Buying Guide: 5 Best Cameras for Product Photography in 2019 (Guest Post)

5 Best Cameras for Product Photography 2019 (Guide)


Topic: What are the best cameras for product photos in 2019?
(Guest post by Ann Young, the professional photographer & photo retoucher from NY).


So…

Are you taking product shots for online stores or Amazon? Or just snapping pictures of clothes and jewelry for your personal Instagram?

If yes, you are sure to find the one to fit your requirements and budget among these 5 cameras for product photography.

(Here’s an overview of what to expect here.)

5 Best Cameras for Product Photography 2019


  • Nikon D7200 – Sweet budget crop sensor DSLR to take photos of your products.
  • Canon Rebel T7i – Best price-quality Canon camera on the market right now.
  • Olympus OM-D E-M10 II – Great option in the micro 4/3 sensor department.
  • Fujifilm X-T2 – Amazing mirrorless camera for commercial photography.
  • Nikon D610 – Best affordable full-frame DSLR for product shots in 2019.


Let’s get started.


Best Budget Nikon DSLR for Product Photos


Nikon D7200

  • Type: Mid-size SLR
  • Weight: 765 g
  • Resolution: 6000 x 4000
  • Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C
  • LCD screen: Fixed, 3.2″, 1.2M dot RGBW
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Weather sealed: Yes
  • ISO: Auto, 100-25600

The DX-format matrix of this Nikon has no optical low-pass filter (OLPF).

Nikon D7200 produces sharp, radiant images in a 24.2 MP resolution and rarely creates digital noise. It has the same AF system installed that they use on pro level DSLRs. Surely clarity of focus does not need to be described. 

It might not be fully suitable for shooting garments, though, as it doesn’t feature a shock-proof filter.

Still, I place it among the best cameras for product photos.

If we compare with its predecessor, D7200 got an enlarged battery capacity that can last through a 1000-shot working session before having have to charge it. 

What you might like about it:

  • DX-format CMOS matrix of 24.2 MP
  • ISO capability up to 6400
  • Lifelike color rendition
  • Big RAW and JPG buffer
  • Wi-Fi and NFC modules
  • Long-lasting charge

What you might not like about it:

  • Fixed screen menu
  • Not beginner-friendly navigation
  • Wi-Fi limitations

Recommended lens:

With this quick f/1.8 aperture lens, you’ll definitely get incredible shallow depth-of-field images.

It will gently blur the background (for product lifestyle photos) and focus your attention on the primary object in the shot.


Best Canon Camera for Product Photography


Canon EOS Rebel T7i

  • Type: Mid-size SLR
  • Weight: 532g
  • Resolution: 6000 x 4000
  • Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C
  • LCD screen: Versatile 3.0-inch vari-angle
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather sealed: No
  • ISO: 100 – 25600 (expands to 51200)

This Canon DSLR, apart from boasting the finest 24MP sensor, received a recently developed great feature – the two-pixel autofocus.

Its capabilities make it the best camera for jewelry photography.

I find the articulated screen particularly helpful. It gives access to new angles and perspectives. The device is great for people who don’t have a lightbox or those who just don’t like to constantly check the image in the viewfinder.

(If you’re looking for cheaper alternatives, consider Rebel T6i. Read my full review here.)

What you might like about it:

  • CMOS (APS-C) sensor with 24.2 MP
  • Support of HDR video
  • Full HD 1080p footage
  • Fantastic autofocus performance even in dim lights

What you might not like about it:

  • A viewfinder is too small
  • Video quality is not higher than 1080p

Recommended lens:

It is created specifically to help photographers achieve highly realistic photos. Its 1:1 macro magnification works great with Canon EOS Rebel T7i.

(See my full list of the best lenses for Canon DSLRs.)

Bottom line:

Beginners will appreciate the teaching guide and quickly find their way through the easy interface. Another great feature is Bluetooth. It creates different possibilities to control the gadget remotely.


Best Mirrorless Camera for Product Photography


Olympus OM-D E-M10 II

  • Type: SLR-style mirrorless
  • Weight: 351g
  • Resolution: 4608 x 3456
  • Sensor: 16.1MP 4/3 Live MOS
  • LCD screen: 3.0-inch tilting monitor
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather sealed: No
  • ISO: Auto, 200 – 25600 (expands to 100-25600)

Have a look at this model if you’re an amateur photographer.

It has the MFT system which became the brand classic. I believe it is a great choice for website photos or Instagram.

It gathered the strongest features Olympus presents to its customers, including a speedy high-quality sensor and a well-balanced internal stabilizer.

You can really see the latter feature helping while shooting in a dim room or without a tripod and not getting any blur. The color rendition is very natural and filled with rich semi-tones.

