What is the BEST CAMERA GEAR for Landscape Photography?
A camera, lenses, filters - are necessary to get out fantastic landscape photos. But when is it necessary to buy new gear and which camera and which lenses are the best for landscape photography? I'm thinking about new gear. Do I stick to aps-c, to I upgrade to fullframe again or do I even go to medium format?
#1 Should I buy new gear?
If you are unhappy with your photographs, they will net get better just with buying new gear. In this case it is better to engage with how to build up a composition, how to manage the light, timing, etc. But if you are unhappy with your camera, your lenses or filters, it could be that you finally will get out better photos if you use new gear.
#2 Which criterion is most important?
I see camera gear as a tool to expose my photographs, which I have already in my mind. The most important criteria for me is, that my gear simply does its job.
I'm not all too much interested in dynamic range, megapixles, etc., because most sensors since ~2015 have got amazingly good and fullfill all my needs for my landscape photography.
But one of the most important criterias for my landscape photography is depth of field. I prefer to use camera gear which allows me to capture a big depth of field without the necessarity of focus stacking, because any motion blur like grasses moving in the wind, would make each kind of stacking impossible. This is the reason why I downgraded from fullframe to aps-c three years ago. A smaller sensor gives me a higher depth of field and I'm able to get a pin sharp photograph from the foreground to the distance.
An also really important thing for me is, that my gear is weather sealed. I worked already with gear which wasn't and I never had problems, but it was cheaper gear and it hadn't been the biggest problem for me if it had been destroyed through water.
#3 For which brand should I decide?
The quality of all the big manufacturers of camera gear has got stunning good. In my experience it is not possible to say, manufacturer A produces better gear then manufacturer B - so there are no thoughts like that for me. There are just 2 things I'm asking myself:
The first question is: Which brand do I currently use? Because if I own already a couple of lenses, it is interesting for me that I'm able to use them on my new system, if possible.
The second question is: Which company produces exactly that gear, I'll prefer especially for my purposes?
As I want to use all the advantages of aps-c and as Fuji emphasises aps-c and even doesn't offer fullframe, I nearly decided for Fuji. As they also offer medium format systems for affordable prices, I also thought about that - and I started to like the thought of having two different camera bodies in my backpack. But as I'm a Sony user for years already I finally stuck to Sony, as I own already lots of lenses.
I like the aps-c mode in the Sony A7RIV, which allows me to get a higher depth of field with still 26MP in aps-c mode. So for photographs with a close foreground, where I need a high depth of field, I could use the aps-c mode and for other photographs I could use fullframe mode with 61MP. The 61MP are not the most important thing, but having 26MP in aps-c mode is really fantastic. The A7RIII had 18MP only, what also would work, but as I want to print up to A2 without losses, I need at least 24MP.
#4 Which focal lengths should my lenses cover?
For landscape photography I prefer to use the holy trinity of:
- 16-35mm (=~10-20mm aps-c)
- 24-70mm (=~17-50mm aps-c)
- 70-200mm (~50-140mm aps-c)
Especially in the mountains 200mm are often not enough. In some cases I needed to go to ~300mm (=~200mm aps-c) for my purposes.
#5 Which minimum apertures should my lenses support?
In most cases I don't go below f5.6, so for my landscape photography f4 is totally enough. f2.8 lenses are much more expensive and also much heavier. f4 is the aperture I would generally prefer.
But the only thing we should consider is: There are not all too many lenses out there today which are able to draw 61MP. You know: If I buy a 61MP camera, I also want to use 61 MP :)
Lenses with f2.8 often tend to lead into a better image quality. Especially Sony G-Master lenses are much sharper, have less chromatic aberration and less colour fringing than the already really good G-lenses of Sony. G-Master lenses of these focal lengths have f2.8, there don't exist f4 versions.
To be honest: If my new system camera would support ~45MP "only" or less, I had gone for the f4 G lenses. But as they are not able to draw 61MP, I decided for the f2.8 GM-lenses. They are more expensive and heavier, but this allows me at least to safe a bit of money, because I don't need to be member of a fitness studio anymore ;)
#6 Which things are also to be considered?
If you buy new gear, get sure that the ball head of your tripod is strong enough, especially when you upgrade from aps-c to fullframe or even to medium format. And it is also recommendable to think about if your new gear will fit into your old backpack.
Check out my gear, which I use for my landscape photography:
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