You may have a lot of questions when it comes to choosing the best cameras for wedding photography. Wedding photography is a high-pressure business to be in. Some photographers spend years learning the craft because weddings combine a lot of moving parts including portraits, action, and emotion.
This is why it’s so important to have the right camera body to support you during these long days of shooting.
Every wedding photographer’s style is different and cameras are constantly updating and becoming obsolete but this article will explore some common things you should look for when choosing a camera for wedding photography that remain timeless and are designed to fit your needs as well as your wallet.
Table of Contents
- How to choose the best wedding photography camera?
- What cameras do professional wedding photographers recommend?
- Want even more?
How to choose the best wedding photography camera?
Here are the key characteristics to look for when buying a camera for wedding photography.
Wedding photographers agree that this should be one of your top priorities when choosing a camera for wedding photography. Sensor size determines the image quality making it of utmost importance. This is why full-frame sensors are typically preferred as opposed to crop sensor cameras. You will want to look at the camera’s design, megapixels, and sensor size to know if it’s one of the best.
Keep in mind the larger the sensor, the more light the camera can capture. This is why larger or full-frame sensors are essential for shooting inside dark churches or wedding venues. On the other hand, smaller sensors or crop sensors are cheaper and come with more affordable zoom lenses.
But, full frames are the best cameras for wedding photographers even if they come with a hefty price tag of $1,500 USD and upwards.
However, you do not have to start with a full-frame camera. Many wedding photographers swear by their crop sensors and the affordability that come with them. But keep in mind that full-frame lenses will not work on a crop sensor camera and vice versa.
A list of extra features could go on and on depending on the camera body. But here are some to consider: an additional SD card slot, 4k video, battery life, live view, full HD, and Wi-FI. Even more, it’s great if your camera works with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens which is among the most popular for wedding photography.
DSLR vs Mirrorless
Recently, you may have heard a lot of debate around DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras. They both have good and bad characteristics so let’s break them down here.
DSLR cameras are used by most photographers who have been in the wedding photography busienss for a long time. They use mirror technology meaning light comes through your lens and reflects onto a prism which is what you see through your viewfinder. When you take a photo, the mirror tilts up and the light coming through imprints an image on your sensor.
- Longer battery life
- Easy to use the viewfinder in dark situations
- Many lense options
- Clients many times think you are more pro the bigger the gear
- Heavy, large, and sometimes a bit of a workout to carry around all-day
- The mirror makes a lot of noise while flipping down (not ideal for quiet ceremonies)
- Expensive to repair because of the technical mirror inside.
The word sums up what it means, there is no mirror inside a mirrorless camera. The light is going directly onto the sensor which shows you a preview on your camera’s LCD screen. Consider these pros and cons when looking at mirrorless cameras.
- Less expensive to fix when something breaks
- Great for wedding videography with phase detection
- Smaller, lighting, and easier to carry around on a 12-hour wedding day
- Fewer lens options (improving but still slow to happen)
- Lower battery life due to the LCD screen continuously being illuminated
- Not the best when it comes to continuous autofocus
A professional wedding camera will usually have a high ISO range. Imagine dark reception halls and dimly lit wedding chapels. Wedding photographers need to be able to pump up their ISO into the thousands and still have noise reduction. There is no reason for your image quality to suffer because in recent years DSLR cameras have really accelerated in taking on low light situations. If your current DSLR camera is 5 years of age or older consider upgrading.
Many amateur wedding photographers get wrapped up in the idea of megapixels. They are important but not as important as your camera’s sensor size. If you are someone who likes to crop your images often in post-production then the resolution will be more important to you. The higher the megapixels the more flexibility you have to crop later. This will also play a part in low light situations somewhat. Also, the resolution is important for printing larger images like giant wall-sized canvases.
In recent years wedding photography cameras have upped their autofocus game. Part of the reason why this is so important is that a wedding photographer captures bouquets flying through the air, first dances, and rapidly moving glasses of champagne. Nothing is worse than missing the final kiss at the wedding ceremony due to a blurry photo.
As shown above, most of a wedding day is moving so an accurate autofocus tracking system is important when choosing the best cameras for wedding photography. First look at the camera’s tech specs for how well it focuses in low-light situations. Autofocus with a range that starts at -3 EV will be better in low light than one that starts at -2.
