Published Jan 14, 2021
Whether you make a living out of taking professional portraits, or are the weekend warrior who knows their way around flashes and reflectors, you’ll want a camera with high resolution, exceptional autofocus and a good selection of portrait prime lenses.
We’ve selected a group of cameras that meet those requirements and will produce pro-looking portraits that will satisfy your clients.
Best for pros: Canon EOS R5
Canon’s EOS R5 is an excellent choice for demanding portrait shooters, owing to its plentiful 45MP of resolution, simple-yet-powerful autofocus system with accurate eye tracking and really pleasing color and skin tones straight out of the camera.
The lens lineup helps, as well, with native high-end options like the RF 85mm F1.2L DS and the compact RF 70-200mm F2.8L. Plus, you can always adapt old favorites from Canon’s DSLR lens lineup and realize the full benefit of the R5’s powerful and accurate autofocus system. A hybrid image stabilization system combines both in-body and lens stabilization (if it’s available) in conjunction with gyro data from the camera body for additional ‘digital correction’ after the video is shot. In some cases over 6 stops of stabilization is attainable.
One knock against the EOS R5 is that its battery life figures trail the best of the competition, so for extended outdoor shoots, you may wish to bring a spare. The only other is the price; the EOS R5 may be one of the most capable cameras in its market segment, but you do pay a bit of a premium for it.
Best for amateurs: Sony a6600
The Sony a6600 incorporates some of our favorite aspects of the a7R IV into a smaller, more affordable body: including superb autofocus tracking, great image quality and industry-leading battery life. There are also some good prime lens options for the a6600 that won’t break the bank, including Sigma’s 56mm F1.4 and Sony’s 85mm F1.8.
Our concerns from the a7R IV remain, however, including more pronounced user-interface lag. Additionally, the ergonomics on the a6600 could do with some updating to bring them in line with the camera’s overall capability: this series of cameras has not benefited from the refinements bestowed upon the company’s full-frame models.
Overall, though, the a6600 will assist you in capturing accurately focused, properly exposed images of people time and time again.
While the Canon EOS R5 and Sony a6600 were our winners, there are several other cameras well-suited for portrait photography that are also worth consideration. We’ve listed them all out below with detailed breakdowns of their features and performance:
* This camera has not been fully reviewed and is not eligible for an award