ARTICLE

The best Canon mirrorless kit for landscape photography

Which are the best mirrorless cameras and lenses for landscape photography? Canon Ambassador and multi-award-winning nature photographer Radomir Jakubowski reveals his favourite kit from the Canon EOS R System.
Sand-coloured mountains reflected in a large lake. The rocky shoreline in the foreground is frosty and mist can be seen rising from the still water behind.

The groundbreaking technology in the mirrorless Canon EOS R5 has been a game-changer for landscape photographers such as Canon Ambassador Radomir Jakubowski. "I always used to use Live View for landscape photography with a DSLR, but now I have Live View in the viewfinder, which is very convenient," he says. "It means that I can zoom into the image at 100% and check that it's sharp enough from the front to the back." Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM lens at 17mm, 1/6 sec, f/11 and ISO100. © Radomir Jakubowski

Landscape photographers have long relied on Canon's EOS DSLRs and EF lenses to document the changing face of the planet. But the burgeoning Canon EOS R System opens up a new world of possibilities. With their full-frame sensors and advanced mirrorless technology, Canon EOS R System cameras are at the cutting edge of imaging, though it's the revolutionary RF lens mount that's the real game-changer. Canon's RF primes and zooms are designed for optical excellence, and with their compact size and reduced weight, they're a great choice when trekking to find the perfect viewpoint.
So which are the best Canon mirrorless cameras for landscape photography? And, whether you're supplementing an EF or EF-S camera or fully migrating to the mirrorless EOS R System, which RF prime and zoom lenses should you choose?

Here, German nature photographer and Canon Ambassador Radomir Jakubowski details which mirrorless bodies and lenses make the best choices for his work, while Mike Burnhill, Senior Product Specialist at Canon Europe, also offers his invaluable technical insight.
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Heavy rain falls over mountainous terrain. On one side of the cloudburst, the sky is light blue, on the other a golden orange.

Radomir captured this image of a rainstorm in the spectacular Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland, using a tripod to steady the camera so he could precisely frame the scene. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 35mm, 1/30 sec, f/8 and ISO100. © Radomir Jakubowski

A Canon EOS R5 camera on a tripod in the rain, set up by a stream.

Radomir says that he loves to shoot in challenging weather, and his weather-sealed Canon EOS R5 performs well in tough conditions.

1. Best mirrorless camera for landscapes: Canon EOS R5

With its 45MP full-frame CMOS sensor, high-resolution displays and weather sealing, the Canon EOS R5 is a camera that's right at home in the great outdoors. "Before going mirrorless, I used to shoot with a Canon EOS-1D X Mark III and a Canon EOS 5DS R," reveals Radomir. "I could see that mirrorless was going to be the future, so I bought a Canon EOS R in January 2020 just to see how it worked. I could see how much power and potential there was inside the EOS R System, and the Canon EOS R5 is now the camera I mainly use for landscapes.
The Canon EOS R5 camera.

Canon EOS R5

The EOS R5's uncompromising performance will revolutionise your photography and filmmaking.
"I also have the Canon EOS R6," Radomir continues. "If you want a main body and a second body, then the EOS R6 really complements the EOS R5. If you have to print larger than a metre, the Canon EOS R5 is obviously a better choice, but for most work they are quite similar."

Mike agrees that a high-resolution sensor is always desirable for scenic shots: "It allows you to clearly see the individual components and organic structure of the landscape," he explains. But he also highlights some of the smaller features of the Canon EOS R5 that can make a big difference for landscape photography. "For example, you no longer have to carry a cable release with you because you can use the Canon Camera Connect app to turn your smartphone into a Bluetooth remote release," he says.
A mountain range reflected in a shallow body of tranquil water filled with jagged rocks.

Radomir captured this dawn shot in Rondane National Park, the oldest national park in Norway. He used the widest focal length on the Canon RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM lens, fitted with a graduated ND filter. "It was the perfect morning," he says. "Usually you have to cope with wind and cloud when you're shooting landscapes in Norway, but that morning it was perfectly still – and -3°C." Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM lens at 14mm, 1/4 sec, f/11 and ISO100. © Radomir Jakubowski

Fluffy clouds and a rocky mountain range, frozen in places, are bathed in an orange glow emanating from the setting sun in the distance.

