What is the best camera for photography? You would be surprised how often we’re asked that question.
The answer you don’t want is: the best camera for photography is one that won’t put you into debt buying it. Luckily we know what you do want to hear, so we’ve compiled a list the best cameras you can buy in 2018. Please note we are not affiliated with any of these companies so we earn nothing for recommending this gear.
What is the best camera for photography beginners?
Beginner photographers would do best to invest in an entry level camera. It’s not that we believe you deserve less than stellar equipment. In fact, the newest entry-level equipment can be better than older camera models that were once used by professionals. These entry-level cameras are often designed to teach you what the settings on your camera mean. It gives a short description of what each setting does, which is invaluable for those that know nothing about camera settings.
Another reason to invest in an entry-level camera as a beginner is that not everyone that buys a camera ends up using their camera often. Not everyone that buys a camera has the knowledge or the work ethic to make their photography business successful. We believe that anyone who wants it badly enough can have a successful business, but it takes HARD work. If that’s not your end goal then it’s wise not to invest a large chunk of money into a camera you’ll only use occasionally.
Scroll down to the sections below for the best beginner camera for each camera brand. This is another great resource to help you figure out which beginner camera is best for you.
What is the best camera for professional photographers?
Due to many photographers having brand loyalties, the best camera for photography at the professional level is listed under each brand below. If you’re considering upgrading your camera, we’ve got some interesting points to factor into your decision before taking the plunge. Some features professionals tend to look for in their cameras are high ISO capability, fast shutter speed, and image stabilization. They also look for full frame sensors, shutter lag, shutter speed, and the resolution the camera shoots at. These top-level cameras are a big upgrade compared to entry-level cameras. A big reason the images from these cameras look so fantastic is that they are also paired with incredible lenses.
What are some of the best lenses?
A majority of people looking for the best camera for photography are likely looking for soft, creamy bokeh in their photos. To achieve this look, one needs a lens with a large aperture rather than any specific camera. It is difficult to name a single best lens since the lens a sports photographer needs is completely different than what a landscape photographer needs. If you’re not sure what type of lens you need, you’ll want to check out this article.
Most brand’s lenses also do not work for another brand’s camera. There are some lens makers that make high quality lenses for big camera brands at a significantly better cost (e.g. Sigma and Tamron). But be weary of buying a lens that is not made by the same company as the camera body. Look into lots of reviews of that off-brand lens before buying it. Without further adieu, here is a small selection of our favourite lenses:
- Sigma (for Canon) 85mm f/1.4 and Canon 85mm f/1.8
- Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS II
- Nikon 35mm 1.8 and Canon 35mm f/2.0
- Canon EF 100mm f2.8L (macro)
Note these are primarily Canon lenses, however these lenses can be found with almost the exact same specifications in other brands as well!
Best Nikon camera
Nikon users rejoice, Nikon has the newest and best camera for photography on the market at the professional level (at the time of writing). This is partially because rival Canon’s top professional camera got released a year earlier. It has been argued that Nikon currently has better quality sensors in their DSLR’s which results in outstanding image quality. Here are our top Nikon contenders:
- Entry level: Nikon D3500
- Intermediate: Nikon D7500
- Professional: Nikon D850
- BONUS: Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera
Best Canon camera?
Canon might not have the newest camera on the market (at the time of writing) but that doesn’t detract away from the amazing quality of their gear. Canon arguably is the leader in camera speed, and lens quality. Here are our top Canon camera contenders
- Entry level: Canon EOS Rebel T7i (aka 800D)
- Intermediate: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
- Professional: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
- BONUS: Canon EOS R mirrorless camera
Best Sony camera?
Sony excels against Nikon and Canon at best camera for photography in their mirrorless department. Sony beat both its competitors into the mirrorless market by at least a year. It surpasses both competitors (at the time of writing) in 4K video, and they managed to fix the battery life issue mirrorless cameras were having. Here are the top Sony contenders:
- Entry level: Sony A6000
- Intermediate: Alpha A6500
- Professional: Sony A9
- BONUS: Sony Alpha A7 III (mirrorless)
Many other companies are also coming out with their own cameras that were not reviewed. Canon, Nikon, and Sony have been making cameras much longer than other competitors, so we focused on them. There are also plenty of decent compact cameras on the market with great resolution. I chose to eliminate them from this list as those are not the types of cameras those looking to start a business tend to choose. There is no shame in having a compact camera (I started off with one too), they just don’t give users as much control over the camera’s settings.
You are more than your camera!
Here at Cole’s Classroom we’re big believers of “I taught my camera everything it knows”. While the latest gear has fancy features and improved settings, it is you that takes the photo. YOU aim the camera at the people or scenery around you and press the shutter button. Composing the shot and changing the settings to account for the amount of light is all done by YOU. YOU interact with your clients and say the right thing at the right time to capture those perfect smiles.
Remember that a camera is just a tool to capture moments; without you, the camera can’t do a thing. So invest in yourself too. Pay for courses that will teach you about the settings on your camera. Learn how to run a photography business and work social media to your business’s advantage. Take the time to learn the ins and outs of Photoshop and Lightroom so that your images pop out of your client’s screens. You can buy any camera in the world – we’re here to help you learn the rest.