Artful Photography: Revealing the Best Cameras for Artists

Every artist needs a great digital camera to take high-quality images of their artwork. A smartphone just won’t cut it. 

You’ll need photos for your social media, and website, and to submit to open galleries. You may also want to sell art prints, so you need accurate and impressive shots. 

But it’s easy to get confused or overwhelmed in the world of photography. There’s a whole language of terms and acronyms you need to know. 

But if you don’t know your aperture from white balance, don’t worry! I’ve got you covered with this guide to the best cameras. 

I’ll share the five top cameras, ranging from affordable to premium models. Each one has been specially selected as it makes a great artist camera. So, you’re sure to find the perfect camera for you!

Then, I’ll walk you through what you need to know to find the best camera for art photography. You’ll find out how a DSLR is different from a mirrorless camera, and which type is right for you. 

The Top 3 Cameras for Artists

Before we dive into the reviews, here’s a quick summary of the top three artist cameras in 2024! 

If you’re ready to invest in the best camera, then go for the Nikon Z7II. But be prepared to part with a good chunk of money! 

The Canon EOS 800D is an excellent choice for beginners. And if you’re looking for a low-cost mirrorless camera, the Lumix G7 ticks all the right boxes.

Product ImageNikon Z711Panasonic Lumix G7
Product Name
Nikon Z711

Canon EOS 800D

Panasonic Lumix G7
SensorFull-frameAPS-CMicro Four Thirds
Megapixels47.5 MP24.2 MP16 MP
Monitor 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen3-inch vari-angle touchscreenOLED Live View Finder
Max Burst Speed10 fps5 fps7 fps
Max video resolution4K UHDHD 1920 x 1080 pixels4K UHD video

How to Choose the Best Camera for Photographing Artwork

There are hundreds of digital cameras on the market today, and the big brands always bring out new models. So, don’t worry if you don’t know where to start looking.

You don’t need to be a photography pro to choose the best artist camera! I’ll help you to make the right choice, so you can get back to what you love best – creating art! 

There are a few features that make a camera ideal for photographing artwork. Ideally, it will have an excellent optical zoom, accurate autofocus, and a good sensor. That will allow you to take breathtaking photos in almost any lighting. 

Let’s look at the main types of cameras available to you to narrow down your options.

What Type of Camera do You Need? DSLR Vs. Mirrorless Camera

There are three main types of cameras out there. But for art photography, I recommend using either a mirrorless camera or a DSLR. 

Your standard compact camera won’t cut it when it comes to image quality. A point-and-shoot camera doesn’t have the flexible settings necessary for accurate shots. 

So, let’s take a closer look at DSLR and mirrorless cameras and find out what type is best for you!

Digital camera for artists

(Image credit: JD Gipson)

Mirrorless Cameras 

A mirrorless camera won’t seem so different if you’re familiar with a regular compact camera. But it’s much more powerful, so you can boost your image quality and accuracy. You get more control and the option to use different lenses.

These cameras don’t have a mirror within them as DSLR cameras do, so they are much more compact. That makes them perfect for traveling and taking photos on the go. They are portable and lightweight, but that does make them a bit less durable. 

Mirrorless cameras also stand out in video, as they tend to outperform DSLRs. Even very affordable mirrorless models can capture 4K video. In contrast, many DSLRs only offer 1080-pixel video footage.

A mirrorless camera is more complicated than a compact camera. So, you’ll first need to get your head around the controls. But anyone can adapt to using a mirrorless camera. Soon, you’ll be snapping away and taking fantastic images! 

DSLR Cameras 

Most professional photographers opt for a DSLR. While they are pretty bulky, they provide more control and have higher resolutions. As a result, they produce fantastic image quality. 

DSLRs have an optical viewfinder, a feature that most mirrorless cameras don’t have. An optical viewfinder gives you a clear and accurate idea of what your image will look like. You can find out more about optical vs. electronic viewfinders here.

Many DSLR cameras are very expensive, especially for the best specs and features. A full-frame DSLR could set you back thousands of dollars.

You can find reasonably priced ‘entry-level’ DSLRs. But even for these cameras, you’ll still need to learn how to adjust the various settings. It’s not as simple as picking up a DSLR and snapping away.

Some newer DSLRs offer an improved auto mode. These are best for beginners who want precision and quality. You can get started without the steep learning curve.

DSLR cameras can capture very detailed and accurate images. They often have a high resolution, which makes them suitable for blowing your photos into large art prints. 

But due to the massive file sizes, you’ll need to shrink them down to use them on the web so they don’t slow down your website. 

Camera for art and artists

(Image credit: Lilly Rum)

How Will You Use Your Artist Camera?

