Wide Angle Lens Need: Can I kill two birds with one stone?

Benalpha30

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I am a wildlife and landscape painter, and my current photography setup is a 7D MarkII and the Canon 100-400 L II- obviously this is great for shooting animals, but the next need I have is a good landscape lens to take reference shots for paintings. I don't need ultra wide angle necessarily, just a good performer overall.
The second need I have is a lens to photograph my paintings. I create fine art prints from these photos, so this is where I need a lens that will be sharp from edge to edge, and have minimal distortion and vignetting. I can fix some issues during editing, but the better the lens' performance the more time it will save me.
I am hoping to find a lens that can fill both of these needs. I definitely appreciate weather sealing and IS, but that isn't a deal breaker. I've researched and come up with the following. Which would you pick? Are there others I haven't listed that you would recommend more?

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM- looks to have pretty good optics, but some say it's overpriced
Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS-Not cheap but made for APS-C and looks to check a lot of boxes
Canon 17-40mm f/4 L- Good price for L lens- Uses same filter size as my other. I've read some
mediocre reviews on sharpness which is not ideal for art photography
Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM- Not an L lens but supposedly very sharp and good performance for the money
Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS- Probably more than I want to spend on this lens, even used, but I read it's a great lens and would probably fill both needs well - Thank you for your help!
 

TWX

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I am a wildlife and landscape painter, and my current photography setup is a 7D MarkII and the Canon 100-400 L II- obviously this is great for shooting animals, but the next need I have is a good landscape lens to take reference shots for paintings. I don't need ultra wide angle necessarily, just a good performer overall.
The second need I have is a lens to photograph my paintings. I create fine art prints from these photos, so this is where I need a lens that will be sharp from edge to edge, and have minimal distortion and vignetting. I can fix some issues during editing, but the better the lens' performance the more time it will save me.
I am hoping to find a lens that can fill both of these needs. I definitely appreciate weather sealing and IS, but that isn't a deal breaker. I've researched and come up with the following. Which would you pick? Are there others I haven't listed that you would recommend more?

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM- looks to have pretty good optics, but some say it's overpriced
Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS-Not cheap but made for APS-C and looks to check a lot of boxes
Canon 17-40mm f/4 L- Good price for L lens- Uses same filter size as my other. I've read some
mediocre reviews on sharpness which is not ideal for art photography
Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM- Not an L lens but supposedly very sharp and good performance for the money
Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS- Probably more than I want to spend on this lens, even used, but I read it's a great lens and would probably fill both needs well - Thank you for your help!

It sounds like what you're stating as your second need is probably your stronger need, since your landscape photography in of itself is not your final work due to painting landscapes based on your photographs.

If my assumption is true, then your use for photographing your paintings actually makes your search a little easier, because every aspect of that part of the process is within your control. You can almost shop based on photographs of reference test cards that correspond to the sorts of sizes of your canvas. After all, you're taking a two-dimensional picture of a two-dimensional subject at that point.

Have you tried using your 100-400mm for taking these photographs of your paintings? You'll have to back-up the camera from the painting a good distance, but there are various online calculators for angle of view and depth of field that can assist in determining what sort of distance you need between camera and subject-painting, along with depth of field at a given f/stop for an idealized lens. I used this one and came up with a 100mm focal length on an APS-C sensor providing around 3' by 2' at 15' distance, with around 2' of total depth of field at f/8. Obviously this idealized calculator does not account for distortion, but what could be advantageous here is that since you're principally looking for sharpness and a lack of distortion for a fixed, nonmoving subject, you don't need speed. If your 100-400mm stopped-down provides an image relatively free from distortion and vignetting at its widest then you might not need another lens at all for this purpose. If the 100-400mm is just too long a lens, if you already have other lenses (kit lens?) that offer good optical characteristics when stopped-down, you might not need to purchase a new lens for your digital-copy caputures of your paintings at all.

If the last assumption in the previous paragraph is true, then you can shop for a landscape reference lens for painting solely based on that criteria, rather than based on both studio work and field work. Something to consider here might be a lens and camera, rather than just a lens, especially if you would rather not dismount your wildlife lens in the field, and furthermore you would have, depending on required image quality, options like using a physically small mirrorless camera with a physically small lens, where the whole kit might cost less and not take any more room than what you've identified. Say you went this route, you could get an EOS M-series camera with the 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 lens that collapses down small enough for a jacket pocket, such that your wildlife lens never has to come off your 7D-II. Obviously you're not getting f/2.8 with that lens, but for a landscape shot presumably with the intention of wide depth of field and longer exposure times for better colors you don't want to shoot wide-open anyway. The 15mm at the wide-end is wider than every lens you've listed except the 10-18mm, so it may be wide enough depending on it optical performance at that focal length at a suitable aperture. Plus depending on your local used market, you might luck into a kit that is very inexpensive. When we bought my wife's M100 with that very lens it was $280 with extra batteries included, as someone was upgrading.
 
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SquarePeg

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If you’re photographing landscape scenes for reference later when painting wouldn’t you want it to be “as seen” ? I would think a 35mm would be best. It’s the closest equivalent to the human eye.
 

TWX

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If you’re photographing landscape scenes for reference later when painting wouldn’t you want it to be “as seen” ? I would think a 35mm would be best. It’s the closest equivalent to the human eye.
Benalpha30 is using an APS-C camera though. That results in approximately a 22mm focal length.
 

