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Best Camera For Art Photography
7 Best Cameras for Photographing Artwork in 2022 (February)
7 Best Cameras for Photographing Artwork in 2022 (February)
December 28, 2021 by Jacob Cass
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For photographing paintings, sculptures, or any type of artwork, it’s vital that you make sure to pick a camera that best suits your medium, but this is easier said than done.
If you’re not technical or want to cover all your bases, this article is for you because it compiles a list of top cameras for photographing artwork and art mediums and makes sure you’re not overwhelmed by the specs in the process.
Also if you’re more interested in videography, you should check out our list of the best 4k video cameras.
Top 7 Best Cameras for Photographing Artwork
- Canon EOS 90D Digital SLR — The best value camera for photographing artwork
- Olympus E-M5 Mark III — The best affordable camera option
- Sony A7 III — The best mid-range camera for artwork
- Canon EOS Rebel T7 — The best budget camera for artwork
- Fuji X-T30 II — The best older camera at a great price
- Canon EOS R6 — The best high-end camera for quality
- Nikon Z6 — The best camera overall for photographing artwork
What is the best camera for artwork?
The best art camera is the Canon EOS 90D Digital SLR. Check out the list below to see a comparison of the other top cameras for artwork. Thumbnail Best Camera Overall
Best Affordable Camera
Best Mid-Range Camera
Best Budget Camera
Best High-End Camera
TitleCanon DSLR Camera [EOS 90D] with Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DIGIC 8 Image Processor, 4K Video, Dual…Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Body BlackSony a7 III ILCE7M3/B Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera with 3-Inch LCD, Body…Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens | Built-in Wi-Fi | 24.1 MP CMOS Sensor | DIGIC 4+…Canon EOS R6 Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera with 4K Video, Full-Frame CMOS Senor, DIGIC X Image…Prime StatusStar Rating––Reviews650 Reviews-1,710 Reviews–Resolution32.5MP20MP24.2MP24.1MP20.1MPTypeDSLRMirrorlessMirrorlessDSLRMirrorlessSensor sizeAPS-C sensorMOS sensorFull-frameCMOS (APS-C) sensorCMOS SensorAutofocus pointsall cross-type 45-point Autofocus121-point all-cross-type AFs693-point AF9-Point AF system and AI Servo AF20.1MPPrice$1,099.99$1,199.00$1,998.00$479.00$2,499.00Buy NowBuy on AmazonBuy on AmazonBuy on AmazonBuy on AmazonBuy on Amazon
You should also check out our best laptops for artwork if you are planning to buy one.
How to Pick the Best Camera for Photographing Artwork?
When it comes to picking a camera for artwork, you must consider your budget, requirements, and the ideal size of the camera.
Image quality plays a huge role in your performance on social media and in capturing the depth and color of your artwork. So you must consider your camera’s aperture, resolution, frames per second, and in-body stabilization. Image quality is essential for your portfolio because it may determine your clients along with the size and volume of your overall commissions.
Resolution and Sensor Size
The most important factors in image quality are resolution, sensor size, and clarity. These ensure your artwork is captured in high clarity and definition.
The most popular image resolutions are 3840 x 2160 (4K), 920 x 1080 (1080p), and 1280 x 720 (720p). When it comes to artwork, it depends on your requirements and what you want your artwork to look like.
Aperture is the depth of field. Although many camera enthusiasts and artists use aperture to capture the depth of field, basic DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras do the same job.
Generally speaking, although a lot more important with scenic images and photoshoots, Aperture is not the main criteria when it comes to art images. For the most part, the aperture can generally drive up the price of your camera so we’d strongly recommend you not make that your immediate priority.
Frames per Second (FPS)
Frames per second or FPS is the measure that indicates the smoothness of the video or camera through the number of frames a camera processes and records.
FPS is vital for capturing moving objects or when recording an event or art installation requiring smooth and fast capturing camera work. FPS also helps when doing artwork using cameras.
In Body Stabilization and Overhead Shots
In-body stabilization or IBIS is an in-built mechanism that ensures the camera is steady while you’re on the move. IBIS ensures that your photos remain clear and beautiful to look at, while also bringing great to use in your paintings and art.
When it comes to taking overhead shots, ensuring your camera has a good 5-Axis IBIS or any solid IBIS performance can make your job a whole lot easier in the long run.
DSLR vs. Mirrorless
DSLR cameras are more affordable, but also heavy. On the other hand, mirrorless cameras are affordable and lightweight, making them easy to carry around and take with you on the go. For newbies, it’s important to choose your camera based on your budget and the nature of your work.
Size and Sturdiness
If you’re someone who travels often, it’s important to ensure the camera’s size, build quality and ergonomic support match your needs. When picking your camera, a huge part of it can come down to the size you require or whether it feels most ergonomic to work with.
