Best Camera for Portraits

Best Camera for Portraits

Selecting the best camera for portraits is quite difficult, so I’ve gathered 16 portrait cameras with different features and functionalities so you can choose the right model for your shooting style. Here you will see the best DSLR for portraits, compact portrait cameras for amateurs, or trendy mirrorless portrait camera bodies for any budget.

What is the Best Camera for Portraits?

Last year, every beginning portrait photographer bought a mirrorless camera. Nevertheless, DSLRs are still the best choice for professional photographers. These types of cameras have different pros and cons, as well as their followers and haters.

top 3 best camera for portraits

I’ve reviewed compact, mirrorless, and DSLR portrait cameras both full frame and APS-C size in different price range and purpose.

Best Cameras for Portraits in 2021

Check out these popular and affordable cameras for portraits produced by Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Fujifilm, and other famous camera brands.

1. Canon EOS 5DSr

canon eos 5dsr View Prices on Amazon
  • Remarkable tracking autofocus
  • 2 memory cards
  • Numerous autofocus points which cover wide frame
  • Moist and dust protection
  • Can take detailed shots up to ISO 3200
  • Mirror lock function
  • Highlights in RAW, provides big stock
  • Decent tuning autofocus
  • Full-frame 50.6MP matrix
  • Not found

This is definitely the best camera for portraits that is equipped with a 3.2-inch display, a face recognition function, and an optical viewfinder. It is similar to other cameras from this brand, as you may select various appropriate lenses among a wide range of available ones. The settings are fully customizable; therefore, you are free to adjust the parameters according to your needs. Thus, Canon EOS 5DSr with a 50.6MP sensor is deservedly called the best DSLR for portraits.

Recommended portrait camera lens:

Canon EF 85mm F/1.8 USM

The excellent feature of this lens is its small size and compact design. It has a moderate sharpness and an efficient annular ultrasonic autofocus motor.

portrait image Photo by Canon EOS 5DSr

2. Leica S2

leica s2 View Prices on Amazon
  • Beautiful design
  • The LCD is nice and can be seen in daylight without any issues
  • Simple controls, easy to understand
  • The file quality when in good light is flat-out gorgeous
  • Battery life is good
  • Dual card slots for backup – SD and CF capability
  • Color, AWB, and depth of the images is awesome
  • Too expensive
  • ISO 1250 is pretty noisy, ISO 640 and under is good
  • The file sizes are huge

The Leica S2 has a massive 37.5-megapixel sensor that places it directly in a mid-size sector in the DSLR camera body. Shooting speed is 1.5 frames per second up to 8 DNG files. I like that Leica decided to make a RAW DNG format with which it is convenient to work in all raw converters and photo editing softwares. The colors and the S2 picture, together with Leica lenses, show remarkable portraits.

This is a camera that is not suitable for everyone, since a huge price and a small maximum ISO will scare away most beginning portrait photographers. Sensitivity varies from 80 to 1250 ISO, which is very small for a modern camera.

Recommended portrait camera lens:

Leica Summicron-S 100mm f/2 ASPH

The equivalent of an 80mm lens in a 35mm format, and the aperture is equivalent to approximately f/1.2. The lens is the perfect portrait lens for the Leica S series. It has a moisture-proof and dust-proof body, and a robust design. The colors are quite bright and saturated with the inherent Leica style.

leica portrait lens Photo by Leica S2

3. Fujifilm X-A5

Fujifilm x-a5 View Prices on Amazon
  • 11 film simulation variants
  • Small and compact
  • Built-in RAW converter
  • Quick hybrid autofocus
  • 17 interesting filters
  • Touch screen has a selfie mode
  • Short battery life
  • A viewfinder is absent

If you are just an amateur who wishes to take high-quality shots, this best DSLR portrait camera for hobbyist will serve you well. It is equipped with a modernized powerful processor, 24.2MP APS-C type CMOS sensor with a classic Bayer RGB filter. In addition, this portrait camera is the pioneer among the X-A series noted for phase automatic focusing and a contrast system.

Recommended portrait camera lens:

FujinonXF 50mm f/2 R WR

This lens for portrait cameras is the promising brand-new release that belongs to the X series of interchangeable lenses which ensure terrific picture quality.

