If you’re making the transition from amateur to professional photographer, you might want to make sure you have the very best equipment. The best cameras for professional photographers ensure that you get the shot you need, every time, giving you the reliability you need to deliver for your clients.

What is the best professional camera may well vary from photographer to photographer. For example, what is the best camera for professional portrait photographers might be completely different from the best camera for professional landscape photographers.

So before we get into the list of best cameras for professionals, let’s have a look at what to consider when purchasing.

How to buy the best professional camera

When choosing a camera to use for professional purposes, there’s quite a few things to think about.

If you’ve already invested in a camera system before, the chances are that you’ll want to stick with the brand you’re already familiar with – especially if you have lenses already. However, if you’re fairly new to photography, or perhaps are upgrading to mirrorless after using DSLRs, then the choice is a little bit more open. That said, if you already have Canon or Nikon DSLR lenses, you can continue to use them with each company’s mirrorless options via an adapter.

Next up, you might want to think about choosing the best sensor size for you. Most of the cameras in our list use a full-frame sensor, which is a pretty common choice for professional photographers. You can go smaller and still be a professional, of course, and there are some advantages to doing that – mostly to do with portability and so on. However, for the highest possible image quality, full-frame tends to be a good choice. Bigger than full-frame, in the shape of medium format, is also an excellent choice.

Every professional is different, but taking a look at a camera’s key specifications will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you. Say, for example, you’re a sports photographer, you might need something with fast burst shooting. Sophisticated autofocus systems also come in handy for tracking objects around the frame. A high resolution might be most favoured by landscape and portrait photographers.

Another important aspect to think about – especially for modern working professionals – is video specifications. Although this list is mainly aimed at stills shooters, we’ll still give plenty of information about how good each camera is for video.

Lastly, you might want to consider how a camera handles. Does it have lots of direct access controls, or is it customisable to exactly how you want to work for example. Does it have a built-in vertical grip, or the option to add one for portrait-format shooting.

Read on to discover our recommendations…

Nikon Z9: best camera for professional sports photographers

Best professional camera: Nikon Z9 in hand, photo AW, original: PA220189-acr

At a glance:

  • Professional-level flagship mirrorless
  • 30fps shooting (120fps at 11 megapixels)
  • 45.7 megapixel full-frame sensor
  • 6-stop in-body image stabiliser
  • 8K video
  • AI subject-detect autofocus
  • £5,299 / $5,496 (body only)

The Z9 is an excellent all-rounder for professional photographers, but it’s especially good for sports and action photographers. Being able to record at 20fps in raw format with continuous autofocus means that you’ll be able to capture those split-second moments. And if that isn’t fast enough, you can even opt for 30fps (so long as you’re happy to only shoot in JPEG), or 120fps if you record at 11 megapixels.

In the past, speed has usually come at the expense of resolution, but the latest breed of top flagship cameras manage to excel at both. As such, you get a 45.7-megapixel sensor here with the Z9. Our review of the Z9 described it as “the final nail in the coffin for the pro DSLR”, which speaks volumes.

Further good news comes from Nikon’s decision to eliminate a mechanical shutter entirely, relying instead on an electronic shutter which is enabled by using a stacked CMOS sensor. The upshot here is that the Nikon is available at a cheaper price than its closest rivals from Canon and Sony – pros might want to put that extra saving towards additional glass.

During our time with the camera, we were also impressed by the camera’s handling, particularly the vertical grip, though it is arguably a little unwieldy at times – especially if you’re used to shooting with something smaller.


+ Excellent continuous shooting
+ Superb subject detection and autofocusing
+ Great build quality


– A little unwieldy
– Needs expensive memory cards

Canon EOS R3: best camera for professional wildlife photographers

Canon EOS R3 in hand (AW/AP)

Canon EOS R3 in hand with lens, as tested by Andy Westlake (AW/AP)

At a glance:

  • Professional-level flagship mirrorless
  • 30fps shooting
  • 24.1MP full-frame CMOS back-illuminated imaging sensor
  • 8-stop in-body image stabiliser
  • Eye-control AF and Subject Tracking
  • 4K/6K video
  • £5,879 / $5,999 (body only)

If you’re firmly in the Canon camp, rather than the Nikon camp, then the R3 is another fantastic option for professional users. It’s especially well-suited to wildlife photography, where speed is once again of the essence.

