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Author Topic: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?  (Read 12088 times)

ErikKaffehr

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2014, 04:09:29 am »

I agree mostly.

Regarding the DxO tests, there is a wealth of data, well beyond the pretty obscure rating. So when I check out lenses I usually do some data mining.

As an example, I was considering to replace my Sony 24-70/2.8 ZA with a Sigma Art 24-105/4, but digging trough the data I found that the Sony 24-70/2.8 performs equal or better, mostly. But, I consider adding a really good prime at around 70 mm. Sigma Macro 70/2.8, Sony 85/1.4 may be good candidates. The Sigma 70/2.8 is pretty well known for sharpness.

Than I always need to consider weight. A few grams here and there add up, fast.

Best regards
Erik

I am pleasantly surprised to read of the overwhelming support for zoom lenses amongst such an accomplished group of photographers. So often we hear the clarion call of primes (as I once professed as well); it's refreshing to hear the more practical side, along with a dose of "taking care not to get lazy with zooms", as is so easy to do.

I made the switch back to zooms for my landscape and nature work earlier this year with the addition of the "newish" Nikkor 18-35 f/3.5-4.5. Before buying this comparatively inexpensive zoom, I checked the DxOMark ratings and found it to be superior to the Nikkor 16-35 and my Nikkor 20/2.8 and as good as my Nikkor 24/2.8. Doing side-by-side comparison shots convinced me to sell the two primes and not look back. The 18-35 is surprisingly lightweight and far outperforms its price point.

Making landscapes using a tripod, mostly at f/11, means that image stabilisation is irrelevant, as are large apertures.
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Erik Kaffehr
 

chez

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2014, 08:28:47 am »

i,



Getting back to lens tests, I would say that most lenses outperform their users. The other factor is that lenses often are weakest in the corners and the corners very seldom contain important detail. One example is the Canon 16-35/2.8II, a lens that performs bad in tests but takes a lot of competition winners. The fact is that if you have a great image no-one is going to check the corners. But, would I have an image like below bad tree tops, I would not blow it up to 70x100 cm and put it on the wall:



Best regards
Erik



I totally disagree with your view of corners in landscape images. It's true in most other type of images, portraits, sports, wildlife etc..., but when it comes to images such as landscapes and architecture, the corners are just as important as the middle of the image. Many of my landscape images have fibe details throughout the photo and the real beauty of making large prints is to be able to examine these fine details throughout the image...not just in the center of the print.

Sure you can make great photos with just about any lens, but I don't buy your view that corners don't matter in landscape prints.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2014, 08:39:42 am »

Many of my landscape images have fibe details throughout the photo and the real beauty of making large prints is to be able to examine these fine details throughout the image...not just in the center of the print.

Indeed. This is one of the major reasons why I stitch pretty much everything in landscape.

Cheers,
Bernard

ErikKaffehr

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2014, 09:18:16 am »

Hi,

I think you misrepresent what I say. See below:

"But, would I have an image like below bad tree tops, I would not blow it up to 70x100 cm and put it on the wall:"

I would say that perhaps 5% of the images published on the net have fine details in the corners. I would say that I have something like 70000 images in my Lightroom database but just a few that are really demanding in the corners.

I don't say they are not important, I just say they may not be relevant.

Best regards
Erik


I totally disagree with your view of corners in landscape images. It's true in most other type of images, portraits, sports, wildlife etc..., but when it comes to images such as landscapes and architecture, the corners are just as important as the middle of the image. Many of my landscape images have fibe details throughout the photo and the real beauty of making large prints is to be able to examine these fine details throughout the image...not just in the center of the print.

Sure you can make great photos with just about any lens, but I don't buy your view that corners don't matter in landscape prints.
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Erik Kaffehr
 

chez

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2014, 11:02:57 am »

Hi,

I think you misrepresent what I say. See below:

"But, would I have an image like below bad tree tops, I would not blow it up to 70x100 cm and put it on the wall:"

I would say that perhaps 5% of the images published on the net have fine details in the corners. I would say that I have something like 70000 images in my Lightroom database but just a few that are really demanding in the corners.

I don't say they are not important, I just say they may not be relevant.

Best regards
Erik



I got no idea how you can come up with a percentage of images that need good corners...seems impossible to do. I know the type of images that I shoot, I have details in the corners and when printed large, these corners need to look good as people do come up close to large prints to see the picture within the picture as they examine all parts of the photo. That's the real beauty of large prints, you can stand back and take in the entire scene and you can also come in close and take in the different details in the photo that could not be fully appreciated from a distance. Many landscapes flow throughout the photo, quite often starting in one corner and ending in another corner.