Battery life is most important for artists looking to make time-lapse videos of long painting processes or posts. Artists may spend six to seven hours working a canvas or artwork in a single sitting. For those who wish to document the process, we’d strongly recommend you to look into compact cameras capable of charging while recording. On the same note, also looking at some of the best computers for video editing can save you a whole lot of time and stress when editing long videos.
The right price for you depends on your budget and needs. Most good cameras start at 500 dollars and can go up to 4000 dollars in the mid-range end. Depending on what you’re looking for, it’s important that you put your budget to its best use. If you have a smaller budget, with some cameras, you may have to compromise In-body-stability to ensure color accuracy.
7 Best Cameras for Artwork in 2021
1. Canon EOS 90D Digital SLR
The best camera for artwork overall
Sensor size: APS-C sensor | Resolution: 32.5MP |Autofocus: all cross-type 45-point Autofocus | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 10fps | Movies: 4K at 2160p
The Canon 90D is the best overall camera for artwork for image quality, color accuracy, and solid autofocus. The 32.5-Megapixel APS-C size sensor along with its wide ISO range of 100-25600 ensures that users have proper customization for lighting settings.
The 90D from Canon comes at an affordable price and is great for a large variety of photography requirements you may throw at it. With 4K 30p/25p this camera works surprisingly well for video. And at the end of the day, the 90D is one of the best options for capturing art.
|➕ Great image quality at low ISOs.||➖ Image body stabilization could be improved.|
|➕ Capable of shooting 4k videos (even has 4k time-lapse mode).||➖ Can only use a single memory card at a time.|
|➕ Dual Pixel Autofocus ensures quick and reliable AF while shooting photos and videos.||➖ High ISO performance and dynamic range can be improved when compared to competitors.|
|➕ Outstanding battery life.|
|➕ Ergonomic and weatherproof build.|
- High image quality with 32.5 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor
- High-speed continuous shooting of up to 10 fps with no time Lag during ovf shooting
- 4K UHD 30P/ Full HD 120P video
- 45-Point All Cross-type AF System supports up to 27 points with an F/8 metering
- Use the EOS Utility Webcam Beta Software (Mac and Windows) to turn your Canon camera into a high-quality webcam, or do the same using a clean HDMI output.
2. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III
The best affordable camera option
Sensor size: MOS sensor | Resolution: 20MP | Autofocus: 121-point all-cross-type on-chip phase detection AFs | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 30fps | Movies: 2160p, 2K DCI 1080p
This 20MP camera is among the most affordable options when it comes to decent cameras for photographing paintings. It is a compact and lightweight mirrorless camera that is a solid choice for anyone working on a budget. Although not particularly cheap, this camera is a great option for artists that don’t have the most expensive budget but are willing to spend on a good camera.
It is also weather-sealed, and with 5-axis image stabilization, this camera works well for travel and has characteristics of a mirrorless camera.
Other than this, due to its light and compact build, the M5 Mark III is easy to travel with. It also has good image quality and stabilization to prevent any blurry images that come from shakiness. So If you’re working on a minimal budget, the M5 Mark III is one great art camera.
|➕ Good camera quality.||➖ Has a plastic-like build.|
|➕ Good Image stabilization to minimize blurry images and videos.||➖ Battery life could be better.|
|➕ All-weather durable build that’s quite compact.|
Latest Price on Amazon:
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Body Black
- 20MP live MOS sensor
- Portable, weather sealed design
- 121-point all-cross-type on-chip phase detection AF
- Compact, in-body 5-axis image stabilization (up to approx. 5.5 EV steps of compensation)
- 50MP tripod high-resolution shot
3. Sony A7III
Best mid-range camera for quality
Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 24.2MP Autofocus: 693-point AF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 10fps | Movies: 4K at 30p
For artists willing to invest a bit more, the Sony A7 III is in a class of its own. Although not very different in price range when compared to other cameras from Canon, this camera has great video and image quality. What makes this camera stand out is the 693-point AF which makes both its videos and images stand out.
While it’s still under the $2000 mark, the A7III is a perfect example of why Sony is known for its lenses and crisp camera quality. So regardless of whether you’re using this camera for painting pictures or to record your art process, the A7III is an outstanding camera to capture your artwork, paint pictures and record your art process.
