Westminster fountain at sunset

by Jorge Córdoba

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I am an amateur photographer with more then passing interest in photography. With time I have developed interest towards landscape work. I already own a Canon S90 and have been considering buying a DSLR. The problem is I had my mind set on the 5D Mk II which is prohibitively expensive. The dilemma then is the weather to save up for the 5D or buy a cheaper body now and go for more expensive one later. If I do go for a cheaper body ( 60D ) what lenses should I invest in ?

If looking at my previous work would help form your advice, then the following link will take you there: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ratking82/

Thanks again, Samrat.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Wait. Save up, not for the 5D Mk II, but until you actually have a photographic problem to solve. I do not think you have one yet. Your photos look fine and at a glance, I do not see where you are being limited by your camera.

You neither shoot fast moving objects nor in very low-light, which would be excellent reasons to buy a DSLR right now. Should you start doing the latter but not the former, you may even consider an SLD instead. Canon does not have one yet, but if you wait they might.

Once you find what is limiting you, it should be easy to figure out what you need. At the very least, you'll be able to post a much better question here :)

The best camera and lens is different for different things and bulk is a serious issue, if you get something too big, you may start shooting less.

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Thank you for your reply. The current problem I have is that the S90's wide angle is not wide enough. While it is an excellent camera, it does not seem to satisfy me with what I actually intended to capture. Hence, my inclination towards a DSLR. –  Samrat Roy Jul 8 '11 at 13:38
    
This reminds of another question I answered: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/9808/… –  Itai Jul 8 '11 at 13:57
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@Samrat Have you tried stitching panoramas? With landscapes, that's a no-cost option to substitute for a wider angle lens, at least temporarily. Finding scenes that look good with wide angle might be harder than you expect. –  Imre Jul 8 '11 at 14:11
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@Samrat - Maybe I've just gotten used to my DSLR - but how specifically does a DSLR fix exposure issues? The S90 has (at least semi-)manual controls. –  rfusca Jul 8 '11 at 14:40
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@Samrat - You are probably confused. ND filers change everything by the same amount which does not help with dynamic-range. You may be thinking of a Graduated ND-Filter but that has limited use since it requires a straight separation of bright and dark areas. You may experiment with Exposure-Fusion instead. –  Itai Jul 8 '11 at 18:43

I would go for a cheaper body in this case, because the quality will still be good, and the extra cash will allow you to invest in better lenses and other equipment which will be extremely useful. However, considering you aren't already 'tied in' to one manufacturer, it may be worth broadening your search: the Nikon D7000 is arguably a better camera than the 60D, for example; the choice is huge.

Wide-angle lenses are the usual choice for the landscape photographer, and again you have a massive choice. A longer lens can also be useful for isolating features in the landscape, so consider a good wide-angle prime and something like a 70-200mm zoom.

If you are serious about landscape photography, you should also invest in a good tripod. You could have the world's greatest camera, but if you put in on a $40 tripod all that technology is going to waste.

Other useful items for landscapers are a full set of neutral density filters, both full and graduated, a polarising filter (for each lens size ideally), a remote, and a decent camera bag, preferably backpack style so you can get to the best spots.

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Wow! Thanks that is great advice. I was leaning towards Canon because I know a few people who use Canon and it would help in swapping lenses. Now I will also check out the D7000. –  Samrat Roy Jul 8 '11 at 12:25

Adding to @Itai and @ElendilTheTall's answers - note that as a landscape photographer, you are not in pursuit of ultimate shallow DoF (quite contrary). Then, an APS-C Canon camera (Rebel, 60D, 7D) equipped with the amazing EF-S 10-22mm lens will get you the equivalent of 16mm on 5DmkII, which is very wide (here's a comparison). And, you get some extra cash for left for other toys.

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If you want to stay with Canon, I suggest buying a used 5D. The value is excellent and you can always sell it and recover a significant portion of your investment. This will get you into a full frame camera.

If you wish to "invest" in a lens for landscape work, 24-105/4 is excellent and keeps its value. If you know you want to shoot wide, 17-40/4 is a very good choice.

The 5D II has its benefits - mostly resolution - but it is not necessary for taking great pictures.

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