When we think of landscapes, we often think of sweeping vistas and wide views of mountain ranges. However, sometimes it can pay to hyper-focus on just one key element in a scene. You can do this easily by using telephoto zooms.
Using telephoto lenses for landscapes isn’t as crazy as it sounds. You could come across a scene where gorgeous standout details could become lost. With telephoto zooms, you can easily isolate specific features and details. On top of this, you can also create some gorgeous compression, which can make objects that are far away, look much closer than they really are. Just like the sheer cliff face behind the trees in the lead image.
In this roundup, we’re going to take a quick look at five telephoto zooms that are lightweight, weather-sealed, sharp and incredibly versatile. These lenses will serve any landscape photographer well.
Telephoto zooms — Olympus 12-100mm f/4 PRO
The Olympus 12-100mm f/4 PRO is just a stunning lens. It’s just as comfortable shooting landscapes as it is capturing events. The manual focus clutch will let you quickly override the autofocus so you can nail the shot. The weather sealing will fight off inclement weather when you’re in the field, and the colors it renders are gorgeous.
When used with an Olympus micro four-thirds camera, dual body and lens stabilization kicks in. You can easily forego a tripod. The 24-200mm equivalent focal range means you can shoot sweeping scenes and you can focus on one gorgeous feature. It weighs just 1.23lbs and is small enough that it won’t burden you on long hikes. It’s a must-have when it comes to micro four-thirds telephoto zooms.
Panasonic Lumix S Pro 70-200mm f/4
There aren’t very many telephoto zooms out there for L mount photographers. However, when you have one available that’s as good as the Panasonic Lumix S f/4 Pro, it doesn’t matter. This lens lives up to its Pro moniker thanks to its stellar build quality, incredible weather sealing and sharp optics. Whether you’re focusing on a lone tree in the distance or the peak of a mountain, this lens will capture all of the glory.
The constant aperture of f/4 is more than enough for landscapes, and the lens stabilization makes it easy to handhold. However, there is a built-in tripod collar if you prefer to use a tripod. The double focus motor system (one linear and one stepping motor) will ensure that you never miss a shot. It weighs 2.17lbs, which isn’t bad for a full-frame 70-200mm lens. If you shoot landscapes with L mount cameras, check this beautiful lens out.
Telephoto zooms — Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD
Tamron’s 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD is another stellar optic for landscape photography. Because it’s a third-party lens, you can get a significantly faster maximum aperture for roughly the same price as a first-party f/4 zoom without making compromises in any other areas.
This option from Tamron for Sony E mount photographers features dual linear focus motors. There are a whopping six low dispersion elements that help create gorgeous colors, high contrast, and low ghosting and flaring. The bright f/2.8 aperture will make capturing landscapes during dawn and dusk easier, and the weather sealing will protect your investment while out in the elements.
Canon RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM
It took a while for Canon to get an f/4 70-200m lens to market. Still, the wait has been worth it. The Canon RF 70-200mm f/4 is a stunning lens that features seriously sharp L series optics. Weather sealing, optical image stabilization, rapid autofocus motors, solid construction, and fluorine coatings make this an ideal lens to take with you on your landscape photography adventures.
Say goodbye to your tripod. This lens, when paired with the EOS R5 or EOS R6 will give you 7.5 stops of image stabilization. The configurable control ring can be set to control just about any setting you desire. This will help keep you in the moment and out of the menus. Amazingly, it weighs 1.5lbs! This full-frame telephoto zoom is approaching micro four-thirds lens weights. Now that’s impressive.
Telephoto zooms — Fujifilm XF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 R LM OIS WR
The Fujifilm 70-300mm f/4-5.6 R LM OIS WR has a super long list of features that make it great for landscape photography and more. First of all, this lens has the longest equivalent focal range out of any lens on this list. With the Fujifilm crop factor of 1.5x, you’re looking at an equivalent focal range of 107-457mm. Fancy doing some wildlife photography between landscape shots? Well, that’s no problem with this lens.
The weather-sealed design will come in handy during the fall months. It’s light at 1.3lbs, and the 5.5 stops of stabilization will help you save time by not having to set up a tripod. That light changes quickly so every second counts. The colors this lens renders are nice and vibrant, so your images of fall leaves will pop. It’s incredibly affordable as well.