|➕ Outstanding camera quality.||➖ Does not have in-body flash.|
|➕ Great ISO performance and dynamic range.||➖ Only has one UHS-II card slot.|
|➕ 693 phase-detection autofocus points.||➖ Noisy shutter.|
|➕ 5-axis image stabilization for clear videos and high-quality photos.|
- Advanced 24.2MP BSI full frame Image Sensor w/ 1.8X readout speed
- 15 stop dynamic range, 14 bit uncompressed RAW, ISO 50 to 204,800. Compatible with Sony E mount lenses. Can be connected via Bluetooth with smartphones featuring (as of the date of release)- Android…
- Up to 10fps silent or mechanical shutter with AE/AF tracking. Battery life (Still Images): Approx. 610 shots (Viewfinder) / approx. 710 shots (LCD monitor), battery life (Movie, continuous recording):…
- 693 phase detection / 425 contrast AF points w/ 93 percent image coverage. Focus sensor: Exmor R CMOS sensor
- In the box: Rechargeable battery (NP FZ100), AC adapter (AC UUD12), shoulder strap, body cap, Accessory shoe cap, Eyepiece cup, Micro USB cable. Metering type: 1200 zone evaluative metering
4. Canon Rebel EOS T7
The best budget camera for artwork
Sensor size: CMOS (APS-C) sensor | Resolution: 24.1MP | |9-Point AF system and AI Servo AF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 3fps | Movies: 1080p
One of the most popular choices these days, the Rebel EOS T7 is the best budget artwork camera for beginners and individuals working on a tight budget. Probably the best affordable DSLR out there, the EOS T7 comes with a 24.1-megapixel resolution and the CMOS (APS-C) sensor captures stunning images.
Although not most likely to be everyone’s “dream camera” the T7 is an absolute beast in its own right, it has great image quality and captures color with surprising accuracy. That said, if you’re looking for a great budget option, T7 is the best artwork camera for you.
|➕ Great value for money.||➖ Underwhelming autofocus capability.|
|➕ Good color accuracy and sharpness.||➖ Only one cross-type auto-focus point.|
|➕ Great Image quality.||➖ Is not weather sealed.|
|➕ Compatible with OEM and third-party lenses.|
|➕ Comes with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity.|
Latest Price on Amazon:
Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens | Built-in Wi-Fi | 24.1 MP CMOS Sensor | DIGIC 4+…
- 24.1 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor with is 100–6400 (H: 12800)
- Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC technology
- 9-Point AF system and AI Servo AF
- Optical Viewfinder with approx 95% viewing coverage
- Use the EOS Utility Webcam Beta Software (Mac and Windows) to turn your compatible Canon camera into a high-quality webcam
5. Fuji X-T30 II
The best older camera with a great price
Sensor : 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 | Resolution: 1.62-million-dot LCD screen | Autofocus: 425 Focus Points and-7EV in just 0.02 secs | Movies: 4k
Yet another dark horse, the Fuji X-T30 II is a great camera to use for capturing artwork. This camera still holds up to date and is capable of capturing amazing images and comes with impressive autofocus.
The T30-II has an impressive 26.1-megapixel sensor that can help you get outstanding artwork pictures and not break your bank account in the process.
|➕ 26-megapixel image sensor ensures high-quality captures and footage.||➖ Could have better battery life.|
|➕ Capable of capturing 120fps, high-speed videos.||➖ Does comes with weatherproofing.|
|➕ Has impressive connectivity options.||➖ Image stabilization requires improvement.|
|➕ Has 425 Focus Points for crisp excellent image quality.|
|➕ Can shoot in 4k.|
Latest Price on Amazon:
Fujifilm X-T30 II XC15-45mm Kit – Silver
- Assured Image Quality X-T30 II uses Fujifilm’s fourth-generation X-Trans CMOS 4 back-illuminated sensor, designed to minimize noise, while also extending sensitivity to ISO 160. The unique structure…
- Incredible Focusing in All Conditions Never miss a moment, thanks to the X-Processor 4 quad-core CPU inside X-T30 II. It offers fast, accurate autofocusing in as little as 0.02 secs on any subject,…
- Advanced Video and Imaging Controls A truly versatile imaging device, X-T30 II offers the ability to record 4K video at 30 frames-per- second, or 240fps at 1080p, to create 10x super slow-motion…
- In Touch With Your Creativity From the dial-based operation, and compact, lightweight body, to the latest-generation Fujifilm APS-C sensor, X-T30 II lights up the imagination and inspires creativity…
- Made for Sharing X-T30 II is primed for sharing. Use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to share your memories with friends and family on social media, by connecting and downloading images to the FUJIFILM Camera…
Buy on Amazon
6. Canon EOS R6
The best high-end camera for quality
Sensor size: CMOS Sensor | Resolution: 20.1MP | Autofocus: 1,053 Automatic AF Zones | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 20fps | Movies: 4K at up to 60fps
When it comes to rich and color-accurate cameras, the EOS R6 takes the prize. This amazing camera is one of the best cameras for color accuracy and offers a whopping 1,053 Automatic AF Zones making it perfect for small details. Despite its 20MP sensor, this camera makes up for it capturing the smaller details.
For artwork, this camera does an outstanding job. Several art mediums like oils and sculptures require crisp image quality. And if you’re planning on updating your portfolio or social media on a regular basis, investing in the EOS R6 is one of the best moves to make.
|➕ Great Image quality.||➖ The battery life could be better.|
|➕ Great Autofocus capability.||➖ Shooting in 4k is limited due to overheating.|
|➕ Has Dual UHS card slots.|
|➕ 12fps/20fps continuous shooting.|
|➕ Has in-body stabilization.|
Latest Price on Amazon:
Canon EOS R6 Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera with 4K Video, Full-Frame CMOS Senor, DIGIC X Image…
- High Image Quality featuring a New 20 Megapixel Full-frame CMOS Sensor.
