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What are the Best Cameras for Portraits?

In the market for a good portrait camera? We’ve created a list of the best cameras for portrait photography, with 15 portrait cameras to suit every budget.

So, after exploring all the different types of photography, you’ve decided that portrait photography is what you want to focus on. Nice!

But, to reach your full potential, you’ve got to use the right equipment. If you’re not sure where to start, never fear. We’ve put together this list of 15 of the best cameras for portraits. (Need more help with portrait photography lenses or portrait photography gear? We’ve got you.)

We’ve included a range of good portrait cameras to suit photographers with different budgets, preferences, and experience levels. They include everything from top-tier DSLRs with full-frame sensors to compact mirrorless cameras designed for ease-of-use.

In this list, we give an overview of each camera’s capabilities and features so you can get a better idea as to which portrait camera is best suited to your needs, whether you’re a professional photographer or you’re just getting started.

Best Nikon Cameras for Portraits

Nikon D850

Price: $3,299.95 at NikonUSA.com

Features:

  • 45.7 megapixels
  • Full-frame sensor
  • Low base ISO

The D850 has been called the most well-rounded camera available today. It may be overkill if you’re planning on mainly taking portraits, as it has a range of features that make it a capable camera for action shots. But if you can afford it, this full-frame DSLR offers incredible image quality and performance in every situation.

The D850 has also been praised for its long battery life, as it’s capable of taking 1,840 shots before you have to recharge it. It has an impressive 45.4-megapixel sensor, so you’ll have plenty of resolution to play with if you need to crop your images or make large prints. It also features a large ISO range of 64-25,600.

With such a low base ISO, the D850 is excellent for capturing noise-free images when shooting in well-lit environments. But it can do a lot more than that, since it features an advanced 153-point autofocus system and continuous shooting of 7 fps. In addition, it can shoot 4K HD video, with slow-motion up to 120 fps at 1080p.

If you’re looking for a versatile, high-grade camera, the D850 is hard to beat.

Nikon D7500

Price: $1,149.95 (current sale price at NikonUSA.com, regularly $1,249.95)

Features:

  • 20.9 megapixels
  • APS-C sensor
  • 3.2-inch tilting LCD touchscreen

If the D850 is outside your budget or has more features than you need, the D7500 is our next pick for the best Nikon camera for portraits. It features an ISO range of 100-51,200 and a 51-point autofocusing system. In addition, it offers continuous shooting at 8 fps and can capture about 950 shots on a single battery charge.

Reviewers have praised the camera’s anti-noise filtering, as it is able to make use of its higher ISO settings without much deterioration in image quality. The D7500 is also known for its excellent build quality, weight, and balance.

This great camera is like a hybrid between Nikon’s higher-end models and entry-level cameras. It offers good value and easy handling, yet has most of the features that are typical of cameras that cost much more.

Nikon D5600

Price: $599.95 (current sale price at NikonUSA.com, regularly $699.95)

Features:

  • 24.2 megapixels
  • APS-C sensor
  • Simple to use, yet has advanced features
  • 3.2-inch tilting LCD touchscreen

The D5600 is a very capable portrait camera at a great price. It has a 39-point autofocus system, an ISO range of 100-25,600, and a continuous shooting speed of 5 fps.

The camera is designed to be easy to use for entry-level photographers, as the auto settings enable you to start taking great photos immediately. But it also leaves room to grow, since you have access to a range of advanced features when you’re ready to use them.

Notably, it offers slightly better battery life than the D7500, as it can last for more than 970 shots on a single charge. Similar to the other Nikon cameras listed above, the D5600 excels at handling all types of lighting situations and can capture images in low light without excessive noise.

So, if you’re looking for a Nikon camera that offers professional features at a very affordable price, take a closer look at the D5600.