With the R3, you can capture subjects at up to 30fps by using the electronic shutter, and you can also shoot at 1/64,000, which is a world-record top shutter speed.

Unlike the Nikon Z9, the Canon R3 is a little more conservative with pixel count, offering 24 megapixels from its full-frame sensor. However, this relatively low pixel count means that it is better suited for delivering all that lovely speed that you need – which is exactly why Canon says it has chosen it.

Our tests revealed that autofocusing was fantastic, with Dual Pixel CMOS AF II technology providing 4779 focus points. Perhaps even more extraordinary is the eye-control AF which gives you the option to simply look at a subject through the viewfinder to choose the focus point you require. Moving subjects are also easily followed with subject tracking, making it the obvious choice for shooting erratic wildlife.

Again, here we have an integrated vertical grip, which is very useful for shooting in portrait format, but it might be a little cumbersome for some.

Canon’s cameras are pretty high-priced, and it’s disappointing to note that only proprietary Canon lenses are available, making it a more expensive proposition than some of the others on the list. Still, for Canon shooters, you really can’t get better.

Read our Canon EOS R3 review here.


+ Superb autofocusing system
+ Super-fast continuous shooting with deep buffer
+ Excellent handling


– ‘Only’ 24MP resolution
– No third-party lens options

Sony A7R V: best camera for professional landscape photographers

Best professional Sony camera, the Sony Alpha A7R V or Mark V

Best professional Sony camera, the Sony Alpha A7R V or Mark V, as tested by Andy Westlake

At a glance:

  • Mirrorless camera
  • 61MP full-frame sensor
  • 693-point autofocus
  • AI subject recognition
  • ISO 100-32000 (standard)
  • 10fps shooting
  • 8K 24fps video
  • £3,999 / $3,898 (body only)

Building on the success of the A7R IV, the A7V employs the same sensor as its predecessor but adds interesting and useful new improvements including enhanced subject detection AF, which is powered by a new AI processing unit.

There’s also a raft of body design and interface improvements making it a better all-round experience to use it compared to the older model.

This is a camera which is well-suited to those who crave high-resolution capabilities, so professional landscape and studio photographers will appreciate it. Although at 10fps it’s not the most amazing camera in our list for sports and action, for pros that only shoot such subjects occasionally it’s not too bad an option.

Read our Sony Alpha A7R V review here.


+ High resolution sensor
+ Fantastic autofocusing and subject recognition
+ Multi-angle screen and large detailed viewfinder


– Small body can make pro lenses feel unbalanced

Sony A1: the best all-rounder camera for professionals

Sony Alpha A1 Review image

Sony Alpha A1 Review. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

At a glance:

  • Professional-level flagship mirrorless camera
  • 50.1MP full-frame Exmor RS CMOS sensor
  • 30 frames per second shooting
  • ISO 50-102,400 (extended)
  • 8K 30p video recording
  • £5,879 / $6,498 body-only

One of the most advanced cameras ever made, the Sony A1 is a superb all-rounder that can tackle pretty much anything you’d care to throw at it.

Indeed, in our review of the camera, we discovered it to be one of the best cameras ever made. With this model, you don’t need to choose between speed and resolution as you get up to 30 fps shooting, with 50 megapixels for super-fine detail. That makes it adept at all manner of subjects, including landscape and portraits, but also sports and action. A real workhorse of a camera, it’s ideal for pros who want or need to shoot a bit of everything.

Video specifications are also impressive, so if you’re one of the increasing number of pros expected to deliver both still and moving images, it should suit you well there too.

