What's the best camera for portraits? Portrait professionals look for two key things: a focal length that gives you the best shooting distance for flattering facial features, and lenses that can create beautiful background blur.
You can of course get camera phones which can create artificial digital blur, but really the only way to get really good portrait shots is with the right camera and lenses.
The larger the camera format, the easier it is to get the background blur characteristic of portrait shots. So this gives full frame cameras an advantage, but you shouldn't rule out APS-C or even Micro Four Thirds cameras with the right lenses.
So here's our list of what we think are the best cameras for portraits right now. If there are cheaper options that could do the job almost as well we will mention them, and we'll also suggest some portrait lenses to use with these cameras.
Best camera for portraits in 2022
The EOS R5's 45MP sensor produces images of incredible detail and has a class-leading autofocus system with a whopping 5,940 AF points for photography and 4,500 for video plus eye detect AF – perfect for portraits. Also, for videographers the EOS R5's video specs are nothing short of next-generation, offering uncropped 8K Raw video internally at up to 29.97fps in 4:2:2 12-bit Canon Log or HDR PQ (both H.265) in both UHD and DCI – this is cinema-quality performance. Canon has a great choice of RF portrait lenses too, and we love the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM. It's a hefty lens with a hefty price tag, but camera-lens portrait combinations don't come better than this.
• Read our full Canon EOS R5 review
The EOS R5 is an expensive camera, and if your budget won't stretch anywhere near that far, there's always the Canon EOS RP! The EOS RP was Canon's second full frame mirrorless camera, and it's smaller, lighter and a lot cheaper than all of the others. It's designed to be a compact, affordable and easy to use entry point into Canon's full frame mirrorless system, and it succeeds brilliantly. Its small dimensions mean it can sometimes feel overbalanced by larger lenses, though, and the 4K video mode comes with some caveats – the image frame is cropped by a factor of 1.6 and you can't use Canon's speedy Dual Pixel CMOS AF system unless you drop the resolution to full HD. On the upside, the pictures are clear and sharp, the vari-angle touchscreen display is a real advantage for both stills and video. For a portrait lens to go with it, we'd recommend the Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM. It's f/2 maximum aperture will still give good background blur, it's not too expensive, and it can shoot close-ups too!
• Read our full Canon EOS RP review
The Z7 II was Nikon's flagship full-frame mirrorless camera until the mighty Z9 came along. Even so, while the Z7 II can't match the Z9's continuous shooting speed or 8K video, it delivers the same super-high resolution and easily enough sports shooting/video capability for everyday non-specialist use. More to the point, its 45.7MP full frame sensor delivers superb detail. This Mark II version brings dual memory card slots and faster processing, but retains the excellent design and handling of the original, and Nikon's equally excellent in-body stabilization system. Nikon has quickly built an impressive range of pro-spec Nikkor Z lenses, so the Z7 II makes an extremely good all-round camera for professional use. The lens we would recommend for portraits is the Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S. It's not as fast as some rivals, but produces beautiful results at a far more affordable price.
• Read our full Nikon Z7 II review
It took Nikon a little while to come out with a really solid entry-level full-frame mirrorless camera, but the firm smashed it out of the park with the Z5. IT takes design cues from the more expensive Z7 II and Z6 II but makes some sensible additions like a beginner-friendly mode dial. It produces fantastic-looking images, and having a full-frame sensor with the sophisticated Z-mount is a tough combo to argue with. It makes a few compromises, lacking the Z6's back-illuminated sensor, and suffering a 1.7x crop on its 4K video, but these sacrifices are what enable the Z5's real ace in the hole: it's tempting price tag. This camera represents significantly better value in our book than its rivals like the Canon EOS RP. The best portrait lens to get is the same as we recommend for the Z7 II above – it's the Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8S.
• Read our full Nikon Z5 review
If you’re looking for the most detail possible, look no further than the Sony A7R IV. Toting a spectacular 61-megapixel sensor, it’s the ideal choice for those who favour portraits. We’re also big fans of Sony’s Eye AF functionality, which can not only recognise human eyes, but animal ones too – ideal for all of your pet portraits. Sony has been in the full-frame mirrorless game the longest, so its lens line-up is the broadest, which some stunningly sharp G-master lenses to elevate your portraits to the next level. Other fantastic features include a super-high resolution viewfinder, and a useful tilting touchscreen. The A7R IV is pretty pricey, and there is the cheaper Sony A7 IV – but it's not a lot cheaper, and it's currently proving quite hard to get hold of. Our recommended portrait lens is the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 G Master, a stunning portrait lens that's the perfect partner for the A7R IV’s high-resolution sensor. Consider the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 lens if your budget is tighter.
• Read our full Sony A7R IV review
Despite its compact size, the Lumix S5 shares the impressive 24MP CMOS sensor housed in the older and more expensive Lumix S1, but with improved AF. It also has a tough weather-resistant body and delivers up to 6.5-stops of image stabilisation with compatible lenses. Its standout features include class-leading dynamic range and 4K video recording, as well as 96MP high resolution RAW+JPEG capture. It’s tough to beat in this category. The Lumix S5 is smaller than the Lumix S1 and S1R before it, and cheaper too. It matches the Lumix S1 for stills and beats it for video, coming close to the capabilities of the far more expensive Lumix S1H. What a camera! But while the video features give it its value for money appeal, it's also a terrific stills camera and great for portraits when teamed up with the pretty affordable Panasonic Lumix S 85mm portrait lens.
• Read our full Panasonic Lumix S5 review
For good-looking cameras that have the tech to match their appearance, you can't get much better than the stunning Fujifilm X series. The flagship masterpiece of the series right now is the X-T4, which takes the winning combination of a sophisticated X-Trans sensor and cool retro style, and adds up-to-date features like in-body image stabilisation. Fujifilm cameras have a reputation for producing gorgeous images from the moment the shutter is pressed, and the X-T4 is a shining example of this. The X-T4 is holding its price well, however, so if it's outside your budget, get the Fujifilm X-S10 instead. This pint-sized camera is almost as powerful but a good deal cheaper. For both cameras we'd recommend the excellent Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 R APD portrait lens if you can afford it (84mm equivalent), or the Fujinon XF 50mm f/2 WR (75mm equivalent) if not.
•Read our full Fujifilm X-T4 review
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III has a Micro Four Thirds sensor, which is smaller than APS-C and full frame, so you do lose a little in background blur – but it's still a great choice for portraits with the right lens. The E-M5 III has 20.4MP sensor and delivers very good image quality. Its other abilities are equally amazing, including 6.5 stops of in body stabilization, 30fps burst shooting (including via Pro Capture mode with 14-shot pre-buffering), C4K and 4K video, Olympus' brilliant Live Composite modes and plenty more. For portrait fans, there are two lens choices: the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.2 PRO (90mm equivalent) is an incredible portrait lens, but big, or there's the incredibly cheap and really good Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8.
• Read our full Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III review
How we test cameras
We test cameras both in real-world shooting scenarios and in carefully controlled lab conditions. Our lab tests measure resolution, dynamic range and signal to noise ratio. Resolution is measured using ISO resolution charts, dynamic range is measured using DxO Analyzer test equipment and DxO Analyzer is also used for noise analysis across the camera's ISO range. We use both real-world testing and lab results to inform our comments in buying guides.
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