5 Best Cameras for Landscape Photography in 2018 (Plus Lens Recommendations)


Look:

I firmly believe that buying a specialized camera should be a fun process.

That is why, to make your life easier, I created this guide to list the top 5 best landscape cameras for 2018 across various price points. 

On top of that:

I included the best lens for landscape photography that is recommended for each camera presented in this article.

This being said:

This landscape camera buying guide should be useful, especially if your primary task is traveling and still-life photography.

Before we move on:

Here is a quick navigation of what to expect in the article. Every camera choice will be supported by video-reviews.

(Click on the link to jump to the section you want to read about). 

5 Best Cameras for Landscape Photography 2018

  • Nikon D5500 – Best budget entry-level camera for landscape photos
  • Pentax K-1 – Best affordable full-frame landscape camera (under $3500)
  • Nikon D810 – Second best Nikon DSLR for landscapes (+ a cheaper alternative)
  • Sony a7R II – Second best mirrorless landscape camera in 2018
  • Nikon D850 – Best Nikon camera for landscape (and wildlife) photography 2018


* Please note that the price on Amazon is subject to change
Also, the prices exclude the lenses recommended here. *


Product

     Quick Overview Our Rating
Nikon D5500 DX-format DSLR Camera
Read Our Full Review

Pros:

  • budget-friendly
  • accurate work in Auto mode
  • articulated touch screen
  • fast autofocus
  • high image detail
  • great for beginner photographers

Cons:

  • no built-in GPS
  • not weather-sealed
  • no more panoramic mode

Further details on Nikon D5500

  
4.2/5
Pentax K-1 FX Digital Camera
Read Our Full Review

Pros:

  • excellent image quality
  • 5-axis stabilization
  • unique tilting screen
  • two SD-card slots
  • full-featured Live View mode
  • low price

Cons:

  • not the most advanced autofocus
  • low speed of continuous shooting
  • small buffer

 Further details on Pentax K-1

  
4.5/5
Nikon D810 FX Digital SLR Camera
Read Our Full Review

Pros:

  • excellent color rendering
  • large buffer in JPG
  • amazing autofocus
  • advanced ergonomics
  • dust and moisture protection

Cons:

  • relatively high cost
  • possibility of moiré
  • small buffer in RAW 

Further details on Nikon D810

  
4.7/5
Sony a7R II Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera
Pros:
  • high resolution = 42 MP
  • wide dynamic range
  • effective stabilizer
  • silent shutter
  • large viewfinder
  • 4K-video shooting

Cons:

  • relatively high price tag
  • not instant switch-on time
  • unusual interface for SLR people

Further details on Sony a7R II

     
4.8/5
Nikon D850 FX Digital SLR Camera

Pros:

  • high resolution 45.4 Mp
  • excellent work at high ISO
  • fast and tenacious focusing
  • high resolution display
  • flexibility with RAW files
  • 30 fps 4K video shooting
  • OV with 100% frame coverage

Cons:

  • slow focusing in Live View mode
  • challenging for beginners

Further details on Nikon D850

4.9/5


Let’s start with a good camera at a low-price point that will allow you to take pretty awesome photos – Nikon D5500.


Best Landscape Cameras for 2018


Nikon D5500

Quick Specs:

  • Type: Compact SLR camera
  • Weight: 420g
  • Sensor: CMOS
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, 100 – 25600
  • Weather Sealed: No
  • Category: Best Landscape Cameras 2018
  • Subcategory: Good camera at a low-price point

Look:

If you’re looking for the best budget Nikon DSLR for scenery photography, then this camera might be your best bet.

To start off:

This is a mid-level camera that came to replace the Nikon D5300, and it was the first Nikon SLR camera equipped with an articulated touch screen.

If you end up picking up Nikon D5500, you will realize that this camera is capable of shooting different scenes…

… And all images do come out great.

Here’s the good news:

Just like with all modern Nikon cameras, when shooting in low-light conditions, you can rely on this model’s confident work.

When it comes to landscape photos:

You can boldly raise ISO to 1600 without worrying about loss of detail and the image noise.

This is the case where D5500’s autofocus, along with the speed of continuous shooting, demonstrates decent speed and accuracy. 

And finally:

Being their first DSLR with a touch screen, Nikon company succeeded at making this implementation a successful one.

Its touch screen reacts very quickly, and navigating through the menu has become faster and easier.

However:

The only thing that bothered me a little (and probably will you too) was the lack of a GPS in this model.

