Tuesday, March 26, 2013
DSLRs & Lenses For Landscapes
The best cameras, lenses and gear for achieving the ultimate landscape photography no matter your budget
The SD1 Merrill features the unique APS-C-sized Foveon X3 image sensor (1.5x crop), which records red, green and blue light information at each and every pixel site in three layers. This sensor design does away with moiré problems and the resulting need for a blurring low-pass filter. Sigma claims roughly 46 megapixels of resolution (4800 x 3200 x 3 layers) though that number is generally considered to be closer to 15 megapixels. Sigma fans claim a large amount of sharpness and color fidelity, but low-light abilities in the Sigma are lacking, however, with an ISO range of only 100-6400. The rugged magnesium-alloy body is sealed against weather, and the viewfinder shows 98% of the actual image area. It's complemented by a 3.0-inch, 460K-dot LCD monitor, but the camera doesn't provide live-view or video capability.
The A77 provides most of the flagship A99's features in a more compact, 24.3-megapixel APS-C package. The same TMT translucent-mirror technology and high-res 2359K-dot OLED Tru-Finder are at the heart of the system, which is wrapped in a weather-resistant, magnesium-alloy body. There's a built-in GPS, and the 3.0-inch, 921K-dot LCD monitor tilts and swivels for easy low-angle compositions and video shooting. Multi-frame noise reduction, Auto HDR and Dynamic Range Optimizer are useful for JPEG landscapes, and Sony's Sweep Panorama and 3D Sweep Panorama make shooting in-camera stitched panoramic images simple.
LOW-COST LANDSCAPE OUTFIT
Canon's top entry-level EOS Rebel model, the T4i features an 18-megapixel APS-C sensor, 14-bit RAW files and an expandable ISO range of 100-25,600. The eye-level pentamirror viewfinder shows 95% of the actual image area at 0.85X magnification, while the 3.0-inch, 1040K-dot external monitor tilts and rotates for easy odd-angle shooting. The monitor serves as a touch screen; in Live View mode, you just touch the point on the live image where you want the camera to focus. Spot metering mode measures 4% of the actual image area. The T4i can use all EF and EF-S lenses.
For lenses, if you're just getting started in landscapes, you may want to consider one efficient superzoom: 18-200mm, 18-250mm, 18-270mm or even 18-300mm. These provide all the focal lengths you'll need in one convenient package. They aren't as sharp as shorter-range zooms of equal price or prime lenses of equivalent focal length, and they also have more distortion, but they let you learn which focal lengths best meet your landscape needs and keep your sensor from being exposed to dust. Once you figure out the focal lengths you prefer, you also can continue to build your kit with additional shorter-range, but higher-quality zooms or favored focal lengths in primes.
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