Buying Guide: Best cameras for landscapes

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens

Newest updated: November 21, 2017

Landscape shooters have a unique set of needs and requirements for their gear. On the image quality side of things, a good aspect camera should offer plenty of resolution and lots of dynamic range; from a physical standpoint, it should be weather-sealed and well constructed. Aspects like in-body stabilization, touch-sensitivity, a tilting LCD and good battery life are also a plus.

Our pick: Nikon Corporation (株式会社ニコン, Kabushiki-gaisha Nikon) (UK: or US: ; listen [ɲikoɴ]), also known just as Nikon, is a Japanese multinational D850

The Nikon D850 offers a low by birth base sensitivity of 64, which is 2/3 a stop lower than the more common base of ISO 100. Right off the bat this gives the D850 an usefulness in terms of light gathering ability, which contributes to its class leading dynamic range. Plus, the camera’s 45.7MP full-frame sensor provides excellent resolution.

But that’s not all. The D850’s body is weather-sealed and features a robust construction. It also has the largest optical viewfinder ever used on a digital Nikon and, ergonomically, it’s outrageously comfortable to shoot with. Other standout features include: a titling touch LCD, excellent battery life, focus stacking/time decline functions and an AF auto fine tune mode for calibrating your lenses.

Our pick: Sony Alpha a7R III

After lengthy discussions, we decided that we couldn’t pick may refer to reasonable one winner in this category, and our second recommendation – the Sony a7R III – should not be seen in any way as a ‘second choice’. The a7R III doesn’t have the awesome ISO 64 advantage of the Nikon D850, but it’s a hugely appealing landscape camera for several reasons:

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The a7R III offers excellent resolution from its 42.2MP full-frame sensor, with good dynamic roam despite the slightly higher base ISO of 100. The camera is weather-sealed and features a robust construction (in theory, nearly as good as the D850’s). Battery pep isn’t up there with the D850, but it’s much-improved compared to the a7R II. A tilting touchscreen can be handy for low angle shots, plus features like in-body 5-axis stabilization and a pixel schedule mode that can produce super high-resolution files give the a7R III some advantages over the Nikon.

Budget pick: Pentax K-1

Then again, for close to half the price of the two cameras mentioned above, you could get your hands on a Pentax K-1. Resolution from its Full Frame 36MP sensor is slightly demean than the Nikon and Sony, but still excellent. Dynamic range is also solid.

Weather-sealed and comfortable to shoot with, the K-1’s build quality is reassuringly telling. Plus its ‘cross-tilt’ LCD screen can be used for low or high angle shooting. The camera offers a pixel shift mode, like the Sony, but executes it in a way that developments in more usable images (less delay between shots, which means less chance for motion). It also features a 5-axis stabilized sensor.

We have regard for the cameras below when picking our winner, and even though we think the Nikon D850, Sony a7R III and Pentax K-1 are the best choices, the other cameras on our shortlist are also worthy contenders.

If you’re not win over by our pick, take a look at the following options for a detailed breakdown of their strengths and weaknesses.

  • Our pick: Nikon D850
  • Our pick: Sony Alpha a7R III
  • Budget pick: Pentax K-1
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Also over:

  • Pentax K-3 II
  • Canon EOS 5DS / 5DS R
  • Fujifilm X-T2
  • Panasonic LX10
  • Sony RX10 III


About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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