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5 Best Cameras for Portrait Photography in 2024 (With the Right Lenses)

Best Cameras for Portrait Photography 2024

Best camera for portrait photography in 2024? (Answered!)

Let’s face it:

We all want to take photos with the “WOW Factor”.

To do that you need to have the right gear and learn the skills (for example, as a member of SLR Lounge Workshops), whatever genre you’re into.

In today’s post though, I’m focusing on tech gear and will offer my top 5 cameras for portraits and headshots, across the various price range.

I will also recommend you the best compatible lenses for each product mentioned here. When you pair the body with the right glass, you’ll be able to work professionally in this field.

So, what is the best camera for portraits in 2024? What camera do (professional) portrait photographers use?

Here’s a table that’ll give you a quick look at my roundup and the reasons to buy the product. For further details, simply click ‘review>’ in respective row.



Reasons to Get It

1. Nikon D5300

One of the best beginner DSLRs!

  • brilliant ergonomics

  • 39-point AF + 3D tracking

  • 5 fps continuous shooting

  • amazing price/quality ratio

2. Nikon D610

Semi-pro FX body for headshots

  • ergonomic body

  • interval shooting & HDR

  • working tracking AF

  • detail images at ISO 3200

3. Nikon D750

Best "FX" value in the Nikon lineup

  • advanced ergonomics

  • amazing AF, IQ and ISO

  • burst rate up to 6.5 fps

  • price tag under $1500 (!)

4. Sony a7R III

If you're nerdy for all new features

  • eye-detect AF is awesome

  • high burst rate of 10 fps

  • great for variety of genres

  • high quality photo & video

5. Nikon D850

High end gear for pro level photos

  • high resolution 45.4MP

  • fast & tenacious focusing

  • burst rate of 7 fps

  • best for all photo purposes

FYI: When choosing which product to include, I didn’t focus on the ‘latest and the greatest’, but rather on great price-quality ratio options, even if they are older models.

(Some of them can serve as a great camera for self-portraits and studio photos alike.)

In any case, whether you’re a complete newbie or an enthusiast, bootstrapped or not, you’ll find a good option that works best for your needs and budget.

Now, you’ll also notice that the majority of the list are Nikon models.

It’s not because I am a huge fan but because most photographers use these DSLRs specifically for portraits. (In the future, will update the post with Canon camera options too.)

1. Nikon D5300

Best Budget Camera for Portrait Photography 2024

Type: Compact SLR | Weight: 480 g | Resolution: 24MP | LCD: Fully articulated | Touchscreen: No | Weather-sealed: No | ISO: Auto, 100-12800 (expandable to 25600)

Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS Body Only (Black)

Reasons to Buy:

  • price under $500 (one of the best budget DSLRs for portraits)
  • great work in Auto mode
  • good color rendering and high image detail
  • low noise level up to ISO 3200 inclusive
  • great ergonomics
  • high burst rate for an entry-level body
  • built-in Wi-Fi and GPS

Reasons to Avoid:

  • small buffer size when shooting in RAW + JPG
  • might not be the best option for videos
  • no depth of field preview button

The truth is, Nikon D5300 is one of the best cheap entry-level cameras today.

If you decided to try yourself in photography and are ready to purchase your first DSLR, then D5300 is practically a dream choice for newbies.

(Whether it’s for taking portraits, scenery, product shots and so forth).

Of course, it’s not the current model but it is a great one to pick up, especially if you’re a beginner on a budget.

Here’s the kicker:

When it comes to D5300, it is not that inferior to the expensive full frame sensor DSLRs (in terms of image quality), and only a step behind the Nikon D7100 (in terms of functionality), yet more compact and lighter.

It has an image resolution of 24 MP and has an AA (anti-liasing filter), which means that the image is exceptionally sharp for this segment body.

In terms of ISO, I think you’ll be satisfied with its performance.