The first step is to consider how you plan to use your artist camera. 

Do you just want some nice shots for your website and Instagram? Then, you may not need a premium camera designed for professionals. An entry-level DSLR or a mirrorless camera would work well. 

If you want to make art prints, the camera you’ll need will depend on the size of the art prints. Mirrorless cameras are ideal for smaller prints. 

But if you want to blow up large images of your artwork for sale, you’ll probably need a DSLR with many megapixels. That will make all the difference between grainy and sharp images.

If you aim to submit your works to open art exhibitions, you want to get the best quality images possible. It could be what makes the difference between an acceptance and a rejection.

While the camera you buy will depend on your budget, you want to ensure it’s suitable for your needs. Spend some time thinking about what you want the camera to do. That will help you make the right choice and buy a camera you’ll be happy with for years.

Best digital camera for fine art photography

(Image credit: Math)

Which Camera Model to Choose?

Camera manufacturers are constantly updating their models. They bring out new versions all the time, often just with minor tweaks. But that doesn’t mean you need to buy the latest model. 

Unless there is a specific new feature you need, you’re better off looking at models from a year or two ago. You’ll save yourself a lot of money, and you likely won’t even notice the difference.

If you’re short on cash, don’t discount buying a secondhand camera. Many professional photographers will sell their good-quality cameras when they upgrade. So, keep your eye out for bargains – you could save yourself some cash.

Sensor Size

The sensor is one of the most vital parts of the camera. Its job is to capture all the light that hits it when the shutter opens. Then, it transforms this information into an image. 

The general rule for the sensor is the bigger, the better. That will make your shots more accurate and ensure that your colors are true to life. You’ll also get a wider range of highlights and shadows. 

It will also make it easier to capture sharp images, even in low light. A small sensor is more likely to produce a photo with a lot of grain and blurry details. 

Other Gear You’ll Need

Once you’ve chosen your perfect camera, it doesn’t mean that you’re done. There’s some other gear you may need (so you should factor it into your budget, too!)

First, you’ll need a way to transport and store your camera safely. So, a camera case or bag is essential. 

Many cameras will come with a camera bag when you buy. But if not, you can get an affordable shoulder bag or backpack to keep your camera secure while on the go. Make sure it fits your chosen camera!

You might also want to invest in a tripod to ensure you get precise photos without any blurring. 

Another essential piece of kit is the camera lens itself. While a DSLR will come with a basic lens, it’s unlikely to be of the best quality. You may even want to invest in two or three different lenses, depending on the type of photos you like to take. 

The Best Camera for Art Photography

Canon EOS 800D Digital SLR

The best beginner camera for artists

Best Beginner Camera for Artists, Canon EOS 800D Digital SLR

(Image credit: Canon)

This camera is ideal as a first DSLR for beginner photographers. The Canon EOS 800D is intuitive and simple to use, with a very small learning curve. It’s perfect if you want to take great photos without deep diving into photography.

The shooting mode guide makes it easy to take excellent shots. You can use this guide to wrap your head around all the new controls and get the most out of them.

Another amazing feature is the powerful Auto Focus. This feature doesn’t need to understand exposure, white balance, and focus settings. Just set it to Auto mode, and it will do it for you. 

The Canon 800D’s Auto Focus is reliable and produces great images. No technical know-how hard-wearing is necessary. But if you’re willing to learn a bit, you can take even more accurate and realistic shots of your artwork.

This camera has a sturdy build. It’s made from plastic rather than metal, so it doesn’t have that premium feel. But it’s durable and should last a long time without any issues.

The simple interface is another huge bonus for novice photographers. You’ll find it similar to a regular compact camera, but it gives you more control over your images.

With 24MP, you can take sharp, quality images. The sensor is accurate enough for taking photos of your artwork, and you can also capture HD video.

Canon introduced this model to replace the older EOS 760D and 750D. It has an improved processor, and the optical viewfinder helps visualize your shots.

Connecting to your computer or smartphone is straightforward (most of the time). It offers Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, but syncing it with your phone can be tricky.

While this model doesn’t have the most up-to-date specs, it’s still a great choice for beginners. If you want a no-fuss camera to take photos of your artwork, the Canon EOS 800D ticks all the boxes.

  • Type: DSLR
  • Sensor: APS-C
  • Megapixels: 24.2
  • Monitor: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen
  • Max burst speed: 6fps
  • Max video resolution: HD 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • User level: Beginner


  • It’s very easy to use with a shooting mode guide
  • The auto-focus is excellent
  • This model is great for beginners – no experience is necessary


  • The specs are a little outdated compared to newer models, with no 4K video
  • It has a plastic finish which doesn’t feel as sturdy or premium as a metal body

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Nikon D5600 Digital SLR Camera

The best budget DSLR for artists

Best Budget DSLR for Artists, Nikon D5600 Digital SLR Camera

(Image credit: Nikon)

The Nikon D5600 is a great camera and is suitable for beginner or intermediate users. While it doesn’t provide as much support as the Canon 800D, it’s affordable and has a nice range of features.

