Last updated on February 7th, 2023
Wedding photography is a tough business. Capturing one of the most important days of a person’s life, not missing any important moment, and delivering the final images day in and day out definitely requires some skill and practice.
Which is why it is vital to get started on the right foot.
A proper wedding photography camera will not only help you achieve fast focusing and great details in low light but will, more importantly, make your job easier and let you focus on composition rather than technical settings.
This list describes ten wedding cameras that represent the best of the best.
Although beginner cameras might get the job done, you will need such cameras — at the top of their class — if you wish to rely entirely on them to generate your income.
Best Wedding Photography Cameras
1. Nikon D780
Nikon’s sensors have always been able to squeeze out more details than those in Canon and Fuji cameras, and the full-frame 24MP sensor of the D780 DSLR is no exception.
The RAW files provide excellent dynamic range and low-light performance, so you are covered from morning to evening.
The only thing missing is a pop-up flash, and you’ll have to arrange for a separate Speedlight.
The AF system is dual-layered: 51-point focusing when shooting through the viewfinder and a separate 273-point phase detect focusing when using the live view.
Both systems offer accurate face detection and continuous autofocus, although the smaller coverage of the 51 points means that you’ll have to ensure you track the subject well and keep it under the points.
Unlike previous Nikons, the D780 is also a solid video camera. With the hybrid phase-detect AF, 10-bit Log footage to an external recorder, and oversampled 4K video, you can rely on this to fulfill your client’s photographic and videographic demands.
One thing to remember is that the 24-120mm lens bundled with the D780 is not wide enough for all wedding shots, and the camera has no in-body image stabilization.
- Fantastic image quality and low-light performance
- Build quality of the camera body is great
- Reliable AF system
- Strong video features
- No in-body stabilization
- Burst shooting of 7 fps may not be sufficient for fast action
2. Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
The EOS-1D X Mark III sits at the top of Canon’s DSLR line-up, and although expensive, its features are unbeatable and aimed at professionals.
The full-frame 20.1MP CMOS sensor is powered by the Digic X processor and Dual Pixel AF and delivers beautifully in all sorts of lighting. There are also dual CFExpress card slots, which let you create instant backups of your data and increase the buffer you get during continuous shooting.
When shooting through the viewfinder, the AF module gives 191 points and is paired with a new 400,000-pixel metering sensor with updated algorithms for subject tracking and face & eye detection.
In Live View, the camera continues to impress with Dual Pixel AF, a shooting speed of 20 fps, 3869 selectable points, and 90% frame coverage. In short, there’s no scene or speed that the 1D-X III cannot handle.
The camera’s video department is equally impressive, offering 5.5K/60P video in 12-bit and 4K/60p 4:2:2 10-bit video in H.265 format. Raw video and C-Log can be captured internally, which will help you extract even more details from each frame and grade the footage.
With almost no flaws — except perhaps the price tag, weight, and lack of optical stabilization — this is a camera that even professionals will not be able to get bored of.
- Best-in-class image and AF system
- Advanced AF algorithms require almost no tweaking regardless of the scene type
- Dual card slots
- A complete video camera by itself
- Bulky and expensive
- No optical stabilization
- Lower resolution not suitable for professional landscape photography
3. Sony a1
Sony’s flagship mirrorless — rivaling the Canon 1D X — is a 50MP stacked full-frame sensor packed into a portable body with 5-axis optical stabilization.
The Sony Alpha a1 is positioned as a do-it-all camera, from wedding and action photography to landscapes and videography.
The 50MP sensor, which can be used in a high-res mode to produce 200MP photos, captures details effectively. The hybrid AF system with 759 points employs both human eye & bird eye detection, and Sony’s Real-time tracking easily challenges Nikon and Canon’s best systems.
For wedding photography especially, Sony will require the least amount of tweaking for the best result.
The 8K/30p footage is highly detailed, and you also get 4K Raw output over HDMI. The camera can even shoot 4.3K in 16-bit with an external recorder.
A few other features like a high-res 9.4 million-dot OLED viewfinder, dual card slots, 30 fps burst, and 1/400 sec flash sync are helpful too, making it a future-proof camera that you can rely on for years.
Amazon lets you choose the Sony a1 with various lens options. For weddings and general travel photography, a 12-24 mm GM and 24-70 mm GM 2 lens set will help you get started.
