OP Home > Gear > Cameras > D-SLRs For The Landscape

Gear



Friday, August 1, 2008

D-SLRs For The Landscape


Choose the best camera for your landscape photography

Click To Enlarge

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Nikon D300
The D300 delivers on its promise of terrific image quality. The camera is remarkable at higher ISOs, and its Active D-Lighting preserves detail throughout high-contrast scenes. Another great feature for landscape photography is the 920,000-dot, 3.0-inch LCD monitor with two Live-View modes: Handheld, which employs 51-point phase detection AF; and Tripod, which uses focal-plane contrast-detection AF. You even can route the live image to a laptop monitor and control the camera from the computer using Nikon Camera Control 2 software. You also can focus manually in either Live-View mode.

Picture Control settings let you start with four presets (Standard, Neutral, Vivid or Monochrome) and then modify sharpness, contrast, brightness, color saturation, tone and monochrome filter effects as desired, while Nikon’s new EXPEED processing concept and your choice of 12- or 14-bit A/D conversion result in excellent image quality (in-camera processing is 16-bit). On-demand viewfinder grid lines help you align image elements, while Nikon’s first self-cleaning sensor keeps dust off the sensor assembly.

Features
Sensor: 12.3-megapixel CMOS, 1.5x
LCD: 3 inches/Live View Anti-Dust: High-frequency vibrations
Stabilization: Via VR lenses ISO Range: 200-3200, plus 100 and 6400
Spot Metering: 2%
Estimated Street Price: $1,800
Build quality is excellent, with a strong magnesium-alloy body and enhanced sealing against moisture and dust. Mirror-up mode lets the camera settle down before a tripod-mounted exposure, 2% spot-metering lets you meter individual scenic elements, and a battery capable of up to 3,000 shots per charge means worry-free field operation.
Nikon offers a host of lenses for its D-SLRs, ranging in focal length from a 10.5mm fish-eye (equivalent to 15.75mm on a 35mm camera) and 12-24mm superwide zoom (equivalent to 18-36mm) to a 600mm supertelephoto (equivalent to 900mm), including three 1:1 macro lenses and two manual-focus tilt/shift lenses that provide some of the perspective control capabilities of a view camera.

The dial on the top, left of the camera gives you one-touch control over shooting quality, ISO, white balance and the camera’s drive modes The selector switch accesses the AF area modes, and the multi-selector allows you to choose an AF point. These are particularly useful when setting up a landscape shot that has critical elements in both foreground and background The bright, 3-inch LCD monitor features Live-View The LCD panel on top of the body gives a full readout of settings and is illuminated via the on-off button.

Alternative Landscape D-SLR

Camera: Nikon D3
Sensor:
12.1 MP/FF
LCD: 3 inches/Live View
Anti-Dust: Vibration
Stabilization: With VR lenses
ISO: 50-25,600
Spot Metering: 1.5%
Estimated Street Price: $5,000

Lineage: The D300 is the successor to the D200, although the latter remains in Nikon’s D-SLR lineup as of this writing. While the D200 is an excellent camera, D300 improvements are numerous, including a 12.3-megapixel CMOS sensor (vs. a 10.2-megapixel CCD in the D200), 3.0-inch 920,000-dot LCD panel with two Live-View modes (vs. a 2.5-inch 230,000-pixel LCD with no Live View), self-cleaning sensor unit, 51 AF points (vs. 11), 6 fps shooting (vs. 5 fps), 100% viewfinder (vs. 95%), EXPEED image processing concept with Scene Recognition System, in-camera retouching features, Active D-Lighting, improved auto white balance and more.

Cool Factor: Ideal for low-light and harshly lit landscapes, the D300 produces very low noise at higher ISOs (it goes to ISO 6400), while Active D-Lighting tames contrasty scenes.


14 Comments

Add Comment

 

Popular OP Articles

  • Super Charged!Super Charged!
    There’s no substitute for megapixels. We look at the highest-pixel-count cameras, both medium-format and full-frame models, of all time. More »
  • Digital MythbustingDigital Mythbusting
    We bust some of the most common myths that digital photographers take into the field to help you get your best images More »
  • Lighten Up!Lighten Up!
    How to choose and use light-hiking equipment and philosophy to make your photography forays more enjoyable, comfortable and productive More »