Your Next Camera

Some interesting cameras to consider

Whether you're just someone who likes to take photos on holidays or an enthusiast landscape photographer, your choice of camera will be fairly specific. Of course, when looking for a new camera, budget will have a major role to play. It is always suggested that you try to get the best camera you can afford without breaking the bank. That being said, it is a good idea to get something that you can grow into as you develop as a photographer. By investing in a basic camera with limited manual controls, you will quickly outgrow it and soon be looking for a new camera; and although you may not at first need all the fancy technology and features that are offered with certain cameras, once you start to find new and creative ways of taking photos that may very well change. With that in mind, I have carefully put together a selection of some varied and interesting cameras from both ends of the scale which will hopefully spawn your interests and point you in the right direction.


Canon 5D Mk 4.jpg

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

30 megapixels | 3.2″ screen | Full frame sensor

Buy on Amazon.com



Nikon D850.jpg

Nikon D850

45 megapixels | 3.2″ screen | Full frame sensor

Buy on Amazon.com



Nikon D500.jpg

Nikon D500

21 megapixels | 3.2″ screen | APS-C sensor

Buy on Amazon.com



Canon EOS 7D Mark II.jpg

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

20 megapixels | 3″ screen | APS-C sensor

Buy on Amazon.com




Fuji X-T3.jpg

Fuji X-T3

26 megapixels | 3″ screen | APS-C sensor

Buy on Amazon.com


Panasonic Lumix DC-TS7.jpeg

Panasonic Lumix DC-TS7

Travel camera 20 megapixels | 3″ screen | 28 – 128 mm (4.6×)

Buy on Amazon.com



Pentax K-1 Mark II.jpg

Pentax K-1 Mark II

36 megapixels | 3.2″ screen | Full frame sensor

Buy on Amazon.com

If you would like to purchase any of the items shown on this page, please use the affiliate links to Amazon to help support me. This blog page is a long term project that I will continue to expand with time. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Choosing the right lens - Make sure your next lens is the right one one for the job.

A camera is only as good as lens you have attached to it, and only if that lens is right for the job at hand. Imagine setting your camera in front of an amazing landscape that stretches far off in every direction. You would need a wide angle lens with a short focal length capable of capturing all that grandeur and spectacle. If all you have is a telephoto, then that lens is going to limit the kind of image you could take there. You could also find yourself in a field of sunflowers, wanting to get an extreme close-up of the morning dew on those beautiful yellow flowers. But all you have in your bag is a standard lens with a minimum focusing distance that puts the dew-covered bluebell so small in the frame that it just doesn't work as a good image. After choosing the right camera for you, your next port of call is a choice of lens.

Notably lenses can be divided into two main categories: zoom lenses which have a variable focal length; and prime lenses, which have a fixed focal length. Zoom lenses have the advantage of being more versatile, so having just a couple of lenses you can easily cover a wide range of focal lengths, but they also have several disadvantages. They are heavier than prime lenses, the optical quality is usually not quite as good as prime lenses, and they usually have a slower (smaller) maximum aperture. Prime lenses, on the other hand, are lighter and generally of better optical quality, however you have to carry more of them in your bag if you want to cover a range of focal lengths. That being said both types of lenses are available in a huge range of sizes and prices, from cheap standard 50mm lenses to ultra-fast telephoto zooms costing over $25,000.

There is actually relatively little difference in cost-per-focal length between zooms and primes; both vary widely depending on quality, focal length and maximum aperture, without both popular and premium varieties of both types.

Some photographers prefer the convenience of zoom lenses, others prefer the superior performance of prime lenses, while others prefer to use a mixture of prime and zoom lenses depending on the circumstances.


TYPE OF LENSES

Pancake lens

Typical focal length

Wide, Normal, Telephoto

As suggested by it's name, a pancake lens is a very flat prime lens. It is shorter than it is wide and it is very small and light. Used with DSLR and Micro Four Thirds cameras they are primarily used by photographers who prefer a small and light camera/lens system. Relative to their miniature size, they can produce some good images

Standard Zoom

Typical focal length:

28-80mm (full-frame equivalent)

This is undoubtedly one of the most common focal length, suitable for everything from landscapes to portraits. Most camera systems will include a couple of lenses within this focal length range, usually a cheaper, and included as a kit lens with a new camera, and a premium quality lens often costing a lot more.

Ultra-wide zoom

Typical focal length:

16-35mm (full-frame equivalent)

Ultra-wide zoom lenses are mostly used for landscape photography. They are more specialized than standard zooms, and for this reason are generally more expensive.

Macro lens

Typical focal length:

50-100mm (full-frame equivalent)

A true macro lens will be able to record an image at a 1:1 scale on the image sensor or medium it was shot on at it's closest focusing distance allowing the lens to fill the frame and reveal amazing detail on very small objects.