I just don't agree that corners are not important in landscapes. I can see this in portraits as quite often people use wide apertures to blur out the background and corners...but with landscapes, most often the entire scene is in focus, including the corners.
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Paul Roark

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2014, 11:31:03 am »

There are so many variables in an issue like this that one person's opinion is just that -- one person's opinion.  So, FWIW, here is my opinion, which really only applies to my style and objective (and note that as I get older, weight is more of an issue).

With the wall display B&W landscape prints I target, sharpness does matter.  So primes are my usual optics (though an outstanding superwide zoom -- Leica WATE for the Sony a7r -- was my last purchase).  What I saw in my first (1981) one man show was people going up to my 35mm images to see the detail and then backing off because the detail was not there.  I, personally, think that is a negative for landscape work.  I switched to medium format film immediately, but have returned to full frame "35" -- enough is enough, and I got tired of dragging around too much heavy equipment.   On the other hand, it's the composition that makes a shot great, and if you miss it because you're changing lenses, the additional detail of the prime will not help a bit.

While I want the sharpness to be throughout, it does seem to be true that people are much more forgiving of slight softness at the very corners and foreground, as long as those are not centers of interest.  We are conditioned to this.  So, for example, I often take a dual-focus shot with a non-tilt optic instead of using my tilt-shifts, and the distant focus is usually at the infinity stop (if the lens has one -- another issue that matters to me) because a sharp mountain ridge or distant detail is often where people will see the lack of sharpness most.

I sure wish my 24-105 L zoom was good enough (and lighter), but it's not for me unless I know I won't have the time to switch lenses and I know I'm going to need more than a single focal length.  

Frankly, in recent years I've found I can do so much with just a 35mm lens, that I often go with just that on the camera when I know time is not going to allow switching.  I'd rather have a few outstanding shots that are really sharp than more shots that are not quite up to what I personally appreciate the most.  My #2 most important optic is a 75mm f/2.8, and it's not used that much.  The ability so stitch makes the wider angle lenses much less important; whether my new superwide will end up being worth the weight (not to mention cost) is an open question.

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com

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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2014, 03:32:07 pm »

Hi,

The 5% figure is based on sample shots published on test sites. I always try to find images witch have texture in corners but perhaps one in twenty have corner details. Corners use to be sky or foreground.

I don't say corners are not important, just saying that it is difficult to find images with good corner detail. I actually care a lot about the stuff, but it is just that it is hard to find good samples, and that also applies to my own pictures.

Best regards
Erik



I got no idea how you can come up with a percentage of images that need good corners...seems impossible to do. I know the type of images that I shoot, I have details in the corners and when printed large, these corners need to look good as people do come up close to large prints to see the picture within the picture as they examine all parts of the photo. That's the real beauty of large prints, you can stand back and take in the entire scene and you can also come in close and take in the different details in the photo that could not be fully appreciated from a distance. Many landscapes flow throughout the photo, quite often starting in one corner and ending in another corner.

I just don't agree that corners are not important in landscapes. I can see this in portraits as quite often people use wide apertures to blur out the background and corners...but with landscapes, most often the entire scene is in focus, including the corners.
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Erik Kaffehr
 

Hening Bettermann

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #27 on: October 25, 2014, 07:39:06 pm »

Paul,

what is that 75mm f/2.8 lens - and how much does it weigh?

thank you!

allegretto

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #28 on: October 25, 2014, 09:09:32 pm »

so true

while I have several other M-lenses, give me a 28mm and 90mm 2.0's and the others almost collect dust, unless I'm real light and then it's just the 50-cron. Works fine in almost any situation. Still bring almost all when I have the room (except the noctulux) just don't use them that much

And it's funny how different cameras make for different choices. Once I got the 6D and stumbled on the Zeiss 21mm it was as though they are somehow made for each other (right on Nancy P). Otherwise it wears a zoom.



There are so many variables in an issue like this that one person's opinion is just that -- one person's opinion.  So, FWIW, here is my opinion, which really only applies to my style and objective (and note that as I get older, weight is more of an issue).

With the wall display B&W landscape prints I target, sharpness does matter.  So primes are my usual optics (though an outstanding superwide zoom -- Leica WATE for the Sony a7r -- was my last purchase).  What I saw in my first (1981) one man show was people going up to my 35mm images to see the detail and then backing off because the detail was not there.  I, personally, think that is a negative for landscape work.  I switched to medium format film immediately, but have returned to full frame "35" -- enough is enough, and I got tired of dragging around too much heavy equipment.   On the other hand, it's the composition that makes a shot great, and if you miss it because you're changing lenses, the additional detail of the prime will not help a bit.

