Landscape Photography for Beginners – Part 1 – The Camera

It is true to say that you can capture quality images on just about any camera these days. From a small point and shoot, to your mobile phone, you will be able to capture a decent quality image.
However, if you want to really capture the highest quality images you will need to invest in a good quality DSLR or mirrorless camera.
When looking at cameras for landscape photography you won’t need to worry about things such as frame rate (the number of frames a camera can capture in a second), like say sports or wildlife photographers would need, and you don’t need to worry too much about the most sophisticated Auto Focus system.
What you will need to look for are the number of megapixels. The higher the better, will give you the freedom to print your images as large as possible, as well as a good dynamic range. This is how well the camera copes with highlights and shadows to help cope with high contrast images at dawn and dusk for instance. You might also want to look at weather sealing for your camera body. Today’s consumer cameras offer high quality images, but they will lack some of the build quality of the higher end professional cameras. As a landscape photographer you will naturally be outdoors a lot and you might face some extreme weather so a good quality weather sealed camera body may be high on your wish list. Many landscape photographers also like to use the live view option on the back of the camera to compose and fine tune their shots so you may want to add this to your list of desirable features.
One last consideration to make is full frame or cropped sensor. I switched to a full frame from cropped a few years ago and wouldn’t go back. In terms of image quality and dynamic range I don’t think the cropped sensors can compete for image quality. Look out for a future blog post on the difference between full frame and cropped sensors.
So what do I use? I use a Canon camera, just because I always have and I know how they operate and don’t want to change now. The model I use is a 5D MkIV.
This gives me all of the above considerations including the excellent weather sealing.
Another option to the chunky, sometimes heavy DSLR’s are the modern mirrorless cameras. Personally, I am yet to try one out, but I have heard good things about the Sony’s, with the A7R IV being the latest model. Mirrorless cameras tend to be a bit smaller and lighter than their DSLR counterparts. Whatever camera body you choose will depend largely on your budget but as long as you bear these tips in mind, you shouldn’t go far wrong. My best advice though would be to try them, if you can, and make your own comparison.