Medium telephoto zoom

Typical focal length:

80-300mm (full-frame equivalent)

The medium telephoto zoom is generally useful for amateur wildlife, sports photography, and portraits at the shorter end of its focal length range. Telephoto zooms have a smaller effective aperture than standard zooms.

Specialist lenses

Typical focal length:

400-1200mm (full-frame equivalent)

Specialist lenses are largely used by professionals and advanced enthusiasts. These include both zoom and prime ultra-fast telephoto lenses used by sports and wildlife photographers.

CONVERSION FACTORS

Since most digital SLR and CSC cameras use sensors that are noticeably smaller than a frame of 35mm film, when using lenses designed for older film cameras the field of view is reduced by a certain amount. This has the effect of increasing the apparent focal length, so what had previously been a wide-angle lens now becomes closer to a standard view lens.

This "crop factor" or "conversion factor" is an key consideration when buying a lens. To convert the focal length of a digital SLR lens to the equivalent focal length for a 35mm camera, it must be multiplied by the conversion factor.

For APS-C cameras this is approximately 1.6 on Canon bodies, so a standard 18-55mm zoom lens, as supplied with many DSLRs, is roughly equivalent to 28-88mm, close to a standard zoom on 35mm cameras. If one were to user that 28-88mm lens on a DSLR it would be the equivalent to a 44-140mm zoom.

Four-Thirds systems have a conversion factor of approximately 2:1, so a standard zoom for these systems is usually 14-42mm, which again is roughly equivalent to the 28-80mm full-frame standard.


Chasing, "The Perfect Light".

As landscape photographers one of the things we often find ourselves obsessed about is chasing the light. And while this mindset can allow us to create some of the most amazing images it can also become a crutch limiting both our creativity and the images we images we produce.

Learning to appreciate the subtle transitions in texture as the light moves across the landscape not only not only allows us to better enjoy our time spent in the vast outdoors but also nurture greater opportunities to express ourselves more creatively.

Your Expectations can also create limitations

When I first began my journey as a landscape photographer, I was obsessed with creating images only when there was a burning sunrise or sunset. I would constantly check my weather apps daily hoping for conditions that would show promise of amazing colour and perfect clouds. And although every now and then I was blessed with the perfect conditions to make an amazing image I was often met with utter failure in less than ideal conditions forced to walk away unable to create the image I had hoped.

The expectation of ‘the perfect light’, can greatly limit our opportunities in the field

As a landscape photographer the expectation of, 'the perfect light' can create two possibilities; one you either head out to your location hoping for the perfect conditions only to be disheartened when the light doesn't take shape as you'd hoped or two, consult your 'trusty' weather app and if it doesn't forecast the conditions you hope for you stay indoors and watch TV. If you're thinking that option two seems the more practical approach the truth is neither mindset will help you become a better photographer. For myself, the expectation of, 'the perfect light' has been something which as all too often served as a disappointment limited my creativity and a landscape photographer and ultimately in the images I created.

When we commit our landscape photography to shooting in, ‘the perfect light’, we not only limit our vast opportunities to become more versatile photographers but also to shorten the time spent in the field experiencing the landscapes to find and refine our compositions.

Get out early & stay out late

If you're the type of landscape photographer who likes to shoot 15 minutes before and after sunrise or sunset, I urge you to consider shooting a bit longer. Try getting to your location a couple of hours earlier to find a composition you really like and continue shooting until the light has faded.

By doing this you'll not only be able to discover amazing compositions but also gain a better understanding of how the light interacts with the key elements within the landscape. Arriving to the location 10 or 15 minutes before sunrise or sunset is never going to allow you to find compelling compositions to make a great image.

There's never enough time

Any landscape photographer who has a full time job then you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. If you fall into that category then you have to ask yourself, "Do I want to create a body of images from several locations?" Or, "Do I want to create a body of work for my portfolio?"

Spending more time in any landscape allows you to better experience the scene as the light moves across the landscape. If you've never experienced it you'd be surprised just how much the light can change within the space of an hour before and sunrise to sunset often creating a soft yet moody atmosphere emphasizing the foreground and mid-ground elements of your composition.


Take the Challenge


Challenge yourself by spending more time in the landscape. I guarantee that you'll not only be able to find that compelling composition to create a stunning image but other compositions to open up opportunities to create other images you otherwise would have walked past.


Try not to fall into the trap of chasing, 'the perfect light'. If the forecast shows less than ideal conditions get out anyway. It doesn't matter if it's several hours before or after sunset, take time to explore the landscape.

How else are you going to find a compelling composition?


