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Landscape photography is one of the oldest and most popular genres of photography that allows viewers to experience the magnificence of the world they live in. Choosing the right camera for landscape photography is a difficult task, in large part because of the huge list of features that every modern camera’s marketing pitch promotes.
When you’re choosing the right camera for landscape photography though you’re going to need to hone down your list of requirements to ensure that you can get the most out of your equipment and present the best possible photos of the scenes you capture at a price that suits your budget.
What are the Main Features to Consider When Choosing a Camera for Landscape Photography?
Landscape photography is a unique type of art form and the ideal camera requires quite specific features that even a wildlife photographer wouldn’t necessarily be looking for!
A natural wildlife photographer works in similar environments but, unlike a landscape photographer, they need a faster shutter speed and higher frame rate. A landscape photographer on the other hand needs different features in their camera’s makeup to capture star trails, night skies, desert scenes and highly contrasting images such as a bright sunny sky with areas of dark shadow.
Megapixels are Crucial for Landscape Photography.
One of the most important features that every landscape photographer needs on their camera is an extremely high resolution that can capture great details in the landscape. This is usually measured in Megapixels and you should be looking for a minimum of 24MP but anything up to 42MP is preferable. Price will inevitably be a factor when deciding on the level of Megapixels but you should try to stretch your budget to get the best you possibly can.
Dynamic Range is a Powerful Tool for Landscape Photography.
As a landscape photographer you’ll also need a good dynamic range which will allow you to take clear photos with high contrasting levels of light and dark. This includes photos at sunset and sunrise when the sky can be at its most spectacular and the lighting is warm and fresh but the intense contrasts within the landscape can be hard for low budget cameras to handle.
Image Quality is Difficult to Quantify but Essential to get the Most of Your Camera.
Something that you should look for in a potential camera for landscape photography is the overall image quality that the camera can produce. This is bound to be a highly subjective notion and so different people may have different opinions on the matter. One way that you can approach this aspect of the camera is to read reviews and customer feedback on the model.
If you want to see for yourself the picture quality then you can download sample files for almost any camera. Download RAW files so you can see the camera operating at its top capacity and make up your own mind!
Auto Exposure Bracketing is a Powerful Tool in Landscape Photography.
When you are taking a photo that is hard to meter and presents difficulties in achieving the perfect exposure your camera can actually take several photos and automatically merge them together or you can do this afterwards using your post production software. When the dynamic range of the scenery exceeds your camera’s dynamic range sensor you can still capture the full tonal range of the image by using auto exposure bracketing.
Lenses Play an Important Role in Landscape Photography.
When you’re selecting a camera make sure that you get a camera that has interchangeable lens capabilities. As a landscape photographer you’ll want to be able to make use of a variety of lenses as you further specialize within the field.
The main types of lens you might consider using in your landscape photography include:
- Wide Angle Lens.
- Telephoto Lens.
- Zoom Lens.
Three Cameras for Landscape Photography.
There are cameras by all major manufacturers that are great for landscape photography. The following are the three that I like for landscape photography.
Nikon D850: The Nikon D850 is a superb Digital SLR camera that is ideal for landscape photography although due it’s versatility and small body size it can be used for portraits and wildlife photography too! The award winning Nikon D50 has a useful weather protection system on its body making it ideal for hikes and wilderness photography. The camera can use any number of the superb Nikon lenses, many of which are top of the range landscape choices. The high resolution sensor comes in at an incredible 45.7 Megapixels and a base rate ISO of 64. With customizable buttons you can quickly return to preset camera focus modes and settings that makes it perfect for photographers who have established their preferred modes of shooting. With incredible performance and top of its class image quality the Nikon D850 is one of the best landscape cameras for professionals and keen hobbyists alike.
Sony a7R III: This Full Frame 42 Megapixel mirrorless camera is an ideal choice for types of landscape photography including low lighting conditions and night time shots. The body is tough and lightweight which is super helpful for photographers who are carrying equipment in the wilderness. The camera’s high resolution sensor and technically enhanced processor allows you to take photos with perfect tonal range and vivid colors. The powerful sensor allows incredible fine detail in the pictures and due to the high Megapixels you can crop images without losing image quality. The versatile camera can also be used for cityscapes, has 4K video and a large 3 inch LCD screen. The camera has an accurate and fast Hybrid Autofocus, high shooting speeds and interchangeable lenses making this all round camera hard to beat.
Fujifilm XT200: The Fujifilm XT200 is the perfect entry level camera for landscape photographers. If you’re an amateur or just starting out in landscape photography this extremely reasonably priced camera is the number one option for you. This mirrorless camera has a 24 Megapixel sensor that can deliver good quality photos that can stand up beside the more expensive models. The camera has inbuilt stabilization technology so you can capture clear shake free shots without a tripod and the easy to use modes will help you find your feet as you master shutter speed, apertures and ISO settings. The auto shoot mode is also extremely good so if you can get away with point and click photos that still look very professional. The Fujifilm XT200 is small and lightweight and has a lovely LCD touchscreen monitor. The camera can record 4K video and is perfect for any type of photography which means that you can use it for your landscape work but it can also handle any other genre with ease. The Fujifilm XT200 is the best camera for beginners at its price point and with solid features, good battery life and the vari-angle LCD screen that opens up to 180 degrees it punches well above its weight in the competitive landscape camera market.
Choosing the Right Camera for Your Landscape Photography.
When it comes to landscape photography the selection of camera is certainly the most important thing you’ll do before you get started. Of course, you’ll want to find a good lens to go with your camera and other pieces of equipment such as tripods and the right camera bag will also make a world of difference to your day to day shooting projects.
Take the time to study the details of the camera and check out some customer reviews to make sure they are satisfied and if you’re worried about taking the leap you could organize to rent one of the models so you can try before you buy!
At the end of the day though you will have to make a selection to get a flying start in your landscape photography career! As you work with your new camera you’ll soon learn your way around the controls and your photos will increase in quality at a rapid rate! It’s an exciting journey when you get a great new camera and once you’ve made your choice you’ll find you have a new best friend in life!
Which camera do you use for landscape photography?