Choosing a Camera

The first thing that I will categorically say is that you need nothing fancy. There are a few things to keep in mind for having a good camera for taking landscape photos; two things to disregard, and two things to look for in a solid camera. The first thing that I would say you should look for are the ability for the camera to switch into manual mode, a mode that will allow the user to take control of the aperture and the shutter speed of the camera. The second, will be the ability to easily attach the camera to a professional tripod. A tripod is a staple of the landscape photographer and therefore having control of your light and vibration and camera shake will be the foundation for good images in the low-light of the early morning and late evening.

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The two things that I think are much less important is the price and how fancy the camera is; cameras are a dark box used to take images, so by their nature the overwhelming majority of cameras will do this well. When you pay extra money you are essentially paying for extra features, faster processing speeds, or different types of microchips. These are not things you need to concentrate on unless you will be heavily shooting a lot of wildlife, especially birds, or if you are shooting professional sporting events. If this is the case landscape photography will be an aside, and you should then try to get a camera that matches with you primary photographic focus. If you have a full frame camera that shoots 12 megapixels or more, you do not need anything more. I shot the majority of the photos on my website using a Sony Alpha A200 with a cropped sensor 10.2 megapixel camera and a kit lens. I will reiterate that you do not need a fancy camera, or an expensive one to create quality images. For Nikons all the following bodies are perfectly acceptable the D90, D3200-3600 series and the D5200-5600 series. If you would like a Canon you could use Canon T1 T1i or the Canon T3-T6. These are all quality camera bodies that you can find on at very reasonable prices. If you have a bit more experience or you are just itching to get into a full frame Camera you could look at the Canon 1D mark 1 or 2 or the 5D mark 1 or 2 or for those partial to Nikon you could go after the D3 or if you are flush with a little more money try the D3s.

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When shooting landscape I think it is very helpful to think of yourself not as a rifleman or a gunner but as a sniper. You will put a lot of planning into every shot. The time of day will be calculated down the the minute of when you are shooting. You will more than likely know the direct position of the sun (in degrees) when it crests the horizon. You might even know what kind of clouds are over head and whether or not that type lights up in morning or evening light. Therefore the frames per second, the ability to process 80-200 images per minute, its ability to switch between 72 different autofocus points in fractions of a second are nice but your ability to plan and use your fundamentals will make the features listed above more or less superfluous. I will continue talking about equipment for the next few weeks please send me your questions and I will be happy to answer them. Remember being surrounded my nature is fun and when you’re out there, Don’t forget to enjoy, yourself.

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