The Best Canon Lens for Landscape Photography: An Ultimate Guide

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Do you want to capture stunning landscape photos? Landscape photography is the most popular genre of photography out there, and for good reason. After all, it offers the opportunity to take breathtaking scenics of nature.

Best Canon Lens for Landscape Photography

Yet no landscape photographer’s gear bag is complete without at least one carefully-chosen lens. If you want to create beautiful landscape photography, then you almost certainly need a dedicated landscape lens. That’s what this article is all about.

We’re going to tell you all about choosing a landscape photography lens–and then we’re going to give you a rundown of the six best Canon lenses for landscape photography that will help you capture amazing landscape images.

Let’s get started.

Best Canon Lens for Landscape Photography

  • Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4
  • Tokina AT-X 11-20mm f/2.8
  • Sigma 24-105mm f/4
  • Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L
  • Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L
  • Sigma 24mm f/1.4
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4
BEST MID RANGE APS-C LENS

Filter Diameter: 72mm, Mount: APS-C, Weight: 535g (18.9 oz), Size: 79 x 88.9mm

Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8
BEST WIDE ANGLE APS-C LENS

Filter Diameter: 82mm, Mount: APS-C, Weight: 560g (19.8 oz), Size: 89 x 92mm

Sigma 24-105mm f/4
BEST MID RANGE LENS

Filter Diameter: Diameter: 82mm, Mount: Full Frame, Weight: 885g (31.2 oz), Size: 88.6 x 109.4mm

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4
BEST WIDE ANGLE LENS

Filter Diameter: 77mm, Mount: Canon EF, Weight: 615g (21.7 oz), Size: 82.6 x 112.8mm

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4
BEST BUDGET LANDSCAPE LENS

Filter Diameter: 77mm, Mount: Canon EF, Weight: 475g (16.8 oz), Size: 84 x 97mm

Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG
BEST PRIME LANDSCAPE LENS

Filter Diameter: 77mm, Mount: Full Frame, Weight: 485 g (17.1 oz), Size: 83.8 x 78.7mm

What to Look for When Selecting the Best Canon Lens for Landscape Photography

When it comes to choosing the best landscape lens for your needs, there are a few things to consider:

Selecting the Right Focal Length

Beginners often think that landscape photography should only be done with wide-angle lenses. But this is a myth; you can shoot stunning landscape photos at any focal length: wide-angle, standard, or telephoto. Each focal length gives you a different perspective and is good for a different type of shooting.

Related: Top 6 Macro Lenses for Canon

Wide-angle lenses are the most popular landscape photography lenses because they allow you to show a huge portion of the scene. You can use a wide-angle lens to show a foreground subject, a midground, and a beautiful sky. That’s why I recommend you start with a wide-angle lens, then expand from there.

Tighter lenses, especially telephoto lenses, are good for isolating particular aspects of the landscape. This is better if you prefer more subtle, slightly more abstract compositions.

Of course, it ultimately comes down to your personal preferences. If you’re not sure what focal length to get, try checking the focal length of your past landscape shots in your Lightroom library. This will give you a good starting point for choosing a focal length for your landscape photography.

Landscape Lens Trinity

Note that most professionals build up to a “trinity” of landscape lenses, which cover a huge focal length range: a 16-35mm, a 24-70mm, and a 70-200mm. But this is a costly setup to have, and impractical for beginners. So unless you’re a big fan of telephoto landscape shots, stick to a wide-angle lens when starting.

Aperture

In many types of photography, having a fast aperture is key. But landscape photographers rarely shoot below f/8, which means that it matters little whether your landscape lens can shoot at f/4 or f/2.8.

Therefore, I recommend you avoid f/2.8 lenses, which tend to be heavier, pricier, and often don’t come with any real optical benefits besides the wide maximum aperture. Landscape lenses that have a maximum aperture of f/4 will do just fine.

Canon Lens for Landscape Photography: Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4
California. Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4

Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberration is a problem that pretty much all lenses have (to varying degrees). It manifests as fringing, often in the corners of the frame. It’s most common along high-contrast edges, so you’ll often notice it when shooting trees against a bright sky.

