you to change your focus and you can easily take 2-3 photos at the same location and simply changing the focus (one for the foreground, one for the background, more if needed) and merge these together later. If you’re interested in landscape photography with tilt-shift lenses, check out this post with beautiful examples.
This focus ability also makes them good for product photography and achieving the miniature effect, but they are quite expensive so we only recommend getting a tilt-shift if you can see and use the benefits.
The 24mm specifically, is an extremely sharp prime lens, one of Canon’s top quality piece of glass out today. Check out this video by LensProToGo for focusing and tilt-shift uses.
3. Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM (APS-C)
It looks funny, but the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM is a “pancake” lens designed for the APS-C mount. It’s like the popular 40mm f/2.8 but with the crop factor in mind.
It’s so short you’ll often think you’re shooting with the body cap on. If you dislike carrying around a lot of lenses, or just want something super small to go with your DSLR, this is the best option.
Image quality as with most prime lenses is great, colors and contrast are also excellent for a lens that costs less than $150. On top of that, the STM technology is great for recording videos as it’s silent.
Mounted on APS-C it’s equivalent to a 38mm lens, and that almost makes it a normal/standard rather than a wideangle lens, but the length and f/2.8 are great for nature, traveling, indoor and low light situations. It displays so little distortion it’s hard to notice, especially when stopped down to f/4.
4. Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
It was a tough battle between the Canon 24mm and Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art, but with no difference in image quality we had to go with the Sigma here.
Both lenses are sharp and deliver great quality images. Distortion, flare, these are all 99% the same. However, the Sigma shows a lot less vignetting at f/1.4 and display slightly less chromatic aberration in corners. It is also much more affordable (the Canon 24mm costs almost two times as much).
The f/1.4 aperture combined with Hyper Sonic Motor makes the 24mm Art great for both moving subjects in outdoor and indoor places, as well as astrophotography or landscape photography when there isn’t a lot of light available.
If you’re specifically looking for a 24mm lens, the Sigma 24mm provides the best quality, features and price.
Our Recommended Lenses
Consider this a shorter, more direct version of this entire guide. Simply what we think gives you the absolute most for your money and what we’d go with personally.
Even though all lenses above are awesome, sometimes less options makes it easier to decide.
For Full Frame:
- Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM – The lens is razor sharp, features IS, great macro mode and it’s the lightest to carry.
- Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM – Plenty of reach but still high-quality optics, improved IS and better as an all-around travel lens
- Canon 14mm f/2.8L II USM – Less distortion than zooms, better optics, expensive
- Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art – Brilliant for astrophotography as well as everything else
- Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM – Without a single doubt the best APS-C lens for wideangle on a budget
- Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art – Costs a lot more, but still optically amazing and gives you the ability to shoot in low light
- Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM – Looking for an extremely small, compact prime lens with good quality? It costs less than $150.