Price isn’t always an issue for professionals. Quality always comes first and foremost, especially when it comes to equipment. This also applies to professional photographers who take photographs for a living. There are many cameras available, but only a few are considered the best options for this profession. However, before you go too far in your search for the best options, you should be aware of the factors to consider before buying one. Though you should understand them already as a professional, there are many general users who don’t, yet want to know about them, and this article is intended to help all types of users understand this subject so they can find the camera they need.
Quick List Recommendations
Let’s start with the buyer’s guide first
- Camera Type
DSLR and mirrorless cameras are the two most common types of cameras used by professionals. Though mirrorless cameras appear to fit them better due to their lighter weight and smaller size than DSLR cameras, this doesn’t mean that you should overlook the quality of DSLR cameras. The image quality produced by this model is excellent for a moving object, though the object must be within the AF point coverage area. Mirrorless models, on the other hand, offer greater flexibility due to the smaller size of the camera body, as well as the ability to autofocus on any area of the frame with just a single press of the touchscreen.
- Sensor Size
For those unfamiliar with the subject, sensor size determines the quality of the image captured by the camera. The larger it is, the better the image quality will be. This is because they have larger pixels, which affects low-light performance, noise reduction, and all of the image information that will be translated into the image. There are various sensor sizes available in any type of camera, ranging from the largest, which is medium format, to the smallest, which is 1-inch type. To find the best camera to suit your needs, you should first understand the requirements. Of course, having the biggest sensor available is always the desired option, but it also comes with a cost. Cameras with smaller sensors, on the other hand, are generally less expensive and, due to their compact size, are better suited for those with high mobility.
We are sure you have heard this many times before, but for those who have not, this is the measurement of the resolution for the photos that are taken. A single picture contains a million pixels for each megapixel. The denser the pixels are, the more detailed the image will be. In general, higher resolution results in better image quality. However, sensor size also plays an important factor that should not be overlooked in order to produce a high-quality image.
- Battery Life
If you work as a professional photographer, you may be required to use your camera for several hours, if not days. As a result, battery life should be another consideration. It is pointless to have a camera with excellent specifications if it has the worst battery life. Though how long you need the battery to last is a personal preference, it is always preferable to select the one which the battery life lasts for a reasonable amount of time. Because of the long battery life, you don’t need to buy a spare battery while working or taking casual photos with the camera, even if most professionals do.
When buying any item, price is always one of the factors to consider. Because cameras are usually expensive, you should always consider your budget. You need to be aware that you might require accessories in the future, such as memory cards, lenses, and other items that will cost you money. Unless money is not an issue for you, you should always consider the total price of the camera and all the accessories required to fit your budget.
The best cameras for photography – Everything we recommend
After you have learned everything there is to know about cameras before getting one, we have compiled a list of the top 10 best cameras for photography. Again, the list is not only for specific users, but also for users in general. Also, the list below is not in any particular order, so you can simply choose the one that suits the best for you.
Since this camera is nearly a decade year-old, the price has dropped significantly.
Because of having useful features, this is one of the best cameras to use even for a professional.
Sony A6000 was released in 2014, which has been almost a decade after its initial release this article is written. Despite its age, it remains a relevant camera for fast-paced occasions such as weddings, graduations, and other events. It can also be used for sport photography, though this is not fully recommended. Autofocus performance is what makes it outstanding for these types of photography.
With 179 depth-aware phase-detect points and 25 contrast-detect points, the a6000’s autofocus system performs well in speed, precision, and coverage. The AF system delivers exceptional performance by leveraging the 24MP sensor’s ability to identify the focal point, whether it is your primary subject or a recognized face. The top class continuous autofocus capabilities ensure consistent focus on your subject, even when moving, while capturing moments at a rapid 11 frames per second. This ability extends to video recording, with little to no focus hunting. The extensive autofocus frame coverage allows your subject to freely move around the scene, setting a new standard in autofocus technology.
Even though the A6000 only has an APSC sensor, when paired with fast lenses like the 50mm 1.8 OSS or 35mm 1.8 OSS, it can produce stunning images with nice bokeh to separate the subject from the background. In low-light situations, a faster shutter speed can also be used to reduce noise. Even though it does not have a full-frame sensor, it is a very good camera in this regard.
The A6000, like other mirrorless cameras, has battery life issues. It is rated at 360 photos (CIPA), but in practice, you can get 500-750 photos out of a single battery without using the built-in flash.