Even though chromatic aberration is rarely nonexistent, the best lenses manage to keep it well-controlled. As a landscape photographer, you want as little chromatic aberration as possible; while it can be removed in post-processing, it’s better to avoid it from the beginning.

Full Frame vs APS-C Lenses

DSLR lenses are manufactured either for full-frame cameras or APS-C cameras. Lenses made to work with APS-C cameras cannot be mounted on a full-frame Canon camera.

And while full-frame lenses will work on APS-C cameras, you’re generally better off with an APS-C lens. APS-C lenses are smaller, lighter, and cheaper than full-frame lenses, and they perform well on APS-C sensors.

In other words: If you have a full-frame camera, use full-frame lenses. And if you have an APS-C camera, use APS-C lenses.

Weather Sealing

These days, the highest-quality lenses offer weather sealing. This helps protect lenses against dust and moisture and is especially important for photographers who are tough on their equipment.

As landscape photography often takes place with unpredictable weather, I recommend getting a weather-sealed lens, if possible. A weather-sealed lens mounted on a weather-sealed camera is ideal.

Note that most lenses require a filter to be placed before the front element for true weather sealing.

Autofocus Lenses vs Manual Focus Lenses

While autofocus lenses are all the rage these days, manual focus lenses offer some major benefits.

First, manual lenses tend to be smaller, lighter, and cheaper than their autofocusing counterparts. Though they’re fairly uncommon, so you may have to search before you find one you like.

Second, while autofocus is key in some genres, landscape photography isn’t one of them. With the proper technique, you can easily focus your lenses manually and come away with professional-quality images.

Is it more convenient to have a lens that autofocuses? Sure.

But is it necessary? Definitely not.

Note that manual focus lenses are very popular among astrophotography photographers. This is because it’s impossible to use autofocus at night; autofocus systems just aren’t sensitive enough to allow for this.

Utah. Shot with Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4
Utah. Shot with Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4

Zoom vs Prime Lenses

Choosing between a zoom lens and a prime lens is always tough because both lens types come with serious pros and cons.

Prime lenses tend to be smaller, cheaper, and very impressive optically. But zoom lenses are far more convenient and can save you from having to purchase a series of prime lenses. Plus, you can use a good zoom for all your landscape photography needs – you won’t have to carry multiple lenses into the field.

Native vs Third Party Lenses

One last thing that you should consider before purchasing the best landscape photography lens for your needs:

Should you go with a native (i.e., Canon) lens? Or should you stick with third-party lenses?

Personally, I’m a big fan of third-party options. They tend to offer comparable (or better) quality than native lenses, and often for a much lower price. Brands such as Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina are very reputable and produce high-quality lenses very consistently. Though you should be careful when buying lenses from other, lesser-known third-party brands. You don’t want to purchase from a supplier that has poor quality-control, nor do you want to get stuck with a lens that won’t work on the latest cameras.

Best Crop-Sensor (APS-C) Canon Lenses for Landscapes

Now that you understand how to choose the perfect landscape lens, it’s time to look at your options for cropped sensor camera models:

Best Mid Range Lens

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS (Optical Stabilizer) HSM Lens for Canon EOS Cameras

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC

The Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 is made for Canon APS-C shooters, which means that it will only work on crop-sensor bodies. But if you’re able to work with this lens, you’re in for a treat: It’s an absolute bargain, offering a fantastic set of features for a small price tag.

First, the Sigma 17-70mm focal length is ideal for anyone looking to get into landscape photography. At 17mm, you can shoot sweeping scenics, such as river scenes, beach scenes, and more. At 70mm, you can capture tighter landscape shots that highlight more subtle details.

Of course, a huge focal length range isn’t useful unless it offers good image quality. While the 17-70mm isn’t the sharpest lens you can buy, it performs well for the money. Center sharpness is decent to good when stopped down, and while corner sharpness does lag behind, it does well enough to satisfy enthusiast photographers. Plus, this lens comes with some other optical benefits: Chromatic aberration is insignificant, and vignetting is fairly well-controlled.