Let me remind you that one of my recommended SLR cameras for beginners, the Nikon D5300, does have it

(Nikon D5300 camera also made the list of my top 9 list of the best Nikon cameras in 2018).

The thing is:

For travel and landscape photography, location matters.

On the other hand, advanced amateur photographers will always be able to purchase an external GPS module.

For those who do not need it, the camera will cost less.


What you might like about this camera:

  • accurate work in auto mode
  • articulated touch screen
  • fast autofocus
  • a decent speed of serial shooting
  • low noise level up to ISO 3200
  • good color rendition
  • high image detail
  • presence of built-in Wi-Fi
  • in-camera image processing

What you might not like about this camera:

  • no built-in GPS
  • not weather-sealed
  • not too much buffer space when shooting in RAW + JPG

Recommended Landscape Lens for Nikon D5500


The thing is that the kit lens that comes with any camera isn’t that sharp, that’s why Sigma 18-55mm f/1.8 lens is being recommended specifically for landscape photography.

I mean, this lens is incredibly sharp.

  • Important: Make sure you pick it up in a Nikon mount!

At a low price point you are going to get fantastic images out of Nikon D5500 and Sigma 18-55mm f/1.8 lens.

My Final Thoughts on Nikon D5500 and Sigma 18-55mm f/1.8 Lens


For beginner photographers, the Nikon D5500 will be a real godsend.

Accurate and confident work in auto mode will make high-quality images even for inexperienced amateurs.

And the presence of built-in filters and the possibility of in-camera image processing will improve your images even without using a computer.

In favor of the camera also speaks its universality: 

  • It is equally suitable for most photography genres, stably producing quality photo.

If you use use Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens, then this camera will be a great option for landscape photography at the lowest price possible

Read Our Full Review of Nikon D5500.

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Best Landscape Cameras for 2018


Pentax K-1

Quick Specs:

  • Type: Mid-size SLR camera
  • Weight: 1010g
  • Sensor: CMOS
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, 100-204800
  • Weather Sealed: Yes
  • Category: Best Landscape Cameras 2018
  • Subcategory: Great camera at a lower-price point (with the lens)

Generally speaking, Pentax K-1 is suitable for any type of shooting.

The camera will be appropriate in your hunting for landscape frames, and for artistic portraits alike.

It is also a great option for other genres of professional photography:

I feel that Pentax K-1 will be interesting for those who are choosing their first full-frame camera.

To such photographers, the camera will offer a lot of opportunities for a relatively small price tag.

What else can be said?

Well,

  1. we have a camera with a very effective optical stabilization system,
  2. and the quality of the pictures is simply magnificent (!),
  3. the widest dynamic range, flexible in RAW processing, low noise level…

… Isn’t this the most important thing?

Without doubt, its affordable price is a HUGE advantage.

In the segment of the top full-frame DSLRs, the Pentax K-1 is one of the best budget full-frame cameras for landscape photography that you can find in 2018.

(You know how expensive other cameras can be!)

“So, what are the disadvantages?”, you may ask.

Well:

I personally think that the design and interface seem to be a bit “damp”.

What I mean by that is that:

  • controls duplicate each other,
  • a strange choice of functions for the Smart Function,
  • and many “superfluous” modes, differing from each other only by the possibility or impossibility of using auto-ISO.

The truth is:

All this requires optimization and rationalization.

The abundance of “unique technologies” also makes Pentax K-1 quite difficult mastering.

So if you plan getting this camera, please understand that you’ll need some time to get used to it, it needs to be adjusted for you.


What you might like about this camera:

  • excellent image quality: low noise, the widest dynamic range
  • 5-axis stabilization
  • unique tilting screen
  • two SD-card slots
  • full-featured Live View mode
  • Pixel Shift, AstroTracer feature, antimoire
  • convenient shooting in RAW (PEF), JPEG, and in the universal DNG format
  • implemented GPS and Wi-Fi
  • low price for a camera of this class

What you might not like about this camera:

  • not the most advanced autofocus for a camera of this class, a small coverage area for phase AF
  • low speed of continuous shooting, small buffer
  • when using Pixel Shift, HDR shooting and other technologies that load the processor, make the camera a bit slower

Recommended Landscape Lens for Pentax K-1


If you want to create sweet landscape photos, it is recommended that you pair up your Pentax K-1 camera with Pentax 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.

On a full-frame camera like the new Pentax K-, this lens captures an angle of 74º in the horizontal direction when you set it at 24mm.

And that is GOOD for landscape photography.

