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JMA

Landscape and Astro Gear Advice

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JMA

I want to start doing more serious landscape stuff, like long exposure, panoramas, light painting, star trails, etc. but have been struggling on the gear needed.

I'm trying to build the simplest and lightest but capable landscape kit. Currently have X-T2 and X-Pro2 and in my next trip I plan to use both as it may snow and will be difficult to change lenses. 

Would you mind giving your advice on what tripod, lenses, filters, bags and accessories would help me to get better landscape pictures? (technically speaking, i.e. not blurred, good colors, etc. I know I should provide the eye :P)

Thanks in advance!

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MarcoDebiasi

JMA, before you waste time and money buying stuff, let us know what tripod, lenses, filters, bags and accessories you already have. Some of them may already be suitable for your needs.

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JMA

Sure, I do not have a tripod nor filters, I do have the 14, 16, 23, 56 and plan to get the 55-200. For the bags I have a small domke as I'm mostly street/documentary photographer.  

I was thinking to carry a backpack with the 14 or the 16 (heard the 16 is not good for astro), the 23 and the 55-200, a tripod/ball head, panorama nodal rail and a set of filters.

I'm struggling with the tons of options available specially on the tripod/ball head and type/size of filters.

Thanks!

 

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veejaycee

You have all the main gear you need. Additional filters might be ND for smooth water/clouds effect and ND grads. The accepted standard for Astro on Fuji is the Samyang 12mm f2. Tripod of course, not sure about the pano head - I handhold and turn my body while keeping my feet still and shoot and stitch raw in PS or LR. Don't spoil a great hike by carrying too much unnecessary gear. Take the primes but you could leave the 56 in the drawer since you'll have the excellent landscape lens that is the 55-200mm. The 23 and either 12mm, or 14mm or 16mm will do their bit at the other end. 2 primes and the tele should be all you need. Just possibly take 12, 16, 23, 55-200.

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MarcoDebiasi

Some additional suggestions.

A polarizing (PL) filter may be (sometimes very) useful in landscape photography to saturate the colors especially of grass/leaves and of the sky. Online you may find many detailed explanations of how PL filters work, e.g. one in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polarizing_filter_(photography). Since a PL filter reduces the amount of light reaching the sensor (about half than without it), in some ways it can also double as a moderate ND filter or it can be combined with a ND to increase its light-reduction effect. To avoid surprises buy a good quality PL filter as these are more complex than than other types (they typically consists of two external optical-glass plates between which the polarizing material is sandwiched).

For the tripod, assuming you are oriented for a light-weight one, I am referring you to the topic below in this forum:

Please note that light-weight tripods have made significant progress in recent years. While they can not be as massively stable as larger ones, for a fraction of their size and weight recent travel tripods can be surprisingly stable especially supporting lighter cameras/lenses like those of the Fuji X series. Some come already with a ball head incorporating a bubble level and the ability to do panorama by rotating the whole head around the vertical axis without disturbing the setting of the ball. For instance, lately I came across a very positive review of the Bilora ColoruredPod (manufacturer webpage: https://translate.google.com.sg/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=https://www.bilora.de/index.php/coloured-pod-details&prev=search ; Google-translated from the original page in German).

I am not an expert about photo backpacks. I believe they are great for hiking but less so for taking pictures as many of them need to be removed from the shoulder in order to access their content. That said, I understand there are some exceptions that somehow allow reaching a camera without too much inconvenience. You may wish to make some search and, above all, personally try some of them to make sure they work  for you.

I hope this will help.

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oldfashioned_aj

You can add a Fisheye lens to your bag for astro. 

I love MeFoto tripods for their size and weight, easy carry and have been reliable so far.

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Dismason

Hi

If you are going to be serious about landscape photography, I understand that you will spend more time for this, maybe lots of journeys on that particular purpose. My tip is that you decide in advance what to shoot. Decide to work on a special theme for each trip; birds, wildlife, wide views, stars, northern lights, rock formations, abandoned buildings. . . . .
Then you bring only one camera body and one lens with you and do the best of the situation.
On the field you can use a mountain, a twig, a rock or sand or something else to support your camera and you'll see that your journey gives much more joy and good photos than you have expected. Enjoy instead of dragging a lot of stuff with you out to the field ;-)
Greetings from Finland
Carl
https://dismason.org/

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SnapPuppy

If you're looking at doing landscape there is some gear that isn't even photo related (that's been covered above) that you need to invest in.

So if you're going to be out in the wild, make sure you have the correct personal equipment, no good having the camera stuff if you've got hypothermia.

  • Walking boots
  • Water proof outer layers
  • Down jacket
  • Thermal underware
  • Glove/Hat
  • Layer Clothing
  • Hiking/Nordic poles 
  • Learn to read a map/navigate

That's just a start, now I don't know where you live so some of the gear won't be needed.

As for a back pack, Personally I use a Mammut hiking back pack and a insert for my gear. Allows for stuff like food and water, most of these so called dedicated hiking camera bag don't even have a place for a bottle of water.

I will just add, lenses wise you're set but if you where to look at getting a new lens, and you budget allows, the 10-24mm is absolutely stonking. Big, heavy and awesomeness.

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