A nice bonus is Sigma’s optical stabilization technology, which allows you to handhold at slow shutter speeds. For those who prefer to work without a tripod, this is invaluable.

Overall, this isn’t the flashiest lens out there, but it’s a great piece of kit for anyone looking to get into landscape photography.

What I Like:

  • Large focal length range for all-purpose landscape shooting
  • Impressive sharpness for the price
  • Chromatic aberration well-controlled at longer focal lengths
  • Optical stabilization good for handheld photography

What I Don’t Like:

  • Corner sharpness is disappointing
  • Longer end of focal length gives less impressive sharpness

Check Latest Price & Reviews


Best Wide Angle Lens

Tokina ATXAF120DXC 11-20mm f/2.8 Pro DX Lens for Canon EF

Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8

If you shoot on a crop-sensor camera and you’re determined to produce the widest angle of view possible, then the Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 is the lens for you.

Let’s start with the most eye-catching aspect of this lens: the focal length. At 11mm, you’ll have an effective 17mm focal length, which is just wide enough to get you that sweeping perspective many landscape photographers love. And the rest of the focal length range will be just as useful, perfect for creating vast scenics.

The Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 is very impressive optically. It’s sharp wide open, especially in the center of the frame. Flare is very well-controlled, as is distortion. Chromatic aberration isn’t much of a problem, except in the corners–and it can be quickly corrected in post-processing.

You’ll also love the build quality. The Tokina 11-20mm isn’t heavy, but it’s nice and solid, which is exactly what you want from a wide-angle lens.

Here’s the bottom line:

The Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 is a well-designed, low-priced, optically impressive wide-angle lens. If you want to shoot ultra-wide images on an APS-C sensor, it’s a must-have.

What I Like:

  • Amazing ultra-wide focal length for APS-C cameras
  • Stellar center sharpness
  • Distortion is well-controlled
  • Incredible low price

What I Don’t Like:

  • 10mm becomes 17mm on APS-C cameras
  • Corner sharpness falls off slightly compared to center

Check Latest Price & Reviews


Best Full-Frame (EF) Canon Lenses for Landscapes

Now let’s look at your options for full frame camera models:

Best Mid-Range Lens

Sigma 24-105mm F4.0 Art DG OS HSM Lens for Canon

Sigma 24-105mm f/4 OS

  • Filter Diameter: 82mm
  • Mount: Full Frame, APS-C
  • Weight: 885g (31.2 oz)
  • Size: 88.6 x 109.4mm (3.49 x 4.31 in)
  • Price: Check the latest price here

When it comes to full-frame landscape lenses, it doesn’t get better than the Sigma 24-105mm f/4, which features stellar optics combined with beautiful design and build quality.

To start with the focal length:

On a full-frame camera, 24mm is just enough to ensure that a lovely wide field of view. Zoom out to 50mm, 80mm, or even 105mm, and you can capture some relatively tighter landscape shots.

It’s difficult to find such an impressive range and good optical quality in a single lens, but the Sigma 24-105mm delivers. Center sharpness is outstanding, with corner sharpness trailing slightly. While the longer end of the lens loses sharpness somewhat, this can be solved by stopping down past f/4 (which is something that you’ll want to do, regardless).

My biggest complaint is the chromatic aberration, which is more significant than I’d expect for a Sigma lens of this caliber. But CA isn’t too difficult to clear up in post-processing, even if it is an annoyance.

As for build quality, the Sigma 24-105mm offers a very solid build combined with excellent design. This does come with a tradeoff: The lens is somewhat heavy. But as long as you’re not planning to handhold it all day, that shouldn’t be much of a problem.