480sparky

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Wide and ĂĽber-wide glass isn't ideal for photographing flat images. The vignetting and distortion will become painfully obvious. Field curvature may come into play as well.

I'd start at 100mm minimum, 150 for a crop sensor. Like TWX said, you'll need some real estate to pull it off.
 
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Soocom1

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35 to 58mm is the "human eye" equivalent.
in rality its closer to 44mm than anything but its also an aspect of depth of field. Whats the end deaire?

A prime lens would work well but anyrhi g that puts you into that range will work.

The real kicker though is the aperture abilities and overall brightness.

That will require a lens a bit more pricey.

The 100-400 can do some of it but the optical aspects really are not designed for that.
 
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Benalpha30

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Thanks very much for the advice and recommendations TWX. In particular, I had never considered getting a whole separate camera, much less a mirrorless (just haven't researched them very much). If I still go the route of adding a lens for my 7DII, I know I'm trying to check a lot of boxes with just one piece of equipment. I had begun to lean toward the 17-40mm f4 even considering my APS-C sensor. The fact that it would lose the ultra wide angle isn't too concerning as I only use the landscape shots for painting references. I've also heard of its soft edges when wide open, but I can control the lighting when shooting paintings and supposedly it gets good results with higher apertures. If anyone has experienced otherwise definitely let me know!
And I have used the 100-400 to shoot paintings with pretty good results. The downside is we live in a small house and I had to move a bunch of stuff just to get enough distance for shooting! ;) You're correct that #1 need is good fine art results. Shooting video and landscapes would be secondary.
Has anyone used the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM? On paper it looks to fill a lot of roles, but I've also heard the IS is prone to failure and that the lens tends to suck in dust.
 

daveo228i

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Landscape photography can be made with most any focal length lens. Photographing art work is copy work. Flat field lenses needed. Macro lenses provided optimal flat field work as they are designed with that requirement in mind. As I read your post you’re try trying to cost. Understandable but keep in mind you are trying a do-it-all-in-one lens and there ain’t no such animal.


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jcdeboever

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Landscape 70-300
Paintings tilt shift lens 28mm or 35mm or 85mm. Depends on the size of your paintings and the room to shoot it. If your paintings are large and you don't have a lot of room, 28 would be good.
 

TWX

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I have the 17-55mm f/2.8. I like it a lot wide open, but stopped-down it's not so incredibly better than the 18-55mm f/3.5-6.3(?) IS II kit lens to be necessarily worth the money. I bought mine to take casual indoor pictures of my family where the lighting is poor. It's large and heavy compared to the kit lens. I also have the 10-22mm, I again wanted lower light than the 10-18mm offered, willing to sacrifice a little sharpness for more aperture. It's also large and heavy though.

Just FYI, I'm definitely in the amateur/hobbyist realm, if someone more experienced has other advice please pay attention to them, it's probably at least as good if not better than my own.
 
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Benalpha30

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I appreciate everyone's input! I have to admit to knowing next to nothing about tilt shift lenses, so research would definitely be required there. 480sparky mentioned that any wide/ ultrawide lens will be inadequate for shooting paintings because of distortion and vignetting will be really bad. Is that the case when shooting a flat surface with any lens under 100mm? I used to shoot paintings with a crummy 18-55 kit lens, and I don't remember distortion being too bad..but it was a while ago. Would any of you recommend getting one lens for landscape and, say, a 50mm prime for shooting paintings?
 

480sparky

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First, let's discuss where you're going to be shooting these paintings. What lighting are you going to use? How much space do you have available? Will it be permanent, or set up as needed?

One of my biggest problems with paintings is the texture of the paint itself... and it's tendency to reflect light. If the texture is very rough and shiny, you'll have reflection issues. You may have to start using polarizing sheets on the lighting and a filter on the lens.

There's more to photographing things like this than aiming the camera at the subject.
 
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Benalpha30

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First, let's discuss where you're going to be shooting these paintings. What lighting are you going to use? How much space do you have available? Will it be permanent, or set up as needed?

One of my biggest problems with paintings is the texture of the paint itself... and it's tendency to reflect light. If the texture is very rough and shiny, you'll have reflection issues. You may have to start using polarizing sheets on the lighting and a filter on the lens.

There's more to photographing things like this than aiming the camera at the subject.

I shoot my paintings with directional light using compact fluorescents of the appropriate temperature and umbrellas to disperse the light. I also photograph the paintings before varnishing which cuts down on the glare. I don't have a ton of space but enough at least to use my 100-400 about 15 ft away to get some shots. It's a great lens, but not having to shoot that far away would be helpful. Most of my work is on the smaller side, with the largest I've done to date being 20"x30". I'll attach an image
GUNNISON-CROSSING-BEN-CONGDON-FINE-ART-BCFA-COLORADO-OIL-PAINTING-MOUNTAINS-ELK-RIVER-BULL.jpg
 

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Canon 50mm f/2.5 compact macro???
 

Soocom1

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What my experimentation has shown me with my Fuji mirrorless, is that a macro set out to infinity works wonders.
The Shift lens things is something that takes some serious understanding.

A first step would be a bellows lens set for the EOS system first. Add in a 35, 50 or 100mm bellows lens and start there.

A macro has different aspects that would take a lot of 'splanin.
 

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