You can safely use ISO 6400 and the quality of the image will be decent. Even at the maximum ISO 12800 and Hi-1 (ISO 25600) your photos will look quite great.

Also, the burst rate of 5 frames per second is a very good indicator, especially for a budget option like Nikon D5300.

(Which is only slightly different from the D7100/D610 models).

This means that having 5 fps burst rate is more than enough for shooting portraits, landscapes and even wedding photography.

Read my full review here.

All in all, I think it’s the best camera for portrait photography beginners today.

If you:

  • have a price limit,
  • are a beginner photographer,
  • and looking for the best budget DSLR for portrait photography,

Then Nikon D5300 is a great choice for you.

Which portrait lens to get for this body?

I suggest you find Nikon D5300 with 18-140mm (focal length) kit lens because that longer kit lens is going to be really useful as you’re shooting different types of portraits and light wedding stuff.

I also recommend that you pick up Nikon 50mm F/1.8 G.

It autofocuses, it’s very sharp, and it really gives you that background blur (bokeh). The 50mm f/1.8 G lens will really give you that desired bokeh that most photographers love.

So, if you’re looking for photography equipment for beginners, look no further. Even the pros use this exact combination of D5300 + 50mm f/1.8 G lens to create masterpieces.


Please note that the D model will not autofocus for you with this model, so be careful and get the G model!!

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2. Nikon D610

Semi Pro Full-Frame Body for Headshots

Type: Mid-size SLR | Weight: 850 g | Resolution: 24MP | Sensor size: Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) | LCD: Fully articulated | Touchscreen: No | Weather-sealed: Yes | ISO: 100 – 6400 (50 – 25600 with boost)

Nikon D610 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

Reasons to Buy:

  • ergonomic body
  • high detail images at ISO up to 3200
  • continuous shooting up to 6 frames/s
  • perfectly working tracking autofocus
  • ability to work with two memory cards
  • interval shooting and HDR
  • quiet shooting mode
  • full HD video

Reasons to Avoid:

  • relatively large size and weight
  • no tilting display
  • a challenging interface for beginners

Nikon D610 is a good full-frame DSLR for portrait photography purposes.

Initially, the FX bodies were intended for professional photography and were pretty expensive. However, as time went on, the manufacturers decided to release pro level yet affordable cameras, and one of those models was the D610.

That’s why it is considered a “semi-professional” DSLR.

Just like in Nikon D5300 I mentioned earlier, the D610 also has a 24 MP sensor and it is its main advantage.

Unlike D5300 though, it has a higher burst rate, which is 6 frames per second at full resolution in RAW.

Now, what can be said about ISO?

Well, the range of photosensitivity is from 100 to 6400 ISO units, and with boost it can range from 50 to 25600 units.

One thing I’d like to mention is that Nikon D610 has a fantastic HDR mode.

Once you try this mode, you will never shoot without an HDR, believe me. Especially, if we are talking about shooting landscape photos in the evening time.

Nikon D610 HDR settings in low-light, also a great camera for portrait and landscape photography in 2018.

This mode makes 2 frames with different exposures and glues these 2 together in 1, keeping very bright and very dark areas as much as possible.

HDR works only when shooting in JPEG.

In RAW, you will have to do everything yourself, having spent a lot of time, and the result is unlikely to be better.

So, if you happen to shoot in low-light conditions, be sure to use the HDR function.

(Of course, this focus will not work when shooting moving subjects, be it during sports-related events or anything else.)

Also, it’s very convenient to have U1 and U2 modes. 

All the settings, including autofocus and exposure metering settings can be stored in these modes and instantly turned on.

I have a friend who saves the settings in U1 to shoot landscapes (which is his specialty), and U2 mode for portrait photography.

All in all:

Nikon D610 is a great FX option for more experienced photographers.

This is the most compact and most affordable full-frame camera produced by Nikon, in which the best developments were realized:

  • excellent detailing,
  • low noise level,
  • wide dynamic range.

