Best Camera for Product Photography
If you’re looking for the best camera for product photography, this article should give you all the information you need.
Whether you’re a professional photographer shooting products for a living, or just an amateur who wants better product photos for an online shop or eBay listing, there’s a camera recommendation here for you.
Remember that taking great product photos often starts with having great lighting – if you don’t have a ‘light tent‘ or other lighting solution, try to position your product near a north-facing window for soft, even light.
Once you have your light sorted, invest in one of the cameras below and a lens or two to start taking better product photos.
Let’s look at the recommendations.
Table of Contents
Best Camera for Product Photography in 2021
|Sony Alpha A7R IV||View Price →|
|Nikon D850||View Price →|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark IV||View Price →|
1. Sony Alpha A7R IV
Sensor: Full-frame | Resolution: 61MP | Viewfinder: 5,760K dots | Monitor: 3-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1,400K dots | Autofocus: 567 Phase + 425 Contrast | Max frame rate: 10fps | Video: 4K at 30p | Weight: 665 g / 1lb 7.5oz
As more and more consumers rely on the internet for the majority of their shopping, high-quality product photos are in demand. Product photography requires a highly capable camera with the ability to capture every single detail in high resolution.
One top-notch camera for photography of products is without a doubt the Sony Alpha A7R IV.
Boasting a whopping 61 Megapixel full-frame sensor, the Sony delivers exceptional image quality with highly workable files.
It produces images with unprecedented resolution from a full-frame mirrorless camera. This is a clear reason why it is one of the best cameras for product photography.
The A7R IV has been designed for the professional photographer, with a full suite of customisable control dials and function buttons.
It is built for durability yet not at the cost of it being too heavy or uncomfortable. Thanks to the well-proportioned grip, the camera sits comfortably and securely in hand with long-term handheld shooting possible.
The A7R IV has a high level of moisture and dust sealing to protect the camera when shooting in the elements.
The camera body weighs in at 1lb 7.5oz (665gm) making it the heaviest of the cameras in this review. However, it does not feel excessive or oversized.
This is great news, especially if you are in a studio setting and you have a large number of products to set up and shoot. Having a camera of this nature will mean that you won’t feel the need to put the camera down or that you are lugging heavy gear.
The A7R IV is a great looking product and has a sleek modern design that is akin to Sony audio and stereo products. It is unlike other brands, including DSLRs, that tend to have a bulkier aesthetic that has not changed in a very long time.
Furthermore, Sony has a fantastic selection of native lenses that they have developed including those for macro and close up work. What is also great is that there are a number of third-party lens manufacturers such as Tamron, Sigma and Zeiss that produce lenses with the Sony lens mount.
As a mirrorless camera, the Sony A7R IV utilises an electronic viewfinder with a 5.76-million-dot display. Such a screen allows for a great level of brightness and contrast as well as an exceptional level of detail.
The frame rate of the screen is 100fps allowing for smooth image rendering, especially when scanning for a subject or tracking a moving subject.
In conjunction with this, the camera features a 3 inch TFT touch screen with a 1.44-million-dot display.
It is fair to say that while the A7R IV has a touch active screen that allows for touch focus and tracking, the response time of the screen is slow. For product photography, where your subjects are mostly stationary, this will not be a big issue.
The Sony A7R IV has an exceptional autofocusing system that will be sure to capture and focus on the exact details you want in the shot. Further to this, it has enhanced auto-tracking modes for capturing moving objects. In this regard, this Sony is easily one of the best cameras for product photography.
This Sony also features one of the best eye and face-tracking modes to date and they have also included eye-tracking for animals. If your product photography has anything to do with using live models, this camera will grab onto a subject’s eyes to ensure accurate focus. Alternatively, when shooting products that involve animals, this feature will operate beyond expectations.
To assist with capturing sharp images, the camera features 5-axis in-body image stabilisation. This is especially helpful when you are shooting your subjects in lower light with slower shutter speeds.