Fujifilm 50mm portrait Photo by Fujifilm X-A5

4. Olympus E-M10 III

Olympus e-m10 iii View Prices on Amazon
  • Impressive single-shot autofocus
  • User-friendly interface suitable for beginners
  • Sturdy construction
  • Compact and small body
  • Exceptional shot quality
  • Incredible touch-screen display and viewfinder
  • Hand grips don’tfit large lenses
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Small, tight, and inconvenient controls

This best camera for portraits can take 8.6 fps, which is just a dab more than the 8.5 fps featured by its forerunner. It is admired for the sensitivity gamut of ISO 100-25,600, a Four Thirds-format Live MOS sensor, and the sufficient 16MP resolution. On the whole, Olympus has managed to produce a top-quality portrait photography camera at a pleasantly affordable price.

Recommended portrait camera lens:

Olympus 45mm f/1.8 ED M.Zuiko Digital

This telephoto lens belongs to the PEN series and provides a rather thin depth of field. This feature, along with the 90mm field of view and 2x crop factor, makes it a worthy lens for the best portrait camera.

Olympus portrait Photo by Olympus E-M10 III

5. Canon 5D Mark IV

canon 5d mark iv View Prices on Amazon
  • Built-in Wi-Fi module for remote camera control
  • Remarkable autofocus
  • Integrated NFC and GPS
  • High-resolution and bright touch screen
  • Capacious LP-E6N battery
  • High-speed CFast cards aren’t supported
  • Non-ISO sensitive
  • The European price is too high even a year after the release

If you are searching for a decent portrait camera to get qualitative shots even in poorly-lit roomsor studios, this one is worth your attention. It is famous for an exceptional 61-point autofocus system with 41 cross-over sensors and a range of ISO 100-32000. Furthermore, 5D Mark IV, as the best camera for portraits, impresses us with a full-frame sensor which makes it possible to take high-resolution pictures with incredible color reproduction.

Recommended portrait camera lens:

Tamron SP 85mm F/1.8 Di VC USD

The weight of this lens depends on its top-grade construction and reliable optical stabilizer (which also affects contrast and sharpness).

portrait photo Photo by Canon 5D Mark IV

6. Canon EOS 80D

canon eos 80d View Prices on Amazon
  • A capacious buffer in JPEG
  • Modernized 45-point autofocus module
  • Integrated NFC and Wi-Fi
  • A user-friendly rotatable touch display
  • Lights and shadows draw excellently from RAW
  • A touch interface is designed for convenient work
  • Qualitative shots up to ISO 3200
  • Remarkable burst shooting speed
  • No autofocus settings
  • RAW buffer fitsonly 25 frames
  • A slight noise may be heard at low ISO in JPEG
  • No built-in GPS
  • Doesn’tsupport UHS-II memory cards

Though the camera doesn't feature image stabilization, it gives you a chance to photograph from a variety of angles while organizing the layout on the screen. 24.0MP sensor contributes to more extensive opportunities for cropping. This fantastic portrait DSLR camera is often praised for its cross-type 45-point autofocus system which results in precise accuracy and improved focusing which covers a wide area. Thus, you may choose a particular focusing area for your model and the background.

Recommended portrait camera lens:

Canon EF 50mm F/1.4 USM

In case you don't wish to invest in an expensive 50mm F/1.2L lens for the best portrait DSLR camera, this one will still satisfy your needs. It has a decent aperture for high-quality portraits but falls short of good sharpness, dust, and moisture protection.

portrait image Photo by Canon EOS 80D

7. Canon EOS Rebel T6

canon eos rebel t6 View Prices on Amazon
  • Available NFC and Wi-Fi modules
  • Excellent image quality
  • Quick autofocus
  • 18MP sensor
  • Wireless sync would be easy
  • Short battery life

This device is often referred to as the best DSLR camera under 500 for portraiture, as every feature you might need for this photography genre is present here. The model is distinguished for the doubled resolution of the LCD screen on the back, which is perfect to get quality shots. Large APS-C sensor, built-in viewfinder, and decent autofocus can't but please photo enthusiasts who prefer shooting portraits outdoors. Besides, for bright and clear pictures, manufacturers added a DIGIC 4+ Processor and 18.0MP CMOS sensor.