What you might like about it:

  • 16-megapixel micro 4/3 sensor
  • Rather compact
  • Shoots quickly
  • Extra capabilities: time-lapse, photo stories, selection of focus
  • 3 Live modes: Composite, Bulb, and Time
  • Focus bracketing

What you might not like about it:

  • Works only with the built-in microphone
  • You’ll need time to get adjust to the settings
  • Some would argue it’s an outdated sensor 

Recommended lens:

A truly great lens for the peculiarities of product shooting. Sharp photos without chromatic aberration are guaranteed.


Best Product Photography Camera for Beginners


Fujifilm X-T2

  • Type: SLR-style mirrorless
  • Weight: 507g
  • Resolution: 6000 x 4000
  • Sensor: 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III
  • LCD screen: Tilting, 3.0-inch, 1040K-dot
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Weather sealed: Yes
  • ISO: Auto, 200-12800 (expands to 100-51200)

This model is remarkable for its vintage design that has resemblance with older cameras that worked with film.

Many appreciate this mirrorless for product shots because of the layout of physical buttons that makes the manual control easy. However, you’re able to apply settings via the touch-screen as well.

Many users say that Fuji gear has a specific color reproduction that seems to especially fit the tasks of product shooting. Technical specifications reinforce that effect.

The 24.3 MP sensor gives great quality and the modern autofocus system ensures clarity of the finest detail, which turns Fujifilm X-T2 into a great buying choice for product photos.

(This Fuji is also one of the best mid-range cameras for hybrid shooters.

What you might like about it:

  • 3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor
  • Has a classy look
  • Practical controls
  • Stunning quality of images
  • Selection of AF modes for sharper pictures

What you might not like it:

  • Weak internal stabilization
  • Phase autofocus misbehaves with some lenses
  • Low battery capacity
  • A smaller-sized handle is not convenient for people with big hands

Recommended lens:

This weather sealed lens has standard 76-213 mm focal lengths and aperture up to f/2.8. 

The stabilization mechanism is incredible. Combined with the triple linear motor it assures smooth performance and striking images. 


Affordable Full-Frame DSLR for Product Shots


Nikon D610

  • Type: Mid-size SLR
  • Weight: 850g
  • Resolution: 6016 x 4016
  • Sensor: 24MP CMOS Full frame
  • LCD screen: Fixed, 3.2-inch, 921K-dot
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Weather sealed: No
  • ISO: 100 – 6400 in 1, 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps (50 – 25600 with boost)

It is a great device for professionals in need of the highest quality for large printing.

The reactions of this full-frame are lightning-quick: instant turn-on, no shutter delay, speedy processing.

The 24MP FX sensor produces highly-detailed photos. Even though the sensors are located near the shot center, it never interferes with the AF performance.

The major drawback of this Nikon D610 for product shots is its slightly confusing control panel, especially for beginners.

(By the way, this DSLR is great for portraits as well.)

What you might like about it:

  • Full frame 24MP CMOS sensor
  • High detailization even at ISO 3200
  • Continuous shooting speed of up to 6 fps
  • Two memory card slots
  • Well-made optical viewfinder

What you might not like about it:

  • Pretty bulky
  • Fixed LCD display
  • Interface might be challenging for beginners

Recommended lens:

This lens is highly rated among shooters of the product photography.

The f/2.8 aperture produces high detailization in low light as well. Shallow depth of field creates useful bokeh that keeps the viewers’ attention fixed on the object. 


How to Choose the Right Camera?


Product photography (no matter we are talking about jewelry, food or apparel) is a money-making, creative, and in-demand photography genre.

Professional photo gear will help any amateur take high-end magazine photos. Read this simple guide on how to choose the best gear for product shots.

Being a profitable and rapidly developing sphere, product photography attracts more and more shooters.

If you really want to surpass dozens of competitors and impress clients with professional product photos, you definitely need decent photo equipment.

So, our recommendations on how to choose the suitable camera for advertising/commercial photography will be really helpful.

Choosing the Best Camera for Product Photos or Advertising in 2019 (Buying Guide)
Sony a7R II · 70.0mm · ƒ/4.0 · 1/320s · ISO 200

Mind Your Specialization


Product photography is a rather broad genre with many subtypes, such as jewelry, food, clothes, car shooting, etc.

This greatly influences the camera model you need for work.

Besides, the way your works will be presented to clients also plays a significant role.

For instance, you may take photos for online stores such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy and get great results with an average-priced compact.

If you want to take shots for further printing or sharing on stock websites, the quality requirements are higher.

The photo can be shrunk for digital use, while image printing greatly depends on the way your DSLR captures the scene, renders colors, textures, etc.


Camera Features to Pay Attention to:


The majority of commercial photographers use mirrorless and DSLRs. This happens because of certain features only these camera types can boast of.

