Find out why we chose the Fujifilm XT-2 as the Best Pro-Crop Mirrorless Camera, and the Sony A7R II as the Best Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera.
We’ve issued other awards too, like Best Budget Camera or Best Value Full-Frame Camera! Look for the Mountain Tripper badge to find our top picks.
Lightweight mirrorless camera systems are the wave of the future. Landscape photographers can and should take advantage of the extra mobility afforded by these small but capable bodies. With so many options on the market right now, it can be hard to sift through all product choices to find the right camera for your needs.
Of course, landscape photographers have their own unique set of needs that can vary greatly from other types of photographers and it’s often hard to find recommendations tailored specifically to our craft.
As an experienced landscape photographer that shoots with mirrorless cameras, I’m here to help! Based on my own research and personal experience, I’ve compiled the following list that features the best mirrorless cameras for landscape photography.
Contents (Jump Ahead In This Article)
Best Budget Mirrorless Camera
Best Mid-Grade Mirrorless Cameras
Best Pro-Grade (Crop-Sensor) Mirrorless Cameras
Best Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras
Best Medium-Format Mirrorless Cameras
Factors for Choosing a Mirrorless Camera for Landscape Photography
It is of value to know the strengths and weaknesses of between the camera brands that make mirrorless cameras.
Of the biggest players in the mirrorless game right now (Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus, and Panasonic) each brand has their own focuses, making each one better suited for certain needs. As such, comparing your own needs these focuses may allow you to decide which brands might be a better fit for you.
Below is a breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses of each brand. At the end of the article is a more comprehensive section with factors you might consider when buying a mirrorless camera.
- Fantastic line-up of mirrorless Full-Frame bodies and lenses
- Industry leading auto-focus
- Small, sleek designs, especially compared to sensor size
- Great image quality to price ratio
- APS-C lineup has a limited selection of lenses, with many lenses being flawed compared to their price-point
- Some functions require jumping into a rather convoluted menu system
- Consumer and pro-sumer models build quality is lower than that of the competition
- Strongest lineup of APS-C bodies and lenses
- Excellent ergonomics provided by a dial-based operation system
- Superb build quality
- Available lenses are all high quality
- Offers medium format system
- Lens selection is not altogether large (no true entry level options)
- No full frame options (however, medium format is available)
- Great selection of quality, lightweight lenses
- Excellent build quality
- Most models feature in-camera image stabilization
- Excellent ergonomics and an easy-to-use dial-based system
- Micro four-thirds sensor size is too small to make very large prints
- Eclectic variety of body designs, some small and sleek, other reminiscent of dSLRs
- Great selection of quality, lightweight lenses
- Excellent build quality
- Excellent ergonomics and an easy-to-use dial-based system
- Micro four-thirds sensor size is too small to make very large prints
Canon and Nikon have been the biggest names in digital photography for the past 15+ years, and they both offer mirrorless systems, but in my opinion, nothing that compares to the quality of the mirrorless cameras produced by Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus, and Panasonic. Hasselblad and Leica are producing high quality mirrorless systems as well, but their price points are so astronomical, I don’t recommend considering their systems either. Other brands, like lens manufacturer Sigma are also starting to produce mirrorless bodies. Time will tell whether these systems are worthy of investment of time and money by landscape photographers.
Best Budget Mirrorless Camera (Under $500)
We’ll start out small because these “cheap” cameras are also the tiniest on the list. But wait, there’s only one camera featured in this section! I looked around and saw that the Olympus PEN E-PL7 blows away any other camera under $500. If you are new to photography or are otherwise strapped for cash, read below for a super-compact but high-quality mirrorless system (lens included).
Olympus PEN E-PL7
16-Megapixel Micro Four-Thirds Sensor – $499 MSPR (body only)
Weight: 10.9 oz / 309 g
Dimensions: 10.9 oz / 309 g4.5 x 2.6 x 1.5″ / 11.4 x 6.6 x 3.8 cm
The Olympus PEN E-PL7 is a remarkable little camera. The build quality is great. It is inherently easy-to-use with it’s well-placed system of dials and buttons. At 16 mega-pixels, its sensor renders photos incredibly well, and can meet the needs of the majority of landscape photographers. It might not have the largest sensor, the most auto-focus points, or highest quality video. However, it does have a touch screen LCD, which is left off many of the higher end models on this list.
