A newbie photographer desperatly wanting to get into Landscape Photography...
Hello everyone,.

Im fairly new to this blog so I hope you dont mind me asking you all some questions to help me progress further in Landscape photography..

After a very recent trip to the beautiful Cornwall coastline, I have fallen in love with photography all over again - took a rather large number of photographs. Had great fun and I now feel like I really want to push my landscape photography..

I currently own an 18-135 lens and I'm currently looking around and researching for a suitable lens for landscape photography..

I am on a bit of a budget though (im a student)ha. Would it be worth selling my 18-135 to help towards the purchase of a better lens? What about the Sigma 10-20mm?.

I also realise the importance of a good tripod, again though I'm on a budget but I'm open to suggestions. It just needs to be light as I do alot of walking. Manfrotto's I have heard are excellent. What about monopods though?.

Im still trying to learn so much, but enjoying every moment. Cant wait to get stuck into this excellent blog over the coming months and posting some of my own stuff..

How many of you out there dedicate yourselves to landscape photography? Im just interested to know. Are there any hints or tips to becoming an awesome landscape photographer? (apart from lots of practice).

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks..

BTW I have a Nikon D80.


Comments (13)

Louise, a 10-20mm lens like the Sigma (or Tamron 11-18, about the same price) would be great for a lot of landscape photography but would be very restrictive if it were your only lens. You'd be gaining the 10-18mm region (nearly a factor of two) but losing the 20-135 mm region (nearly a factor of seven). For a general-purpose 'one lens solution' your Nikon 18-135 is a good lens and, I'd say, worth hanging on to, especially for the 100 or so you would get for it second hand..

I appreciate how tight students' budgets are. Christmas is coming... maybe drop some quiet words in parents / grandparents / relatives ears and see what happens .

As for tripods, they will always help a photo - it's surprising how easy it is to get a little camera shake even at quite high shutter speeds. If you want to use a narrow aperture like f/16 for your landscapes then it becomes mroe important as your shutter speeds will be quite slow. the important point is: what are you prepared to carry around? No point having an industrial strength tripod if it gives you backache so you leave it at home. The best tripod (or monopod) is the heaviest one that you don't mind carrying with you on a long walk, whcih is entirely up to you. A lightweight monopod is a lot better than nothing if that's as much as you want to carry. Manfrotto do indeed have an excellent reputation..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #1

I agree that you shouldn't swap out your current lens.....and I further agree that a good tripod is an excellent idea..

If it is wider angles you are really looking for....

(BTW, remember, teles are not useless for landscape... they just take a different kind of picture..).

... have you tried experimenting with stitching multiple images together to make panoramas.... ?? A tripod will make it easier if you do give it a go. .

With stitching you can go as wide as you like, and you get MORE pixels with each image you stitch, so image quality actually increases in proportion with the extra width, instead of decreasing as happens with super-wide lenses squeezing more detail onto the original sensor..

Best thing is, stitching is cheap to experiment with, and a lot of fun, too. Regards,Baz..

Comment #2


I have had a quick look at yout photos. You obviously have quite a good eye for composition..

I am not a landscape photographer but I would say there is not a lot wrong with the 18-135 for general photography given your straightened circumstances but the edge sharpness from 18-35mm is not that good and a 7.5 x zoom is bound to have geometric distortion..

Have a look at the reviews on these sites for other lenses:.



I would have thought a wide angel zoom might be useful. The Sigma 12-24 looks pretty good to me. The Nikon is silly money..

As for tripods Manfrottos are good value for money but you might want to look for a used tripod on Ebay. The cost of P & P means they do not go for as much as they otherwise might so if you can find one local to you you can usually pay cash and collect and get a good deal. A 190 might be a good balance between weight and height. You do not want to be raising the centre column as this will reduce stability..

Equally as important as the tripod is the head. I use a ball head with a separate pan lock. The Manfrotto 488RC2 is a good example. You must get something with a quick release plate like the RC2..

As for a monopod. I use one extensively for event photography but I would not have thought they went well with landscape work where generally you want to use small apertures which means lowish shutter speeds. But they would be better than nothing but you will still need a ball head or similar..

You need to try a few out at a decent camera shop. Reading specs on a tripod and head give you very little idea how bulky and heavy they are or how easy they are to use..

Final thought. Do not use too small an aperture. Diffraction kicks in at about f13 on the D80 so I would stick with f/11-13 as a maximum whatever your lens..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.


Comment #3

Louise Davey wrote:.