The camera has great low light performance thanks to its ISO range of up to 32000. Noise management for the low light shooting is well handled by the A7R IV and results in great low light performance.
Fortunately, the Sony A7R IV also has a great set of functions for video recording. It shoots full 4K at 30p along with a fantastic digital audio recording system. What’s more, the brilliant touch tracking and eye tracking works seamlessly while recording video.
For a camera that is not marketed as a video camera, this is truly delivering some of the best video recording capability on the market.
A camera system of this complexity requires a menu interface that has a natural flow and is easy to master. Unfortunately, the menu system on the Sony does not have such an organic flow of options and it will take some time to understand the system let alone set it up.
However, once you have established confidence with the camera, you can utilise custom button and menu settings to streamline your workflow.
In product photography, you will then be able to grab your camera and go straight to a set of custom or preferred settings with ease. As a result, your processes will become simpler to action and complete.
The Sony A7R IV is an award-winning product that will live up to its expectations as one of the best cameras for product photography. Such an investment will be rewarded through being able to capture high quality and highly detailed product photographs. It’s also a fantastic investment for stock photography.
In terms of value for money, this Sony is the more expensive of the three cameras in this guide. However, you are getting an incredibly intelligent camera that operates at a professional level. If you want product shots that drive consumer demand, then you will not be disappointed with this investment.
Whether you are photographing products in a studio setting or out in the open, the Sony Alpha A7RIV will deliver exceptional image quality every single time.
This really is one of the best mirrorless cameras on the market today and employs cutting edge technology that other brands are racing to compete with.
2. Nikon D850
Sensor: Full-Frame | Resolution: 45.7MP | Monitor: 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 2.359K dots | Autofocus: 153-points | Max frame rate: 9fps | Video: 4K at 30p | Weight: 539g (1.18 lb)
If you are in the market for a professional-level DSLR camera for your product photography, then the Nikon D850 (review) is by far the best and most proven choice. It is the workhorse and choice for many pro and commercial photographers due to its incredibly high level of performance and functionality.
This full-frame digital camera sports an impressive 45.7-megapixel sensor that ensures that every single tiny detail of your products is captured.
This level of intense detail caught by the image sensor makes the files from this camera highly manageable and flexible for post-production editing.
The Nikon D850 has a far more organic design thanks to complex curves that dominate the body from every angle that you view this camera.
Further to this, function buttons, control dials and even external port access are prominent on this camera body. It appears that there are buttons everywhere, including on the top of the main control dial.
This brings into question the D850’s comfort level for those using this camera every day. A lot of those aforementioned complex curves are masterfully designed to create the ergonomic elements of the camera. The camera has a sizeable grip with ample thumb real-estate on the rear.
From here, core function buttons and dials are easily accessible via the thumb, index and middle fingers while still maintaining a firm grip on the camera. This leaves your left hand free to support your lens, the base of the camera or to access further control dials and function buttons.
It must be said that compared to a lot of high-end cameras, the Nikon D850 has a lot of buttons and access port covers that protrude noticeably from the body. This gives the camera a strange lumpy appearance as though parts had been tacked on post-manufacture.
Despite the Nikon D850 appearing to be a much bigger camera than the Sony, it is, in fact, lighter at only 539g (1.18 lb) compared to the Sony’s 665 g (1lb 7.5oz). Not a huge difference, but once you start adding pro-level lenses every gram or ounce counts towards usability and comfort.
Nikon has been in the photography game since 1948 and, as a result, has decades of experience in the design and manufacture of camera bodies and a wide range of lenses.
In terms of full-frame lenses, Nikon has an incredible array of prime, zoom and specialty lenses available.
Aside from the high-quality lenses that Nikon design and make themselves, there are also third-party companies making Nikon compatible lenses.
Manufacturers such as Tamron and Sigma (see best lenses) also have a broad range of exceptional lenses available for Nikon full-frame cameras. This provides photographers with an exceptional level of choice in making the right purchasing decision for their style of work.
Being a DSLR, the Nikon D850 does not feature an Electronic View Finder or EVF. The Optical View Finder, or OVF, has a great 0.75x magnification giving you a clear view of your frame.
