The Best Cameras, Lenses, and Equipment for
Taking Professional Landscape Photos
Any photographer will tell you, one of the most common questions they receive is, “what kind of camera do you have?” People see your work, they see the dynamic range and the vibrant colors of your image, and they assume that this is only possible with top-of-the-line expensive gear. While this base assumption is understandable, especially with high-end camera and equipment companies catering to precisely this notion, the truth is far more simple: The camera and lens do not make the photo - the photographer does.
That being said, having the right equipment for the job can make a photographer’s life exponentially easier, allowing them to be in the right place at the right time, and capture photos in locations and weather that would otherwise prove impossible. So, here is a comprehensive list of all of my favorite photography gear that I use, and resources for where you can get them for yourself at reasonable/affordable cost.
If you want to know what photography equipment gets the job done, this is it. All in one place.
My Best Cameras for Landscape Photography
Nikon D810 Full-Frame DSLR
This is an amazing landscape camera, it just simply gets the job done. Because I love to shoot landscape photographs at very wide angles, the best cameras for this type of photography are usually full-frame DSLRs. At one point or another, I have taken pictures with almost every Nikon DSLR that has ever been made, and by far the best camera for taking high quality landscape images, is the Nikon D810. That being said, the Nikon D750 and D810 are ergonomically and qualitatively very similar DSLR's. Significantly awesome, and slightly newer, the Nikon D750 only falls short to the D810 in terms of number of autofocus points, megapixels, and ISO sensitivity. Most people don't necessarily need all of that, making the D750 an excellent option as well. These are the best Nikon cameras for landscape photography out there.
Buy from Amazon | Adorama
Sony a6000 Crop-Sensor Mirrorless
Sony a6000 mirrorless
digital camera on the other hand is a great travel camera for when I don't feel like lugging around my large DSLR's and lenses, but still want to be able to capture quality landscape photos. Even though it is a crop sensor, this affordable camera is incredible. I carry this on it's own for light travel, as a second camera to cover the mid-range zoom lens, and for shooting timelapses.
Buy from Amazon | Adorama
Sony a7 Full-Frame Mirrorless
I don't own this camera, but I have used it a number of times. It's the only thing that comes close to making me want to trade in my DSLR system. It's capabilities in low-light are so incredible, that it was with these cameras that we were able to capture such incredible footage of the fireball / Chinese rocket streaking across the sky in July, 2016. That is why for low-light and astro photography, this camera might just be the best out there.
Buy from Amazon | Adorama
Not ready to buy? You can also rent all of this photography equipment from BorrowLenses which is pretty cool, especially if you just want to try it out for a shoot before making such a big purchase.
Whatever camera model you have for landscape photography, you aren't getting the most out of it if you don't know how to use it. I mean really know how to use it. This is why CreativeLive has developed a large catalog of short, digestible video courses that are specific to your camera model. They call them "Camera Fast Starts," and you will walk away knowing your camera inside and out. I Highly recommend these.
My Best Lenses for Landscape Photography
For Nikon Full-Frame DSLRs
The funny truth about photography that most people don't understand, is that the quality of the lens is so much more important than the camera, no matter how many megapixels. Having the best lens for landscape photography is the most important part of assembling your photography equipment list. The Nikon 60mm f/2.8 for example, is the best macro photography lens that I have ever shot with (that doesn't cost thousands of dollars). With this lens, I have taken the sharpest photographs I have ever been able to achieve, and it allows me to be able to capture the intense details and clarity of subjects at the macro/micro level.
Widely considered to be the best tele-zoom lens for landscape photography ever, the famous Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 is truly a thing of beauty. However, it's weight, size, and considerable cost make it less than ideal lens for many outdoor and landscape photographers. That being the case, the newer Nikon 70-200 f/4 has everything its f/2.8 cousin has, but at less cost and weight, and a more advanced Vibration Reduction. Chosing which one is going to have to be based on your own requirements, but for me personally, my f/4 is the best landscape photography lens I have ever had.
You can also rent these Nikon lenses from BorrowLenses.
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Essential Equipment For Night Photography
Having the best tripod for landscape and night photography, and using a solid remote shutter release, are entirely essential to achieve good night photography. You need this professional equipment for anything that requires you to shoot in low light conditions, including sunsets, star trails, and cityscapes.
In addition to night and low-light photography, this equipment is absolutely essential to macro (or micro) photography. In order to be able to get the ultra sharp results with the awesome macro photography lens, the Nikon 60mm f/2.8 listed above, you need to have a stable platform (hence the tripod), as well as a shutter release remote. Minimizing camera shake when photographing super small details is crucial
You can also rent all this photography equipment from BorrowLenses if you only need it for a specific shoot.
Some More Crucial Items for Travel and Outdoor Photography
The Best Photography Software for Getting the Most Out of Your Photos
The Best iPhone and iPad Apps for Outdoor and Night Photography
The Best Computer for Photography - Working With The Images
The value of quality, fast, and reliable post-processing equipment is not to be taken lightly. Having the best computer for photography enables you to get the most out of your pictures.
I personally really like having the portability of a solid laptop that doesn't sacrifice processing power. I can take it wherever I go, and hook it up to the larger display monitor when I am at home. A solid alternative to the laptop + monitor approach however, is the awe-inspiring Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display.
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