- DIGIC X Image Processor with an ISO range of 100-102400; Expandable to 204800.
- High-speed continuous shooting of up to 12 fps with Mechanical Shutter and up to 20 fps electronic (silent) shutter.
- Dual pixel CMOS AF covering approx. 100% area with 1,053 AF areas.
- Subject tracking of people and animals using deep learning technology.
7. Nikon Z6
The best camera overall for artwork
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: Full-frame CMOS | Resolution: 24.5MP | Lens: Nikon Z mount | Viewfinder: EVF | Screen type: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 2,100,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 12fps | Movies: 4K
Canon is usually everyone’s bias, and Nikon best 2nd choice, however, the Nikon Z6 proves otherwise. This mirrorless camera can compete with the best cameras in the industry and come out on top. The Z6 is one of the better mirrorless, mid-range cameras, in its price range and is among the best cameras for photographing artwork for prints.
The Z6 is a solid choice for those on a tight budget but want the value of a mid-high range camera. With a 24.5 Megapixel sensor and a full-frame CMOS sensor, this camera could be just what you need for your artwork photography.
|➕ Amazing image quality and high-resolution EVF.||➖ Only has a single memory slot.|
|➕ Comes with a touchscreen interface.||➖ Colors tend to be on the reddish or warmer tint profile.|
|➕ Has 4K focus peaking.||➖ Limited battery life when compared to competitors.|
|➕ Weather-resistant and ergonomic design.|
|➕ Has in-body stabilization.|
Latest Price on Amazon:SALE
Nikon Z6 Full Frame Mirrorless Camera Body
- Large, full frame Z mount for Revolutionary optical performance
- Nikon-designed 24. 5MP backside illuminated image sensor
- 273-Point on-sensor Phase detect AF system
- Up to 12 fps; 4K Ultra-HD video; 6K time-lapse; 1080P/120Fps slow motion
- Compatible with NIKKOR Z lenses, over 360 F-mount NIKKOR lenses
Best Camera for Artwork Photography in 2022
By Iva Mikles • Updated: Jan 17, 2022 • Guides
Purchasing a digital camera specifically for taking pictures of, or digitizing, your artwork is one of the best and most intelligent investments you’ll ever make – especially if you get the right one. So let’s have a look at the best camera for artwork in 2022!
💡 Please note: This article may include affiliate links. When you buy through those links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you! For more info, please read our disclosure.
If you are in a hurry, here is my pick for the best camera for photographing your artwork in 2022. If you have more time, then keep on reading.
- Leica SL2 47MP Mirrorless Full-Frame Camera (Body Only)
- Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-70mm f/2.8 ASPH Lens
Table of Contents
- Should you Choose DSLR, Mirrorless or Compact Camera for Photographing Your Artwork?
- Overview: Best Digital Camera for Photographing Artwork in 2022
- Best Overall Digital Camera for Artwork Photography
- Best DSLR Cameras for Artwork Photography
- Best Mirrorless Cameras for Artwork Photography
- Best Compact Camera for Photographing Artwork
- Bonus: Best Tripods for Photographing Your Artwork
A good camera is one of the most important investments you will ever make. If you want or need to show your art to clients, or display it online for sale, having really good, professional quality images of your artwork will pay enormous dividends. But that is just one reason to get a great camera, and as a commercial artist, fine artist, art student or crafter you will find thousands more!
- What is the Best Camera for Photographing Your Artwork?
- What is the Best Camera for Copying Artwork?
- What is the Best Camera for Digitizing My Art?
- What is the Best Camera for Photographing Art for Prints?
- What is the Best Digital Camera / DSLR for Taking Pictures of My Artwork?
- How do professionals photograph their artwork?
- Is it better to scan or photograph artwork?
In fact, a good camera is one of the most inspiring and exciting tools an artist can have. As it turns out, the best cameras for capturing images of your artwork also tend to be the best cameras for artists in general, and you will find that the possibilities, ideas, creative avenues and inspirations are seemingly endless, and that your new camera will help you see your art, and art in general, in exciting new ways.
So let’s get into this buyer’s guide for the best cameras for taking pictures of your artwork, and we’ll see that, while every camera we’ll recommend here really is specifically chosen to be great for capturing and digitizing any kind of art or craft piece, they are all great cameras in every way!
Why Do You Need a Digital Camera?
I almost didn’t even write about this, since it seems like such an obvious decision – that any artist or crafter should purchase a good camera, that is. But I realize that some readers may be here not because they have already decided and just need help finding the best cameras for artists, but because they actually haven’t actually decided yet.
A good digital camera will offer images that are so dramatically better than a smartphone that you’ll wonder why you ever thought your phone’s camera was so hot. Sorry, not to get personal, or to challenge your love and devotion for your phone, but it’s true – even if specifications are similar, there’s no comparison.
