Best lenses for the Canon EOS 5DS R: Good glass for landscape, architecture, and close-up photography

By Paul Carroll - Tuesday December 22 2015

Lens Recommendations
Introduction | Best ultra-wide-angle prime: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC | Best wide-angle prime: Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM A | Best wide-angle zoom: Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM A | Best telephoto macro: Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T 100mm f/2 ZE

Best ultra-wide-angle prime: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC

On full-frame sensors, an ultra-wide-angle lens is defined as having a focal length of 20mm or less, and is an important lens for architecture and landscape photographers. For architecture, and particularly for interiors where space can be restricted, the ultra-wide field-of-view ensures that you can fit everything in. Rectilinear ultra-wide-angle lenses also keep lines straight, so images don’t suffer as much distortion as with fisheye lenses, which is particularly useful for professionals. Ultra-wide-angle lenses can also be used creatively for more dynamic images, as they exaggerate the space between the near and the far. That makes them popular with landscape photographers who want to emphasize something in the foreground to make it look big and dominating. This effect can also work well for a range of other subjects, as well as portraiture or product photography, with unusual and dramatic effects.

We’ve tested four ultra-wide-angle prime lenses on the Canon EOS 5DS R, with scores ranging from a high of 31 points on the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Aspherical to a low of 22 points on the Carl Zeiss Distagon T 18mm f/3.5 ZE.



The manual focus $319 Samyang 14mm wins overall with 31 points, offering the best value for money if you can live without autofocus. With 30 points overall, the $2650 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 15mm f/2.8 costs over 8 times as much, but offers the best lens metrics for sharpness and transmission, as well as for chromatic aberration. At $1999, the Canon 14mm f/2.8L is almost as expensive as the Zeiss, and while comparable for some lens metrics, its sharpness and chromatic aberration are well down compared to the German-made optic.

At the wider aperture settings (f/2.8 and f/4), both the Samyang and Zeiss lenses offer sharper and more homogenous resolution than the Canon 14mm at the same settings. At f/2.8, the Canon 14mm f/2.8L is sharp in the center, but with some edge softness that is improved, but not completely eradicated, by stopping down to f/4. Sharpness is more homogenous on the Canon 14mm between f/5.6 and f/22, with the strongest resolution for the own-brand ultra-wide-angle prime at f/5.6 and f/8. The Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 offers razor-sharp edge-to-edge results between f/2.8 and f/5.6, with resolution at f/8 and f/11 outstanding in the center of the frame, but dropping off a little bit in the outer field. At the minimum f/22 aperture setting on all three lenses, the Samyang actually fares the best for overall sharpness, which is important for landscape photographers looking to extend depth of field.