After being a full-time traveler and professional photographer for years, I’ve certainly gained some valuable experience in photography. While on the road, I often get asked what the best affordable camera for landscape photography is.
My answer to that question has changed many times throughout my career, but there are 5 affordable cameras on the market right now that have really impressed me with their performance.
I’m going to list out these 5 cameras in a particular order from the best in terms of price to the best one for beginners and more. Naturally, they all have pros and cons depending on your needs as a photographer.
While I previously made a detailed list of the best camera gear, these are the ones that will get you the best shots when traveling.
On the other hand, if you’re on the hunt for a good backpack to carry your camera and other accessories, check out this guide on the must-have travel essentials, no matter where you’re heading to.
QUICK OVERVIEW – BEST AFFORDABLE CAMERA FOR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
- Canon EOS Rebel T7i – from $499
- Nikon D5600 DX-format Digital SLR Body – from $599
- Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera – from $529
- Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Vlogging Camera – from $649
- Nikon D3500 – from $659
Please read below for more information about these cameras to find out which one best suits your needs for landscape photography.
WHAT CAMERA RESOLUTION DO I NEED FOR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY?
The answer to this question may be different for different people, but the truth is that, for most landscape photographers, 24 megapixels is more than enough to deliver high-quality images.
Nowadays, most photos are shared in social media, blogs, and magazines, which means they are displayed in a relatively small size. In this case, 24 megapixels is sufficient for you to be able to take pictures with high detail and quality.
However, if you are a landscape photographer who wants to share your images in sizes larger than A2, then, although 24 megapixels do their job, having a camera of 42 megapixels, for example, will give you much more detail on larger images, and will also allow you to edit your pictures, if needed, without losing quality.
WHAT MM IS THE BEST FOR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY?
First of all, MM represents the focal length of a photographic lens (in millimeters). In other words, it means that the longer the focal length is, the narrower the angle of view will be, and vice-versa.
If you think about landscape photography, you should use a smaller lens, to be able to capture a wider angle. So, most of the landscape photographers opt for lenses which go from 10mm to 24 mm as it provides a relatively wide angle without distorting elements.
However, if you need to choose between a single lens, for landscape photography you should probably go with 21 mm, as it is just the perfect balance between the wide-open feel (get everything on your screen) while still capturing nitid images.
BEST AFFORDABLE CAMERAS FOR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
If you’re looking for the best affordable camera for landscape photography, then look no further. Here are 5 cameras that will enable you to capture your favorite subjects in the best possible conditions.
The DSLR and Mirrorless industry is booming and there are so many great options out there. But how do you find one that’s perfect for your needs?
I’ve done some research and found five life-changing cameras without breaking the bank. Read on to discover which ones made the cut below.
CANON EOS M50 – OVERALL BEST AFFORDABLE CAMERA FOR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY FOR BEGINNERS
This camera has many impressive features, which makes it probably the best mirrorless camera under $1000.
Although it was mainly developed as a vlogging camera, due to its screen and the possibility to capture impressive 4k UHD videos, this camera is also very sought after for landscape photographers. This is because of the vibrant JPEG colors you can obtain in your landscape photos.
It is also an amazing camera to capture detail, and that is something landscape photographers are always looking for.
CANON EOS M50 PROS AND CONS
- Fast and accurate focus
- Articulated touchscreen – shooting and filing in all angles
- Wi-Fi and NFC with Bluetooth
- Has some 4k limitations
- Not many available native lenses
- Maximum shutter speed is only up to 1/4000s
CANON EOS REBEL T7i – BEST CAMERA UNDER $1000
The Canon EOS Rebel T7i can be described as the ultimate best affordable camera for landscape photography for beginners.
Without being too complex, this camera offers the essential tools for aspirant photographers to get into the landscape photography world.
So, if you are just starting, and looking for a DSLR, this may be the right camera for you.
CANON EOS REBEL T7i PROS AND CONS
- Three different ways of wireless connectivity – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC
- Very High-Resolution Sensor: 24.1MP
- Wide ISSO – range of 100-6400 – high-quality images
- Doesn’t have an internal GPS
- Battery life could be better
- It can be considered pricey for a “beginners’ camera”
NIKON D5600 DX-FORMAT DIGITAL SLR – BEST BUDGET CAMERA FOR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
This camera is without any doubt the best affordable camera for landscape photography, as it offers all the features you may need to be a successful landscape photographer at a reasonable price.
