Landscape photography can be an exciting hobby or career, but you’ll need a decent camera for good results. Plenty of cameras will break the bank, but if you look hard enough, getting a quality camera on a budget is possible.
I’m Caleb, and I have more than five years of experience as a sports photographer. I’ve shot games across several sports and venues, so I’m familiar with what a camera needs to shine under pressure.
In this article, I’ll discuss which affordable cameras are the best for landscape photography. I’ll also explain some things to look for when buying a camera like this. So if you’re looking to get into landscape photography on a budget, keep reading.
- Landscape photography as a niche has its own requirements, such as good battery life and dynamic range.
- The Canon Rebel T7i is a great all-around option for newer photographers getting into landscape photography.
- Panasonic’s LUMIX G85 stands out as the best affordable hybrid camera for landscape photography, as it can also shoot 4K video.
- If you need a full-frame camera, the Canon EOS RP is the best option available with a budget price tag.
- The Sony a6000 can keep up with its peers performance-wise and is conveniently compact.
How Many Megapixels Do I Need for Landscape Photography?
It’s a good idea to aim for at least 20 megapixels. This gives you enough resolution to work with but doesn’t require buying an expensive camera with a higher-end megapixel count.
Is 35mm or 50mm Better for Landscape Photography?
It depends on the type of shots you want. A 35mm lens is wider than a 50mm lens, so it can fit more in the frame. On the other hand, the 50mm lens is closer to the human eye and might look more natural in up-close situations.
Do You Need an Expensive Camera for Landscape Photography?
Not at all. Like with other types of photography, you can succeed even with a low-end camera through the use of good composition. However, a camera with extensive features will still make your work much easier.
What Makes The Best Camera for Landscape Photography
You should look for these things when shopping for a landscape photography camera.
- Resolution: As obvious as it sounds, having a high resolution will often enhance your overall quality. This is especially important if you plan to take landscape photos for physical prints.
- Dynamic Range: Outdoor landscapes can have many different lighting conditions, and a camera with an excellent dynamic range will let you capture both the brightest and darkest areas in high detail.
- Weight: If you’re going to carry your camera and lenses on outdoor hikes, you may want to consider a compact model with a lighter weight.
- Weather Protection: Additionally, if you plan to take your camera into the elements, such as dust or moisture, you should look for a model with weather sealing.
- Battery Life: When spending extended time away from a charging outlet, having a camera with a great battery life can be a lifesaver.
- Image Stabilization: Having a camera with image stabilization can help you to take sharper landscape photos with less camera shake.
4 Affordable Cameras for Landscape Photography Reviewed
In my opinion, these are the four best affordable cameras for the landscape photography niche, ranging from the best overall to the best compact model.
1. Canon EOS Rebel T7i (Best Overall)
- Resolution: 24.2MP
- Lens Mount: Canon EF/EF-S
- Type: APS-C DSLR
- Image Stabilization: No
Despite being an entry-level camera, the Canon EOS Rebel T7i provides a good enough resolution and image quality to capture outdoor environments just fine. Its resolution is 24.2 megapixels, which is a good deal for the price.
That price is another advantage of the Rebel T7i compared to some of its competitors. It’s a very accessible camera price-wise, which has been one of its main draws.
The dynamic range is generally considered above average, which is particularly important for shooting landscapes, where the lighting may greatly impact the shot.
It’s also worth pointing out how the Rebel T7i uses the Canon EF/EF-S mount, making it compatible with a very large selection of quality lenses. While the T7i is an entry-level camera, it’s possible to get higher-end performance from it by using a good lens.
While the T7i doesn’t have any glaring issues that will ruin your experience, it does have the problem of not really standing out from its predecessor, the T6i. If you want to save money, you can get much of the same performance from the T6i for less.
My Verdict: If you’re looking for a versatile camera that’s both affordable and accessible, the Canon EOS Rebel T7i is a good choice.
2. Panasonic LUMIX G85 (Best Mirrorless)
- Resolution: 16MP
- Lens Mount: Micro Four Thirds
- Type: Micro Four Thirds CMOS
- Image Stabilization: Yes
The Panasonic LUMIX G85 is excellent if you’re in the market for a hybrid camera that can easily handle photos and videos. While the photo resolution isn’t as high as the T7i’s, the LUMIX G85 makes up for that by recording 4K video, which the T7i can’t.
The G85 also includes 5-axis stabilization, which is similar to what’s used by many of Sony’s mirrorless cameras. This can provide five stops of camera shake reduction.
Another useful quality-of-life feature for landscape photographers is weather sealing. It’s a fully weather-sealed camera, which isn’t so common at this price.
While the Micro Four Thirds mount isn’t quite as popular as the EF/EF-S one, there are many high-quality lenses for the G85 from multiple brands, including Panasonic and Olympus.
The main weakness of the G85, when compared to similar competitors, is its resolution. While getting by on 16 megapixels is possible, you might have problems with large prints or heavy cropping.
My Verdict: The Panasonic LUMIX G85 is ideal if you’re looking for a non-DSLR option for landscape photography, especially if you need a hybrid camera.
3. Canon EOS RP (Best Full-Frame)
- Resolution: 26.2MP
- Lens Mount: Canon RF
- Type: Full-frame mirrorless
- Image Stabilization: No
The biggest draw to the Canon EOS RP is the full-frame sensor. It’s one of the cheapest full-frame cameras but can still deliver on image quality and detail.
As a full-frame camera, the EOS RP also has a better dynamic range than many APS-C cameras like the Rebel T7i.
Since this one is a mirrorless camera, it’s smaller than a typical DSLR, making it easier to carry around for extended periods on an outdoor expedition.
Also, if you’re looking for a well-performing hybrid camera that can handle both photo and video, the EOS RP fits the bill somewhat. It does shoot 4K video, although its 4K mode has some limitations that might be a detriment if you plan on making heavy use of video.
Aside from these 4K video limitations, the main weakness of the EOS RP is the battery life, which comes in at around 250 shots per charge. It’s not that great, and it’s something you’ll have to plan around if you plan on taking a lot of photos during a hike.
My Verdict: The EOS RP is the best option if you’re looking for an affordable full-frame camera suited towards landscape photography.
4. Sony a6000 (Best Compact)
- Resolution: 24.3MP
- Lens Mount: Sony E-mount
- Type: APS-C mirrorless
- Image Stabilization: No
If you’re looking for a small compact camera for landscape photography, the Sony a6000 might be the one for you. It’s built more like a point-and-shoot camera but with the functionality of a regular one.
For a small camera, it has a good autofocus system that focuses quickly and accurately. The autofocus has 179 AF points in total, giving coverage to most of the frame.
In terms of lens options, the Sony E-mount is arguably the best one there is. You can easily get more out of the a6000’s performance by pairing it with a more expensive lens.
As an APS-C sensor camera, the low-light performance is behind what you’d expect from a full-frame one but is still above average compared to peers.
However, the a6000 might not be the most beginner-friendly camera, as it has a relatively complex system of menus and options. While this will be a plus in the eyes of some, as it allows for more customization, the options could have been laid out in a more straightforward way.
My Verdict: The Sony a6000 is a good choice for landscape photographers seeking performance in a compact package.
As you can see from this list, you don’t have to pay a huge amount to find a camera that can handle landscape photography. From the mainstream Canon Rebel T7i to the more niche Panasonic LUMIX G85, this photography niche is more accessible than ever.
Do you think there’s another camera that belongs on this list? Let us know in the comments below!