While I want the sharpness to be throughout, it does seem to be true that people are much more forgiving of slight softness at the very corners and foreground, as long as those are not centers of interest.  We are conditioned to this.  So, for example, I often take a dual-focus shot with a non-tilt optic instead of using my tilt-shifts, and the distant focus is usually at the infinity stop (if the lens has one -- another issue that matters to me) because a sharp mountain ridge or distant detail is often where people will see the lack of sharpness most.

I sure wish my 24-105 L zoom was good enough (and lighter), but it's not for me unless I know I won't have the time to switch lenses and I know I'm going to need more than a single focal length.  

Frankly, in recent years I've found I can do so much with just a 35mm lens, that I often go with just that on the camera when I know time is not going to allow switching.  I'd rather have a few outstanding shots that are really sharp than more shots that are not quite up to what I personally appreciate the most.  My #2 most important optic is a 75mm f/2.8, and it's not used that much.  The ability so stitch makes the wider angle lenses much less important; whether my new superwide will end up being worth the weight (not to mention cost) is an open question.

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com


« Last Edit: October 25, 2014, 09:12:50 pm by allegretto »
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Paul Roark

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #29 on: October 26, 2014, 10:58:57 am »

The 75mm I made reference to is the Leica Summarit.  I don't know where the new Leica PDFs are, but the one for the lens I use is copied and posted at http://www.paulroark.com/Summarit%2075mm%20f2.5.pdf

I notice Leica has a new line of these, supposedly with even better performance, although it would be hard to improve on the MTF you'll see in the posted PDF.

Paul
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Paul Roark

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #30 on: October 26, 2014, 04:53:47 pm »

Regarding Leica lens information, a good source is at

http://us.leica-camera.com/Service-Support/Support/Downloads?category=93719&subcategory=&type=&language=93871

The new Leica "Summarit" (read "about f/2.8" and relatively inexpensive) (including the 75 I use) data sheets are not out yet, but rumor has it the new 75 is the same as the old one, but with slightly closer focusing.

Paul
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Hening Bettermann

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #31 on: October 26, 2014, 07:13:15 pm »

Thank you, Paul. What made me ask is that I could not identify the lens because you had labeled it as f/2.8 rather than f/2.5. - I have been looking for a LIGHT lens in this range, and I have so far ended up with an Olympus OM Zoom 35-70 f/3.5-4.5, listed weight 190 gr (!), where the 70 mm length seems quite good at f/8. Price 90 ...!

Nick Walt

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #32 on: October 27, 2014, 04:25:55 am »

...Art Wolfe states he uses mostly 2 zoom lenses, a something to 70 and a 70-200 Canon. So that makes me shut up about primes.

Thank you for the reference to Art Wolfe, FA. What an amazing photographer. Here is a excellent and just released interview with him by DPReview:
http://www.dpreview.com/articles/8078588835/dpreview-live-interview-with-art-wolfe

Based on what many people have said in this thread I'm keen to experiment with both primes and zooms. Initially, I was looking at the possibility of using the A7 with primes but have now moved away from Sony and am considering Canon and Nikon, again. These two companies have a great range of both primes and zooms, so there are more options for both.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 03:44:58 am by Nick Walt »
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #33 on: October 27, 2014, 05:28:37 am »

I always had an inclination for primes, but I have also used zooms for landscapes. It really depends on you.

Jim Pascoe

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #34 on: October 27, 2014, 07:34:40 am »


One concern I have about primes is that they are not stabilised, except for the Nikon 105/2.8 macro and the Sigma 150/2.8 which have VR/IS.

Cheers,
Nick

Hi Nick

I just posted a brief reply to your query about camera recommendations in another thread - but it seems from this question that you may be a landscape shooter!  Not sure that stabilisation is critical for landscapes as most of the photographers you are referring to and conversing with probably use tripods.  Zoom or prime quality-wise is going to pale into insignificance compared to tripod/no tripod.

Personally I mostly use prime lenses for most of my photography (mainly people, but the odd landscape for fun) and that is just because I like using them and enjoy the self-imposed limitations.  My primes are better than my zooms quality -wise - but that is not the main reason I use them.  Here is an example - Canon FF with Zeiss 50mm f2 lens. Two seconds at f11.