If you have the money, you should consider the A6400, which is an upgraded version of the A6000. It is twice as expensive as the Sony A6000, but it has so many useful features that even professionals love that it is the best value for money.
The reason for this is that the A6400 is equipped with some features from Sony’s flagship lineup, such as real-time autofocus that is extremely accurate and sticky to both humans and animals. It also has excellent object tracking autofocus for tracking cars, planes, boats, and other fast-moving objects. The autofocus system in this camera is extremely reliable. Unlike the aA6000, it is easier to use, simply by touching the screen.
This autofocus feature is also available in video mode. The real-time AF system is more reliable and faster than Canon’s dual pixel AF system. What is more interesting is the autofocus can be used in 4K video recording mode. It is a lot of fun to use, and a great choice for self-vlogging and content creation. If you intend to create videos in the future, the A6400 is still a decent purchase at its price.
The A6 series cameras are all APSC, A6400 is no different. It has a smaller sensor than the flagship model and relatively poor noise performance when compared to a full-frame camera. It can, however, be corrected by using a fast lens, which is widely available in the market. Combining the A6400 with 1.2 or 1.4 lenses from Samyang, Sigma, or even Sony G Master Lenses creates a powerful kit that even professionals will want to use.
The battery life of this camera is comparable to A6000. It has a 410 CIPA rating, but in practice, it can take 700+ photos before the battery runs out. There is a standby time setting that can be used to extend the battery life. Set it to 10 seconds and notice a significant difference in battery life when compared to 30 seconds or more.
For various reasons, professionals prefer full-frame cameras for their work. For $1498, you can get a reliable camera that can be used for both photography and videography. This camera can do both, thanks to its in-body 5-axis image stabilizer.
This camera offers numbers of features that cover a wide range of photography genres such as portraits, landscapes, streets, weddings, events, and even sports for both enthusiasts and those who are just starting out as photographers. The A7III has a 24-megapixel sensor, which is large enough for various of applications such as landscape photography. The full-frame sensor of the camera also allows for better subject separation than its APSC counterpart.
Sony A7III has a high dynamic range and excellent low-light performance because of the new BSI sensor. This camera is also ISO-independent. This means that in editing programs like Lightroom or Photoshop, you can increase exposure and shadow levels without making more noise. This feature is especially useful when shooting both bright and dark scenes in a single image.
Another great feature of A7III that many professionals like is the dual SD card slot. It enables new photographers to have a backup of important photos and videos in the event that the main SD card fails, which appears to be possible. Because of the larger battery capacity, Sony A7III easily outperforms A6000 and even A6400 in long photography sessions. With a capacity of 710 shots (CIPA), it can practically last the entire day of a wedding without the need for a battery change.
Even though the autofocus system is not as good as A6400’s, it is still excellent when compared to older cameras or even DSLR. It is reliable, fast, and enjoyable to use. Overall, Sony A7III is highly recommended for enthusiasts or those who are just starting out as professionals.
Sony A7R IV
Commercial, landscape, and property photographers typically require high-resolution cameras for large-format prints. Otherwise, the details of the image will appear muddy, pixelated, and unpleasant to look at. Regular users, on the other hand, can also benefit from a high-megapixel sensor for cropping and capturing more details.
Sony A7R IV is one of the most highly recommended cameras for this specific purpose. The ‘R’ model in A7 stands for Resolution, offering outstanding over 60-megapixels sensor. At the time this article is written, the camera is priced at $2298 and offers several improvements over the A7III and A7R III.
One of the unique features of the A7R IV is the 240-megapixel high resolution mode. This works by stitching four images at specific intervals. This means that if you want to use this feature, you should take a very static image. It is also more durable and has better weather sealing components. It allows the camera to be used outside in light rain or snow without any issue. This camera is ideal for those who enjoy nighttime astrophotography.
Color rendition is the next notable improvement. This problem has existed in Sony cameras since mark I, II, and even to Mark III. But even in situations where the subject is exposed to fluorescent lights, mixed lighting, or high ISO, this version is able to maintain a very natural color rendition. This is a fantastic investment for photography and saves professionals for their time spent on editing.
What this camera lacks, or rather is not ideal, is speed. Since it needs to save a 60MP image, it is slow for burst photos, making it less suitable for sports or other fast-action photography. In burst mode, it can also miss focus, which is unfortunate. In any other case, this camera is excellent for high-quality photography.
