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MPB used kit challenge: get a low-price landscape photography setup

MPB used kit challenge landscape
(Image credit: James Artaius)

Buying photography gear is an expensive game. It doesn't matter if you're shooting for yourself, or taking on commissions for clients – you need the right kit to get the right shot… but the right kit needn't be as expensive as you think!

You can save serious cash by shopping used instead of buying everything brand new. Whether you're just picking up a new lens or you're replacing your entire setup, your money will go much further if you shop second hand – and you'll be able to choose from a much wider selection of kit.

Truth be told, you can get an even better setup if you buy used than if you bought brand new. Even cutting-edge kit is much cheaper when it hits the second-hand market, but you can also pick up discontinued bodies and lenses that might do a superior job to the manufacturers' current models.

We're putting this to the test with MPB, the world’s largest digital photography gear resale platform (opens in new tab), and every month we'll be putting together our dream setup for shooting specific areas of photography for a fraction of the price of buying new.

This month we've assembled a low-cost landscape photography kit – ideal for taking advantage of the lower sun and glowing golden hours during the winter months!

Sony A7R III

(Image credit: James Artaius)

New price: £2,500
MPB price: £1,849

The Sony A7R III (opens in new tab) possesses a pixel-packed 42.4MP full-frame sensor, making it one of the best cameras for landscape photography (opens in new tab). With such a large, resolution-rich image sensor you can capture astonishing levels of both detail and dynamic range.

This means that you can capture raw files with an amazing amount of leeway, enabling you to pull back shadow and highlight detail when shooting in high contrast situations (which is often the case, when shooting landscapes!). The staggering amount of pixels also enables you to re-crop your images without hacking down the image size – invaluable when learning to shoot landscapes.

The 5-axis in-body image stabilization enables you to shoot tripod-free, even at longer shutter speeds. And if you want to use a tripod, you can also exploit Pixel Shift Multi Shooting to capture mammoth 169.6MP images! 

Sony A7R III with Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS (1/200 sec, f/8, ISO100) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Samyang 14mm f/2.8 AF

(Image credit: James Artaius)

New price: £599
MPB price: £404

The Samyang 14mm f/2.8 AF (opens in new tab) is a fantastic ultra wide-angle prime lens with a quick aperture. Being a prime lens, it's engineered for pixel-perfect performance that will deliver super sharp results – and the f/2.8 aperture is fast enough to work in fading light as well as shooting astrophotography.

Distortion is pretty well controlled, and the lens also features autofocus and full onboard electronics. You'll generally want to focus manually for landscapes, but the AF option can be very helpful, while having EXIF data for your shots is always incredibly helpful – again, especially when you're learning the ins and outs of shooting landscapes.

Sony A7R III with Samyang 14mm f/2.8 AF (1/160 sec, f/10, ISO100) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD

(Image credit: James Artaius)

New price: £849
MPB price: £724

One of the best Sony lenses (opens in new tab) you can buy, the brilliant Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD (opens in new tab) boasts superb optical performance, weather sealed construction and a fast, constant f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range. 

With the ultra-wide end of the scale covered by the Samyang, this 17-28mm zoom covers the bases for 'regular' wide-angle shooting – and it will become your go-to glass for much of your landscape work. Yes, it might be slightly narrower than the usual 16-35mm optics, but don't worry because we've got you covered…

Sony A7R III with Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD (1/160 sec, f/8, ISO100) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS

(Image credit: James Artaius)

New price: £689
MPB price: £519

A 10x superzoom for shooting landscapes? Yes! While typical landscape photography revolves around wide and ultra-wide lenses, having a telephoto enables you to add an extra dimension to your images – and you'll find yourself reaching for the Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS far more often than you might expect.

Starting at 24mm enables you to see the frame from a wide-angle perspective, but then you can push all the way in to 240mm to see how that transforms your composition. Carve out points of interest, reach those hills that you can't find a path or road up to, or compress perspective to change the feel of your scene. Trust us, this lens will level up your landscapes!

Sony A7R III with Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS (1/200 sec, f/8, ISO100) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Hoya 77mm Pro1 Digital ND8 Filter

(Image credit: James Artaius)

New price: £140
MPB price: £17

When you get serious about shooting landscapes, you're going to need ways to balance your exposure and exploit dynamic range that your camera and lenses just can't do on their own. 

That's where neutral density (ND) filters come into play. Essentially like putting a pair of sunglasses on your lens, this enables you to use wider apertures or slower shutter speeds while reducing the amount of light that hits the sensor – opening the door to some stunning effects when shooting contrasty settings, snowy scenes or flowing water. This ND 8 filter cuts the amount of light entering the lens by 3 stops, all without affecting color balance. 

Sony A7R III with Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS (1/200 sec, f/11, ISO100) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Sony VG-C3EM Battery Grip

(Image credit: James Artaius)

New price: £330
MPB price: £179

When you're out in the field all day (sometimes literally!) you need to come prepared. Warm clothes, wet weather protection, some sandwiches, and plenty of power for your camera! 

The last thing you want to worry about when spending a day shooting landscapes is running out of battery life (especially with mirrorless cameras, which gobble up the juice faster than DSLRs). And if it's raining, you don't want to open your camera to swap batteries – pick up a battery grip and you'll be good to keep shooting until the sun goes down.

Sony A7R III with Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS (1/200 sec, f/11, ISO100) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Low price landscapes

(Image credit: James Artaius)

Landscape photography setup 

New price: £5,107
MPB price: £3,692
Total saving: £1,415

For under £3,700 – which is almost the price of a brand new A7R IV without any lenses – you can kit yourself out with a complete landscape shooting setup built around one of the best hi-res cameras on the market. 

So whether you're looking to pick up an extra lens to complement your existing system, or you want to build a whole shooting setup from scratch, make sure to check the wealth of used options available from MPB (opens in new tab) to get great results and great savings.

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