But there’s more! Olympus offers a kit with the 14-42mm M.Zuiko f/3.5-5.6 EZ (packaged with the E-PL7 at $599 retail). This pancake zoom is super tiny and actually gets good results stopped down to f/8 (this where probably where you’ll be shooting at for most landscapes anyway). The 14-42mm is, in fact, quite usable and may serve a novice photographer for a long time before an upgrade is needed.
In my opinion, the Olympus PEN E-PL7 is the only mirrorless system under the $500 mark that a landscape photographer should consider. It really is incredible that a $500 camera could be this good, with a solid lens included.
If you aren’t hot on the smaller micro four-thirds sensor size, you may consider saving up some extra cash and springing for one of the mid-grade mirrorless cameras listed below.
Current prices for the Olympus PEN E-PL7:
Best Mid-Grade Mirrorless Cameras ($500 to $1000)
This is by far largest category of mirrorless cameras. It includes many Olympus and Panasonic micro four-thirds cameras, as well as Sony and Fujifilm APS-C bodies. This is also my favorite category because I believe that you don’t need a really expensive camera to take amazing photos, and the mid-grade price point seems to offer the best quality-to-price ratio.
For the sake of brevity, I’m going to stick to only a few of the best mid-grade mirrorless cameras. However, there are definitely some that I will leave off that may very well serve a demanding landscape photographer. The price point for this category will not go below $500, but stay under $1000.
16.3 Megapixel APS-C Sensor, $799 MSRP (body only)
Weight: 13.44 oz / 381 g
Dimensions: 4.7 x 3.3 x 1.6″ / 118.4 x 82.8 x 40.8 mm
Fujifilm has arguably the most alluring APS-C system for landscape photographers, and the Fujifilm X-T10 is an excellent choice for photographers buying the mid-grade category. It’s priced to match its lack of “pro-grade” features. However, compared to the pricier X-T1, the X-T10 only lacks weather-sealing, a slightly bulkier grip, and a slight edge in ergonomics. As such, I do think that the X-T10 is a fantastic camera for the price, matching great image quality with solid build quality and above-average ergonomics. It’s my pick for “Best Mid-Grade” mirrorless camera.
If you’re buying the X-T10 in a kit, you have a choice between the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS (packaged at $899 retail) and the 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 OIS (packaged at $1099 retail). Both are solid lenses, however I think it’s worth the extra money for the 18-55mm as its max aperture range of f/2.8-4.0 can come in handy in some situations like night photography.
Rent the Fujifilm X-T10 from: Borrowlenses.com
Current prices for the Fujifilm X-T10:
24.3- Megapixel APS-C sensor, $548 MSRP (body only)
Weight: 12.13 oz / 344 g
Dimensions: 4.7 x 2.6 x 1.8″ / 120.0 x 67.0 x 45.0 mm
The Sony a6000 is perhaps the best value-for-image quality mirrorless camera on the market. It lacks a few higher-end features (such as touch screen LCD and weather sealing), which partially explains its low price point. If you can go without these things (most folks can), then the a6000 may be an excellent choice for an affordable but feature-rich mirrorless body. A couple of nice bonuses if you are a landscape photographer that occasionally shoots wildlife: the a6000 shoots a fast 11 frames per second and is one of the fastest auto-focusing cameras on the planet!
This camera does have a couple weaknesses. First, the menu system is rather convoluted, so it is not as ergonomically inclined as its direct competition from the other manufacturers. It does at least have a mode dial, which makes it an improvement over the budget level Sony offerings. The build quality here is acceptable, but is not quite of the level of its competition.
Just considering its price for a 24 megapixel crop-sensor, the Sony a6000 is one still one best value APS-C mirrorless cameras on the market right now. However, the Sony APS-C lens market is sub-par, so I only recommend buying the a6000 if you are upgrading from a previous Sony body. If you are just entering the mirrorless crop-sensor market, I recommend looking at the Fujifilm, Olympus, or Panasonic systems as they are more well-rounded.
I also recommend buying the a6000 as the body only. The 16-50mm “pancake” style kit lens not of high quality, so the few bucks you save by skipping the kit lens might go toward a quality lens purchased separately. My favorite landscape lens for the a6000 is the Sony 16-70mm f/4.