Recommended portrait camera lens:

Canon EF 40mm F/2.8 STM

With the 23mm length and flat design, the lens is rather compact, lightweight, and may even fit in the smallest pocket. You could also be satisfied with the sharpness in the center.

40mm portrait photo Photo by Canon EOS Rebel T6

8. Nikon D850

Nikon d850 View Prices on Amazon
  • Bright and considerable optical viewfinder provides full frame coverage
  • Current SD UHS-II and XQD memory cards are supported
  • Extended battery life
  • 45.4 MP resolution
  • Extremely fast continuous shooting of 7 fps
  • Operates remarkably at high ISO
  • Large buffer
  • Reversely illuminated CMOS matrix
  • Low noise level up to ISO 6400
  • Flexible and dynamic while processing RAW images
  • Built-in flash is absent
  • Unstable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection
  • Clunky SnapBridge

The camera comes with all the indispensable features and functions that suit any selected photography genre. It will be your reliable assistant in portrait or even action photoshoots. Although this best camera for portrait photography is quite pricey, it is equipped with a 45.4MP sensor that ensures the highest possible image resolution. With a range of ISO 64-25 600, you will undoubtedly appreciate the extended battery life, so you can take more than 1,800 shots with a single charge.

Recommended portrait camera lens:

Nikon 105mm f/1.4E ED AF-S Nikkor

It is primarily known for being the quickest 105mm lens with the 160mm field of view. The lens was produced specifically for full-frame portrait cameras from Nikon, but they may function great on Nikon DX cameras.

Nikon portrait lens Photo by Nikon D850

9. Nikon D3400

Nikon d3400 View Prices on Amazon
  • SnapBridge technology allows automatic transfer of images to another gadget, for example, a smartphone
  • Small, compact size
  • Prominent picture quality
  • At high ISO you may hear low digital noise
  • You can take more than 700 shots per battery
  • The advanced features are understandable even for complete amateurs and may serve as great learning photography material
  • In comparison with previous models, RAW files aren't very flexible
  • An ultrasound matrix cleaning system is omitted

If you are just cutting your teeth in portraiture and photography in general, D3400 is a worthy option. With an ISO range of 100-25 600, it enables continuous shooting at 5 fps. 11-point fast autofocus system is certainly a winner among the models in the similar price range. Judging by the reviews, the device allows taking exceptionally clear pictures compared to its forerunner. Therefore, it is the best camera for portrait photography beginners who wish to enhance their skills.

Recommended portrait camera lens:

Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S Nikkor

The newly designed lens pleases us with an impressive field of view of approximately 128 mm and a modified AF-S focusing system (previously AF-D system was installed). It is advisable to use the lens on DX-sensor-based cameras, which is absolutely perfect for 36mm x 24mm FX sensor frame.

85mm portrait photo Photo by Nikon D3400

10. Panasonic GX850

Panasonic gx850 View Prices on Amazon
  • The touch screen is easily tilted
  • Quite user-friendly
  • An outstanding quality of the shots
  • Decent overall capacity
  • Beautiful design
  • MicroSD card slot
  • Short battery life
  • No hot shoe

This camera really catches the eye with its upscale and compact case, built-in flash, and rotatable selfie screen for all the portrait photography enthusiasts. The model impresses us with a Micro 4/3 format sensor, which allows taking pictures with 16MP resolution and then sharing them via built-in Wi-Fi module. Keep in mind that an ample variety of Micro 4/3 lenses for the camera is available on the market. Taking everything into account, Panasonic Lumix GX850 is the best compact digital camera for portraiture.

Recommended portrait camera lens:

Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH POWER OIS LUMIX G

Incredible portraits can hardly be taken without this lens with an efficient 85mm field of view, in terms of a 35mm film due to the featured Micro Four Third's 2x crop multiplier. It is also notable for the quick aperture speed of f/1.7.

