Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Learn Landscape Photography Series: Camera and Lenses

You might not like what I have to say about your current camera. So if you are happy with your camera stop reading and wait for the next post in the series!!!

OK if you are still here and have a crop sensor camera I highly recommend throwing it on the ground and
stomping on it*. Then go out and buy a full frame camera. They aren't cheap, but the bigger sensor will allow you get more than you thought possible out of your images. The low light that you will now find yourself shooting in will simply be better captured and a full frame camera can handle the noise that sometimes is unavoidable in these situations.

*Don't really smash your camera! There are some really good crop sensor cameras, I just prefer full frame for landscape and nature photography.

Luckily there are so many options to go full frame now that it almost doesn't matter what brand you prefer. Sony's A7 and A7r, Nikon's D610 and D800/D800e, and Canon's 6D and 5D mark III are all excellent cameras and you can't really go wrong with any of them. Just be prepared to go with one brand for a while, because once you have lenses it's really hard to switch.

Budget Tip: If you are on a budget buy used from a reputable source like Look for a refurbished Nikon D600(fixed oily sensor) or a used D700. An earlier Canon like the 5D or one of the 1Dseries in the best condition you can find are going to be the cheapest full frame cameras you can find. These Canon's might not have as many megapixels but they have full frame sensors and that is what you will want.

Now for the lenses.
The top of the heap is still the pricey Nikon 14-24mm, but in my opinion the Tokina 16-28mm is a very close second and for only a third the price I bought one. The Canon 16-35mm and the 17-40mm are not quite as sharp, but using filters is a whole lot easier than with the other two.
Mid range
The 24-70's from Sony, Canon, Nikon, and Tamron are the sharpest lenses of the bunch. Though not quite as sharp, the Canon 24-105, the Sigma 24-105, and the Nikon 24-120 have a little more range and a smaller price tag. Image stabilization is really nice to have in the mid range and going to a f4 lens from a f2.8 is worth the trade off.
For landscapes the 70-200's are almost all you would ever need, throw in a 1.4 extender and you will have more than enough reach. Save yourself some money and go for the f4 versions from Nikon and Canon, they are really sharp, lighter weight, and you will be using smaller apertures anyway. Tamron and Sigma have from what I hear pretty good 70-200's and the Sony for full frame is back-ordered so you will have to wait and see. Other options are the longer reaching 70-300L from Canon and the Nikon 28-300 for more reach without having to use an extender. Image stabilization for the tele's is worth every penny spent, so just get it up front. As with all lenses though I recommend renting before buying(a small rental fee is much better than buyer's remorse and later an exchange)

Budget Tip: Go for some prime lenses in the 24mm and 50mm ranges and use your feet to zoom. To start out, 24mm is going to be wide enough for most scenes and it won't distort as much as the ultra wide lenses.

IN MY BAG: for now...
Camera:  Canon 6D
Lenses:    Tokina 16-28mm f2.8
               Canon 24-105mm f4 L
               Canon 50mm f1.4
               Canon 70-300 f4-5.6 L
Extender: Kenko 1.4 pro          

                                                                                                                Next In The Series--->

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