Canon recently manufactured mirrorless cameras and has already released some interesting product lines for consumers to bring home. Canon R50 is one of the cameras that are worth considering. It has new features equipped from the flagship model, like second federation dual pixel autofocus, which can track face and eyes in both photo and video modes. It also supports 10-bit video capture for video production, which provides better data to edit in the post-production process. It has some other interesting features that even professionals appreciate.
Real humans, animals, and object recognition. Autofocus for photos is really important to get a sharp and proper image. It used to be difficult to get sharp images in the eyes with a DSLR because it lacks the ability to recognize an object. However, new technologies help camera sensors to distinguish between objects for proper autofocusing speed and accuracy. Despite having a low price, R50 does the job well.
Since the market of this camera is for casual users and enthusiasts, it includes an assist mode to help creating photos look more professional. It also has scene modes for various shooting conditions, including low light, food photography, waterfall photography, and many more. This camera is very simple to use and very reliable.
Despite the fact that the build material is plasticky, it has some nice features for getting started in photography. When paired with good lenses, this camera can even outperform older DSLRs in terms of convenience. Unfortunately, the small form-factor mirrorless style doesn’t allow bigger battery capacity. It is rated at 310 shots (CIPA), but it can take around 500 photos in the actual practice. It is already a good camera to consider as the first APSC sensor camera with an RF mount.
Canon EOS R
Canon EOS R is the oldest full-frame camera with an RF mount from Canon. Even today, this camera is an attractive option because it provides good color rendition and a variety of useful features such as eye autofocus in both photo and video mode. The touchscreen also has an intuitive interface that even inexperienced users will find it easy to use.
Canon EOS R has a 30-megapixel sensor for photography, which is large enough for many kinds of purposes such as landscape and commercial work. The high megapixel allows enthusiasts and new professional photographers to capture more details from objects and allow more cropping.
Canon color science is another plus point of this camera. If you want to take portraits, having a camera that produces good skin tone is an important consideration. Canon is well-known for their beautiful skin tones, and you will not be disappointed with this camera. Since there is no need to adjust the skin tone to a pleasing color, post-production time can be significantly reduced.
Manual focus assist is available on Canon EOS R for those who prefer to use manual focus. Fast focusing with manual lenses is extremely useful if they have an electronic connection. Otherwise, it only provides regular focus peaking, which is still useful for manual focus.
Canon EOS R is now priced around $1,205 on Amazon and is a good alternative if the Sony A7III is out of your budget. It is also recommended to buy it along with the adaptor if you have previously bought Canon lenses.
Despite the large battery it has, the battery is rated at 370 (CIPA), even if it can capture up to 700 photos in real practice, particularly when you turn the screen off often. Canon EOS R is a budget-friendly and dependable full-frame camera for photography.
EOS R8 is the new Canon full-frame camera with super fresh features, coming with the price similar to the EOS R classic at $1,299. One amazing feature of this camera is high-speed capture at 40 frames per second continuously. This high speed, however, is only possible in e-shutter mode. With this speed, this camera is designed for fast-action subjects. It is also proven by its fast AF, which is trained to recognize various objects such as animals and vehicles.
Pre-buffer capture is another unique feature of this camera. It is a burst mode that captures 15 frames before you even press the shutter button. This allows the user to capture a perfect moment. Unfortunately, it is prone to banding because it is based on an electronic shutter. In terms of camera sensor quality, R8 is on the same level as Canon 6D MK II. When compared to Sony and Nikon at similar price point, the 24MP technology produces better JPEG images.
Despite all of the positives, the R8 is not a perfect camera. The ability to shoot at 40 frames per second drains the battery pretty quickly. Even worse, the battery is smaller compared to the one EOS R has. The battery capacity is only 270 shots (CIPA), which is extremely low. Therefore, buying extra batteries is strongly advised for longer photo sessions.
Nikon D3500, a Lightweight Casual DSLR
The body is one of the most significant benefits of a DSLR camera. A substantial feeling from the body is sometimes needed for the user to comfortably hold it. However, it should be light enough to allow you to hold the camera for an extended period of time. Nikon D3500 is one of the DSLRs that meets the criteria.
This camera, which has a 24-megapixel sensor, is not only comfortable and lightweight, but it also produces nicely detailed images with a simple interface. Nikon D3500 is recommended for those who are learning how cameras work, despite the navigation control not being as simple to use as mirrorless cameras with touchscreens and interactive displays.
Many professionals started with affordable cameras like this one to learn how to adjust settings, such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. It is also important for them to get started with photography in order to earn money and save for better equipment in the future, so any cheap camera with decent quality needs to be considered for their early career.
