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The best cameras for landscape photography in 2021: kit for the great outdoors

best cameras for landscape photography
(Image credit: Dieter Meyrl/Getty Images)

It's one of the most popular photo genres going, but picking one of the best cameras for landscape photography means you need to take a few essential factors before heading out into the field.

So, where to start? A big deciding factor is resolution and ideally a high resolution sensor will allow you to capture all those subtle tones, shades and details in a landscape. Sensor size is another important consideration - the bigger the physical size of the chip, and the better the image quality. 

Landscape photography tips and techniques

You also want something that's well made - look for cameras that offer weather-sealing as in most cases, the best landscapes aren't going to be when the sun is out and the sky is a clear blue. You'll invariably be shooting when the elements are against you for the dramatic scenes and you want a camera that will carry on shooting even if it's getting rained on. 

On the flip side, if you're going to be trekking to your location, you don't want a load of heavy kit, so you need to consider the weight of your camera (and the various lenses you'll want to take). 

While rapid focusing and burst shooting speeds can be essential in other genres, these might not be dealbreakers for the more considered approach that landscape photography demands, so don't get too hung up on these elements. That's not to say you have to put up with a clunky performance, just that you don't need a camera with an incredibly advanced AF that can track your subject seamlessly round the frame and shoot at over 10fps at the same time. 

So we’re here to help you pick through what is essential and what is optional when it comes to choosing the best cameras for landscape photography – with advice provided to suit both high-end and budget spends, along with differing skill-sets, to boot.

Starting out

(Image credit: Nikon)

1. Nikon D3500

This DSLR may be entry-level, bit it can still capture superb landscapes

Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Nikon DX | Autofocus: 11-points, 1 cross type | Screen type: 3.0-inch, 921,000-dots | Max burst speed: 5fps | Video: Full HD | Weight: 415g

Lightweight and easy to use
Affordability
Rear screen is not angle adjustable
Omits 4K video

Fortunately for landscape photographers, the D3500 is not only its maker’s lightest DSLR, at just 415g with battery and card, it’s also Nikon’s most affordable APS-C DSLR and one of the best cameras for beginners. You’ll find the camera bundled with a lightweight 18-55mm kit lens – its widest angle setting the most suitable for landscapes, and of course it’s also compatible with an extremely broad range of Nikon-fit lenses. The D3500’s body isn’t image stabilised, but if you’re using it with a tripod for landscapes that’s hardly a deal breaker. More important is the 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor at its heart, while an on-board Guide Mode helps newbies select the correct settings. Should you want to share and review images in the field (literally), Bluetooth rather than Wi-Fi is offered by way of cable-free transfer, which at least lets users transmit images to a smartphone, as well as utilise a handset as a remote means of firing its shutter. Another bonus for landscape photographers is the 1,550-shot battery life; three or four times the amount you’d typically get from a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera.

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

2. Fujifilm X-T200

This neat mirrorless camera is a great option for the novice landscape photographer

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Fujifilm X | Autofocus: 425-point hybrid AF system | Screen type: 3.5-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 2,760,000 dots | Max burst speed: 8fps | Video: 4K | Weight: 370g

Great design and large screen
Good 4K video features
Simplified external controls
Average battery life

The X-T200 from Fujifilm is a great entry-level mirrorless option for the landscape photographer. The retro styling is lovely, and while Fujifilm has kept the size nice and compact, it's still managed to fit a large 3.5-inch vari-angle touchscreen. This makes composing shots out in the field a joy and made even more satisfying by being twice the resolution of most rivals. This is complemented by a decent electronic viewfinder  and solid 24-megapixel APS-C sensor. It doesn't enjoy Fujifilm's X-Trans technology, but the colours hit the mark and detail is still very good. The 15-45mm kit lens won't be to everyone's taste as the zoom is electrically controlled, but there's a great range of X-mount lenses out there perfect for landscape shooters. 

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony RX10 III

If you're looking for a great all-in-one solution, then look no further

Type: Bridge | Sensor: 1-inch | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens : 24-600mm f/2.4-4 lens | Autofocus: 25-point contrast-detect AF | Screen type: 3.0-inch tilt-angle screen, 1,288,800 dots | Max burst speed: 14fps | Video: 4K | Weight: 1,095g

Excellent and fast 24-600mm lens
Superb stills and video quality
Poor AF at longer focal lengths
Relatively large and heavy

While it's been superseded by the RX10 IV, the RX10 III still available and that bit more affordable than the newer camera. This is a great all-in-one solution if you're wanting to travel light when shooting landscapes, with this bridge camera packing in a highly versatile 24-600mm f/2.4-4 lens. This means you can happily shoot broad vistas to tightly cropped details. The 1-inch sensor is physically smaller than that found in the other DSLRs and mirrorless cameras on the list, but the 20.1-megapixel chip still delivers some impressive results (and the compromise you have to make if you want an all-in-one camera like this). Performance doesn't disappoint either, with a snappy 14fps burst shooting speed and capable autofocus system.

