Photographing vast landscapes and scaping vistas have a unique set of requirements. And unlike other forms of photography, a camera’s overall image quality becomes the most important factor, by far. You’ll often face scenes with bright highlights and faint shadows. And these are the moment’s high-resolution cameras with ample dynamic range shine.
Of course, many digital cameras could work for landscape photography. But, not every camera is correctly apt for the environmental difficulties at hand. Freezing temperatures, rain, sleet, and 20 MPH eye-watering dusty winds. These are some of the common factors at play in landscape photography. And you’ll likely have to hike some ways to find a unique angle, not on the typical path. But sparkling waterfalls and epic sunsets are worth it. Thus, other elements such as weather sealing, durability, signal-to-noise, handling, and battery life become more important factors.
But not every camera provides this full setup. With that, we’ve created a list of the top ten best cameras for landscape photography on the present market. Each is apt to tackle the challenges and deliver the performance needed to survive the most demanding shoots.
10 – Fujifilm GFX 100S
Released in the spring of 2021, Fujifilm’s GFX 100S makes venturing into medium format at least plausible for hardcore detail-driven photographers. It features a 102MP sensor, a 3.2-inch three-way tilting touchscreen, a top-deck status LCD, in-body stabilization, weather sealing, dual card slots, and wireless connectivity.
The GFX 100S obtains Fuji’s sophisticated 425-point phase-detect AF system with support to -5.5EV, a huge advantage over most entries in this class which lack reliable autofocus. But, crucially, it offers a Pixel Shift Multi-Shot mode, creating an enormous 400MP image. And it also pairs such power into a compact and noticeably small mirrorless body design that matches several of the cameras noted on this list, making it more portable than peers and generally more versatile, too. Even so, it still offers the outstanding dynamic range and excellent noise performance known to this format. In this case, 16-bit RAW photos for greater latitude, with notably better dynamic range and sharpness than comparable full-frame cameras.
Overall, Fujifilm’s GFX 100S redefines medium format and carefully expands the existing GFX lineup. So much so, finally, photographers have a plausible option without comprising their workflow for the sake of image quality alone.
9 – Nikon D780
Released in the spring of 2020, Nikon’s D780 is their most versatile SLR to date. It features a 24.5MP sensor, a 3.2-inch touchscreen, a top-deck status LCD, weather sealing, focus stacking, dual card slots, and wireless connectivity.
The D780 obtains Nikon’s flagship 51-point AF system supporting -3EV, originally taken from the D5. But, it was the first DSLR to incorporate their 273-point phase-detect AF system from the Z-series, significantly improving the camera’s live view performance. But, crucially, entering live view bumps the AF support to -5EV or -7EV with the Low-Light AF mode. As such, this camera offers little if any hesitations, even in the most dimly lit scenes. It also obtains the native 900-second maximum shutter speed from the D810A to capture long exposures without an external trigger. Yet, you can capture up to 2,200+ of such exposures without fear of the battery running out in a remote setting.
Overall, Nikon’s D780 breaks new ground amongst DSLR capabilities, and it’s an enormous upgrade to this platform.
8 – Canon EOS R5
Released in the summer of 2020, Canon’s R5 is the current RF series flagship. It features a 45MP sensor, a 3.2-inch fully articulating touchscreen, a top-deck status LCD, in-body stabilization, focus bracketing, dual card slots, and wireless connectivity.
The R5 obtains the Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system, originally debuted on the 1DX Mark III. And, in total, it offers 5,940 selectable AF points that cover the entire imaging area with a 0.05 second acquisition time. This configuration makes it both the fastest and most confident camera in the whole RF lineup. Yet, Canon’s managed to keep the camera relatively compact. And at only 650g body alone, it’s about the same general size as the base EOS R. Even so, it provides a superior build quality and a similar magnesium alloy chassis from the 1DX series, vastly improving its weather sealing. Thus, it becomes superior in both image quality, speed, and now toughness.
Overall, Canon’s R5 remains a significant milestone in the RF lineup and indeed proves they’re in the fight.
7 – Panasonic S1R
Released in the spring of 2019, Panasonic’s S1R is their first foray into the full-frame segment. It features a 47.5MP sensor, a 3.2-inch three-way tilting touchscreen, dual card slots, weather sealing, in-body stabilization, HDR, and wireless connectivity.
It obtains the 225-area contrast-detect AF system with DFD technology from the LUMIX G9. Even so, they’ve refined the algorithms, giving the camera an impressive AF acquisition speed of 0.08 seconds and AF support to -6EV. Yet, despite its high resolution, it boasts an excellent signal-to-noise ratio, better rendering, and impressive high ISO performance. And it can also do so using the multi-shot High-Resolution mode, capturing 187MP JPEG images.
Overall, Panasonic’s S1R is quite an impressive release considering it’s the company’s first full-frame mirrorless camera. And it makes sense why it was their most anticipated camera thus far.