Rent the Sony a6000 from: BorrowLenses.com
Current prices for the Sony a6000:
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II
16.1-Megapixel Micro Four-Thirds Sensor, $649 MSRP (body only)
Weight: 13.76 oz / 390 g
Dimensions: 4.7 x 3.3 x 1.8″ / 119.5 x 83.1 x 46.7 mm
Another great value, especially when you consider the lens packages below! The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II packs a big punch into a small body, and also includes a touch screen LCD! Its micro four-thirds sensor renders beautiful images, and will suit the needs of a great many photographers, just as long as you don’t need to print extremely large. In comparison to its main competitor, the Sony a6000, you might think that the E-M10 Mark II is inferior based on sensor size and resolution alone. But consider this: E-M10 Mark II has superior handling, with its dial-based operation being a pleasure to use. Another consideration is the fantastic lens packages available with this body:
At $699 MSRP, you can get the E-M10 Mark II in a kit with the Olympus 14-42mm II R lens, which is a capable mid-range zoom that will work great for many landscape photogs. To boot, Olympus offers a two-lens package for $799 MSRP: the 14-42mm II R plus the 40-150mm II R telephoto zoom. Offering two solid lenses plus a great micro four-thirds body is an incredible value. This package should catch the eye of any landscape photographer browsing for a camera system in this price range.
Rent the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II from: BorrowLenses.com
Current Prices for the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II:
Best Pro-Grade APS-C and Micro Four-Thirds Bodies (Over $1000)
Nowadays, many pro photographers shoot with crop-sensor mirrorless bodies, and our favorite mirrorless manufacturers are producing a good number of cameras in this price range. $1000 and above seems to be the magic number for this category, with the Sony a6300 tossed in on the low end of the spectrum. By the way, I like to call this category the name Pro-Crop.
It is my opinion that many of these cameras are full of features that the average landscape photographer doesn’t need. These may include 4k video capability, super fast burst mode, and many other features important to those that shoot high-quality video or photograph fast moving subjects in low light. I myself am sticking with a “pro-sumer” mid-grade Sony a6000 because I don’t want to pay extra for features I don’t need and will never use. You will also the notice a bit of size increase as we go to Pro-Crop, as most of the bodies start creeping up over 1 pound in weight.
At the same time, all of the cameras in this category are weather-sealed, and most are built like tanks. This is an important consideration for many landscape photographers and shoot in extreme conditions and generally put their cameras through hell. Landscape photographers that occasionally delve into other types of work may especially need some of the common features of the pro-grade cameras.
It is up to you to decide if the extra features on these cameras are necessary for your style, or if you would be better served making the jump to a full-frame system, perhaps even staying in the mid-grade range like myself.
24.2-Megapixel APS-C Sensor, $998 MSRP (body only)
Weight: 14.25 oz / 404 g
Dimensions: 4.7 x 2.6 x 1.9″ / 120.0 x 66.9 x 48.8 mm
A refresh of the a6000, the Sony a6300 features essentially the same specs but with a weather sealed body that now supports 4k video and the addition of a microphone jack (and a few other minor improvements). If you are a landscape photographer that also does high quality video, you may want to seriously consider this camera. The quality of stills and video in a camera this size are likely unmatched anywhere on the market right now. Sony’s a6300 does pack a strong punch in the size-to-feature ratio, especially with the video capability, and I highly recommend the camera with only the caveats below.
The weather-sealed body is a nice feature, but to get weather-sealed lenses for this model you’ll have to drop over $2,000 combined on the Sony 24-70mm F/4 Vario-Tessar and Sony 16-35mm F/4 Vario-Tessar. Those lenses are rather large for a body this size as they’re designed for Sony full-frame. In my opinion if you’re looking for weather-sealing with a Sony system, you might as well go to one of their full-frame mirrorless offerings (the Sony A7 is just a few bucks more).
As a current Sony shooter, I’m personally sticking with the a6000 for the time being as its just too good a value! Part of the problem is Sony’s weak selection of APS-C tailored lenses that don’t quite fit with a camera the caliber of the a6300. Because the a6300 is a great camera, it makes the list, but I still think that the a6000 is the best option for landscape photographers looking at Sony mirrorless crop-sensor cameras.