- Excellent image quality
- Real-time tracking is highly reliable and can recognize both humans and animals
- 5-axis image stabilization
- OLED viewfinder with 0.9x magnification
- Very expensive
- Battery life is low
4. Nikon Z9
Another pro-level mirrorless camera to rival Sony & Canon, the Nikon Z9 has a 45.7MP ‘stacked’ full-frame sensor, 8K/60p & 4K video, dual card slots, and 5-axis in-body image stabilization.
Designed for action photographers, the Z9’s blazing 20 fps speed for RAW files, reliable AF with 439 points, and Nikon’s 3D Tracking system and high dynamic range make it great for wedding photographers too.
Similar to the Canon 1D X, this camera’s AF algorithms have been taught subject recognition using machine learning, and it can easily track eyes, faces, animals, and even planes and bicycles.
The consistent phase-detect AF in video, 10-bit Raw footage without needing an external recorder, and N-Log capture make it Nikon’s most well-rounded video camera.
While the Z9 has a double-grip body and is not very portable, it is an excellent combination of advanced mirrorless tech in a DSLR-like body. If you already have F-mount Nikon lenses, you can get the Z9 bundled with the FTZ adapter from Adorama.
- Excellent image quality and high resolution
- Nikon’s 3D Tracking and 429 phase-detect points are very accurate
- Lots of video features, with 10-bit internal recording
- Heavier and less portable than other mirrorless cameras.
5. Sony a7R IV A
Released two years before the flagship Sony a1, the Sony a7r IV A is a semi-affordable full-frame 60.2MP mirrorless camera. Compared to the a1, the a7R has 567 phase-detect AF points instead of 759, a shooting speed of 10 fps, and a 5.7 million-dot viewfinder.
It might not have the best-in-class features of the a1, but the a7R IV is still a highly capable wedding and action camera, and the dynamic range and image quality are almost the same as the a1.
Further, the resolution of 60.2MP is much more than most photographers need.
The standout feature of the a7R — apart from the resolution — is Sony’s Real Time tracking AF with tenacious face & eye detection and in-body stabilization. A reliable autofocusing system will make it easier for you to get the bride and groom in perfect focus every time.
The a7R IV shows its age on the video front. You can shoot 4K/30p with eye autofocus, but there’s no 60p option or 8K video.
However, in a nutshell, considering this camera’s lower price and excellent image quality and AF, it remains a solid buy for photographers building their business.
- High-resolution full-frame sensor with excellent image quality
- Reliable AF that holds up against newer cameras
- In-body stabilization
- 4K video features are basic
- Viewfinder has a lower magnification and resolution
6. Canon EOS R5
Another camera in the expensive-yet-affordable category is the Canon EOS R5 mirrorless. Utilizing the ergonomic comforts of a DSLR-like body with modern features like a 45MP full-frame sensor, Dual Pixel AF, 5.76 million-dot OLED viewfinder, and 8K & 4K video, the R5 is an all-rounder.
The R5’s newer Dual Pixel II system is a boon for a wedding photographer. Its 5940 selectable AF points offer 100% coverage with machine learning-trained human and animal detection.
A slight downside is that the shooting speed is just 12 fps, which can go up to 20 fps with the electronic shutter at the cost of some minor rolling shutter.
With the fast AF, you get Canon’s amazing skin tones, excellent dynamic range, and in-body stabilization. This package makes it not just a great wedding camera but also an excellent travel and landscape camera.
The video side is where there are a few caveats. The 8K/30p and oversampled 4K/120p video is highly detailed, and you get options for Raw and 10-bit 4:2:2 C-Log. But using the 8K recording causes the camera to seriously overheat, and you may get only 15 minutes of footage out of it.
- Excellent image quality and the 45MP resolution is outstanding for all purposes
- In-body stabilization
- Dual Pixel AF is quick and reliable
- Overheating issues
- Other mirrorless cameras can manage both video and photos at a similar price
7. Canon EOS R6
Sitting below the EOS R5, the R6 is a mid-budget mirrorless camera aimed at enthusiast photographers who will also do some videography. At the heart of it lies a 20MP full-frame CMOS sensor, in-body stabilization, Dual Pixel II system, and UHD 4K video.
On paper, the EOS R6 seems like nothing extraordinary. But for pure stills photography — especially low-light — the EOS R6 is a treat, and the Dual Pixel AF means you need not fiddle with any settings.
If you need one camera that handles everything from weddings to family vacations, the R6 paired with the 24-105mm lens from Amazon will make a nice set.
The ergonomic body, high level of customization, and full-frame sensor make the camera really enjoyable to use, and the RAW files and straight-out-of-camera JPGs are highly detailed. The only downside is the low-resolution 3.68 million-dot EVF and slightly lower battery life of 380 shots.
