This guide to the best camera for car photography will help photographers of all standards.
Most of the models are aimed towards pros or experienced enthusiast car photographers.
However, I’ve also included some budget options which still shoot high-quality images at fast continuous burst rates.
If you want to get creative with angles, you’ll also find recommendations for specialist cameras for car photography.
So brush up on these car photography tips, and let’s take a closer look at the recommendations.
What Features Does a Camera for Car Photography Need?
- High Resolution: To capture car details with clarity.
- Wide Dynamic Range: To offer more flexibility in editing.
- Fast Autofocus System: For capturing moving cars accurately.
- High ISO Performance: Ensures clear images in low light.
- Image Stabilization: Avoid blurry images when shooting from another vehicle.
- High Burst Rate: Essential for capturing cars in motion.
- Weather Sealing: For outdoor car shoots in adverse weather.
- 4K Video (Optional): Useful for creating high-definition car videos.
Table of Contents
What is the Best Camera for Car Photography in 2023?
|Sony a7R V||Check AMAZON Price → Check B&H Price →|
|Nikon Z9||Check AMAZON Price → Check B&H Price →|
|Canon EOS R7||Check AMAZON Price → Check B&H Price →|
|Fujifilm X-H2S||Check AMAZON Price → Check B&H Price →|
|Insta360 X3||Check AMAZON Price → Check B&H Price →|
|Panasonic G9||Check AMAZON Price → Check B&H Price →|
|Sony a6600||Check AMAZON Price → Check B&H Price →|
|DJI Mavic Air 3||Check AMAZON Price → Check B&H Price →|
Sony a7R V | Best High-Resolution Sensor Camera for Car Photography
- Exceptional 60MP full-frame sensor
- AI-powered smart tracking focus
- Dual-tilting touch screen
- Improved image stabilization
- Impressively EVF
- Extensive video options
- Stitching software required for multi-shot
Sony’s range of premium-level cameras has long been lauded for their exceptional image quality combined with outstanding autofocus and low-light performance.
The Sony A7R V strengthens this reputation with a camera that delivers crisp, vibrant images that are rich with detail and nuance, complemented by outstanding video.
It’s this high level of quality that makes the A7R V such a compelling choice for car photography, bringing in more powerful image processors when compared to its predecessors.
The 60MP image sensor works alongside a dedicated AI-powered unit for autofocus, making the Sony a7R V a rapid performer when used to shoot high-speed motorsports.
An improved electronic viewfinder makes framing and capturing the action simple, enhanced by the overall intuitive controls laid out on the A7R V’s compact body.
The A7R V also has the advantage of compatibility with some of the best recent lenses to enter the market, with Sony’s growing range of native lenses picking up justifiable rave reviews.
With its improved battery life and all-around outstanding performance, the Sony A7R V is the best camera for car photography for impressively detailed, high-resolution results.
Nikon Z9 | Best Full Frame Mirrorless Camera for Car Photography
- Excellent stacked sensor
- 20FPS Raw burst shooting
- Fantastic battery life
- Configurable AF system
- 8K 60P video shooting
- Very expensive
- Bulky and heavy
Nikon’s Z9 mirrorless camera represents the cutting edge of the company’s renowned technology, boasting an impressive 45.7MP sensor with an Expeed 7 image processor.
This flagship camera is on the bulky side, more reminiscent of a DSLR than a mirrorless camera, but with serious performance clout under the hood.
Capable of shooting 20 frames per second in raw format, it features five-axis in-body image stabilization for hand-held motorsports action and a no-lag viewfinder.
There’s a comprehensive autofocus system that is fully customizable, which is reliable and consistent in both photo and video modes.
For video, the Nikon Z9 is capable of shooting video in 10-bit and Raw, with 8K footage delivering some of the best images you’ll get from a camera.
With its extended battery life and an extensive list of features, the Z9 is a professional-level full-frame camera for serious car photography enthusiasts with money to spare.
If you’re already invested in Nikon FX lenses, this is the best camera for car photography for you.
Canon EOS R7 | Best APS-C Mirrorless Camera for Car Photography
- Powerful autofocus features
- Effective in-body image stabilization
- Superior image quality
- 30 FPS bursts
- Great value for money
- Rolling shutter in 4K footage
- Limited buffer
The Canon EOS R7 is a more affordable alternative to the aforementioned Sony and Nikon cameras that is nevertheless among the best cameras for car photography.