Nikon D3400 with 18-55mm VR lens kit

Price: $499.95 at NikonUSA.com

Features:

  • 24.2 megapixels
  • Good value
  • Compact
  • “Guide Mode” for inexperienced photographers

We included the Nikon D3400 in this list because it has the features you need to take great portraits, and is available in a kit with a lens included at a great price. It is a solid choice for your first DSLR, as it provides great photo quality for an entry-level portrait camera.

Reviewers have noted that the D3400 offers sharper images than its predecessor, the D3300. With its 11-point autofocusing system, the D3400 is also known for having faster autofocusing than other similarly priced cameras. This camera has an ISO range of 100-25,600 and offers continuous shooting at 5 fps.

This camera has a built-in “Guide Mode” that uses step-by-step instruction on how to make use of all its features. The lens included in this kit is a good choice for getting started in portrait photography. The lens also features vibration reduction in case you want to shoot from the hand.

Best Canon Cameras for Portraits

Canon 5D Mark IV

Price: $3099 at Canon.com

Features:

  • 30.4 megapixels
  • full-frame sensor
  • 4K video capture
  • 3.2-inch touchscreen display

The 5D Mark IV features a full-frame sensor that results in extremely sharp images and high-quality color output, making it an excellent Canon camera for portrait photography. This camera has an ISO range of 100-32,000, so it can achieve high-quality images in practically any lighting scenario.

It also has an advanced 61-point autofocusing system with 41 cross-type sensors. The autofocus system has been praised for performing well in low light conditions. Besides portrait photography, this camera will also excel at sports, nature, and landscape photography thanks to its range of features. For instance, it can shoot continuously at 7 fps and can record highly-detailed 4K videos.

The Mark IV’s weather sealing has also been improved over the Mark III, so you can shoot portraits in almost any setting without worrying about damaging your camera in rainy or dusty environments.

Canon 6D Mark II

Price: $1599 at Canon.com

Features:

  • 26.2 megapixels
  • full-frame sensor
  • 3-inch touchscreen display

This camera offers many similar features to the 5D Mark IV but at a more affordable price. The main difference is the smaller resolution. But, at 26.2 megapixels, it still offers more than enough resolution for most photographers’ needs. The large resolution will also give you the option to closely crop your portraits without sacrificing quality.

It also has a slightly smaller LCD touchscreen than the 5D Mark IV at 3 inches. In addition, it has a 45-point autofocusing system and is capable of high-speed continuous shooting at up to 6.5 fps.

But in some areas, the 6D Mark II outshines the 5D Mark IV when it comes to determining the best Canon camera for portrait photography. One example is the ISO range, as this camera is capable of sensitivities from ISO 100-40,000, so you can capture clear portraits regardless of the lighting situation. It also features a compact body and very reasonable price when compared to many other full-frame DSLRs on the market.

Canon EOS 80D

Price: $999 at Canon.com

Features:

  • 24.2 megapixels
  • APS-C sensor
  • Shoots HD video at 60 fps
  • 3-inch touchscreen display

This camera offers many features at a good value. It has an APS-C sensor, yet it is capable of offering higher resolution than some cameras with full-frame sensors. It captures images at a resolution of 24.2 megapixels.

It will still offer outstanding performance in lighting situations ranging from bright to dim, as it has an ISO range of 100-16,000. It also has a 45-point autofocus system and is capable of continuous shooting at 7 fps.

In addition to having all the features needed to be a good portrait camera, the 80D has a few more tricks up its sleeve. For instance, it can shoot full HD movies at 60 fps.

Just like the higher-end Canon cameras listed above, the 80D features a self-cleaning sensor that will automatically remove any dust that gets on the low-pass filter. Best of all, this camera should last you a long time, as its shutter is durability-tested for up to 100,000 cycles.

Rebel T7i

Price: $699.99 at Canon.com

Features:

  • 24.2 megapixels
  • APS-C sensor
  • 3-inch touch display
  • “Features Assistant” interface

The Rebel series of cameras is a solid option for photographers who are on a budget or are just starting out with portrait photography cameras. You can get these cameras at relatively low prices with a lens included.

