The common advice is that for shooting landscape and other wide angle photographic subjects you should use a digital camera with a “full crop” or “medium format” image sensor. So called “crop sensors,” such as the APS-C, are only suited for photographing action sports, wildlife and perhaps macro subjects. But the fact is this popular camera format is quite versatile and can be used for a wide variety of imaging. It might even be arguable that they are the best choice for photographers that are restricted to a single DSLR body.
So why might a photographer be restricted to a single DSLR camera body? When exploring new areas, hiking for instance, weight can be a factor. The addition of another camera also equates to carrying an additional load. The different bodies may not use the same battery, meaning the need to pack extras for both cameras. Plus the controls may be somewhat different, leading to potential confusion when making photos. By carrying a single body things get a bit simpler. As the acronym KISS implies, “keep it simple stupid.”
When I go out in the field I don’t always know what kind of subject I’ll be encountering. I may be exploring and area I’ve never been to before, or be revisiting a place where there are a variety of potential subject matters. As such I want a versatile system that will allow me to adapt to the situation. Typically I’ll approach such situations by carrying a single camera, a telephoto lens, a wide angle zoom and a macro lens. Most of the time I’ll bring along a 1.4 times extender as well, providing me with an even great range of focal lengths.
My go to kit consists of the Canon 7D Mark II, an APS-C size sensor camera, my Sigma 150-600mm zoom telephoto lens, my Canon 100mm macro lens, a Tokina wide angle lens, either the 12-24mm or 20 – 35mm zoom, and a 1.4x Tamron tele-extender. With this complement of equipment I’m able to adapt to whatever subject matter presents its self.
Things change a bit if you are a one genre photographer or if you’re out to shoot a particular subject. Without question there are advantages to using a full frame camera. But in my humble opinion, they lack the versatility of the lowly crop-sensor camera. Unless you have an unlimited budget having a telephoto that will couple with the wider format cameras and achieve the “reach” of the smaller sensor bodies is going to be quite cost prohibitive.
In every endeavor there are compromises. The photographer that pursues a variety of subjects ranging from the ultra close-up to the sweeping landscape may need to give up a little something at one end or the other. For me I prefer to compromise on the wide end of things, preferring to give the advantage to the long end of things. I find myself trying to get closer, more intimate images more often than not.
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