Expensive gear for landscape photography?
Do you really need expensive gear to create great landscape photographs?
I’m teaching workshops and seminars through out the year and the most common question is always – what kind of gear do you use? Landscape photography, or photography in general, is a creative process. Your vision and imagination comes first when you make photographs. Your voice and style will define the quality of your images. The gear are only the tools we are using to get to the results we want.
Gear is important and you need a basic kit to realize your vision and get the right shot of your subject. Polarizers, filters, tripods and so on, these things are important and useful. But there is a myth about the camera that only a big and expensive camera can produce high quality pictures.
Canon vs. Fuji
For the most of my work I use a Canon EOS 5D Mark 3. It’s a great camera and it’s necessary to make the work for my agencies. But a year ago I bought a little Fuji X-E2 with the Kit lens 18-55 mm. I love this little camera which has an amazing image quality and sharpness where my Canon is far behind. I use the Fuji on my travels when I walk around in a town or scouting for new locations. For the city it’s the best camera for me.
But it has also a big potential for landscape photography. I love the big sensor of the 5D but the Fuji produces great colors and very sharp images and I’ve done some beautiful landscape photographs with it.
The image above shows the Two Jack lake on a cold autumn morning in Banff Nationalpark. As I woke up I saw that the sky was dark and gray, I made a walk along the shoreline of the lake and took the Fuji with me because I don ́t expected much. I spent some time to explore the lake on that morning and enjoyed the cold and fresh air. But then, the light became very interesting, the sun made her way through the clouds and the magic happened. I took several images with the Fuji, handheld without any filters and the results are amazing. With this camera I can work with much higher ISO’s as I can do with my Canon.
Are mirrorless cameras the future?
The mirrorless system cameras made a long way and Fuji or Sony have great cameras for a small budget to create high quality images which they don’t have to hide behind the market leaders Canon and Nikon. Canon just announce to develop a full frame system camera based on the M- Series. Canon and Nikon are far behind on the market of system cameras. Fuji, Olympus and especially Sony does a great job. Sony, the only manufacturer of Full Frame System Cameras at the moment, are really a game changer and many professionals switched to Sony.
If you just start into landscape photography, think about a Fuji or Olympus system, it’s quite worth the time.
The Accessories makes it
For me it’s much more important which accessories you use than the camera itself. You need a good and stable tripod for long exposures, filters like a polarizer and some graduated ND filters and thats all. You don’t have to spend thousands of Euros on cameras, mirrorless cameras are a great opportunity to start in nature and landscape photography.
In the last years I always tried to keep my gear at a minimum, especially on mountain tours. Austria, my home country, is a mountainous region and I think about to set up a second camera kit with the Fuji X-T1 for my mountain tours. The equipment will be much lighter than the Canon because the camera and the lenses are smaller and lighter, you don’t need that big and heavy tripod and you will spend the next amount of weight.
Author: Jürgen Weginger
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