Like those cameras, this is more than capable of delivering great results, whether shooting photos or video, with a speed autofocus system and up to 30 frames per second of burst shooting.
Featuring a 32.5MP sensor, the EOS R7 comes with an APS-C sensor, which lacks the power of its full-frame competitors but allows for smaller and lighter body construction.
This lends it to more casual users who want to travel light and comes with a suitably lower price tag that makes it a more viable option for car photographers on a tighter budget.
With that said, it’s a strong performer across the board, with in-body image stabilization helping ensure sharp and vivid images of cars in fast motion on the track.
While the EOS R7 lacks the range of Canon lenses offered by the likes of Sony, it’s the best Canon camera for car photography in its class and a worthy addition to anyone’s kit bag.
Fujifilm X-H2S | Best Hybrid APS-C Camera for Car Photography
- 40 FPS continuous shooting
- Impressive video specs
- Fast stacked sensor
- Premium autofocus performance
- Long battery life
- No tracking mode in video
Fujifilm has been demonstrating its potential as a serious contender in recent years when compared to industry leaders such as Sony, Nikon, and Canon.
The Fujifilm X-H2S is the highest-end camera from its X-series, designed for shooting fast-paced action such as sports and wildlife photography with its impressive autofocus system.
This autofocus performs well even up to 40 frames per second, which is crucial for capturing action where a fraction of a second makes all the difference to getting a great shot.
Combined with image stabilization of up to seven stops, this makes the Fujifilm X-H2S arguably the best APS-C camera in its price range for car photography – just be sure to pair it with the best Fujinon lenses.
It’s equally adept on the video front, with 6.2K footage at 30P and 4K 120P for videographers who want smooth and detailed slow-motion footage of cars in action.
A strong all-around performer with great potential for high-speed photography, the Fujifilm X-H2S is among the most expensive APS-C cameras but hands-down one of the best.
Insta360 X3 | Best Action Camera for Car Photography
- 5.7K 360-degree video footage
- Incredibly slim and lightweight
- Fun to use
- Active HDR mode
- Plenty of capture modes
- Videos require processing
- Can be awkward to mount
For a more unique approach to car photography with the potential for unusual angles, there’s the Insta360 X3, a popular choice for extreme sports activities and action cam footage.
Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, the Insta360 X3 is a competitor to GoPro-style cameras and can be used with or without mounts to get shots traditional cameras can’t achieve.
This makes it a fun option for capturing video footage of your car from above while in motion, attaching it to an invisible selfie stick, and opening up more adventurous camera angle possibilities.
You can also quickly edit the results on the move using the Insta360 X3 app, which can be used for putting together short clips in a matter of minutes, ready for your social media pages.
While the overall image quality lags behind mirrorless cameras, this trade-off considering its small and compact design is to be expected, and the footage it delivers is still decent.
The Insta360 X3 is a solid action cam with the potential for innovative car videography that can be used to complement footage from traditional cameras while giving you more options when editing.
Panasonic G9 | Best Hybrid Video Camera for Car Photography
- 4K UHD video footage
- Impressive autofocus
- 20/60 FPS continuous shooting
- Easy to view screen
- Solid build quality
- Lagging viewfinder in burst mode
- Battery life could be better
Panasonic’s entry into the world of Micro Four Thirds cameras, the G9, delivers crisp image quality with some impressive 4K UHD video footage to boot.
Featuring an impressive autofocus system with 225 contrast detection points, it comes with six AF modes for versatile performance in a range of scenarios.
It’s a video-centric camera, delivering 4K footage and a range of enhanced video functions with 10-bit capture, which results in vibrant and sharp video.
The Panasonic Lumix G9 is certainly no slouch on the photography front, with an impressive burst shooting range of up to 60 FPS with the full autofocus switched off.
Combined with its 6.5-stop dual image stabilization, this makes it a solid performer when handling fast-paced action, whether you’re shooting cars or sporting action.
Easy to use and capable of 120 FPS in 1080p mode, the Panasonic Lumix G9 is a great hybrid camera for hobbyists looking for great results from both videography and photography.
Sony a6600 | Best Budget Camera for Car Photography
- Excellent subject-tracking autofocus
- In-body stabilization
- Impressive battery life
- Great selection of compatible lenses
- Unlimited 4K video recording
- Controls are awkward
- Unintuitive menu system
There are several good reasons why Sony’s A6600 has become such a popular camera, with its top-performing sensor and raft of impressive features.
