You are going into the mountains for three nights. This is not a dedicated photography trip, but an adventure with friends or family. You have packed your tent, your sleeping bag, warm clothes, cooking gear and food. Your pack is now pretty heavy, but you say something that astonishes your hiking (or bushwalking as we call it in Australia) buddies: you are prepared to add 1.5kg of cameras and lenses to that! As they watch incredulously, you put into your pack……what?
We don’t know what you would do, but we can tell you what we typically pack.
User Characterization: You are a Sony a7 series user enthusiastic about landscape photography but you work on a very limited budget. You look for lenses with a great bang for the buck ratio and good characteristics for landscape photography.
In this post I give you my top picks and a few alternatives for affordable landscape lenses. These where my criteria for this list:
Very good across the frame sharpness at smaller apertures like f/8 or f/11.
High contrast and good flare resistance.
Lenses should be less than $200.
I see manual focus lenses as preferable for landscape photography.
I would like to have nice sunstars but at this budget this is quite difficult if not impossible.
Small size is a bonus.
This is the fourth part of a series on the best landscape lenses for the Sony a7/a9 series in which we explore sets of landscape lenses for different user types.
The very affordable Pentax is as sharp as good modern lenses at f/8 or f/11 and it maintains high contrast with good flare resistance which is rare for a legacy wide angle lens. Stopped down to f/14 it even draws a pleasant sunstar. But of course there is a catch: the Pentax is pretty rare and not easy to find. The best alternative I see is the more expensive Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 which isn’t better but more easily available.
User Characterization: You like landscape photography but you need a kit that can do more than just that. You look for the best jack of all trades with an eye on the budget and you appreciate autofocus.
The typical casual landscape phographers are people who shoot landscapes as well as portraits, parents on vacation (me for example 😉 ) or people who just don’t like to different lens kits for different use cases.