Five Wide Angle Lenses For Shooting Landscapes With Your Mirrorless Camera

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 12mm f2.8 final product photos (1 of 2)ISO 8001-40 sec

Mirrorless Cameras are one of the best conveniences and inventions for travelling photographers. They balance excellent image quality with a small portable package that you really can easily embrace. The cameras also work well when it comes to a number of shooting needs–and they’ve improved very much in the past couple of years. Although lots of landscape shooters will tell you to go full frame (and we’d argue with them to go medium format and large format) one can still take some positively stellar landscape photos with a mirrorless camera. And to do just that, here are a bunch of lenses that are at the top of our list.


Zeiss 12mm f2.8

970839

Zeiss’s first entry into the mirrorless camera world came this year with two small primes for the Sony NEX and Fujifilm X series cameras. One of those lenses is the 12mm f2.8–which we find to be quite good. When attached to a Fujifilm camera, a user will get the resolution that Fujifilm’s X Trans Sensors offer combined with Zeiss optics. As for Sony, this is the fastest aperture wide angle prime for the system with autofocus.

The lens features an all metal build along with rubber focusing rings which Zeiss states was designed for photographers that complained that focusing and adjusting the lenses in cold weather also made these areas cold to the touch.

On the APS-C sensor cameras that they are designed for, the lens will render an 18mm field of view with a depth of field equivalent of f4.5 on a full frame camera when shot wide open.

This lens doesn’t have the micro-contrast that the company’s excellent DSLR lenses have, but that still doesn’t mean that it should be counted out.

Buy Now: Amazon

Pro Tip: When shooting landscapes, keep in mind that not everything needs to be an HDR despite what so many people in the community do.

Pro Tip: When shooting landscapes, keep in mind that not everything needs to be an HDR despite what so many people in the community do.

Sony 10-18mm f4 OSS

892389

If you’re on the search for a wide angle zoom lens for the Sony NEX system, we had tons of fun with the 10-18mm f4 OSS zoom lens. We found it to be super sharp, and also very contrasty. When we first started shooting with it, we liked the fact that with one small lens, we could shoot wide and then super wide. On the camera, it will render a 15-27mm field of view–which is wide enough for any landscape shooter.

Combined with Sony’s excellent APS-C sensors, you’ll be able to capture a truck full of imaging data in the shadows if you choose to shoot nightscapes. This is because of the natural design of Sony’s sensors–which are able to capture more details in darker areas by default.

Of any of the current line of Sony NEX zoom lenses, this is the one that many folks should go for due to the color rendition and sharpness. Sure, you’ll see distortion–but it isn’t that terrible to be honest.

Buy Now: Amazon

Pro Tip: Some of the best times to shoot landscapes are during the Golden Hour and the Blue Hour. Don't start packing up until you need to crank your ISOs up.

Pro Tip: Some of the best times to shoot landscapes are during the Golden Hour and the Blue Hour. Don’t start packing up until you need to crank your ISOs up.

Olympus 12mm f2

805167

Olympus’s 12mm f2 was launched a couple of years ago, but it is still amongst the favorites and listed as one of the sharpest lenses in the Micro Four Thirds lineup. The lens is special in many ways: offering a 24mm field of view with an f4 depth of field when shooting wide open due to the nature of Micro Four Thirds sensors.

This lens also focuses incredibly fast due to the FAST AF focusing system that Olympus has with its cameras. In fact, it was the company’s fastest focusing lens until the 45mm f1.8 came out.

The 12mm f2 has a metal body with a special secret. When you pull the focusing ring back, you reveal a working depth of field scale for manually focusing–which is of big appeal to the street photography world. This design has been with many third party manufacturers for years and it only made sense for it to be present in a lens like this.

We don’t believe that anyone will be disappointed by this lens despite some of the distortion that you might see–which is still under great control. However, it usually is quite pricey.

Buy Now: Amazon

Panasonic 7-14mm f4

IMG_120002

This is one of those lenses that we were ecstatic that someone created. It gives off a 14-24mm field of view–which is what so many landscape shooters want. Though there is some obvious distortion on the wider end, it is still fairly well controlled.

Something that we loved the most about this lens is the sharpness wide open. In fact, we found it nearly useless to stop down unless you needed to for exposure reasons.

Now, this lens isn’t a fisheye, so don’t get that idea. Instead it is a super wide angle zoom lens and amongst the favorite of many Panasonic photographers. It’s an excellent video lens when one needs to shoot in a very large space and for portrait photographers looking for something a bit more creative (like they do with fisheyes) they can use this lens to get still very cool effects.

Buy Now: Amazon

Pro Tip: The same lenses that you use to photograph landscapes can be used for architecture.

Pro Tip: The same lenses that you use to photograph landscapes can be used for architecture.

Fujifilm 14mm f2.8

883533

We personally didn’t find the Fujifilm 14mm f2.8 to be as exciting as the Zeiss 12mm f2.8. However, it is still an excellent lens in many aspects. First off, there is the Fujifilm build quality that jas a high end look and feel. The lens is built of metal and the focusing ring has a snap-back feature much like the Olympus 12mm f2. However, we wish that the ring were a bit smoother to focus.

This lens controls distortion extremely well–in fact it is amongst the best that we’ve seen when looking back in hindsight. However, you’ll see some extra distortion in the corners, but that is to be expected from a super wide angle lens like this.

While the image quality is good and the pictures you get will be sharp, we felt that it could have been better.

Buy Now: Amazon

 

Honorable Mention: Samsung 16mm f2.4

757451

Last but not least on this list is Samsung’s 16mm f2.4. This lens is the smallest on the list as it is a pancake and delivers a 24mm field of view. When coupled with the NX300, it is a perfect companion camera due to the overall small size that can fit into a jacket pocket.

We LOVED the colors that we got with this lens and also found the i-function built into it for aperture or shutter control to be excellent and somewhat reminiscent of the old times of photography with a control of some sort around the lens.

If you haven’t looked into what Samsung has to offer yet, but we recommend giving them a shot. Many people all over the world are happy.

Buy Now: Amazon

Please Support The Phoblographer

We love to bring you guys the latest and greatest news and gear related stuff. However, we can’t keep doing that unless we have your continued support. If you would like to purchase any of the items mentioned, please do so by clicking our links first and then purchasing the items as we then get a small portion of the sale to help run the website.

Also, please follow us on FacebookFlickr and Twitter.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.