So, you’re interested in getting serious about taking landscape photos. Is your current digital camera up to the task? Landscape photographs require a digital camera that is capable of capturing lots of detail and working in less than ideal lighting conditions. A full frame DSLR is probably your best camera for landscape photography, but there are several alternatives worth considering that might appeal to you more because of budget or weight concerns. I used a full frame camera for the image below taken in the Nevada desert.
Canon 5DIII, Canon 11-24mm f/4 lens, ISO 100, f/11, ¼ second.
Important Features for Landscape Photography
Advanced predictive autofocus, fast frames per second, and super high ISO performance aren’t really necessary for landscape work, so you won’t need to buy the same cameras being used by professional sports or wildlife photographers. Since these features tend to drive up camera price considerably, as a landscape photographer, you’ll likely be able to save a few bucks. There are some important features however that are useful for landscape work, including the following:
You’ll want a camera that produces enough resolution for making large reproductions. Sixteen megapixels is sufficient, although twenty or more is better. Top end full frame digital cameras currently offer as many as 50 megapixels (medium format cameras go even higher; see more below).
This feature allows the photographer to preview composition, focus, and exposure on the camera’s LCD screen. Personally, I find live view to be essential to my field workflow.
If you want total control over how your images look, you’ll need a camera that allows you to shoot raw files. Of course, you’ll also have to learn how to process your raw files, but that’s an entirely different matter outside the scope of this article.
The more dynamic range your camera sensor has, the easier it is for you to capture detail in highlight and shadow areas at the same time.