Advanced

(Image credit: Canon )

4. Canon EOS 90D

Canon's capable enthusiast DSLR is a solid choice for landscape shooters

Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 32.5MP | Lens mount: Canon EF | Autofocus: 45-point phase detect (viewfinder), 5000-point hybrid phase detect (live view) | Screen type: 3-inch fully articulating touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Max burst speed: 10fps | Video: 4K | Weight: 701g

Great touchscreen interface
Decent resolution
Limited buffer capacity
No USB charging

Sitting at the top of Canon's APS-C DSLR range of cameras, the EOS 90D packs in a 32.5-megapixel sensor. One of the most densely packed APS-C sensors, this adds a little bit more in the way of resolution over its rivals. While it feels a little plasticky places for our tastes, the EOS 90D is weather-sealed so should be up to the job of when shooting out in the elements. We're big fans of the EOS 90D's touchscreen interface, while the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system when shooting in live view delivers incredibly quick focusing, Add to that Canon's polished control layout and the wealth of Canon EF lenses out there for the EOS 90D and this is a great option for those looking to upgrade. 

(Image credit: Nikon)

5. Nikon D780

Nikon's enthusiast full-frame DSLR packs a mighty punch

Type: DSLR | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 24.4MP | Lens mount: Nikon FX | Autofocus: 51-point phase detect (viewfinder), 273-point hybrid phase detect (live view) | Screen type: 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 2,359,800 dots | Max burst speed: 12fps | Video: 4K | Weight: 840g

Chunky, satisfying handling
Fast live view AF
No AF joystick
Slow Live View subject tracking

Nikon's enthusiast full-frame DSLR is a brilliant DSLR. An upgrade to Nikon's incredibly popular D750, many thought we wouldn't see a new model with the march of mirrorless. However, Nikon's been crafty and distilled some of the tech from its own range of mirrorless cameras and dropped it in the D780. The most notable element being the 24-megapixel full-frame sensor from the Z6. A much more advanced sensor than the one found in the D750, it not only performs better in low-light, but thanks to the on-sensor phase detection autofocus, live view focusing speeds are now much, much quicker. This is supported by a high-resolution touchscreen and large optical viewfinder, as well as 4K UHD video and dual UHS-II SD compatible card slots. Handling is a dream and the build is very solid, making it a great landscape shooters camera.

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

6. Fujifilm X100V

Fujifilm's premium compact is a perfect for those looking to travel light

Type: Premium compact | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.3MP | Lens : 23mm f/2 (equiv. to 34.5mm) | Autofocus: 425-point hybrid AF system | Screen type: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1,620,000 dots | Max burst speed: 11fps | Video: 4K | Weight: 478g

Beautiful design and controls
Hybrid viewfinder
34.5mm prime lens might be limiting
Expensive for a compact

This is might seem a bit of an odd inclusion amongst the other cameras on the list, but stick with us. The premium compact is something a bit special and if you can justify it, a great camera to have with you when you don't want to take a kitbag full of cameras and lenses. At the heart of the X100F is a 26.1-megapixel APS-C sized sensor (just like that found in Fujifilm's latest range of compact cameras), while there's an all-new 34.5mm-equivalent f/2 prime lens that's sharper than its predecessors. This might not be quite wide enough for some, but this moderate wide-angle delivers the goods. This is supported by a tilt-angle touchscreen and a clever hybrid viewfinder that can switch between an optical and electronic display at the flick of a switch. With a pleasing smattering of external controls and a gorgeous design, this is a lovely camera for those want to enjoy the process just as much as the results. 

Professional

(Image credit: Canon )

7. Canon EOS 5DS R

It might be getting on, but this 50.6MP DSLR is still loved by pro landscape photographers

Type: DSLR | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 50.6MP | Lens mount: Canon EF | Autofocus: 61 phase detection points | Screen type: 3.2-inch LCD, 1,040,000 dots | Max burst speed: 5fps | Video: 1080p | Weight: 845g

High pixel count
Damped mirror and shutter
Specs starting to show age
Dynamic range could be better

While the more obvious choice is Canon's blistering EOS R5 with it's excellent 45MP full-frame, it's a pricey option, while some of the incredibly advanced features just aren't necessary for a lot landscape photographers. That's why we've picked Canon's ageing EOS 5DS R. This 50-megapixel full-frame camera is a firm favourite amongst landscape photographers who love the richly detailed files from this densely populated sensor. Pair it with some high-end L-series lenses and this will mix it with the latest high-resolution cameras out there, while the damped shutter is a welcome touch for those shooting landscapes. Our only slight grumble is the slightly disappointing dynamic range compared to newer rivals, but this can be overcome with some shrewd use of filters to balance the scene. 