Pentax K-1: A Great Budget Full-Frame Camera for Landscapes


A big step up from Nikon D5500 is Pentax K-1, which has an amazing sensor stacking technology, paired with the Pentax 24-70 f/2.8 lens.

Who is this camera for?

It is clear that professionals are unlikely to abandon their camera systems that they use now and got for Pentax instead.

However, K-1 has everything to be a professional tool:

  • it not only gives excellent quality of images,
  • but it has huge shutter speed
  • and is weather sealed (which I find to be important for landscape photographers).

Definitely this camera is for enthusiasts and creative photographers, looking for their first full frame camera.

Read Our Review of Pentax K-1.

 

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Best Landscape Cameras for 2018


Nikon D810

Quick Specs:

  • Type: Mid-size SLR camera
  • Weight: 980g
  • Sensor: CMOS
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, 64-12800
  • Weather Sealed: Yes
  • Category: Best Landscape Cameras for 2018
  • Subcategory: Great camera at a higher-price point

Here’s the deal:

Nikon D810 is a modern full-frame SLR camera, designed primarily for those photographers who need uncompromisingly high image quality…

… Which sure is the case with landscape/nature photography.

Thanks to the 36-megapixel sensor without an optical low-pass filter, this Nikon camera provides the highest detail among all digital SLRs.

I must warn you though:

The control interface of the D810 is designed for an experienced photographer, and amateurs may find it way too complicated.

This being said…

It may take some time for a beginner photographer to learn the tips and tricks of the camera.

But:

The efficiency of control is at an altitude thanks to the abundance of individual buttons and selectors…

… As well as the possibility of fine-tuning many of them.

Here’s the kicker:

Its pretty high burst rate and excellent autofocus allows you to use the D810 for reportage and documentary photography too.

(In case landscape photography isn’t the only favorite photography genre of yours.)

A word on resolution.

Don’t be afraid of high resolutions. When shooting with insufficient lighting, it allows a more effective noise reduction.

In addition to that:

You always have the opportunity to take pictures with a lower resolution, including in the S-RAW format.

The advantages of the camera include:

  • excellent ergonomics,
  • a waterproof body,
  • an ability to work with two flash drives, and,
  • a convenient optical viewfinder with an exhaustive set of output parameters.

On a separate note, I want to mention the video mode.

Nikon D810 is maximally adapted for professional video shooting.

It allows you to:

  • use external microphones and headphones,
  • record uncompressed stream from the HDMI-output
  • save on the flash drive rollers up to 1080 @ 60p.

There is even a special Picture Control profile, which gives the maximum color correction capabilities for post-processing of video – Flat.

But any, even the most perfect camera, has its drawbacks.

What are those?

In my opinion, the disadvantages of the Nikon D810 include:

  • a relatively high cost,
  • the possibility to face the moiré effect (in rare cases),
  • as well as not too much buffer capacity when shooting in RAW.


What you might like about this camera:

  • the highest detail of the images
  • excellent color rendering
  • quality picture up to ISO 3200-6400
  • high burst of rate given its resolution
  • large buffer when shooting in JPG
  • excellent autofocus
  • advanced ergonomics
  • dust and moisture protection
  • extensive control settings
  • video shooting up to 1080 @ 60p
  • input for microphone and headphone output
  • working with 2 memory cards

What you might not like about this camera:

  • relatively high cost
  • the possibility of moire (occasionally)
  • a small buffer when shooting in RAW and S-RAW

Recommended Landscape Lens for Nikon D810


While there are many lenses that you could use for landscape photography, you might want to start with Nikkor AF-S 16-35mm f/4 G and then go from there in the future.

Thoughts on Nikon D810 for Landscapes (And A Cheaper Alternative If You’re On A Low Budget)


Nikon D810 with Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 lens sure is a great option.

You will find this camera will be especially useful in landscape, wedding and advertising photography. 

Thanks to the 36-megapixel sensor without an optical low-pass filter, this camera provides excellent color rendering and offers the highest detail of the image.

A Cheaper Alternative to Nikon D810: 

Now, I know that the camera might be a bit pricey, so there is a great, cheaper alternative: Nikon D750 with Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 lens.

It is a fantastic camera and lens (and significantly more affordable than D810 with Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 lens).

Read Our Full Review of Nikon D810.

