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  1. #1
    alex gard's Avatar
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    Discussing telephoto lenses for landscape photography

    I was wondering what everyone's opinion would be on shooting landscapes with telephoto lenses? The longest focal length I am using at the moment is a zeiss 150mm f/4 on a hassy. I am looking into swapping it for the 180 f/4 which apparently is very sharp or alternatively stepping up to a longer focal length perhaps 250mm. Is this justifiable for primarily landscape photography? I was wondering if anyone had any advice or views on taking a longer view rather than wider for landscapes. I've found it has often helped me isolate subjects that are distant that I think would make a nice capture. I'm new to these forums and my internet is terrible so excuse me if this has been discussed already.

  2. #2

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    I use telephotos all the time for landscape work, as they make for dynamic compositions especially where the foreshortening effects work very well in mountains and where long coastal vistas are possible. No knowledge of Hasselblad, however.

  3. #3
    Tony-S's Avatar
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    Well, I think it's as true today as ever: use the focal length required to fulfill your compositional goals.

  4. #4
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    I use wide angle through telephotos. (Mamiya 6x7 not Hassie 6x6) so the angle of view is slightly different. Having said that, I think that if you have a 150, going to a 180 has very little difference in the angle of view. The 250 would be a better pick. However, I wouldn't swap one for the other. You'll miss too many shots that the 150 is good for. Is it economical for you to have both the 150 and 250?

    Also, you didn't mention what other lenses you have. That could help make a decision.

    (edited for clarity)

  5. #5

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    I use my 150 on the Hasselblad quite a lot, both for landscapes and other kinds of things. If your vision works in a "less is more" sort of way, it's a good way to go. If you want to be very selective in your compositions, a 250 might be a better choice as an addition to your 150, rather than the 180. Aside from a converter, another good way to find out might be to rent one or both.

  6. #6
    fotch's Avatar
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    No one lens is better that any other. Choice depends on what you are trying to achieve given your location, subject, lens available, and other variables. Rather than "I could take a better picture if I had...." it should be "How can I take a better picture with what I have".
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  7. #7

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    I once took a 35mm shot of a wooden bridge over a small lake in the Japanese gardens at the St. Louis Botanical gardens. There was a big white piece of limestone sticking up out of the lake that was pretty far away from the bridge. I used my zoom at about 135mm to compress the image so the rock seemed real close to the bridge. I was so happy with the end result that I framed the finished photograph.

    Telephotos are great for landscape. It just depends upon your vision.

  8. #8
    Peltigera's Avatar
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    I use a long-ish lens frequently for landscape work, and quite like using longer focal lengths for that compression effect you mention.

    My 1958 Ilford Manual of Photography recommends telephoto lenses for landscapes which is contrary to the general advice given today where people mostly recommend wide angle lenses - it is really a matter of fashion. If you want good pictures rather than fashionable ones, go with telephoto lenses.

  9. #9
    Trail Images's Avatar
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    I like the use of telephoto lenses in landscape work. Of course as already mentioned it depends upon the compositional needs or isolation of the subject outcome you are looking for. I not too long ago bought a 180 for my Mamiya 6x7 and found it has worked well for several recent landscape shots. It would be hard for me to know if a 250 at this point is necessary for future comps, but that is what makes things interesting out in the field. I would also add that my jump was from a 127 up to a 180 and not say a 150 to 180. So, the difference for me was noticeable and fits my needs to date.

  10. #10

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    On the less expensive side of the show, I have started using a Pentax-M 200mm F4 for 'up-river' looking photos etc. I haven't enlarged the negatives yet but combined with a red 25 filter the negatives look good. It is difficult to have everything in focus though even with f22 with tree branches/rocks being well outside the hyper-focal distance.

    I'll ty and remember to post these here when I get them printed.

    EDIT: Oooops I was refering to 35mm use and didn't realise this was a MF thread. It still applies though.

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