It's not necessary to own the fanciest camera on the market in order to take decent pictures. Many point-and-shoot cameras can produce beautiful shots.
The first choice in purchasing a camera is whether to buy a 35mm film or a digital camera. Film cameras do still exist, and some photographers prefer the picture quality that film produces. Digital cameras capture an image digitally and allow to you instantly see whether you got a great shot, but owning a computer is pretty essential for storing images.
Budget restrictions can also determine what type of camera you buy. A point-and-shoot camera might be more affordable, but it has limitations in the types of pictures you can take. This type of camera is good for shots within a certain range, but it doesn't do well on close-ups, nor does it allow for zooming in on one particular subject. Even a point-and-shoot camera with a zoom lens allows you more flexibility in pinpointing certain objects.
SLR cameras are single-lens reflex cameras that use mirrors to project the image from the lens onto the film or screen. These cameras have interchangeable lenses that allow for different zooming capabilities. Although they're extremely flexible in photographic options, they can also be expensive, ranging in price from around $500 to more than $6,000, and that might be just for the camera body without any lenses. A basic lens can produce great shots, yet some objects, such as wildlife, are better shot with long zoom lenses.
Another valuable piece of equipment for a landscape photographer is a tripod. A tripod keeps a camera steady, a necessity for avoiding blurry photos if shooting in low light or using a low shutter speed. Tripods come in varying weight, so get one that's heavy enough to support a camera with a heavy lens attachment, yet light enough to tote on a long hike.
Filters are translucent sheets that can heighten or sharpen both colors and black and white. You can use them to make your skies bluer and your sunsets more colorful. If it's a grey day, they can add color to your pictures or adjust the contrast between shades of grey in the landscape. They can be pieces that attach to the camera, or a piece of material held in front of the camera.
Whatever the camera you choose, make sure you can carry your equipment because you may be hauling it across long distances to get the perfect picture.
Equipment alone won't get you the perfect picture -- you also need to know the right techniques. Up next, find out how fractions can help you set up your shot.