Their flagship APS-C camera, the A6600 combines impressive autofocus and in-body stabilization to deliver great results when shooting videos and photos in low light conditions.
With long-lasting battery life, it’s also a great option for car photographers who plan on spending a full day out at a motorsports event and need a camera that won’t let them down.
As you might expect from a Sony camera, video footage is top-tier, with 4K capture along with log profiles available for post-production colour grading.
The Sony A6600 is also fully weather-sealed, offering peace of mind when shooting in adverse weather conditions and getting up close and personal with cars in motion.
With no restriction on recording length and a diverse selection of compatible Sony e-mount lenses, it’s the ideal APS-C camera for vloggers who want to create car-related content for their YouTube channel.
DJI Mavic Air 3 | Best Drone for Car Photography
- Impressive low-light performance
- Great image quality
- Excellent battery life
- Effective obstacle detection
- Dual cameras
- Charging is slow
- No information screen on the basic controller
There are some camera angles you simply can’t achieve when using a traditional camera, which is where a drone can transform your videography in new and exciting ways.
With plenty of drones on the market to choose from, the DJI Mavic Air 3 delivers outstanding video quality with its excellent Four Thirds camera sporting an adjustable aperture.
Combined with its high-performance obstacle detection system, this makes it a wonderful camera/drone combination for capturing cars on the move from above.
It also comes with a backup telephoto lens, which further opens up the options for capturing vehicles from unique angles and giving more options in the editing room.
The improved O4 transmission system gives the DJI Mavic Air 3 more range than its predecessors, as well as longer battery life and better focus tracking.
While the DJI Mavic Air 3 is on the expensive side for a drone, its superior performance and dual primary camera feature give it exceptional longevity for filming cars.
What Makes These The Best Cameras for Car Photography
Each of the cameras featured here excels due to a range of performance features and specifications that make them ideal for car photography.
Here’s a breakdown of these features in more detail and what they bring to the table when shooting car photography for the best possible results:
Car photography incorporates a huge amount of detail in each image, from the surface textures of the vehicle to the background environment.
All of the cameras featured above deliver high-quality images guaranteed to capture this detail in all its glory, with rich and vibrant colours.
A car photography camera with a high-resolution sensor helps maintain the standard of image quality required and ensures you’ll capture stunning shots every time.
Wide Dynamic Range
Car photography can feature a broad range of contrasting tones and areas of brightness and darkness which requires a camera with a wide dynamic range.
Measured in stops, a wide dynamic range is crucial for retaining as much detail as possible and avoiding blowing out highlights or underexposing shadows.
Wide dynamic range will also help to minimize distortions when shooting a moving car in burst mode when each shot compensates for different lighting conditions.
Fast Autofocus System
Shooting moving cars requires a camera with a fast autofocus system so that the vehicle remains focused and delivers all-around sharper images.
With a fast autofocus system, you can capture detailed images without worrying about switching to manual focus and attempting it yourself.
The exemplary autofocus performance of the cameras outlined above is designed to capture stunning images or fast-moving objects even in low light conditions.
High ISO Performance
While we’re on the subject of low-light automotive photography, cameras with high ISO performance are essential for maintaining crisp images when light is suboptimal.
If you’re shooting cars at night and relying on street lights or natural light from the moon, you’ll need to crank up the ISO in order to maintain a shutter speed for fast moving cars.
These cameras offer a high ISO range with minimal grain and noise, rendering sharp images that maintain a strong overall image quality.
When shooting car photography handheld, great image stabilization is a must to reduce potential camera shake to a minimum and deliver superb quality images.
An image stabilization system allows users to lower the shutter speed and keep the car in focus while creating a pleasing blur in the surrounding background.
The best car photography cameras feature a five-axis image stabilization system, helping to create car shots that compare to those from professional photographers.
High Burst Rate
If you’re shooting motorsports racing and don’t want to miss the action, continuous shooting using a high burst rate is a must.
Combined with the aforementioned image stabilization, cameras with a high burst rate allow you to capture multiple shots in a matter of seconds.
Whether you’re shooting on an ultra-wide angle lens or honing in with a telephoto zoom lens, a high burst rate will reduce the chances of missing a great shot.
Car photography is an outdoors pursuit, so it pays to invest in a camera that is well-protected from the elements and won’t get damaged by rainy conditions.
Weather-sealed cameras protect the mechanical shutter and other core elements from water and dust, so you can take more risks when photographing cars.