Jim
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NancyP

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #35 on: October 27, 2014, 12:28:37 pm »

Nice images, Jim and Eric. Eric, I particularly like the dark mountains-and-clouds shot, very moody.

I think that the bottom line is that practicalities (price, weight) and personal preferences are most important in choosing lenses for landscape work. In the Canon world, there are three excellent (rectilinear perspective) Canon zooms that would be good for landscape shooters: the new 16-35 f/4 (rave reviews, I don't have one), the 24-70 f/ 2.8 II (rave reviews, I don't have one), and the 70-200 f/4 IS (very nice, very lightweight).
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Nick Walt

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #36 on: October 27, 2014, 04:06:54 pm »

A very nice image, Jim. Is that Tuscany?

Nancy, I am very interested in those lenses. Particularly the 16-35 f4 and 70-200 f4. My interest in primes is mainly (primarily?-arf) to experiment with the rendering of different models and shoot street/travel. For me a daylight standard zoom will be for walkabout photography and so I may look at a stabilised f4.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #37 on: October 27, 2014, 09:30:38 pm »

A very nice image, Jim. Is that Tuscany?

Nancy, I am very interested in those lenses. Particularly the 16-35 f4 and 70-200 f4. My interest in primes is mainly (primarily?-arf) to experiment with the rendering of different models and shoot street/travel. For me a daylight standard zoom will be for walkabout photography and so I may look at a stabilised f4.

This may help in your selection. DxO doesn't have data for the D750 yet, so I picked the older D600/D610, it would probably be a bit better on the D750. We also know from data on the D810 that these lenses are able to work with significantly higher res bodies and still deliver.

http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-AF-S-NIKKOR-70-200mm-F4G-ED-VR-on-Nikon-D600-versus-EF70-200mm-f-4L-IS-USM-on-Canon-EOS-6D___1071_834_255_836

http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/AF-S-Nikkor-16-35mm-f-4G-ED-VR-on-Nikon-D610-versus-Canon-EF-16-35mm-F4L-IS-USM-on-Canon-EOS-6D___373_915_1367_836

To say the least, these results are... close with the Nikkors a tiny bit better according to them, but the difference is probably within measuring errors. ;)

Cheers,
Bernard

Nick Walt

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #38 on: October 28, 2014, 03:00:55 am »

Great links. Thank you, Bernard. I was curious about the differences between the equivalent lenses from Nikon and Canon. My initial interest in Canon came from reading about how many landscape photographers were using the Metabones Smart Adapter to mount Canon L glass on their A7R bodies.

From there I discovered the great range that Canon has, and, through Photozone.de, began to learn about the qualities of various lenses.

When the D750 was announced I explored Nikon lenses on Photozone.de (and other sites) and soon learned about the excellent zooms and the great range of f1.8 primes that could resolve enough for the high resolution of the D810.

DXO always seemed a bit confusing for me but the links your posted were pretty clear.

Cheers,
Nick
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Nick Walt

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Re: Moving to Primes for Landscape Work - Who has done this?
« Reply #39 on: October 28, 2014, 03:41:13 am »

Hi Jim,

I am very interested in capturing landscapes and want to make them a large part of my photography. It was Hans Kruse' magical landscape images that made me consider full-frame.

I recently travelled across the north of Thailand during the period when fields were being flooded with water for rice planting. The sights were beautiful and often could see huts and houses surrounded by a sea of mirrored blue waters.

Much of Thailand rural areas are hilly but don't provide sweeping vistas, so the type of framing seems to be more tele than wide angle, to pick out interesting patterns and light on the surrounding hillsides or in the shallow valleys. I found that my maximum 80mm equivalent on the E-M1 zoom I was using wasn't long enough and was considering the purchase of an expensive telephoto zoom. That was when I saw Hans' landscape images of Tuscany and I questioned any further investment in lenses for m43.

When I decided to sell the E-M1 and move to full-frame as my primary camera I wanted to explore primes in the mid-range instead of using a zoom as I did on the Olympus. This included the 20-50 range, the 85, and longer tele-range of 105, 135, and 150mm focal lengths. I wanted these for non-landscape photography and for use in lower light. Because I could either buy some of these tele-primes or a 70-200 f4 I, and not both, I was interested to know if others used primes for landscapes.

Part of the idea for this thread was the possibility of using an A7 with short-throw manual focus lenses like Leica and Voigtlander. Fast enough to focus for street and bright enough for low light. However, the size of the shorter tele-primes, 85, 105, and 135 were not suited to the A7 for street. It is just too small.

So now I am back to a small mix of primes for a DSLR and a zoom or two.
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