Ease of Use
Keep in mind you will be holding your wedding photography cameras for long hours. Chasing the bride and groom around from the chapel to reception and hotel. With that in mind, you will want to choose a wedding photography camera that may be lighter in weight and easier to hold onto.
Before making a purchase, go to a local retailer and hold and touch the camera you are considering. How does the grip feel? Is it comfortable in your hand? Consider what hand and neck straps you will use. If you are a bit rough with your gear, consider a sturdier heavier DSLR camera to keep up with your usage. If you have back and neck issues, go for a mirrorless camera.
Consider what lenses you already own or want to own while searching for the best wedding cameras. A camera body is a hefty investment, and you don’t want to choose the wrong wedding cameras to go with your collection of wedding lenses.
Lenses are extremely personal, depending on your style. But here are some of our top picks you may want to consider to go along with your wedding camera body. Take these into account before purchasing a camera for wedding photography.
What cameras do professional wedding photographers recommend?
So now that you know which qualities to look for, let’s have a look at wedding photography camera brands and what a pro wedding photographer uses.
Best Canon cameras for wedding photography
Canon 5D Mark IV
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a dream camera for wedding photographers. This may be the best camera for Canon shooters because of its sensor resolution, WIFI, and the fact that it is cheaper than some of its Nikon competitors.
The image quality is incredible due to its 30.4 Megapixel full-frame sensor. Lastly, when on live view mode the Mark IV has a Dual Pixel AF system that uses phase-detection.
This means it can quickly and accurately focus on moving subjects. The dynamic range and image stabilization are also huge gains when it comes to a camera for wedding photography. If you are considering a new camera, the Canon 5D Mark IV could be for you.
Best features of Canon 5D Mark IV
- 61-Point Phase Detection Autofocus
- 7 FPS Continuous Shooting
- ISO range of 100 to 32000
- 30.4 Megapixel Full-Frame Sensor
- Battery Life of around 900 shots with viewfinder
Canon EOS 90D
The Canon EOS 90D is a crop-sensor DSLR that offers an impressive AF system that will help you avoid blurry photos. It’s also a great wedding camera because of its high number of autofocusing points (5481 dual pixel CMOS AF points), tracking your subjects with speed.
We also love its built-in wireless functions so you can upload your favorite photos to your phone on the spot and share them with the bride and groom at the party or with potential new clients on social media.
Best features of Canon EOS 6D:
- 4.5 FPS Continuous Shooting
- Full-Frame 20.2 Megapixel Sensor
- 11 Point Auto Focus System
- ISO Range 100 too 25600
- Battery Life of around 900 shots with viewfinder
Canon 1Dx Mark II
Once again Canon has kept its following strong through the amazing speed of this wedding camera’s sensor. The Canon 1Dx Mark II is designed with autofocus and frame rates in mind. Even more, it tops our list of wedding photography cameras for its long battery life and sturdy build.
Some call it a “tank” because it’s been in use for years and still remains worthy in the wedding photography industry, but with this bulk, also comes a lot of weight and size.
It has incredible ISO capabilities as well as a dual-processor dedicated to the AF system. Lastly, it’s a great camera for wedding photography because of its hyper-fast 16 FPS shooting and access to a diverse line of lenses.
Best features of Canon 1Dx Mark II
- Built-in GPS
- 20 megapixels full-frame sensor
- ISO 100-51200
- 16 FPS
- Battery life around 1000 using viewfinder
Best Nikon cameras for wedding photography
The Nikon d850 is not only a favorite among wedding photography cameras it’s also considered the best camera for wedding shoots. Aside from the fact that it is so heavy, we love the Nikon d850 for its full-frame ultra-fast AF system.
Even more, it is incredibly quiet which is very helpful when shooting ceremonies. Also, if you like to shoot video as well this camera is the best bang for your buck because it shoots HD video and high res images. If you want the best Nikon wedding camera, take a closer look at this one.
Best features of Nikon d850
- Silent shooting modes
- Touch screen LCD screen
- Phenomenal resolution
- Cross-type full-frame/crop sensor
- 30FPS and high AF speeds
- 4k Video
The Nikon d750 has been around for quite some time now but still is considered one of the greatest cameras for wedding photography. At about half the price of the Nikon d850, you still get so much!
