Being a wedding photographer requires tremendous skill, talent, and patience. But to be able to produce beautiful images that flawlessly captures every emotion, every happy moment, and every glorious detail of the bride and groom’s most special day, there is one thing that every wedding photographer needs: the best camera for the job. Wedding photography is a demanding job that requires a high-performance DSLR camera designed and built to not only meet but exceed the photographer’s needs in terms of speed (to capture those important fleeting moments that can never be repeated) and image quality.
What camera equipment do I need for wedding photography? This is a question we get asked a lot by other photographers; barely a week goes by without us receiving messages or getting contacted by email with questions about equipment. These are mainly newbie photographers trying to find their way. Most experienced photographers know that the craft and knowledge involved in using camera gear are much more important than the equipment itself.
Picking the best cameras for wedding photography might seem like a straightforward process, but while some cameras will excel, others won’t be up to the rigours of the big day. Choosing the right wedding photographer in Melbourne to capture every moment on your wedding day.
Shooting a wedding is a high-pressure assignment in which you’re faced with multiple fraction-of-a-second opportunities to get it right the first time. So, you’ll not only want to know your photographic kit inside out, so you don’t have to start fiddling with settings on the fly and miss the moment – you’ll also want to choose a kit bag full of equipment you know you can rely on to help you deliver.
An often-used saying in photography is that newbie photographers talk about cameras, amateur photographers talk about lenses, and experienced photographers talk about lighting and technique. This is sort of right, but we know that even with professional photographers if you get a few of them together, there will be lots of gear talk. We all love our shiny new toys! It is also genuine that a skilled photographer can create beautiful images even with the most basic equipment for working professionally though there are other things to consider, especially when it comes to wedding photography.
Camera equipment for a wedding is more important than it is for someone buying a camera to take a few photos of their kids and for everyday use. The equipment needs to perform in often difficult lighting situations; it needs to be reliable and suitable for use for a range of many different photography genres. This is one of the things we love about photographing a wedding; on any given wedding day, we are not just a wedding photographer; we are a portrait photographer, a product photographer, a landscape photographer and a photojournalist all rolled into one.
Clients 99% of the time don’t care about what equipment we use. We have only ever had a handful of clients ask us gear-related questions because they were interested in photography or worked as professional photographers themselves.
It is a difficult question for us to answer as our needs will be different from other photographers. Wedding photography equipment requirements are determined by shooting style, and because there are two of us, that makes a difference as well.
There is a temptation as a wedding photographer to keep equipment to the bare minimum. Camera equipment can be costly, and professional equipment can be heavy and cumbersome to carry around all day. This is a route we decided not to go down, though, for the reasons mentioned above.
But, whether you’re starting or looking for a new camera to enhance a current set up, we’re here to help. We’ll be running down the best cameras for wedding photography for those who are just starting, those looking to upgrade and those who want to start making a sober living from wedding photography. We’ve avoided entry-level cameras as we’ll be fine for general shooting; they don’t have a wealth of features needed to capture the big day.
With that in mind, these are the best cameras for wedding photography that you can buy right. If you’d like to work with professional photographers for your wedding, book with us at Wild Romantic Photography.
Best Camera For Wedding Photography – Who Should Buy This?
The range of the cameras below is for intermediate to seasoned professional photographers and videographers who would like to create unique images, perform at a high level and be known for excellent wedding photography.
You can find great options no matter what you are after for a mirrorless camera that is light and with outstanding performance or a top-range professional camera.
Best Camera For Wedding Photography: What To Consider
Buying any camera is an investment; therefore, always search for a finely made, durable, and weatherproof camera that may last for several years. You need to research the equipment beforehand and make sure you are happy with it.
As a professional wedding photographer, it is quite likely that you may need to carry 2 to 3 cameras at the same time, and it is a good idea for you to get a camera as durable and reliable as possible because sometimes they get knocked about, especially when weaving through the guests. Wild Romantic Photography has the best range of services of wedding photography Yarra Valley. Check them out here.
Quality of Images, Processor Speed, and Color Tones
The quality of images produced by finely made DSLR cameras is far beyond those captured by mirrorless cameras or high-quality cell phones. Compared with mirrorless cameras and mobile phones, DSLR cameras come with much better and larger sensors.
This implies that DSLRs will let in additional light to produce better photos, offering a more dynamic range in low-light scenarios. Furthermore, the current DSLR cameras give better controls, from shutter speed to exposure, which can help you take better photographs as every system has its challenges.
DSLR cameras often come with dedicated processors compared to smartphones and mirrorless cameras; this is very important because the dedicated processors will deliver higher quality images.
As far as DSLR cameras are concerned, the sole limit to capturing different tones and colours with a DSLR is your imagination. If you throw different lenses into the combo, you will realise it’s a blank canvas.
