Photo Gear for the Landscape Photographer Who Wants to Carry Less

With fresh air and beautiful nature surrounding you, landscape photography can be quite rewarding. If you are a landscape photographer who desires to carry less, read on. 

Think of landscape photography as street photography in nature. The animals are not giving permission but we photograph them anyway, and the walk is good for you. If you’re like most street photographers, you don’t like to carry a ton of gear to make the photo. Check out our recommendation from smartphones to medium format digital.

Cameras

The camera body is the center of your photography kit universe. Everything you purchase must work well with your camera of choice. If something does not play well with your camera, eBay it. For landscape photographers, you want high resolution, light weight, and loads of dynamic range so that you’re able to get the shot and make large prints.

Fujifilm GFX 50S

Fuji’s first medium format digital, the GFX 50S is a whopper of a camera with features but not one in size or price. The GFX 50s is weather sealed, comes with a 50MP sensor that’s much larger than full frame, dynamic range for days, and it’s about the same size as a pro DSLR. To top it all off, you’re getting world-class Fujifilm lenses and color profiles making the Fuji GFX50s a very desirable camera for landscape photographers.

Pro tip – With 50MP resolution, get some big memory cards. Get a 256gb on Amazon.

In our review we state:

“Before I even get into the deeper details here, you had to expect that the Fujifilm GFX 50s was going to receive an Editor’s Choice award.

The Fujifilm GFX 50s is an absolutely fantastic camera in so many ways. It boasts the fastest medium format autofocus system that I’ve seen on top of some exemplary image quality. I argue that the lenses, when used with a flash, are even too sharp for portraiture. The camera also has weather sealing, versatility for viewfinder or LCD screen use, a lightweight body, fair battery life when shooting in just RAW, WiFi, and when used with the excellent 63mm f2.8 lens isn’t that large.”Read our review

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Sony A7R III

Every once in a while a camera comes out that is truly groundbreaking. For DSLR’s it was the Canon 5D that brought full-frame sensors to the masses, but for mirrorless cameras it’s the Sony A7R III. Pushing over 42MP at 10 fps, eye detection AF, and 4K video that rivals the Panasonic GH5, in a camera that is smaller than the GH5, the Sony A7R III boldly announces that mirrorless has arrived.

Pro tip – The A7R III is pushing incredible amounts of data fast. Get two Sony G memory cards.

In our review we state:

“The Sony a7r III is a fantastic camera that is pretty much everything that every working photographer needs. Good autofocus? Great RAW file versatility? Third party lens support? Third party flash support? Improved battery life? Dual card slots? Weather sealing? I mean, what is there to not like. Anything that isn’t that great about the Sony a7r III can be overcome and in no way do I see it being a burden in the long run. The Sony a7r III is replacing my Sony a7 as my main camera, although I still still keep the original due to just how good it still is. I recommend the Sony a7r III for working professionals and semi-professionals. And if you get it, I strongly recommend using it with Capture One to make the most of it.” Read our review

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Lenses

A good camera body is useless without good glass and a good lens will last you a lifetime. Put the majority of your budget into the right lens and it will serve you well. Also consider that good glass holds its value for years, so if you change systems or simply want to upgrade later, you’ll be able to get back a good amount of your initial investment back.

Fujifilm GF 23mm f4 R WR

Landscapes and the Fujifilm GFX 50S are a match made in heaven and as such you deserve top quality glass. At an 18mm full-frame equivalent, the Fujifilm GF 23mm f4 R WR is an ideal choice giving you a wide field of view, compact size, and it’s weather resistant. Check out our link to Amazon below where we found a deal on this lens that includes a Fuji cable release and more.

Pro tip – This is a magical lens and deserves equally good glass filters. See below for recommendations.

In our review we state:

“There’s something about the Fujifilm GF 23mm f4 R WR that can only be described as majestic; it delivers a big, grand, wide view of the world but it also has a very classic documentary look and feel to it that I think is going to be valued by adventure and documentary photographers who choose the Fujifilm GF system. The combination of solid image quality and weather sealing will give this 18mm f3 full frame 35mm equivalent lens quite an edge when it comes to ensuring that all the elements of a story are there. Of course, this is a slow lens. So if you’re shooting images with it in a documentary setting you’re going to want to ensure that you’ve got enough lighting. To date, it’s the Fujifilm GF system’s chunkiest lens. But it’s also a prime option that feels great in the hand.” – Read our review

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Sony 12-24mm f4 G FE

You just picked up a sweet Sony mirrorless from one of our links (thank you), and now you need the perfect landscape lens. Mirrorless should be small and light, and for landscape photography you don’t need crazy large apertures so go wide with this 12-24mm f4 Sony lens.

