Some of my best landscape and travel photos were taken with my long lens. As much as I love lightening my load, the extra weight of a long lens is well worth carrying as it allows me to create images I would not be able to capture in any other way.
When I first bought my Canon 100-400 mm lens a few years ago I was hesitant to lug it around on my annual European photo trips. It is pretty heavy and bulky and I was wondering how much I would use it and if it was really worth the hassle.
15 years later, I now never leave home without it. On our photo tours and reconnaissance trips, we usually travel in a car or van, which means that I don’t have to carry the lens with me all the time. I can leave it in the vehicle and only grab it when needed.
I absolutely love snooping around a landscape with this lens and finding exciting compositions which are difficult to recognize from a distance. This really opens up a whole new dimension to landscape photography, especially when you find yourself in a position where you are looking down on your subject. You will be able to create wonderful compositions that would simply not be possible without a long lens.
Some photographers believe that they can get by with a shorter lens and then just crop the photo later in post-processing. I disagree with this idea because, without the reach of a long lens, most people just don’t see the distant compositions.
For the purpose of this discussion, the long lens category would be in the 200-500 mm range on a full-frame sensor. The equivocal range on an APS-C sensor would be about 125-312 mm and on a micro 4/3td sensor it would be 100-250 mm.
I am now traveling with a full-frame Sony system and continue to carry their 100-400 mm lens. Other options would be the 70-300 mm or the 70-200 f 2.8 with a 1.4 or 2x converter.
I am hooked on long lens photography for landscape and travel photography and will continue to carry the gear for as long I can. If the weight ever gets to be too much, I will most likely switch to the lighter micro 4/3td system.