The R6 shoots 4K video up to 60 fps and offers 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording with C-Log or HDR PQ. Unfortunately, similar to the R5, 4K recording on the R6 comes with a time limit of maybe 20-30 minutes, depending on how long you’ve already used the camera, and it also leads to overheating.
- Well-rounded full-frame camera suitable for all types of photography
- Excellent image quality, especially in low light
- Dual Pixel II AF with 1053 points for tracking works well
- Video is limited by overheating and rolling shutter problems
- Average battery life
8. Nikon D6
In this age of mirrorless cameras, the Nikon D6 is one of the only three DSLRs on this list, with a 20MP full-frame CMOS sensor that still holds its own when it comes to stills photography. And its magnesium alloy, dual-grip body is built like a tank.
At the time of its release, the D6 had Nikon’s most advanced 105-point AF system, with a newer scene recognition system and the ability to focus down to -4.5 EV, paired with a respectable 14 fps shooting speed.
The same setup was used in Nikon’s professional sports camera, the D500, and can easily handle the pace of a wedding, although more demanding users may want to consider newer mirrorless options that offer more AF points, a higher burst speed, and deeper customization.
The video features of the D6 are certainly lackluster. The 1080p video is decent, and you get helpful tools like zebra warnings and focus peaking, but 4K video comes with a 1.5x crop, and the contrast-detect AF won’t match the modern hybrid systems and Dual Pixel tech we are used to.
- Excellent image quality
- AF system may be old, but it is still quick and reliable
- Build quality is excellent and will last years
- No image stabilization
- 4K video comes with a crop
- Newer cameras available at the same price
9. Fujifilm X-T4
The only APS-C crop-sensor camera here and the most inexpensive, the Fuji X-T4 is an underdog standing among giants. The X-T series consists of affordable mirrorless cameras that deliver classic Fuji colors in a portable body and are an excellent mix of stills and video features.
And the X-T4 sits at the top of this category, with a 26MP CMOS crop sensor, 425 AF points utilizing both contrast and phase detection, 20 fps burst speed, in-body image stabilization, and 4K video.
Also, the X-T4 is one of the few cameras with an 18-55mm kit lens that delivers prime lens-like sharpness and has a wide aperture of f/2.8. And if you’re looking for just one lens for all your travel needs, you can get the 16-80 mm bundle from Amazon.
The X-T4 delivers excellent image quality and low-light performance, and its dynamic range is competitive, although a side-by-side comparison will show the limitations of its APS-C sensor.
But what makes this camera a great choice is its ability to make photography genuinely fun. The Fuji body design imitates retro film cameras, offers a host of customizable dials, and the film simulations are a joy to experiment with.
Add to all this excellent video quality with valuable tools like focus peaking, zebra, ‘Boost Image Stabilization’ mode, F-Log preview, line-level mic input, and an articulating touchscreen display, and you have a do-it-all camera.
The only downsides to look out for are the AF subject tracking, which can fail to perform if the subject is too fast or blends in with the background, and the lack of any AF tracking in video mode.
- Affordable and portable, with lots of manual control dials
- Excellent image quality and default JPGs
- In-body stabilization
- Wide range of video features
- AF performance is not always reliable
- No subject tracking in the video
10. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
The oldest camera on this list, the Canon 5D Mark IV DSLR is a trusted workhorse that continues to serve professional photographers even now.
It features a 30.4MP CMOS full-frame sensor with the first-ever Dual Pixel AF, a 61-point AF system through the viewfinder, 7 fps burst, and 4K/30p video.
While newer cameras with faster AF and more video features are available now, the 5D Mark IV will appeal to traditionalists who want a rugged DSLR that will last decades.
The RAW image quality and sheer dynamic range of the 5D hold up in 2023, but the AF system is beginning to feel outdated against younger mirrorless cameras with machine-learning algorithms.
The 61-point system paired with Dual Pixel will get the job done, albeit taking a few more tries and possibly a lower success rate with faster and smaller subjects.
The 5D IV offers 4K but with a 1.6x crop on the video side. Additionally, features like Log profile, 10-bit output, focus peaking, etc., are missing.
Considering the age of the 5D IV and today’s mirrorless offerings, the 5D Mark IV makes sense mainly as a landscape and architectural photography camera, where speedy AF and videography takes a backseat.