Pro tip – Careful when shopping online as the market is flooded with grey market lenses without warranty. Follow our link below to purchase one with a proper Sony warranty.

In our review we state:

“The Sony 12-24mm f4 G FE was announced earlier this year hot on the heels of Sigma’s own lens–and for the photographer who loves to shoot wide this lens could be the only lens you’ll care to travel with. The Sony 12-24mm f4 G FE was designed with weather resistance and is being touted as a G lens, not to be mistaken with the company’s G Master offerings. Like many of Sony’s higher end lenses, it’s a pretty pricy offering but we need to expect that from a wide angle lens. Lenses like the Sony 12-24mm f4 G FE are most suited for travel photography, landscapes, astrophotography, architecture and to some degree extreme sports. It’s also fun at parties if you’re looking to get a unique perspective. But photographers may have a tough choice between the Sony 12-24mm f4 G FE and the 16-35mm f2.8.” Read our review

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Camera Bags

Getting the right camera bag can be like finding the right pair of shoes. A good pair can be pricey but it will save you from pain and it will look good too. Like a good pair of shoes, buy a cheap bag and you could damage your gear, or worse; after a long day, you end up looking like a camera-carrying Quasimodo.

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L

Easily one of the most recognizable backpacks for photographers, the Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L is also one of the most innovative. At first glance, the looks might lead you to believe it’s delicate but nothing could be farther from the truth. The Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L works well in the field and in the city.

Pro tip – Pick up one of the new Peak Design Capture V3 to make carrying your camera easier.

In our review we state:

“Like most photographers, I’m always looking for “THE” perfect backpack: one that allows me to haul my entire kit with me when I’m shooting on location, travelling, or simply roaming the streets of New York City trying to capture the next decisive moment. Take it from someone who has used over a dozen different camera backpacks over the years, the Peak Design Everyday Backpack is as close to perfection as I’ve found. Is there room for improvement? Certainly. But until the inevitable 2.0 revision is released, the Peak Design Everyday Backpack is THE do it all, carry everything, go everywhere backpack to beat, and it’s certainly the best camera backpack I’ve had the pleasure of using.” Read our review

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WANDRD PRVKE Pack Camera Backpack

A relative new coming to camera bags, the Wandrd Prvke Pack is very much a non-traditional camera bag and that might be its best feature. If you’re packing any of the camera/lens combos on this page, the last thing you want to do is announce it to the world; the beauty of the Prvke pack is the stealth. Like the Everyday Backpack 30L above, the Wandrd Prvke Pack Camera Backpack works well in urban environments too.

Pro tip – If you’re using the Wandrd Prvke Pack Camera Backpack in a sunny environment, consider the blue or green colors.

In our review we state:

“I’ve had a love/hate relationship with backpacks designed for photographers: but the PRVKE Pack may be the only one that I actually like with the exception of the Langly Alpha Pro. When the Kickstarter launched, it was very aggressively marketed to be the only backpack that the travelling photographer needs. To that end, the PRVKE pack has loads of space, dividers, expandability, features that try to turn it into a tote bag, and other features that makes a whole lot of sense when used during actual travel. In fact, I’ve taken it on two press trip and many a shoot.” Read our review

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Tripods

Similar to purchasing a good lens, don’t ever skimp on a tripod. A poorly made tripod can topple over and damage your camera, or it could transfer micro vibrations to your camera, decreasing the overall sharpness of your image and therefore become money thrown away. Conversely, a good tripod will increase the sharpness of your images, can be lightweight and will last a lifetime. Unless you work in a busy studio, you should only need to purchase two or three good tripods in your life.

Gitzo Traveler Tripod

The Gitzo Traveler is an elegant yet well-made tripod that’s simple to use and lightweight. When you think about it, a tripod should be easy to use; it should just work. Thankfully the Gitzo Traveler delivers everything you could want in a tripod for landscape photographers.

Pro tip – Don’t skimp on your tripod head. Get a Gitzo separately or use the link below to see a kit we found for you.

In our review we state:

“Cheap tripods litter the marketplace and most sub-$200 models won’t support a descent SLR and a 200mm lens. But if you want to make one investment in a tripod and never need to replace it, Gitzo is a great choice. This is the Gitzo Traveler GT1542T and is the perfect choice for assignments since it fits easily in most carry-on luggage and is light enough to hardly notice when you’re on the go.” Read our review

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Vanguard VEO 2 235CB

A good tripod doesn’t have to cost the same price as transcontinental airfare and the Vanguard VEO 2 235CB is proof of that. With the Vanguard VEO 2 235CB, you’re getting nearly all of the potential quality of the Gitzo Traveler with slightly fewer refinements in the build. With the money saved, you could pick up something else like a good bag and filter, or take a day trip and get some killer photos.

