If you’re a professional artwork photographer, you already know that it requires precision, time, and an accurate representation of colors & textures. While the first two are up to you, the last one requires a good camera. But which one should you get?
If you’re a beginner or an artist and are currently using your smartphone then you’re missing out on a couple of major necessities. First of all, you’re taking all the compression and over/under saturating factors of the software. Also, you don’t get the flexibility of swapping different lenses that can change the perspective and take advantage of different focal lengths.
The implications of getting the wrong camera for taking pictures of artwork can be really bad and if you end up with something less than ideal, you’ll have nightmares when using it. To help you with the best possible options, I interviewed 43 studios involved in art photography and have made this list based on their opinions and suggestions.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional photographer focused into artwork photography or are an individual artist who wants to capture his art, whatever your angle of art photography is, after reading this article, you’ll find the best option for your needs.
- Best Cameras for Photographing Artwork
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Cameras for Photographing Artwork
To make a well-informed list, I started with more than 41 options and finally came to the top 7. These cover a wide variety of price ranges although, I’ve tried to avoid the super-expensive options as they barely make sense. The options that made it to the list are more than enough to get your artwork photography game going.
1. Best Overall: Sony a7 III
The Sony a7 III is an amazing full-frame mirrorless camera with excellent color accuracy, crispy detail retention, fast focusing and a lot of manual controls. If your budget allows, this is the camera I’d recommend for any type of artsy photos you might be planning to take.
The magnesium alloy construction of the, A7 III feels really solid in the hand with a perfectly-sized grip area to hold on to. It is way more muted compared to a traditional DSLR and it looks more premium as well. The battery life is actually pretty decent with up to 710 shots on a single charge.
There are two memory card slots, headphone & microphone inputs, a 3-inch TFT LCD display, and an excellent OLED viewfinder. The display has an angular flip-up setup which means you can raise it slightly to check your shots from above but, you can’t flip it entirely.
The 24.2MP CMOS sensor is excellent with support for 14-bit RAW, 693 point phase-detection autofocus, 15 stops of dynamic range, and an ISO range of 50 to a whopping 204800. That means, the A7 III can grab focus on to subjects fast, maintain details in the artwork in case there is a bright background, and retain a lot of color information.
It also supports 5-axis IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization) so, handheld shooting won’t result in shaky images, no matter if you’re using a stabilized lens or not. There is also 10 fps silent shutter and 4K HDR video recording if you also plan on shooting some creamy artwork B-Roll.
When it comes to weight, the device is only around 1.44 pounds which is pretty comfortable to hold onto in case you’re shooting for longer periods of time. So, if you’re going after great color accuracy, IBIS, and best-in-class details, the Sony A7 III is the one for you.
- 14-bit RAW images
- 5-axis IBIS
- Excellent dynamic range
- Accurate color retention
- Great low-light performance
- A bit costly
- The display only tilts and doesn’t flip
2. Best Runner Up: Canon EOS 90D
The 90D is a great mid-range DSLR with an APS-C type sensor for people who would like to step up from a beginner’s camera. The Canon EOS 90D has great features and clarity that would make the artwork look awesome in any condition. The battery can go up to 1400 shots which is almost 4 hours of continuous shooting and it can take videos for 2 hours at a stretch.
It has the Canon trademark design that is well-spaced and well planned. The 3-inch articulating screen gives you the flexibility to take the shot from any angle. The screen is touchscreen so you can just touch and focus. Its focus can go up to 88% of the screen horizontally and a full 100% vertically.
Note: If you want to go via the button route, there is a focus joystick to enable quick changes to the focus point. The buttons are a delight to press with their round and finger-friendly shape.
There is a DIGIC 8 image sensor coupled with a 32.5 MP resolution to ensure excellent quality of the images. There is a Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus feature that allows you to instantly focus on things and track the subject. It now comes with an eye detection feature and ITR which is the tracking technology that would focus on the eyes and immediately track it to give you the best results.
An array of 45 focus points ensures that you can focus on most of the image through the optical viewfinder. In case you want to capture a fast-moving image of your painting or your artwork has some fantastic movements, the burst rate of 10fps is there to suffice this need. Moreover, this DSLR comes with WiFi connectivity.
The camera weighs 1.32 lbs which is not exactly very heavy or light. It comes with a one year warranty. This is a great pick for the intermediate-range and the plethora of features ensures that you get the best of everything that you need and want to click the best pictures of artwork.
- Joysticks for controlling
- 10 fps burst
- ITR and eye detection
- 32.5 MP resolution
- Single-slot of memory card
- Takes a couple of seconds to buffer images and videos
Do you want to go unique and go with the Olympus brand? The OM-D E-M1 Mark III is a great option then. The Mark III from Olympus can last up to 2 hours for photoshoots while the video recording can go for an hour or so. It is a great option if you want to shoot your artwork and also create a high quality time-lapse for social media sites like Flickr.