If you’re a Nikon fan and have a budget of around $1000, consider it. This gear will perform an entire range of tasks quickly and efficiently.

Which portrait lens to get for this body?

Nikon D610 is one of the best affordable cameras for studio portrait photography (and headshots), but you also need the right lens.

I suggest you get a Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 lens in its Nikon mount.

That’ll be way more versatile, you’ll be able to get those tight headshots with a beautiful background blur and overall your image quality will be just cleaner – perfect for portraits.

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3. Nikon D750

Best Nikon DSLR for Portraits Under $1500

Type: Mid-size SLR | Weight: 750 g | Resolution: 24MP | Sensor size: Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) | LCD: Tilting | Touchscreen: No | Weather-sealed: Yes | ISO: Auto, 100-12800, (expand 50-51200)

Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body

Reasons to Buy:

  • advanced ergonomics and customizable controls
  • friendly interface & tilting display
  • dust and waterproof body
  • burst rate of up to 6.5 frames/s
  • excellent autofocus
  • high ISO performance
  • excellent video mode with Full HD shooting at 60 frames/s
  • built-in Wi-Fi
  • ability to work with two memory cards

Reasons to Avoid:

  • absence of exposure at 1/8000s
  • reduced monochrome display on the top panel
  • maximum speed in RAW is limited to 15 frames

Without a doubt, this one is one of the best Nikon cameras for portraits.

I often recommend D750 because it offers a lot for the price. (I explain why I love it so much in my in-depth review here.)

Here’s my video of whether Nikon D750 is good to buy in 2024, with some pros and cons:

It’s a full-frame (FX) DSLR with a tilting display, the logical continuation of the Nikon’s lineup, perfectly suited for modern photographers.

Nikon D750 is a step up from the previously mentioned D610 which has an improved focusing system.

It makes sure that it focuses on the eyes that much quicker and allows you to focus out further towards the edges of a frame (which as a pro you’ll begin to really appreciate).

It focuses quickly and confidently even in the dark (like the D810 DSLR), so the backlight can be safely turned off.

This AF can recognize faces in the frame, which is not present in the older Nikon FX models and Canon digital cameras.

Basically, this allows you to get good shots even without taking a particular aim.

High ISO of 8000 won’t be a problem, in fact, even shooting at ISO 12,800 will be quite decent. This allows you to fully use the burst rate of D750, which is 6.5 frames per second.

I would prefer that the autofocus areas occupy the entire area of the frame, and not just its central part, then there will be more chances to get a sharp shot in the sports or any other moving subjects.

(But for portrait photography purposes you’ll be great.)

Without a doubt, it is perfect for portraits and headshots, weddings, and, other events shooting.

Which portrait lens to get for this body?

Again, I suggest you get a second generation Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. I explained the reason for it in the D610 section.

(The newer Tamron glass will definitely be better to get if you have a bigger budget.)

Without a doubt, if you want a full frame DSLR for portrait photography, then you should take a closer look at the D750 with Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.

This combination will give you the best value for your buck.

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4. Sony a7R III

One of the Best Sony Cameras for Portraits

Type: SLR-style mirrorless | Weight: 657 g | Resolution: 42 MP | Sensor size: Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) | LCD: Tilting | Touchscreen: Yes | Weather-sealed: Yes | ISO: Auto, 100-32000 (expands to 50-102400)

Sony a7R III Mirrorless Camera: 42.4MP Full Frame High Resolution Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with Front End LSI Image Processor, 4K HDR Video and 3

Reasons to Buy:

  • high detail images
  • solid ISO and very wide dynamic range
  • high speed of continuous shooting up to 10 frames/s
  • noiseless shooting
  • effective image stabilizer based on the sensor shift
  • very good viewfinder
  • high-quality video in 4K and Full HD
  • dust and moisture protection
  • possibility of charging and working from USB
  • Wi-Fi connection and geotagging via Bluetooth
  • two memory card slots, one with UHS-II support

Reasons to Avoid:

  • not always easy to understand abbreviations in the menu
  • minor delays when working with menus
  • limited functionality of the touch interface


While Sony a7R II is a cheaper alternative, without doubt, the newer a7R Mark III model is one of the best mirrorless cameras on the market, whether you’re looking to capture landscapes, (family) portraits, or anything else.