If you really, really want the freshest, shiniest Sony replete with a touch-screen LCD and in-camera stabilization, you could spring for the Sony a6500, but at $1,398 retail, I’d save the bucks for a nice lens and grab the a6000 or a6300. And again, I’m only recommending these Sony APS-C cameras to those already shooting Sony. Photographers making the switch into mirrorless are better served going to any of the Fujifilm, Olympus, or Panasonic crop-sensors, or a Sony full-frame system.
Rent the Sony a6300 from: BorrowLenses.com
Current Prices for the Sony a6300:
24.3-Megapixel APS-C sensor, $1599 MSRP (body only)
Weight: 1.12 lb / 507 g
Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.6 x 1.9″ / 132.5 x 91.8 x 49.2 mm
The Fujifilm X-T2 might be considered the manufacturer’s flagship camera among their fleet of high-quality APS-C size bodies. It pulls out (almost) all the stops, featuring a competitive 24.3-megapixel sensor and an environmentally sealed body, but lacking the touch screen LCD that might be seen as standard for a body of this price. Of course, of any camera boasting a similar feature set, the X-T2 is arguably the easiest and most efficient to use, and it’s doubtful you’d miss the touch-screen that much. It’s most direct competition is the Sony a6500, which boasts all the same features plus a sleek touch screen LCD, but won’t be nearly as enjoyable to navigate as the X-T2’s ergonomic dials and buttons.
If you decide the X-T2 is the right camera for you, consider picking it up with the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens included (MSRP $1899). The 18-55 is a capable, reasonably sharp lens that is a good value for only $300 on top of the price of the camera body itself.
I highly recommend Fujifilm X-T2 as a professional grade APS-C mirrorless camera that will serve the demanding landscape photographer as an extremely functional system that produces great images. It’s overall feature set wins it our “Best Pro-Crop” award. However, before you snap up the XT-2, definitely take a look at the XT-1 below.
Rent the Fujifilm X-T2 from: BorrowLenses.com
Current Prices for the Fujifilm X-T2:
16.3 Megapixel APS-C Sensor, $1299 MSRP (body only)
Weight: 15.52 oz / 440 g
Dimensions: 5.1 x 3.5 x 1.8″ / 129.0 x 89.8 x 46.7 mm
My personal favorite choice among Fujifilm cameras and the Pro-Crop category as a whole, is the Fujifilm X-T1. It’s pretty much the same as the XT-2, but with a few less megapixels and no 4k video. But it’s also $300 less, and for most landscape photographers, the savings will be worth those sacrifices. The image quality is still great, its ergonomics are top-notch, and its weather-sealed body is built like a tank. In my opinion, this is the best value in the pro-grade crop-sensor category, as such it wins the “Best Value Pro-Crop” award.
But wait, we haven’t even covered the great lens packages available with this body! You can get the X-T1 paired with the solid mid-range Fujinon 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 zoom (packaged for $1699 retail) which is a great setup.
Or my personal favorite is the X-T1 plus the Fujinon 18-135mm (packaged for $1899 retail). That kit alone could allow you to shoot almost an landscape subject in a lightweight weather-sealed package, and an ultrawide (Fujinon 10-24mm or Rokinon 12mm) purchased separately could round out a nearly perfect mirrorless setup for a great value to boot. We’ve got another winner here folks, the Fujifilm XT-1 plus 18-135mm lens is our “Best Pro-Crop Kit”!
Rent the Fujifilm X-T1 from: BorrowLenses.com
Current Prices for the Fujifilm X-T1:
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
20.4 Megapixel Micro Four-Thirds Sensor, $1990 MSRP (body only)
Weight: 1.26 lb / 574 g
Dimensions: 5.3 x 3.6 x 2.7″ / 134.1 x 90.9 x 68.9 mm
Nearly $2000 for a micro four-thirds camera? Before you count out this based on the sensor size alone, just know that the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is one beast of a camera.
It’s got essentially every high-end capability imaginable, with bluetooth and geo-tagging capabilities being the only items left out. And yes, it’s got the tilt-and-swivel touch-screen LCD plus the 4k video capability. Not absolute necessities, but definitely awesome features.
But here’s perhaps the biggest benefit to landscape photogs: its in-camera image stabilization is already becoming legendary. Olympus’ claim of 6.5 stops of stabilization seems to be legit, with some real world hand-held shots coming out sharp even with a shutter speed of 15 seconds! I still wouldn’t give away my tripod, but that is seriously impressive!
