Top 7 Best Cameras For Product Photography

Product photography is one of the hottest freelance photo jobs around. Everyone seems to be selling something online nowadays. Many sellers need help to get the best photos of their product. That’s where you come in. Using the best cameras for product photography gives you the opportunity to provide those images.

Product photography requires excellence in the photographic craft. Sharp, well exposed images are necessary to present the product in the best possible light.

While a cell phone pic might work for Craigslist or eBay, sites like Amazon and Zazzle have minimum standards for submitting photos. A good camera and lens, plus the skill to use it properly can come in handy.

Even if you or your client is selling on sites with looser image quality standards, having good images of the product will help your stuff stand out from the competition.

How to take amazing product photography images

How to take amazing product photography images

The secret to good product photography is very basic: take well exposed, sharply focused images with pleasing composition. Here are 5 tips for how do accomplish just that.

1. Shoot in RAW. The final image for virtually any sales website I’ve ever submitted photos to is almost always a JPEG. Shooting in RAW gives you the ability to adjust color, contrast, and exposure to get the perfect view of the product. Then, save the submitted image as a JPEG.

Being able to enhance, lighten, darken, or correct color on a part of the product image allows you to show details that your best lighting technique may obscure a bit. There is nothing wrong with retouched images, as long as it doesn’t misrepresent the item. Catalog photos from before the digital age were airbrushed or contrast adjusted after all.

2. Use manual settings. Go ahead and use your meter, either in camera or handheld, to get a basic exposure. Then, use those settings as your basic manual exposure. Adjust exposure up or down from there to get what works best for the subject you’re shooting.

This consistency will pay off in that the camera’s exposure computations won’t change as you move the item around or shoot different but similar objects.

Same reasoning applies to manual focus as well. Set your aperture for the depth of focus you want, focus for optimum sharpness, and leave the settings alone once they are correct.

3. Put the camera on a tripod. The method I describe in point 2 absolutely necessitates using a good tripod. Keeping the camera in the same position lets you set your camera exposure and focus controls manually and leave them there while you concentrate on positioning the item for the best composition or to show the most detail.

You also will want to use a tripod because the lens f-stop you will likely end up using will be small for good depth of focus. This means shutter speeds will probably be too slow to successfully hand hold. A wireless remote control is a useful accessory in these situations.

4. Off camera lighting. Whether strobes or continuous lights, get that light off of the camera. Direct, on camera flash is one of the worst methods for pleasing product images or portraits. It makes a harsh, flat light and is difficult to control shadows.

A simple, two light arrangement is all that’s needed. You can add more lights for different lighting effects. Adjust the lights to evenly light the details or to add contrast and depth, whatever your particular product needs.

Here are a couple of YouTube tutorials that cover some of the basics of product lighting:

5. Post processing. Some websites ask that the images you submit have a pure white or a pure black background. If you can’t quite achieve that with your lighting technique, post processing will get you there. If you need to separate the product completely from the background to have a transparent background, post processing is the way to accomplish that.

Post processing also lets you adjust exposure, contrast, and color to showcase the product in the best possible way. That’s why we’re shooting in RAW in point 1, to get the full advantage of digital imaging.

What type of cameras and lenses are best for product photography?

What type of cameras and lenses are best for product photography?

An interchangeable lens camera that lets you view through the picture taking lens is the best type of camera to use. It can be a mirrorless camera or a DSLR. For composition, focus, and accuracy in viewing, through the lens viewing is one of the most important factors for deciding the best cameras for product photography.

Any of the popular formats will work, provided you get good enough usable image files from them. MFT, APS-C, and Full-Frame are all good formats.

Optimal lens focal length range for many product images is going to be from slightly wide angle to slightly telephoto, covering the normal range in between as well. So, that kit lens that came with your camera is often a good option.

Prime lenses in those ranges will generally be faster and sharper, so those make good choices if you are going to be doing a lot of product photography. I find myself using focal lengths of 35mm, 50/60mm macro, and 100mm most of the time.

Prime lenses in those ranges will generally be faster and sharper, so those make good choices if you are going to be doing a lot of product photography. I find myself using focal lengths of 35mm, 50/60mm macro, and 100mm most of the time.