The design of this camera is elegant and sleek. It has a 3 inch fully articulating screen that can flip all directions. It is a touch screen. It is compact and feels very small to hold. It boasts of a directional pad as well as a joystick to control the focus. A very interesting feature of this is that you can customize the menu as per your preference and make the most of the camera.
This camera has the latest Truepic IX image sensor which is the latest offering from Olympus. It can be paired with the 20MP CMOS Live sensor that would give you crystal clear and sharp images to boast on social media. It has the best in class in-body image stabilization technology which means that you can forget about the image getting any blur or shakes while shooting with this. Pair it with a compatible Zuiko Pro lens and you would never need a tripod.
The focus of this camera is spot on. It has options to select from a single spot to all the 121 focus points. The focus is smart enough to detect eyes and faces in a jiffy. The dust reduction and the weather-sealed body adds jewel to the crown by providing you all-round protection in any situation whatsoever.
The camera weighs 1.28 lbs and it is an average amount of weight. The camera comes with a one year warranty. It is a great option and has all the modern features and the abilities to make sure that you are future proof. This one goes to the top list of high-end options for mirrorless cameras.
- 121 focus points
- Best Image stabilization
- Image resolution boost upto 50MP
- Starry mode for astrophotography
- Raw image quality can be better
- Complicated menu
4. Best Under $1000: Fujifilm X-T30
Photography was a very different experience before the advent of digital storage. Fujifilm gives you a glimpse of that era with the design in the Fujifilm XT30. It can shoot up to 380 shots per battery cycle. It also has a video capability of shooting up to an hour at a stretch.
What strikes out for the XT30 is its design. It is a perfect balance of modern functionality and compactness with the retro look and the vintage feel. It has a 3 inch LCD touchscreen that can tilt in one direction. It has a joystick for easy focusing. However, the placement of the Q button is very annoying and it presses every time you would want to click a photo or toggle the functions.
The FujiFilm has the X processor Pro 4 for image processing and the 26.1 MP X-Trans CMOS sensor. This combination makes sure that you get the best and the most efficient results when it comes to image quality. They are also equipped with eye detection and face tracking technology. You can capture great photos of statues and sculptures as a part of the artwork photography on this camera.
It also has 4K video capabilities but they are limited to a period of 10 minutes at a stretch. It has the film modes that would ensure that you get the best filters and the best amount of creative effects on your photos. They are Provia, Classic Chrome, Astia, etc. No more sitting and editing for hours to upload a photo on Pinterest.
The camera weighs a massive 3.5 lbs. This is definitely heavy and you should have a tripod with you for most of the shoots to avoid fatigue. It comes with a one year warranty. It is a nice option for anyone to buy but weight is something to keep in mind.
- Film modes
- Retro feel and look
- Good quality image and videos
- Good battery life
- 4k video for 10 minutes only
- Congested design
5. Best Point & Shoot: Sony RX100 VII
If you’re looking for something that easily fits in your pocket and yet has excellent photo & video quality, the Sony RX100 VII is perfect for you. It is the best point & shoot camera Sony currently makes and alongside clicking crispy color-accurate images (up to 310 at a time), it also shoots excellent quality videos.
The build quality is excellent for a point-and-shoot camera. The device feels extremely solid, sturdy, and premium in hand. The RX100 VII also looks modern & stylish, making it one of the best-looking cameras in the entire point & shoot segment. There is a 3-inch flip-up display alongside a high-quality pop-up OLED viewfinder.
Surprisingly enough it does have a microphone jack but, for some reason, Sony has gone with a Micro-USB port instead of USB Type-C which may or may not be a deal-breaker for you. Other than that, there is also a Micro-HDMI, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth.
Coming to the sensor, the 20.1MP CMOS unit is pretty large at 1-inch. That means the low-light sensitivity is excellent, and it also has 357 point phase-detection autofocus so, it grabs onto subjects really fast. The ISO ranges from 100 to 25600 but, as you go higher on ISO, the digital noise levels will increase too.
There is support for continuous shooting up to 20 fps, Optical Image Stabilization with SteadyShot, and 4K HDR video in HLG. That makes it one of the best point & shoots video cameras in the entire market.
The weight has been kept at just around 0.66 pounds which is great if you just want to toss the camera in your pocket. If you don’t have any issue investing in a premium point & shoot and convenience is one of your deciding factors, go ahead & get the Sony RX100 VII.
