Looking for a great portrait photography camera?
Realistically, you don’t need much to take great portraits. Your ability to manipulate light, pose your subject, and evoke emotion are going to be much more important than the camera and lens. You can take great portraits with just your smartphone!
With that said, here are some great value options:
- Canon Rebel T2i (550D): 18 megapixel APS-C sensor, 3.7 fps continuous shooting, 9 AF points. $120 used. Combine with a Canon EF 50mm F1.8 STM lens ($80). Total: $200 used.
- Canon 6D Mark I: 20 megapixel Full Frame sensor, 4.5 fps, 11 AF points, weather resistant. Excellent low-light performance. $320 used. Combine with the Canon 50mm F1.8 STM. Total: $400 used.
- Add a Canon 85mm F1.8 USM lens ($300) and a cheap 5-in-1 reflector to the above kit. Total: $750 used.
- Nikon D5200: 24 megapixel APS-C sensor, 5 fps, 39 AF points. $250 used. Combine with the excellent Nikon AF-S 50mm F1.8 G lens ($125) for a total of $375.
- Nikon D610: 24 megapixel Full Frame sensor, weather resistant, 6 fps, 39 AF points, two card slots. $350 used. Pair it with the Nikon AF-S 50mm F1.8 G ($125), and you’ve got a killer full frame portrait setup for under $500!
- Add a Nikon 85mm F1.8 G lens ($300) and a cheap 5-in-1 reflector to the above kit. Total: $800 used.
- Fuji X-T20: 24 megapixel APS-C (X-Trans) sensor, 2.36mp EVF, tilting LCD, 8 fps continuous shooting, 325 AF points. Pair with the Fuji 35mm F2 XC lens. $450 body + $150 lens = $600 total.
- Nikon Z50: 21 megapixels, tilting LCD screen, 2.36 MP EVF, weather resistant, 11 fps, 209 AF points. $600 used. Pair with the excellent Nikon 40mm F2 lens ($200). Total: $800 used.
- Sony Alpha a6000: 24 megapixel APS-C sensor, 11 fps continuous, EVF, tilting LCD. Great autofocus. $400 used. Combine with Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary ($300). Total: $700 used.
Tip: take your beginner portrait game to the next level with a collapsible 5-in-1 reflector. The Neewer 43 inch (110 cm) one is only $30 and will make a big difference!
Tip #2: learn how to use off-camera flash ASAP! Godox flashes (e.g. V860II for $180) are great value, and pair nicely with all major camera brands.