Whether you shoot weddings, sport or wildlife, the best professional camera models will help you nail your next commission. Equipped with powerful features targeted specifically at seasoned photographers and videographers, these pro tools are designed to help you get the job done.
Sony, Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon and Hasselblad upped the ante in 2022, all releasing flagship models. Truly, professional photographers and filmmakers are spoilt for choice. The Hasselblad X2D 100C became out favorite medium-format camera, being twice as powerful and inherently more useable than what had come before. Sharp 100MP images when shooting handheld with medium format blew my mind.
Likewise, the Nikon Z9 – our overall pick for best professional camera – only uses an electronic shutter, thanks to its stacked sensor design that effectively eliminates the adverse impact of rolling shutter. Expect this sensor design in most flagship cameras from the leading brands going forward.
I'm expecting new professional cameras at some point in 2023 from most of the big names, from modest refreshes like the rumored successor to the Canon EOS R5, to something big for Fujifilm's medium format. Let's not forget lenses too – super-expensive optics have already been launched this year like the Nikon Z 85mm f/1.2 and Sony FE 50mm F1.4. The tools professionals have at their disposal have never been better.
Timothy Coleman, Cameras editor
There’s no one-size solution for every pro, especially as briefs increasingly demand both stills and video content. That’s why we’ve put together this guide, to help you find the right professional camera for your individual working requirements. We’ve rigorously tested all of the top professional cameras and highlighted our favorite options in our comprehensive list. You’ll find outstanding stills cameras, video tools and hybrid shooters, plus a handful of models which make medium format more accessible.
Overall, our top pick in 2023 is the mighty Nikon Z9. It’s not cheap, but shelling out secures you a high-spec hybrid powerhouse with a 45.7MP sensor, rapid burst shooting and 8K/30p video skills. If you prefer the handling of a classic DSLR but still expect superlative mirrorless performance, the cutting-edge Canon EOS R3 comes a close second. And if money is no object when it comes to satisfying clients, the Sony A1 sets the gold standard with its unmatched combination of speed and resolution.
Whatever your budget and professional focus, you’ll find an ideal option below. We updated our guide regularly as prices change and new cameras hit the market. Once you’ve settled on a model, you’ll find links beneath each entry which take you straight to the top offers available right now. And if you’re not sure what to consider when buying a professional camera, you can scroll to the bottom for expert buying advice.
The best cameras for professionals 2023:
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1. Nikon Z9
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
If you need a future-proofed hybrid camera that can shoot pretty much any subject, and capture 8K video, then the Nikon Z9 is the best you can buy. The Z9 is so futuristic, it doesn't even have a mechanical shutter – that's because it's stacked 45.7MP sensor and Expeed 7 processor are so fast, it simply doesn't need one. That new tech provides a platform for the Z9's impressive shooting skills, from its ability to shoot full-resolution raws at 20fps to a much-improved autofocus system that draws it level with Canon and Sony.
While it's considerably bulkier than the Sony A1, the Nikon Z9 will feel comfortably familiar to anyone who's owned a Nikon DSLR like the D5 or D850. It's no throwback, though – with the ability to shoot 8K/30p video (and an 8K/60p mode en route), it's one of the select few mirrorless cameras that can record at that lofty resolution. The Canon EOS R3 might beat it for top burst shooting speeds and we'll have to wait for a firmware upgrade to see internal ProRes 422 HQ recording, but otherwise the Nikon Z9 is top dog for the professionals who can afford it.
- Read our in-depth Nikon Z9 review
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Don’t be fooled by the old-school shell: this isn’t a DSLR from a decade ago, but a cutting-edge camera that represents the pinnacle of mirrorless performance in 2022. Combining the hybrid smarts of the EOS R5 with the chunky form factor of the 1D X Mark III, it features plenty of innovations inside. The lower-resolution sensor will limit its appeal for some, but the stacked design delivers super-fast 30fps raw burst shooting.
Combined with enhanced AF tracking (including Eye Control AF, which follows your gaze through the viewfinder), that makes the EOS R3 a winner for wildlife and sports photographers. True to its hybrid design, the R3 also offers a solid video skill set: it can capture 6K raw video internally at 60fps. A sharp articulating touchscreen is on hand for straightforward framing, while the control layout will be familiar to anyone who’s shot with a pro Canon DSLRs. Sony’s A1 might trump it on certain specs, but nothing else combines the traditional charms of a DSLR with next-gen mirrorless tech like the EOS R3.
- Read our in-depth Canon EOS R3 review