When shooting seascapes don't be afraid to take your camera hand held and get close to the waves. Shooting a wide vista? Try using your telephoto lens to pick out areas within the landscape you find interesting. Spend time looking for light and shadow (contrast) within the landscape and don't forget to include a human element in the frame to show scale. Use that 10-Second Timer and get yourself in the shot (you'll need a tripod for this). And when you cant find anything that strikes your interest, look at your feet. Take 100 steps from the point your standing and look down. I guarantee you'll find something to make a great abstract image.

Now get out there and Happy Shooting :)

My Gear

My Landscape Photography Gear

Canon 7D - A stunning DSLR offering great image quality and dynamic range.

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM - An amazing well constructed lens with the optical quality of an L series wide zoom in a prosumer barrel.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM - A lens I have wanted for a while and one of Canon’s best wide angle lens. Great image quality, very affordable and useful when emphasizing those interesting foregrounds.

Canon 70-200L F/4 (None IS) - An affordable and awesome L series lens.

Manfrotto XPRO Magnesium Ball Head with Two Ivation Replacement Quick Release Plates for the RC2 Rapid Connect Adapter - Offering an excellent shooting platform this ball head has become my go to when out and about creating landscape images.

Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 055 Aluminium 3-Section Tripod with Horizontal Column (Black) - An extremely rigid tripod without the need for extra weight to keep it steady on a windy day.

Filters - I use a wide range of Formatt Hitech graduated ND and ND filters with my 100mm Holder along with a 105 mm circular polarizer for my Threaded Ring. Second to none I have found Formatt Hitech filters to be best quality filters with little to no colour cast.

Lowepro S&F Filter Pouch 100 - The perfect pouch for keeping my filter holder and all my filters safe.

Lowepro Fastpack 250 DSLR Camera Backpack - An excellent camera bag for carrying a lot of equipment.

Post Production Work & Editing

My Photography Monitor – I use ViewSonic VP2768 PRO 27" 1440p Monitor with 100% sRGB Rec 709 14-bit 3D LUT and Color Calibration for Photography and Graphic Design as it gives a far more accurate representation of how my images will look in print.

LaCie Rugged Mini USB 3.0 / USB 2.0 2TB External Hard Drive – This holds all of my media and Lightroom Catalogs. This allows me to seamlessly switch from my MacBook to desktop without the hassle of having to sync folders or re-edit images.

Adobe Photoshop – There's not much I can say about this amazing piece of software.

Adobe Lightroom – Used primarily to edit and organise my library of images.

Tips for Buying Your First Digital Camera

My tips for buying a digital camera is simply about knowing what you want to do with it and which features you need. Have you ever wondered how the pro photographers take fantastic pictures? Is it because master photographers own the best cameras that are usually high-priced and too complex to use for the average person or hobby photographer? Well considering that today's technology have a variety of digital cameras to choose from that can take take high quality photos and can be purchased for an affordable price I think not. First of all, think what you’ll be using the camera for, and which features you think are necessary for the photos you plan on taking. Someone who would use their digital camera for taking  holiday pictures might be comfortable with a simple point and shoot camera that is full automatic and takes care of the background work, such as where to focus, what aperture setting to use and white balance. However for a photographer who likes having more control over his/her shot would generally prefer a more advance camera with more options in its features. Therefore when buying a new camera you might want to ask yourself the following questions:

What will I use the camera for mostly?

How much can i spend?

Which features would I need?

How many (megapixels)is good enough?

Which special brand should I consider, and why is that model better than the other? (Don’t forget to compare everything)

When you've made your decision and purchased your new digital camera it's important that you learn how to maintain it in good condition. Clean your lens on a regular basis and especially before shooting. A dirty lens can result in a blurred and unusable image. Always use a recommended lends cleaning solution and  a cloth (microfiber cloths work best). Using unsuitable materials could severely damage the front element of your lens and render it useless. Understanding how the focus mechanism on your camera works can help you taking better pictures. Almost every digital camera has an auto focus option which works when you press the shutter button halfway down and hold it. Use this feature to lock the focus on your subject and then recompose the shot before you press the shutter fully and take the picture. Using this tip this will allow you to let your main target remain in focus.

Another excellent technique for taking great pictures is to follow the rule of thirds (it's actually more like a guideline) that helps create a satisfying balance between the our main subject and the supporting elements picture. To apply this rule, first separate your screen into 6 sections. This can be done by simply dividing your frame into 3 horizontal and 3 vertical lined equally spaced. Most cameras will have have this feature in live view and can be activated by selecting the grid view. Basically the aim is to place your main subject of the picture close to one of these focal lines. This would  give your picture a finer balance and generally make it more pleasing to look at.