Do you have a nose for news? Combine that with an eye for interesting images and you have a good recipe for photojournalism. Photojournalism is story telling by means of topical imagery. Images can have a powerful emotional impact on the viewer.
The best cameras for journalism allow you to capture those images in the best possible way.
If you are interested in a career in photojournalism, there is a lot more to it than being able to take good pictures. A good photojournalist is as much a newsperson as they are an artist or craftsman. Specific advanced training is often necessary and may in fact be required for certain job posts.
Photojournalism also requires a certain mindset. The best cameras for journalism follow along with that type of mindset.
How to capture memorable photo journalism images
In order to capture the best journalistic images you have be in the place the news is happening when it’s happening. The right place and the right time is how you often this stated.
So, how do you find the right place and the right time? There is a lot of stuff happening every day, and it can happen anywhere. A good journalistic image often comes about from knowing that something exciting could happen even in a relatively mundane event.
Take the Tiananmen Square defiance image. A lone man, staring down a line of tanks. That photojournalist stuck around, he looked around, and he got the shot of a lifetime. But, if he hadn’t realized the potential for a newsworthy chance event, that image would have been lost to all of us.
How I found the best cameras for journalism
- Image Quality. Even though the image may not ever get reproduced as fine art, starting out with the best image quality allows for more use to be made out of any image. Even when printed in halftones on pulp paper, if the image is soft, it won’t look too good.
- Durable and rugged. It doesn’t have to be the top end pro model from a camera brand, but you’ll want a camera that you don’t have to treat with kid’s glove when in tough conditions. Dust and weather proofing is a nice added feature. If a camera fails due to harsh conditions, you won’t get any pictures at all.
- Thinking back to street photographers and war correspondents, the cameras they tended to gravitate towards were generally on the compact side of things. There were some notable exceptions, of course. But, as a general rule, if it’s easy to carry, it is more likely to be with you when news happens.
- Ease of use. If it has automation, it’s entirely up to you whether to use it or not. What I mean here is how simple are the settings and functions accessed and changed. When something important is happening, the last thing you need is to be deep inside a menu tree looking for the function or setting you need in order to capture that image. It can be done with levers and dials or with menus and buttons, the important thing is getting it done quickly and easily.
- Lens choices. Some cameras may not have an interchangeable lens, but the lenses preferred for this type of photography tend to be versatile and with a fairly standard coverage. With an interchangeable lens camera, you will have more options available to you, obviously.
Top 5 Best Cameras For Journalism + Reviews!
1. Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Review
Watch any movie set in the Vietnam War era and you are bound to notice two things. Jimi Hendrix music and Nikon cameras. That’s art depicting what was common. Nikon cameras have been common in journalism because they are high quality, dependable, and fairly easy to use.
That continues with the Nikon D750. A full-frame format camera (FX), the D750 has a well thought out mix of features and functions.
It is rugged and dependable, but not very big or heavy compared to the top end FX cameras from Nikon such as the D5 or D850. It’s scarcely larger than the top of the line of their DX (APS-C) format cameras, the D500.
Image quality is superb with a full-frame 24.3MP sensor. Nikon gives you plenty of options in regard to image files. You can record in RAW or JPEG, in 12 or 14 bit. A JPEG at medium resolution from this camera looks great, a 14 bit RAW file lets you post process to you heart’s content.
The D750 is a very capable camera. It uses the same focusing and exposure metering as the top end (at the time of the D750 introduction) D4S and D810 professional cameras.
A variety of switches, dials, buttons, and electronic menu is how the controls and features of this camera are accessed. All the most used functions are easily and quickly changed.
This particular kit includes a wide to tele zoom lens with close focusing, the 24-120mm f/4.0 AF-S Nikkor. It covers the most used focal lengths for general photography. It is a bit heavy, but it balances well on the D750 and is fairly compact for its focal length range.
A wide range of lenses and accessories is available from Nikon and from third party manufacturers, including audio equipment for video recording, extreme focal length lenses, and advanced lighting options.
If you want a current full-frame digital camera for photojournalism, the D750 is definitely one of the best cameras for journalism.