Build and handling is on-the-whole very good, with our review highlighting one small gripe in the shape of the somewhat fiddly buttons can become a bit problematic in cold weather when wearing gloves. The viewfinder and screen are superb however and make viewing your subject and your images a real joy.

Of course, none of this comes cheap, making the A1 a hefty investment, but for Sony shooters, it’s a real winner.

Read our Sony Alpha A1 review.


+ Superlative burst speeds
+ Incredible viewfinder
+ Fantastic all-rounder for all genres


– High price

Sony A9 II: best camera for sports and action

Best professional camera? The Sony Alpha A9 II

At a glance:

  • Mirrorless camera
  • 24MP full-frame stacked CMOS sensor
  • 20 frames per second shooting
  • ISO 50-204,800 (extended)
  • 4K 30p video recording
  • £3,999 / $4,498 body-only

If you’re a Sony lover and your main concern is sports and action, it arguably makes more sense to go for the A9 II rather than the A1. By sacrificing some of that high resolution and speed, then you save yourself a decent whack of cash which you could put towards other useful gear, such as additional lenses.

You can record at up to 20fps (the A1 offers 30fps), and with a mechanical shutter available you can also switch to recording at 10fps where artificial lighting might cause a problem with banding.

That lower resolution also helps for low-light photography, so again if that’s something you’re keen to do relatively often it makes for a better choice than the A1. You also get a wider ISO range to back that up.

With 4K video recording, fantastic autofocus and decent build handling, the A9 II is a worthy choice for pro photographers, especially if high resolution isn’t your primary concern.


+ Quick burst shooting, no blackout
+ Fantastic autofocus
+ Great at high ISOs


– Not as good as the A1 (but cheaper!)

Canon EOS R5: best Canon all-rounder camera for professionals

Canon EOS R5

Canon EOS R5

At a glance:

  • Mirrorless camera
  • 45 megapixel full-frame sensor
  • Up to 20fps shooting
  • 4K/8K video
  • 8-stop in-body image stabiliser
  • Subject tracking
  • £4,299 / $3,899 (body only)

Canon’s R5 is another great all-rounder, capable of delivering well across a variety of genres.

Once again, you get a good blend of resolution and speed, with a 45-megapixel sensor delivering plenty of detail, but 20fps meaning you can capture fast-moving subjects with ease. Excellent subject tracking also helps with that, too, as we discovered during our testing of the camera.

In our Canon EOS R5 review we also found that the camera benefits from excellent handling, and we were particularly impressed by the high-resolution viewfinder and vari-angle screen. If anybody has any worries about electronic viewfinders, it’s safe to say that the current crop of pro-spec cameras delivers excellently.

Image quality is fantastic, with plenty of detail and impressively attractive colours. Video specifications are also good, with up to 8K video being available.

If you’re in the Canon camp and are looking for an impressive all-rounder but don’t quite have the budget for the R3, then the R5 is still a superb option. You might also find that you prefer the smaller body shape, too.


+ Excellent all-rounder
+ Great autofocusing
+ Impressive video specs


– Requires expensive CFExpress cards
– Power hungry

Nikon Z7 II: best Nikon for professional sports, action, and wildlife photographers

Nikon Z7 II with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens (MT)

Nikon Z7 II with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens (MT)

At a glance:

  • Mirrorless camera
  • 45.7 megapixel full-frame sensor
  • Up to 10fps shooting
  • 4K video
  • 5-stop in-body image stabiliser
  • £2,599 / $2996 (body only)

Although Nikon’s Z7 II camera is capable of producing excellent stills and video, it’s best for those who primarily seek to capture subjects such as landscapes or portraits, rather than fast-moving subjects.

You get a very high-resolution 45.7-megapixel sensor which is capable of delivering beautiful detail, but with only 10fps shooting and far less impressive AF tracking than the Z9, it’s much less of an ‘all-rounder’ than some of the other models mentioned in the round-up. Better news is that eye- and face-detection perform well when photographing people and animals.