The D5600 feels durable and lightweight, and you can get a good grip on it. It’s suitable for users with small or large hands – either way, you should be able to hold it comfortably.

One of the most impressive features is the sharp, generous-sized vari-angle touchscreen. That makes it easy to see your shots instantly and make any adjustments.

The D5600 excels when it comes to the Live View, which is very responsive for a camera in this price range. All you need to do is touch something on the screen, and the camera will focus on it for you.

Nikon D5600 Digital SLR Camera

(Image credit: Proactive Creative)

This camera is compact yet produces superb image quality. Shots come out sharp, and the autofocus and white balance are reliable. 

You can shoot video in HD and record time-lapse videos, which is ideal for capturing your work in progress. But as the D5600 only has 1080 pixels, you shouldn’t expect it to rival a 4K camera. 

Beginners will welcome the fact that there aren’t too many buttons on this camera. But you may find it a bit limiting if you’ve taken some photography classes already.

For example, you can only access autofocus or exposure settings through another menu. It can get a bit complicated with several steps to remember, and it’s not quick or efficient.

Another drawback is that it doesn’t have an autofocus motor, unlike the Canon EOS 800D.

Overall, the Canon D5600 is worth your consideration. It’s an excellent, affordable camera for beginners and intermediate photographers. With this camera, you don’t have a steep learning curve and capture great photos and videos. 

  • Type: DSLR
  • Sensor: APS-C
  • Megapixels: 24.2 MP
  • Monitor: 3.2-inch Vari-Angle Touchscreen
  • Max burst speed: 5 fps
  • Max video resolution: Full HD 1080 pixels
  • User level: Beginner to Intermediate


  • It’s an excellent choice for beginners, with a reliable autofocus mode
  • The carbon fiber composite body feels durable and hard-wearing yet lightweight
  • The image quality is excellent
  • The Live View is impressive for this cost


  • It’s not easy to access different controls 
  • There’s no autofocus motor

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Panasonic LUMIX G7

The best low-cost mirrorless camera for artists

Panasonic LUMIX G7, Best Low-Cost Mirrorless Camera for Artists

(Image credit: Panasonic)

A mirrorless camera is ideal for artists, as it’s compact and fairly simple to use. You get more control than your average compact camera, but you can skip the steep learning curve.

Not all mirrorless cameras are affordable, and some can cost thousands. But the Panasonic Lumix G7 is one of the best low-cost mirrorless models around. 

It’s super lightweight and portable, as you can easily slip it into any bag. It takes up next to no room and feels robust while allowing you to get a secure grip. But more critically, this camera takes outstanding photos.

While it only has 16MP, that means you won’t have to shrink your images as much for the web. It’s perfect for small to medium art prints or shots for social media. 

But if you want to sell large art prints, you may want to look for a camera with more megapixels. Otherwise, they could come out a little grainy with this camera.

The Lumix G7 has excellent features, including continuous autofocus and timelapse.

But where this camera shines is in its 4K video capabilities. That’s a massive improvement if you’re used to 1080 pixels. 

If you want to capture promotional videos or footage as you work, this camera won’t disappoint. You’ll struggle to find anything as accurate in this price range.

This upgrade on the earlier Lumix G6 is not just the video quality that’s noticeably better. It also has a speedy yet silent electronic shutter and faster burst shooting. That makes it easier than ever to capture large-aperture shots in daylight. 

The Lumix G7 offers incredible value for money. You won’t go wrong with this model if you’re looking for an affordable mid-range camera. 

  • Type: SLR-style Mirrorless
  • Sensor: Micro Four Thirds
  • Megapixels: 16MP
  • Monitor: OLED Live View Finder
  • Max burst speed: 7 fps
  • Max video resolution: 4K Full HD
  • User level: Beginner


  • The Lumix G7 is affordable and offers excellent value for money
  • It’s compact, lightweight, and easy to get the hang of this camera
  • It produces fantastic images and outstanding 4K video footage


  • It only has 16 MP 
  • It’s not sealed against the elements

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Canon EOS 90D DSLR

The best premium DSLR for art photography

Camera for artists Canon DSLR EOS 90D

(Image credit: Canon)

Now, we’re moving on mid-range to premium cameras. If you plan to make money from art prints, it’s worth investing in a camera that can take high-quality photos.