Those numbers are for Full-Frame, use the crop factor for whatever format you may be using to get comparable focal lengths.

Based on the 5 tips above, you’ll want a camera that shoots in RAW, has simple to access manual controls, and has excellent preview and review features. It also should make image files that are large enough to work with in post processing.

How I found the Best cameras for product photography

How I found the Best cameras for product photography

  • Image Quality. One of the primary considerations. Even if the final file is optimized for mobile devices, starting out with as much image quality as possible is vital. You may need to submit in a certain file size on some websites or for physical prints.
  • Sensor size. Sensor size is directly related to image quality, but it isn’t the only factor. Lens choice factors in as well. Everything else being equal, a larger sensor with a higher MP tends to deliver better images. All things are never equal, though, which is why I didn’t list this first. (Pro tip: read reviews from real users before purchases.)
  • Ease of use. If it is difficult to get to the most used controls or commands for the photography you’re doing, you will soon tire of that particular camera. Thankfully, every pro and prosumer level camera I’ve ever tested is just fine in this regard.
  • You are going to make a lot of images when shooting products. For some purposes, such as 360 degree imaging or HDR, you may end up having hundreds of exposures per item. Multiply by several items and factor in daily use and you really want a robust camera rig.
  • There is a reason why the major brands are major, they’re good. This article is covering the top three brands of Nikon, Canon, and Sony, but there are other very high quality brands in addition to these. Fuji, Pentax, Olympus, Panasonic also make excellent pro and prosumer models.

Top 7 Best Cameras for Product Photography + Reviews

1. Canon Digital SLR Camera Body [EOS 80D] and EF-S 18-135mm Review

Canon Digital SLR Camera Body [EOS 80D] and EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 Image Stabilization USM Lens with 24.2 Megapixel (APS-C) CMOS Sensor and Dual Pixel CMOS AF - Black Review

A superb lens and a robust camera body with a high megapixel APS-C sensor make this an excellent option to consider as one of the best cameras for product photography.

Canon’s EOS 80D is an APS-C camera with 24.2MP sensor resolution. It is a sturdy prosumer camera with a list of impressive features including one of the best AF systems in its price range.  By the way, the price range with this lens is a little more than double the cost of Canon’s least expensive entry model DSLR kit.

All Canon DSLR cameras are very high quality imaging tools. What separates the cameras into entry level and more serious usage are durability of build and the feature set. While not a full professional level camera, the 80D is certainly heavier duty than entry level.

One of the features that sets this camera apart is the fast, accurate autofocus. 45 cross-type AF points can be set to work as needed in a predictive AF more, or use the view screen’s touch screen control to select specific AF points. This function works when recording video too, making this kit one of the better choices for users heavily into video.

The lens has an ultra quick, virtually silent AF motor. The silent operation makes it especially useful for video. A longer range on the telephoto end is handy for all around general use. It is a sharp, contrasty, well made lens, perfect for using for product photography.

The maximum aperture is a bit slow at the long end of the zoom range, but the built in stabilizer helps keep it usable in lower light.

Fully compatible with Canon Speedlites, the 80D can use multiple flashes wirelessly, depending on the strobes. Canon has a full range of useful accessories such as remote triggers and a battery grip.


2. Canon EOS Rebel T6 Bundle With EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Bundle Review

Canon EOS Rebel T6 Bundle With EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens + Deluxe Accessory Kit - Including EVERYTHING You Need to Get Started Review

There is lots of proof that an entry level camera kit can be used for serious photography. The Rebel T6 is such a camera. Less than half the price of the 80D, the Rebel T6 is smaller and much lighter, but still has excellent quality and a lot of usable features.

An 18.0MP APS-C sensor delivers good quality images and the kit lens is very sharp with a usable focal length range. What separates entry level for prosumer models of cameras is usually going to be how heavy duty the construction is plus some difference in features and capabilities.

Just because entry level cameras aren’t heavy duty, don’t think that they are fragile. They are good, useful machines. Entry level cameras are a good way to get into the higher level of photography that you can do with an SLR. Even you don’t upgrade, the Rebel T6 can give you a lots of useful images. All the DSLRs from the major brands are high quality instruments.


Manual settings are easy to access, as are most of the commonly used features. The AF system employs 19 focus points and the low light performance is impressive, but not as advanced as the 80D.

