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Nature and Landscape Photography

Lesson 3 of 27

Cameras and Sensors

John Greengo

Nature and Landscape Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

3. Cameras and Sensors
Learn about the features you should look for when choosing a camera to shoot nature photography.

Lesson Info

Cameras and Sensors

all right folks let's get into the good stuff the fun stuff the equipment I know there's a lot of people who are let's get to this stuff so I like to get it out out of the way right here at the beginning so let's talk about cameras what sort of camera should you use what type of camera can you use let's talk about the general camera qualities that nature photographers like first off we want high image quality nature and landscape photography there's been a long tradition of very very good quality image is highly detailed so we want high image quality we want to be able to control the exposures we want to be able to control the focusing and it's nice to have some different lens options so that we have a variety of looks that we can have anything that we're doing and on top of all this let's make it very portable because we're going to need to be moving around we're not often just shooting straight from our car and so what this means to you is going to be something different than what it...

means to me and somebody else and so the balance of these features is where you get to make your own choice among the gigantic world of camera choice now the three types of cameras I will be talking about is thie good old slr the new and upcoming muralist cameras and then talking about pointed shoots as well we're not going to go into the full details of how these work that's in my other more basic classes the slr the big advantage is that I like with the slr is really incredibly sharp viewing because you are viewing throughem eared system you get to look through the actual lens you get to see the world as sharp as you can see it with your own eyes it's very good under low light viewing images so if you're trying to focus on stars or the moon or something very very dark you get to use your own human vision which is actually very good under low light conditions in that viewing system and these cameras in general have very very high image quality because they have larger size sensors which is what we're going to talk about in a moment now the disadvantage is that we have with these slr is this mirror box in the camera isn't completely necessary and it's taking up a lot of space and we'll see that more when we talk about the mirror list cameras the image that you see is what you get to see with your own eyes and that is not the way the final image comes out it's not representative of the dynamic range that you're going to have its not representative of the color balance that you have and so you could be misled into thinking looking to an slr that that's what my final picture is going to look like that is just simply a preview of what you're going to see and there is a limited digital assistance and this digital senses assistance is something that is in the new muralist cameras and there's a lot of very cool things that are being done with this and I'm going to show you more about this when we get to the focusing section because I have examples of how different cameras have things like magnification and peeking in order for you to get super super sharp images and we don't have that with the sl ours in their view finder the muralist cameras which are kind of the up and coming popular cameras that a lot of people are liking because they're smaller in size and so it's easier to hike and carry more equipment with you we have our digital focusing that info aids that I've been just talking about and the image that you look at in one of these cameras very much represents the final image one of the things that I like about muralist cameras is that you are looking at a digital image and that's what your captain capturing I found that I changed my work flow with the muralist camera and what I've done is I no longer have my image playback on the back of the screen because normally on an slr I would shoot a picture and then I would look at the back of the camera to see well how'd that turn out here's what it looks like here's what I think it looks like there's what it actually looks like now with a mere list camera I've turned that part off so I just shoot I see a preview of what I'm shooting and I shoot it and I don't worry about playback and so it actually has sped up the shooting process when shooting with the muralist camp the disadvantage is with the mirror list is that the e v f elektronik viewfinder is not a sharp and so judging critical focus requires those digital aids that come in in general a lot of these marylise cameras it's not a rule but many of them we have a lower pixel count than we do in the sl ours and it's just because a lot of them are using smaller size sensors it's not the case and all I know there's some exceptions out they're not going to mention particular cameras they can be just as good but in general the choices out there are mostly that they're a little bit lower image quality and finally your out pretty far from electricity and charging batteries they do tend to go through batteries more quickly I find with my muralist camera I can go through a battery a day pretty easily but on my slr might last me a week depending on my style of shooting and so you have to be a little bit more aware of that battery usage now we don't have as many people shooting with the point and shoot cameras out there obviously these are going to be very small in size they're lightweight very low cost the type of thing that if somebody's going to go on long hike they're gonna hike the pacific crest trail that's going to take him six months to hike this is the type of camera that they would bring because they can't budget very much weight the problem with these cameras is that you have very few options especially when it comes to manually controlling any sort of features on the camera they're very difficult to use in bright sunlight because they don't have a traditional view finder on it and because they're small and they use small sensors they have a lower resolution and so you are going to be limited in what you can get out of the camera are these bad cameras I didn't say that you have to look at what your needs are and what you want from it if you want to post some pictures on facebook and you want to do a little slide show on hd screen more than enough resolution to do that but if you really want to get into controlling the various aspects of the camera they're going to be highly limited in that regard I'm just going to keep moving right on through two sensors because integral part of the cameras obviously there's a lot of different cameras on the market and one of the most important differences in them is the size of the sensor in the camera so these are some of the most popular sensor sizes out on the market today full frame indicating it's the same size as a thirty five millimetre frame I am not a big fan of this naming system and I would like to propose that we change the naming to just simply measuring the diagonal of the sensor it would be able to make things a lot more comparable it's the same way we measured tv screens and computer monitors and so the forty three millimeter sensor khun b very directly compared to a twenty eight millimeter sensor and you have a good feeling for the size difference between the two there is a crop factor that we will talk about when we talk about these lenses and the full frame sensors are what most of the serious professionals are doing because it can fit the most number of pixels and it can get the highest quality of image and so in very general terms the bigger the censor the better quality you're going to get and so you want to get the biggest sensor that you're willing to carry around in cameras and lenses and whatever that total bulk is and there's a lot of trade offs when it comes to choosing what type of camera is right for you so let's take a full frame camera ah canon six d for instance let's add a white angle a normal and a telephoto lens and this might be a nice landscape set up how much is this going to set you back about thirty five hundred bucks and how much is it going away it's going away about five pounds now if you step down a notch to a cropped frame camera let's go down to the nikon d seventy one hundred let's add in essentially the same ones is they're not the same lands but their equivalent lenses how much money does that save us quite a bit about a thousand bucks a little more than a thousand bucks and it takes a good chunk of the weight off as well it's about three and a half pounds and so going with the crop frame sensor is going to save you wait and going to save you