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Landscape and street photography are about immortalizing the beauty of a moment or scene, whether it be capturing the perfect beach sunset or right in the center of an urban city. While these moments and images can be captured, superficially, by just about any camera, truly encapsulating the beauty of a single moment or scene takes special equipment. These moments are why photographers want to make sure they are using the best cameras for landscape and street photography, so they can be sure to capture all the right details. While there are many good options for photographers though, the best cameras are going to have certain, specific features that lend themselves to these specific kinds of photography.
Full-Frame or Cropped Sensor?
Digital cameras have one of two sensor options: full-frame sensors or cropped sensors. The main consideration when it comes to these sensor types is focal length. Full-frame sensors give you a longer focal length, but this comes at the cost of resolution, noise, dynamic range, and other qualities that may be important for landscape and street photography. Cropped sensors, however, can come in a range of sizes, so many photographers may prefer to choose a balance rather than simply the largest lens, providing some focal length manipulation while minimizing the cost. Ultimately, this will depend on the kind of photography you're doing; that is, what subjects you usually shoot, at what distance, etc.
Mirrorless or SLR?
Another consideration that photographers must take into account is whether they want a mirrorless or 'traditional' model. The traditional model, known as a digital single-lens reflex (DLSR) camera, has been the most popular technology for a long time. Mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, are becoming increasingly popular, for both professional and amateur photographers.
In a traditional, DLSR camera, the light enters the lens, is reflected by a mirror through a prism, and, ultimately, to the optical viewfinder. This gives you an image that should match fairly closely to the one captured by the sensor.
Mirrorless cameras, however, take things a step further. As the name suggests, mirrorless cameras do not have a mirror—the light simply enters the lens and goes directly to the sensor. Naturally though, you need to be able to see what you're photographing, so the mirrorless camera has to use other tools since there is no mirror to reflect the light to the optical viewfinder. Most often, the solution to this problem is an electronic viewfinder.
There are advantages to both mirrorless and DLSR cameras, but, ultimately, the decision will ride on the who, what, where, when, and why of your photography. One of the main advantages of mirrorless cameras is that they can be much smaller, making them more portable, and, thus, one of the more convenient cameras for landscape and street photography.
K-70 by Pentax
It doesn't matter how great your camera's features are or how talented a photographer you are if your camera can't withstand the elements to capture an image. The Pentax K-70 is a sturdy, relatively budget-friendly option, costing under $600 on Amazon. The 24.24MP camera offers the newest technologies, with an LCD screen for viewing your images, and Wi-Fi compatibility for transferring them anywhere you like. Although not weather sealed, it's built to be extremely sturdy, able to withstand both weather and movement with ease. That, on top of its compact body, makes it a perfect camera for more extreme elements.
Alpha a6000 by Sony
The Sony Alpha a6000 is another incredible option for the dedicated photographer. Though pricey, this is one of the most popular cameras for landscape and street photography for many reasons. First of all, the mirrorless model is very compact and portable, and boasts 24MP resolution. It's also designed for speed, which makes it a particularly good option for the more versatile styles of street photography, able to capture any moment in an instant. In part, this is due to its auto-focus system, which utilizes the latest in AF technology to ensure you don't have to sacrifice color and contrast for quick focusing capabilities. Just point and shoot!
Alpha a7R (iii) by Sony
If you're ready to really invest in the right equipment for your photography, you should at least consider the Sony Alpha a7R line. The earlier models are now a bit more affordable for the photographer on a budget, but the a7R iii is where the magic lies for many professionals. This full-frame, mirrorless camera offers the combination of incredible clarity at 42.4MP, and fast focus and shutter speeds. Plus, it's pretty low on the size and weight front, making it an excellent, portable option for traveling wherever you go. It's also extremely versatile, sporting customizable buttons and a range of automatic and manual options for just about every function, making it the perfect camera for an incredible range of shooting styles.
PEN E-PL8 by Olympus
But beyond its dashing good looks, this camera takes pro-quality photos that you can upload and transfer with ease due to its Wi-Fi capabilities. With this camera though, you don't even need to transfer your snaps to start turning them into art; with a 180 degree LCD flip screen, 14 art filters, and numerous options for sharpening and editing, much of the work can be done instantaneously. Plus, it's compact size and all-in-one simplicity makes it much more versatile than comparable film cameras.
5D Mark IV by Canon
For still-landscape photography especially, the Canon 5D Mark IV DSLR is a popular and effective professional camera. Coming in at one of the best Canon cameras of 2018, this model has a full-frame CMOS sensor, which maximizes the clarity and resolution of your image. This 30.4MP sensor is designed especially for landscape photography, capturing images in full clarity and color. While this does come with the trade-off of more limited speed than some other options, the high quality (and high price) of this camera make even its 'weaknesses' stronger than many other, cheaper options on the market. If you're able and willing to drop the dough though, this is an incredibly high quality camera for landscape and street photography.
Rebel T6 by Canon
Unlike the previous option, not every photographer can afford the latest camera for landscape and street photography. Luckily, there are still some excellent, more budget-friendly options out there, and the Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR camera is a prime example, pricing out under $400. The cropped sensor provides a magnified focal length, while an array of auto features, including a 9-point phase detection auto-focus system, make it a great option for both beginners and professionals who need speed, portability, and versatility in their camera. It even offers Wi-Fi capabilities, so you can easily upload images to a smartphone or other device.
PowerShot G1 X Mark III by Canon
X-T2 by Fujifilm
The 2.36 million dot electronic viewfinder on Fujifilm's X-T2 utilizes innovative technology to bring you a near-exact image almost instantaneously: As quickly as .005 seconds, in fact. Though it's certainly in the higher price range for amateur photographers, it's a favorite of professional street and landscape photographers for a reason. The 24.3MP sensor gets you high quality images in a surprisingly compact body—one of the major benefits of mirrorless cameras. Fast auto-focus and movement tracking also make this an ideal camera for shooting street photography and capturing any subject—not just the still life photography.
D850 by Nikon
What makes the Nikon D850 one of the best cameras for landscape and street photography is its whopping 45.7MP resolution, aided by a state-of-the-art DSLR system. Building off of the popularity of the older D810 model, the D850 has even higher resolution, and utilizes a range of new technologies to counteract the limitations that usually come with this level of clarity and sharpness, including battery life and speed. So while the D810 was an excellent camera for landscape photography alone, the D850 is a more versatile camera for landscape and street photography alike. It also boasts a tilting LCD screen, which provides a nearly exact image of the picture being captured. No wonder it was ranked as one of the best Nikon cameras of 2018!
D5600-DX by Nikon
This popular DSLR camera from Nikon brings you great still image quality, as well as the best Full HD 1080p 4k video recording capabilities. With additional Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, it's also a great option for easy transference. With 39-point auto-focus and a design dedicated to making the most of any lighting situation or movement, this camera is ideal for shooting moving targets, dimly lit subjects, and video, without ever sacrificing the quality, clarity, and sharpness of your great images. It also boasts a long battery life, so you can shoot all day without risking it dying on you.