For so many things in photography, it seems like people think that bigger (or more) is better.
Bigger cameras, bigger lenses, bigger kits, heck, even bigger landscapes will help you get better landscape photos, right?
Well, that's not exactly the case.
As David Johnston points out in the video above, you really only need two lenses for landscape photography.
Have a look at the video, and consider the case he makes for carrying just two lenses. I think he makes a compelling argument.
I've outlined a few of David's points below for easy reference.
Editor's Tip: Before you buy another lens, learn why every photographer needs a 50mm lens in their bag.
Two Lenses Makes Things Simple
As I mentioned in the introduction, some photographers think that having a bigger and better kit will help them get better photos.
But as David argues, having more lenses from which to choose doesn't exactly help you because it's easy to be overwhelmed with making the right choice of lens for the shot.
That means that rather than thinking about things like composition and framing, you're stuck trying to decide between the myriad of lenses you have in your bag.
By paring your kit down to just two lenses, you can avoid this problem and take action to actually execute your shots.
Best Lenses for Landscape Photography: 12mm Wide-Angle
According to David - and I have to agree - a must-have lens for landscape photography is a wide-angle.
More specifically, he argues that a 12mm wide-angle lens is ideal.
With a 12mm lens, you can capture all the details you want in a landscape from foreground to background and side to side.
These enormous vistas and grand landscapes are the types of photos most people think of when they think of landscape photography.
With a 12mm, you can capture those big, grand shots whether you shoot with a full frame camera or a crop sensor camera.
On a full frame camera, a 12mm lens acts like a 12mm lens. But on a crop sensor camera, you're working with an effective focal length closer to the 18-20mm range.
Still, even with that longer effective focal length, you're operating well within the wide-angle range to get photos like the one shown above.
Better still, since a 12mm lens is a prime lens with a fixed focal length, you get to reap a few other benefits as well.
Prime lenses are not only sharper than zooms, but they also have wider apertures that allow you to shoot in low-light situations without speeding up the shutter or boosting the ISO.
Additionally, many prime lenses are quite affordable, especially if you buy pre-owned, meaning you can get the lens you want without having to shell out a ton of money.
Editor's Tip: If you're looking to expand your photography kit, consult this guideline for the best prime lenses to buy.
Best Lenses for Landscape Photography: 70-200mm
On the other end of the spectrum is the 70-200mm lens.
Unlike the 12mm discussed above, a 70-200mm lens is a zoom lens that allows you to get much more intimate shots of the landscape.
This is advantageous for a couple of reasons.
First, zoom lenses are incredibly versatile in that you can get mid-range shots at 70mm and telephoto shots at 200mm (with many variations in between).
Second, the 70-200mm lens in particular is excellent for landscapes because it gives you that pared-down view of the landscape that simplifies the shot.
For example, instead of taking a wide-angle photo that incorporates nearly everything you see with your eyes, you can use a 70-200mm lens to highlight features of the landscape that might otherwise get lost.
Find a tree or a flower, a lone mountain peak or an area of shadow and highlight, and use that as your primary subject. You can fill the frame with any of these elements and create a unique, straightforward landscape photo that still has tons of impact.
The point here is that you don't have to have every possible lens combination in your bag to get gorgeous landscape photos.
Instead, you'll likely find that the best focal length for landscape photography is a combination of the wide-angle and zoom lenses discussed here.
By having just these two lenses, you cover everything from wide-angle to telephoto, which is why you might want to consider these as the best lenses for landscape photography.
And, as I noted earlier, if you snag a couple of pre-owned lenses for landscape photography, you can stretch your budget and get better lenses for less!