Its versatility can compete with the reportage Sony a9, which won an official EISA Award.

(Tip: If you’re looking for a Sony product with an amazing performance in low light situations, check out the A7S III model instead)

Alpha 7R III gives up its place to Sony a9 in terms of speed but it does surpass the latter in terms of image resolution and video capabilities.

Those improvements which were introduced in the a7R Mark III still make it one of the fastest bodies today:

  • continuous shooting up to 10 frames per second,
  • continuous autofocus on the eyes,
  • a buffer for  42-megapixel RAW,

These added features really are amazing.

Not to mention the widest dynamic range and high ISO. I mean the detail of the image is extremely sharp. You can boldly use values of up to 12,800 ISO units.

As a portrait photographer, you will definitely love the eye-detect autofocus in a7R III. Basically, it can lock on to the eyes so you will never have to move the focusing point around.

Generally, you’ll find the workflow works a little better than, for example, Nikon D850 (that I will mention next).

If you’re a bit nerdy for all the new camera features, you’ll love Sony a7r III. Without a doubt, it turned out to be very successful and extremely universal.

Does it have any cons

In my opinion, most of them are not so noticeable in comparison to their pros. I’m referring to some minor flaws in the interface such as obscure abbreviations and non-obvious settings.

I feel that to understand the a7R III, it is not enough to read the instruction.

With this beauty, you’ll have to work with it and adjust yourself to it a little bit, and only then fully customize it to your needs.

Either way, it’s one of the best mirrorless cameras for portrait photography in 2024.

Which portrait lens to get for this body?

Sony doesn’t have that much variety of lenses and flashes, especially third-party lenses, but the a7R III body and a 70-200mm f/2.8 GM lens really is a powerful combination for ‘carte de visite’ and such.

Test it out!

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5. Nikon D850

Best Nikon Camera for Portraits 2024

Type: Mid-size SLR | Weight: 1005 g | Resolution: 45 MP | Sensor size: Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) | LCD: Tilting | Touchscreen: No | Weather-sealed: Yes | ISO: Auto, 64-25600 (expands to 32-102400)

Nikon D850 FX-Format Digital SLR Camera Body

Reasons to Buy:

  • high resolution 45.4 Mp
  • excellent work at high ISO, low noise level up to ISO 6400
  • wide dynamic range, flexibility in processing RAW files
  • improved grip, button illumination, high resolution inclined display
  • optical viewfinder with 100% frame coverage
  • quiet shutter & noiseless Live View shooting
  • fast and tenacious focusing
  • high speed of continuous shooting of 7 fps
  • 30 fps 4K video shooting
  • support of modern fast memory cards XQD and SD UHS-II

Reasons to Avoid:

  • a bit slow focusing of contrast type in Live View mode
  • challenging for beginner photographers

Without a doubt…

Nikon D850 is one of the best Nikon DSLRs on the market today.

Just like in my article on the best gear recommendations for landscapes, I wasn’t sure what to put here first, Nikon D850 or Sony a7R III.

As I mentioned earlier, if you are a bit nerdy about all the new features, then you’ll love mirrorless cameras like Sony.

But if you are more into old-school cameras, then Nikon D850 sure is the best 45MP DSLR that you can get for any kind of professional photography.

You might ask, “why do I need so many megapixels”?

It’s like with time and money: you can’t have it too much.

More image detail – the more freedom you have in everything. High resolution allows you to print pictures in large format, gives room for framing, and greater flexibility in processing.

For example, retouching a portrait or a subject photo becomes much more convenient if the shot is taken in high resolution.

This is why portrait and landscape photographers love gear with higher resolution.