The verdict: it’s pricey but if you want a true pro-quality camera in small package with some of the best image stabilization on the planet, look no further than the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. It’s our de-facto Best Micro Four-Thirds Camera, but check out the Panasonic DMC-GX8 below as well.
Current Prices for the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8
20.3 Megapixel Micro Four-Thirds Sensor, $1197 MSRP (body only)
Weight: 1.07 lb / 487 g
Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.1 x 2.5″ / 133.2 x 77.9 x 63.1 mm
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 is perhaps in a category of its own. It’s essentially the competition for the Olympus EM-1 Mark II, but $800 cheaper! So what makes the Panasonic GX8 cheaper? Mostly a bunch of stuff that most landscape photographers don’t care much about: slower max shutter speed, slower burst mode, slower auto-focus, yadda-yadda-yadda. The Olympus also has better in-camera stabilization, but is possibly in a league of its own in that regard anyway. However, the DMC-DX8 does have a bunch of pro-grade features like 4k video and a tilt-swivel touch-screen LCD.
But lets get to the meat. The DMC-DX8 has a high-resolution micro-four thirds sensor, a very small but weather-sealed body, and fantastic ergonomics. In fact, it looks almost like a Sony body with a better build and an interface that’s easier to use. If you’re looking for a very small but very powerful camera that is well-suited for shooting in rough conditions, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-DX8 is a fantastic choice. The Olympus EM-1 Mark II is crazy good, but I do think the typical landscape photographer could be happy saving the $800 and get this Panasonic instead.
As with all miro-four thirds sensors, just remember that your print sizes are more limited than with an APS-C camera.
Rent the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 from: BorrowLenses.com
Current Prices for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4
16.1 Megapixel Micro Four-Thirds Sensor, $1497 MSRP (body only)
Weight: 19.75 oz / 560 g
Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.7 x 3.3″ / 132.9 x 93.4 x 83.9 mm
If you’re looking for a pro-quality mirrorless with a dSLR style body, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 may be the camera for you! It’s packed with high-end features, like the tilt-swivel touch-screen and 4k video. Personally, this camera isn’t really my cup of tea, but I can see it’s lure for pros making the switch to mirrorless that are trying to ease the transition. This is especially true if you have big hands, or simply like the larger grip of a dSLR body, but want a little smaller size. Another potential benefit versus a similar dSLR body: this camera has an EVF that for many photographers is seen as an improvement over an optical viewfinder.
Just realize this is a micro four-thirds sensor, so if you blow your prints up larger than say 20×30, this camera may not fit your style.
Rent the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 from: BorrowLenses.com
Current Prices for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4:
Best Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras
In the digital age of photography, a full-frame (35mm equivalent) sensor size is the gold standard of image quality. However, I am of the opinion that the vast majority of photographers (pro or otherwise) don’t actually need a full-frame camera (especially as the technology of crop-sensors continues to explode). But there are definitely some landscape photographers out there that print really big (think 50″ x 70″) or otherwise do need a full-frame sensor.
At this time, Sony pretty much has the full-frame mirrorless game locked up, for better or for worse. The only other company producing mirrorless full-frame is Leica, but their price point is so high (nearly $7500 for the Leica SL body), I just wouldn’t recommend buying one. At that point you might as well go to medium-format mirrorless (more on that later).
Mirrorless Full-Frame Weight Considerations
As you might expect, with the larger sensor also comes an increase in weight. Currently, the Sony full-frame bodies all clock in between 1 and 1.3 pounds, which is at least a pound lighter than a typical pro-grade full-frame dSLR. A nice weight savings, but to really take advantage, you’ll need to spring for the lenses built for the format, or else your weight savings will be negated compared to the competition.
I mention this because many photographers are switching to a Sony full-frame body, but then using a Metabones adapter to use their Canon or Nikon lenses. The lenses aren’t any lighter, and the addition of the adapter negates the weight savings of a lighter mirrorless body. As such, if you really want a full-frame but want the weight savings of mirrorless, you have got to go all in on the lenses designed for mirrorless as well.
With that in mind, here’s the run-down of the best full-frame mirrorless options.