Panasonic portrait lens Photo by Panasonic GX850

11. Sony a7R III

sony a7r iii View Prices on Amazon
  • ISO up to 12,800
  • An opportunity to connect with a smartphone
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • 2 memory card slots
  • UHS-II support of 1 memory card
  • Top-quality photos
  • Photostabilizer is based on the shift matrix and works in an appropriate way
  • Professional autofocus
  • Modern easy-in-use touch tilt display
  • Competitive viewfinder
  • Dust/waterproof
  • Inconvenient menu and strange abbreviations
  • The functions of the touch interface are very limited
  • Slow menu functionality
  • Using compatible applications can be challenging

If you are searching for the best portrait camera with a compact design, draw your attention to this mirrorless model with lots of trendy functions. The most important advantages of this device are the smart autofocus and 42.4-megapixel sensor. They are very significant for photographers who specialize in taking portraits. The autofocus is able to define eyes while you are shooting. As a result, the photos are excellently focused. The hybrid autofocus system works quickly and uses 425 dots to detect contrast and 399 dots to determine the phase in the focal plane.

Recommended portrait camera lens:

Sony 85mm F/1.8 GM

This device helps take professional photos in different locations, during any events. With its protection from dust and water, this lens is ready to be used in any conditions. The pictures are full of bright colors, and they are sharp and beautiful. In addition, the subject of the image jumps out and leaves rich, amazing bokeh in its midst.

sony 85mm portrait Photo by Sony a7R III

12. Sony A9

sony a9 View Prices on Amazon
  • Burst speed up to 20 frames/s
  • UHS-II card works quickly
  • 3.8-megapixel electronic viewfinder without blackout is exceptional
  • Minimum noise up to ISO 6400
  • The metal case is durable
  • Water/dustproof
  • The display is inclined
  • Flexible personalization of settings
  • The autofocus area can be selected directly using the joystick
  • Support of RAW format with a good dynamic range
  • Detailed photographs while shooting on medium and low ISO
  • Sometimes zooming causes loss of focus
  • RAW must be used above 6400 ISO for better quality of photos
  • Battery life isn’t competitive
  • Limit of the mechanical shutter speed to 5 frames/s
  • Possible overheating of camera’s display
  • USB 2.0

Speedy autofocus, continuous photographing at a frame rate of 20 fps, and a huge viewfinder make this model from Sony the best camera for portrait photography. Choosing your professional device, pay attention to the Alpha A9, which means a full-frame 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor. You may notice that the pixels are small in comparison with the 42.2-MP Alpha A7R II. But this portrait camera is worth its cost due to some modern design features. This sensor transmits data without any obstacles. So, the data is read 20 times faster than in an ordinary system. This technology gives the photographer an opportunity to save 241 RAW files or 362 JPEG at 20 fps. As a nice bonus, the device has perfect sensor performance and less noise.

Recommended portrait camera lens:

Sony 35mm f/1.4 ZA

Despite the fact that this lens for portraits has a high price and huge weight, it stands as a great choice for professional photographers. Its excellent performance, top features, and high quality of pictures give you a chance for a successful start in the sphere of portrait photography.

sony 35mm portrait Photo by Sony A9

13. Fujifilm X-T2

Fujifilm x-t2 View Prices on Amazon
  • Incredible picture quality
  • Better autofocus
  • Carefully thought-over design
  • The internal stabilization doesn't work properly
  • The phase autofocus isn’t suitable for all lenses

Due to the successful combination of the perfect electronic viewfinder, upscale design, and good 325-point autofocus system, this model can be called the best portrait camera. The listed benefits make it competitive in comparison with other mirrorless cameras. If you like to travel or take photos outdoors, you should choose the portrait camera that works even in extreme weather conditions. With its matte surface and smooth angles, the black case looks stylish. The camera is equipped with a top-quality 24.3MP sensor and professional AF system for rich, detailed portraiture and other genres of photography art.

Recommended portrait camera lens:

Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 R XF

If you want to see attractive and artistic bokeh on your photos, buy this portrait camera lens with the 7-lobe diaphragm. This modern feature makes the nature of the picture blur in the unsharp area. Because of the F1.2 aperture and the X-Trans low-noise sensor, the owner of this device is able to take images from the hands even with poor light.

