Wedding photographers need a special mix of features when it comes to their camera gear. They need a camera body that’s robust enough to stand up to long weekend days — where anything that could go wrong might go wrong— but not so heavy that their shoulders will be aching halfway through the ceremony. It’s also important that their gear can pump out high-quality images that their clients can turn into massive prints to be cherished forever. Below are some of the best cameras for wedding photography for capturing your client’s big day.
How We Picked the Best Cameras for Wedding Photography
When selecting the cameras that appear in this guide, I considered a variety of brands and products to fit a few different budgets. Ultimately the cameras that are used by wedding photographers tend to be higher-end, more-expensive pieces of gear because wedding photographers need cameras with premium features such as large sensors, robust weather sealing, good low-light functionality, and ample battery life. When selecting products for this guide we primarily considered cameras with high-resolution sensors, excellent autofocus capabilities, and tools that are versatile enough to be used for both still and video.
The gear that appears in this guide was selected using a mixture of hands-on experience, editorial reviews, and user experience.
Best Cameras for Wedding Photography: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Canon EOS R5
Why It Made The Cut: The EOS R5 is Canon’s top of the line mirrorless camera, it has a high resolution sensor, tactile controls and excellent autofocus.
— Sensor: Full-frame 45 megapixel sensor
— Autofocus: 1,053 AF points
— Weight: 1.6 pounds (body only)
— High resolution sensor, makes printing images big a breeze
— Excellent autofocus
— 8K video
— Large RAW files means you’ll need a powerful computer and large drives for storage
The Canon EOS R5’s 45-megapixel sensor means that this camera excels in low-light conditions (great for the dance floor), and it gives you enough room to crop in without worrying about losing resolution. Although it's bigger than some of Canon’s other mirrorless options, it's still much lighter than a DSLR, so even if you are using it with a long lens it won’t kill your shoulders during a long day shooting a wedding.
The EOS has two slots for memory cards: one SD and one CF Express, so you can easily shoot JPEGs to one card and RAWs to the other. The body has robust weather sealing that will protect it on a sandy beach or during an unexpected rainstorm in the woods. The 1,053 autofocus (AF) areas, and 5-axis image stabilization system inside the camera will also give you peace of mind, knowing that you will get sharp images regardless of your shooting situation.
Best for Photography or Videography: Sony A7 IV
Why It Made The Cut: This pro-grade mirrorless camera includes many of the high-end features found in the Sony A1, and is a favorite tool of wedding videographers and photographers.
— Sensor: 33-megapixel full-frame sensor
— Autofocus: 759 AF point
— Weight: 1.4 pounds (body only)
— Versatile camera for photographers or videographers
— Excellent weather sealing
— Advanced sensor offers excellent images that can be printed large
— Menu can be confusing for users new to Sony
Although we wouldn’t recommend trying to shoot both photos and video at a wedding, the Sony A7 IVa is a mirrorless camera that’s favored by both wedding photographers and wedding videographers. It features many of the same impressive features found in Sony’s A1 camera, but packed inside a smaller body and for a fraction of the price. The 33-megapixel sensor on the A7 IV offers impressive dynamic range, excellent image quality, and strikes a nice balance, giving you the option to print big, without forcing you to store extremely large files.
For the videographers, the A7 IV shoots 4K video at 60fps (frames per second), 10-bit 4:2:2 with full pixel readout — meaning it will make it easier to capture fast motion. Since the body is compact it's also easy to attach the A7 IV to a gimbal, for the smoothest way to capture all the magic during your client’s wedding day.
Best DSLR: Nikon D850
Why It Made The Cut: This older-model DSLR has an excellent high-resolution sensor, performs well in low-light, and sports a decent autofocus system that keeps up with the action during the big event.
— Sensor: 45.7 megapixel full-frame sensor
— Autofocus: 153 AF points
— Weight: 2.22 pounds (body only)
— High resolution sensor
— Great in low-light
— Excellent weather sealing
— AF down to -4EV
— Big and heavy
Although modern day mirrorless cameras may be the prefered tools of the trade for most wedding photographers, there is still a lot to love about Nikon’s D850 — and a number of wedding professionals who are still using it as their primary camera. Its excellent resolution, capable autofocus and (relatively) fast burst-shooting-modes make it a great choice for wedding photographers. It’s also a beast when it comes to low-light photography — making this a great tool for covering the dimly-lit dance floor during special moments like the night’s first dance. The 45.7-megapixel sensor also means you don’t have to worry about losing resolution if you choose to crop in, making big prints no issue.
Best Value: Sony a7 III
Why It Made The Cut: Despite being an older generation model, the Sony A7 III still has an excellent sensor, fast burst speed and does a good job in low light — and since it’s on the older side, you’ll save a few hundred dollars on the camera body.
— Sensor: 24.3-megapixel full frame sensor
— Autofocus: 693-point AF points
— Weight: 1.43 pounds (body only)
— Older model means some up front savings
— Built-in image stabilization
— Shoots 10fps
— Aging technology
— Not the most rugged build
One of the best ways to save when looking for camera equipment is to consider older-generation models. The Sony a7 III is just that. Built around a capable 24.3- megapixel full frame sensor, with 693 AF points and excellent in-body image stabilization, the A7 III still manages to be quite the workhorse camera, and can hold its own during a long day shooting a wedding. It has a more compact body compared to newer Sony models, features two SD slots, and performs well in low light. This camera is great value, whether you’re picking it up either as a second body, or as a primary camera.
Best Budget: Fujifilm X-T4
Why It Made The Cut: This rugged, compact camera is a great lower-cost option when you are just getting started with wedding photography.
