Getting into professional photography is a dream for many, and requires the best cameras available on the market. You will probably be going with either Canon or Nikon, ensuring you have access to some of the best camera technology that is available today, with well-built and durable gear. I can relate, I have two DSLR cameras and both are from Canon!
Choosing your camera is no easy task. For pro photography, it requires a substantial financial investment and you need to know what to pay attention to in order to make a wise choice. In this guide, we will discuss the different aspects and features to consider before buying.
No need to search for information forever, a summary has already been done for you right on this page!
What are Important Factors to Consider Before Buying?
There are many great cameras on the market today, but if you want the best Canon camera for professional photography you need to select cameras with top-notch performance that will shoot outstanding images no matter how challenging the conditions. In order to gauge these performances, there are a few things you need to pay attention to.
Let’s evacuate this one straight away. You can see that most cameras are around the $3000 mark, with one exception costing $6000. Yes, the $6000 camera will give you the most impressive performances; but no, you don’t absolutely need that one to shoot professional-class photography. All cameras in this list have the potential to do so. The Canon 6D is on the lower end of the spectrum but still capable of very good performance.
It’s essential to know that resolution is one of the critical considerations when choosing a camera for professional photography. The camera should have a suitable resolution to ensure quality results for printing and the web. It impacts print size, image resizing, display quality, and cropping options on high-resolution monitors.
In this price range, cameras all have a good resolution of at least 20 megapixels. Ultra-high resolution is a plus, but not really compulsory. However, if you want better performance in challenging lighting conditions, you should consider a camera with high resolution to ensure the image’s quality.
This is a pretty important factor since the quality of the processor (and how recent it is) has a direct impact on the camera’s performance. The image processor is responsible for a lot of things: buffering speed, image quality, good noise control on high ISO images, continuous shooting… Basically, the more recent the processor, the better. The difference between an older and a newer processor is really quite significant.
Shutter Count Limit
The camera shutter count refers to the number of times the camera has taken photographs. It’s an essential consideration because even if most cameras can still work beyond the limit, the image quality will more likely suffer if the shutter isn’t replaced. So, ask for the camera’s shutter count limit to get the most out of the purchase price.
If you plan to buy a second-hand camera, choosing one with a low shutter count is crucial to ensure good image quality for a long time.
Professional DSLR cameras usually have a quite impressive ISO range. This is great in low light conditions, as you can increase the ISO sensibility as much as you need to keep a reasonably fast shutter speed and avoid blurry pictures because of camera shake. This is where a good processor is important. High ISO typically means more noise in the image, and you need a camera able to keep this noise at the lowest amount possible.
Size & Weight
These high-end DSLR cameras are all quite big and heavy. However, the difference in weight can be quite big from one model to another, and if you are going to shoot while traveling or hiking needing to carry the camera around, can be a factor to consider.
Continuous Shooting / Burst Mode
This is important to you if you are going to shoot a lot of fast-moving scenes, such as sports or wildlife. The more frames per second the better, to increase the chance to get the perfect shot you are looking for. But honestly, all 5 cameras listed here have a more than decent continuous shooting capacity that is good enough for most cases.
All cameras on this page capture at least full HD video, which is a minimum at this price point… Depending on if video is important to you or not, you may take into consideration if the camera is able to shoot 4K video, which is the new norm in 2024 (or at least cropped 4k, still better than full HD).
Wireless Connectivity & GPS
This is a bit of a gadget for some, important for others. It all goes down to personal habits. If connecting your camera to your phone and other devices is important to you, make sure the camera has Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth… Some cameras don’t have built-in Wi-Fi but are compatible with Wi-Fi cards you can buy separately.
Built-in GPS is a feature I really love because I often shoot in the wild, and I can tell you that it’s very precise. Again, it may or may not be useful to you depending on what you shoot.
I haven’t really mentioned it so far, but all cameras here are weather-sealed. That said, usually, the more expensive the camera the better sealed it is. My Canon 6D is also supposed to be weather-sealed, but I can tell you that in really extreme conditions it is definitely impacted by humidity and buttons don’t function normally (and it goes back to normal once the camera is dry). If you shoot in the wild, this can be a limitation to take into consideration.
I don’t think this should be a definitive decision factor, but for sure an articulated and/or touch screen is a nice feature to have. With a touchscreen camera, you can improve the speed of completing tasks. The touchscreen technology in cameras allows you to navigate the device with ease.
Additionally, touch screen cameras often support features like touch focus and touch shutter, allowing users to quickly set focus and capture images by simply tapping the screen. This can be particularly useful in fast-paced or dynamic shooting situations. Furthermore, touchscreen cameras facilitate easy access to various functions, making switching between modes and settings easier, thus improving overall workflow and creative control.
Should You Get A Camera With A Kit Lens?
We are talking about professional cameras here and I definitely won’t recommend any random kit lens. You should choose the right camera body, and then choose the best lenses that are adapted to your photography goals separately.
What’s a Cross-Type Autofocus Point?
You may have noticed that in some camera descriptions, it sometimes mentions autofocus points and cross-type points. Simply explained, cross-type points are the most capable AF points. In fact, autofocus points typically focus well on horizontal lines but struggle more with vertical lines. Cross-type points can focus equally well and equally fast on both vertical and horizontal shapes, and result in a very precise, sharp focus no matter what you are trying to focus on.
DSLR or Mirrorless For Professional Photography?
Mirrorless cameras take excellent pictures. But here, we are talking about top-notch, extremely high-quality professional images. DSLR cameras still have the edge.
Any Top Pick?
My top pick would be the best value for money. If money isn’t a problem and you want the absolute best, get the Canon 1DX Mark II. If you are looking for a highly capable camera at a good, mid-range price, I believe that the Canon 5D Mark IV is the best option today in all Canon cameras when it comes to professional-grade photography.
Professional photography is demanding and requires outstanding cameras, capable of delivering the best performance possible. I hope this guide was valuable to you and helped you see clearly the options you have to choose the best camera that is adapted to your needs and budget.