For example, if you’re shooting rally car racing, you can get close to an impressive corner and capture the car as it skids around a bend without worrying about damage from splashes.
If you’re considering shooting videos as well as photographs, you’ll want to choose a camera capable of 4K video to get the best results.
The cameras outlined above all have great video capabilities which can be used to shoot high-resolution videos of cars in their element.
If you’re unsure if videography is for you, a high-quality camera typically includes a video mode that you can try at your leisure.
How Can You Take Good Pictures of Your Car with a Phone?
You don’t have to invest a large sum of money in the best cameras to enjoy can photography and can get great results when using your phone.
While cameras on smartphones might lack the sharp and detailed image quality of a professional camera, they can nevertheless pack a punch.
Approaching car photography with the right mindset is the first step to consider, for instance, driving out to a great location that showcases your car in full.
This could be hitting the countryside and taking a photograph against a stunning landscape or pairing your vehicle with striking architecture.
Choosing a great angle that brings out the best of your car is all about understanding composition rules that apply to phone cameras as equally as a top-end full-frame camera.
Composition rules are just as valid when shooting with a smartphone, so framing your car well can lead to stunning images blending background and foreground elements harmoniously.
If your car is static, then you don’t need to worry about factors such as in-body image stabilization to keep everything sharp and well-focused.
Likewise, low light performance isn’t a problem for photographing cars, provided you pay attention to natural light and other available environmental light sources.
Lastly, you can enhance your car photography using a phone in post-production, grading colors, adding film grain, or controlling exposure levels.
By experimenting with these adjustments, you can transform your phone’s camera into a tool capable of delivering excellent image quality.
Are Mirrorless Cameras Better Than DSLRs for Taking Photos of Cars?
One of the core advantages of using mirrorless cameras over DSLRs is the difference in weight the former offers when compared to the latter.
This makes mirrorless cameras far more maneuverable, allowing you to approach car photography from a broader range of angles and locations within a car.
Additionally, their compact and lightweight design also makes it easier to mount them on small tripods and other mounts for more imaginative shots of cars in motion.
This can also open up avenues for shooting video footage of your car in motion that bulkier DSLRs might pose problems in these scenarios.
If that’s something you’re considering doing, mirrorless cameras are well ahead of their DSLR counterparts when it comes to high-quality video performance.
While you’ll need to invest in a high-end DSLR if you want to shoot stunning 4K or Ultra UHD video, with mirrorless, these formats are much more affordable.
Mirrorless cameras are also noted for their exceptional low-light performance, making them ideal for car photography in moody and atmospheric lighting.
Meanwhile, for photographing cars in action at high speeds, the hybrid autofocus systems in mirrorless cameras ensure the vehicle remains in focus at all times.
This is enhanced thanks to the layered viewfinder information of mirrorless cameras that allow users to track focus peaking as well as histograms and other useful information.
If you’ve already invested in a great DSLR camera, you can still enjoy car photography and get stunning results with these types of cameras.
But if you’re new to car photography and want the best cameras for the job, we recommend investing in a mirrorless camera with a full-frame sensor to achieve the best results.
FAQs about car photography cameras
What kind of camera is best for car photography?
Any high-quality DSLR or mirrorless camera with a good sensor, dynamic range, and fast autofocus can be excellent for car photography. Examples include the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Nikon D850, or Sony A7R IV.
Do I need a specific lens for car photography?
A wide-angle lens is often used for capturing the whole car in the frame. However, having a variety of lenses, including macro for detail shots and a telephoto lens for shooting from a distance, can be beneficial.
Is a tripod necessary for car photography?
A heavy-duty tripod can help stabilize your camera, especially for long exposure shots or shooting in low light conditions. It’s not always necessary, but it can certainly improve the sharpness of your images.
What should I look for in a car photography camera in terms of resolution?
A camera with a high resolution can capture more detail, which can be especially important when photographing cars where you want to showcase the details and textures. A camera with around 20 megapixels or more should suffice.
Is a fast autofocus system necessary for car photography?
If you’re photographing moving cars, a fast and accurate autofocus system is important. It helps ensure your subject remains in sharp focus, even while in motion.
How important is weather sealing in a camera for car photography?
If you plan to shoot in various weather conditions or in environments where dust and dirt could be an issue, a camera with weather sealing can be very beneficial. It provides an extra layer of protection for your camera’s sensitive parts.