— Sensor: 26.1-megapixel APSC sensor
— Autofocus: 425-AF points
— Weight: 1.34 pounds(body only)
— 10-bit 4K video recording capabilities
— Tactile controls
— Excellent weatherproofing
— 6.5 stops of image stabilization
— Smaller APSC sensor
Although we’d normally recommend using a full-frame sensor camera for shooting a wedding, Fujifilm has done more with their line of APSC sensor cameras than anyone else—and there is a lot to love about the versatile Fujifilm X-T4. The 26.1 megapixel sensor is capable enough, but it gets even better, with 6.5 stops of built-in image stabilization, as well as weatherproofing that’s competitive with pro-level bodies from other brands.
Despite being an APSC camera body, the X-T4 still boasts dual memory card slots, and the tactile controls are a joy to use. On the video side of things, you can shoot 10-bit 4K video, and the camera features a number of beautiful film-simulation modes for making adjustments to your images in-camera. This is a great choice for someone who might be acting as a second shooter in weddings, or that’s looking for a versatile camera for other styles of photography as well as weddings.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Camera for Wedding Photography
As a wedding photographer you tend to hope for the best, but plan for the absolute worst. If something can go wrong, it probably will go wrong, and it's important to have reliable cameras in your bag to help you get through whatever calamities might come your way as you are documenting your client’s big day. Here are some essential things to consider before buying a camera to shoot your next wedding.
When you purchase a new camera body you are essentially buying into a system. Often online you will see people arguing about what camera brand is best for a particular type of photography. In our opinion these online arguments are pretty silly, because whatever the “best” camera brand is ultimately comes down to the personal preference of the photographer. Canon, Nikon, Sony and Fujifilm all make really excellent cameras for wedding photographers. Deciding what gear is best for you ultimately depends on a few different factors.
All of these different brands have different lenses that only work with their gear — Canon and Nikon probably have the most robust choice of lenses because their mirrorless cameras can still use the older DSLR lenses with an adapter. If you’re a DSLR user looking to upgrade to a mirrorless system, it typically makes sense to buy within the same brand to save yourself some money on gear as you transition.
Full-Frame Cameras vs. APSC system cameras
Generally speaking, when shooting a wedding, you want to be using a camera that has a full-frame sensor. A full-frame sensor means more megapixels, which ultimately means more flexibility when you make your final edits. That being said, we did include one Fujifilm camera in our buying guide that happens to be an APSC camera. Fujifilm has done some really amazing things with their APSC line of cameras, giving them a professional edge even with that smaller-sized sensor. If you are just dipping your toes into the world of wedding photography and working as a second shooter, or covering smaller, intimate ceremonies for friends, Fujfilm’s cameras can be a great budget option for you.
Mirrorless Cameras vs. DSLRs
There is a lot to love about modern mirrorless cameras, and it's no surprise that in the last few years many wedding photographers have traded in their DSLRs. Mirrorless cameras typically have excellent high-megapixel image sensors, awesome autofocus, work extremely well in low-light conditions, and have much lighter bodies than the larger, clunkier DSLRs. Although we’ve included at least one DSLR in this buying guide (and still know of some wedding photographers who have yet to make the jump to mirrorless), mirrorless is clearly the future, and that’s where we’d recommend investing your dollars.
Q: How much do cameras for wedding photography cost?
Depending on what features are most important to you, expect to pay anywhere between $1,500 and $5,000 for a camera body for wedding photography. Cameras with high-resolution sensors will typically cost more, and a high-end mirrorless camera will cost more than an older DSLR model or an older generation mirrorless camera. The good news is that most wedding photographers slowly build their kit over time. As your business and client base grows, you can add additional lenses and bodies to your kit. If you are just starting out, consider investing in used gear.
Q: Do I need a full-frame camera for wedding photography?
We’d recommend using a full frame camera for wedding photography, only because it will give you a lot more flexibility when editing your RAW files after the big event is over. Lighting conditions and locations can change quickly during a wedding, and your job as a photographer is to adapt. Having a full frame camera means you will have more megapixels in your sensor, which means it will be a lot easier to change settings on the fly as the night proceeds. A full frame camera also means it will be much easier for your client to make big prints of the beautiful images that you’ve captured on their big day.
Q: Why do photographers carry two cameras?
Many wedding photographers carry two cameras so that they have easy access to two focal lengths during the wedding ceremony and reception: A 24-70, and a 70-200. These two focal lengths allow them to switch perspectives without having to swap out a lens on their camera.
Q: What brand of camera do most professional photographers use?
These days wedding photographers use a wide variety of brands when shooting weddings — Canon, Nikon and Sony are some of the most popular brands. Ultimately, the choice of gear that someone uses usually comes down to a matter of personal preference, and what kinds of lenses that person already has.
When selecting a camera for shooting weddings, it's important to look for something that has a robust weatherproof build and a large enough sensor and megapixel count that you won’t need to worry when you’re cropping or printing big. Cameras that do well in low-light situations, have fast-burst modes, and feature excellent autofocus systems all excel at covering weddings. Weddings tend to be long days, with sometimes unpredictable weather and difficult lighting situations, this means that they often present a variety of shooting scenarios. Because of this, it’s important to have gear that will help you pivot quickly. Wedding photographers require professional high-end cameras, and the gear that they use is often pricey, but this gear will last, and won’t have to be updated every season. For some digital camera options for other uses read our guide on the best digital cameras.
Investing in good gear will go a long way toward peace of mind as a wedding photographer. Consider the Sony a7 III for a well-established camera that’s tried and true for the job at hand. The Fujifilm X-T4 is a great choice for new photographers that won’t want to break the bank. The Canon EOS R5 on the other hand, is the best overall with its premium features.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.