Its kit lens is very sharp, but the maximum aperture is slow compared to higher cost zoom lenses or primes. The two best features of this kit compared to other cameras is the lower price and small size and light weight.

If starting out on a budget, this kit lets you invest in lighting, tripods, and background systems, maybe even another lens, without breaking the bank. To learn more about lighting, you can see this helpful guide on the best lights for product photography.


3. Sony a7 Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera with 28-70mm Lens Review

Sony a7 Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera with 28-70mm Lens Review

In the words of Sony, “No other full frame, interchangeable-lens camera is this light or this portable.“ Sony caused a minor stir, some would say major, with the introduction of their full-frame mirrorless interchangeable lens professional cameras. Most full-frame DSLRs are substantially larger and heavier.

A mirrorless camera design eliminates the mirror box and pentaprism bulk. This design also allows for the use of adapters in order to mount other lenses on the camera. A huge array of lenses from various manufacturers over decades have been made that can be used on Sony mirrorless cameras.

The Sony a7 has a 24.3MP full frame sensor and can record files in 14 bit or 12 bit. 14 bit recording gives even greater image detail, making possible extremely high resolution final images. This feature is common on higher end digital pro and prosumer cameras.

Other features on this camera include an electronic eye level viewfinder that shows 100% of the image area and a rear tilting viewscreen. Autofocus is extremely fast and works fully in video mode, too. Wi-fi and NFC let you synch with a mobile device for image review and some camera controls.

A Sony 28-70mm lens is included in this kit that is very compact for the zoom range and is also very high quality. As with most compact kit lenses, the maximum aperture is slower than other zooms and prime lenses. AF is rapid and the images are sharp and have great color rendition.

This is a slightly older model of camera, but the price is rather attractive. With the kit lens it is actually less pricey than several prosumer APS-C DSLR cameras. It is a great camera to get into full frame digital imaging and video.


4. Nikon D7200 24.2 MP Dual Zoom Lens Kit with 3.2″ LCD Review

Nikon D7200 24.2 MP Dual Zoom Lens Kit with 3.2" LCD, Black Review

For the mix of features, quality, and price, this two lens APS-C DSLR kit is one of the best values for serious photography. It is one of the best cameras for product photography because it delivers extremely high quality images, has heavy duty construction, and is part of one of the most complete camera systems on the market.

First off, the APS-C sensor is 24.2MP and the camera records in both 12 bit and 14 bit. Second, it has a very wide range of ISO, allowing for fantastic low light capability as well as virtually noiseless imaging on the low end. The AF system uses 51 points and can be set for predictive AF or you can choose any single point or group of points.

Construction of the camera is heavy duty, making it quite durable and capable of being a professional’s camera. It is not quite pro level but is definitely in the prosumer category. The new Nikon D-500 would be the APS-C format that is a level above this one as a true professional’s camera, but it is substantially more expensive.

One of the things that makes this particular kit an exceptional value is that it comes with to zoom lenses, covering a range from wide angle to substantial telephoto.

Thus, the focal lengths you would want for product photography are covered by these sharp Nikon lenses. The only drawback for these lenses is the regular one common to kit lenses, the maximum aperture is somewhat slow. Making them that way, though, lets them be smaller, lighter, and less expensive.

Video recording on this camera is rather good as well. Canon and Sony both tended to have better video features than Nikon cameras, but the latest Nikons have excellent video features and quality. Among the top cameras, many things are very equal, quality wise at least.

Pricing of this camera with the two lenses is comparable to the Sony listed above with one lens, but it is not really an equal comparison due to the format difference. Just giving you a rough idea of costs.

Another to think about it is that it is about twice the price of Nikon’s entry level DSLR kits. For what this camera offers serious photographers, that’s an excellent value.


5. Sony a7 III Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera ReviewSony a7 III Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera Optical with 3-Inch LCD, Black (ILCE7M3/B) and Sony 24-70mm f/4 Vario-Tessar T FE OSS Interchangeable Full Frame Zoom Lens Review

At almost triple the price of the older Sony full frame mirrorless on this list of the best cameras for product photography, you would expect a lot out of it. And you would get a lot out it. Is it worth the upgrade in price to get the upgrade in quality?