How many of you out there dedicate yourselves to landscapephotography? Im just interested to know. Are there any hints or tipsto becoming an awesome landscape photographer? (apart from lots ofpractice).

Make sure you leave enough room in your budget for a circular polarizer. No landscape photographer should be without one..

Also, I would strongly advise against selling the 18-135mm lens... especially if you're tight on funds. Never, ever sell a lens unless you truly dislike it. In the long run, you'll only end up spending more money by buying a replacement for it...

Comment #4

Baz - Thanks for your reply. Stitching photo's was something I had in mind when I went on holiday. I took a series of images in a panorama style fashion. When I downloaded them onto my computer and attempted to align them together - I had no luck. I dint quite understand it. I never attempted anything like that before and it's something ive got to investigate more..

Someone has mentioned free stitching software before. But I dont even know if I'm taking the pictures right in the first place. I took a photo, moved along took another and so on. It was done hand held so I dont know if that would of made a difference..

Hope that makes some sort of sense..


Comment #5

You have some really nice shots in your gallery.I think the only 'advice' I can give that might be helpful would be:1) Keep the 18-125 lens..

2) Get a Cokin P System to screw on the end so that you can use square Graduated Neutral Density filters to widen the dynamic range. (Or bracket shots on a tipod and merge later in Photoshop like HDR).

3) Important... dare to have a go, even if the conditions don't look perfect, by isolating the main element of drama.4) Print your favourite images really big for dramatic effect..

John.Please visit me at:

Comment #6

Re panoramic shots there are various tutorials around on the web. I have done a few but I am no expert.

Main considerations - You need to keep the same aperture for all shots or DOF will vary. Indeed you really need to use all manual settings (including focus). Also you need to pre-set the WB and not use Auto or this will change across the shot..

Give yourself a generous overlap between shots so the software can get a good fit linking shots to each other..

Hope that helps!Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.


Comment #7

Louise Davey wrote:.

I also realise the importance of a good tripod, again though I'm on abudget but I'm open to suggestions. It just needs to be light as I doalot of walking. Manfrotto's I have heard are excellent. What aboutmonopods though?.

There is a comfortable way to carry even the heaviest tripod on extended hikes. the Tri-pak straps onto the tripod legs, and you wear it like a backpack. You can keep the tripod legs fully extended and ready to go.

Joel Orlinsky.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #8

I was in same boat some time ago..

Stable tripod is great investment. Wide angle lenses, CPL and ND grad filters - too..

After 6 years in photography as primary hobby, I prefer to ebay well biult old prime lenses. You can have 3-4 compact prime lenses in you photo backpack that will beat any zoom at their focal lenth in detail and color tones..

10-20mm lens is great, but is build for 1.5 crop factor only. You will not be able to use it on full frame camera body if you'll deside to buy one..

12-24mm lens is for full frame cameras too..

In my case, I would add 14mm 16mm 20mm lenses...

Comment #9

Well, I popped into the camera shop today. Not a great selection I'm sad to say but there was a Manfrotto 190X PROB which is one that been recommended to me on several occasions. In my opinion, I really liked it. Felt comfortable and easy to use! Found it for 109.00 which I thought was quite cheap..

I tried it with a 486RC2 ballhead which was also good. But that was the only one they had there. What does everyone think. All the ballheads look the same... this is my inexperience showing!.

Thanks again..

Comment #10


Re your camera shop trip:.

1) You can do a little better on price for the 190 PROB. This store is local to me and is 100% reliable:.


I expect you can find it elsewhere nearer you at a similar or better price. Just do a Google search..

2. I have the 486RC2 which I use on my monopod. The 488RC2 is basically the same but a shade deeper and has a separate knob for pan lock. You will need that if you are going to pan round and stich together a panaorama shot. It is also much easier to keep your horizon straight once set with the 488:.


(NB Fotosense's photo of the 486 is wrong. As you know it should have only one knob).

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.


Comment #11

Thanks alot for all your help so far. Its been incredibly helpful and knowledgeable..

Now, ive been looking at Circular Polarizer filters, and I came across this one that I had heard about:.

HOYA 67mm PRO-1 Digital Series Polarising Filter (Circular) on sold by Camera King for... 34.99!.

Is the price too good to be true? What do you think?.

Thanks again..

Comment #12

Happy to read this question co I wrote small artical about to my new photoblog )).


Please try it and let me know if you get it or not. Or if you think I wrote something usefull for you..

Thanks!My fotoblog: fotoblog (czech): photos (leazy to update anyway):

Comment #13

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