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Best Landscape Cameras Under $5000 in 2018


Sony a7R II

Quick Specs:

  • Type: SLR-style mirrorless camera
  • Weight: 625g
  • Sensor: BSI-CMOS
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, 100-25600 (expands to 50-102400)
  • Weather Sealed: Yes
  • Category: Best Landscape Cameras for 2018
  • Subcategory: Best mirrorless camera for landscape photography in 2018

Look:

As of 2018, Sony a7R III is probably THE best hybrid (mirrorless) camera for landscape photography, BUT…

… I decided to include Mark II version here as a cheaper alternative. 

So:

This section here is for those who are looking for the best mirrorless camera under $5000 (including the lens recommended here).

With Amazon deals, you might even get a better price.

Anyway:

Sony Alpha A7R II is a symbolic model which has gathered all of Sony’s most advanced technologies.

This camera has amazing photo and video capabilities…

… As well as presents the latest developments in the field of microelectronic production.

The sensor has 42 megapixels which is not the record one but it was the first full-frame sensor in the world, created using the BSI technology.

NoteIn a classic CMOS sensor, the photosensitive element is surrounded by “strapping” and numerous conductors. The real area of the photosensitive element is never equal to the area of the pixel.

A bit of history here:

Let me remind you that the use of BSI-technology some time ago allowed tiny smartphones’ sensors to reach such a high level of quality that they were able to compete with cameras.

Then BSI-sensors then came to be introduced in point-and-shoot cameras, significantly raising the bar of quality.

And now we see this technology being introduced in one of the world’s best mirrorless camera.

Anyway:

The Sony Alpha A7R Mark II sensor has no optical low-pass filter.

As a result, this further increases the detailization of images.

And by the way:

You won’t see a lot of moire in the photos.

The specificity of multi-megapixel sensors is that it’s really hard to get moire on them.

In a nutshell: 

Sony a7R II has…

  • well-developed ergonomics,
  • finely tuned interface,
  • professional video shooting with a resolution of up to 4K,
  • and an effective optical stabilizer,

… all of which are enclosed in a really compact body.

Add to this combo an excellent speed and hybrid autofocus (compared to previous Sony models).

Are there cons with Sony Alpha A7R II?

Certainly.

The main one is its price tag. 

Something unique simply cannot be cheap.

Also:

An unusual interface may confuse the “old-school” (DSLR) photographers when testing out this mirrorless camera for the first time.


What you might like about this camera:

  • highest resolution = 42 megapixels
  • absence of optical low-pass filter
  • low noise up to ISO 6400
  • wide dynamic range
  • effective stabilizer
  • silent shutter
  • advanced ergonomics with a customizable interface
  • improved hybrid autofocus
  • large viewfinder
  • 4K-video shooting
  • WiFi & other additional features
  • two batteries and a charger included

What you might not like about this camera:

  • relatively high price tag
  • not instant switch-on time
  • unusual interface for old-school (SLR) photographers

Recommended Landscape Lens for Sony a7R II


Sony 24-70 and 16-35mm f/2.8 are absolutely stellar lenses for landscape photography.

Conclusion: Sony A7R II is an Awesome Mirrorless Camera for Landscape Photography


Sony A7R II is the perfect camera for those photographers and videographers who need the highest possible technical quality.

If you’re involved with:

  • stock photography business,
  • nature/landscapes and wildlife,
  • advertising,
  • work in a studio,
  • and are a travel photographer (videographer),

… then Sony Alpha A7R Mark II is for you.

This camera can always be at hand and provide excellent results in any conditions.

Isn’t it the best thing you could ask for?

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Best Landscape Cameras Under $5000 in 2018


Nikon D850

Quick Specs:

  • Type: Mid-size SLR
  • Weight: 1005g
  • Sensor: BSI-CMOS
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, 64-25600 (expands to 32-102400)
  • Weather Sealed: Yes
  • Category: Best Landscape Cameras 2018
  • Subcategory: Best DSLR camera for landscape photography in 2018

The truth is:

If you want to go more with old-school camera then Nikon D850 is the best SLR camera for landscape photography that you can get in 2018.

The Nikon D850 is not just an upgrade of the good old D800 (which, in fact, was the D810).

It’s a completely new camera with a lot of interesting and practical features.

Here’s the thing:

These types cameras can often be found in the hands of professionals as they have proven themselves in various types of shooting such as wedding, studio, and/or landscape.


So, if you’re a beginner, you might want to consider entry-level DSLRs, such as:


Anyway:

Despite the avalanche of various innovations, the main intrigue in the Nikon D850 remains its sensor.

This was the first time that a BSI-CMOS sensor was used in Nikon cameras.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s designed to provide better results when working at high ISO.