Pro tip – Careful how you pack any tripod as they can be easily bent when luggage is stowed in airplane overhead bins.

In our review we state:

“When it comes to tripods, there hasn’t really been a whole lot of innovation in the past few years. Sure, the designs change and get better but there is nothing that has been completely game changing. The Vanguard VEO 2 235CB is in some ways the same thing we’ve been seeing over the years, but you also have the supreme build quality that we’ve always experienced with Vanguard products. We field tested this while hiking, on airplanes, on the NYC subways, in cars, and on rugged waterfronts. Somehow or another, Vanguard was able to take the build quality that we expect with the Alta series and put it into a small enough package with the VEO. Granted, you’re not getting all the features and are really limited to a few heads, but if you’re shooting photos then the Vanguard VEO 2 235CB is pretty difficult to beat.” Read our review

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Filters

It’s easy to dismiss filters in today’s post-production heavy digital photography life. The reality is, the better your initial capture, the better your work will be after post. While you don’t need a ton of filters anymore, you do need the right filters.

Neewer Complete ND Filter Kit for Cokin P

The Neewer Complete ND Filter Kit is an incredible value at $20. You’re getting a filter holder, 8 ND filters, adaptor rings galore, and a case to hold it all.

Pro tip – With all this glass, get something like this to keep it clean.

In our review we state:

“When you look at most Graduated ND and standard ND (Neutral Density) filter sets out there, you’ll find loads of pretty expensive options. But when you look at the Neewer Complete ND Filter kit, you start to scratch your head–at least you will as a novice. The more experienced amongst us will know that the build quality of the higher end stuff will be leaps and bounds better, and so will the image quality. We all completely understand the difference between great glass and mediocre glass, and know that you won’t be able to create as great images straight out of the camera as you can with better glass and paying for a much higher premium overall.

However, you’d be incredibly shocked if I told you that you were really, really wrong.”Read our review

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Breakthrough Photography X3 6 Stop ND Filter

Sometimes you only need a basic ND filter to get the shot and for those times, check out the Breakthrough Photography X3 6 Stop ND Filter. The X3 is a quality, all glass design, with a neutral color cast and optically coated.

Pro tip – Like we mentioned in the Neewer pro tip. Get some proper glass cleaner.

In our review we state:

“Breakthrough Photography has been manufacturing ND filters for a little while now, and in many ways, they’re an incredibly innovative and logical company that creates products that simply work. The company’s 6 stop ND filter is simply just that–an ND filter that cuts down up to six stops of light. Though vari-ND filters are much more valuable and useful, lots of shoots prefer a filter that was designed specifically to do an assigned job.” Read our review

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Lenses for Smartphones

We should always carry a dedicated camera with us but we don’t. So if somehow you end up on a hike in the woods and somehow you forgot your camera, your smartphone will do.

Moment Lenses

If there is one company that you could consider the industry standard of smartphone lenses, it Moment. Now on version 2.0, Moment optics are sharp and work well with both still and video.

In our review we state:

“Moment has quite a cult following; the company has created a number of stellar lenses for mobile phones that have inspired generations of new photographers. The Moment Lenses are pieces of high quality glass that attach onto a special case or plate on your phone to change the perspective. In recent years, the telephoto (sort of) focal length they offer has become a bit obsolete, but their wider focal length is quite different. If you need a wide, sweeping view of something, the only other alternative is to shoot panoramic photos of some sort unless you use another add-on lens. But besides changing the viewing angle, Moment lenses tend to add character and charm to an otherwise very sterile aesthetic.” – Read our review

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Bitplay 18mm HD Wide Angle Lens

If you’re looking for an alternative to what Moment offers, check out Snap! lenses by Bitplay. Snap! lenses are a somewhat smaller than what Moment offers so if small appeals to you then check out what Snap! has to offer.

In our review we state:

“Though many of the more traditional photographers don’t really take the iPhone seriously, it’s very fair to say that lens options like the Bitplay 18mm HD Wide Angle lens for the Apple iPhone are options that can really change the way you shoot. Bitplay has a load of excellent lens optics for their SNAP! Pro case, which we’ve reviewed previously and they’ve updated. But this newest addition is promising incredibly low distortion. So if you’re an adventure photographer, landscape photographer, street photographer, or cityscape shooter, then there is very little reason why you wouldn’t want a lens like this. In the same way that Moment and Zeiss have been changing the way that photographers shoot with the iPhone, this new lens offering from Bitplay is very similar.” – Read our review

Shop Bitplay on Amazon