- 30MP full-frame sensor provides excellent images
- A traditional and rugged DSLR body
- Dual Pixel is useful for basic family videos
- Shooting speed of 7 fps and the 61-point AF feels outdated in this age
- Range of video features is limited
A wedding is a place of changing light, moving subjects, varied lighting, and limited time. Therefore, it is no surprise that a reliable wedding camera must be quick, self-sufficient, and sharp.
These requirements imply that you must focus on features like autofocus, burst speed, and image quality. If you have the budget and are trying to grow your photography business, you can consider advanced cameras like the Canon 1D-X Mark III or the Sony a1. These offer top-of-the-line focusing systems and video features, so you can simply ‘set it and forget it’ and focus only on composition.
For other photographers looking to start a career as a wedding photographer, or enthusiasts looking for an all-purpose camera, mid-level options like the Nikon D6 or the compact Fujifilm X-T4 may make more sense.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much money do wedding photographers make?
The salary of a wedding photographer varies depending on a number of factors, such as experience, location, and demand. Generally speaking, the average wage for wedding photographers ranges from $90,000 to $130,000 per year.
However, those figures can vary greatly based on the level of experience and skill the photographer has. Those who have been working in the industry for an extended period may be able to command higher rates than beginners or hobbyists. Additionally, the geographic area can also play a role in determining salary as more densely populated areas tend to offer higher salaries due to increased demand among engaged couples vying for the best wedding photographers.
Finally, demand from clients is another factor that could influence how much money wedding photographers make — those with strong portfolios and excellent customer service skills
Why do wedding photographers have two cameras?
Professional wedding photographers have two cameras not only for convenience but to take advantage of the best photography technology. Having a backup camera allows them to seamlessly switch between devices in case one develops an issue.
It’s also beneficial because two different lenses give photographers more options, especially in low or difficult light. With two cameras, the photographer can capture full-impact images with one while using a long-range lens on the second to fill in details that range from close-up portraits of the couple to wider shots of guests and decorations.
This gives wedding photographers more flexibility and innovation with their photography, allowing them to provide couples with beautiful memories that they can keep forever.
How many megapixels are needed for a wedding photography camera?
Wedding photography is an art form that requires the perfect combination of technique, talent, and equipment. In the age of the digital camera, pixels are often the first measure used when it comes to choosing the right camera for any occasion — but when it comes to wedding photography, having enough megapixels is especially important. After all, you’re capturing some of the most cherished moments in a couple’s life.
A good rule of thumb is to look for cameras with at least 16 megapixels — this should allow you to capture detailed photos which will be sure to have a timeless quality. Of course, there are other factors that come into play when picking out a camera for wedding photography, including shooting speed and image stabilization technology, as well as overall ease of use.
Is Sony or Canon better for wedding photography?
It is widely understood that premier wedding photography should feature stunning images and a style that personally suits the individual couple. When it comes to selecting a camera for the big day, Sony and Canon are two of the most popular choices. Sony cameras are praised for providing great low-light performance and capturing fast-moving subjects with ease. Canon, on the other hand, is known for its impeccable image quality and advanced technology.
Ultimately, which brand you decide to go with is going to depend largely on your personal preference — both offer outstanding features that make them well-suited for wedding photography. Whichever you choose, you can rest assured knowing that your special moment will be captured in amazing detail.
What is the newest trend in wedding photography?
In today’s digital age, wedding photography is undergoing immense advancements. There has been an increased demand for creativity and uniqueness from couples as they look to capture their special moments in a one-of-a-kind way.
A recent trend gaining popularity for capturing these special wedding memories is aerial drone shots of couples embracing during the vows or wedding reception. From high above, drones offer an unobstructed, sweeping view of a couple exchanging rings or dancing the night away under twinkle lights in an outdoor setting.
These photos provide clarity, color, and detail that cannot be achieved from any other angle on the ground. Newlyweds can have an entirely new perspective of their wedding day that will take them back in time each time they see it. Drone photography is just one more exciting way to make any wedding album unique and memorable.
What should you not do as a wedding photographer?
As a wedding photographer, it is important to not only capture the moments but also keep a good relationship with the bride and groom. Therefore, being respectful and courteous to all guests at the wedding is imperative. Aside from that, it should be made explicitly clear before the wedding viewing what photographs will be edited and what will remain unedited, as well as how long the delivery of these photos will take.
Additionally, it is important to avoid showing up late or overbooking jobs; rather, an appropriate amount of time should be allocated per shoot so that each individual client receives the attention they deserve.
Lastly, updating equipment regularly and having backup devices at hand can make all the difference in capturing that perfect shot for each special occasion. Taking these steps can help ensure a successful experience for both the photographer and their customers.