What I Like:

  • Huge focal length range makes this a great general-purpose landscape lens
  • Sharpness is outstanding
  • Build is very solid
  • Optical stabilization is good for handholding

What I Don’t Like:

  • The lens is heavy
  • Chromatic aberration is noticeable

Check Latest Price & Reviews


Best Wide Angle Lens

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS

The Canon wide angle16-35mm f/4L IS is a favorite among landscape photographers and for good reason.

First, it offers an extremely useful focal length range. The 16mm end is excellent for pretty much any wide landscape shot, and the longer end is nice for fine-tuning your compositions.

A big part of this lens’s appeal is image quality for the price, and in this, the 16-35mm f/4 is outstanding. While you will note some distortion and a bit of chromatic aberration in the corners at 16mm, the Canon 16-35mm is stellar in every other respect, offering amazing center sharpness at every focal length and at f/4. Corner sharpness is still impressive, if slightly less good.

The 16-35mm is an ideal lens for landscape photographers for whom image quality is a huge concern. It’s sharper than the (high-performing) Canon 17-40mm f/4L, and even manages to edge out the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II, which costs almost twice as much.

A final bonus is the 16-35mm f/4’s build-quality. It’s a Canon L lens, which means you get a solid build with excellent handling and a weather-sealed body.

What I Like:

  • Perfect focal length range for serious landscape photographers
  • Amazing image quality, especially for the price
  • Excellent build quality
  • Well-managed chromatic aberration

What I Don’t Like:

  • Corner sharpness trails center sharpness
  • Price keeps this lens out of the hands of shooters on a budget

Check Latest Price & Reviews


Best Budget Landscape Lens

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L

If you like the look of the Canon 16-35mm f/4L but just can’t justify the price, then I recommend checking out the Canon 17-40mm f/4L. The focal lengths are almost identical, with the 17-40mm offering a bit of extra reach on the long end; this can prove useful when aiming for those slightly tighter landscape shots.

As you might expect from the slightly cheaper price, the Canon 17-40mm doesn’t feature optics that outcompete the Canon 16-35mm f/4L. But center sharpness is quite good at every focal length, and corner sharpness can be improved when stopped down. Chromatic aberration is well-managed, as is flare, though vignetting is fairly noticeable on the wide end.

As a Canon L lens, the 17-40mm includes outstanding build quality and weather-sealing. So while this lens may not be quite as professional as the 16-35mm f/4L, it will still manage to satisfy plenty of serious landscape photographers.

What I Like:

  • Great focal length for serious landscape photography
  • Weather-sealing and high-quality build gives a professional touch
  • Very good center sharpness at all focal lengths
  • Excellent quality for the price

What I Don’t Like:

  • Sharpness isn’t quite as good as the Canon 16-35mm f/4L
  • Vignetting is very noticeable on full-frame wide end

Check Latest Price & Reviews


Best Prime Landscape Lens

Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon EF

Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG

  • Filter Diameter: 77mm
  • Mount: Full Frame, APS-C
  • Weight: 485 g (17.1 oz)
  • Size: 83.8 x 78.7mm (3.3 x 3.1 in)
  • Price: Check the latest price here

The Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG may not be the most popular lens around, but it’s a fantastic alternative to more expensive Canon options for landscape photography.

Optically, the Sigma 24mm performs very well. It’s sharp wide open in the center with a bit of softness in the corners. Stopping down gives you an impressive increase in corner sharpness. Chromatic aberration is present but not unmanageable, and vignetting is very good for a wide-angle lens.

Another great thing about the Sigma 24mm is its small size and simple build. You can leave it on your camera all day without noticing, or you can slip it into your camera bag without much increase in weight. The lens itself is well-built, even if it’s not Canon L lens quality.

24mm isn’t ideal for photographers who are searching for that ultra-wide look–for that, you’ll want at least 17mm–but it’s a great focal length for anybody after a general-purpose landscape lens.

What I Like:

  • Excellent focal length for landscape photography
  • Impressive center sharpness
  • Limited vignetting
  • Small and compact build

What I Don’t Like:

  • Offers less flexibility than a zoom
  • Chromatic aberration is noticeable

Check Latest Price & Reviews


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