Since this is a buyer’s guide for the best cameras for photographing your artwork, let’s list a few reasons why you might want or need to do this:
- To Create a Professional Portfolio
- To Show Best-Quality Examples to Potential Clients or Employers
- To Enter Contests or Competitions
- To Display Online – Either as an Exhibition or for Sale
- To Create Beautiful Prints on Paper or Canvas (or pretty much anything else…)
- To Use in a Multi-Media Work or Other Art Piece / Installation
- To Manipulate, Edit or Combine the Art with Other Work as a Creative Process
…and lots more!
But, again, we artists and crafters are creative, and having a good camera seems to really bring out our creativity, and for some of us makes us want to explore photography itself as a creative path. And for my money anything that makes me even more creative, more expressive and more engaged in my own artistic energy is well worth the investment.
The question of whether it is better to scan your artwork with a good, high quality flatbed scanner, or to photograph it, is not so very clear. You can find more information on my article on the Best Art Scanner for Artworks in 2022, but for now I would say that each has its advantages. Scanners may be easier, and offer more consistent results (or, at least, more easily obtained consistency), but though there’s more work in set-up and ensuring proper lighting, alignment and framing and all that, cameras will generally offer better image quality, and again have so many other uses and attractions that they’re pretty irresistible, and for many artists will be the obvious choice.
What Should You Look For in the Best Cameras for Photographing Artwork?
My buyer’s guide for the best cameras for digitizing art may look a lot different than others on the web, because, coming from my own experience and work, I have a very clear idea of what is important and what you really need in a great art camera.
The most basic, and most important, features you should look for are:
- A large, clear and articulated screen – you will hopefully be using a tripod when shooting your art, and a screen that folds out, moves around and is easy to see from various angles and in various situations is a must.
- A fast lens – when I say “fast,” I don’t mean how quickly it will roll off the desk if you set it down, but how much light it will let in. A faster lens will work better in low light, and allows a lot more flexibility in photographing your art in all kinds of conditions.
- A large sensor and good resolution – for the sharpest, most detailed images of your artwork – whether to create a beautiful professional portfolio, to make large, blown-up prints or the most vivid screen displays, or for further digital editing and creative manipulation, sensor size and resolution are crucial.
- Accuracy – here we’re talking about as close to absolute accuracy as possible in color reproduction, and also in geometry – the cameras we’re recommending here are especially well known for their lack of distortion from edge to edge.
- Manual controls – being able to manually adjust focus and exposure will allow you to get the perfect image every single time (which even the best cameras, in fully auto mode, can’t always do), and to achieve certain kinds of special effects and results, which can enhance and optimize the basic image or offer new creative possibilities.
- Tripod Mount – ok, this is a pretty basic thing, but not all cameras have it, and you need it. One of my basic rules for getting the best possible digital images of my own artwork is, if you don’t need a tripod, use one anyway.
And again, these features are important to professional and fine art photographers as well, and are key elements in making a camera not just great for capturing and digitizing your artwork but for anything else you might do, and in making sure that all of your new creative experiments and explorations are as successful – and fun – as possible.
How Can You Find the Best Camera for Art Photography?
We are going to consider three basic types of digital cameras for photographing your artworks:
Or Digital Single Lens Reflex type of camera, which allows you to look directly through the lens for absolute framing accuracy and, for lots of users, a more comfortable and natural feeling when aiming, framing and shooting. These are the choice of almost all top-level professional and art photographers, and generally offer the best image and the best quality all around.
A camera that often looks a lot like a DSLR but shows you instead a digital image when you look through the eyepiece. Younger photographers, who may not have used old film cameras, often prefer this, and mirrorless cameras do offer often high quality images and overall superb quality – almost as good as a DSLR – but for less money. One, at least, is in fact far better than even the best DSLRs (see Leica below).
Not as good as the two categories above (though that’s not always true – our top choice in compact cameras is one of the finest overall digital cameras on the market), compact cameras do offer great value, simple controls, intuitive interfaces and real usability, and incredible value. Plus, they can slip into a pocket that couldn’t even hold the lens of most DSLRs!
Should you Choose DSLR, Mirrorless or Compact Camera for Photographing Your Artwork?
And so, as we move down the list, the cameras become less and less expensive, and have somewhat lower quality in many ways. Still, it’s important to realize that all of the digital cameras I am recommending offer really incredible image quality, great build quality, durability and reliability, and clear, intuitive user interfaces.
A DSLR camera is great if you want simply the best – best image quality, best control and flexibility, and the best lenses and accessories.
Still, for absolutely the best image quality, the most flexibility and control, the most rugged construction and the most evolved and complete systems (that is, add-on lenses and other accessories) DSLR camera is usually the way to go. If you are a fine artist digitizing very high quality works, a serious commercial artist, if you want the most professional and finest quality digital or print portfolio, or if you just want no limits in any creative pursuit, you may want to consider either my Best Premium DSLR or Best Value DSLR.
