Lens Selection for Outdoor Photography

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Duration:   3  mins

Camera lenses, just like the photographers who use them, are not created equal. The best lens selection can make shooting more efficient, while the wrong ones can lead to unsatisfactory photographs. Let’s face it. Sometimes shooting can be frustrating.

In this video, world-renowned photographer and adventurer Ian Plant will take you through lens selection for outdoor photography. Ian has shot with many different camera lenses in his photographic journeys to exotic locales. He will show you a variety of lenses for outdoor photography, whether rural landscapes, wildlife, or cityscapes.

“In outdoor photography, making the right lens selection is crucial,” Ian explains. For landscape photography, he suggests you start off with a wide angle zoom, perhaps a 17-30mm or a 14-24mm, for instance. In photographing landscapes, these lenses capture the prominent feature in the foreground but also the big background elements, a distant horizon, mountains, or clouds.

Another great lens selection is the tilt-shift lens which allows you to correct for distortion in shooting from a high or low angle. For a closer point of view, Ian suggests a mid-range zoom lens in capturing wildlife but still including wide backgrounds. He also likes the 70–200mm zoom for what he calls “intimate landscape details, zeroing in on the elusive wild animal, a barn, or a flower.”

He also discusses the big zoom lenses, the 150-600mm prosumer lens, and finally the expensive, super telephoto zoom lenses that feature a fixed focal length with a wider, maximum aperture for fast action images.

With so many camera lenses to choose from, finding the one that fits your needs can be daunting. But rest easy. Ian Plant will walk you through finding the ideal lens selection for your own outdoor photography needs.

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3 Responses to “Lens Selection for Outdoor Photography”

  1. Adriana Faria

    What is your opinion about the 18-200 mm lens for mirrorless cameras? I’m not willing to keep switching lens and I’d like to be able to shoot a variety of subjects, going from landscaping to little flowers.


  2. Deborah

    I was doing conversions in my head as I shoot mirrorless. My GH4 is my travel buddy. I did struggle with night shots and I was wondering your suggestions for a good low light/night lens for mirrorless cameras.

    • Customer Service

      Hi, Deborah. Lots of options/answers to this question. Of course the first question you need to answer is what types of things are you shooting?
      Do you find yourself going wide, normal, or tele? Based on that answer you can go in a number of directions. Panasonic offers choices good choices as does Sigma and other third party makers, then of course Metabones. http://www.metabones.com/products offers 3 conversion products that convert Canon lenses to Micro Four Thirds. Folks used to think that prime, single focal length lenses were better then zooms but the most recent generation of zooms from most manufacturers certainly contradicts that notion. That said, depending on our tastes scouting around for a vintage prime lens that you can adapt to, the body might be a good option for you. The electronic features may not “work”, depending on the adaptor, but if you are shooting landscapes at night who needs auto focus?

      My standard recommendation is always try before you buy. If you are interested in dropping some dollars on good glass,
      try one of the many on-line rental web sites and rent the lens or lenses you are interested and see how they work with the
      files you like to create and the way you like to shoot.

      Barring that, night shooting and low light really push the specs of a lens, so if this is really important to you may want to
      spend more then less. Read the reviews on a good review site like: DP Review: https://www.dpreview.com/reviews?category=lenses

      Whatever you buy, make sure you can return it without a hassle, and when you do purchase, open the box carefully and keep track
      of all the packaging. As soon as you can shoot a test on a subject and lighting condition that might be typical for you and make
      sure you get the results you want.

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