Views on Equipment by Dana Naldrett
I have always been an equipment collector, but it has taught me a valuable lesson. Better equipment will not take better pictures unless the talent and knowledge is there behind the camera. Having said this, however, with better equipment, you are more likely to take a good picture with whatever talent or knowledge you have.
Rather than the camera system, the most important consideration in the digital age is probably the sensor size of your camera. For a good summary of sensor attributes, see Outdoor Photographer® April 2008 Digital Formats article. Most people will have a choice of two sensor types: full frame (35mm) and less than full frame (APS-C). The advantage of full frame sensors is good resolution and use of wide angle lenses without any multiplying effect. The disadvantage of a full frame sensor is that longer lenses will not be multiplied, and the sensor is very expensive. For professional and landscape photography, a full frame sensor camera is ideal. Most photographers will likely start with a camera having an APS-C sensor, since they are cheaper and more common. The less than full frame sensor has a multiplying effect on all lenses used, so that Canon cameras have a 1.6X and Nikon a 1.5X lengthening of the focal length of a lens. For example, a Nikon camera with a 200mm lens will have an effective lens length of 300mm with this sensor. This is great for wildlife and candid photography, but not very useful for landscapes where wide angle lenses are needed. There is also some loss of resolution using the smaller sensor, but this may be somewhat offset by the longer focal length of the lens (requiring less blow up of images).