A mirrorless camera is great if you are on a budget (although they can also be quite expensive) and you want to enjoy the benefits of the newest technology.
For professional artists of any kind who are on a bit more of a budget, but still want nearly first-tier quality, the right mirrorless camera will give you truly superb pictures, the kind of control and adjustment you need to make the images even better (or to make them whatever your creative heart desires), intuitive interfaces and controls and real usability, and excellent material quality and durability. And, again, to be clear, a non-SLR mirrorless camera like the Leica below is actually better in pretty much every way than even the highest level professional DSLRs.
A compact digital camera is great if you are on a tight budget or you are taking photos of your artwork on the go and you need a highly portable camera.
Finally, if you are on an even tighter budget, or simply don’t want to spend a mint on a camera, you can still get beautiful results, and a beautiful camera in every way, by looking at the best compact digital cameras for shooting artwork. In fact, they are so good that, with a little practice, a little creativity and a clear artistic eye, you can get better results with the right compact camera than many people get with much more expensive cameras. Ultimately the image quality and build quality are not as high, but you will be surprised at just how good they can be!
This buyer’s guide to the best digital cameras for photographing artwork will include seven basic recommendations:
- Best Digital Camera Overall for Photographing Artwork
- Best Premium DSLR Camera for Photographing Artwork
- Best Value DSLR Camera for Photographing Artwork
- Best Premium Mirrorless Camera for Photographing Artwork
- Best Value Mirrorless Camera for Photographing Artwork
- Best Premium Compact Camera for Photographing Artwork
- Best Value Compact Camera for Photographing Artwork
At the end of the article, in the Bonus section, we will look at a couple of great choices for tripods. But for now, let’s get a clear picture of the best digital cameras for artists in 2022!
Overview: Best Digital Camera for Photographing Artwork in 2022
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- Nikon D780 w/AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR
- Canon EOS REBEL SL3 Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm Lens
- Leica SL2 47MP Mirrorless Full-Frame Camera (Body Only)
- Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-70mm f/2.8 ASPH Lens
- Fujifilm X-T3 Mirrorless Digital Camera w/XF18-55mm Lens
- Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IIIs M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 IIR Lens
- Fuji X100V Digital Camera with Fujinon 23MM F2 Aspherical Lens
- Canon EOS M200 Compact Digital Camera with EF-M 15-45mm Lens
Best Overall Digital Camera for Artwork Photography
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- Leica SL2 47MP Mirrorless Full-Frame Camera (Body Only)
- Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-70mm f/2.8 ASPH Lens
I have a photographer friend who is fond of saying that professional photographers usually buy Nikon or Canon, but artists have Leicas. Come to think of it, while he is truly a gifted artist, he may have missed his true calling in advertising.
The inclusion of a 9,000 dollar camera and lens combination in this buyer’s guide may seem like a bit of a shock, but I am simply staying true to the category – the best overall. And there is absolutely no better digital camera on the market today than the Leica SL2 mirrorless full-frame digital camera.
It is hard to imagine better picture quality than you can get from the Nikon D780 DSLR below, but when you see what the Leica SL2, coupled with the stunning Summicron-S Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-70mm zoom lens, is capable of you realize that this is a whole different world, where images are so beautiful, so energetic, deep and real that they have a literally physical impact on the viewer that no other camera can come close to.
Perfect color fidelity, range and saturation, unsurpassed actual resolution with its full-sized digital sensor, perfect physical precision and lifetime-use robustness, the best lenses ever made, incredible manual control and absolutely the best and most consistent fully-auto results of any system available, all of these make the Leica SL2 a perfect camera for digitizing art, and the best choice by all standards for any artist or photographer.
In the interest of full disclosure, there are in fact better cameras. The Leica S, just plain S, is a medium format camera that is more than twice as expensive than the SL2, and that without a lens! And then there’s Alpa, hand-crafted Swiss cameras that can easily run into six figures with a bit of associated kit.
But while the difference between the Nikon D780 and the almost unbelievably good Leica SL2 is obvious, the difference between the SL2 and the more expensive Leica S, or the legendary Alpa, is actually quite subtle, and it is easy enough to call the SL2 the finest digital camera that is actually affordable (to some, at least). It is, without question, the finest camera for artists, and the best camera available for photographing artwork.
Best DSLR Cameras for Artwork Photography
Best Premium DSLR CameraNikon D780 w/AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR
Best Premium DSLR Camera for Artwork Photography
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Wow, after all that high-level praise of the Leica SL2, this may seem like a bit of a letdown. But make no mistake – the Nikon D780 is as good as it gets in the sub-Leica realm of mere mortals, and the finest DSLR by far in its price range.
It is, in fact, not the most expensive DSLR, or the most expensive Nikon for that matter, but the D780 is a considerable investment, and yet represents not just best of class performance, but a substantial value.