Due to its outstanding dynamic range, as you will get to know trying the camera, you can expect to obtain a maximum depth of field, which will translate into high-quality photos.
Also, as a landscape photographer, you may need to walk for long distances, and due to its long-life battery, you do not need to worry if the camera will survive during all that time.
If you are looking for a DSLR camera, this is for sure the best budget camera for landscape photography you can find.
NIKON D5600 PROS AND CONS
- Outstanding dynamic range
- Long-life battery – 970 shots when using the viewfinder
- Articulating touchscreen – can be moved around
- Video quality it’s not as good as other competitors
- Viewfinder only offers 95% frame coverage
- Bluetooth connection is slower than competitors
SONY ALPHA a6000 MIRRORLESS DIGITAL CAMERA – BEST MIRRORLESS CAMERA UNDER $1000
This camera has been considered the best mirrorless camera under $1000, so if you are looking for a high-quality, affordable, mirrorless camera perfect for landscape photography this is the one.
With 24.3MP this very intuitive camera enables you to capture quality landscape photos of up to 11 per second.
If you are used to using a DSLR, this is a good camera to go for and is a great transition from a DSLR to a mirrorless camera.
SONY ALPHA a6000 PROS AND CONS
- Can take up to 11 shots per second
- Size and weight – perfect for carrying during long distances
- Impressive image stabilization
- ISO noise starting to be noticed at ISO 800
- Battery life is low
- Lack of affordable lenses for this specific camera
This camera is one of the best DSLR cameras under $1000 for beginners, especially those who are into landscape photography. This camera is really easy to use, light, compact, making it perfect for carrying around.
If you are just starting and you do not want to spend much money on a camera, but you still want to be able to take high-quality photos this may be the one.
With an amazing fast autofocus system, this camera under $1000 enables you to be creative and professional while photographing.
NIKON D3500 PROS AND CONS
- Good quality-price
- Amazing image quality, for a DS crop sensor
- Light camera for a DSLR
- No 4K Video
- Does not have a mic input
- Few customizable buttons
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE BUYING A CAMERA FOR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
There are many factors you should consider before buying a camera for landscape photography, even after knowing which are the best affordable cameras for beginners, and the first thing you should probably do is to ask yourself which of the components are the most important for you.
As there are so many different factors to consider, a good tip is to focus on three or four details that are most significant to you and then analyze the different options available, carefully.
However, although different people are looking for different landscape photography cameras, there is some information everyone should at least be aware of.
RESOLUTION IS IMPORTANT
Megapixels are probably the first thing someone researches when thinking of buying a new camera. Although a few years ago it made a big difference, now a days almost every camera has enough megapixels to perform most uses.
Though, for most types of photography, the resolution is no longer the most important feature. However, when talking about landscape photography, the resolution is still considered a very important factor due to a few reasons.
Mainly, all landscape photographers want to capture most of the details available, and that is just what more pixels offer. Also, landscape photographers tend to print their photos on larger scales, and that is when having a camera with more megapixels makes all the difference.
Another important factor that you should take into account is that the higher the resolution is, the easier it is for you to edit it afterward. It makes it possible to crop photos if needed, without losing quality and details.
Most of the cameras mentioned above, like the Canon EOS Rebel T7i, considered the best affordable camera for landscape photography for beginners, deliver high-quality images.
MIRRORLESS OR DSLR?
Mirrorless cameras are still considered “new” on the market, which creates a lot of doubts if they can perform as well as the old DSLR ones.
The truth is, there is not a right answer for that, as both are equally good, but depending on your needs and photography genre there may be a more appropriate one.
Let’s talk about the main differences between the first, to give you some background information.
DSLR cameras (digital single-lens reflex), have a reflex mirror inside them, which enables the light to pass through the lens, and as it hits the mirror an image will be sent to the optical viewfinder, and what you will see is the real scene.
Mirrorless cameras in its turn, as the name suggests, have no mirror inside them, which means they also do not have an optical viewfinder. Instead, the mirrorless camera has an electronic viewfinder, and you will be able to see the scene from an LCD screen.