Availability of Wide Range of Lenses
Different lenses produce different effects. Hence we need to get a camera that is compatible with a wide range of lenses.
It depends on the painter to decide on the brush consistent with their style and strokes. Similarly, according to their type, different lenses produce different results from situation to situation and from person to person.
Wedding photography is a mixture of everything, from portraits, macro to motions, which means you will need different lenses for a big day shooting.
Do consider your lens collection and which lenses you would like to get before getting your camera.
The price range for DSLRs varies, but you can get a budget-friendly DSLR body like the Nikon D7500, which’s called the same image quality as its more high-end peers.
When photographing a bride and groom, you need to capture everything from her white dress’s sufficient detail to the subtle shadows of his black tux. The camera with the most comprehensive dynamic range and the highlight and shadow sliders in post-processing of RAW images are your best friends.
Overall Image Quality
This factor is, of course, most important when marketing your large keepsake prints. You will want the lowest noise at the highest ISO option available, so this makes full-frame DSLRs pretty much a requirement. Planning your dream wedding and don’t want to miss out on the special moments on your big day? Worry no more, Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.
Wedding albums will mostly have shots of moving subjects, and that’s why having fast, precise AF is a massive advantage for wedding cameras. Our advice? Find a camera with more AF points and read user reviews to see what others say about the performance.
Most DSLRs also include their detection range in their tech specs. Detection range refers to the content of the light that a camera can use for focus. You can compare cameras by looking at the lowest number (e.g. -3 EV of AF will offer better low-light performance than -2 EV of AF).
You should also check the ISO performance of the camera you’re eyeing, along with sensor and AF performance. DxOMark and user reviews are great places to look for a model’s ISO rating. We’ve included ISO ranges for every camera we’ve featured in this article, so you can picture how they’ll fare in low-light scenes.
The user interface is less of an essential feature because, with experience, you can get used to any layout. At this level, you can customise your camera to fit your preferences. That said, moving up to the latest version of the camera and brand you already have reduces the learning curve, and many photographers find that to be a significant benefit.
You want a well-made camera with a well-constructed body and a shutter that is rated for hundreds of thousands of clicks because you’ll be taking a lot of pictures.
Canon and Nikon have the most extensive lens, flash, and accessory systems geared for professionals. Sony is catching up. And for the more skilled pros, Pentax has a full-frame DSLR under $2,000. Image quality is extraordinary, and while the lenses for this camera are excellent, the system is more limited.
Accessories & Extra Features
Before buying that wedding DSLR, make sure to look at the available lenses and flashes for it. When it comes to lenses, you should check if your desired model has the lens you’ll need or want. We’ll talk more about the lenses that wedding photographers use in our FAQ section.
As for flash units, make sure you get a compatible hot-shoe flash and a wireless set. You can use off-camera flash with these accessories.
A camera’s extra features can also help a lot in shooting weddings. Dual SD card slots, battery life, and video capabilities are a few things you should consider when picking the best camera for wedding photography.
Best Camera For Wedding Photography – Quick Summary
- Best Mirrorless Camera for Seasoned Wedding Photographers: Nikon Z6
- Best Camera for Simple or Destination Weddings: Nikon D850
- Best Professional Camera for Wedding Photography: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
- Best Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera for Wedding Photography and Videography: Sony α7R IV
Best Camera For Wedding Photography
Nikon Z6 is a mirrorless camera that is great for seasoned wedding photographers. It’s very similar to its big brother, Z7, in terms of its main specs, but the difference comes all the way down to the sensor and, therefore, the decrease in resolution in Z6(fewer megapixels but higher frames per second).
Z6 has a whole different audience, mostly those who want to maneuver from a full-time DSLR camera to mirrorless systems buy it. We cannot consider Z6 as a budget-friendly option. However, this camera offers a lot of potential for breathtaking pictures.
We love Nikon mirrorless cameras, and Z6 would be the most useful all-rounder camera considering cost per value with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, which is excellent for wedding photography and portraits. It offers 273 AF points, and it achieves so by switching focal phase-detect and contrast-detect.
The Z6 delivers strong performance across the board. Nikon’s mid-price full-frame mirrorless camera has a lot to offer the wedding photographer.
You’re certainly not going to be disappointed with the results from the 24.5MP back-illuminated sensor, for starters. At the same time, the Z6 II can shoot a great 4K video (up to 60p once Nikon launches a firmware update). The 273-point phase-detect AF system in the Z6 is a solid performer with coverage across 90% of the frame and includes EyeAF, which’s become popular elsewhere.
