The thrill of landscape photography is one of the main reasons why so many photographers often take it up. The adventure and the excitement of exploring, traveling, and finding a spot that offers just the right light and the right shot is hard to emulate. More importantly, it gives photographers the opportunity to spend as much time as they want out in nature.
However, without a decent camera, you simply can’t do much. It doesn’t matter if you wait hours for the best light and the right shot; the photo quality will suffer if you don’t have a high-quality lens and camera. Nikon is one of the biggest names in the world of photography, and the company has held its own against competitors such as Canon.
Both Nikon and Canon produce fantastic cameras and lenses, so it’s more about personal preferences instead of worrying about which one is better than the other. If you already own a Nikon camera, buying a decent lens that’s designed for landscape photography is important.
There are several different Nikon lenses out in the market that are designed for landscape shots, so it’s important that you choose the right one. But, before we talk about the best lenses, it’s important to understand that there are certain focal lengths that are much more suited for landscape shots than others.
The Best Focal Length for Landscape Shots
The 14 m lens is often regarded as a long shot for landscape images, but if you know how to use it correctly, you can get some pretty good shots. It can take shots over a massive area, offering excellent coverage. Photographers prefer using the foreground to get the best shots using a lens with this focal length.
Then, you have the 18 m lens. This opens up a few options and allows you to take shots without having to worry about framing each shot. More importantly, you get to leverage the foreground and get some pretty steady shots without having to worry about the image feeling as big as 14 mm. The 18 mm definitely offers greater versatility when taking your shots.
Then, there’s the 21 m lens. It allows you to take wider or narrower shots as per your wishes, and you don’t have to worry about the focal length feeling excessively wide in different scenarios.
The most popular is the 24 m lens. This lens gives you the ability to capture urban scenarios such as cityscapes as well as people. But, you should know that since this isn’t an ultra-wide lens, the quality might not be similar to some of the high-end ultra-wide variants.
Now that you know the basics, let’s talk about the most popular lenses by Nikon for landscape shots.
The Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Zoom Lens
The Nikon 10-24 mm zoom is one of the best lenses that’s made for landscape shots, cityscapes, as well as for shooting interiors. This lens gives you an angle of 109 degrees of the image through 61 degrees, and the focal length is the same as what you’ll get on a 15-36 mm.
The SWM gives users access to a range of accurate and incredibly fast autofocus options. The lens also has options for sharpness adjustment and color correction. It also brings down chromatic aberration automatically. Thanks to the aspherical lens, you don’t have to worry about aberrations such as coma or any others caused by the lens.
Even when the aperture is at its widest, you won’t have to worry about any aberrations.
However, you might notice a little bit of distortion in the wide end. Similarly, manual focusing might come off as a bit tricky, primarily due to the thin ring. If you are new to Nikon lenses, it will take a bit of time for you to adjust to the usage.
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 20 mm f/1.8G ED Fixed Lens
If you are in the market for a lightweight landscape lens, then the Nikon 20 mm/1.8 is a great choice. It’s in the FX format though, which offers greater depth of field and a much higher dynamic range. Compared with DX lenses, the FX range is much more expensive, and this one is no exception.
The maximum reproduction ratio of the lens is around 0.23x, and it features an aspherical lens along with glass elements that reduce dispersion to a low.
Nikon has also integrated a silent wave motor in this lens that makes use of electronic waves to provide incredibly accurate and rapid autofocus. It can easily autofocus on anything up to a maximum of 78 inches from the lens. The autofocus is fast and snappy, with items snapping into focus almost immediately.
This lens also makes it easy for you to take those expansive landscape shots and it is versatile enough to be used in a wide range of different settings, including wedding parties, outdoor photography, as well as concert stages and a whole lot more.
The lens also holds its own when it comes to taking low light shots, but don’t expect a whole lot in this department. Apart from that, there’s no ghosting as you would expect from such a premium lens, and the photos are incredibly sharp.
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 16-35 mm f/4G ED Zoom Lens
If you want a versatile lens that is equally good at taking both normal and wide-angle photos, the Nikon 16-35 mm is an excellent choice. The maximum aperture in the lens is f/4 and it also gives you two distinct focus modes. Both autofocus and manual focus are included, along with a manual override.
The lens is solidly built using 17 elements and the entire housing is divided into 12 groups. The lens also features vibration reduction and offers image stabilization with a maximum of four stops. If you want to mount this on a DX DSLR, you will have to purchase an F mount from Nikon.
The lens has an extra wide angle that is suitable for capturing interiors and taking photos of cityscapes. The best thing about this lens is that it not only allows you to capture a full image, but you also get to take photos over focal lengths that feature a longer range.
Your overall experience when using this camera is also boosted when you consider that it features a very sturdy handgrip. Along with excellent image stabilization and vibration reduction, this is an excellent lens from Nikon.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24 mm f/2.8G ED
Another excellent option for taking normal or wide-angle shots is the NIKKOR 14-24 mm lens. The maximum aperture goes all the way to f/2.8 and it also features ultra-wide zoom that has been tailored to offer maximum sharpness from edge to edge.
It features PGM aspherical lenses and two extra-low dispersion elements that are able to reduce chromatic aberration while improving the sharpness and the contrast by a significant margin, even when the aperture has been stretched to the max.
Like most of the top lenses from Nikon, this one also makes use of a Silent Wave Motor, a proprietary motor from Nikon that greatly increases the speeds of autofocus without emitting any sound. This ensures that your camera remains completely quiet when you are taking those precise shots out in nature.
The camera also includes Internal Focus technology that offers rapid autofocusing without changing the length of the lens. This way, you will be able to maintain the working distance through the focus range. The construction is pretty rugged, and the camera also features professional-grade moisture and dust resistance.
This is a very powerful lens that is going to work flawlessly in a wide range of different settings.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200 mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Lens
The Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 lens has been one of the most popular lenses in the market for quite some time. It is an excellent telephoto zoom lens that offers phenomenal shots in low light and in a wide range of other situations, including but not limited to concerts, portraits, weddings, and even everyday shots.
Without a doubt, this is one of the best telephoto lenses in the market, and is widely featured in many Top 10 lists. The images from this lens are incredibly crisp and clear, and you don’t have to worry about issues such as chromatic aberration or barrel distortion.
The lens is also considerably lighter than its previous model and now features four stops for vibration reduction. The tripod collar that ships with the lens can be removed if you want, or you can also get rid of the foot.
The lens works great in low light conditions thanks to its consistent f/2.8 maximum aperture. You can easily take shots with the aperture completely open at f/2.8 throughout the entire zoom range, starting from 70 mm all the way to 200 mm.
The design is also incredibly ergonomic, with buttons in just the right places. The handgrip feels durable and non-slippery, so you can easily take shots without having to worry about those random shakes. However, it does cost a bit more than other lenses.