The Only Three Lenses You Need for Landscape Photography

If you’re just getting into landscape photography and you’re not sure what lenses you actually need for this genre, photographer Mads Peter Iversen is here to help. In one of his most popular videos to date, Iversen lays out the only 3 lenses you “need” for landscape photography.”

First things first: you don’t absolutely need all three of these lenses in order to start taking landscape photos—even a kit lens is up to the task when you start out. The point Iversen is making in the video above is that, using only these three lenses, you cover every need you might ever have as a landscape photographer.

These lenses are:

  • A wide-angle zoom
  • A standard zoom, and
  • A telephoto zoom

Using just these three lenses, Iversen is able to capture a wide range of photos:

Shot at 12mm
Shot at 46mm, plus a slight crop
Shot at 200mm, plus a heavy crop

Over the course of the video, Iversen explains the pros and cons of each of these lenses, outlines some of the many options out there in each of the above categories and (controversially) explains “why you should not waste your money on prime lenses.” A few prime-lens devotees probably just burst a blood vessel in one or both eyes, but we suggest you hear Mads out.

He takes each of the above categories one by one, explaining the advantages, what they’re good at, what they’re not so good at, and even listing specific lenses for various mounts, budgets, and use cases.

The video as a whole is very informative, especially for beginners and enthusiasts. Iversen covers all of the bases: do you need a fast aperture? what focal range is best? is image stabilization a must? what about nightscapes? and, finally, what about budget?

Check out the full video up top to hear Iversen’s easy-to-follow answer to this extremely common question, and feel free to chime in with your own advice in the comments. Are there any exceptions he missed? Any reason to go with primes if you’re doing “standard” landscape photography? And any specific lenses he didn’t mention that seasoned landscapers would recommend? Let us know in the comments.

And if you appreciate Iversen’s advice and style, head over to his YouTube channel where you’ll find lots more useful tutorials, tips, and gear advice.

Image credits: All photos by Mads Peter Iversen and used with permission.