Also:

For the first time the sensor has such a high resolution of 45.7 Mp. At the output, we get images up to 8256 × 5504 pixels.

There is no low-pass filter on the sensor (which is a good thing).

You might ask:

“Why do I need so many megapixels”?

It’s like with time and money: you can’t have it too much. 🙂

Here’s how it works:

  • More image detail – the more freedom you have in everything.
  • High resolution allows you to print pictures in large format, gives room for framing and greater flexibility in processing.

For example: Retouching a portrait or a subject photo becomes much more convenient if the shot is taken in high resolution.

That is why cameras with higher resolution are so loved by studio and landscape photographers.

However:

Classic studio cameras are rarely equipped with an equally powerful autofocus and do not have such a fast continuous shooting.

This means that Nikon D850 will:

  • give a high resolution not only to photographers working in the studio and with landscapes,
  • but also to all those involved with the reportage shooting.

It’s absolutely worth mentioning that the camera combines:

  • high speed with incredible detail of images,
  • allows you to make high-quality shots in any conditions, including in poor lighting at high values of ISO.

Now:

While this camera is great I don’t recommend it for total beginners in the world of photography, as there are no guide modes available and it will be a bit challenging to master.


What you might like about this camera:

  • high resolution 45.4 Mp
  • excellent work at high ISO, low noise level up to ISO 6400
  • wide dynamic range, flexibility in processing RAW files
  • ease of use: improved grip, button illumination, high resolution inclined display
  • touch screen
  • optical viewfinder with 100% frame coverage
  • quiet shutter
  • noiseless Live View shooting
  • fast and tenacious focusing
  • high speed of continuous shooting (7 fps), capacious buffer
  • 30 fps 4K video shooting
  • support of modern fast memory cards XQD and SD UHS-II

What you might not like about this camera:

  • a bit slow focusing of contrast type in Live View mode
  • challenging for beginner photographers

Recommended Landscape Lens for Nikon D850


As a landscape photographer you will want to get Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 VR lens to pair it up with Nikon D850.

Nikon D850 is An Amazing High-End Landscape Camera (I Mean Totally Worth Buying in 2018)


Without doubt:

This full-frame SLR camera is a universal creative tool and positioned by the manufacturer as a model for professionals and advanced enthusiasts.

(More professional in the line of Nikon DSLRs is only the Nikon D5, but it is oriented to a different field of application: it is a quick burst-rate SLR in a killer body, created for reporters.)

Generally speaking:

The Nikon D8** series of cameras is associated not only with an amazing resolution, but also with versatility and reliability.

What’s very important:

  • D850 is protected from moisture and dust.

Being environmentally sealed allows this camera to work in the most difficult weather conditions.

Get D850 camera with Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 VR lens and you have an amazing tool for your landscape photography masterpieces.

 

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Top 5 Best Landscape Cameras and Lenses for 2018


The best camera to use for landscape photography for 2018. Examples of beautiful landscapes.
Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park, California, USA.

All the aforementioned cameras are absolutely great for landscape photography, whatever your budget is.

The fact is:

All of the above were/are used by professional photographers and it shows that the quality really is top-notch (especially Sony a7R II and Nikon D850).

Almost all of them are environmentally-sealed…

… Which means that as a landscape photographer, you will be able to shoot in any weather condition.

And all the lenses chosen here are great for landscape photography.

Note: As many of you may know, it’s the lens you have that’s more important.

So:

If you are on a budget, it might be a better idea to get a cheaper camera but a stellar lens.

(For example, getting Nikon D5500 and a Sigma 15-55mm f/1.8 lens with it).

And if you are a beginner, check out Digital Photography School to build a solid foundation for your future as a photographer.

Anyway:

I really hope you enjoyed this list of the best cameras and lenses for landscape photography and let me know which camera you found most suitable for you.

One last thing to mention:

If you are into sports, action or wildlife, keep in mind that unlike landscapes, sports photography requires fast focusing and high frame rate.

Therefore you’ll need different digital cameras and lenses for sports.


Choosing the Cameras for Scenery Photography:
What Are Your Thoughts?


Now, I’d like to hear from YOU:

  • Are you a beginner photographer?
  • More into DSLRs or mirrorless options?
  • Which of the aforementioned digital cameras appealed to you the most for nature/landscape photography?

Any questions and/or suggestions are welcome in the comments area below.

Happy shooting!

5 Best Cameras for Landscape Photography in 2018 (Plus Lens Recommendations)
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