Nikon D850 combines high speed with incredible detail of images, allows you to make high-quality shots in any conditions, including in poor lighting at high ISO values.

The dynamic range is also wide enough for RAW files to be flexible in processing and allow to “pull out” a decent result even in the most difficult situations.

Continuous shooting is possible at a rate of 7 frames/s, and with a battery pack MB-D18 (with EN-EL18b battery) – it’s 9 frames/s. Ergonomics is at its finest: articulated display, joystick to select the area of autofocus, a lot of separate buttons and selectors.

The Nikon D850 sets the new quality bar for all manufacturers, and it’s arguably the best full frame Nikon DSLR in 2024.

It is the one that other players in the full-frame body market will have to equal to in the near future (at least in terms of image quality and detail).

Which portrait lens to get for this body?

Get this lens if you’re mainly into portrait photography.

For what it’s worth, one of the reasons why I’d recommend choosing Nikon D850 over Sony a7R III is that there are more lenses available for the former than the latter.

Earlier I mentioned that if you are into all the modern cameras and like all the new features, then definitely get Sony a7R III.

If you are more old-school and want to have a variety of lenses available, then get Nikon D850.

Nikon D850 with Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8E lens really is a powerful combination that you can get for your portrait sessions.

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Portrait Photography for Beginners


It’s one thing to find the best camera for taking portrait pictures but you also have to have basic skills and the right lenses. You don’t have to be a master with manual mode; you just need to learn the core foundation of photography. 

First of all, for this genre, it’s convenient to use long focus lenses with a fixed focal length, also known as prime lenses.


Because they don’t distort perspective as much as others do and that’s important.

Also, a fully open aperture when shooting a portrait allows you to get photos with very beautiful background blur.

The basic rules for shooting portraits

When taking, you need to remember some important rules: to give expressiveness to a picture, you need to focus on the model’s nearest eye, and take a shutter speed no longer than 1 / <focal length of the lens>.

For example, if it’s an 85 mm lens, then use a 1/85 shutter.

This way you’ll avoid an unexpectedly sharp nose or chin on the overall unsharp portrait of the model. It also will guarantee that you avoid the overall image blue due to the long exposure.

Last but not least:

You don’t want to have a strong digital noise, so try using the 100-400 range ISO. The camera must be used in semi-automatic or manual mode.

Where to Learn the Skills (Online)?

When it comes to crushing it in photography, it’s not about gear only. You also have to have the skills to take good headshot pictures. 

SLR Lounge is one of the best platforms where you can learn everything you need to know about photography (and can choose depending on your favourite photo genre).

Best Portrait Camera in 2024?

Example of a portrait photography and the 5 best cameras for portrait photography with the best portrait lenses that are worth buying in 2022.


All the aforementioned products are absolutely great for studio portraits, headshots for passports, and fashion photography whatsoever, across various price points.

In fact, all of these body + glass combos were/are used by the pros for photographing people. 

If you won’t like them, then you can return the gear back to Amazon and leave a nasty comment here 🙂

Here’s a recap of the best portrait cameras mentioned:

Best Camera for Portrait Photography 2024

  • Nikon D5300 – Best budget camera for beginner portrait photography.
  • Nikon D610 – Good cheap FX DSLR for intermediate photographers.
  • Nikon D750 – Amazing ‘full frame’ value in the Nikon lineup (under $1500).
  • Sony a7R III – One of the best mirrorless cameras in 2024 for all purposes.
  • Nikon D850 – High end DSLR for professional (portrait) photography in 2024.


If you’re a regular reader of my Digital World Beauty blog, you’ll notice that some of these are my recommendations here came up for portrait AND landscape photography. 

They totally work for both genres.

However, don’t choose these if you are into sports or wildlife because, unlike landscapes and portraits, action photography requires a high frame rate and fast focusing. If that’s your genre, check out this post.

What are your thoughts on these 5 best cameras for portrait photography in 2024?

Leave a comment below!

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