Fuji 56mm portrait Photo by Fujifilm X-T2

14. Nikon D7200

Nikon d7200 View Prices on Amazon
  • An opportunity of interval shooting
  • Wi-Fi and NFC modules
  • Really long battery life
  • Dust/water protection
  • Functioning ISO up to 6400 units
  • Perfect possibilities for editing RAW files
  • Amazing color rendition
  • A significant number of buffers in RAW/JPG
  • Absence of personalized settings in menu
  • Wi-Fi functionality is poor
  • Complicated for amateurs or beginners

Talking about the best DSLR for portraits, experienced photographers usually mention this professional portrait camera from Nikon. It has a 24.2-megapixel DX-format matrix without an OLPF. Therefore, this device gives you a chance to use the huge potential of the matrix and take really sharp photographs in a wide dynamic range, minimal noise and deep colors. The famous autofocus of Nikon provides fantastic photographing accuracy. Moreover, the sensitivity is reduced to –3 EV (100 ISO, 20 ° C). As a consequence, you can enjoy clear images despite bad lighting.

Recommended portrait camera lens:

Nikon 85mm f/1.4G

This professional lens provides absolutely ethereal pictures that can be compared with photographs in popular fashion magazines. Being smaller and lighter than its analogs, it has the best build compared to most portrait lenses from this brand. Many photographers consider this model as a portrait lens of premium class.

85mm portrait nikon Photo by Nikon D7200

15. Nikon D610

nikon d610 View Prices on Amazon
  • The tracking autofocus functions very well
  • 2 memory cards
  • The feature of interval photographing and HDR
  • Nice quality of the optical viewfinder
  • Matrix has a full frame
  • High level of capacity
  • Management is flexible and progressive
  • Detailed photos even at low levels up to ISO 3200
  • Continuous photographing up to 6 frames/s
  • Too big and heavy
  • The display is fixed
  • Challenging interface for an inexperienced user
  • Autofocus points are near the center of the frame

This is one of the best cameras for portraits in the low-price range. This low-cost DSLR portrait camera has some benefits aside from a reasonable price. With a 24.3MP CMOS sensor and other noticeable features, it provides good quality of shooting for photographers on a tight budget. Smooth colors and tonal gradations in combination with low noise give an opportunity to create perfectly looking images. Expeed 3 picture processor for a top ISO of 25,600, a fast 6fps continuous shoot rate, and a quiet shooting mode make this device the favorite camera of many portrait photographers. The complicated 39-point autofocus system provides excellent results even in case of poor lighting.

Recommended portrait camera lens:

Nikon 58mm f/1.4G

The lens has a very soft blur, and chromatic aberrations are almost invisible even with an open diaphragm. F/1.4 sharpness in the center is excellent. Fast and silent autofocus, monolithic waterproof construction, and a perfect modern lens for portraits.

Nikon 58mm portrait Photo by Nikon D610

16. Sony Alpha A7R II

sony alpha a7r ii View Prices on Amazon
  • Top-quality materials for long-lived design
  • The case has dust/moisture protection
  • Swivel monitor with 1 axis
  • The monitor has a high resolution of 1230000 points
  • Speedy autofocus compared to competitors
  • The large-format matrix is exclusive for this type of camera
  • The camera with «full frame» matrix is compact
  • An absence of a built-in flash
  • Low burst speed 5 frames/sec
  • One slot for a memory card
  • Short battery life
  • Lack of touch-screen

This portrait photography camera is an excellent alternative for the Sony Alpha a7R III because it has many similar functions and a more affordable price. To begin with, this model is equipped with the same image sensor. This means you will enjoy the same incredible resolution of 42.4 megapixels. On the other hand, you may notice the difference in the autofocus system. This portrait camera still boasts 399 points for phase detection but has only 25 contrast detection points. At the same time, the autofocus provides eye-tracking capabilities, like the a7R III.

