Great portraits often have a blurry background and beautiful skin tones that help draw your attention and highlight the person or people in the shot. Therefore, when you choose a camera, look for one that allows for a shallow depth of field, has decent autofocus and manual focus options, and has superior white and colour balance which will let you capture various skin tones perfectly, no matter the lighting situation. We’ve consolidated a list of 5 of the best cameras for portrait photography down below. We’ve also included lens recommendations because you should have a dedicated portrait lens to go along with your camera if you’re serious about getting better.
1. Canon EOS 5DSr
The Canon EOS 5DSr is definitely the best camera for portraits. It has a 3.2” display, face recognition, and an optical viewfinder. Features include remarkable tracking and decent tuning autofocus, a full-frame 50.6MP matrix, and it can take detailed shots up to ISO 3200. The settings are customizable, giving you the freedom to control and adjust the parameters according to your needs. For the portrait lens, we recommend using a Canon EF 85MM f/1.8 USM, which has a compact design, moderate sharpness, and efficient ultrasonic autofocus.
2. Nikon D3500
The Nikon D3500 is a great entry-level camera for beginners. It will work well if you’re new to photography as it features a guide mode that lessens the learning curve by helping you understand how it all works. This is the type of camera that you can learn and grow with. It will usually come with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, but we recommend purchasing the Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G lens as it is equivalent to the almost ideal 75mm lens on a full-frame camera for portraits.
3. Fujifilm X-A5
The Fujifilm X-A5 is the best DSLR portrait camera for hobbyists or amateurs who want to take high-quality shots. Compared to the other cameras on this list, it has a relatively shorter battery life and no viewfinder. However, it does come with a powerful processor, 24.2MP APS-C type CMOS sensor with a classic Bayer RGB filter, and features quick hybrid autofocus. It is small and compact, with 17 built-in filters and 11 film simulation variants. We recommend the FujionXF 50mm f/2 R WR lens, which belongs to the X series of interchangeable lenses and ensures great picture quality.
4. Sony A6100
The Sony A6100 is a beginner-friendly mirrorless camera. It’s from the same range as the hugely popular Sony A600 and retains many of the same features, but the A6100 has a few upgrades elements not present in the original. For portraiture, this camera has real-time autofocus tracking. It also has eye autofocus, meaning the camera automatically detects when it sees an eye and ensures that it’s as sharp as possible, making this the prime choice for group portraits. For the portrait lens, we recommended the Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 OSS. The 50mm lens will give you a portrait-friendly equivalent of a 75mm when used on the A6100.
5. Panasonic Lumix G100
The Panasonic Lumix G100 is one of Panasonic’s newest mirrorless cameras. It is lightweight and ergonomically designed, and perfect for intermediate photographers. The Lumix G100 has a unique video features to help with ensuring that your perfect shot isn’t ruined by slight movement like blinking. The 4K Photo feature is useful in taking video stills because it allows you to get 8MP stills from 4K footage shot at 30p, and is effectively a stills framerate of 30fps. There are tons of lens choices for this camera since you can choose from lenses made not only by Panasonic but also by Olympus. We recommend the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, as its equivalent to a 90mm lens on a full-frame camera and offers f/1.8 maximum aperture.
When looking for a camera specifically for portraiture, there are a few things that you should consider. Skill level is one of them; if you’re a beginner, choose a camera that will lessen your learning curve and allow you to learn by experience. If you’re a professional photographer, like Sydney-based baby and family photographer Kristy at Kristy’s Studio, choose a camera that is easily customizable and has loads of lens options to choose from so you can adjust according to your needs. Make sure your camera allows you to focus well on the subject, captures their skin tone accurately, and blurs out the background for an even sharper touch to your images.