Sony A7R II
42 Megapixel Full-Frame Sensor, $3198 MSRP (body only)
Weight: 22.05 oz / 625 g
Dimensions: 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4″ / 126.9 x 95.7 x 60.3 mm
Sony’s flagship full-frame mirrorless camera. The Sony A7R II features a gnarly 42 mega-pixel sensor that will definitely catch a ton of detail and let you print super large. And breaking the mold a bit, it’s got much improved ergonomics compared to Sony’s APS-C offerings, although the menu system is still not the easiest to use. Build quality is excellent (it better be, for over $3000), and it’s got almost all the bells and whistles like 4k video, just not a touch screen LCD. Another nice feature is in-camera image stabilization, advertised as 4.5 stops worth.
I could fill another paragraph or five with all of its pro-grade features, but just know that the Sony A7R II is one amazing camera. If you want the highest resolution mirrorless full-frame out there, this is the one. It’s ridiculous specs and passable usability make it the defacto Best Full Frame Body, but definitely check out the two cameras below for better value.
Current Prices for the Sony A7R II:
Sony A7 II
24.3 Megapixel Full-Frame Sensor, $1698 MSRP (body only)
Weight: 1.22 lb / 556 g
Dimensions: 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4″ / 126.9 x 95.7 x 59.7 mm
If you compare the physical characteristics of this camera to the A7R II, you will see that they look exactly the same. That’s good news for ergonomics (as both handle well), but may make you wonder why the Sony A7 II costs half as much. To be honest, it’s the difference of almost 20 million pixels in resolution, plus the lack of 4k video. Otherwise, this is basically the same camera.
If you’re seriously considering a full-frame body, you need to ask yourself if the extra resolution and video capability is worth the $1500 upgrade to the A7R II. In my opinion, the size of the sensor matters more than the difference between 24 and 42 mega-pixels, and since both cameras have the same sensor size, your prints aren’t going to come out that much crisper with the A7R II.
As such, I think the Sony A7 II gives you more bang for your buck, and is a great value compared to its more expensive younger brother. If I was buying a new full frame body right now, the Sony A7 II would be my choice.
Current Prices for the Sony A7 II:
24.3 Megapixel Full-Frame Sensor, $1098 MSRP (body only)
Weight: 1 lb 0.7 oz / 474 g
Dimensions: 5.0 x 3.7 x 1.9″ / 126.9 x 94.4 x 48.2 mm
At just over $1000, the Sony A7 is the definite winner of the Best Value in the Full-Frame category. It’s an older model, and used to be priced above $1600, but has come down in price as newer models have came along. Regardless, its still worth your attention as it has pretty much everything a landscape photographer is concerned with.
Comparing it to the pricier Sony A7 II, there are only a couple differences. The A7 lacks in-camera image stabilization, and it’s ergonomics a little clunkier, especially with its oddly spaced shutter button. It’s lack of phase detection make the autofocus a tad slower. Beyond that the A7 is essentially the same camera. And it’s even ever so slightly smaller and lighter.
In my opinion, the ergonomics on the A7 are still usable, so it really boils down to how much you want that in-camera stabilization. It’s definitely a great feature if you shoot a lot of handheld, but if you shoot on a tripod the majority of the time, you should definitely consider saving the $500 and grabbing the A7.
Another great value for budget conscious photographers that really want to go full-frame: the Sony A7 paired with the Sony 28-70mm lens for $1398. The 28-70 is not a spectacular lens, but will get the job done. For an extra $300, this kit should be on the radar of budget conscious buyers looking to go full-frame and lightweight.
Rent the Sony A7 from: BorrowLenses.com
Current Prices for the Sony A7:
Medium Format Mirrorless
If you want the absolute best in resolution in a mirrorless system, you might consider medium format. However, these systems are super expensive, with the Hasselblad X1D-50c running at nearly $9000 for the body only. At that rate, I’d just go for one of the Sony full-frames! However, read below for our take on the Fujifilm GFX-50s medium format system.
51.4 Megapixel 43.6 x 32.9mm Medium Format CMOS Sensor, $6,499 MSRP (body only)
Weight: 2 lb/ 920 g
Dimensions: 5.8 x 3.7 x 3.6″ / 147.5 x 94.2 x 91.4 mm
The Fujifilm GFX-50S is Fuji’s new mirrorless medium format offering. It may very well produce highest quality single images of any camera on the planet, mirrorless otherwise. It’s also a fairly small body compared to it’s enormous 43.6mm medium format sensor. It’s also packed full of all of the top-of-the-line features that you would expect from a $6500 camera.
