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4 Great Lenses for Outdoor Winter Light
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4 Great Lenses for Outdoor Winter Light

You can optimize your experience shooting on a cold, wintry day by using one of these 4 lenses that are great for outdoor winter light.


You’ve probably already noticed that outdoor light changes from season to season, and there’s nothing quite like shooting during a bright, sunny day in the winter.

Photo credit: Flikr via Kevin Pedraja

With sunlight reflecting off the snow, scenes captured during the winter can look wholly different than they do during the other three seasons. So why not buy the optimal lens for that specific wintry light?

During the winter, the angle at which the sun hits the horizon is smaller, and the amount of time the direct sunlight is reflected is longer, so the harsh blue tint that usually comes with summer light is filtered out. Also, the shadows that the sun casts in winter are much less severe. These four lenses allow you to optimize shooting winter light, whether you’re taking an action shot or just capturing a snowy day.

1. Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II Image Stabilizer Telephoto Zoom Lens

With the Winter Olympics coming up, many people are gearing up to take photos of outdoor winter sports and the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II Image Stabilizer Telephoto Zoom Lens for $299 is a great option to capture all the action. This lens from Canon is an excellent option to bring outdoors because, although it incorporates image stabilizer technology, it remains lightweight and durable. The image stabilizer lets you hand-hold the camera for shutter speeds that are much slower than a camera without one. And, even on a gray snowy day with low light, the telephoto zoom lets you capture a clear image of an athlete or skier from a long distance away.

  • Hand-holdable at shutter speeds as slow as 1/15of a second

  • UD-glass lens

  • Fast and accurate auto-focus

  • 55-250mm f/4-5.6

  • Affordable price

  • Comes with Canon 1-year limited warranty

2. Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S Nikkor

For shooting portraits outdoors in the winter, one of the best lenses is the Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S Nikkor,available for $496.95. This lens is an ultra-fast medium telephoto lens that has Nikon’s outstanding Internal Focus system, which does an excellent job producing exceptionally clear images at any aperture. The lens is also ultra-durable and lightweight, so it won’t be a hassle to deal with outdoors. One perk of buying this lens is that it also comes with an HB-55 Bayonet Lens Hood, which is great at reducing flare if there is snow on the ground.

  • Designed for shooting stills and HD video

  • Features Nikon’s Internal Focus system

  • Super Integrated Coating

  • Silent Wave Motor

  • 12.4 oz in weight

3. Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR DI-II LD Aspherical (IF) Standard Zoom Lens

If you’re thinking about taking some wintertime photos while you’re downhill skiing or moving fast, consider investing in the Tamron the SP 17-50/2.8. This Tamron lens, which can be purchased for $499, is a great lens for landscape photography, and it will do well capturing snow-capped peaks. The lens has internal surface coatings that reduce the ghosting and flare created by the light reflecting off the snow. Also, the Tamron lens is lightweight and won’t be cumbersome when you’re navigating down the mountain especially if you’re starting on the bunny slopes.

  • Designed for use with digital cameras

  • Fast f/2.8 aperture

  • F stop range: 1.8-32

  • 10.6 in closest focusing distance

  • 14 oz. in weight

4. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM AutoFocus Telephoto Zoom Lens

Another great lens choice because of its phenomenal zoom, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM is an excellent lens to use for getting close-up action shots. One great attribute of this L-series lens is that it’s completely dust and moisture resistant, which can help keep condensation out when you’re shooting in the cold. This lens is one of the best reviewed and highest acclaimed in the EF line, and it’s definitely worth the investment of $2,499.

  • Minimum focusing distance of 1.2m/3.9ft at all zoom settings

  • 4 stops of correction at all focal lengths

  • Dust- and moisture-resistant

  • Designed for use in challenging environments

  • 52.6 oz. in weight

  • F-stop range: 2.8 to 32

If you’re ready to photograph in the winter, having durable, flexible and professional-quality lenses can make the most out of the unique light the winter sun provides. As you learn your way around outdoor winter photography, the Adorama Learning Center offers great tips for getting the lighting right.

Want to learn more about wintertime photography? Check out these articles:

What’s your favorite lens for shooting photos outdoors in the wintertime?


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