One example is the Rebel T7i, which is available with an EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lens included for $749. This is a versatile lens that will be capable of capturing great portraits, although you may eventually want to look into longer lenses for taking tight headshots.

The Rebel T7i features a 45-point autofocus system and an ISO range of ISO 200-25600. It is also capable of continuous shooting at up to 6 fps.

To help newer photographers get accustomed with all of the camera’s advanced settings, it has a “Feature Assistant” user interface. When you turn this setting on, the camera interface uses intuitive graphics and descriptions to make it easy to understand how different camera settings will affect the image.

Best Sony Cameras for Portraits

Sony a7R III

Price: $3,199.99 at Sony.com

Features:

  • 42.4 megapixels
  • Full-frame sensor
  • Eye-tracking autofocus
  • 2.95-inch tilting touchscreen

A number of reviewers have said the a7R III is the best mirrorless camera available today. That’s because it has an incredible range of features. So while it has plenty of capabilities you likely won’t need as a portrait photographer, it definitely deserves a place on this list of the best cameras for portraits.

The a7R III even surpasses the more expensive Sony A9 in some areas, including image resolution. The a7R III boasts 42.4 megapixels compared to the A9’s 24.2 megapixels. It also provides high image quality that is stable in all conditions and has an ISO range of 100-32000.

Other noteworthy features include the eye-detect autofocus, which is particularly helpful when it comes to shooting portraits. What that means is that the camera can lock onto the subject’s eyes so you don’t have to worry about moving the focusing point around.

It also has a fast hybrid autofocus system that uses 425 points for contrast detection and 399 points for focal-plane phase detection.

Sony A7R II

Price: $1999.99 at Sony.com

Features:

  • 42.4 megapixels
  • Full-frame sensor
  • Eye-tracking autofocus
  • 2.95-inch tilting touchscreen

The a7R II is the predecessor to the a7R III and offers many of the same capabilities for a much cheaper price. First of all, it has the same image sensor, which means it offers the same outstanding resolution of 42.4 megapixels. Also, just like the A7R III, this camera does not use an optical low-pass filter, so there’s no compromise in image clarity.

Where the two cameras start to differ is the ISO range, as the a7R II has a range of ISO 100-25600. Another difference is in the autofocus system; the a7R II still boasts 399 points for phase detection, but has only 25 contrast detection points. However, just like the a7R III, the autofocus system features eye-tracking capabilities.

This camera can take approximately 530 shots on a single charge when using the electronic viewfinder. Since mirrorless cameras have a shorter battery life than DSLRs, that’s a respectable number. However, if you want to be able to shoot for as long as possible without needing a new battery, you might want to consider one of the DSLRs listed above.

If you are considering a mirrorless camera and want to get the best features at a fair price, the a7R II may be the portrait camera you’re looking for.

Sony a6500

Price: $1,199.99 at Sony.com

Features:

  • 24.2 megapixels
  • APS-C sensor
  • Compact size
  • 2.95-inch tilting touchscreen

The a6500 is an interchangeable-lens compact camera that has many of the capabilities you would expect from larger, more expensive rigs. For instance, it uses an autofocus system with 425 phase-detection points, and it can capture images up to 24.2 megapixels. It also offers an ISO range of 100-25600.

One of the main selling points of this camera is its compact size. It measures just 4-¾ inches wide and 2-¾ inches tall. Another key feature is its compatibility with a wide range of lenses.

One limitation with this camera is battery life, as its compact size also means it has a small battery that can last for about 350 shots.

This portrait camera also features a tough design with its magnesium alloy body and shutter that’s tested to 200,000 cycles. Lastly, despite its small size, it has a decent built-in flash that is able to be tilted manually. So you’ll have the option to bounce the flash’s light off the ceiling or nearby surfaces to create more pleasing light on your portrait subject.