money and still keep you pretty close in quality let's jump all the way down to the fourth third system panasonic and olympus let's put in the same lenses and what you'll notice is that you don't save much money but you do save a lot of weight and so if you were really weight conscious I would look at the fourth third system it's not the ultimate landscape system but for somebody who wants to be light and really travel around without much bolt that's where you're going to say the most amount of bulk in there between the full frame and the crop frame well it kind of just depends on how much gear you want to buy how much do you want to carry and what you're doing with it and what your aspirations are for your photographs and a lot of people want to compare full frame versus the a p s that next size down what are the critical factors that we want to look at well one of the factors that you can look at that's noticeably different is in the focusing systems and I'm going to use the cannon five mark three and the nikon d a ten which are some of the more popular cameras for full frame users doing landscape work and if we were to compare them with the closest counterpart within their manufacturers line the new cannon seventy mark to in the d seventy one hundred one of the things that you'll notice is that number of focusing points or the area of coverage I should say how much bigger it is on the a p s cameras look how much more of that frame is covered by focusing points now to be honest with you this is not critical in landscape work but if you want to get in the wildlife and that's one of the things I should mention is we're not going to be doing wildlife photography in this class that just opens the door to a whole other gamut of of stuff but there's a lot of nature photographers that go hand in hand doing wildlife work because they're in the same place and so having a camera that's also good doing wildlife work is very handy and so I've been shooting with the candid five mark three and I really like it it's a very good camera for it and I have had for many years the cannon seventy because it was very good at shooting wildlife and it was nice having a combination if you could afford belt to have one of each one of the reasons why full frame is very popular among those who are really serious about shooting nature and landscape work is because of the wide angle lens choices that are available for instance the cannon sixteen to thirty five is roughly equivalent in foca li to the ten to eighteen millimeter lands because we have this one point six crop factor but if you get a full frame system versus an a p s system your lens choice is dramatically different let's say you needed in lens that got you eighty four degrees from side to side what that means is that if you get a crop train camera you need about twelve millimeter lands kanan has three lenses to choose from one of them's a fish eye so it almost doesn't even count so you have to normal lenses to choose from if you go full frame that means you're going to be looking at a twenty millimeter lands and you're gonna have seven choices on lenz is one of them is a fisheye so let's say six really good choices of different lenses you can choose what's better to or six and this is why a lot of the serious landscape shooters have gone with full frame is there's just more choices available for exactly what you want to dio let's take a look with nikon a lot ofyou nikon uses out there got to be fair to everyone or at least covers many of them as I can with nikon you neither thirteen millimeter lands one of those is a fish I see you have a choice of two know better than cannon what if you go full frame now they seem to be going tit for tat with cannon they got seven lenses one of them's a fish eye so that leaves you six good choices for different wide angle lens for covering that wide angle coverage which is one of the most important aspects for landscape photography which is going to lead up to our next section but this is where I'd like to pause and kind of check out what sort of questions we might have about cameras and sensors big gulp sixty two eyes wondering within a psc how large can you print the images are you limited well of course printing your images is a subjective thing how what sort of quality do you want how closer people going to be viewing it and I think those with extremely high standards could print and eleven by seventeen I think you could go up sixteen by twenty and do quite well it depends a little bit on what camera and when you're exactly watching this because you could be watching this in the future at which point there is just some fantastic camera and you could print thirty by forty inch prince and so I think you could print a nice print for the wall nice poster size small small poster size is great and we have a question from ash morning guard who says is that came in seventeen to fifty five millimeter a p s c lens good enough for landscape photography absolutely great great any questions from you john could go in there we're coming in coming in online how is the lens angle of you measured on the diagonal of the frame or on the wit well generally a lot of times the diagnose is measured from corner to corner but I find that I think it's difficult for people to understand exactly what that means I think it's easier to understand the horizontal on the long side but if you go into the technical manuals they'll often list all three the diagonal alongside and the short side as well and so you you have to look and see how it is listed in that particular place but in the ones that I'm referring here I'm just giving you the horizontal side to side my goodness a lot of folks have questions are starting to roll in milling in about these difference specific questions let's see we have one about the how about the do you want to take these sort of what about this camera versus this camera sure don't do you okay sony a seven is that comparable to the nikon and cannons of the world sure yeah so sony the sony a seven is one of the well it depends on which model of the seven but I believe it's a seven r which has the thirty six megapixels that's comparable in quality equal to or better than the night concert cannons the only issue I have with that is they don't have a lot of lenses out that directly on I know there's adapters I'm not a big fan of adapters because there's all sorts of problems that ensue within dap tres and I kind of like a system that just works out of the box and you don't get that with adapters but they're going to grow their lens line up and you know it looks like it's got some nice potential holy moly people have a lot of questions let's see okay how about uh what about medium format cameras from stephen short for an even larger sensor and higher pixel count yeah so what this class is neglecting to go into a little bit is the history of nature and landscape photography and photographers like ansel adams used great big view cameras generally four by five were very popular war five by four hours depending on which country live in eight by ten cameras were also very popular that's what ansel used eight by ten to get the largest negative possible now another very popular genre and actually many years ago when I was working in the camera store I was in charge of them medium format department which was all these wonderful pentax is passive lads ma mia's role of flex cameras that had a larger negative and so they have mostly disappeared and there's only a few of them there's hassle bladder and the kind of the mummy a phase one is out there and ten tax is making one of the more affordable cameras that somewhat popular and getting that large size sensor helps out once again you have to look at what you're doing with your images I don't have a medium format landscape camera because I don't have the needs for it if I needed it I might go out and buy it they tend to be very pricey they're very limited sister yes but the larger the size sensor the cleaner the image that you could get off of it and that white choice of lenses high quality lenses is uh is what most people are doing what I kind of see us faras the trend in the industry is that full frame cameras our kind of becoming the medium format of cameras because if we kind of forget the exact size and the names that are used what cameras are used by a large portion of the professionals because of their extremely high quality and that's where full frame cameras are these days what cameras do consumers use for weekend photography and you know on an activity and an interest and enthusiasm with photography and that's more the crop frame cameras and so everything seems to be shrinking decade after decade and so there will be meeting format cameras they're great they can surpassed the quality of full frame but they often come at a cost of price and less versatility