6 – Nikon Z 7II
Released in the fall of 2020, Nikon’s Z 7II is a solid refresh. It features a 45.7MP sensor, a 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, a top-deck status LCD, in-body stabilization, weather sealing, dual card slots, focus bracketing, and wireless connectivity.
The Z 7II obtains Nikon’s flagship 493-point hybrid phase-detect AF system with support to -3EV or -4 with the Low-Light AF mode. But, Nikon’s added dual EXPEED 6 processors this go-round, improving its responsiveness. Even so, it features a native ISO of 64, which produces class-leading dynamic range and shadow recovery. It also lets you shoot long exposures outdoors without attaching an ND filter, a key benefit over rivals. And it also obtains the 900-second maximum shutter speed from the D780, perfect for astrophotography.
Overall, Nikon Z 7II improves on their initial efforts and refines the platform nicely with better general performance.
5 – Fujifilm X-T4
Released in the spring of 2020, Fujifilm’s X-T4 is the current X-series flagship. It features a 26.1MP sensor, a 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, in-body stabilization, HDR, weather sealing, dual card slots, and wireless connectivity.
The X-T4 obtains their 425-point phase-detect AF system, which remains among the fastest in its class with a 0.02 second acquisition time. Yet, it also offers AF support to -6EV to boot. Even so, the 4th generation processor and sensor configuration here provides image quality that’s mostly unmatched amongst other APS-C cameras. And coupled with its redesigned shutter, film simulations, and knurled dials, it’s the most capable photography camera they’ve released yet.
Overall, Fujifilm’s X-T4 is their best camera to date and an enormous update to the already trend-setting X-T lineup.
4 – Pentax K1 Mk II
Released in the spring of 2018, Pentax’s K1 II refines their flagship lineup. It features a 36.4MP sensor, a 3.2-inch cross-tilt screen, a top-deck status LCD, in-body stabilization, weather sealing, dual card slots, HDR, and wireless connectivity.
With the Mark II, Pentax adds the Handheld Dynamic Pixel Shift Mode, a high-resolution option that combines four images to improve fine detail and remove artifacts. But, it also obtains the Astrotracer Mode, which tracks stars across the night sky using its built-in GPS. And it’s a niche and particular feature that makes the K1 a terrific option for nightscapes or astrophotography, as it removes the need for an equatorial mount. It’s also one of few cameras with built-in LED lights on the body, helpful when using the camera in the dark.
Overall, Pentax’s K1 II is niche. But, it provides a highly useful feature set that’s ideal for capturing vast nightscapes. And it does so at quite a bargain.
3 – Canon 5D Mark IV
Released in the fall of 2016, Canon’s 5D Mark IV remains an ultra-popular release, despite its age. It features a 30.4MP sensor, a 3.2-inch touchscreen, dual card slots, weather sealing, and wireless connectivity.
The Mark IV obtains the 61-point AF system from the 1DX Mark II, with AF support to -3EV. But, with this fourth-generation model, Canon bumped the resolution 8MP or 36% over its predecessor, dramatically improves its fine detail. Yet, even with more resolution, it still produces superior images with less noise and a better dynamic range. And it does so up to ISO 25,600, making it also quite a strong choice for nightscapes.
Overall, Canon’s 5D Mark IV is a powerful all-rounder, and it has remained this way ever since its original debut.
2 – Nikon D850
Released in the fall of 2017, Nikon’s D850 is their latest ultra-high-resolution DSLR. It features a 45.4MP sensor, a 3.2-inch touchscreen, a top-deck status LCD, focus bracketing, weather sealing, dual card slots, and wireless connectivity.
With the D850, Nikon transferred their flagship 153-point AF system with AF support to -4EV from the D5. But, crucially, this model offers 25% more resolution than the outgoing D810, capturing even more detail. Yet, its dynamic range is better, and the noise performance has improved nearly 2 stops to boot. And it even has the longest battery life of its peers at 1,840 shots per charge.
Overall, Nikon’s D850 proves DSLRs are a powerful and relevant option, despite the trends towards mirrorless. And it continues as Nikon’s best DSLR to date.
1 – Sony A7R IV
Released in the fall of 2019, Sony’s A7R IV is their latest ultra-high-resolution camera. It features a 60MP sensor, a 3-inch tilting touchscreen, in-body stabilization, dual card slots, weather sealing, and wireless connectivity.
The Mark IV obtains Sony’s latest 567-point phase-detect AF system with support to -3EV. But, at 60MP, this camera produces unrivaled detail amongst other mirrorless cameras without officially stepping into medium format territory. But if that’s not enough, it even boasts the Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode, creating a whopping 240MP image, again outpacing all rivals to date.
Overall, Sony’s A7R IV shines as the ultimate landscape camera. Not only does it offer class-leading resolution and unrivaled detail, but it also does so in a way that’s more accessible than medium format. As such, it’s your best bet if you’re obsessed with capturing the most subtle details in a scene.