With a bright, clear and accurate fully articulated LCD view screen, amazingly user-friendly interface, complete manual control and perfect results in fully automatic mode, the D780 seems designed specifically for high quality digitization of artwork, but it is the quality of the full-frame Nikon FX full-frame sensors, the perfect precision of the physical body, the legendary Nikon lenses and the brilliance of every level of engineering that make this camera so beloved among the top professional photographers and artists, and so ideal for capturing professional quality images of your art.
One of the finest cameras in the world, and in my opinion the finest in its category, the Nikon D780 is a truly top-level choice that, at under 3,000 dollars, is surprisingly affordable. It is easily the best DSLR available today for photographing artwork, and a wonderful companion and creative partner for any artist.Best Value DSLR CameraCanon EOS REBEL SL3 Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm Lens
Best Value DSLR for Photographing Artwork
Built-in Wi-Fi, Dual Pixel CMOS AF and 3.0 Inch Vari-Angle Touch Screen
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I have never seen a fairly expensive item get such high customer ratings on Amazon (4.8 stars!), but this is easy to understand if you’ve ever used a Canon EOS Rebel SL3, or seen the pictures it is capable of making.
The SL3 is incredibly small and light for a large CMOS sensor (APS-C) digital single lens reflex camera, and incredibly easy to use, and the quality of image from edge to edge makes it ideal for photographing / digitizing artwork. The wonderful Canon zoom lens is really versatile for pretty much any use or situation or use, and offers such accurate geometry at each focal length that you can make sure your art will be reproduced with utmost precision – the same is true of the EOS’s color fidelity and resolution, which are both simply amazing at this low price.
If there is one drawback, it is that the beautiful Canon lens is not as fast as some others, which is not optimal for hand-held photos of art in darker environments. That said, for the most professional results you will probably be using a tripod, and you will often be working in your well-lit studio or with lights, and anyway the low-light capabilities of the sensor are quite good, so this is not really a big deal.
Speaking of big deals, though, it is important to realize that this superb camera and lens combination, for all of its near-perfect results, incredible ease of use and really top-notch physical quality and durability, is way less than a thousand dollars – easily the best value camera for beginners on the market today. The incredibly popular and highly rated Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is the best affordable DSLR for photographing artwork, or for any other use you can think of, and an absolute joy to use!
Best Mirrorless Cameras for Artwork Photography
Best Premium Mirorless CameraFujifilm X-T3 Mirrorless Digital Camera w/XF18-55mm Lens
Best Premium Mirrorless Camera for Photographing Artwork
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One of the first things you’ll notice about the Fuji X-T3 camera is its incredible solidness and its premium quality fit and finish, which is really accentuated by the whisper-quiet operation. Also striking is the remarkably clear and visible range of controls and dials, which not only appear as they might on an old film camera but just make sense in their placement and function, as well as the easy and intuitive overall user interface.
Yes, the Fujifilm X-T3 is definitely a wonderful, and wonderfully easy, camera to use, but the reason it is so incredibly high rated, has won so many awards and gained such passionate, even fierce, loyalty among owners, is the beauty of the images. To be clear here, this beauty is not due to some kind of artificial digital enhancement, but to accuracy, clarity and resolution, and a stunning range of light values, all of which is made possible by the superlative Fuji lenses and the large (APS-C) high resolution sensor, not to mention the superb overall engineering.
This all makes the Fujifilm X-T3 a perfect camera for photographing any type of artwork, as do the bright and clear articulated LCD display, the full range of manual controls and the performance in automatic mode, and the low distortion and high speed of the aspherical lens. A great camera for artists in every way, and (short of the three grand Leica above) definitely the finest premium mirrorless digital camera for photographing artwork.Best Value Mirrorless CameraOlympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IIIs M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 IIR Lens
Best Value Mirrorless Camera for Photographing Artwork
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Like the Fuji above, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IIIs hearkens back to the style and layout of old film cameras (if in a super-cool tiny and light version), but while they also share great image quality, and great quality all around, the Olympus is about a third of the price of the Fuji.
No, it is not the equal of the expensive Fujifilm X-T3, but this Olympus has best-of-class color accuracy, range of light, detail and actual resolution, and exceptionally low distortion edge to edge. Everything else we would want to see in a great camera for shooting art is in place, but it is the way this OM-D presents the original art with such faithfulness and accuracy, and such life, that make this a truly special camera. Of course that is true whatever type of photography you do, and the Olympus is an incredibly usable and versatile camera overall.
Still expensive to many people, at around 600 dollars with the wonderful 14-42mm Olympus M.Zuiko lens, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IIIs is without a doubt an amazing value – quite possibly the best value on this list – and it is easy to see why anybody who has one loves it so very much. It is my choice for best value mirrorless digital camera for photographing artwork.