Obviously, this camera lacks exciting features that make the shooting experience unique and simple. However, when combined with high-quality lenses like the 35mm 1.8 and 50mm 1.8, it can produce stunning results. In marketplaces, both lenses are relatively affordable when compared to a pair of lenses from other manufacturers. Nikon D3500 is a great starting point for beginners because it is less expensive than many other mirrorless cameras on this list. If your budget is tight, you should consider this camera as your potential camera. After getting the lenses, the body can be upgraded if more features are needed.
Fuji X-S20, the Enhanced APSC
With the color rendition and lenses collection, Fuji cameras are highly recommended for photography. An improved image stabilization system is what makes X-S20 special. It is rated at 7 stops, which is incredible given that most cameras only have 3-5 stops of stabilization. There are some improvements in terms of comfort and look. The buttons have been repositioned and enlarged to make it easier for users to use the camera.
X-S20, like some other cameras, includes AF improvement. The AF can detect animals, trains, airplanes, cars, and bikes, a feature borrowed from X-H2 lineup. It is great for capturing fast-paced action, especially with up to 20 frames per second in electronic shutter mode.
This camera produces excellent images. It adds a slight pop to the objects, especially faces. Despite having APSC sensor, it creates a dynamic separation. In addition, the sensor has a good dynamic range and is slightly ISO invariant. This means an image can be captured at ISO 100 and push the exposure without making too much noise.
Those who use this camera for photography will benefit from the battery capacity. With a CIPA rating of 750, this camera can capture a full-day wedding with just a single battery. It is possible to charge while it is not being used with modern type-C power delivery. It is an extremely useful feature that other manufacturers don’t offer with their devices.
Overall, this new Fuji camera produces excellent images and has useful features for taking photos for extended periods of time. This camera, which costs around $1299, may not be the best value for money. However, once lenses are added, Fuji X-S20 becomes a fantastic setup, so it is always strongly recommended to get the lenses for this camera.
Fujifilm cameras are well-known for their color production. Fuji X-T30 is not a recently released camera, especially when compared to X-S20. Despite its age, it still performs remarkably as a photography camera. One of the main reasons that make this camera is so good is the use of SOOC (straight out of the camera) JPEG.
Taking a feature from its higher-end model, X-T3, X-T30 gets a 26MP sensor with excellent low-light performance. Even though it has an APSC sensor, it handles noise very well. It can also capture a high dynamic range and edit the file without creating significant noise
There is a full set of FIlm Simulation modes available to take full advantage of this camera JPG output. This enables artistic JPG editing on camera, ready to publish and to print. Fuji X-T30 also has Eterna film simulation, which produces muted tones with soft and smooth tone transitions. While this film simulation is frequently used by professional videographers, it can also produce cinematic photographs for those who prefer to take pictures.
This camera is similar to Sony A6400, which was previously discussed above. What makes this camera less attractive to users is the lack of autofocus in comparison to the A6400. However, it is still very good at capturing focus, unlike older models of DSLR cameras.
The battery life of the camera is not so impressive with only 380 shots (CIPA). It is normally enough for three hours of photography. However, when you use the camera on video mode, which also provides excellent quality, the capacity could be increased. This camera is one of the best for quickly taking pictures with minimum editing time.
That is it
We crossed the list of cameras to get you started in photography, whether you are a beginner or a pro. Based on it, Sony cameras have really good camera bodies at reasonable prices. This is due to the arrival of the new iteration, which drops the price of the older models. Regardless, the older models are still decent to use these days. However, that budget friendly camera body comes with a downside because native Sony lenses are typically more expensive compared to the others. Luckily, Sony are welcome with the third-party camera mount such as from Sigma, Samyang, and Tamron, allowing them to create lenses for Sony camera bodies. Another thing to consider is that Sony cameras have colors that are difficult to edit. When compared to Fuji, Nikon, and Canon, the colors are the least pleasant among them. As a result, you need to spend time learning and editing for the best result.
In contrast, Canon cameras provide a pleasant skin tone right out of the camera. However, since Canon is still relatively new in this area, the price of their cameras is significantly higher than Sony cameras in the same class. If you don’t want to spend your time editing photos, a Canon camera is a great option.
Meanwhile, Fujifilm cameras are the ones you want if you prefer shooting jpeg with minimum editing. With the Film Simulation, you can get a pleasing cinematic look without putting in too much effort. Each camera has its own benefits and downsides. Choose the one that makes you excited every time you press the shutter. The more images you take, the better your senses will be.