For some photographers, the answer would be yes, for others, they might not need or want the extra this camera gives and would rather spend for lenses.

What this camera gives is superior image quality at any ISO with its 24.2MP full frame sensor, 14 bit recording, and the included Zeiss lens. Video quality is extremely high as well.

The newer sensor design and improved electronics provide amazing depth of detail in image sharpness, color depth, and very low digital noise. Even at very high ISO levels, electronic noise is significantly reduced over older cameras from Sony, and Sony was already pretty good in that detail.

Autofocus uses hundreds of AF points for almost instantaneous focus, including when using the camera as a video camera. The camera also has a high speed burst mode in still picture mode of up to 15 frames per second.

A great camera is still only as good in the long run as the lens used. The Zeiss lens in this kit is a wonderful example of modern technology meeting old world craftsmanship. It keeps the Zeiss reputation of optical excellence intact and delivers performance equal to the high end sensor.

For a casual user, this kit it a little high priced. For a working pro, it’s actually very budget friendly compared to some other pro cameras. The camera is small and light for a full frame, but the lens is a little bulky and heavy.


6. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera with EF 24-105mm f/4L Review

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera with EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens Kit Review

A full frame professional model digital camera, the Canon EOS 5D is just a step or two lower than their top of the line professional 1D X series of cameras. You can look at it this way, if the 1D X is the Corvette, the 5D and 6D are the Camaro Z-28 models.

Being the highest priced camera kit on this list, it is a camera that is fully capable of handling what almost any type of photography could throw at it. And if you did throw it, the camera might survive the toss, being quite robust and durable.

The superb sensor is the main reason for this camera, in my opinion. It’s a 30.4MP full frame sensor that can record 14 bit image files. Video quality is extremely high, too, the only better video from Canon comes from the dedicated to video Cinema EOS cameras designed specifically for cinematography applications.

This camera’s dynamic range is truly amazing, as is the speed and accuracy of autofocus with 61 AF points. Noise is very well controlled throughout the extended ISO range, but degrade the image somewhat at the highest ISO. Still better than and APS-C or MFT sensor at comparable ISO settings, though.

Paired with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0 zoom lens, this kit is fully capable of fulfilling virtually any photographic assignment you might have. Full frame 14 bit image files at full RAW resolution will be huge, so you may end up needing a computer upgrade too.


7. Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera w/ 24-120mm Review

Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera w/ 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Auto Focus-S NIKKOR Lens Review

One of the more intriguing newer cameras to come out lately, this Nikon is either a very high end prosumer camera or a lower end professional camera. Not quite as sturdy as the tank of a camera D5 and lower resolution than the amazing D850, the D750 might be the perfect camera for general photography.

Price with kit lens is about half of what the D850 without lens is going for. So, it’s not inexpensive, but it is certainly a great value for what it delivers in image quality and overall performance.

With 14 bit recording capability, the 24.3MP full frame sensor will provide you with image files of superior depth and quality. Files will be large, but not as gigantic as the monster files you get with the D850. My 3 year old ASUS laptop handles them just fine in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

A great feature that was missing on most full frame cameras is the tilting rear view screen. It allows for out of the ordinary camera placement for interesting views and perspectives of whatever you subject is. It’s a decently heavy duty camera, too, so it can handle extended usage.

Image processing is very fast, as is the 51 point AF system, making this camera ideally suited for portrait and action photography. Equally at home in a studio, the superior craftsmanship of Nikon professional cameras is readily evident.

Controls are easy to access in all shooting modes, and it has a surprisingly deep menu of special features. With all of that, it still comes in at size and weight comparable to many prosumer APS-C sensor cameras.

Nikon’s 24-120mm lens is also a wonderful example of photographic excellence. Maximum aperture is slower than primes, but the built in image stabilization means it is usable in lower light situations without sacrificing image sharpness due to camera shake.


So, which camera is the best camera for product photography? Any of these fine cameras listed will give you high quality photos that you can put on any website. To learn more, you can view my list on the best tripods for product and food photography.

The major differences are sensor size, high image quality vs extreme image quality, and whether the camera can survive being used by a wild orangutan or not. From entry level APS-C cameras to full frame professional models, these are some great examples of the best cameras for product photography and general use.