Best Compact Camera for Photographing Artwork
Best Premium Compact CameraFuji X100V Digital Camera with Fujinon 23MM F2 Aspherical Lens
Best Premium Compact Camera for Photographing Artwork
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The choice of commercial and fine art photographers who want a pocket-sized second camera that offers superb results on the level of their “serious” equipment, the beloved Fuji X100V often becomes their go-to camera, and in fact frequently produces even better images than their big, bulky and complicated gear.
Of course, while the X100V is probably much less expensive than their professional DSLRs, it is still not a cheap camera, coming in at around 1,400 dollars. Still, anybody who has used it is stunned that an affordable, small, easy to use camera, with a smaller sensor (though still a large and very high resolution APS-C) can possibly perform so well.
Especially notable are the glorious colors, deeply saturated, subtle and wide in range and exceptionally accurate, the incredible detail and resolution, the lack of distortion from edge to edge, and the life and energy of the images. And in addition to a beautiful articulated LCD display screen, the X100V has a cool hybrid electronic and optical viewfinder, which is great for all kinds of shooting situations and can be especially nice when shooting artwork.
And while it has a fixed focus lens (that is, not a zoom), it is such a superb lens, with, again, such low distortion at every point on the frame, that this is actually one of the camera’s greatest advantages.
The Fujifilm X100V is certainly the best compact camera going for photographing / digitizing your artwork, but again, as we creative types will tend to take a great new art tool and run with it in so many inspired directions, I have to say that it is also, and by a wide margin, the finest compact camera I have ever used for any kind of photography or any situation.Best Value Compact CameraCanon EOS M200 Compact Digital Camera with EF-M 15-45mm Lens
Best Value Compact Camera for Photographing Artwork
Vlogging Camera with EF-M 15-45mm lens, Vertical 4K Video Support, 3.0-inch Touch Panel LCD, Built-in Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth Technology, Black
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The Canon EOS M200 is about the least expensive camera you can get that will give really professional quality photographs of your artwork, allowing you to display your pieces in their full glory – in print or on the screen – and/or put together a portfolio that will wow potential clients or investors.
No, there are no 200 dollar cameras on this list of best digital cameras for artists, but from personal experience, and from the feedback I get from pretty much any commercial or fine artist I know, it is so important to have a portfolio, or digitized display pieces, that not only fully represent the beauty, life and attractiveness of your work, but that also reflects your commitment to quality and your personal work ethic. If your portfolio or online presence isn’t first rate – really, fully professional and beautiful – what will that say about your level of craft?
And the Canon EOS M200 does indeed truly, accurately and beautifully capture your artwork, and offers actual professional quality images. Billed as a simple camera for everyday use, vlogging and even HD video, all of which it does beautifully, the M200 is a ridiculously high resolution camera which produces images with a full range of light and color, incredibly high accuracy and low distortion, and presents them with real energy.
With highly precise automatic focus and exposure, full manual control of either (including a highly useful magnified-focus mode), an articulated LCD screen that is bright and accurate, and good low light capabilities, the Canon EOS M200 ticks all the boxes. It is designed to be the perfect affordable all-around camera, and it may very well be, but it is definitely the best value digital camera I know of for photographing artwork, and a phenomenal performer for the money.
Bonus: Best Tripods for Photographing Your Artwork
I could really go off here with a whole section of tips and hints for photographing artwork, a list of all the accessories you might want or need, advice for creating a portfolio or presenting art to clients, lots of ideas about digitizing and playing around with art in cool and creative ways, on and on.
But all the tips, advice, creative ideas and all that, well maybe that’s a whole different article for another time. Anyway, creative types like us can figure a lot of that stuff out on our own, and in our own style.
And as far as gear goes, I really think you only truly need two things: a great camera and a TRIPOD. Sorry, I didn’t capitalize that to yell at you, but to emphasize that a tripod is an absolute necessity for shooting any kind of artwork for any reason – whether for display, for art installations or multi-media work, for portfolios or promotional copies. No matter how steady your hand is, or how good you are with a camera, you will never get the absolute accuracy – especially in focus and alignment/geometry – that you can with a tripod.
Selecting the best tripod for shooting or digitizing your artwork could also be a whole new article and buyer’s guide, but to close this article I want to mention just a couple of great tripods – one premium and professional quality and one pretty darn cheap, but both just ideal for our needs.
Magnus VT-4000 Tripod System with Fluid Head – an incredibly solid and stable tripod, with a high quality fluid head which provides smooth movements of horizontal and vertical adjustments, and a design that ensures your camera stays put and doesn’t move once in position. Not too expensive, but as good as many professional tripods that are many times the price!
K&F Concept 62” DSLR Tripod – an amazing value for such a solid, over-built tripod, with full, precise and smooth adjustment control and absolute stability. Very light, and quite small when folded up, this is a perfect tripod for on-site work, but is also great for your home or studio. Less expensive tripods can tend to be a little wobbly and insecure, but more expensive ones don’t necessarily offer substantially more stability or precision than this great value Concept.