The Canon EOS 90D is a versatile camera with tons of features. It has excellent specs, from the 10 fps burst shooting to the 32.5 megapixels. Plus, it can also handle 4K video footage with amazing results.

This camera has a higher-resolution sensor and an improved DIGIC 8 processor. That makes it even more responsive and powerful. It easily beats earlier models from Canon. 

But hands down, one of the best features of this camera is the 45-point AF system. It ensures that your images will come out sharp and crisp.

That’s not all! The 90D takes it to the next level with 4K video that isn’t cropped, unlike in earlier Canon models. 

The vari-angle touchscreen is a nice touch. Many mirrorless cameras don’t have an optical viewfinder. But this model also boasts a generous-sized viewfinder, so you get the best of both worlds!

The Canon 90D isn’t as lightweight as many cameras. A lot of photographers appreciate the chunky build, but it comes down to your preference.

It feels sturdy and provides lots of space for controls. Canon has carefully thought through the placement of each button, and it shows. This camera is intuitive and easy to use.

Canon EOS 90D DSLR

(Image credit: Proactive Creative)

The Canon 90D is an excellent choice for taking the highest-quality art shots. Whether they are for art prints or your website, the Canon 90D is a strong contender and won’t let you down.

Although this camera is pretty expensive, you get your money’s worth. You can use it for both images and video, and it has some of the best specs and features for all your needs.

  • Type: DSLR
  • Sensor: APS-C
  • Megapixels: 32.5 MP
  • Monitor: 3-inch Vari-Angle Touchscreen
  • Max burst speed: 10 fps
  • Max video resolution: 4K UHD
  • User level: Intermediate


  • Great image quality thanks to the outstanding AF system
  • You can take 10 shots per second and record 4K video
  • It feels sturdy in hand and allows you to get a firm grip


  • Fewer megapixels than other cameras on this list – so it’s not ideal for large art prints
  • It only has one memory card slot

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Nikon Z7II Mirrorless Camera

The best digital camera for fine art photography

Nikon Z7II Mirrorless Camera, Best Digital Camera for Fine Art Photography

(Image credit: Nikon)

This exceptional camera is popular among professional photographers. It’s a full-frame mirrorless camera that can easily rival any premium DSLR from the top brands. But it’s pretty reasonably priced for a camera of this caliber.

Every tiny detail has been thought through to provide a fantastic user experience. This camera packs a flawless AF system and produces outstanding high-quality images. There are no limits when it comes to the Nikon Z7II!

This camera is perfect for producing fine art prints and breathtaking images. Wherever you use the photos you take with the Z7II, they won’t fail to impress. It packs an incredible 47.5 megapixels and can capture 4K video. It’s powerful and versatile for all your photography and video needs.

This model has an improved battery life, dual processors, and faster burst shooting. The original Nikon Z7 was impressive, but this upgrade takes it to the next level.

One minor drawback is that the LCD monitor isn’t fully articulated. That can be annoying, especially when you’ve paid this much for a camera.

But other than that, there are very few cons to this camera. You have to commit to learning how to use the Nikon Z7II – it’s not designed for beginners. To get the most out of this camera, you should already have some photography experience.

And I have to mention the price! This camera is a serious investment and will set you back a lot of cash. Most artists won’t need such an advanced camera. 

But if you do buy the Nikon Z7II, it won’t let you down. It excels in every aspect and produces the most beautiful art prints you could imagine.

  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: Full-frame
  • Megapixels: 47.5 MP
  • Monitor: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen
  • Max burst speed: 10fps
  • Max video resolution: 4K UHD
  • User level: Expert


  • It has outstanding image quality with a super-high resolution
  • The AF system is amazing, and you can shoot 4K video
  • It has a longer battery life, faster burst shooting, and has dual processors


  • It’s extremely expensive
  • This camera isn’t for beginners – you need to be an experienced photographer already
  • The LCD monitor isn’t fully articulated

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The Best cameras for artists

The Wrap Up

There you have the complete guide to digital cameras and art photography. Now, you should know exactly what kind of camera will work for you! 

If you want to splash out on a premium DSLR, then the Nikon Z7II is the clear winner. 

But you don’t have to spend so much to get a great digital camera for your artwork. The Panasonic Lumix G7 or the Canon EOS 800D are excellent affordable cameras. 

So, take your pick, and let me know which one you chose in the comments. Feel free to drop any questions below too, and I’ll get back to you ASAP! 

Next, make sure to follow me on Pinterest. I’ll update you with the best resources, tips, and tools for creative professionals!

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, Proactive Creative may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.


Outmane is the founder of Proactive Creative. He is an artist/designer.

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