Is This the Best Bargain Camera for Landscape Photographers?

You do not have to spend a ton of money for a top-level landscape photography camera. This excellent video discusses one particularly good camera that might be flying under your radar.

Coming to you from Gary Gough, this great video discusses why the Canon 5DS R might be the best bargain camera for landscape photographers. With a 50.6-megapixel sensor and no anti-aliasing filter, the 5DS R offers the sort of extreme resolution often desired by landscape photographers, and it gives you access to Canon's deep library of EF lenses. On top of that, it can be found for a little over $1,000 used or just a little more new. The one drawback is that it generally does not have the best dynamic range, though exposure bracketing is always an option. Another great option is the Sony a7R II. A used model of this camera normally comes in at about the same price as a used 5DS R, and though you take a slight hit in resolution at 42 megapixels, you gain more dynamic range. Beyond that, you can also adapt just about any DSLR lens to a Sony camera. Check out the video above for Gough's full thoughts. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Yeah, a7RII is a fantastic deal if hi-rez is your priority.

The Nikon D800 is a pretty spankin deal too at just above $600 used with a 36 murder pickle sensor

It's a bit over $1,000, has lackluster DR, and is more prone to moiré? How big is the segment of landscape photographers that supposedly are making giant prints which require high-res cameras, but are willing to sacrifice DR? If you're a landscape photographer actually making 6ft wide prints, are you really in the "budget shooter" category where you wouldn't just buy a D850, A7RIV, R5, etc.?

That's kind of a funny point. Imagine having single prints made that nearly cost what your camera did.

Or if you did a excessively large metal print it would actually cost the same amount.

I'm planning to make a 5'x2' print of a pano that was stitched from four 16MP Micro Four Thirds frames. It'll cost $114.24, and I can spray-mount it to a $20 piece of cotton rag foam board. As for DR, when the scene's very contrasty, I just bracket and Merge to HDR Pano in Lightroom. Easy. Yeah, high-rez, high-DR cameras are nifty, but they're not always necessary for high-spec images of still subjects. Which is why I sometimes still take my GX9 & 14-140 on long walks instead of my a7RIII & 24-105 for the reduced weight and greater reach.

If one weren't concerned in the least with the mirrorless world, one could put together a fantastic Nikon or Canon kit on the used market. I can remember pining for the 14-24 2.8 Nikon for years, but it was just too far out of my price range. Now they can be had for 1500 or less.

Indeed. I could spend about $600-$700 and put together a portrait kit that would make me some good money. if I looked REALLY hard I could probably do it for less.

It's always amusing to hear people who have never used the 5Dsr comment negatively about it. When I first got my R5, I carried that along with either my 5Div or my 5Dsr on a number of beach walks, just to see whether the difference in image quality is distinguishable in most situations. The R5 is amazing for many things, but in most daytime lighting conditions no one I've shown the images to can correctly distinguish an image taken on the R5 from an image taken on the 5Dsr. For those who claim to see the difference, the 5Dsr pic is regularly chosen as the better image. In low light, or where tracking is key, give me the R5. But for a lot of situations, the 5Dsr holds its own pretty well.

Agreed. My wife used her 5DsR for birds all the time because she was determined to get individual feathers. May not be made for wildlife but that's what she did and did it well. Dynamic range was a bit of a problem till she went full manual and tamed that beast. Low light performance sucks tho. Was kind of disappointed in that but kept it for the studio.