It weighs much less than the Nikon d850 for one and is complete with an LCD tilt screen to shoot those hard-to-get angles. The full-frame 24.8 MP sensor is a hit as well. The everyday wedding photographer also loves the dual SD slots and the fact that it’s affordable, durable, and versatile coming in at around $1,500 USD.
Best features of Nikon d750
- Dual SD card slots
- Tilt LCD screen
- Full-frame 24.8 MP sensor
- Lighter weight compared to the Nikon d850
- Image stabilization with a wide range of lenses
Best Sony Camera for wedding photography
Sony a7 III
The Sony a7 III is considered the best camera for wedding events from this brand. It’s one of the top mirrorless cameras on the market making it lighter than its bulky DSLR counterparts.
Many Nikon and Canon followers have ditched their brand loyalty in return for Sony’s high ISO performance, an LCD touch screen, amazing phase detection, in-body image stabilization, 4K2 video, and long battery life.
Sony also offers a seriously strong continuous shooting frame rate. Lastly, the Sony a7 III offers something called Eye AF. This means it recognizes the eye of your subject and tracks it continuously.
This unbelievable Sony technology makes it easy to keep your bride’s face in focus while she’s dancing, walking down the aisle, and chasing the flower girl. When it comes to mirrorless cameras this is our top pick from Sony.
Best features of the Sony a7 III
- 5-axis in-body image stabilization
- full-frame mirrorless camera
- Sony Eye AF
- High ISO performance
- 10fps with continuous shooting
Best Fujifilm Camera for wedding photography
If you are new to wedding photography make sure to check out the Fujifilm X-Pro2. Beginners love it for its reasonable price tag of around $1,700 USD and the quality it produces at this price point.
Keep in mind it is not a full-frame camera but it does have a great ISO range along with a sleek design. Wedding photographers love its APS-C camera sensor and its lightweight body for long wedding days. Make sure to add this one to your list for your next wedding event.
Best features of Fujifilm X-Pro2 camera
- 24MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor (APS-C)
- 273 autofocus points (169 of which are phase-detect) with continuous shooting
- 2.36M-dot OLED/Optical hybrid viewfinder with pop-up picture-in-picture tab.
- ISO 200-12800
- 1/8000 sec maximum shutter speed
Canon vs Nikon – Which is better for wedding photography?
The pros agree that Nikon and Canon are both stellar brands. Typically professional photographers stick with whichever one they start with because of the heavy upfront investment in lenses and accessories that only work with one retailer. But both Nikon and Canon are the best as far as a range of available and diverse lenses and the best optics.
It’s also important that for weddings you always carry two cameras. A backup is hopefully never needed but important just in case your primary camera stops working on such an important day.
Some wedding photographers say that Nikon is better in bright light situations and Canon is better in low light environments. But with technology always evolving we have to agree that either brand works great for weddings.
Which camera is best for pre-wedding photography or engagement sessions?
Most wedding packages include an engagement shoot to get to know the couples before the wedding and so they can get a feel for how to work with you and the types of posing you will use on their wedding day.
Also, many international couples travel to popular destinations such as Paris to have a “pre-wedding” shoot where they wear their wedding attire but shoot in a beautiful location to show off the photos during their party or pre-wedding invitations.
If you are wondering if you need a different camera for these types of shoots, the answer is really no. Any of the above cameras listed will work perfectly for wedding and pre-wedding shoots. They are all top market picks by the pros and professional shooters don’t downgrade their cameras for the engagement shoot. So take the leap and invest in the camera you can use for both.
Lastly, remember your lens choice could be more important in your list of equipment for an engagement session. Typically a 50mm and 85mm are favorites for engagements because of the beautiful bokeh and crisp looks. Look for a starting aperture of f/2.8 or lower when choosing your lens.
There you have it! Our comprehensive list of the best cameras for wedding photography! We hope you are now better equipped to choose your camera to take the best wedding photos.
If you are still confused, learn even more by reading about which lenses work best for weddings. Or check out some books full of wedding images and advice from experts in the field of wedding photography on how to pose and set up wedding portraits.
Want even more?
Are you a pro at Lightroom? Maybe you want to speed up your editing process. Download our wedding presets for Lightroom so you can get back to finding new clients instead of being trapped at your desk.
We also recommend these courses to learn more about wedding photography and advance your skills. Stop feeling like you don’t know what you need and start feeling confident when you show up to your next wedding shoot!