by Mike McNamee Published 01/08/2015
Tools of the Land Cameras and Gear for the Landscape
Paul Gallagher talks to Mike McNamee about equipment for going into the landscape
Any type, size and shape of camera gear can take a landscape. However, the serious landscape photographers have gravitated towards a certain collection of gear and type. But what are the other options?
Nothing competes with bigger chips and more pixels! The most natural cameras for the serious landscape user are the Nikon D800/810 or the Canon EOS 5D SR. Both have full-size chips and truly massive pixel counts. There is little to choose between them in terms of functions and lens armoury. The D700 is also listed as it has regularly been used to create stunning landscape prints easily up to A2 size - D700 pixels punch above their weight.
All the features of these three cameras suit landscape. They are mid-sized, reasonably light, robust and proofed against most adverse weather. If you need to save weight you could drop to an APS-size chip as the camera weight stays similar, but the lenses are lighter. If you really wish to save weight you jump drop all the way down to a compact system camera bringing benefits of weight-saving to both body and lenses (but with no tilt/shift options available).
The first consideration is the aperture that you need. Wide-aperture zooms (ie f2.8) are very much heavier than their f5.6 counterparts. In most landscape work people are seeking depth of field and tend to use their lenses at close to the diffraction limit, this is around f13 for a full-size chip and between f5.6 and f8 for 4/3M and APS chips. For a 20-inch print and a nominal 24mm (full frame) lens, the depth of field and limiting apertures are as follows:
If zoom lenses are anathema (and to some zealots they are!) then prime lenses will have weight, size and resolution advantages; you may then need to move about more, ie zoom with your feet.
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