Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1] 2 3 »   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Landscapes - what is most important for you?  (Read 8075 times)
eyan
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 6


« on: April 14, 2014, 05:30:51 AM »
ReplyReply

Hi all; first post here. I am planning on taking up landscape photography seriously this year. I live close to some beautiful areas in the north UK, and always wish I had proper gear when out and about - I do a lot of walking and hiking. I'm not a complete beginner, but it probably has been around 15 years since I used anything but a point and shoot.

So I'm planning my first DSLR purchase (last SLR I used was in the film days so lots has changed), along with tripod, ND filters etc, coming in at entry level first so I can get myself up and running. After many hours of research, it seems that nobody can give clear 'one is better than another' advice, as everyone has different opinions and brand loyalties, and most conclude after much argument that its personal preference as to which camera you end up with. Plus, the 'what camera' question has been asked a billion times.

So I thought I would ask the question in a slightly different way and hopefully get some real world opinions, as opposed to another 'what's the best camera' question - for you, what features on a DSLR are most important to you for landscape photography?

I.e., do I go Pentax k30/50 for weather sealing, Canon 100d/t5i for size and weight, Nikon d3200 for pixel count, Nikon d5100 for swivel screen and good low light performance........ The list goes on but interested to hear general thoughts, it's such a minefield out there. I don't plan to do any portraits or video etc, just landscape as this is my passion. Unfortunately budget won't stretch to a camera and new lenses just yet, so will be stuck with DSLR and kit lens for now, but lens availability for the future could play a part in my decision.

Cheers for any comments!

Logged
Slobodan Blagojevic
Sr. Member
****
Online Online

Posts: 6046


When everybody thinks the same... nobody thinks.


WWW
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2014, 07:03:05 AM »
ReplyReply

Welcome!

Let me add sensor dynamic range to the list and one question: how big do you intend to print? If I were in your shoes today, I'd most likely go for a camera with the best dynamic range and most megapixels. Not that familiar with budget models, but I think there is a Nikon out there that would fit the bill (and this comes from a long-time Canon guy).
Logged

Slobodan

Flickr
500px
petermfiore
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 579



WWW
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2014, 07:32:53 AM »
ReplyReply

You say you had an Slr ..Do you still have that system? The lenses? If you do, and the glass is decent, you might consider a mirrorless system.. The Fujii Xe1 is priced rather amazing now and is an excellent platform camera to use with legacy lenses via adapters.

Just thinking,

Peter
Logged

eyan
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 6


« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2014, 08:24:43 AM »
ReplyReply

Cheers for the replies.

In answer to the questions, it would be good to have the option to print to 2-3 feet wide if I can get some really good shots once I've learnt how to do it. I have been informed that 16mp should be more than enough for this? There is the Nikon D3200 with 24mp, but a couple of things I've read say it's a bit of an overkill?

Re my previous SLR, it was very much a hand me down from my dad when I was much younger, I gave it back years ago and I believe he's got rid of most of his old equipment. I think it was a minolta if I remember right? Mirrorless could be an option, but I haven't really investigated it too much - most things I've ready all say SLR wins for landscape stuff? From an initial look, prices for a good mirrorless system if you go for better lenses all turns out to be roughly the same as a decent entry level SLR that does the same things.
Logged
Slobodan Blagojevic
Sr. Member
****
Online Online

Posts: 6046


When everybody thinks the same... nobody thinks.


WWW
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2014, 08:54:34 AM »
ReplyReply

Most cameras nowadays are better than most photographers, for most purposes. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. Instead of fretting about which is which, one should learn to take advantage of the strengths and manage the weaknesses.

If the above is to general to be useful, let's dive into details then. One other useful feature for landscape would be mirror lockup or live view.

Oh, and there is no such thing as overkill when it comes to megapixels and big prints. The more, the better, other things being equal.
Logged

Slobodan

Flickr
500px
eyan
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 6


« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2014, 09:02:08 AM »
ReplyReply

Thanks Slobodan - that was exactly the purpose of this thread. I've spent so much time reading websites and reviews etc, I've realised that most DSLRs are very good in many ways, but some have tiny advantages in areas and vice versa. So I wanted to find out for landscape specific purposes, what people more experienced than me couldn't live without in their experience (bearing in mind we're talking entry level end of the market!), then I can go away and find the one with the most of these things on it I can find.
Logged
Manoli
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 639


« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2014, 10:01:20 AM »
ReplyReply

Just a few points to add to the posts above,  petermfiore makes avery good case for the X-E1 - the advantage of mirrorless is that you can adapt a variety of lenses to the body at a later date, if you so wish.