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Beautiful landscapes are all around us – they are a joy to experience, but a challenge to capture in a single photo. In Nature and Landscape Photography, you’ll learn the essential tools and techniques for taking photographs that reflect the splendor of landscapes and the captivating details of nature.

In this class, award-winning photographer John Greengo will use illustrations, animations, and photographs of destinations from around the world to teach you the thought process behind great nature photography. You’ll learn which gear is suited to the environment you want to shoot and how to plan for ideal light and composition. John will help you master exposure and focus so you get a better shot in camera and improve your edits by taking you through hands-on photo critiques.

From complicated cameras to challenging environments, several obstacles stand in the way of you taking a photograph that reflects the landscape as you see it. This class will help you take nature and landscape photographs that reflect your unique perspective.

This course is part of the landscape tutorials series. 

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Composition Keynote

Equipment Keynote

Exposure Keynote

Focus Keynote

Light Keynote

Subject Keynote

Timing Keynote

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Thomas Hamlin

Most of nature's beauty has been photographed by lots of people over the years. However, nothing compares to actually visiting famous places, buildings, mountains, etc. and taking your own photographs. John Greengo provides the necessary equipment information, photographic principles, and techniques in a manner which inspires you to put in the extra effort to take the best nature photographs that you can with the gear that you have. His unique illustrations, actual real life photographs, and easily understood explanations are top notch. I highly recommend this outstanding course. I have several of John Greengo's photography courses, and I highly recommend them all. His vast experience with film and digital photography, gained through traveling and working with some well known photographers, gives his courses a unique perspective.

a Creativelive Student

I love this course, John. It is one of my all time favorites. First of all I loved your effort scale. I knew as soon as you went through the scale that you are a guy that I want to listen to. To me, the effort part IS the fun part of photography. When you asked the question about one wish ... the first thing that came to my mind was that I wish I had more time for photography. I like the technology, but I do not wish for any special powers. To me, that would take the challenge away. Photography is wonderful because every subject challenges the photographer to get the angle right, the light right, the settings right ... I love that challenge. I think you do too, John, and that is why this course is so special. The attention you pay to every detail comes from the drive you have to meet the challenges with every thing you've got. That is why your class is so special. Your work ethic is exceptional. SandraNightski

a Creativelive Student

While delving more thoroughly into Nature and Landscape photography in a smaller format, John Greengo provides us with an amazing companion to his outstanding courses Fundamentals Of Digital Photography and Travel Photography. Here he gives us another necessary treatise to study before packing our gear and heading out in a car, a plane, a boat (or just for a long hike), and it’s as entertaining as the others. Thank you again John Greengo and Creative Live for these expert and brilliantly illustrated programs. I just hope you keep finding more subjects to photograph and provide the instructions for.