So, as we are considering landscape photography there are different cons and pros for both cameras, which would not be the same for other genres of photography.
Mirrorless cameras are lighter than DSLR ones, so if you are planning to walk long distances to take the best photos, this should be a factor for you to take into account.
Another plus about mirrorless cameras is image stabilization. If you are a landscape photographer, image stabilization is one of the most important factors.
Regarding the DSLR cameras, when you are talking about image stabilization, you are almost always referring to the lens stabilizer, so the number of DSLR cameras with built-in stabilization is very low.
On the other side, mirrorless cameras have built-in stabilization, plus lens stabilization which makes it a good bonus.
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Other aspects are the sound, battery life, and shoot speed. While mirrorless cameras are quieter (which is a good feature for wildlife photographers) DSLR cameras have a longer battery life, which may be of great importance if you are planning to photograph in remote places, or even spend one night away.
The Nikon D3500, described as the best DSLR camera under $1000, is a good example of a camera with a long-lasting battery.
Mirrorless cameras are also able to shoot more images than DSLR in the same period of time, as the Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera, considered the best mirrorless camera under $1000 which can take up to 11 shots per second.
Taking all of these aspects into consideration, it is still difficult to say that one type of camera works better than the other for landscape photography.
The truth is, many landscape photographers are switching from their DSLR cameras to mirrorless cameras as they are easier to carry around while offering the same image quality as DSLR cameras.
The camera sensor is another of the main factors you need to think about while considering camera performance.
A camera sensor is basically the part of the camera which is responsible for capturing light and converting what you observe in the LCD or viewfinder into a proper image.
So, considering landscape photography does the camera sensor size really matter? Although there is no universal answer, as many landscape photographers are switching to smaller sensors, the majority still defend that camera sensor size matters and a lot.
Basically, a smaller sensor will capture less of the scene than larger sensors, which is obvious, but what does this actually mean?
Overall, it means that larger sensors will provide superior image quality. When talking about landscape photography that is of great importance as it will offer an impressive dynamic range and a maximum depth of field.
Smaller sensors in its turn will have a smaller dynamic range, which means there will be less margin to edit the photos afterward because the image is already less detailed.
However, a plus about smaller sensors is that they reduce the price of the cameras, and you can still obtain good results if you know how to work with them.
In this way, it all depends on your expectations, but if you are a landscape photographer aiming for the best photos, then you should opt for a larger camera sensor.
ISO refers to the camera’s sensitivity to light and is an important factor that you should take into account when photographing landscapes.
It is about how the camera sensor works with the light that is available. The higher the ISO the brighter your images become, the lower the ISO the darker.
Usually, when referring to landscape photography the standard value should be ISO 100, if not photographing at night.
For most cameras, the ISO value starts at 100, which is enough for most uses. However, some landscape photographers defend that ISO 50 can also be of value for landscape photographers (although mostly it is not a native setting).
It is important for you to know, that keeping your ISO low will reduce the noise in your images, and as a norm, landscape photographers use tripods to photograph, so it becomes easier to keep your ISO at the lowest.
However, you should not forget that if you are planning to photograph at night, then you need to raise the ISO up to at least 400, but usually, 1200 is considered the best ISO for landscape photography at night.
THE CAMERA SHOULD BE LIGHT IF YOU’RE PLANNING A LONG TRIP
Last but not least, as a landscape photographer you should have many long trips planned, so it is a smart idea to keep your bag as light as possible, for your back and neck’s health.
As mentioned before, there are many cameras which can be a suitable option. Mirrorless cameras are lighter and smaller than DSTR ones, so the tip here is to find the right camera for your needs.
Although DSLR cameras may have more benefits than mirrorless cameras regarding landscape photography, those benefits may not be that significant at the point of influencing the overall quality of your pictures and, they may not be as important for you as to have a lighter mirrorless camera, easier to carry around.
So, it is ultimately up to you, but the Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Vlogging Camera considered the best mirrorless camera under $1000, could be a great option.
As you can see from the information above there are many different choices of affordable cameras for landscape photography, so the best thing to do is to see what your needs are and compare the different options available in order to find the right one for you.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions at all before purchasing your first camera, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to help!