Anything with 16MP and above will be an excellent starting point. For Landscape, as Slobodan says, you can never have enough pixels. What you don't say is whether you'll be using Photoshop or not. If you are, Ps has a built-in panorama/stitching function which will be extremely useful for making larger MP files - all without having to consider upgrading. If you're not, there's AutoPano Pro, amongst others, which is truly excellent - that will set you back 99euros ( about £85 ).

Regarding stitching, this site has a resident expert in stitching , Bernard Languillier. If you do a search on him, you'll find some very useful and informed posts.
Logged
eyan
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 6


« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2014, 11:26:43 AM »
ReplyReply

Hi Manoli - I will likely purchase image editing software of some sorts (another cost to the budget to consider!). It's likely that I'll probably go with Lightroom to start with, think about full PS at a later date. But I would quite like to (re)learn photography to get the original image as good as I can in the field as opposed to relying on software to make up for shortfalls - I'm an outdoors person, I spend far too much time infront of a computer for my job as it is!

Re the X-E1 - I've had a look, and it does seem to be a good bit of kit. However, price wise over here in the UK, it seems to be priced very similar to the DSLRs I'm considering (if not higher in some places). So aside from weight, is there a massive advantage in going mirrorless that I'm missing? I'm not sure how the lenses differ in price / availability? Are the sensors in mirrorless cameras not inferior to SLRs?
Logged
Manoli
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 639


« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2014, 12:25:53 PM »
ReplyReply

Hi Eyan - I don't like to generalise but a couple of more points to consider :

1-If you're dead set on landscape as your field-of-interest , you don't really need autofocus. Mirrorless, via an adapter, will give you the option of a greater selection of lenses. Nikon lenses can be used on a Canon but not Canon on a Nikon - on a mirrorless you can you use either as well as many others ( Zeiss, Contax, Leica etc )  Also you won't need the f1.4 speed beasts. An f2 will be substantially more economical for no loss of quality when you're shooting at f4 - f8

2-Liveview on a mirrorless is generally considered better implemented than the Canon/Nikon versions. Also you don't need mirror lock up on a CSC (mirrorless).

3-Yes, you're going to have to budget for software, but Lr plus AutoPano Pro will be the bulk of what you need. Don't underestimate the cost savings that stitching will give you. All you need as a starter kit is a body and a 50mm lens. 2 or 3 frame stitches will save you the wide-angles and you'll have superb hi-resolution landscapes. Your 16mp sensor will soon be turning out 30-40mp shots before you know it.

I'm not a landscape guy - but yesterday,  went out and shot a couple of 2/3 frame stitches for fun, hand held, literally point and shoot, amazing results. Both Lr and AutoPano are available as trial downloads and AutoPano interfaces with Lr as an 'external editor' - simplicity itself - strongly suggest you try them before making any definitive lens choices.

As to hardware, I can't/don't like to make specific recommendations as a lot of it is personal, but I would say that the sensors are now very advanced. Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic - they all produce good gear and it would be incorrect to think that mirrorless sensors are necessarily inferior to SLR's.

Good luck !
« Last Edit: April 14, 2014, 12:32:28 PM by Manoli » Logged
Isaac
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2892


« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2014, 01:36:14 PM »
ReplyReply

So I thought I would ask the question in a slightly different way and hopefully get some real world opinions, as opposed to another 'what's the best camera' question - for you, what features on a DSLR are most important to you for landscape photography?

Perhaps more to the point - how do we help you figure-out what equipment might be better for you over the next couple of years.

It sounds like you'll make photos for your own enjoyment - so look at the P&S photos you've taken and see if there are specific subjects you repeatedly photographed or particular things which you liked about a photo or situations where the P&S frustratingly limited what you were able to do. Look for clues, maybe you'll find some, probably you won't.
 
I'd started photography again with a nice little P&S, and was given the opportunity to have something a bit better. Like you, I did the research; I tried to find the lowest-cost camera that wouldn't have the limitations of the P&S, and would be fun.

If I could go back in time, a couple of things would be different:
  • I'd know that I wouldn't be using jpg, I'd always be using raw.
    (I only use jpg now because some of the camera fun-stuff only works with jpg.)
  • I'd know that I wouldn't use AE Bracketing for fine-tuning, I'd use it for exposure blending - so big steps help.
  • I'd know not to buy the kit-lens.
    I'd start with the same cheapest/best fixed-focal-length lenses I have now (35mm and 85mm on APS-C).
  • I'd be quicker to spend the big-bucks: $40 for a used tripod, $15 for a Digital Gray Card, $10 for a wired remote.