"With the Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM and RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM lenses, you're able to capture the best sun star by setting an aperture of f/16 or f/22," says Radomir. "These Canon lenses are two of the best I've used for sun stars. And, also, when you're shooting into the sun, it's incredible how well they are corrected when it comes to lens flare." Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 15mm, 1/8 sec, f/16 and ISO100. © Radomir Jakubowski

2. Best wide-angle lenses for mirrorless landscape photography: Canon RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM and Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM

"Both of these wide-angle lenses have fantastic autofocus and image stabilisation," explains Radomir. "So the question is, what do you need as a photographer? Do you want a smaller, lightweight lens that's a great choice for general landscape photography? In which case, go for the Canon RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM. Or do you need a fast aperture for shooting nightscapes, the Northern Lights, stars and so on? In which case, you have to go for the Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM.
A Canon RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM lens.

Canon RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM

When space is tight, this compact ultra-wide zoom is an ideal choice for capturing all detail in a scene.
"If you're photographing the Milky Way, for example, you can't use an exposure that's too long if you don't want motion blur," Radomir continues. "Having the option to go to f/2.8 means that you don't have to go so high with the ISO."

For those photos where you want to squeeze as much of the scenery into the frame as possible, reach for the Canon RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM – the widest native lens for the RF system. "The 1mm difference between 14mm and 15mm makes an incredible difference to the coverage of the subject," says Mike. "Moving from 300mm to 400mm in a telephoto lens might not be that noticeable, but every millimetre counts with a wide-angle lens."

As Radomir points out, the RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM also focuses a bit closer than the RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM (the former has a minimum focus distance of 0.2m, the latter 0.28m), so you can exploit the lens's wide angle of view while at the same time physically getting closer to foreground objects, thus making them fill more of the frame.

The filter thread size may also be an important consideration, Radomir adds. "The RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM has a 77mm filter thread and the RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM has an 82mm filter thread, which is something to think about if you want to easily share filters between your other Canon lenses."

One of the benefits of moving to the Canon EOS R System is that you can continue using your favourite Canon EF and EF-S lenses, such as the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM or the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM, via an EF-EOS R mount adapter.

There are three mount adapters available, including Drop-In Filter Mount Adapter EF-EOS R, which enables the use of drop-in filters. "You can use this to add a polariser to any EF or EF-S lens, including the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM where it's not possible to fit a filter to the front of the lens," explains Mike. "A variable ND drop-in filter is also available, which is useful if you want to use a certain shutter speed and aperture combination, or if you want to shoot a long exposure landscape."
Yellowing autumn trees on a hillside in front of a steep rock face.

Radomir often works with an RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM lens when shooting in the mountains. He took this image in Switzerland, using the telephoto zoom to isolate the autumn colours against the dark mountain in the background. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM lens at 145mm, 0.8 sec, f/14 and ISO100. © Radomir Jakubowski

3. Best mirrorless system telephoto lens for landscape details: Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM

"The Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM is the best telephoto zoom I have ever used," enthuses Radomir. "The image quality is outstanding, and when you're shooting relatively close, it performs like a prime lens.

"I often take this telephoto zoom lens to isolate details in the landscape," he continues. "It's quite light and really small, which is useful if, like me, you are often in the mountains. I also like the fact that it has a standard 77mm diameter filter thread, which means I can use it with my polarising filters to reduce reflections and improve colours in the landscape."
The Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM lens.

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM

With 5-stop Image Stabilization and L-series build quality, the RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM delivers detail, clarity and an exceptional telephoto performance.
Mike adds, "The high level of compression that the Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM can achieve allows landscape photographers to see things in a very different way than the standard wide-angle view. It's fully weather-sealed and about the same size as the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens. It was going to be difficult to improve on the image quality of that lens, so we added an extra 100mm as that's more beneficial than chasing ever-decreasing margins of image performance enhancements."
Tall pine trees rising out of the mist in a large valley.

This photograph was taken just before sunrise. The RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM lens enabled Radomir to atmospherically frame the mist-shrouded trees. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 115mm, 1/8 sec, f/11 and ISO100. © Radomir Jakubowski

4. Best mirrorless system lens for general landscape photography: Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM

"I love to work with telephoto lenses for landscape photography," says Radomir. "When I don't know what to expect, I take the Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM. But when I'm familiar with the location and can anticipate what will be going on in the landscape, I will take the Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM.

"The Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM can sometimes be a little bit long at 100mm, so the RF 70-200 F2.8L IS USM is more useful for general landscape photography. You can combine it with the Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM or the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM and cover a lot of ground with just those two lenses. I really like the fact that it's so small and more than 400g lighter than the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM."
The Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM lens.

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM

This high-performance f/2.8 telephoto zoom offers exceptional image quality in a compact body, designed to work in all conditions.
Mike is equally enthusiastic about the compact size of this lens. "It readily fits into a camera bag and is a much easier lens to carry around than the EF equivalent. And of course, the Canon RF 70-200mm F4L IS USM is even smaller. It's comparable in size to the Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM and is a great option when you don't need the faster maximum aperture of the flagship zoom.

