Top 3 Lenses You Need For Landscape and Astrophotography

January 20, 2024  |  California

There’s something magical when you are out in nature. You can soak in your surroundings, listen to the stillness, calm your soul and renew​ your mind. Being a landscape photographer is a hugely rewarding. You are able to travel, explore new places and create images that evoke beauty along the way. As you begin this wonderful journey to see the world and capture it with your camera, you will need the right lenses for making the best landscape shots.

Invest in Lenses Over Camera Bodies

When it comes to taking good landscape photos, the most important thing to know when you are buying camera gear, is to focus on lenses over time. Beginner photographers tend to think more about which camera body to buy instead of selecting a good lens.You may have heard photographers say that it is all about the "glass" and this is exactly what they are talking about. If you are going to invest your money, invest in lenses. They have a much longer lifespan than camera bodies.

Top 3 Lens Categories for Landscape and Astrophotography

Wide angle zoom lens
Telephoto zoom lens
Wide angle prime lens

Wide-Angle Zoom Lens

Landscapes can be expansive and it can take a wide-angle lens to capture that essence. The biggest advantage of a wide zoom lens, is the ability to include everything in your frame (foreground, midground and background). Usually a lens with an f/4 constant aperture will be the most suitable for capturing wide-angle landscape shots (i.e., NIKKOR 14-30mm f4 or Canon RF 14-35mm f4L IS USM). These lenses are less expensive than the ones with f2.8 aperture.

Tip: When you are composing an image, do it handheld. Try different positions, different angles, get low or higher. When you have found a good frame, place your camera on your tripod to recompose and take the shot.

Telephoto Zoom Lens

A telephoto lens will allow you to simplify your composition, and give you the illusion of a compressed perspective. It is much easier to use a telephoto lens than a wide-angle lens (when you are framing your shots). By getting closer on your subject (like zooming into a mountain), you are able to showing more detail and tell a bigger story. Also, it helps you cut out the foreground and sky if needed.Each camera manufacturer produces different variations of telephoto zoom lenses and focal lengths. The most popular telephoto focal lengths for full frame cameras are:


Tip: Use f8 for better image sharpness and calculate the DOF (Depth of field) so you know the minimum focus distance before you take your shot.

Wide-Angle Prime Lens

Prime lenses can go as wide as f/0.95, they produce extremely sharp images and they are cheaper than zoom lenses. The wider aperture allows you to let more light into the sensor of your camera. This way, you get better background separation and shallower depth of field.These lenses are sharp, they have little chromatic aberration and excellent coma performance for shooting the stars or the Milky Way. Shooting the stars requires a shutter remote release, a tripod and lots of practice.

Tip: When you are shooting the stars, use the 500 rule to set your exposure correctly and avoid star trails.