Recommended portrait camera lens:

Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8G OSS

This lens integrates fantastic sharpness and smooth bokeh to realize the full potential of the best camera for portraits. It is difficult to receive a spatial frequency of 50 lines pairs per millimeter at a lens' widest aperture and produce smooth beautiful bokeh at the same time. But it is Sony's baseline for G Master design.

sony 70-200mm portrait Photo by Sony Alpha A7R II

16 Best Portrait Cameras

sony a7r iii
Sony A7R III
BEST 2018
  • 42.4 MP
  • CMOS
fuji x-a5
Fujifilm X-A5
  • 24.2 MP
canon 5d mark iv
Canon 5D Mark IV
  • 30.4 MP
  • CMOS
sony a9
Sony A9
  • 24.2 MP
  • CMOS
Nikon d7200 Nikon D7200
  • 124.2 MP
  • CMOS
Nikon d850
Nikon D850
  • 45.4 MP
  • CMOS
canon eos 5dsr
Canon EOS 5DSr
  • 50.6 MP
  • CMOS
Nikon d610
Nikon D610
  • 24.3 MP
  • CMOS
canon eos 80d
Canon EOS 80D
  • 24.2 MP
  • APS-C (CMOS)
Panasonic gx850
Panasonic GX850
  • 16 MP
  • Micro 4/3
Nikon d3400
Nikon D3400
  • 24.2 MP
  • CMOS
fuji x-t2
Fujifilm X-T2
  • 24.3 MP
soni alpha a7r ii
Sony Alpha A7R II
  • 42.4 MP
  • CMOS
Olympus e-m10 ii
Olympus E-M10
  • 16 MP
  • Micro 4/3
  • Live MOS
canon eos rebel
Canon EOS T6
  • 18 MP
  • CMOS
Leica S2
Leica S2
  • 37,5MP medium format

How to Choose the Best Camera for Portrait Photography?

Talking about purchasing the best camera for portraits, it is important to think over many specific characteristics.

1. Select camera type

Select camera type

Many users opt for a DSLR portrait model as the best portrait camera for professional photography. Even though these devices are rather pricey, they produce top-quality pictures that may be easily printed in high resolution and come with a variety of removable lenses. Besides, mirrorless models are also currently in demand. Such digital cameras don't feature an optical viewfinder but are equipped with a top-grade electronic viewfinder. With the appearance of mirrorless portrait cameras, they are able to compete with DSLR's picture quality and functionality.

2. Photo stabilization

Adding a coated finish

This feature is needed to reduce the effects of shake at long focal lengths and exposures. Therefore, it provides sharper photographs.

3. Electronic built-in viewfinder

This essential function helps to stabilize the best camera for portraits during a photo shoot. Since this piece of equipment is closer to the photographer’s body, it shakes less.

4. Big full-frame sensor

It guarantees shallower depth of field and a beautiful blurry background for professional photography.

Adding a coated finish

5. Nice ergonomics and handling

This factor is of vital importance for those who aim to take professional portraits. You don't want to deal with menus on the LCD during a photo session when there is a possibility to adjust the settings within a click of a necessary button.

6. Camera lens accessibility

If you want to get truly beautiful portraits, you should purchase a device that has a wide variety of extra optics. For example, Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, or Sony.

Portrait Photoshoot Tips

To receive perfect shots using a good portrait camera, draw your attention to some nuances:

  • ISO High
  • Using reflector
  • Fast lens
  • Using the large aperture

1. ISO High

It is very important to choose the right shutter speed while taking photos outdoors. So, if you are working at a focal length of 85mm, then set the shutter speed to 1/100 second or even less (faster). Shooting a portrait photo in poor lighting conditions will require you to set a high sensitivity, that is, you will need to work at values of approximately 800 or 1600 ISO. This combination will bring the most optimal and good results. Of course, when you increase the ISO, your images will become grainier.

2. Using reflector

Adding a coated finish

Even if you have the best professional DSLR portrait camera, a reflector is indispensable for filling in shadows on faces. Place it on the opposite side of an object, with respect to the window, nearly at the body level. As a result, the light reflects on the face, or just a little below.

3. Fast lens

Adding a coated finish

A focal length of about 85 mm is a common option for shooting in this genre. Wide-angle lenses can distort facial features when shooting at close range, while telephoto lenses aren’t useful at all. If you buy cheap DSLR portrait cameras, high-aperture lenses such as the Canon EF 50mm f / 1.8 will give you an effective focal length of 80 mm and large aperture. It allows entering a significant amount of light.

4. Using the large aperture

Adding a coated finish

Set the aperture priority mode and select a large f-number (for example, f/2.8 or higher) during an outside photo shoot. This enables taking good, bright pictures in poor lighting conditions, as well as gives you a shallow depth of field that makes a subject stand out from the background.

Ann Young

Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more

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