Our Nikon Z7 II review found the Z7 II to handle excellently, but the lack of a fully-articulating screen is potentially an issue for those who want to shoot in portrait format, or record pieces to camera for video. On the plus side, the chunky handgrip and well-placed buttons impressed us when we used it. A vertical grip can be picked up as an optional extra, too.

There’s now a good selection of lenses available for Nikon Z mount, and, unlike Canon, you can also pick up third-party optics if you want to save a bit of cash.


+ Dual card slots
+ Good face and eye detection
+ Excellent image quality


– Tilting-only viewfinder

Panasonic GH6: best hybrid camera for professionals

Panasonic Lumix GH6 with lens

Panasonic Lumix GH6 with lens, JD

At a glance:

  • Micro Four Thirds flagship mirrorless camera
  • 25.2MP Live MOS Micro Four Thirds sensor
  • 4:2:2 10-bit 4K/60p video recording
  • 75fps burst shooting (electronic shutter)
  • £1,999 / $2,197 body only

This is the only camera on our list for professionals to feature a smaller than full-frame sensor. Although Micro Four Thirds has dropped in popularity in recent years, for video-centric users, the Panasonic Lumix GH6 is an enormously impressive hybrid model that other rivals struggle to match. By opting for a small sensor, you get a range of impressive specs in a small, portable and flexible body that doesn’t cost the earth.

The reason for being such a fantastic option? It’s the sheer flexibility it offers to pro video shooters. It gives video creators pretty much every conceivable codec that they might crave, including 300fps Full HD and 5.7K 60fps. There’s also a slew of other useful video functions including V-Log and the ability to record in the Apple ProRes format.

All of that comes at a price that won’t dent the budget anywhere near as much as most of the other models in this roundup, making it ideal for videographers who likely need the cash for a host of other video-related accessories.

It’s not all good news however, in our GH6 review, we were disappointed to note that Panasonic has stuck with its “DFD” (Depth From Defocus) autofocusing technology which is starting to look a bit dated compared to others.


+ Relatively compact body for pro video work
+ Huge range of video codecs
+ Excellent 5-axis in-body image stabilisation
+ No recording time-limit


– Autofocusing a little outdated
– No internal RAW video recording

Fujifilm GFX 100S: best medium format camera for professionals

Fujifilm GFX100S review image

The Fujifilm GFX100S is ideal for making large prints. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

At a glance:

  • 102MP medium-format sensor
  • ISO 50-102,400 (extended)
  • 5fps continuous shooting
  • 3.69m-dot viewfinder, 0.77x magnification
  • 3.2in, 2.35m-dot tilting touchscreen
  • 4K 30p video recording
  • £4,799 / $5999 (body only)

The final model in our round-up is something special indeed, being the only medium-format camera to feature here. It certainly answers the question as to whether professionals use Fujifilm cameras, as this medium-format camera is aimed directly at professionals!

That means you get 102 megapixels of goodness in a larger than full-frame sensor for the ultimate detail and gorgeous image quality. Of course there are some sacrifices to be made – this really isn’t a camera for speed freaks, but if that’s not something you need to shoot then it’s worth considering.

In the past, medium format cameras were huge and unwieldy, and the idea of carrying one around to use handheld was pretty much unheard of. Fujifilm changed everything with the GFX 50S and has built on that ever since. The 102MP GFX 100S brings ultra-high resolution medium format shooting at a not-too ridiculous price – its cost is roughly in line with plenty of other models in our list.

Our review found that build and handling was very good, and we liked the dual-axis tilting design of the screen. The viewfinder also displays the scene beautifully too.

Autofocusing is quick and responsive, meaning it can lock onto subjects with ease. It might not have the fast frame rates of some of the other models in this list, but you shouldn’t need to worry about missing shots otherwise.

If you want the best possible image quality and aren’t too worried about having something for action, the Fujifilm GFX100S is most certainly worthy of consideration.


+ Superb image quality
+ Relatively compact for medium format
+ Discreet shutter noise
+ Excellent viewfinder and screen combination


– Continuous shooting and autofocus bettered by full-frame rivals
– Some handling quirks

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