- Excellent quality photos
- Fast autofocus
- OIS with SteadyShot
- Great low-light performance
- 4K HDR video (HLG)
- Battery life could have been better
- Super-expensive for a Point & Shoot
6. Best Budget Mirrorless: Canon EOS M50
Canon is a household name when it comes to photography and it would be a wise move to go for any of its products. The EOS M50 is a camera that would last about 2 hours which is around 400 shots and the video shooting can go upto 1 hour. This one is quite a great choice for shooting artwork because of its sensor and ability to have multiple lenses.
The Canon M50 is a modern touch to the old ergonomic design and feel of Canon design. It retains the simplicity of its predecessors. The camera sports a 3-inch articulating touchscreen which is perfect for capturing photos at any angle. Mirrorless cameras can get a little congested but Canon does take care of this by giving a widely spaced design in the M50.
There is the latest DIGIC DV 8 sensor coupled with a resolution of 24 MP which would provide amazing results to capture any and every artwork that you come across. There is also the Dual Pixel CMOS sensor which is designed to provide excellent autofocus results even in low light conditions. It also has an eye-tracking feature.
The camera has several connectivity options including WiFi and NFC. It also has Bluetooth sharing. Along with the Canon app, you can automatically transfer all the images to a selected device. No more wires to congest your workspace for uploading the picture to Instagram. It can also capture 4k video if you are planning to take a behind the scenes or a making video of your artwork.
The camera is lightweight and should not be a problem to carry around at 0.86 lbs. It comes with a one year warranty. The camera is a great choice for the people who would want to choose Canon and go for modern features that resemble the next level connectivity.
- Great low light performance
- Can be used as Webcam
- 4k video
- Adapter needed for most canon Lens
7. Best DSLR Under $1000: Nikon D5600
This Nikon Camera boasts wonderful features that would satiate all your artwork photography needs at a reasonable price. Nikon D5600 is for the ones that are looking for a DSLR that costs less than $1000. The camera has got you covered for 970 shots which is around 3 hours of continuous shooting. You can also expect a video shoot of one and a half hours on this device.
The Nikon D5600 is a delight for beginners with its lightweight and compact body. The design is even and well-spaced. It sports a screen of 3.2 inches which is a touchscreen. There is a small red line that crosses just below the shutter button. That is a cherry on the cake and it gives the camera a unique and attractive look that makes it fun to look at and hold.
This camera has an EXPEED 4 CMOS sensor that is responsible for getting you the perfect image quality even in low light settings. The ISO can go up to 25600 but it is advisable to stick to 12800 to ensure the least amount of noise in your images. The absence of Vibration Reduction in the body is something that does pinch us but you can compensate for it with the lenses that you buy.
There are 39 focus points which means that you can focus on several parts of the image. This is very important for capturing artwork as it would ensure that you can precisely focus on a smaller part of the image to ensure it comes out bright and sharp. There is also Nikon Image Space that gives you the freedom and the flexibility to upload the images on the cloud.
It also has multiple creative modes to match the surroundings that you are in. This is helpful when you have a quick shoot where you want immediate results without worrying about the settings of the image. Great to have when you are going around and exploring artworks in a gallery or a museum.
A camera is a light option at 1.20 lbs. It comes with a one year warranty. The features and the abilities that it has are a remarkable and praiseworthy achievement and that makes it a camera you should have if this is the budget you are looking for to buy the perfect camera to photograph artwork.
- Articulating touchscreen
- 39 focus points
- Cloud storage
- 5 fps burst
- No Image stabilization
- No 4k videos
Frequently Asked Questions
You need to make sure you’re getting the colors, details, and textures right. You also need to make sure that the photo is properly exposed and you can try shooting from different angles for fresh perspectives.
You can edit artwork photos but, try to retain the original colors as altering them introduces a sense of fakeness and unrealisticness. Other than that, altering things like Exposure, Shadows, etc., shouldn’t create an issue.
You can do artwork photography to showcase your own artwork on digital platforms and to potential customers or to just keep a digital memory of a great art you may encounter.
You may lose a significant amount of details and a lot of color accuracy if you’re shooting on a smartphone. That is a huge deal-breaker for artwork photography.
The idea of artwork photography can be both pleasant & confusing but, if you came here looking for a great camera for it, hopefully, you’ve found the right one for you. In case you’re still a bit confused, let me further clear things up:
- If you’re craving the best image quality you can get, the Sony a7 III is the one for you.
- In case you don’t want a mirrorless camera but need a DSLR instead, get the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III or the Canon EOS 90D if you’re on a tighter budget.
- If point & shoots are your thing and you don’t mind paying the extra cash, get the Sony RX100 VII.
- In case you’d like a compact mirrorless under $1000, get the Fujifilm XT30.
So, check which one of these categories completely matches or reaches the closest to your requirements and get the camera associated with that. If you found this article helpful, you can also check out other articles on the website, exploring a sea-full of different cameras for a wide variety of use cases.