(Image credit: Nikon)

8. Nikon Z7 II

Nikon's flagship mirrorless camera has lots to charm landscape shooters

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 45.7MP | Lens mount: Nikon Z | Autofocus: 493-point hybrid phase/contrast AF | Screen type: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 2,100,000 dots | Max burst speed: 10fps | Video: 4K | Weight: 705g

Lovely handling
5-axis IS system
EVF resolution lower than rivals
Tilt-angle display, not vari-angle

The Nikon Z7 II is Nikon's flagship mirrorless camera and there's lots to attract the series landscape photographer. The 45.7-megapixel full-frame sensor delivers brilliant images as you'd expect, while it's a bit lighter and more compact than the Z7 II's DSLR stablemate, the D850, making it a bit easier to live with if you're going to be lugging it about all day. The electronic viewfinder is very good, but bear in mind that rivals like the EOS R5 and the Sony Alpha A7R IV enjoy even better resolutions. Autofocus is more than up to the job when it comes to landscapes as well - there are better systems out there, but focusing is swift and it'll achieve focus even in the poorest of conditions. There's a growing range of dedicated Z series mirrorless lenses available for the Z7 II, while the FTZ adapter means you can choose from a huge back catalogue of Nikon F-mount lenses should you prefer.

(Image credit: Sony)

9. Sony Alpha A7R IV

Superb quality in a camera that won’t break your back (or your backpack)

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 61MP | Lens mount: Sony FE | Autofocus: Hybrid AF, 567 phase detection, 325 contrast AF points | Screen type: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1.440,000 dots | Max burst speed: 10fps | Video: 4K | Weight: 655g

World record resolution!
10fps shooting at 61MP
Touch screen capability a little limited
Ageing design and handling

At the A7R IV’s heart is a class-beating 61-megapixel full-frame sensor - the highest resolving sensor we've seen on a full-frame camera, and is wedded to Sony's FE full-frame lens mount. This has now been established for some years with some tasty pieces of glass to appeal to the serious landscape photographer. Aside from the image quality and the A7R IV delivers in other areas. The 10fps burst shooting speed is impressive if you're planning to shoot subjects other than landscapes, while the highly capable AF system doesn't disappoint. If you are planning to shoot handheld then the 5.5 stop in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) system works a treat, while the body is relatively lightweight at just 655g. Handling is a weak area - not that its bad, but rivals like the Z7 II are that much nicer to shoot with. Otherwise though, this latest generation A7R IV is a seriously capable contender for landscape fans. 

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

10. Fujifilm GFX 50R

This is the most affordable medium-format digital camera ever

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Medium format | Megapixels: 51.4MP | Lens mount: Fujifilm G | Autofocus: 425 contrast detection points | Screen type: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 2,360,000 dots | Max burst speed: 3fps | Video: Full HD | Weight: 775g

Weather-resistant body
Rangefinder design 
Leisurely AF performance
Modest burst mode

If you're shooting landscapes then detail-rich results is the name of the game for most photographers. For a lot of landscape photographers that means investing in a camera with a full-frame sensor. But for those who demand even greater image quality, the next step is a medium format camera. While some can cost the price of a decent family car, the Fujifilm GFX 50R sits at the more 'affordable' end of the scale. Featuring the same 51.4MP medium format sensor as the larger GFX 50S, the 50R sports a more compact rangefinder-style design that makes its more portable and accessible. Easy to get to grips with, the GFX 50R is like shooting with an X-series mirrorless camera from the brand, and while focusing can be a little pedestrian, the results are worth taking things a little bit slower for. 

Read more:

Best lenses for landscape photography
• The 10 cheapest full frame cameras you can get right now
• The best full-frame DSLRs to choose
• These are some of the best tripods to buy today
• Which are the best camera backpacks right now?
• The best tablets for photo editing and photographers

Phil Hall

Phil is the Managing Editor of Top Ten Reviews, and is a former Editor of Techradar's camera channel. He is an accomplished photographer, and specializes in shooting cycling and fast cars.