Which Camera Is Best for Portrait Photography?

Portrait photographers aim to capture the beauty, rawness, and individuality of their subjects. To do so, they use a whole range of camera equipment, but the most important tool is the camera.

If you’re interested in getting into portrait photography, you’re going to want to find a camera that suits you and meets your portrait photography needs. But with so many camera options out there – compact, mirrorless and DSLR cameras to name a few –our article can help you narrow down your options.


Best Compact Cameras for Portrait Photography

Compact cameras have changed a lot in recent years. Much of this is down to the popularity of smartphone cameras, which rendered lower-level models redundant.

To counter this, camera manufacturers began packing compact cameras with more grunt, mostly in the shape of larger sensors and superior image quality to their smartphone interlopers.

Compact cameras are especially great for photographers who want to take candid portraits on-the-go with a camera that’s far superior to a smartphone and far less bulky than, say, a DSLR.

High end compact camera: Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1


Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1

The Sony Cybershot RX1 is the Cadillac of compact cameras. It offers full frame imaging and 24.3 megapixels in a small and lightweight body that means you will be able to take it with you anywhere.

Face detection means the camera can detect the faces of your subjects and automatically adjust focus and exposure. Its one-inch sensor is a rarity for compact cameras and means you get a high maximum ISO (great for those darker settings).

If you want high-quality portraits or you plan to shoot portraits in low light, you can’t go past this camera.

Affordable compact camera: Panasonic DMC-LX100

Panasonic DMC-LX100

The LX-100 is a great compact camera for enthusiasts. It’s a high-end compact camera, with a micro four thirds sensor, an electronic viewfinder and face detection.

It also comes with built-in wifi connectivity, which means you can share your portrait photography with your subjects as soon as you take them – or upload them to a cloud account.

If you are after a compact camera that gives you the creative control of a mirrorless camera in the form of a compact camera, a Panasonic LX-100 is for you.

Best Mirrorless Cameras for Portrait Photography

Mirrorless cameras offer a few great benefits to portrait photographers. They are often much more compact than a DSLR, yet they can take similar quality images at similar shooting speeds. Certain aspects of mirrorless cameras are superior.

For example, the auto focus on mirrorless cameras is more accurate than a mirrored camera. DSLRs use phase detection focusing, which uses a mirror to pass light to an autofocus sensor. It’s incredibly fast and good for moving objects. However, for still objects, a mirrorless camera takes a reading from the sensor and moves the lens to find the shape, a more accurate process.

Mirrorless cameras are a particularly good choice for beginners due to their simpler controls and compact size.

High end mirrorless camera: Sony Alpha A7R II

Sony Alpha A7R II

If you are after an expert-level camera that combines the benefits of a lightweight compact camera with the high-quality images of a DSLR, a mirrorless camera like the Sony Alpha A7R III is the way to go.

The A7R III has a 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor with 42.4 megapixels, which ensures your portrait photos are of the highest quality. This camera has a heap of enhancements to resolution, sensitivity, dynamic range, processing speed, and shooting response over the older A7R II allow you to capture beautiful detail and unlock a new world of imaging.

Add to this its breadth of features, lightweight feel, built-in Wi-Fi, a range of compatible lenses and a 3-inch display, which allows you to tilt and angle the camera, so you can capture amazing portraits from any position.

Affordable mirrorless camera: FujiFilm X-T20


The FujiFilm X-T20 is a terrific camera for portrait enthusiasts looking to get a little more serious about their photography. It’s sophisticated, feels good to use and comes with a plethora of features.

It includes a high-quality 24.3MP sensor and advanced AF system for rich, detailed portraiture and other styles of photography. It also comes with a convenient Advanced SR AUTO mode for intelligent, fully-automatic shooting. The number of focusing points in this model has been upgraded from 49 to 91 too.

It has built-in Wi-Fi, image stabilisation, a display lag time of just 0.005 secs, a good touchscreen display, and shoots video in 4K, so if you can’t rely on the speed of your trigger finger, you can shoot video and take a still image from that.

If you want a higher quality option, the GX8’s continuous shooting mode is incredibly fast and convenient. This mode is perfect if you want to capture a series of portrait photos of a person as they react to something.

Best DSLR Cameras for Portrait Photography

DSLRs remain a popular choice among portrait photographers, mostly due to their great battery life and because of the breadth of lenses and accessories available.

Of course, DSLRs also offer amazing image and video quality, unsurpassed optical viewfinders, a lot of handy modes and settings, and durable designs.

High end DSLR: Canon EOS 5DSr

Canon EOS 5DSr

The Canon EOS 5DSr is a top-of-the-line DSLR and takes excellent portraits. One of the ultimate choices for clarity and resolution, this camera has an impressive full-frame 50.6 megapixel CMOS sensor and a ton of useful features, including an optical viewfinder, face detection, and a large 3.2-inch display.

High-speed continuous shooting at 5fps, outstanding 61-point high-density reticular AF (to deliver great results in low light) and a newly developed mechanism to control mirror vibration and reduce camera shake are all reasons to seriously consider this powerful camera.

With the 5DSr, you can change and tweak in-depth settings so you can capture every last detail. You also have a wide range of lenses to choose from. Overall, the Canon EOS 5DSr is one of the best DSLRs for portraits and is a true connoisseurs’ choice.

Affordable DSLR: Nikon D610


The Nikon D610 is a great mid-size DSLR, with its uses and abilities growing as its owner becomes more experienced. It features a 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor and an impressive image processer and ISO range (perfect if you plan to capture portraits by candlelight or in other low-light situations).

Shooting at up to 6 frames per second, the Nikon D610 also allows you to adjust the sharpening, contrast, saturation, and hue of your portrait pictures through its control system.

It also has excellent battery life and weighs just 760g, making it ideal for handheld shooting or if you anticipate traveling to take portraits. And as with any modern DSLR, the Nikon D610 is compatible with so many lenses and accessories to customise your photography experience.


If you’re looking for the best cameras for portrait photography you can see our full range online at Camera House now. For more handy tips, check out the Camera House blog or head in store and talk to our expert staff.

Or for more handy tips, check out these great related posts from our blog:


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