While it is large compared to the “pocket-sized” APS-C mirrorless bodies, the GFX-50S really is rather compact. Let’s put it in perspective: it weighs about 10 oz more that Sony’s A7R II mirrorless full-frame body, a mere 5 oz more than the Canon 5D Mark IV full-frame dSLR, a is a full 1.3 pounds lighter than the Canon 1DX Mark II. With the GFX-50S, you really are getting all the features and about the same size of a fully-loaded full-frame dSLR, but with a remarkably larger sensor.
The Fujifilm GFX-50s is on pre-order right now, so you’ll have to wait until the end of March to get one in your hands. But we are fully expecting to crown it as the Best Mirrorless Camera for Landscape Photography Period once it ships out.
For the really serious landscape photographer, the Fujifilm GFX-50S looks to be the ultimate combination of top image quality matched with (relatively) small size and a (relatively) reasonable price.
Factors For Choosing A Mirrorless Camera for Landscape Photography
Check out my suggestions for the factors you should consider when purchasing a mirrorless camera for landscape photography below.
Size and Weight
It varies photographer to photographer, but when you’re out in nature hunting for shots and potentially hiking for miles, size and weight are super important. That’s one huge benefit of any mirrorless camera system: weight and size reduction without loss of photo quality. I personally try to keep each of my larger gear items under 1 pound, a preferably closer to 1/2 pound. Some photographers (especially those with big hands) may also prefer a slightly bulkier shape, keeping some of the weight savings of mirrorless while still maintaining a firm grip.
When looking at camera bodies, there two main factors that influence image quality: megapixel count and sensor size. Of course, I do think that most photographers put too much importance on these two factors alone. Most of us (even the professionals) can get by with a smaller sensor (Mirco Four-Thirds or APS-C) and fewer megapixels for the majority of what we do. But there are those that prefer or even need the better ISO performance, dynamic range, and larger printing options of a full-frame (35mm) or even a medium format sensor. All of these are options in the mirrorless world.
Consider this too: image quality is highly influenced by the sharpness of the lenses being used. Thus, even if you buy an expensive body with a big sensor and high megapixel count, you could ruin it all by strapping on a crummy lens. Bodies that feature in-camera image-stabilization also help ensure that your images come out sharp when you aren’t able or willing to shoot on a tripod.
Landscape photographers often shoot in extreme conditions of weather (rain, snow, wind, ect.) while hiking over rugged terrain. Our cameras are at risk at getting soaked, dropped, blown over, and subjected to any type of torture known to man or beast. While we might want our cameras small and easy to carry, we also want them to be tough. Most of the cameras on this list are of high build quality, but be weary that one (ahem, Sony), may be a little on the soft side.
Some cameras (more so on the high-end) feature weather-sealing, which will help keep the rain from damaging your gear, but is not a guarantee of any sort. Also, to get the most out of your weather-sealing, you must also purchase weather-sealed lenses, and even then, don’t expect to be able to drop your camera into a river, lake, or sea and have the camera to still work properly.
Fantastic image quality, light weight and size, and all the bells and whistles in the world be negated if you can’t figure out how to use your camera. Systems that force the user into on-screen menus can bog down a work flow and cause the photographer to miss the shot while trying to change settings.
Cameras that rely more on dials, buttons, and a simple on-screen interface typically foster greater usability. Placement of said dials and buttons is also important. However, no matter how well or poor a camera is laid out, a photographer must know their camera well in order to maximize its ergonomics.
Some manufacturers are better than others at ergonomics (Sony comes under fire once again here), and even the best ergonomic designs may take getting used to if switching from a different camera system. It does pay to try out a camera (if you have the opportunity) before buying it to make sure you like how the camera feels and operates.
There are always trade-offs! For instance, if you want the absolute best image quality, you will have to take on the larger size and weight of a camera with a larger sensor. Of course, a heavier camera means larger and heavier lenses too. If you want to go super-lightweight, you better be ready for a smaller sensor and some reduction in image quality. Price is yet another factor: a larger sensor camera and its accompanying lenses can really break the bank. Be aware that you will likely never find an absolutely “perfect” camera system for what you do. Instead, be content to find the camera system that best suits your needs and budget.
I hope this is a helpful resource to any landscape photographer looking a buying a new mirrorless camera system. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions about this article, feel free to leave a comment below, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional Mirrorless Camera Resources
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