…in the north UK…

Maybe you'll want a faster lens if it's predominantly not-sunny.
Maybe a zip-loc bag and rubber-band won't be enough weather-proofing.

…to get the original image as good as I can in the field as opposed to relying on software to make up for shortfalls…

You will rely on software to make up for shortfalls -- to make 60MP images when you only have a 16MP sensor, to correct for lens faults that wouldn't exist in expensive lenses, … etc

What it means "to get the original image as good as [we] can" is different now we can use software to blend multiple exposures. For example, it could mean separate exposures for the sky and land, separate exposures for near and far, …
« Last Edit: April 15, 2014, 11:20:12 AM by Isaac » Logged
Isaac
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2892


« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2014, 12:20:29 PM »
ReplyReply

…so will be stuck with DSLR and kit lens for now, but lens availability for the future could play a part in my decision.

You'll probably enjoy your landscape photos more if they're quite sharp all across the image - center to mid-sections to corners; but you're looking for sharpness from low-cost lenses.

That's another way to narrow down what will work best for you from what's currently on offer -- search for the lens (lenses) that's best in the price range, and then get a camera to put on the lens.

(I assume each brand has some "low cost" lenses, check through lens reviews and see if any of those lenses stand-out as offering much better resolution from center to corners at F5.6 F8.)
Logged
Slobodan Blagojevic
Sr. Member
****
Online Online

Posts: 6046


When everybody thinks the same... nobody thinks.


WWW
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2014, 12:56:16 PM »
ReplyReply

Here is what you should do:

1. Stop researching (you've done enough already)
2. Stop analyzing (you'll suffer from "analysis paralysis")
3. Stop obsessing about minuscule differences between systems, lenses, features, etc. None of that makes good pictures... you do.
4. Stop reading long, detailed advices (you'll get lost in overwhelming and controversial choices half-way through)

Then:

5. Narrow your search you've done so far to 2-3 choices, based on your budget and how they feel in your hand, and put them in front of you
6. Put a blind over your eyes, spin around and grab the first camera - that's your ideal choice
7. Go out and shoot

If I learned anything in my life and professional career so far, it is that it is not the ultimate choice you made that matters, it is the commitment to that choice that makes it or breaks it. So, whatever you choose, stick to it, learn its bad and good sides, and how to manage them to your advantage.

And above all, go out and shoot.

One of the most fascinating forum debates I ever witnessed happened some time ago on DP Review site. A guy was engaged in a prolonged, aggressive debate on merits of this or that system, lenses, etc., only to admit at the very end that he never actually used any. Why? He wanted to learn everything in advance, in order not to ruin any opportunity once he does go out and shoot. He was imagining that perfect, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in front of him and dreaded that he won't have the perfect camera, perfect lens and perfect knowledge to do it justice.

It does not work that way. "Just do it" works.
Logged

Slobodan

Flickr
500px
ErikKaffehr
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 7655


WWW
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2014, 02:24:39 PM »
ReplyReply

Hi,

I would agree with Slobodan.

But, I would say that almost any equipment fills the bill. Personally I shoot Sony, because of lens legacy. I also have a Hasselblad with a P45+. On Sony I have full frame and APS-C.

What I have found is that all stuff I have with 12 MP or more makes a decent job up to A2 size (16x23"). The Sony sensors have a great dynamic range, but I have 75000 images and DR have been a challenge in just a handful.

I would say that a Sony Exmor sensor is state of the art, Nikon D800/D800E, Sony Alpha, Pentax K3 and 645Z, Phase One IQ 250, but you can also go with Canon DSLRs. Canon may have some of the best lenses.

Just take any of today's cameras and be happy!

Best regards
Erik

Welcome!

Let me add sensor dynamic range to the list and one question: how big do you intend to print? If I were in your shoes today, I'd most likely go for a camera with the best dynamic range and most megapixels. Not that familiar with budget models, but I think there is a Nikon out there that would fit the bill (and this comes from a long-time Canon guy).
Logged

NancyP
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 976


« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2014, 04:43:29 PM »
ReplyReply

Not to complicate things more, but....

1. Almost any new camera and a decent lens will do the trick. So, be assured that it is hard to make a wrong choice. See #2:

2. Think about weight and ergonomics - do you like holding and using the camera? I would advise getting a camera with a viewfinder that you like and a live view option that you like. Properly implemented live view is WONDERFUL for using cameras on a tripod - you get to magnify the image 10x to check for critical focus, etc. Swivel screens are handy for those who want to put their cameras very high or very low on or off tripod. If your viewpoint will be 1 ft off the ground, it is easier to squat a little bit and look at a tilted screen than to to flop down on your belly and peer through the viewfinder.

