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What are the Top 9 Cameras for Wedding Photography?

What are the Top 9 Cameras for Wedding Photography?
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Photo by Ashley and Justin Photography (uses Nikon)

Searching for the best digital camera for wedding photography or videography can be a lot of work.  The top two you usually hear about are Canon and Nikon.  You may not need the latest and greatest gizmos and gadgets to make your wedding photos or videos pop, but having a great model can be the difference between photos being in focus or high enough in resolution for you to properly edit.  In this post, we'll look at which of the top-rated digital cameras are right for you, especially if you do long wedding days or adventure elopements.

"Which kind of camera should I buy for weddings?"  "Canon or Nikon?"  "Mirrorless or DSLR?"  Just a few common questions when photographers begin taking on weddings.  The truth is that both Canon and Nikon offer excellent options when it comes to adventure elopement photography, and the photographers on our list use both.  The question we'd rather help you answer is: "what's the best option for your business?"   

Regardless of which option you choose, the models below are some of the top cameras out there for the best value.  We will note, however, that Nikon lenses are interchangeable with each body, whereas not all Canon lenses fit each model.  So if you worry for any reason you may change your tech, that's something to consider.

With that out of the way, here are the top professional cameras for wedding photography compared below.  By the way, wondering why you can't rapid-shoot a lot of photos in a row?  It's possible your MB per second isn't fast enough.  Check out these SD cards that not only record quickly but have enough storage to last for a wedding day.

Side Note: We always recommend going Full-Frame for weddings.  Crop sensors may seem to save money, but cut your lens area by about 40% and are lower resolution, making the images harder to edit in Lightroom or Photoshop.  All options below are Full Frame to make sure you can give the best product.

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1. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

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Photo by ShutterFreek

Summary: With its crisp photo quality, user-friendly menu, solid lens options, and widely critical acclaim, it's no surprise this Canon model comes out on top.  So many new photographers (and those upgrading) can't help but fall in love with its lightweight body, making it overall the top choice for any serious photographer.

Like our top Nikon pick below, it's also powerful enough you may not feel the need to upgrade after buying it-- ever! It has great lens options and even a useful face detection feature in Live View mode on the back screen.  Read the reviews for yourself to see why it's one of the best upgrades in the market.

Still Res: 30.4 MP           
Weight:  1.76 lbs   

Included: Lithium Ion Battery... (more)

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

A good price for this camera is around $2,500.  Check it out on sale here on Amazon.

2. Nikon D850 Digital SLR

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Summary: This model may not be the newest, but it still boasts one of the best-focusing systems on market, and the picture quality has one of the highest resolutions a photographer or videographer could want. This one was built for image quality, and it shows!  For the adventure elopement vendor, yes, it is also weather sealed, which is huge when you'll be around dirt and rain. 

Beyond all that, we've found many photographers pick this camera with the intent to 'upgrade later' and find they have no need to do so.  If you're planning to be in the wedding photography game for a while, don't buy a camera you'll just have to replace.  Snag a model like the D850 that's built to last.  By the way, this has one of the best ISOs for taking low-light shots (which comes in handy frequently during weddings).

Nikon D850

Still Res: 45.7 MP           
Weight:  2.02 lbs   

Included: Lithium Ion Battery... (more)

A good price for this camera is around $2,800.  Check it out on sale here on Amazon.

3. Canon EOS 6D Mark II 

Summary: This model bears an impressive focus system and image quality, and remains compatible with the best lenses on the market making it an excellent pick for any wedding professional!

The downside is its image resolution is obviously not up to the level of later models like the ones above (though still high at 26 MP).  For some professionals, it does mean you need fewer SD cards throughout a wedding day and that can be a nice perk.

Still Res: 26.2 MP           
Weight:  3.45 lbs   

Included: Lithium Ion Battery, Battery Charger... (more)

Canon EOS 6D Mark II

A good price for this camera is around $1,400.  Check it out on sale here on Amazon.

4. Nikon Z9 FX-Format Mirrorless

Summary: The Z9 is an absolute powerhouse of a camera with every function you could want. It shoots in 8k video and can record for longer than your average tech.  Another spectacular benefit that comes from mirrorless cameras like the Z9 is how quiet the shutter is with each picture.  Ever walk around a ceremony and feel like you're being too noisy by taking a shot?  This is your saving grace! 

It has one of the highest picture qualities available, making the photos tack-sharp and easier to edit.  While it is one of the best and easiest to use among 'wedding quality' cameras, it's far from the cheapest.  Due to not having as many reviews and coupled with a higher price tag, we ranked this a little lower than the proven models.

Nikon Z9

Still Res: 45.7 MP           
Weight:  2.95 lbs   

Included: Lithium Ion Battery, Charger... (more)

A good price for this camera is around $5,500.  Check it out on sale here on Amazon.

5. Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Summary: Certainly a favorite among many video aficionados, the Mark III still holds up even since it was released in 2012.  Its price remains quite steady due to its ability to great photos, even in low light.  Our only 'mark' against it would be the dated resolution for the price.  While newer models clock in around 45 MP (incredibly high), this seems like it may age out sooner than some photographers might prefer. 

On the other hand, 22 MPs is still good; it just might work better as a starter camera than a forever one.

Still Res: 22 MP           
Weight:  2.09 lbs   

Included: Lithium Ion Battery... (more)

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

A good price for this camera is around $1,600.  Check it out on sale here on Amazon.

6. Nikon Z 7II-Mirrorless

Summary: This camera is Nikon’s most popular mirrorless camera that still boasts a full-frame sensor. More and more adventure photographers are making the jump to mirrorless because they're known to be lighter than the traditional DSLR.

