As cameras continue to evolve and impress, their newest features often play to the fast-paced multimedia world. For landscape photographers, the ability to minimize or eliminate the time it takes to print an image or display it online can have limited use, and tends to overshadow a range of core camera functions that appeal to our genre of photography. Landscape photography can arguably be one of the slowest-paced schools of image-making. As such, it does not have the same subset of requirements as many other categories of photography. Ranging from the most basic features to some of the most advanced technologies, this article strives to highlight a range of specs to look for when shopping for a new camera with the intention of making landscape photographs.
“Landscape photography can arguably be one of the slowest-paced schools of image-making.”
When looking for a camera suitable for landscape photography, a number of factors come into play that might not be considered when browsing cameras for other applications. Speed is not nearly as important a feature as image quality, for instance, and exposure control is paramount among most other concerns. High-resolution sensors tend to be most highly favored due to the immense detail they can garner, as well as the larger print sizes made possible by the files they produce. Unlike sports, wildlife, or street photography, landscape shooting tends to be slow and methodical; lower ISOs, slower shutter speeds, smaller apertures, and working from a tripod are essentially obligatory, whereas with other genres of photography, high ISO sensitivities, fast continuous shooting rates, and quick autofocus systems tend to be the most prized elements of a camera system. This isn’t to say that those features should be overlooked—they are often welcomed—but they are not nearly as crucial to landscape work as they are to faster-paced shooting applications. Fewer frames will also be recorded during a day of shooting in the wilds of Yosemite versus shooting the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Montreal, so file size, buffer capacity, and card speeds do not stand as much of a limitation for the work you can do.