3. You will want to get a nice tripod and head and an L bracket for your camera. Pick up a wired (or wireless) cable release/ intervalometer, while you are at it.

4. You will want to get a comfortable carriage system for the camera - lots of options. I am a big fan of the Cotton Carrier vest system, which can handle an SLR with up to a 400mm f/5.6 lens (my birding lens) and still leave both hands free for any scrambling and balancing needed. Plus, the vest system can be worn with (underneath) any backpack. This might be overkill for some cameras, some terrains, and for those who are not needing to drag along their tent, bag, food, etc for a several days trip. A "fanny pack" aka "Lumbar pack" is another option for the day hiker, as are hunters'/fishers'/photographers' vests (lots of pockets) and belt systems where you hang your lens bag, water bottle, etc off a sturdy belt. Some large format photographers use carpenters' aprons to hold small accessories and film holders. Have a favorite backpack already, but want a protective insert for camera and lens? You can get neoprene protective wraps for the camera, lenses can fit in a fishing reel case (foam dividers), etc. Make sure, whatever your camera carriage system is, that you have some provision for carrying maps, rain gear, lunch, water, sunscreen, extra pair socks, the good old Scouting "10 essentials". 

5. You will want to get a circular polarizer filter, which will intensify color by removing excess reflection. (Circular is the filter type, not the filter shape - old film era polarizers, which are "linear polarizers", don't work for modern autofocusing and modern sensors). Later, you may want to get an ultra-dense neutral density filter (9 to 10 stops: OD 2.7 to 3.0), which allows one to make very long exposures to a. smooth out water b. get rid of milling crowds c. show movement of clouds d. any other effect that you can get with a 30 sec or longer exposure. Some people will get into graduated neutral density filters - check out the Lee Filters site to see how these are used.
Logged
Paul Sumi
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1217


« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2014, 06:09:31 PM »
ReplyReply

This has been alluded to in a previous post, but whatever camera and lens(es) that you get, don't forget a good support system.  A good tripod and tripod head (ballhead is preferable) will make a huge difference.  Megapixels and fancy glass don't mean squat if the image is blurry from camera movement or slight mis-focus.

I've got a 10 year old set of Gitzo carbon fiber legs that has lasted through 4 generations of digital cameras and will soldier on to the foreseeable future.  My current ballhead comes from Really Right Stuff.

Don't cheap out on the support gear, a good kit will last for many years.

Paul
« Last Edit: April 17, 2014, 06:17:34 PM by Paul Sumi » Logged

Isaac
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2892


« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2014, 07:01:33 PM »
ReplyReply

Nikon D800/D800E, Sony Alpha, Pentax K3 and 645Z, Phase One IQ 250

My current ballhead comes from Really Right Stuff.


Perhaps I misunderstood eyan's question, because most of those Really Right Stuff ballheads would cost more than the camera+lens models eyan listed (Nikon d5100).
Logged
wolfnowl
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5791



WWW
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2014, 06:59:28 PM »
ReplyReply

If I learned anything in my life and professional career so far, it is that it is not the ultimate choice you made that matters, it is the commitment to that choice that makes it or breaks it. So, whatever you choose, stick to it, learn its bad and good sides, and how to manage them to your advantage.

And above all, go out and shoot.

Touché!!

Mike.
Logged

If your mind is attuned to beauty, you find beauty in everything.
~ Jean Cooke ~


My Flickr site / Random Thoughts and Other Meanderings at M&M's Musings
Paul Sumi
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1217


« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2014, 01:08:24 AM »
ReplyReply


Perhaps I misunderstood eyan's question, because most of those Really Right Stuff ballheads would cost more than the camera+lens models eyan listed (Nikon d5100).

Possibly.  If the OP is interested, I would be happy to discuss less-expensive alternatives.

Paul
Logged

jferrari
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 247


« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2014, 07:35:14 AM »
ReplyReply

 A good tripod and tripod head (ballhead is preferable) will make a huge difference.

I do not recommend a ballhead for landscapes and panos. A proper pan/tilt head is preferable especially for stitching.
Logged
Slobodan Blagojevic
Sr. Member
****
Online Online

Posts: 6046


When everybody thinks the same... nobody thinks.


WWW
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2014, 09:05:15 AM »
ReplyReply

What's important for landscape photography: large SUV or even better, a truck (after all, Ansel Adams used one, comes handy as an elevated platform to place your $1000 tripod and $500 ball head). A small plane, or helicopter, preferably with removable doors, wouldn't hurt either.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 10:30:40 AM by Slobodan Blagojevic » Logged

Slobodan

Flickr
500px
Pages: [1] 2 3 »   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad