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The Best Cameras for Designers & Creatives in 2019

Looking for the best camera for photography and graphic design?

Maybe you’re shooting for clients or maybe your your own portfolio?

Well, we’ve got you covered! Below we list the best cameras out there for someone working in a creative field, including the best cameras for graphic design, blogging, vlogging, video, Youtube, filmmaking and more!

But before we dive in, let’s see how to choose a camera and the features you should be looking out for.

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How to Choose a Camera

When you head out shopping to choose the best digital camera for your graphic design needs, it can be very easy to become overwhelmed and just get easily frustrated and give up. To offer some help, we wanted to take a bit of a closer look at the different types out there so you don’t look like a deer caught in the headlights at the store.

You must consider:

  • Your budget
  • The different types of cameras available
  • The features & quality required for your creative needs

What’s Your Budget?

Your budget will be the quickest way to narrow down your needs. Expect to pay approximately:

  • Budget: $400-$600
  • Mid-Range: $1000-$2500
  • High-End: $2500-$5500+
Camera Costs

Different Types of Digital Cameras

  1. Standard Compact
  2. Zoom Compact
  3. Adventure Cameras
  4. Advanced Compact
  5. Super Zoom (bridge)
  6. Compact (Mirrorless) System Cameras
  7. DSLR

1. Standard Compact ($)

Commonly known as a point and shoot camera, these tend to be small, light, and fairly cheap. For many, they are usually the first choice for non-professionals when they first start taking digital photographs. Fully automatic, they can have some manual exposure options and are likely to have a built-in flash and LCD screen on the back. Many of these will have HD some video options and in some cases, will let you access WiFi so you can upload your photos and videos instantly.

2. Zoom Compact ($)

While pretty similar to a standard compact camera, a zoom compact will usually benefit from a lens that has a more powerful zoom and can be a bit larger and sturdier. These types of cameras are usually equipped with HD video recording along with manual and automatic exposures. Some higher-end models will include GPS for geotagging.

3. Adventure Cameras ($$)

Adventure cameras are designed to withstand the elements that you might put them through. These will typically be waterproof, shockproof, and in some cases, even freeze proof. While similar in design to compact cameras, they will normally offer some manual exposure options, which can be limited and a similar zoom which is encased in toughened glass. These are a good choice for those looking for a basic digital camera and also enjoy the great outdoors.

4. Advanced Compact ($$)

At this point on the store shelf, the cameras tend to be designed more for those who are experienced photographers and come with the features and specifications that you may be looking for. With options such as manual exposure and manual focusing, an advanced compact camera may be a good choice for those who want more control with the photos that they take.

5. Super Zoom (bridge) ($$)

While the use of Super Zoom or bridge cameras has declined recently, for some, they are still a good stepping stone between a compact camera and a DSLR, which is where the bridge name comes from. These cameras are packaged with an SLR-type body which provides you with hand grips as well as an electronic viewfinder. These tend to come with a powerful zoom lens as well as image stabilization.

6. Compact (Mirrorless) System Cameras ($$$)

More professional photographers are beginning to invest in these types of cameras, which can provide the benefit of allowing interchangeable lenses which can provide you with greater control over the pictures you are taking. CSC’s can offer most of the features as well as the capabilities found in SLR cameras but can be lighter, smaller, and less expensive.

7. DSLR ($$$)

A DSLR is typically what a serious amateur or even professional photographer will use. Offering excellent image quality, a multitude of creative controls, and the ability to change lenses, their popularity is no surprise. Many will use a sensor size called APS-C while full frame sensors tend to be found on higher-end models.

8. Medium Format Cameras ($$$$)

The cream of the crop, medium format cameras have even bigger sensors than a full-frame DSLR. This means that the image resolution is higher. However, this higher resolution comes at a price, literally. The cost of a medium format camera can reach prices up to $50,000. These are more than likely not going to be used by an amateur photographer.

Features to look for in Cameras

Camera Features

Once you know what type of camera you’re looking for, you want to make sure that the camera you’re buying has the features and specifications you’re looking for. But what should you look for? There are a lot of options out there. Let’s take a closer look at what you should look for in a camera.

  1. Interchangeable or fixed lens
  2. Mirrorless or DSLR
  3. Photo quality
  4. Video quality/control
  5. Low-light quality
  6. Zoom
  7. Viewfinder
  8. Wireless

1. Interchangeable or fixed lens

Depending on the type of photography you may be doing, choosing between an interchangeable and fixed lens camera can come down to the advantages that both have to offer. With interchangeable lenses, you always have the option to buy another lens to suit your needs. However, this can add to the size of the camera while a fixed lens camera can be much smaller.

2. Mirrorless or DSLR

If you decide to go with an interchangeable lens, you’re next decision to make is whether you want a DSLR or mirrorless. Many people believe that DSLR cameras are the best option for high-quality, high-speed photos. This isn’t necessarily true because a mirrorless camera can be very similar to a DSLR. Some of the biggest differences lie in the better battery life of a DSLR camera and the cost of a DSLR is much cheaper than a mirrorless camera. A mirrorless camera can be a good choice if you’re shooting video because the autofocus performance and LCD view screen make it much easier to operate.

3. Photo quality

Ideally, this should truly be the first thing you consider when you choose a camera and if it is, you will want to consider the size of the sensor in the camera. As a general rule of thumb, bigger is better, but bigger also comes with a higher price.

4. Video quality/control

If you’re shooting causal video, a camera with good autofocus may work best. If your needs are a little more advanced, a camera with 4k support, customizable tone curves, plus lots of touchscreen controls plus frame rate options may be a better option for your needs.

5. Low-light quality

If you can see yourself taking a decent number of pictures in low-light situations, you’ll want to compare the maximum native ISO sensitivity capability. Choosing a camera with a large size sensor along with good image stabilization will allow you to use slower shutter speeds and take better pictures in low light situations.

6. Zoom

For professionals, the level of zoom that can be achieved with their camera can make or break their career with the use of telephoto of super telephoto lenses. For amateur photographers, a camera with a normal level of zoom can help you achieve some stunning photos. Deciding what types of photos you intend on taking will help determine the level of zoom that’s best for you.

7. Viewfinder

The days of holding a camera up to your face and squinting through the viewfinder is a thing of the past these days with the inclusion of an LCD screen on the back of many cameras, making it easier to shoot pictures in direct sunlight. Using a viewfinder to take pictures is also makes it easier to hold the camera steady.

8. Wireless

Most cameras on the market today will have some integration options where you can use either Wifi or Bluetooth in order to upload your photos to your computer right after you take them. Many times, this process will be done through a native app found on the camera itself. It is always a good idea to read reviews of the app prior to buying the camera.

The Best Cameras for Designers/Creatives in 2019

Top best cameras for designers

The best camera is like an extension of your arm. When you have one that fits comfortably and can provide you with all the options you need, it feels “meant to be”. So far, we’ve given you a ton of information about the different types of cameras and what you should look for when you go shopping and that can be really overwhelming.

To make things a bit easier, we’re going to break down our list of The Best Cameras for Designers & Creatives in 2018 / 2019 into different budget tiers. While not all of us can afford top of the line cameras, that doesn’t mean we can’t have high-quality cameras that suit our needs.

Below are the top cameras for designers:

  1. Nikon D850 (High-End) — $5494 with 24–70mm lens
  2. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (High-End) — $3549 with 24–70mm lens
  3. Sony A6500 (Mid-Range) $1996 with 16–70mm lens
  4. Fujifilm X-T2 (Mid-Range) — $1399 with 18–55mm lens
  5. Panasonic Lumix GH5 (Mid-Range) $2398 with 12–60mm lens
  6. Sony Alpha A7 III (High-End) — $2298 with 28–70mm lens
  7. Panasonic G7 (Budget) — $497 with 14–42mm lens
  8. Nikon D3500 (Budget) — $397 with 18–55mm lens
  9. Canon SL2 (Budget) — $599 with 18–55mm lens
  10. Panasonic Lumix ZS100 / TZ100 (Budget) — $497

Best High-End Cameras for Designers ($$$)

The best of the best. Typically, professional photographers will gravitate toward this category as they have the combination of features and specifications that meet their requirements for their career.

Nikon D850

The best camera you can buy right now

Nikon D850 Best Camera

With many DSLR cameras, the combination of speed and resolution doesn’t always coexist very easily. With the D850 from Nikon, you can get both in one package with its continuous shooting capabilities as well as an increased ISO range. The overall package can provide you with an amazing camera that comes with a 45.7-megapixel sensor to capture those exceptionally fine details and while using the silent shooting option in Live View, the viewfinder has a fast autofocus to keep your pictures clear. While the battery can have an exceptionally long life, the wireless SnapBridge connectivity system could use some improvement. While these are some minor complaints, if you’re in the market for a top of the line camera, you cannot go wrong.

Learn More

$5494 with 24–70mm lens

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

The best DSLR camera for professionals

Canon EOS 5D Camera

When it comes to the newest technology in cameras, Canon isn’t particularly known for being the first one out of the gate to show it off. However, they are really good at putting out quality products and the EOS Mark IV continues the trend of being the number-one seller of cameras with interchangeable lenses. With high-quality 30.4 megapixel stills and Dual Pixel autofocus when recording video, your images will always look amazing. A high ISO capability, 7 frames per second for continuous shooting, and a 61-point autofocus system will leave you thinking that the Mark IV has no flaws at all. The only gripes holding this back is that there is no tilt screen, and the HDMI-out is limited to 1080p. All in all, the EOS 5D Mark IV is an amazing piece of hardware.

Learn More

$3549 with 24–70mm lens

Sony Alpha A7 III

The best mirrorless camera you can buy in 2019

Sony A7 III Camera

When you go shopping for a new camera, many people will have a checklist of the features and specifications that check the boxes on their list. With the Alpha A7 III from Sony, an amazing camera that takes some of the features from previous models and combines them into a compact and durable body that amateurs and professionals alike enjoy. With a new sensor and back-illuminated design, the A7 III has a resolution of 24.2MP and uses the latest version of the BIONZ X image processor which improves the sensitivity range when compared to older models. While the camera has many features, its limited with the touchscreen controls as well as having only one SD slot to support UHS-II cards but is still a high-quality camera that can check all the boxes off your list.

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$2298 with 28–70mm lens + bundle

Best Mid-Range Cameras for Designers ($$)

While still expensive, many of these cameras may be sought out by some advanced amateur photographers or professionals just starting out. While they may not have all the bells and whistles that come with higher-end models, cameras that are mid-range in price are excellent for anybody serious about photography.

Sony A6500

The best camera for Youtube, vloggers & bloggers

Sony A6500 Best Camera

When it comes to electronics, to some there is a no bigger name than Sony. With their A6500, Sony has developed a mirrorless camera that while it has its limitations, can be a very good camera for those interested in not only quality photos but amazing video capabilities. While the A6500 uses the Alpha 6300 24.2 MP APS-C sensor and 4D focus system found in the manufacturer’s other cameras, they have made changes to the camera in other ways including the addition of 5-axis in-body image stabilization as well as an overhaul to the buffer, which provides quite the boost in performance. The addition of a touchscreen lets you quickly change your focus point, which is beneficial when shooting video. With both 4K and Full HD video recording, the A6500 from Sony is a great camera from professionals and amateurs alike.

Learn More

$1996 with 16–70mm lens

Fujifilm X-T2

The best camera for client work & shooting your portfolio

Fujifilm X-T2 Camera

While Fujifilm designed the X-T2 to be a mirrorless camera, the physical design can evoke that of a compact camera which will appeal to both amateurs and enthusiasts by offering a set of features and performance levels that are typically found on DSLRs in a camera that is half the weight. With its new X-Processor Pro that has phase detection autofocus as well as predictive autofocus at up to 8 frames per second, the speed of the X-T2 has been ramped up significantly. Other features include the ability to shoot 4K video and an APS-C-sized 24.3-megapixel X-Trans CMOS III sensor with a no low-pass filter. While the price may keep some amateurs from trying it, the X-T2 from Fujifilm is the perfect example of big things coming in small, or in this case, compact packages.

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$1399 with 18–55mm lens

Panasonic Lumix GH5

The best 4K camera for video and filmmakers

Panasonic Lumix G5 Camera

As technology grows and advances, the line between a traditional camera and a camcorder continues to blur and the two continue to become one and the same. With the Lumix GH5 from Panasonic, photographers can have a tool that uses 4K/60p video capture that professionals make a part of their gear. A versatile interchangeable lens camera that can handle photos and videos easily with its rugged design as well as an excellent control scheme. The fast, quiet performance of the GH5 can shoot 12 frames per second on still photos while the focus is fixed on the first frame or 9 fps while using continuous autofocus. With 5-axis image stabilization, it can be hard to find negatives with this camera however, some have stated that the sensor is smaller than other mirrorless cameras on the market and that the area autofocus mode isn’t as quick in video mode. These seem like small complaints about a camera that shoots video so well.