The rear screen is a fully touch-controlled 3.2 inch LCD monitor with exceptional levels of detail at 2.359K dots. With that level of detail, you can work effectively in Live Mode, control your menu options or use the rear screen to focus and shoot.
The screen is also able to flip on the horizontal axis for more flexible shooting positions – it’s also ideal for editorial photography.
This screen on this Nikon digital camera is absolutely perfect for shooting product images as you can use the live view focusing mode to zoom in and pinpoint the exact focus point that you wish to capture.
An additional monochrome screen sits on the top of the camera to provide real-time information on camera settings.
The Nikon D850 has exceptionally fast Auto Focus with up to 153 focus points depending on your shooting mode. The tracking system on this camera is one of the best on any system. The 3D tracking mode is especially accurate and works with subjects moving in any direction.
By half-pressing the shutter button, the 3D tracking captures your subject and holds them in complete focus – even if they are moving, such as in high paced sports. Once you press the shutter button down fully, you can capture your image with either a single shot or with a high-speed burst mode.
This camera boasts 9 frames per second (fps) burst mode ideal for capturing subjects on the move. For a product photographer working with models that are moving, this along with the eye and face tracking system are brilliant.
Thanks to the Nikon D850’s amazing 45.7MP sensor and proprietary processor, it delivers exceptional image quality in all conditions. Now that Nikon has dropped the optical low-pass filter, images are exceptionally crisp and sharp.
Further to this, the camera has the ability to deliver quality HDR images through in-camera bracketing to compile two exposures from a single shot.
Even in low light performance, the Nikon has exceptional light sensitivity and control with an ISO range of 64 to 25,600.
In terms of video production for products, the D850 will deliver 4K UHD at a respectable 30p. To support such data-rich video and still image files, it features dual card slots. One is for the UHS-II SD memory cards and the other is for the larger XQD memory cards.
The D850 is priced to sit neatly in between the Sony and the Canon cameras in this guide. When you consider the image quality, functionality and overall performance as a product photography camera, it is ideally priced to match output.
Thanks to a comprehensive set of features that produce outstanding image quality, the Nikon D850 is certainly one of the best cameras for product photography shooting. Generations of expertise coupled with an extensive lens range make it a highly productive and capable camera for this genre.
3. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Sensor: Full-Frame | Resolution: 30.4MP | Monitor:3.2inch touchscreen, 1.620K dots | Autofocus: 61-points | Max frame rate: 7fps | Video: 4K at 30p | Weight: 890g (1.96 lb)
Canon cameras are a familiar household brand of cameras at every level. From entry-level point and shoot cameras to full-frame commercials beasts, Canon seems to have a camera for every occasion.
When it comes to choosing the best camera for product photography, you cannot go past the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (review).
This full-frame digital camera houses a respectable 30.4-megapixel sensor. Whilst not the highest pixel count of the best product photography cameras covered here, the 5D Mark IV still produces excellent image quality and video output. For studio work or shooting outdoors, this sensor and the Canon processor will capture all the necessary details.
Just as Canon is a familiar brand, so too is its design aesthetic for its range of DSLR cameras. Soft curves and sensible design elements give this camera a very similar appearance to the Nikon D850.
Sensible placement of buttons and command dials provide for ease of use when handling this camera. This second screen is excellent for quick access to key information while in the middle of a shoot.
Above the handgrip of the camera, there is a monochrome LCD screen that provides instant information on camera functions and settings including exposure and battery life.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV features a large and comfortable hand grip with access to your most critical function buttons and command dials.
Thumb real estate on the rear of the camera is free of buttons yet still provides necessary access to control other features with the thumb. This is essential given that the majority of the control over a camera of this nature is by the thumb and index finger.
Weighing in at 890gm, the 5D Mark IV is the heaviest of the product photographer cameras in this guide. While it still comes in at under 1kg, when handholding and shooting with this camera all day, fatigue is going to be a factor.
