I'm looking for a wide angle lens for general landscape photography. I am not particularly interested in panoramics. I wonder what specs to look at to determine which lens will be the most versatile. I only want to buy one wide angle lens as they are rather pricy.

I am using a Sony α35 SLT. I have used the following lenses for landscape:

  • Sony 50mm (fast, great at low light, but could be wider angle for some landscape shots)
  • Sony 18-200 (very versatile, slower, not as good at low light)
  • The 18-70 kit lens (hardly used since I got the 18-200)

That's about it for landscape lenses I've used.

  • 1
    what lens do you have and why it is not good enough? Jan 27 '17 at 1:07
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    Addition of a space or two after periods can help others to read.
    – dpollitt
    Jan 27 '17 at 4:26
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    Possible duplicate of What to look for in a wide angle lens?
    – mattdm
    Jan 27 '17 at 8:45
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    Can you please edit to clarify what you mean by "most versatile?" Do you mean can be used for more types of shooting other than landscape? Or most versatile for landscapes or what? dSLR/SLT lenses tend to be great special-purpose tools, but suck at being general purpose--which is why cameras have interchangeable lens mounts on them.
    – inkista
    Jan 28 '17 at 0:55

If you are doing landscape photography then you should really be using a tripod. This means that low light performance of a lens (as you mentioned with you 18-200) is not an issue, as you can use as slow a shutter speed as your require to get a crisp sharp shot at F16 (or whatever you are using).

You also seem to be focusing on the "specs". We all tend to get carried away with the specs at times but good photography is possible with basic equipment. As this is also especially true for lenses.

I read a quote (sorry can't remember who) which said something like "I have seen fantastic photos taken with an iPhone and terrible photos taken with a top of the line camera. So it really depends on the photographer and their ability more than the equipment."

Although a higher price lens might have better specs, the quality actual comes from the fact that better components, glass and manufacturing processes were used (which cost more).

It is better to try and find some independent reviews online that compare lenses in your price category to see what the real world delivers from them. You will often find that a lens which has worse specs has better quality.

You will often find that most lens has a compromise somewhere, it is just what is acceptable a compromise for you.

As for a lens, one suggestion is the "Sigma 10-20mm f3.5 EX DC HSM". I have this (for my Canon) and I know others who have it and use it for landscape and we are all happy with it. The price is reasonable and the performance and quality are good for the price, although you should stay away from the extremes of the zoom if possible as the performance drops of here.

But I see no reason why you can't use your existing lenses for landscape photography. Just go out and practice! Practice makes a photographer better, not a new lens.

  • 1
    The Sigma 10-20 sounds interesting,and yes I use a tripod most of the time for landscape shots.Thanks jason.
    – Bob
    Jan 27 '17 at 22:46

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