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$2398 with 12–60mm lens

Best Budget Cameras for Designers ($)

While the price for the cameras in the group is tailored more toward those with a limited budget or those who are strictly amateur photographers, they are in no way inferior or lesser quality cameras and can provide a high-quality experience at a reasonable price.

Panasonic G7

The best cheap DSLR camera for 2019

Panasonic Lumix G7 Camera

If you’re a beginner into digital photography, some of the higher-end options with all of the features and specifications can be a bit daunting. The G7 from Panasonic is a great camera for beginners or someone who may already have a more expensive DSLR camera but is looking for a lighter option for days with the family. Featuring a micro four thirds 16MP MOS sensor that is powered by the Venus Engine 9 processor. Sporting large mode dials for easy use, the G7 design skews toward a retro look with a viewfinder with articulation. Overall, if you’re just starting out adding photography to your list of skills, you cannot go wrong choosing the G7 from Panasonic.

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$497 with 14–42mm lens

Nikon D3500

The best value DSLR for graphic designers

Nikon D3500

While Nikon is responsible for one of the best cameras on our list, such as the D850, that amazing camera can be much too expensive for someone who may just be starting out or even someone who fancies themselves as an amateur photographer. Luckily, Nikon is also the maker of the D3500. While it’s seen as an entry-level DSLR camera, don’t let that distract you from taking a closer look. Even with its beginner DSLR camera description, the D3500 comes with the traditional DSLR controls and styling. With its simple ease of use and long battery life, you can take numerous photos and videos and quickly share it with family and friends via SnapBridge, Nikon’s proprietary sharing program. It is definitely one of the easiest cameras to use right out of the box and it includes 1080P full HD video.

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$397 with 18–55mm lens

Canon SL2

The best budget DSLR camera for 2019

Canon SL2 Best Camera

For those who are looking for a compact camera that doesn’t act like one, but still offers image quality that exceeds its smaller design should look at the Canon SL2. One of the most compact cameras offered by Canon, the SL2 boasts APS-C CMOS sensor and a resolution of 24.2MP as well as full HD recording. With a 3.0-inch, vari-angle touchscreen that includes a guided interface that can help a new user learn more about their camera including the different modes, which include a selfie mode complete with skin smoothing and background blurring controls. Like many cameras on the market today, the SL2 has built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC connectivity so you can share those great pictures moments after you take them.

Learn More

$599 with 18–55mm lens

Panasonic Lumix ZS100 / TZ100

The best compact camera for travel, sports, action and video

Panasonic Lumix ZS100 Top Camera

Panasonic’s line of travel cameras gets a major push forward with the release of the Lumix ZS100, known as the TZ100 outside of the United States. For a pocket-sized camera, the 10x zoom range that it comes with makes it stand out amongst its competitors. Inside the camera, Panasonic’s Power OIS stabilization system is perfect for the still photographs that you want to take while the 5-axis hybrid OIS stabilization system is perfect for video. Speaking of video, the ZS100 come with a 4K recording capability ensuring that the important moments you capture will look their absolute best. A touchscreen on the back of the camera helps you set up the perfect shot but will also turn off if you choose to look through the electric viewfinder. Although its enabled for WiFi, it doesn’t come with NFC capabilities which for a compact camera with so much going for it, is not a big deal at all.

Learn More


Top Cameras for Designers & Creatives Summary

  1. Nikon D850 (High-End) — $5494 with 24–70mm lens
  2. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (High-End) — $3549 with 24–70mm lens
  3. Sony A6500 (Mid-Range) $1996 with 16–70mm lens
  4. Fujifilm X-T2 (Mid-Range) — $1399 with 18–55mm lens
  5. Panasonic Lumix GH5 (Mid-Range) $2398 with 12–60mm lens
  6. Sony Alpha A7 III (High-End) — $2298 with 28–70mm lens + bundle
  7. Panasonic G7 (Budget) — $497 with 14–42mm lens
  8. Nikon D3500 (Budget) — $397 with 18–55mm lens
  9. Canon SL2 (Budget) — $599 with 18–55mm lens
  10. Panasonic Lumix ZS100 / TZ100 (Budget) — $497

What’s your favourite camera as a designer?




Design & business blog focused on branding, logo design, web design, content marketing, social media & more.

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Jacob Cass

Jacob Cass

Helping brands grow & get results with strategic branding & distinctive design. Founder of agency, JUSTCreative.com — Clients: Nike, Disney. TEDx speaker. Dad.

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