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I am a frequent of backpacking and hiking ventures, and find myself browsing landscape photography romantically on a regular basis. I figure i might as well give landscape photography a shot, but I am unsure of where to start.

I am at a loss as to what camera and lense(s) I should purchase first. I'd like to start with the most practical and conservative choices first, as with anything else, it might not be my thing and i dont want to spend $1000 outright.

I mention landscape photography specifically. I am sure that there are certain lenses and cameras that are meant to capture wider scopes(such as landscapes), as well as capturing different lighting (from light coming between the trees and the lighting of twilight in the evening) Any suggestions from those of you with experience in the field?

Much thanks.

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The reality is that any interchangeable lens camera produced in the last several years is good enough to produce really great landscape photography. Sure, there is a difference between what a $6500 Fuji GFX-50S and a $396 Nikon D3400 will output but nothing prevents you from using either one for your landscape photography. Myself I still primary use pair of 5 and 7 year-old DSLRs and is what that looks like for the Seychelles (most other of my galleries there are also made with the same or older gear).

Considering that you want to be taking photos while hiking, I would particularly pay attention to size and weight. I will also recommend a weatherproof camera in case of adverse weather and one with a good number of external controls so that you can use it efficiently with gloves on for low temperatures which are common when mountain hiking or take trails at altitude.

The currently available Panasonic G85 and Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II are both available for under a thousand dollars and fit the bill nicely. They have Four-Thirds sensor with good image quality, although not matching current APS-C DSLRs but they are small and light. Most importantly, the lenses they use due to the smaller sensor size are lighter and smaller than equivalent lenses on a DSLR.

For about $900 USD, you will get a starter 12-60mm lens with the G85 which is not a great lens but it fits your budget and has 24mm ultra-wide-angle equivalent which gives a angle-of-view that works well for landscapes. Any better lens such as the 12-35mm F/2.8 will push costs higher but you can always upgrade the lens when you have the budget.

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A common problem for starting photographers is the notion that great gear equals great photos. This is generally not the case. Certain hardware is needed to technically achieve some photos and higher quality lenses and sensors will improve the image quality of your photos. However, capturing a beautiful scene and (more importantly) conveying the feeling of your scene to your viewer takes tons of practice, an eye for photography, and an intimate knowledge of your kit. I'd also say that an in-depth knowledge of image editors like Photoshop or Affinity is extremely important.

My recommendation is to use what you currently have (phone camera or point&shoot) and practice your composition. After a while look at what types of photos you are taking. You'll find out pretty quick as you practice where your current gear is lacking. At this point you can begin upgrading your gear to achieve the results you want.

If you just want a simple recommendation, I really like my Canon G7x for longer hikes, higher elevations, or climbs where I'm afraid of dropping or breaking my DSLR.

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Where to get started with landscape photography?

Where are you located? Is there a landscape there?

What cameras and lenses to start with?

What camera and lens do you have that can take a picture? Do you have a phone with a camera? A small compact camera? A disposable film camera? An instant film camera? A bridge camera? An interchangeable lens camera?

If you've got a landscape you want to capture and a camera to capture it with you are ready to get started.

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Landscape photography typically consists of images that have a large depth of field and viewing angle, that is to say everything in the frame is in reasonable focus and the whole scene as you see it is captured. With a manual camera this is achieved by setting a small aperture (a high f-number) and using a short focal length lens (typically less than the diagonal measurement of the sensor / film - i.e. less than 50mm for a 35mm film camera).
The sensor size of your chosen camera is actually quite important. A smaller sensor effectively makes depth of field greater because of the focal length multiplier or crop factor making you use a shorter lens to achieve a similar viewing angle.
Another important consideration is weight. If you consider yourself a walker who will take some photographs you might want the lightest set up possible that will give you acceptable output. If all you want is to view the photo's on an electronic device a smartphone camera may be all you need..

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