The Z6 II can also shoot at a very rapid 14fps with the mechanical shutter and has a decent buffer depth. We like the feel of the Z6 II in hand as well, thanks to the well-textured grip and the generous use of magnesium alloy used on the body panels. Like the sound of the Z6 II but want more pixels? Check out its bigger brother, the 45MP Nikon Z7 II. We have an exclusive range of wedding photography Mornington Peninsula services. Check them out here.
What We Like:
- It can handle non-ideal lighting situations (very typical for weddings) very well, saving a lot of post-production time.
- Using an XQD card which transfers data at a lightning-fast speed
- Able to capture 1080p video at 120fps, which might help make slow-motion scenarios look a lot smoother.
- The silent mode in the camera helps capture photographs without any shutter sound, which can help capture a moment without ruining it.
- This is a camera that can grow with you, from beginners to experts.
Nikon D850 is an excellent camera for all weddings, including destination weddings. As it’s a weather-sealed camera to assist with new places’ unpredictable weather conditions, this is the latest camera from Nikon’s D800 series. Or, if you are looking for an upgrade to Nikon Z6, it would make a great choice.
In a world of advanced mirrorless cameras, the D850 might feel a bit behind the times, but that feeling will change once you start shooting with it. One of the best (if not best) DSLRs ever made, the D850 is the perfect do-it-all DSLR and one of the best wedding cameras going. This is thanks to several factors – there’s the excellent 45MP full-frame with a broad dynamic so you can get every bit of detail from the bride’s dress, the advanced 153-point AF gets the job done.
It might be heavy compared to mirrorless rivals, but its durable weather-sealed build means it’s ready to get drenched in champagne and carry on shooting. And it will carry on shooting with an awe-inspiring battery life that will embarrass any mirrorless camera—a modern classic.
What We Like:
- With a 45.7MP sensor, it surely can capture some breathtaking pictures for the wedding and leave room for cropping.
- It offers 3D tracking that automatically follows fast-to-normal moving objects.
- Remarkable continuous shooting speed for a camera with this resolution and a mechanical shutter that tops out at 1/8000th of a second.
- What We Don’t Like:
- It comes with only 153 AF points,
- It can shoot at 1080p at 120fps but only baked in with no sound.
CANON EOS 5D MARK IV
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a full-frame DSLR camera that comes with a modern AF system. This camera makes the DSLR cameras enter back to the video world. Not that it’s made only for video shooting, it shoots fantastic photos.
Canon’s new-generation EOS 5D DSLR gives you much better image quality, performance, and versatility. This rugged camera body features a 30.4-megapixel full-frame sensor for fine image quality and a highly detailed 4K video. Plus, an improved 61-point AF system and a Dual Pixel AF function offer fast and smooth AF when you capture video and use the camera’s Live View mode. Both features help achieve more precise focus.
Apart from its sensor and AF capabilities, the EOS 5D Mark IV comes with a DIGIC 6+ processor for faster operation anytime, anywhere. It even has built-in Wi-Fi, GPS, and an intuitive touch-panel LCD to make photo sharing and adjusting camera settings a breeze.
What We Like:
- It captures sharp photos that look a lot better than Mark III’s photographs, offering much more latitudes, especially in shadows.
- It comes with a 30MP sensor, which is excellent to capture pictures for magazines and billboards. Some cameras offer up to 50MP, but not everyone needs that; 30MP is perfect for most situations.
- Excellent live facial tracking, even in a dark environment. The facial tracking helps not change focus points; with a broader focus spread, it illuminates subjects from the background.
What We Don’t Like:
- Battery life is short, and you probably need to prepare several spare batteries.
SONY Α7R IV
Sony Alpha 7R IV comes with a 61MP sensor, a significant 31% jump over its predecessor, making it one of the highest resolution full-frame mirrorless cameras in the market.
The dynamic range offered by this camera gives you plenty of shadow and highlight detail. Not only this, but it also works surprisingly well in low light conditions, which makes it a perfect camera to shoot wedding dinners, first dances, and candid moments at parties.
What We Like:
- It enables you to shoot at ten fps at continuous AF, and AE helped with 14 stops dynamic range, which is provided by the excellent auto-focusing function.
- It offers canny face, eyes and animal auto-detection, which makes it an excellent camera for wedding videography as well
- Providing top of the range specs
- A more oversized grip decreases chances of falling out of your hands
- It comes with an electronic viewfinder with a 120-refresh rate with minimal lag.
What We Don’t Like:
- The user menu is not so user friendly; you may need to spend a few days and nights to sort things out.
- Batteries can deliver up to 170 minutes of photography, which is pretty low to average nowadays.
Wedding photography is about preparation, patience, skills, communication, reaction, and observation. I hope you find this article useful before purchasing your camera! If you need advice on your wedding photography, check out our photography packages and services at Wild Romantic Photography.