2. Canon EOS 6D Mark II with EF 24-105mm is STM Lens Review
Also a full-frame format camera, the 6D Mk II has a 26.2MP sensor for high quality still imaging and video recording. Smaller, lighter, and way less expensive than the top of the line professional model EOS-1 DX Mk II, the 6D is a good choice for photographers wanting one of the best cameras for journalism.
This kit comes with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM zoom lens. There are two different 24-105mm zoom lenses from Canon, this one and the EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS II USM. The f/4.0 L-Series lens is the professional level lens, but it is larger, heavier, and quite a bit more expensive than the kit lens.
Canon’s kit lenses all have excellent optical qualities, but they are not as heavy duty as the L-Series lenses. The main differences are in the mechanics and electronics of the lenses, and sometimes in the absolute sharpness and image quality.
In other words, there is little difference optically, generally speaking, but the pro lenses are definitely more robust and durable.
Canon video quality is amazing in almost all of their DSLR cameras. The 6D has video quality capable of being employed by serious artists and professionals for all kinds of cinemagraphic use. Built in Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth allows for a wide variety of accessories to be paired with the camera for video or still imaging.
Control access with Canon pro and prosumer cameras is outstanding. A mix of wheels, levers, and switches is paired with a touch screen menu on the vari-angle view screen, allowing for quick and simple changes of important settings and functions.
Canon and third party brands have made tons of lenses and accessories in the 30 plus years that the EOS system has been around. The full-frame 6D can mount and use any EF lens, even older lenses from the film era of EOS cameras.
Lenses made for the APS-C format EOS cameras can be mounted on the 6D, but the camera will change to that cropped format when those lenses are used, cutting down on the available MP of the sensor.
3. Fujifilm X-T20 Mirrorless Digital Camera Review
Fuji is firmly entrenched as one of the premier manufacturers of mirrorless interchangeable lens APS-C format digital cameras. The X-T20 is near the top of the Fujifilm X line of cameras, but is quite a bit less expensive than the actual top shelf Fuji cameras, the X-T3 and their flagship X-HC.
Mirrorless APS-C format cameras offer great performance with a very small and light body and lens combination.
The X-T20 with 18-55mm kit zoom lens is not entirely lightweight, but it is much smaller and lighter than comparable DSLR cameras with similar features and build quality.
Heavy duty construction is evident throughout the Fujifilm lime of cameras, even their consumer and prosumer models. The X-T20 is not as rugged as the X-HC or X-T3, but it is rather robust for its price point.
Most of the lenses Fuji makes for their Fujifilm cameras could be described as pro level optics. Many have weather and dust sealing, as well as fast apertures and virtually instantaneous autofocus. Being a very new lens mount, you won’t find legacy lenses for Fuji X cameras.
However, since it’s a mirrorless camera, there are many lens mount adapters available. I’ve seen some adapters for older lens mounts I didn’t know existed!
Compact, relatively lightweight, and quite rugged, this is one of the best cameras for journalism in the APS-C digital format.
4. Leica Q 24.2 Megapixel Digital 35 MM Compact Camera Review
If you are willing to be limited to one focal length, and have a huge amount of spendable cash available, than this full frame digital camera might be your perfect journalism camera.
Leica cameras have been used for street photography and photojournalism for longer time than some other camera companies have even been in business. The reasons for the appeal of Leica are size, durability, and optical quality.
Leica Q continues that stellar reputation with this new camera. It’s really the lens, though, that makes this such a fine camera. A wide angle view and a very fast maximum aperture make this lens extremely versatile for a wide range of uses.
Aspherical elements and being permanently mounted to the camera give this lens and 24.2MP sensor combination the right ingredients for almost flawless optical quality.
5. Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera Review
Here we have the very budget friendly option of the best cameras for journalism. Sony mirrorless cameras have been embraced by the photographic as being very high quality, and fully capable of delivering superior images.
Even though it definitely a consumer level camera, the Alpha a6000 is a great choice for photojournalism because of mirrorless cameras having fewer moving parts, since the whole mirror box mechanism is eliminated.
Sony APS-C cameras also benefit from being mirrorless in that there are many adapters for all sorts of lenses, old and new, for mounting to them. Sony lenses are all very good optically, with many of them being fully professional construction.
The power zoom lens is firmly in kit lens territory, but it optically extremely sharp. For the price of this camera and lens kit, though, you will be pleased by the quality and relatively easy use it offers.