These are:

  • Manual Mode

Though all types have an Auto mode, professional photographers use it only in rare cases.

The thing is that cameras can’t always accurately evaluate the situation and choose the best settings needed, so shooters control and configure it manually in accordance with shooting and lighting conditions.

That’s why, you need a camera with a manual mode.

Even if you have little or even no experience of how to shot in this mode, you will quickly figure everything out if you practice a lot. In fact, there are many guides and video tutorials that you may use.

In addition, manual mode increases the lens focus. This means that photographing even tiny earrings or pins, you will have every detail clearly visible.

Taking product images, you can notice that a sensor isn’t always accurate.

This is the most frequent problem with jewelry shots. In such cases, it is so great to have a chance to select the perfect shutter speed, ISO value, aperture, etc. To represent colors in the most natural manner, you can also regulate the white balance.

All this makes a manual mode a decisive factor for many photographers.

  • Video Recording Function

Being engaged in product photography, you may need not only to take pictures but also record videos, so check whether your gear has such a function.

For example, your client may order a 360° view of the product and you need a suitable DSLR to cope with this task. Mind this while choosing the equipment.

Mainly all modern products have video recording capabilities, but if you can’t afford buying a new model, and are about purchasing an older device, check whether it offers video shooting features.

Besides, opt for gear with auto focus for videos, otherwise, you will need a tripod to hold your digital camera steady. Again, new models can please users with this parameter.

  • Interchangeable Lenses

The most pleasant feature of mirrorless and DSLRs is removable lenses. What is the point of using only a kit lens, if there is a variety of cool models that suit different photoshoots?

For instance, you need macro lenses for jewelry photography, while 24-70mm lenses are the best bet for fashion shooting.

Attaching a suitable lens to DSLR or mirrorless body, you get more possibilities to take brilliant shots.

You may affirm that point-and-shooters, as well as mobile phones, have advanced built-in cameras. Still, they can’t compete with removable lens bodies.


What Specification to Consider:


This is the feature that defines the differences between mirrorless and DSLRs for product photography most vividly. As for specification, some will show themselves better than others.

Here’s how.

  • The Number of Megapixels

Ask about the number of megapixels before buying a camera for product shots.

The bigger the number, the better the quality and the more controllable details in the shot are. This also makes further photo post processing more effective.

Another advantage is the possibility to accurately crop pictures and print them in a big format without detail loss. The compression won’t be so severe, so you can play with the composition without risks.

If you wish to cooperate with professional photography agencies, you need to specify the number of megapixels your DSLR has. Fortunately, there are many brands that produce models with decent MP number and don’t cost a fortune.

(The best examples are Sony A7, Nikon Df and Canon EOS 6D Mark II.)

  • Camera Performance in Low Light Conditions

Don’t expect that you will always shot in a studio with ideal lighting setup.

So, look for the cameras that work equally good in poor lit places and bright locations. The best variant is a device with sensitive sensor and insignificant noise level at high ISO.

To check it, compare images taken with different SLRs at the same ISO values. For example, Canon 5D Mark II shows worse results than Canon 5D Mark IV.

  • Improved AF System in Newer Models

Though manual focusing gives you better control over the shooting process, sometimes you can’t do without its auto analog.

It becomes irreplaceable when you are limited in time, but don’t want to compromise the photo quality because of the haste.

New models feature great auto focus systems both for dynamic and motionless shooting, while older models are more suitable for photographing static products.

Be very attentive when selecting the lens, as it affects the final result even more than the body.

  • The Color Spectrum of a Camera

Every camera has a specific color spectrum. Some are vibrant, while others are colder or warmer.

There are photographers, who greatly rely on image editing and believe that they will be able to alter the coloring of a shot as much as they want. In fact, it is not so easy.

So better choose a model with an advanced color range such as Nikon D850 or Sony A7 III.


Best Product Photography Cameras for 2019


The choice of a perfect camera for product photography won’t be so tough, if you mind all the above-mentioned recommendations.

There are lots of quality DSLRs and mirrorless bodies from world-known brands that you can use to take professional product images.

Study the market carefully and choose something to your taste and budget.


What Are Your Thoughts?


Hey guys, this is Zarina here.

I hope you enjoyed Ann’s post on the best cameras for product photography for 2019!

Now…

I’d like to hear from YOU:

  • What’s your skill level: beginner, intermediate, advanced?
  • What’s the exact product photography genre are you into: jewelry, food, clothes etc?
  • What do you think of Ann’s recommendations for product shots?

Any questions? Suggestions? Recommendations?

Let us know in the comments below!


Buying Guide: 5 Best Cameras for Product Photography in 2019 (Guest Post)
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