"The RF 70-200mm F4L IS USM is an L-Series lens, so just like the f/2.8 version, it's totally weather-sealed. It even has the heat-resistant paint that we use on our super telephoto lenses, so in bright sunlight it doesn't suffer from any drop in image performance. Optically, the Canon RF 70-200mm F4L IS USM is absolutely stunning. It's better all the way through the zoom range than the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM, which is razor sharp. It's also smaller, focuses faster and closer, and features better IS."
Mountains reflected in a rock pool.

Radomir used the flexibility offered by the RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM lens to frame this reflection to great effect. "I composed the shot so that the mountains looked the right way up in the reflection and cropped tightly so that you have to think about what you're looking at," he says. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM lens at 53mm, 8 sec, f/22 and ISO100. © Radomir Jakubowski

5. Best mirrorless lens for travel landscapes: Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM

"For some landscape photographers, a 24-105mm or 24-70mm zoom lens is the most important one in their bags," reveals Radomir. "I like to have a lens that offers more than 70mm at the long end, which is why I went for the Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM instead of the RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM. It just means that I don't have to switch to the RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM as quickly, because I have an extra 35mm focal length to play with."

Mike adds: "Optically, the Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM is superior to the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM, but there are other things within the system that make it more appealing generally. It has the better focusing system and better IS, and it's also a smaller size."
The Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM camera.

Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM

A highly versatile zoom lens offering photographers and filmmakers an ideal balance between performance, portability and image quality.
A path through a forest at night. Fallen leaves are scattered all around.

Radomir prefers the flexibility of a zoom lens for landscapes but keeps the RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM in his bag to take advantage of the large maximum aperture and vignetting to enhance the mood of pictures – such as this dark forest scene. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM lens at 8 sec, f/1.8 and ISO100. © Radomir Jakubowski

Textures in a riverbed shot close up, resembling an aerial landscape.

The close-focusing capability of the RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM enables Radomir to shoot "micro landscapes" such as the textures in this riverbed. Taken on a Canon EOS R6 with a Canon RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM lens at 1/160 sec, f/10 and ISO400. © Radomir Jakubowski

6. Best lens for handheld landscape photos: Canon RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM

"When I'm going out without the real intention of taking pictures, I always take the Canon EOS R6 and the RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM with me," says Radomir. "I use it for everything – from landscapes and portraits to reportage and macro. I like the f/1.8 aperture and the vignetting. I know some photographers say that they can just add a vignette when they process their images, but for me that's part of the character of a lens. I also love the combination of 35mm focal length and 5-stops of image stabilisation (IS), which makes it possible for me to shoot one-second exposures handheld."

"Landscape photography can cover many different aspects," elaborates Mike. "It's not just about going into the countryside, it can focus on cities as well. The Canon RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM is a very compact lens and, with the fast aperture and IS, is really well suited to shooting in low-light conditions, when cities and urban areas take on a magical glow."
A Canon RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM lens.

Canon RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM

A wide-angle prime lens with a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture and macro capabilities.
Light coming in among the trees, illuminating the autumn leaves of a low branch.

"I underexposed this shot by two or three stops to highlight the yellow and orange leaves," says Radomir. "The tree really pops out of the image because I used the large f/2 aperture of the RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM rather than f/4 on the RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM, and the vignetting of the lens makes the corners even darker." Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM lens at 1/2000 sec, f/2 and ISO100. © Radomir Jakubowski

7. Best mirrorless system lens for moody long-lens landscapes: Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM

"Although I prefer to take the Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM or the Canon RF 70-200 F2.8L IS USM when I shoot landscapes, I really like the fact that this lens is so lightweight," explains Radomir. "When I go out with my Canon EOS R6 and Canon RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM, I put the Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM in my pocket. When I'm not sure what I will be shooting, I prefer to use prime lenses rather than zooms. I find that I can focus on my photography better with primes.
The Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM lens.

Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM

Take your portraits to the next level with a compact, lightweight RF prime lens that flatters your subjects and inspires you to discover beautiful detail.
"There are not so many landscape images that lend themselves to the Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM, but you will always find some shots that really suit the large f/2 aperture and the attractive vignetting."

Mike says that although the Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM is not a classic landscape lens, it's a very good all-rounder: "The close-up ability does allow you to get a different perspective, with the half life-size magnification giving you a good balance between details in the foreground and the background when you need it."

Shkruar nga Marcus Hawkins


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