Sony a6000

Price: $549.99 at Sony.com

Features:

  • 24.3 megapixels
  • APS-C sensor
  • Fast autofocus system
  • 2.95-inch LCD screen

The a6000 preceded the a6300 and a6500. So, while it doesn’t offer all the latest features, it is a good portrait camera at an accessible price point. It is also available with a 16-50 mm power zoom lens included for $649.99.

It uses a 179-point autofocus system. All 179 autofocus points are used for phase detection, and 25 of them are also used for contrast detection. As a result, it provides extremely fast autofocusing. It even features the same eye-lock autofocusing capability of Sony’s higher-end cameras.

Same as the a6500, this camera has a large ISO range of 100-25600, and has a compact size. It even surpasses the a6500 battery-wise (albeit just barely); it can last for up to 360 shots on a single charge.

Best Fujifilm Cameras for Portraits

Fujifilm X-T2

Price: $1,099 (current sale price on Amazon, regularly $1,599.95)

Features:

  • 24.3 megapixels
  • APS-C sensor
  • Handles low light conditions well

The X-T2 is a mirrorless portrait photography camera featuring advanced capabilities for experienced photographers. It’s capable of capturing images up to 24 megapixels with image quality that competes with most DSLRs. It also has a 325-point autofocus system, with 169 of those points also being used for phase detection.

Its ISO range is 200 to 12800, and reviewers have praised its ability to capture extremely detailed images in very dark lighting conditions. Due to the fact that it’s a mirrorless camera, the X-T2 packs all of these features into a compact and lightweight body.

This camera also offers 8 fps continuous shooting, rugged construction, and an excellent electronic viewfinder with custom views.

Fujifilm X-T20

Price: $899 on Amazon

Features:

  • 24.3 megapixels
  • APS-C sensor
  • 3-inch tilting LCD screen
  • Intuitive button and dial layout

The X-T20 offers a middle ground between Fujifilm’s top-tier and entry-level cameras. It offers just about the best image quality you can get for the price, due to its 24-megapixel sensor and ISO range of 200-12800. Similar to the X-T2, this camera excels at capturing high-quality images in low light.

It has a range of manual controls that you won’t find on cameras that are specifically tailored to new photographers. The dials and buttons are organized in an intuitive way that ensures you don’t need to be a professional or read the entire manual to understand how to use it.

In addition, the mechanical dials enable you to adjust the settings even when the camera is off, so you’re always ready to shoot. Plus the dials for ISO sensitivity and shutter speed have a lock and release button to prevent errors.

If you are looking for a mirrorless camera with great value, this may be the perfect portrait camera for you.

Fujifilm X-A5

Price: $599 on Amazon

Features:

  • 24.2 megapixels
  • APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Compact size
  • Available with lens included at a low price

The X-A5 is an entry-level mirrorless camera. This portrait photography camera is able to offer image quality that compares to many DSLRs, but at a much smaller size and more affordable price. It has been praised for its easy-to-use controls and menus.

Same as the entry-level cameras from other manufacturers listed above, this is another camera that is available with a lens included for a low price. For instance, it is available in a kit with a 50-230mm lens for only $799.

It has an ISO range of 200 to 12800. While that range is smaller than most of the cameras in this list, it still is enough to handle shooting portraits well in practically any lighting situation.

It also offers continuous shooting at speeds up to 6 fps. So if you are in the market for a mirrorless camera that’s simple to use but offers plenty of features, the X-A5 fits the bill.

Next Steps

Once you’ve picked out a good portrait camera, you’re all set to start capturing some truly stunning portraits. If you need some inspo, just head online: there’s a wealth of great portrait shots and resources to give you ideas for your own practice, whether it’s advice from top fashion photographer Nigel Barker or cruising the work of your fellow portrait photographers. Eventually, you’ll be ready to share your work with them—and then it’ll be time to build your own portrait photography website, and market and promote your portrait photography website. We can’t wait to see your work!

More tips to boost your photography skills:
The 11 Best Free Online Photo Editors
The Ultimate Guide to Building a Photography Website
The Complete 9-Step Guide to Developing Your Own Film

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