Like Nikon, Canon has been in the business of producing cameras and lenses for many decades. In fact, Canon has been developing cameras since the 1930s.
That kind of heritage and experience has resulted in Canon’s familiarity with the consumer and professional markets.
Further to this, it has allowed Canon to fine-tune the development and manufacturing processes of cameras and lenses. Canon has a huge range of full-frame lenses developed in-house and also by third-party manufacturers such as Sigma.
The Canon lens line up is brilliant, with many excellent choices for product photography to ensure you capture all the necessary detail.
Being a full-frame DSLR, the 5D Mark IV features an Optical View Finder, or OVF, that provides a magnification of 0.71x.
As for the large 3.2 inch LCD, this screen is fixed to the body with no level of flip or rotation. The screen has a respectable resolution and brightness with 1.440K dots.
The speed of autofocus in the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is fantastic thanks to considerable development from prior versions of this model. The autofocus system features 61 cross-type autofocus points. Autofocus points can also be selected from the touch screen on the rear of the camera.
The camera has a very comprehensive and effective Eye and Face Tracking mode. Such modes allow you to grab the focus of a subject such as a model and retain that focus through the time you are pressing the shutter button.
In product photography, this can be a great benefit when working with models moving in a dynamic way.
Given the nature of full-frame cameras with their larger sensors, they are able to pull in a lot of light and detail. This is also the case for this camera given its reasonable 30.4-megapixel sensor and a great ISO range.
In terms of managing ISO levels, the range can operate between 100-32,000 with an expanded range of up to 102,400. These ISO levels are incredible, especially for indoor studio use.
Thanks to that same image sensor and on-board processing system, the 5D Mark IV produces excellent image quality. Images are crisp, sharp and incredibly well-rendered to provide detail and contrast. It is this sort of performance that clearly makes this one of the best cameras for product photography.
As far as video performance, the Canon is able to produce Full HD video at 60p and at 120p. The stand-out performance is that it can also capture 4K video at 30 frames per second (fps).
As mentioned earlier, Canon has been producing consumer and professional level cameras for quite some time. Throughout that history, one thing that seems evident is that Canon is aware of how a menu system can make or break a photographic experience. As such, the menu system on this camera is one of the best in terms of being incredibly user-friendly and easy to navigate regardless of your skill level.
The Canon is a fantastic value for money given the amount of performance it can deliver in product photography. While it is the lowest price of the three cameras in the best-of guide, it certainly will not disappoint.
When choosing the best camera for product photography to meet your needs, one of the deciding factors is going to be budget. The 5D Mark IV is the sort of camera that will deliver excellent images to meet your product photography brief without pricing you out of the market.
It may not have as many bells and as whistles as some other higher-end product photography cameras. However, what it does do, it does incredibly well.
If you are in the market for a well-priced product photography camera, the Canon 5D Mark IV is hard to beat.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best camera for product photography?
Our number one pick for product photography is the Sony Alpha A7R IV. With a 61 megapixel sensor, it’s able to capture incredible detail and high-quality, printable images. Mirrorless cameras tend to be easier to travel with than DSLRs. As a bonus, it does stunning 4K video as well.
How many megapixels do I need for product photography?
Because product photography requires capturing a lot of detail, a higher megapixel count is going to be better. For serious photographers, we’d recommend at minimum something like the Canon 5D Mark IV, which has a 30.4-megapixel sensor. That said, even cameras with lower resolutions can create images that are good enough quality to print.
Which DSLR is best for product photography?
The Nikon D850 is a great DSLR option for product photography. It offers a high resolution of 45.7 megapixels, outstanding dynamic range, and has a tilting touch screen that’s perfect for those hard-to-get angles.
What equipment do I need for product photography?
At a minimum, you’ll need a good quality lens and a tripod along with your camera body. A tripod is necessary for keeping your camera still so your shots are perfectly crisp and focused. Depending on the product and where you’re shooting, you may also need extras like a softbox, white backdrop, flash, light stands, reflectors and, of course, your imagination!
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.