This model has high-resolution photos, top-of-the-line focus through vibration reduction, and excellent video capture for all the curves a wedding day can throw at you.  Many reviews compare this as the Mirrorless version of the D850.

Nikon Z7II Mirrorless

Still Res: 45.7 MP           
Weight:  1.9 lbs   

Included: Lithium Ion Battery... (more)

A good price for this camera is around $2,900.  Check it out on sale here on Amazon.

7. Nikon D750

Summary: This camera was released in 2014 and still remains one of the top-performing full-frame cameras on the market today. While it may not have the bells and whistles of more recent additions, its image quality will rival any other on the market. If you are looking to capture stunning images for less money, look no further than the Nikon D750!

Lower, but respectable, image resolution aside, the D750 remains a popular addition to any photographer's toolkit.

Nikon D750

Still Res: 24.3 MP           
Weight:  1.65 lbs   

Included: Lithium Ion Battery, Battery Charger... (more)

A good price for this camera is around $1,700.  Check it out on sale here on Amazon.

8. Canon 7D Mark II (Top Budget Choice)

Summary: In its time, this was voted the top Canon camera several years in a row, and it’s easy to see why. This camera still holds pretty well against the competition, especially for the price! It can take photos in almost any light, and combined with its lightning-fast frame rate, you won’t miss a beat during important moments.

Its photo quality IS considered pretty out of date, but for the price, it's tough to beat.  You may need some upgrading once you have a few weddings under your belt, but the Mark II makes a fantastic starter camera for the new photographer.

Still Res: 20.2 MP           
Weight:  2.01 lbs   

Included: Lithium Ion Battery, Charger... (more)

Canon 7D Mark II

A good price for this camera is around $530.  Check it out on sale here on Amazon.

9. Sony a7 Mirrorless with 28-70mm Lens Kit

Amazon Rating:  4.1 Stars  (12 reviews)

Summary: It wouldn't be a complete list without including at least one Sony camera.  We've heard from a number of photographers they prefer this model, especially with a great startup kit like the one pictured.

Featuring great image resolution and useful kit accessories, the only reason we aren't ranking it higher is due to the lack of reviews (and those that appear average below the 4.5-star rating).  Some people swear by Sony, so give this one a look before making a final decision.

Still Res: 33.0 MP           
Weight:  5.65 lbs with Lens 

Included: Lithium Ion Battery, Charger... (more)

Sony a7 Mirrorless

A good price for this camera is around $2,800.  Check it out on sale here on Amazon.


What is a Full Frame Sensor?

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As you shop for a new camera, you'll notice less expensive cameras often come with crop sensors.  This means when you take your photos in Lightroom, your images will be cropped into a tighter field (as well as lower resolution).  This can be challenging for inside shots, wide shots, or family shots.  We highly recommend avoiding crop sensors. 

With the full frame, the standard size is 35mm and is ideal for wedding photography.  Best of all, it also performs better in lowlight conditions.  It also means when you purchase lenses, you'll get the range you paid for, whereas crop sensors are more zoomed in, meaning they lose about 40% of the lens mm and results in lower pixel quality.

What is ISO?

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Nighttime image at a wedding using the D850. Virtually no grain due to its high ISO quality.

You'll notice a setting on your camera for ISO, which is your camera's sensitivity to light.  It's often employed (raised) when you're in lower light conditions, though it can also be a helpful tool to balance shutter speed.  The darker the conditions, the higher the ISO.  In a nutshell, it's a way to brighten pictures in various conditions. 

The normal range during daylight on a photo is somewhere between 200 and 600; during sunset, you may go as high as 1200, but with older cameras, you may start to lose that sharp quality in the photos.  Newer cameras like the top 3 on this list can go much higher and still not have that undesirable graininess in your final images.

What does a Mirrorless camera mean?

Unlike DSLR cameras which use a mirror to reflect images, mirrorless cameras use EVF, or electronic viewfinders.  This means the camera is more stable and results in fewer 'shaky' photos.  You'll see far more tack-sharp images and have fewer blurry ones to throw in the garbage, which is great when you have moments like bouquet tosses and dips during dancing. 

Due to fewer parts inside the camera, it's usually quieter as well (which guests may appreciate during a quieter ceremony).  Competitively, mirrorless cameras allow you to take more images back-to-back due to their ultra-fast shutter speed and super-accurate focus.

What is a good Megapixel (MP) for a camera?

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As a frame of reference, most phone cameras between 2018 and 2021 took 12MP photos, which is fairly poor.  You should absolutely avoid any camera with 12MP, as it will offer lower-resolution images (especially in low light) and make it difficult to edit properly.  Newer photographers are better off starting at least 24MP or higher to ensure quality images for clients.  As a note, 24MP can be printed large enough for a billboard but pales in comparison to the visual quality and exceptionally sharp detail of 45MP found in cameras like the D850 and Z9.  Higher photo resolution does mean you'll probably need more SD cards throughout a wedding day.

If you're planning to be a photographer for destination weddings in Southern Utah, Arizona, Nevada, or anywhere in the Southwest with an epic venue (indoors or out), you'd be hard-pressed to find better cameras than the models mentioned above.  The majority of photographers feel Nikon and Canon will do a great job providing you the equipment you need to capture those amazing and epic shots, as well as handling some unexpected weather conditions-- that means it just comes down to preference.   

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Photo by Niki Baldwin Photography (uses Canon)

We earn a commission through the links above. However, these were selected based on their commitment to customer satisfaction and recommendations based on experienced photographers.

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